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June 17, 2005

An extra London pub meeting has been declared for Monday 1 August 2005, from 5pm onward at Walkers of Holborn. All are welcome, but especially overseas fans visiting Britain for Interaction (which begins on the traditional first-Thursday-of-the-month London meeting date). See the London meetings page for directions.

Brian Aldiss received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature, in the Queen's Birthday Honours on 11 June. His traditional alphabetical advantage placed him very near the top of the Times list. I do hope that, in echo of his 1987 Hugo acceptance, the great man cried: "About time, too, you miserable bastards!"

As We See Ourselves. Michael Swanwick reports: 'Courtesy of Locus Online, a description of The Road of Silk by one of its authors. "Although the genre of the book is fantasy, this novel is a story of the battle between the dark and the light." (Barbara Dyson-Williams) I myself am thinking of writing a novel which, despite being science fiction, will be a story of space exploration.'

Robert Sheckley, still convalescing in New York after his critical illness in the Ukraine, will not be able to attend the Glasgow Worldcon as a guest of honour. That's a great pity. Instead he'll be represented by his wife Gail Dana and honoured in absentia. Fund-raising for his medical care continues. Here's the full Worldcon press release.

Neal Asher has a little gloat: 'The Skinner has won the Czech SF&F&H Academy Award for the best SF book published there in 2004: the Salamander Award. This was out of a shortlist of Blood Music Greg Bear, Chasm City Alastair Reynolds, The Scar China Miéville and A Deepness In the Sky Vernor Vinge -- one of the best shortlists I've read in ages.'

R.I.P. Carl Amery (pen name of Christian Anton Mayer, 1922-2005), German author and political activist, died on 24 May. His sf novels were Das Königsprojekt (1974), Der Untergang der Stadt Passau (1975) and And den Feuern der Leyermark (1979). Anne Bancroft (1931-2005), Oscar-winning US actress, died of cancer on June 6. Rare genre roles included voicing the Queen in Antz and appearing in her husband Mel Brooks's poorly reviewed horror parody Dracula: Dead and Loving It. Norman Bird (1924-2005), popular UK character actor who appeared in several sf/fantasy films and voiced Bilbo Baggins in the 1978 animated Lord of the Rings, died on 22 April. He was also in Man in the Moon, Night of the Eagle, The Mind Benders, First Men in the Moon, Doomwatch, and Omen III. Michael Billington (1941-2005), actor who co-starred in Gerry Anderson's UFO, died from cancer on 3 June; he was 63. Ed Bishop (1932-2005), US actor who also co-starred in UFO and appeared in various sf films including Saturn 3 and (briefly) 2001, died on 8 June aged 72. He was the voice of Captain Blue in Captain Scarlet. Obituaries: Anderson fan site (with Michael Billington) and Independent. Robert Clarke (1920-2005), writer, director and star of The Hideous Sun Demon, with sf B-movie roles in The Man from Planet X, The Astounding She-Monster, etc., died on 11 June aged 85. Warren Norwood (1945-2005), US sf author whose terminal condition was mentioned in Runcible 175, died on that same day: 3 June. He was 59. Lane Smith (1936-2005), who played Perry White in Lois & Clark, died on 14 June. David C. Sutherland III (1949-2005), US artist associated with Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games, died on 7 June aged 56. (SFWA obituary)

BBC Leak. Our Broadcasting House insider 'Deep Triffid' reports: 'There was an internal BBC advert for a producer and researcher needed to work on a "high profile documentary" for BBC4 about John Wyndham and his works, focussing on aspects of the novels that have proved prophetic. The ad said that production would start in mid to late May. No transmission date was mentioned.' In other news, the BBC confirms plans for a third season of the new Dr Who.

Margaret Atwood explains why we need sf, and even admits to writing it, with nary a mention of talking squid in outer space: see today's Guardian.

Thog's Masterclass. Biothermics Dept, or Why Polar Bears Do Not Exist. 'It was evidently cold-blooded or nearly so, for no warm-blooded animal could have withstood that more than glacial cold.' (George Griffith, 'Stories of Other Worlds', 1900)


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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