April 29, 2005
Today I travelled to London and the great cemetery at Kensal
Green, for John Brosnan's funeral. It was a remarkable send-off,
with highly secular eulogies from Malcolm Edwards and John Baxter
before the coffin -- adorned with a plastic dinosaur and a
particularly garish Brosnan sf novel which I gathered was a Polish
translation -- made its exit to the merry sound of the James Bond
movie theme. Others present included Pat Cadigan, Chris Evans, Jo
Fletcher, Harry Harrison, Rob Holdstock, Steve Jones, Roz Kaveney,
Garry Kilworth, Chris Priest, and Lisa Tuttle. Afterwards, even
more sf notables and long-time fans gathered in a Soho pub for
what Leroy Kettle expansively called "the sort of event that
John would want to gatecrash -- that he would have enjoyed -- that
he wouldn't want to be remembered." Or something like that.
If you can remember the Brosnan wake, you probably weren't there.
Stop Press, 1 May ... Infinite Editrix totally "thrilled"
results ... mustn't say another word since I'm not supposed
to update Runcible again before 6 May ... but Gosh Wow!
As Others Profile Us. N. Lee Wood sends a depressing
LA Times report on the work of the Child Exploitation
Section of the Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes Unit: 'On one
wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces
substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that
alludes to a dark fact of their work: all but one of the offenders
they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core trekkie.
/ Det. Constable Warren Bulmer slips on a Klingon sash and shield
they confiscated in a recent raid. "It has something to do
with a fantasy world where mutants and monsters have power and
where the usual rules don't apply," Bulmer reflects. "But
beyond that, I can't really explain it."' (Story
by Times staff writer Maggie Farley, 27 April.) Can this
really be true? Well, not entirely ...
R.I.P. George P. Cosmatos (1941-2005),
Italian-born film director who ventured into horror with Of
Unknown Origin (1983) and the Alien-like Leviathan
(1989), died from lung cancer on 19 April.
Hughes (1930-2005), UK novelist and critic whose But for
Bunter (1985; US The Joke of the Century, 1986)
presents an alternate/secret history where 20th-century events are
crucially dependent on fictional schoolboy Billy Bunter, died on
11 April aged 74.
Sir John Mills (1908-2005), noted UK actor, died on 23
April following a chest infection; he was 97. His roles included
the eponymous hero of the four-part mini-series Quatermass
(ITV 1979, aka The Quatermass Conclusion) and an
appearance in the 1993 TV Frankenstein.
Nesvadba (1926-2005), psychiatrist and satirical author who
was known as the king of Czech science fiction, died unexpectedly
on 25 April; he was 78. A notable translated collection of his
stories is In the Footsteps of the Abominable Snowman
(1970 UK; reissued in America as The Lost Face, 1971).
Critical Masterclass Revisited. 'After Gernsback lost
control of Astounding Stories, F. Orlin Tremaine took over
as editor in 1931. At first Tremaine followed Gernsback's
direction ... but after four years John W. Campbell, a
highly-respected author in his own right, took control.'
(Applewhite Minyard, Decades of Science Fiction, 1998)
As Others See Us. Stephen Fry knows that Douglas Adams
didn't write that icky sf stuff: 'I'm not a fan of science-fiction
but neither was Douglas. He just happened to write a book about
space and time. / I wouldn't want to mention names but I do think
science-fiction writers take themselves far too seriously.' (Ireland
Thog's Masterclass. Hydraulics Dept. 'Sweat
gathered on his forehead, pouring down his vast shoulders.'
(Walter Jon Williams, 'Dinosaurs', 1987)
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.