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May 6, 2005

We interrupt your regular Runcible for a Thog commercial (Thog's the stuff for work, Thog's the stuff for play; Thog's the stuff, when you feel rough, to chase those blues away!). Anyone can contribute. Thogworthy lines from our favourite literature may be communicated to me via this page ... be sure to quote the lucky author exactly, with full title and year of publication. Thank you.

Robert Sheckley has been hospitalized in Kiev since 27 April, after catching a cold leading to respiratory failure which required artificial respiration. He had travelled to Odessa as a guest of Portal-2005, the sf stream of April's Ukrainian computer/sf expo, and fell ill while touring the country afterwards. Local fan Boris Sidyuk sent e-mail today: 'We, who invited him to visit Ukraine, arranged a private hospital where he remains until now. Because he lost somewhere during the trip his insurance card we decided to provide financing of his staying in the hospital until the card is renewed and the insurance company involved. We called for the best medical specialists in Ukraine. But he is in poor condition at the moment. A little bit better than yesterday but still bad.' See Itar-Tass News Agency report (for 'Fedyuk' read Sidyuk) and News (for 'Daniel R. Gallun' read Raymond Z. Gallun).

As We See Others. Terry Pratchett muses in The Times: 'I think about the literary world like I think about Tibet. It's quite interesting, it's a long way away from me and it's sure as hell they're never going to make me Dalai Lama'. (4 May)

Nebula Awards, announced on 30 April:

  • Novel: Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls
  • Novella: Walter Jon Williams, 'The Green Leopard Plague' (Asimov's 10/03)
  • Novelette: Ellen Klages, 'Basement Magic' (F&SF 5/03)
  • Short Story: Eileen Gunn, 'Coming to Terms' (Stable Strategies and Others) ... whoopee!
  • Script: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

As Others See Us. Neil Ford reports another maker of ingenious distinctions: 'Hal Hartley has made a movie set in the near future, when the US is run by a totalitarian corporation and is visited by an alien -- but of course it's not sf.' From an interview: 'But, really, I don't think of "The Girl from Monday" as sci-fi. Not for real. It's more like a song about life now told AS IF it were sci-fi. Sometime copping the postures of a genre can allow you to address a broader range of topics and allow you to be a little more poetic without being too heavy.'

Outraged Letters. M.J. 'Simo' Simpson renounces his former way of life: 'I have given up writing about Hitchhiker's Guide for ever, on account of (a) I'm bored with it and (b) the film is crap beyond belief. But I heard this today from a reliable source inside the production and it's too good not to pass on: Because Alta Vista has copyrighted the phrase "babel fish" Disney had to negotiate a special deal in order to be able to use those words in the Hitchhiker's movie. But the agreement does not extend to the DVD extras so although a picture of a babel fish can be shown, none of the documentaries or other features can include the words "babel fish", either spoken or written. Ironically, this bizarre situation is actually a good deal closer to the spirit of Douglas Adams' writing than the film itself ever manages to be, and it's certainly a lot funnier.'

The Saturn Awards for genre film/TV have all too many categories. Here are the winning movies:

  • Science Fiction: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Fantasy: Spider-Man 2
  • Horror: Shaun of the Dead
  • Action/Adventure/Thriller: Kill Bill: Vol. 2
  • Animated: The Incredibles

More at ...

Miscellany. 'Setting Locus Straight on Print on Demand', by Paula Guran -- questioning attitudes in the Locus '2004 Book Summary'. ('Slightly intemperate,' says John Clute.) Mathematical Fiction Homepage. Ian Maule's photos from John Brosnan's wake. The Uncyclopedia explains science fiction, fantasy, and Isaac Asimov. Tut, tut.

Thog's Masterclass. Strangulation Dept. 'Shock throttled a sob half spent in her throat.' (Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Farfetch, 1985)


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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