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Feb 4, 2005

Oh yes, the Oscars. There are numerous sf/fantasy items scattered through the 2005 nominations, too tiresome to list in full (though Steven H Silver at SF Site has undertaken this hideous chore). Suffice it to say that the Best Animated Feature shortlist comprises The Incredibles, Shark Tale, and Shrek 2.

As Others See Us. An uplifting view of sf from the musician Moby, interviewed in the March 2005 Q magazine: 'The perfect marriage is one where the man enjoys watching Sex and the City and the woman loves science fiction. Find me a couple who are like that, and I guarantee you they'll be happy.' Too bad, of course, if it's the other way around.

Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist for 2004 novels:

  • Ian McDonald, River of Gods
  • China Miéville, Iron Council
  • David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
  • Richard Morgan, Market Forces
  • Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife
  • Neal Stephenson, The System of the World

The winner will be announced at a London ceremony on 11 May. Sir Arthur's ever-escalating bounty has this year reached £2005.

Thog's Critical Masterclass. Lord of the Rings plot summary: 'The plucky hobbits cross treacherous mountains to stop the evil Lord Sarumon obtaining the ring he needs for world domination.' (Independent, 29 January)

R.I.P. Jack Kine (1921-2005), special effects pioneer who co-founded the BBC Visual Effects Department in 1954, died on 14 January; he was 83. With Bernard Wilkie he worked on the 1954 BBC production of 1984 and created memorable monsters for Quatermass II (1955) and Quatermass and the Pit (1958-9), before moving on to the greater horrors of Tomorrow's World and Blue Peter. Patsy Rowlands (1934-2005), UK actress who was best known for comedy but had genre TV roles in Raven (1977) and Nigel Kneale's Kinvig (1981), died on 22 January aged 71. She also appeared in Danger Man, The Avengers and Out of the Unknown.

Twenty Years Ago. '... when, in 1985, pollsters asked 1500 Americans to name a famous Japanese person, Godzilla came third (or second, if you don't count Bruce Lee, who wasn't Japanese; Hirohito came top).' (London Review of Books, 3 February 2005)

Idols of the Marketplace. Nature has revived its 'Futures' series of short-short sf stories as a back-page feature, beginning with Ian Stewart on 3 February. Kindly editor Henry Gee would prefer no unsolicited submissions, but query letters may be addressed to him at Nature, The Macmillan Building, 4-6 Crinan Street, London, N1 9XW. Inferno! (1997-2005), the Games Workshop magazine which provided one of the few professional UK outlets for short genre fiction, is ceasing publication with its January/February issue. Contributors have included Barrington J. Bayley and Brian Stableford.

Media Moribundity. The 98th and last Star Trek: Enterprise episode airs in the USA on 13 May. This takes the Trek franchise off television for the first time since 1986; and for the first time since 1975, there will be neither a movie nor a tv show in the pipeline. (Press release)

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Relativity. 'The Rim Star ... went too fast. If starlight had glittered on her travelling at the speed she'd attained ... she would have been invisible. No one light-wave was fast enough to strike her and be reflected ...' (Murray Leinster, The Other Side of Nowhere, 1955)


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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