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Oct 15, 2004

Autumn is upon us, and The Discworld Almanak offers this seasonal distillation of wisdom about wild mushrooms:
1. ALL FUNGI ARE EDIBLE.
2. SOME FUNGI ARE NOT EDIBLE MORE THAN ONCE.

As Others See Us. Here's Focus magazine (not the BSFA one) on the BBC Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, a dramatized documentary taking five astronauts on a pioneering six-year mission across the solar system: 'But science fiction it isn't. Impossible Pictures, Space Odyssey's maker, has created the most authentic vision of humans exploring our planetary neighbours ever.' For certain values of 'authentic'....

R.I.P. Christopher Reeve (1952-2004), US actor famous for his title role in four Superman films (1978-87), died from heart failure on 10 October, following systemic spread of infection from a pressure sore. Paralysed in a 1995 riding accident, he had campaigned tirelessly for spinal research. Many fans who attended the 1979 World SF Convention in Brighton remember him accepting the Dramatic Presentation Hugo for Superman with a diplomatic grace that charmed even the Hitch-Hiker claque whose applause had been loudest when nominations were read.

Margaret Atwood, who famously does not write about talking squids in space, was surely pleased by Suzi Feay's description of her as a likely Booker International nominee in the Independent on Sunday (10 Oct): 'Canada's ice queen is formidably gifted, her oeuvre ranging across styles and genres.' Though perhaps the close of the next sentence was less appreciated: 'As well as sharp feminist fables, she has written poetry, criticism, historical and futurist novels, and has recently colonised the world of sci-fi.' At least, in defiance of the usual newspaper stylebook, it didn't read '... beamed down to Planet Sci-Fi.'

Deutsche Phantastik Preis. Winners of this German award include J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter und der Orden des Phoenix as best international novel, and Stephen König (I mean King) as international author of the year.

The New Yorker (20 September) has a four-page article on the life and works of Kyril Bonfiglioli, remembered in British sf circles for editing Science Fantasy in the mid-1960s. This sister magazine of New Worlds was retitled Impulse and then SF Impulse during the Bonfiglioli regime.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Sound Effects. 'He made a face at me, soundlessly humming under his breath as if he was bored.' (Laurell K. Hamilton, The Killing Dance, 1997)

 


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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