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April 1, 2005

Last week, the time was out of joint and I had to go to press -- as we still quaintly like to say -- on the day before the Hugo shortlist announcement. Here's the link I added to that column on Easter Monday. Much stir has been caused by the all-British novel slate: Iain M. Banks, The Algebraist; China Miéville, Iron Council; Charles Stross, Iron Sunrise; Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; Ian McDonald, River of Gods. Modesty forbids me to mention the fan writer and semiprozine categories....

As Others See Us. I suspect the sexual advice department needs a little gentle re-education in Room 101: '[Q] What do the following books say about a person's sexual characteristics: A man currently reading The Da Vinci Code? [A] This guy is going to be awful in bed. This is just one step up from a sci-fi reader, someone who thinks sex can't measure up to masturbation.'

R.I.P. Brian Kelly (1931-2005), US actor of Flipper fame and executive producer of Blade Runner (1982), died on 12 February. He was 73. David Kossoff (1919-2005), UK writer and actor whose genre credits included Journey Into Space (BBC radio 1953-5), The Mouse That Roared (1955) and The Mouse on the Moon (1962), died on 23 March aged 85. Raylyn Moore (1928-2005), US author who was married to Ward Moore (1903-1978) and whose one novel is What Happened to Emily Goode After the Great Exhibition (1978), died on 27 February; she was 77. Andre Norton has another substantial obituary by Steve Holland in The Guardian.

Critical Masterclass. '[Marion Zimmer] Bradley's husband, Leigh Brackett, wrote The Darkover Concordance: A Reader's Guide (1979) to help sort out the complexities of the series.' (Applewhite Minyard, Decades of Science Fiction, 1998)

Even Still Yet More Awards. Philip K. Dick Award: Gwyneth Jones, Life; also special citation to Lyda Morehouse for Apocalypse Array. BSFA Awards: NOVEL Ian McDonald, River of Gods. SHORT Stephen Baxter, 'Mayflower 2'. ARTWORK Stephan Martinière, Tor US cover of Newton's Wake by Ken MacLeod. The Sir Arthur C. Clarke Awards or 'Arthurs', to be presented on 2 April for British contributions to rocketry and space, should not be confused with the established Arthur C. Clarke Award or 'Clarke' given for British-published sf novels. But they will be.

The Dead Past. Let's all raise our glasses, with suitable noises of bicentennial appreciation, to Hans Christian Andersen -- born 2 April 1805 -- who inspired one cherished assessment of Ansible: 'As a newszine, it is the Emperor's New Clothes.' (Mike Glyer, File 770, 1987).

Book of Lists. Did you know that the US Marines have a required reading list of inspirational war-related books? In February 2005, it seems, this was purged of the 1996 version's sf selections Starship Troopers and Ender's Game. Our whistleblower mysteriously attributes this change to the War on Terror....

Thog's Masterclass. Supersonics Dept. 'The ships were so big, so vast, so fast. Faster than sound. The noise reached you after the ship made it. That was why there was never any warning.' (Nicholas Fisk, Starstormers, 1980)


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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