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Feb 18, 2005

Which author's second-hand editions are most valued? Ian Covell did a little research on 17 February: 'The top 29 highest priced items on ABEbooks are by Stephen King. #30 is Ellison's Stalking The Nightmare with an introduction by Stephen King ... then it's King again until #111, Legends, with a story by Stephen King ... then it's King again until, well ... I am not even going to mention the first "different" title, at #173 -- an antique book about Saint STEPHEN, first KING of Hungary. You get the feeling someone misread the title.'

Nebula Final Ballot. Here are the novel and screenplay shortlists; see the short fiction categories at the SFWA site. Our editrix is still, er, coming to terms with the Short Story list, and I mustn't excite her too much by reproducing it here.

  • David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
  • Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
  • Gene Wolfe, The Knight
  • Jack McDevitt, Omega
  • Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls
  • Sean Stewart, Perfect Circle

(This is very like the six-title preliminary ballot, but with Cloud Atlas instead of S.M. Stirling's Conquistador. Presumably Stirling placed sixth and thus dropped off the final list while Cloud Atlas was added by the Nebula jury.)

  • The Butterfly Effect
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • The Incredibles
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

R.I.P. F.M. 'Buz' Busby (1921-2005), US author and long-time sf fan, died on 17 February after a lengthy illness reported in Runcible 159; he was 83. Buz and his wife Elinor, who survives him, were co-editors of Cry [of the Nameless] when it won the Best Fanzine Hugo in 1960. In an sf career running from his 1957 Future SF magazine debut to the late 1990s, his best known novels were Cage a Man (1974) and Rissa Kerguelen (1976). More recently he felt 'sidelined' by the decline of sf midlist publishing: as he wrote to Ansible in 2002, 'I got off about five more books before it caught up with me, but ya can't fight regress.' He will be missed. Jack Chalker was the subject of an obituary by John Clute in The Independent, 18 February.

Margaret Atwood continues to enthuse about her remote-controlled autographing machine, this time in The Globe and Mail. Thanks to her initiative, I'm sure, hordes of resistlessly invasive autograph-robots will one day put an end to Terry Pratchett's recurring nightmare that somewhere, somehow, there remains an unsigned copy out there. Cue subtle link ...

Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky has been selected by the American Library Association as both an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

BAFTA Awards. Winners of genre interest were Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (original screenplay, editing) and The Day After Tomorrow (visual effects). The Orange Film of the Year award, voted by the general public, went to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

More Naughtiness. The cheat merchants at don't merely encourage students to plagiarize but do it themselves. Ahmed A. Khan found an essay he'd written for Strange Horizons being sold without permission or attribution at this site (and, mysteriously with the same filename, offered for nothing at It took ten days of pleas, pressure and publicity before removed the article, which they did in surly silence without offering any account of sales. Or, of course, any payment. Writers who post scholarly essays online should keep an eye on this outfit.

Thog's Masterclass. Straight On 'Til Morning Dept. 'You simply head your space ship toward your sun for about three million miles, take a sharp turn left and go about five or six million miles and there we will be. Please do come visit us when you build your space ship.' (Sara Cavanaugh, A Woman in Space, 1981)


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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