Oct 8, 2004
I am so thrilled by our editor's Festival of Langford (and by a
buckshee copy of her Stable Strategies thrust into my
hands in London; recommended!) that I have madly put together
another instalment. So there.
Richard Branson charmed Star Trek fans by
announcing that his first 'Virgin Galactic' suborbital spaceplane
will be the VSS Enterprise. £110,000 for a 3-hour
flight with 3 weightless minutes....
Graham Joyce was taunted in Private Eye (1 Oct)
for wangling a PhD from Nottingham Trent U by the 'brilliant
wheeze' of writing a '140,000-word study' of his own novel Smoking
Poppy. Adam Roberts crossly notes that this is not true. It
wasn't a PhD in literature as implied, but in creative writing,
for which it's entirely normal to submit fiction (that novel and
the novella 'Leningrad Nights'), plus no more than 15,000 words of
critical commentary on the candidate's writing practice. Adam
adds: 'Farah Mendlesohn and I were the two examiners; and believe
me we were sticklers for doing it exactly by the regs.'
Terry Pratchett's Discworld® had a boozy 21st
birthday party on 28 September, graced by the awesome presence of
Eileen Gunn. I believe Mr Pratchett was there too. Next day on
Radio 5, Simon Mayo marvelled that the latest DW novel features a
successful, profit-making postal service -- prompting the
Pratchettian reply, 'Truly I am a fantasy writer.'
Anne Rice struck back at negative Amazon reviews of her
final vampire novel Blood Canticle (some disappointed,
some unpleasantly personal). Pausing only to award herself five
stars, she posted a vast unparagraphed tirade which perhaps
unwisely revealed that: 'I have no intention of allowing any
editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that
I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself. I
fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to
put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never
relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso
performance. It is not a collaborative art.' Some of us still need
that editorial whisper in the ear, 'Remember thou art but mortal.'
polemical "review" (scroll down).
Wilson 'Bob' Tucker will be 90 on 23 November;
fannish celebration is planned in Bloomington, Illinois, on
Saturday the 27th.
British Fantasy Awards, presented at Fantasycon on 26
- Novel (August Derleth Award): Christopher Fowler Full
- Short: Christopher Fowler, 'American Waitress' (Crimewave
- Anthology: Stephen Jones, The Mammoth Book of
Best New Horror 14
- Collection: Ramsey Campbell, Told by the Dead
- Artist: Les Edwards
- Small Press: PS Publishing
- Special (Karl Edward Wagner Award): Peter Jackson,
for The Lord of the Rings
R.I.P. Tim Choate (1954-2004), US actor who
appeared in Ghost Story (1981) and played Zathras in Babylon
5, died in a motorcycle accident on 24 September; he was 49.
Janet Leigh (1927-2004), US actress of Psycho
shower fame, died on 3 October aged 77. Her 63 films also included
Night of the Lepus (1972) and The Fog (1980).
Runcible 127 Update: Basil
Wells died on 23 December 2003, not 3 May 2004 as stated in
Oops. The 3 October Independent on Sunday UK
hardback bestseller list has, entering in fourth place, Jonathan
Strange & Mr Norrell by (it says here) 'Alexander McCall
the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon, will raise attending memberships from £95/$170
to £110/$195 on 1 December.
Thog's Masterclass. 'As Reith approached he heard a
sudden wordless cry of outrage from within. "Unclean!"'
(Jack Vance, The Pnume, 1970)
Langford is an author and a gentleman. His newsletter,
is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. His
most recent books are
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
Dave lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000
books, and a few dozen Hugo awards. He continues to add books and