April 22, 2005
Further ignominy for poor old H.G. Wells. The Wells mural that
for nearly 20 years was a popular feature of Market Square in his
Bromley (England) birthplace has been whitewashed into oblivion.
Admittedly its imagery was slightly confused -- besides a giant
Food of the Gods chicken and a 1952 War of the Worlds
movie flying saucer, there was also a Tripod from the 1984-5 BBC
TV adaptation of John Christopher's novels. Heedless of this
year's War of the Worlds remake, and hoping to become a
World Heritage site in 2006, Bromley wants to replace the
dilapidated mural with a new one themed for the more respectable
Charles Darwin 'and his use of the local Downe countryside in the
development of his theories.' Quizzed by Ansible's inside
man James Swallow, the head of Bromley's heritage and urban
planning committee added that 'in memory of the previous mural, we
are keen to include references to Wells in the new design.' A
Tripod, perhaps, caught in the very act of failing to be naturally
R.I.P. Bill Bowers (1943-2005), major US fan and
fanzine publisher for several decades, died on 18 April after
years of failing health. He was 61. In the 1960s he co-edited Double:Bill
with Bill Mallardi, and since the 1970s published seventy issues
of the impressive Outworlds, with #71 still in progress;
both these fanzines collected multiple Hugo nominations. He tied
as winner of the TransAtlantic Fan
Fund in 1976. Bill will be very much missed.
John Brosnan's funeral
will take place on 29 April, followed by a wake or celebration of
his life as
Ruth Hussey (1914-2004), US actress best known for work
other than her appearances in the TV anthology series Science
Fiction Theater, died on 19 April at the age of 90.
As Others See Us. Kazuo Ishiguro continues to draw a
line between his clones-for-organs saga Never Let Me Go
and all those talking squid in outer space: 'The point, says
Ishiguro, is not to create a science-fiction scenario but to find
a metaphor through which to look at aspects of the human
condition, such as friendship and ageing and the myths with which
we comfort ourselves as we hurtle towards oblivion.' Likewise: 'I
am not interested in devising futuristic landscapes, he says, This
is the world as we know it, except for one major tweak.'
(Waterstone's Books Quarterly 16)
Next, The Novelization? From a Seattle
Post-Intelligencer website article on forthcoming movies: 'War
of the Worlds, the Steven Spielberg-Tom Cruise remake of the
Orson Welles radio classic ...'
Miscellany. Nature is now indexing its
series of 'Futures' sf squibs as they appear on-line.
The Science Fiction Hub is
a new sf bibliographical resource allowing on-line searches of the
SF Foundation catalogue and related archives held at Liverpool
University: Eric Frank Russell, Olaf Stapledon, John Wyndham, etc.
little brother Jon has been
in The Onion -- let me bask a moment in reflected
ABA Book Sense Award. Susanna Clarke's Jonathan
Strange & Mr Norrell was this year's fiction winner, with
Philip Roth's The Plot Against America listed as one of
four runner-up 'honor books'.
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Noisy Quietude. 'He
said, dropping his voice to a sibilant whisper of well-nigh
incredible loudness: "Doorr yonder!"' (Philip MacDonald,
The Polferry Riddle [UK The Choice], 1931)
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.