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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" by Nebula 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 ... see commentary here.

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. David 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. Josef 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). Radio Praha obituary.

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 On-Line)

Thog's Masterclass. Hydraulics Dept. 'Sweat gathered on his forehead, pouring down his vast shoulders.' (Walter Jon Williams, 'Dinosaurs', 1987)


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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