March 25, 2005
Oh, the frustration! All week I've been hearing rumours of
twinkle-toed visitations by the Hugo Nominations Fairy, leading to
several premature announcements (Challenger and Chunga
for best fanzine, Peter Weston's With Stars In My Eyes as
related book, efanzines.com
as website). But it looks as though the official shortlist won't
be released until after I've uploaded this instalment -- much
earlier in the day than usual -- and set off for
the British Eastercon....
Later, Monday 28 March: the announcement was scheduled as an
Eastercon event on Saturday, and
shortlist is now on line here. Gosh wow!
As Others See Us. Susan Mitchell knows what's fiction
and what isn't: 'Read any good novels lately? Read any bad novels
lately? My guess is that if you've read anything, for pleasure or
interest, it hasn't been fiction. Book sales of fiction,
particularly literary fiction, are down. By fiction I don't mean
fantasy, as in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, I mean a
story about our lives created from an author's imagination.' (The
Weekend Australian Financial Review, 19-20 March 2005)
Lawson, connoisseur of fantasy, runs true to form when reporting
that Ian McKellen will feature in Coronation Street: 'The
explanation for Sir Ian's soap debut may simply be that he wanted
to speak some proper dialogue after appearing in all that Tolkein
[sic] trog tosh ...' (Guardian, 12 March)
ICSFA Awards. At this year's International Conference on
the Fantastic in the Arts, the William L. Crawford Award for best
new fantasy writer went to Steph Swainston for The Year of Our
War, while Damien Broderick received the Distinguished
R.I.P. Redmond A. Simonsen, who with James
Dunnigan co-founded Simulations Publications Inc (SPI), publishers
of many sf and fantasy board games, died on 9 March. He was 62.
SPI began in 1969 and was bought by TSR in 1982.
Critical Masterclass. Trenchant opinions from the
creator of a certain new Doctor Who series: 'It pisses me
off when purists say: "Why have Disney done The Little
Mermaid and changed the ending?" Well, they've reinvented
it so that many more millions of children than have ever read the
original Oscar Wilde story can come to know and love The
Little Mermaid.' (Independent, 14 March)
Wolverton Outed! From the copyright page of Worlds
of the Golden Queen (ARC; forthcoming from Tor): 'This omnibus
edition comprises The Golden Queen and Beyond the Gate
by David Farland, which were originally published under Mr.
Farland's pseudonym Dave Wolverton.' Next, it will be revealed
that Stephen King is actually Richard Bachman.
Miscellany. Paul Di Filippo's
books column in Asimov's SF mentions a collection
close to my heart....
Robert Louis Stevenson, that notoriously drug-crazed
hippy, was allegedly high on an ergot-derived hallucinogen while
writing Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde --
Thog's Masterclass. Hazards of Spaceship
Acceleration Dept. 'Grant slept fitfully, dreaming that some
giant hand was shaking him, pummeling him mercilessly. He snapped
awake and found that it was no dream.'
'Abruptly the thrusters shut off. Grant felt it like a blow to his
crotch.' (both Ben Bova, Jupiter, 2000)
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
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.