June 24, 2005
Strange are the ways of sf marketing. Here's the
Orbit UK paperback of
Iain M. Banks's The Algebraist, with no mention anywhere,
on book or press release, that it's a Hugo finalist. Meanwhile
someone has decided that the BSFA-award-nominated cover design,
with its striking NASA/JPL Jupiter photograph, was not skiffy
enough. Therefore, stars have been added. Stars which shine
straight through that gas-giant planet and its moon. Really
Brian Aldiss tells us more about
his recent OBE honour: 'I was
geatly chuffed by the award "for services to Literature"
-- a euphemism in this case for SF.... But when chatting to Her
Majesty, I was disappointed to find she had only got as far as
John Wyndham and the triffids. "What do you like about it?"
I asked. She replied, "Oh, it's such a cosy catastrophe."
As Doctor Who Sees Itself. Journalist Nick
Griffiths interviews Russell T Davies: (Radio Times, 4-10
June). NG: 'Why do you think the show has been a success?' RTD:
'... Our greatest decision was not to "science fiction"
it too much.' Thus, with austere understatement, Earth is attacked
by mere millions of Daleks rather than billions of talking squid
from outer space.
R.I.P. Andy Roberts (1963-2005), UK small-press
comics artist and guitarist with the band Linus, died on 18 June,
six days after suffering massive head injuries when hit by a
As Others See Us. William Shatner was interviewed by
another Radio Times journalist, Jeff Dawson, who with
great originality mused: 'Lord knows, over nearly 40 years, how
many times he's been forced to endure one of those dreadful
conventions where men wear pointy ears and order halves of shandy
Medical Report. Robert
Sheckley, now convalescing at home (see
Runcible 171 and subsequent
instalments), is expected to return to New York's Mt Sinai
hospital on 28 June for needed open-heart surgery -- a bypass and
valve replacement, currently scheduled for the 29th.
Jeeves, long-time British fan whose fanzine Erg has
appeared since 1959, writes from hospital to say he's been
diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He hopes to keep in touch with
correspondents ('as you can see, I can't write very well so
incoming mail will have to wait') but fears his publishing days
International Horror Guild Awards. There are ever so
many categories in the
shortlists (where I hope the typo Jonathan Strange &
Mr Morrell will by now have been fixed under First Novel). The
Living Legend Award goes to Gahan Wilson. Here are the novel
- The Overnight, Ramsey Campbell
- Mortal Love, Elizabeth Hand
- The Kings Of Infinite Space, James Hynes
- A Handbook Of American Prayer, Lucius Shepard
- In The Night Room, Peter Straub
Parliament censors farting aliens.
We Can Build Philip K. Dick.
Earth -- the objectivist dekalogy.
By Any Other Name ... It seems that Universal Studios'
plans for a DVD package of five classic 1940s horror films have
outraged partisan monster fans by being titled The Bela Lugosi
Collection, despite four of the selections actually giving top
billing to Boris Karloff.
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Motherhood and Stale
Apple Pie. 'He took an instant to gulp water from a dipper,
stale and welcome as a mother's love.' (S.M. Stirling & David
Drake, The Sword, 1995)
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
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.