I am filled with nostalgia by this reminder of what sf world-building used
to be like: 'So they gathered bilbys, and scythed grain and collected panniers
of gleebs, and then it was time to fleece the mereens again, and the days slid
by ...' (John Rackham, The Double Invaders, 1967) But whatever happened
to the smeerps?
As Others See Us. Alfonso Cuaron, director of Harry Potter and
the Prisoner of Whatsit, may next write and direct an sf film, Children
of Men presumably based on the not very good P.D. James novel. With the
usual disclaimer: 'It's not really science-fiction. It's the world 30 years from
now, in which for 18 years no human child has been born, for unknown reasons.
Civilizations are falling apart. England is the last remaining civilization as
we know it, because it's an island that's insulated itself from Europe, which is
in civil wars and complete pandemonium. So the story takes place in that
context.' (SCI FI Wire) Definitely nothing like sf, then.
R.I.P. Peter 'Mac' McNamara (1947-2004), Australian fan,
editor and publisher, died on 1 June from brain cancer diagnosed in early 2002;
he was 57. His mid-1980s sf magazine Aphelion led to the small press
Aphelion Publications; he coedited the anthologies Alien Shores (1994)
and Forever Shores (2003), and was still working on Future Shores
in May 2004. Peter is survived by his wife Mariann. All sympathy to her and the
Edward Wagenknecht (1900-2004), US scholar of supernatural fiction who
edited several collections, anthologies and The Letters of James Branch
Cabell (1975), died on 24 May at the remarkably ripe age of 104.
Harry Harrison sends a May Observer interview with a UK pest
control expert, who knows how to deal with the rigours of the job: 'Science
fantasy books sword and sorcery are the best way to unwind. If you've had
a bad day clearing a dead [human] body out, or something you can't go
wrong with Stephen Donaldson or Michael Moorcock.'
As Others See Us II. From The Washington Post's coverage of
that film The Day After Tomorrow (27 May): '[Al] Gore, who says he read
the screenplay while the movie was in production and saw a screening this week,
admits as everyone does that the movie is mostly science fiction, but
grounded in some science facts.' Our correspondent Phil Margolies muses: 'I
wonder what the science fiction part is grounded in?'
Publishers and Sinners. Marvel Comics's prose imprint Marvel
Press dedicated to fiction about Marvel characters
launches this month.
Penguin UK, dragging itself kicking and screaming into the 1990s,
plans to save £100,000 a year by
away with printed book catalogues in favour of on-line listings. (Publishers
Thog's Masterclass. Strange Headgear Dept. 'Black heads in
the water, struggling amid the flames, without lips or fingers.' (Joe Buff, Thunder
in the Deep, 2001)
David Langford is an author and a gentleman.
His newsletter, Ansible,
is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. His most recent books are Different Kinds of Darkness, a new short-story collection of horror, SF, and fantasy, Up Through an Empty House of Stars: Reviews and Essays 1980-2002, 100 pieces of Langfordian genre commentary, and He Do the Time Police in Different Voices, a short-story collection that brings together, all of Dave's SF parodies and pastiches. (This is a scary thought. Are you ready to laugh that hard?)
Dave lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards. He continues to add books and Hugos.