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Jan 14, 2005

The major British bookshop chain Waterstone's contrived much negative publicity for itself on 5 January, when the Princes Street branch in Edinburgh sacked its most enthusiastic promoter of sf, Joe Gordon -- for the 'gross misconduct' of occasional disrespectful remarks in his weblog. Joe writes gloomily: '11 years of service, all the author events I have organized and run, the reviews, writing for Waterstone's publications, appearing on the radio or TV to discuss books on their behalf, all count for nothing apparently ...' Some see this as a free speech issue, others as a transparent pretext for getting rid of an employee disliked by the recently appointed store manager. See coverage in The Alien Online, BBC News, The Guardian, The Register, The Times, and even that ultimate journal of record Charlie Stross's diary.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke enjoyed the dubious accolade of a mention on the Popbitch gossip site: 'Famous Sri Lanka resident Arthur C. Clarke has survived the terrible floods. He was found in the sea clinging on to a buoy ...' What can this possibly mean?

Philip K. Dick Award final ballot for 2004 work:

  • Minister Faust, The Coyote Kings of the Space-age Bachelor Pad
  • Eileen Gunn (for it is she!), Stable Strategies and Others
  • Gwyneth Jones, Life
  • Lyda Morehouse, Apocalypse Array
  • Geoff Ryman, Air
  • Karen Traviss, City of Pearl
  • Liz Williams, Banner of Souls

Our editrix comments: 'Gardner [Dozois], of course, circulated the news as "Eileen up for Dick." To which John D. Berry, careless of the dangers that lie in trading scatological witticisms with Gardner, replied, "I think that should be "Dick up for Eileen."'

R.I.P. A message from Judy Blish: 'Also among the departed: Gerald J. Pollinger, agent of many known names, among them James Blish. Details follow when I can get them.' Kelly Freas had an obituary notice in The Guardian on 13 January.

The Moment of Oops. '... Brian Aldiss' Methuselah's Children ...' (Terry Pratchett, Once More* With Footnotes, 2004)

Dog Stars. Gordon Van Gelder reports sf nominations in the Dog Writers Association of America 2004 Writing Competition, whose 52 categories dwarf the puny Hugos: SHORT FICTION includes Bradley Denton's 'Sergeant Chip' (F&SF), and BOOK: FICTION has Martin Greenberg's and Alexander Potter's doggy anthology Sirius (DAW).

William Gibson, that wrinkled old patriarch of First Fandom, was described by the Sunday Times on 2 January as 'the sci-fi pioneer William Gibson.'

Sapphire, Not Sapphic. Be still, my beating heart: here are the novel finalists for the latest Sapphire sf romance awards.

  • Kathleen Nance, Day of Fire
  • Charlaine Harris, Dead to the World
  • Robin D. Owens, Heart Duel
  • Angela Knight, Jane's Warlord
  • Patricia Briggs, Raven's Shadow
  • Susan Grant, The Scarlet Empress

The Naked Lunch. John Ordover, the former Pocket Books Star Trek novel editor who now runs Phobos, is interestingly exposed in Time Out New York for 6-12 January -- which reveals, complete with nude group photo, his spare-time activity of running Clothing Optional Dinners for NYC naturists. 'The unofficial motto of the COD is "No Hot Soup".' It must be healthier than all those frowsty sf conventions....

Thog's Masterclass. Understatement Dept (or, Hot Soup at COD). 'Kassad was aware of the pain as a great sound beyond hearing, a huge, incessant foghorn of pain, as if thousands of untrained fingers were falling on thousands of keys playing a massive pipe organ of pain.' (Dan Simmons, The Fall of Hyperion, 1990)


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 couple of dozen Hugo awards. He continues to add books and Hugos.

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