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July 15, 2005

Oh dear, science fiction is dying again -- because of H*rry P*tter, of course. See this story at, where one quoted insider can now detect only 'two types of science fiction readers -- older guys in their 50s and 60s, and kids in their teens ...' Nor do any sci-fi dinosaurs feature in Amazon's '10th Anniversary Hall of Fame' list of their 15 top-selling authors. Unless you count C.S. Lewis, who probably didn't make it on the strength of Out of the Silent Planet.

Michael Moorcock had further health alarms owing to the circulatory trouble that led to two of his toes being amputated in 2002. He's in Paris, with infected sores on that unlucky leg, and for a while it seemed that he'd lose everything below the knee. But he posted on 13 July: 'Astonished surgeon looks at foot and discovers only one infected spot of bone as opposed to three last week. So no immediate amputation and I don't have to leave Paris. Another three weeks before I go back and I still keep to a strict regime, but once again I seem to be confounding even the most benign prognoses. Three years ago they were suggesting I have my leg off below the knee. Now, once again, they're thinking it just MIGHT heal.' I'll drink to that. MM continues in e-mail: 'I've had some seriously silly "treatment" between Texas and Spain but thank God for the French. And it was very satisfying to have the doctor remove my dressings yesterday and exclaim "Incroyable!" Somehow a visceral desire felt deeply satisfied. I'm still hoping to take the cats for a stroll in the Palais Royal à la Colette, though I'll have to do it in a wheelchair. Meanwhile yes, it will be me in the wheelchair terrorising old ladies in the Luxembourg Gardens. After forty years of being terrorised, now it's my turn! They don't call me the Grand Guignol for nothing.'

As Others See Us. From a review of Michael Cunningham's novel Specimen Days: 'The exuberance of Cunningham's story carries it beyond what occasionally veers towards the silliness that can mar sci-fi. He probably lets himself play around rather too much with his conceits of voices in machines, recurrent memories, mystic patternings.' (Rosemary Sorensen, The Courier-Mail, Australia)

Jonathan Lethem remembers his roots during a UK newspaper interview. 'Who would you like to meet in the bar in heaven?' 'Probably Philip K. Dick. [...] I'd ask him what he thinks of what's been going on since 1982. And what he thinks of the way that reality has turned itself into one of his novels.' (Independent, 10 July)

R.I.P. Bryon Preiss (1953-2005), US author, editor, publisher and book packager who founded Byron Preiss Visual Publications Inc in 1974, died in a car accident on 9 July. He was 52. BPVP projects included the graphic novel of The Stars My Destination, a number of lavishly illustrated theme anthologies, and such shared-world series as 'Isaac Asimov's Robot City'.

Terry Pratchett is diversifying, according to this unlikely Amazon listing....

Awards Medley. John W. Campbell Award: Richard Morgan, Market Forces. Sturgeon Award for short fiction: Bradley Denton, 'Sergeant Chip' (F&SF 9/04). Rhyslings for sf poetry. Short: Greg Beatty, 'No Ruined Lunar City'. Long: Tim Pratt, 'Soul Searching'. (SFWA report)

Tanith Lee has dropped out as a guest of honour at Intercon in Oslo (29-31 July) because, according to her husband John Kaiine, she cannot travel by plane.

Outraged Letters. Lloyd Wood speculates on the origin of a certain author's sinister alien Qax: 'Stephen Baxter is quite proud of having qualified as a Chartered Engineer; he states it in places where he doesn't mention his PhD. Now as for qualifying as CEng: if you look carefully, you will see that one of the qualification forms here is form QAX.... Am looking forward to Baxter introducing the alien hordes of Ceng, Faq and Inspec in future novels.'

Paula Guran is to edit a new books and comics section for CFQ (Cinefantastique) magazine, as from the September/October issue.

David Langford hopes to have a new book out for the Glasgow Worldcon: The Sex Column and other misprints, collecting his SFX columns and features (a hideous blot on every issue since this magazine began in 1995). Further details here. Thanks to a savagely enforced embargo, anyone reading, buying or even thinking about this volume before or indeed after 12:01am on Sunday is at risk of receiving a lawyer's letter that sternly conveys my abject gratitude.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Hot Bosom Action. 'Her tits were like smoke detectors and it looked like the little red lights were flashing.' (Paul Meloy, 'Dying in the Arms of Jean Harlow (The Coming of the Autoscopes)', The 3rd Alternative, Summer 2005)


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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