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03.01.02

On a personal note (as opposed to the lofty tone of Olympian dispassion to which my readers are so accustomed), I was stunned, boggled and gobsmacked that the New England SF Association gave me its Skylark Award at this year's Boskone. This is presented in memory of dear old E.E. "Doc" Smith, so my sf must contain more starkly inconceivable beams of coruscating, ravening energies than I'd noticed. Thanks, NESFA! The stunnedness, bogglement and gobsmackery were enhanced by my former friend Martin Hoare's cunning ploy of phoning with the news at 3:15am British time…

Arthur C.Clarke is reading classic sf: 'Just found this flawless gem for Thog's Masterclass (which I always read with apprehension): "He lit the dining room lamp, got out a cigar, and began pacing the room, ejaculating…" You might try it sometime! The source: The Invisible Man, Chapter 17—I'm writing the intro for a new edition, but don't think I'll quote this…' Told that Thog cited a similar Wells usage in Ansible 134, ACC got excited: 'I think we have the makings of a Ph.D thesis here.'

R.I.P. Virginia Hamilton (1936-2002), US author of children's fiction—including fantasies and some notable sf—died from breast cancer on 19 February. At 65 she had won all the major awards in her field, and was the only children's author so far to receive a MacArthur 'genius' grant. Chuck Jones (1912-2002), the legendary US cartoon animator, director, author and artist who made over 300 animated films, died of congestive heart failure on 22 February; he was 89. His best-known creation was Bugs Bunny. In a 60+-year career he received three Oscars as director and an honorary Oscar for life achievement.

Small Press. Fictionwise.com's latest royalty statement comes with a circular that discreetly mentions: 'As some of you know, we no longer pay advances because of market conditions and other factors …'

Michael Swanwick reminisces: 'Boskone was fun, as usual. Neil Gaiman spent two hours signing autographs, despite the event being advertised as only one hour, and only quit because he had to be on a panel then. He came onto the panel with a plate of sushi which he gulped down, and then signed a book which a dear friend had required I get his autograph on. I was going to get him to sign a book for me, but after seeing how his hands trembled, decided to wait a con or two.'

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Strange Endowments. 'Her slender chest rose and fell gently and slowly with her sleeping inhalations, her small breasts and rather larger nipples outdenting the flimsy fabric of her ragged tunic …' (Fritz Leiber, The Knight and Knave of Swords, 1988)

 


David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant. His monthly SF newsletter, Ansible, is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. He lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards.

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