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03.08.02

What evil lurks in the hearts of men? Ansible tries to pretend it knows…

Alan Moore failed to get a namecheck when the Spectator magazine's film reviewer wrote that From Hell 'might be quite an entertaining twist on the old Ripper tale, mainly because it was based on a graphic novel by some hairy man who is widely thought of in graphic novel circles, wherever they may be.' (Review summary: good twist, bad everything else.)

Norman Spinrad offers a metaphor colourful enough to make Thog scratch his head: 'In general, those bemoaning the commercial horse latitudes on which science fiction presently finds itself slowly twisting in the wind …' (Asimov's)

As Others See Us. Carl Djerassi (whose play Oxygen was about to open in London) doesn't write that nasty sf stuff: 'They are science-in-fiction plays, which he distinguishes from conventional sci-fi because his plays are based on real or plausible science. It's a way to "smuggle science into theater," he told students Tuesday.' (San José Mercury News, 20 Feb)

Henry Gee of Nature reports uproar at the Institute for Scientific Information, 'which produces the bibliometric statistics on which the careers of many scientists hang. ISI was having problems deciding which parts of our many-faceted magazine counted as original reports of scientific research, and were therefore "citable", unlike those parts which counted (in David Brin's words) as "entertainment fluff".' Some of their 1999-2000 'Futures' sf vignettes were cited as 'serious scientific information'… 'I wonder which items ISI chose. After Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a piece structured as a review of two books published in the year 3000, we did get an inquiry from a librarian asking for help, as they were unable to locate the books.'

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Temporal Science. 'The remains gave off a strong earth smell. It suggested great age, century piled upon century in which this jumble of now articulated bones had lain forgotten in the volcanic silt of John Day Canyon. They had been ancient already when Christ reportedly spun fishes and loaves from thin air. Older still when Moses allegedly parted the Red Sea.' (Kirk Mitchell, Ancient Ones, 2001)

 


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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