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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, 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 the 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) Mark 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 Scholarship Award.

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 March 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 -- see Times story.

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)


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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