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Oct 24, 2004

Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever may be dead but he won't lie down: I've just been reading the new Covenant book The Runes of the Earth. To be fair, Stephen Donaldson's knurred and argute vocabulary has been somewhat toned down since 1983, but statistical analysis of his favourite words this time around led me to predict that the sequel must be titled The Eldritch Phosphenes of Formication. (In fact it's Fatal Revenant. So much for prediction.) Meanwhile, Thog's favourite metaphor is drawn from plumbing: 'If she did not discover some clear answer to her questions soon, the cistern of her soul would crack open.'

Unique Selling Point. BBC Ceefax TV Choice finds something positive to say about Battlestar Galactica on Sky One: 'Take it on trust and watch anyway -- Galactica is genuinely exceptional and the less you like science fiction, the more you'll love this new US drama.'

Brian Aldiss, fresh from the filming of his Brothers of the Head in Norfolk with near-identical 19-year-old twin actors, adds a bit to my mention of Kyril Bonfiglioli: 'Just a note about Bon ... That mighty man was an amateur when it came to editing and publishing Impulse. Since he did not continue the numbering of Science Fantasy, from which Impulse evolved, W.H. Smith refused to carry the "new" magazine. So it went down the tubes. • And look what has happened to WHS! • Incidentally, Bon planned another change. He had literary ambitions -- which was why he rid himself of the rather weedy-sounding Science Fantasy -- and was going to change Impulse to Caliban. I still like the title Caliban. It's still going free for any ambitious young editor....'

In Typo Veritas. On Cate Blanchett's Lord of the Rings ears: 'She had the prosthetics bronzed for prosperity.' (Guardian Guide, 16 October 2004)

George Lucas will, next June, become the 33rd person honoured for Lifetime Achievement by the American Film Institute.

R.I.P. George Tage Valentin Sjöberg (1930-2004), a major figure in 1950s Swedish fandom, died on 11 September; he was 73. From John-Henri Holmberg's longish obituary: 'He wrote and illustrated both as George Sjöberg and as Tage Valentin ... became one of the first active Swedish fans, with the fifth fanzine to appear in the country, Star SF Fanzine (1955-1957); [then] Fhan (1957-1959), and the first four issues of SF Forum (1960-current) -- the fanzine of Stockholm's Scandinavian SF Society, of which Sjöberg was co-founder and first chairman.' • Tetsu Yano (1923-2004), long-time Japanese sf fan, author and translator, died on 13 October aged 81. His many translations included the works of Heinlein, Herbert; as a writer he was best known in the West for his novella 'The Legend of the Paper Spaceship' (English translation 1984). See SFWA obituary.

Thog's Masterclass. Alien Planetology Dept. 'A tall fountain of spray reached skyward, high enough that its top was touched red by the light of the sun rising in the west.' (S.M. Stirling and David Drake, The Sword, 1995)


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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