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June 3, 2005

Here's a blurb to conjure with, from the first inside page of Gossamyr by Michelle Hauf: '"This book kicks butt -- in a lush and lyrical way." Susan Sizemore'. (Spotted by Kyle McAbee.) Meanwhile, I guiltily confess that I'll be away from my net connection next Friday and -- by agreement with our superbly wonderful Nebula-winning editrix -- will return on 17 June. By way of compensation for both our regular readers, this instalment is a bit longer than usual.

John Betancourt's Wildside Press, formerly a minority owner of Weird Tales, is buying the magazine outright from Warren Lapine's DNA Publications and takes full control from issue 337 (at the printers when the takeover announcement was made on 27 May; now expected in late June). Betancourt himself is joining George Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer as co-editor of WT, restoring what he calls the 'classic editorial lineup' of 1987. (Old-timers will remember how, in that primitive 1920s era when the magazine was forced to publish people like H.P. Lovecraft, everyone looked forward to the classicality of 1987.) Meanwhile, DNA can now devote more time to its mysterious fascination with a magazine about the rock group Kiss.

Dark Doings. Steve Green updates the Dark Side plagiarism story in Runcible 174: 'The UK Press Gazette is investigating allegations of widespread plagiarism by both The Dark Side (edited by Allan Bryce for Stray Cat Ltd, in which he is a partner) and DVD World (edited for Highbury Entertainment by "Richard Marshall", a known pseudonym of Bryce's). Most of the material involved originally appeared on horror film websites, and almost all has been confirmed as being reprinted without authorization, payment or appropriate credit (the bulk of the Dark Side reprints appear under Bryce's own byline). Stray Cat has contacted at least one "contributor" with an offer of payment, but it may be too little, too late, given the scale of the alleged plagiarism (more than 100 individual reviews, each often more than 1000 words long) and the number of years the trail stretches back (refuting reported claims by Bryce that any breaches of copyright were the fault of a new member of staff, "Gordon Booker").'

R.I.P. Thurl Ravenscroft (1914-2005), US actor and singer who featured in many Disney animations and (most famously) voiced Tony the Tiger in the Kelloggs Frosties ads, died on 22 May; he was 91. His animated films included How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) plus other Seuss adaptations, the infamous 1977 The Hobbit, and The Brave Little Toaster (1987) and its sequels. See fan biography. Noreen Shaw (née Kane, 1930-2005), long-time fan who was married to editor Larry Shaw (1924-1985) and who chaired the 1955 World SF Convention, died in late May. Her and Larry's fanzine Axe was a 1962 Hugo nominee. Earl Kemp writes: 'I have known her since the early 1950s and, especially during our Midwest USA years together, we were the closest of fan friends. Another great one passes on.' See Harlan Ellison's tribute at the Fan Gallery site.

Neffies. The N3F awards for sf achievement, voted by members, were relaunched this year; much to my surprise, and despite its wicked semiprozine claims, Ansible won the fanzine category. For this egoboo, much thanks. The full list ...

  • Artist: Donato Giancola
  • Animation: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • Graphic fiction: Fantastic Four
  • Film: Spiderman 2
  • Television: Stargate: SG-1
  • Game: Star Wars Trading Card Game
  • Video Game: Halo 2
  • Internet: Locus Online (
  • Fiction: C.J. Cherryh, Forge of Heaven
  • Print Re-issue (at least 20 years since original release): Robert A. Heinlein, Glory Road
  • Video Re-issue (ditto): Star Wars Trilogy Boxed Set
  • Fan: Janine Stinson
  • Fanzine: Ansible
  • Fansite: Fanac Fan History Project (

Bloomsbury Auctions sent their latest catalogue of modern first editions, and I idly wondered which genre titles now command four-figure starting prices. Not The Time Machine (a mere £600), but: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The House at Pooh Corner, 1984, and Northern Lights (hey, I have that edition!), each at £1000. All these pale before the glory of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (1st English, £1500), Dracula at £3000, Farmer Giles of Ham ditto, and a terrifying £6000 for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.* Oh dearie me.

[*US title The Golden Compass. Oops, sorry, that was Harry Potter and the Northern Lights. I'm sure you clever people know all this.]

Warren Norwood, US author who published more than a dozen sf novels in the 1980s, has entered hospital with liver and kidney failure; terminal hospice care is expected to follow, alas. His career was interrupted by pancreatic cancer in 1988, with a surprise remission a few years later. [Later: he died on 3 June.]

Thog's Masterclass. Genealogy Dept Revisited: 'I died to keep you alive, and one day you will die to feed my ancestors.' (Larry Niven & Steve Barnes, The Barsoom Project, 1989)


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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