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My favourite moment in media coverage of the Cassini-Huygens mission came from UK Meridian local news, which highlighted the artistic angle: '... the probe was named after Christiaan Huygens who discovered Titian.'

Return of the Cyberbullies. Lawyers representing the Lord of the Rings film companies are currently menacing the owner of the domain: because, you see, 'Shire' is Tolkien's very own word which was his. Anyone daring to use it must be trading on valuable LOTR 'goodwill', despite the term having been around for a millennium or so. People with domain names containing other uniquely Tolkienian words -- like elf, dwarf, orc, one, ring, or Sam -- should start preparing their defences now.

The 2004 John W. Campbell Memorial Award went to Omega by Jack McDevitt, with Justina Robson's Natural History as runner-up.

As Others See Us. The San Diego Sun-Tribune interviewed Kim Stanley Robinson and explained his reputation: 'early in his career he got tagged as a "literary science fiction writer" -- that is, one concerned with the working out of difficult problems in the near-to middle-future, as opposed to, say, emulsifying extraterrestrials with high-tech hardware.' (4 July) Our bemused reporter Tony Cullen remarks: 'And there I was thinking he was tagged as a "literary sf writer" because he writes good books.'

R.I.P. John Barron (1920-2004), UK TV actor, died on 3 July aged 83. He had an uncredited role as a subeditor in The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961), and appeared in many genre TV productions including Doomwatch (1970) and Whoops Apocalypse (1982). [GD]  John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004), US artist and illustrator who drew the Arthurian Prince Valiant strip (now 67 years old) since 1970, died on 2 July; he was 85. [PDF]

Publishers and Sinners (UK). Jo Fletcher of Orion/Gollancz became engaged to Ian Drury of (keeping it in the family) Orion/Weidenfeld & Nicolson, during a Turkish holiday in June: 'I am incredibly happy.' Wedding next Spring.  Jonathan Weir, late of and HarperCollins, has joined the same family as Gollancz publicity manager, replacing Nicola Sinclair.  Lucy Dixon leaves Hodder & Stoughton publicity on 16 July and is moving to John Murray.

Ursula Le Guin's Book Expo speech (mentioned in Runcible 133) can, as Vonda McIntyre points out, be read on line.

What the Papers Say. Addressing, as ever, the major social concerns of the day, The Sun is campaigning to save the Daleks.

The Pedant Strikes Back. M.J. Simpson on the Runcible 134 obituary: 'Max J Rosenberg was not a producer on Hammer's The Curse of Frankenstein as widely reported but merely sold Hammer a different Frankenstein script a few years before. His importance to the genre is that his company Amicus was Hammer's only serious rival in the British horror boom of the 1960s and 1970s.'

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Cruel and Unusual Geometry. 'The casket was a cube. It was about a meter and a half long, a half-meter wide, another half-meter deep.' (Robert Wells, Spacejacks, 1975)


He Do the Time Police in Different VoicesDavid 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.

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