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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 science-fictional stars.

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." I blushed.'

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 motorcycle.

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 in Klingon.'

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. Terry 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 are over.

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 finalists:

  • 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

Miscellany. British Parliament censors farting aliens. We Can Build Philip K. Dick. Fountainhead 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)


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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