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That restless urge to put together reprint collections is coming over me again. I've had a column in every issue of SFX magazine since its launch in 1995; it seems time to assemble them into a book. Regular students of SFX cover layout will understand why this should be called The SEX Column and other misprints.

Christopher Priest was disconcerted to hear of the new Argosy magazine (#2, May/June 2004), whose story 'Cruelty the Human Heart' by O'Neil De Noux opens thus: 'In my first fifty years of life, I've only hated one person. Truly hated. Christopher Priest, white male, born November 22, 1963. That's right, he was born the day John F. Kennedy was killed. No, the president's soul wasn't recycled into Chris Priest, no fuckin' way.' The story continues to build up the unpleasantness of this character -- who tortures cats, and worse -- until he eventually meets rough justice at the narrator's hands. Although the given birthday doesn't fit either the original Priest or the Christopher Priest Formerly Known As Jim Owsley (who is black), the British one asked De Noux whether this choice of character name was sheer coincidence. He received, to everyone's relief, an apologetic assurance that it was. Rumours of chortling® sounds from Sherman Oaks, California, are totally unconfirmed.

As Others See Us. The New York Times magazine, in a remarkable pre-publication splash, marvels at the promotion of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: 'This sort of push by a publisher is not so unusual for a big first novel. But it is curious for a big first novel about dueling magicians that is uncompromisingly literary without being shy about taking the genre seriously. And her novel is being published with none of the fantasy trappings, none of the comforting camouflage that it is for children. It is being published, well, like a regular book.' Good heavens! Good for Susanna!

R.I.P. Jackson Beck (1912-2004), US radio broadcaster who introduced over 1,600 episodes of the Superman radio show (Voices: 'It's a bird! It's a plane!' Beck: 'It's Superman!'), died on 28 July aged 92. He was also the voice of Bluto in 300+ Popeye cartoons.   Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr (1926-2004), US film director responsible for The Blob (1958) and 4D Man (1959), died in a car accident on 19 July. He was 78.

British Fantasy Awards 2004. The longlist of recommendations is now on line ...

Our Men with the Popcorn. John Bark: 'Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru no ugoku shiro) will be the first animated movie for 30 years to compete for the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, 1st-11th September (Observer 1/08/04).'   Joe McNally: 'I hope you've spotted that I, Robot has been released to the Hispanophone market as Yo, Robot ...'

Thog's Masterclass. Neat Tricks Dept. '"You will manually feel this object with your left hand," he said to himself, "and at the same time you will look at it with your right."' (Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly, 1977)


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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