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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.'

That polemical "review" (scroll down).

Wilson 'Bob' Tucker will be 90 on 23 November; a fannish celebration is planned in Bloomington, Illinois, on Saturday the 27th.

British Fantasy Awards, presented at Fantasycon on 26 September:

  • Novel (August Derleth Award): Christopher Fowler Full Dark House
  • Short: Christopher Fowler, 'American Waitress' (Crimewave 7)
  • 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 previous reports.

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 Smith (Polygon)'.

Interaction, 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)

 


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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