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Jan 21, 2005

What song the Sirens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, are puzzling questions -- but less tantalizing to sf fans than the lost ending of that trans-Thoggian classic 'The Eye of Argon'. Now, according to a letter in The New York Review of SF (January 2005), a complete copy of the relevant 1970 fanzine has been unearthed in the Jack Williamson SF Library at Eastern New Mexico University! JWSFL collection administrator Gene Bundy reports that the long-missing Page 49 begins: 'With a sloshing plop the thing fell to the ground, evaporating in a thick scarlet cloud until it reatained its original size.' You will hear more of this.

As Some Of Us See Us. A generally positive article by Suzanne Ryan (Boston Globe, 14 Jan) about the new SciFi Channel Battlestar Galactica ended with a quote from a fan using all too familiar weasel words: 'I thought the mini-series was fantastic,' he enthused. 'It was incredibly written. The characters were really fully developed. It wasn't traditional science fiction.'

Stan Lee, in a 19 January US district court ruling on the lawsuit he began in 2002, was awarded 10% of Marvel Comics' profits from the Spider-Man films. His lawyer gloated: 'It could be tens of millions of dollars. That's no exaggeration.' Of course Marvel plans to appeal. (BBC, CBC)

R.I.P. Walter Ernsting (1920-2005), German author, editor and translator who as Clark Darlton co-founded the mighty Perry Rhodan shared world franchise, died on 15 January. He was 84. His sf career began in the 1950s, when he edited and wrote for Germany's Utopia-Magazin, launched 1955; he had become known as the grand old man of German sf. (Perry Rhodan site biography and Google translation) (Diane Gail) Kelly Goldberg, US author who published horror fiction as by d.g.k. goldberg, died on 14 January. (SFWA obituary) Gerald Pollinger, UK literary agent briefly mentioned in last week's Runcible, did indeed die on 5 January, aged 79. He represented many sf authors during his more than 50 years with the Laurence Pollinger agency. Sven Christer Swahn (1933-2005), major Swedish sf author, critic and translator of nearly 200 books in various genres including sf/fantasy, died on 15 January. He was 71. (Obituary at

As Others See Some Of Us. 'Very much the Moonies of television cults, Doctor Who is second only to Star Trek in its ability to attract sociopaths, hobbyists, theorists, collectors, role-playing gamers, fanatics and, frankly, experts. There is little this encyclopaedia can put forward which has not already been the subject of a keynote address at some high-priced, stale-smelling conference in Leicester, called something like SADCON or TOTALCON.' (Richard Lewis, The Encyclopaedia of Children's Cult TV, 2002)

Publishers and Sinners. Jim Minz is leaving Tor Books today, 21 January, and starting a new editorial job at Del Rey on the 31st.

In Typo Veritas. '... her public hair is as black as night, the starkest possible contrast to the fiery crimson hair higher up.' (Robert Silverberg, Roma Eterna, 2003).

Letter Column. Pierre De Jaeger writes on 17 January: 'Just read interview with Ballard in French paper Libération, where he explains how science-fiction died when Armstrong walked on the moon (many other bitter old fart absurdities in the interview).'

Who Goes There? Farah Mendlesohn wants to tease out the details of your loathsome personal (reading) habits with her cunningly contrived sf questionnaire.

Thog's Masterclass. Magic Physics Dept (or, the Bounceless Bounce). 'Satellites watched the residue of gas and energized particles strike the surface and rebound. There was no heat or momentum transfer.' (Peter F. Hamilton, Pandora's Star, 2004)


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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