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T H A N K S !


May 20, 2005

It's not often that I get a scoop as exclusive and unexciting as this: Arthur C. Clarke's novels are to be someone's specialist subject on the famous British TV quiz show Mastermind. Though stopping short of inviting me to set the actual questions, a BBC researcher has been picking my brains for background material, revealing somewhat late in the day that 'we don't give out fees to our experts as they usually do it for free.' Now there is an awful temptation to provide such inputs as: 'Clarke's most famous story "Nightfall" not only predicted hydrogen bombs and iPods but also inspired the new science of Dianetics ...'

Robert Sheckley's condition is much improved after weeks of intensive treatment in a Kiev clinic (see Runcible 171, 172). Although the Ukrainian net newspaper ForUm says he's practically ready to go home, Pravda claims that he can't owing to vast medical bills. There has been a language/communication problem here: SFWA reported that a company had guaranteed to cover the cost of treatment, little knowing that 'company' here meant only the local fan group/convention committee which hosted Sheckley's visit. According to our contact man Boris Sidyuk, these fans barely managed to pay the clinic's first bill and have been frantically raising funds to meet further expenses quoted at $1,000 daily. Owing to problems in setting up a US dollar account locally, and PayPal's distrust of the Ukraine, it was hard to establish any convenient channel for Bob Sheckley's American friends to give financial help. Watch for official updates on the Sheckley home page.
[Later: official PayPal account now in operation -- send donations to the Robert Sheckley Relief Drive, run by his own family.]

R.I.P. Frank Gorshin (1934-2005), US actor, impressionist & comedian who played the Riddler in the 1960s Batman tv series and 1966 film, died on 17 May aged 71. Other film appearances included: Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), The Meteor Man (1993) and Twelve Monkeys (1995); other tv appearances, Star Trek, Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Lois & Clark.

Another Award! The Fountain Award, presented by the Speculative Literature Foundation for short fiction 'of exceptional literary quality', went to Jeffrey Ford for 'The Annals of Eelin-Ok' (from The Faery Reel ed. Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, 2004).

Miscellany. Dreams: The Terry Gilliam Fanzine. SF Writers Who Commit Bloggery: a brief list at SFsignal. Bronze bust of Dan Dare (Pilot of the Future) in Southport, UK.

Thog's Doctor Who Masterclass. Astronomy Dept. 'If his calculations and instruments were correct, he was now outside the home galaxy of the Milky Way and in an entirely new universe, the universe known to him as the Crab Nebula.' Dept of Preternatural Rigidity. 'He raged and shouted at them from behind the bars which, as she shook them, held as firm as though a fly's feet were touching them.' (both from David Whitaker, The Dr Who Annual, 1965)


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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