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March 11, 2005

At last, fanzines have been defined. The Milwaukee reporter Crocker Stephenson, given the job of profiling the editor of a (non-sf) zine, sought words to explain this esoteric term for modern readers: 'A zine is kind of like a blog, but with staples.' (Thanks to Janice Eisen for the link.)

The James Tiptree Award for 'gender-bending' sf of 2004 went to two novels: Joe Haldeman's Camouflage, and Johanna Sinisalo's Troll: A Love Story, the US translation of her Finlandia Prize-winner Ennen päiävanlaskua ei voi (2000; UK Not Before Sundown, 2003). Official presentations will follow in early July.

The Alien Online, that popular British sf webzine, is phasing out book reviews. Editor 'Ariel' will continue his news and personal weblog postings, but hopes to spend more time on other work and real life. This decision follows the acrimonious 'Pavlougate' affair, in which James Lovegrove's strongly negative TAL review of Gene by Stel Pavlou (since nervously removed from the site) caused the wounded author to respond in such mature terms as: 'Eat shit and die you sad lamentable little fuck.'

R.I.P. Gertrude M. Carr (1907-2005), old-time US fan who discovered fandom in 1949, was the original editor of Cry of the Nameless, and continued her APA activity until 2003, died on 6 March. She was 97. Peter Foy (1925-2005), UK theatrical flight specialist whose 'Flying by Foy' company provided wire-flying effects for stage (Peter Pan, Dracula the Musical, The Lion King), screen (Fantastic Voyage, The Wiz) and TV (The Flying Nun), died on 17 February aged 79. Debra Hill (1950-2005), US screenwriter and producer who worked on various Halloween films (from 1978), The Fog (1980), and Escape From New York (1981), died on 7 March. She was 54.

Iain M. Banks (yes, that's what the official announcement calls him, with the science-fictional middle initial) will receive a honorary DLitt degree from the University of Glasgow this summer, for being an 'Acclaimed author and ambassador for Scotland's literary culture'.

Miscellany. The 2005 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate happens in New York on 30 March; the theme is 'why our solar system looks the way it does'. The Oxford English Dictionary sf project has been redesigned and relaunched here: it now offers partial access to the OED database-in-progress of sf/fannish terms and citations. 'Messy bastard' was one early on-line response to the BBC News headline 'New Dr Who leaked onto internet'. The story reports net piracy of a 45-minute episode called Rose, three weeks before the expected TV launch on BBC1.

Thog's Masterclass. Basic Arithmetic Dept. 'Caine [...] hobbled to the kitchen, closing the door behind him, 1.3 seconds before three soldiers burst into the room. ... Their names are Martin Crowe, Juan Esposito, Ron McCoy, and Charlie Rainer.' (Adam Fawer, Improbable, 2005)


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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