July 22, 2005
By a remarkable coincidence, Terry Pratchett chose the H*rry
P*tter publication day to issue this stern warning about his next
Discworld novel: 'Now that the bound proof copies of Thud!
are out, and will no doubt be winging their way to an e-bay near
you, I would like to say that ANYONE WHO READS A WORD OF IT before
publication day will be MADE TO SIT IN THE CORNER and their ENTIRE
COUNTRY will be given DOUBLE DETENTION until every single person
SAYS SORRY!!!!!' So there.
Rocket To The Morgue. BBC Radio's Start the Week
(18 July) discussed George Pendle's recent biography of an oddball
US rocketry pioneer who blew himself up in 1952 -- Strange
Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside
Parsons. Andrew Marr not unfairly characterized early rocket
science as driven by 'enthusiasts, hobbyists, nuts, fantasists,
science fiction writers.' Then Jonathan Miller came up with a
doomy generalization that also covered Parsons's occult interests:
'I think behind all this lies the deeply infectious notion of the
cosmos. The cosmos is very dangerous to think about, and into it,
often, vacant minds expand.' A warning to us all.
R.I.P. James N. Aparo (1932-2005), US artist
whose work for DC Comics over more than 30 years included what
many regard as the definitive Batman, died on 19 July; he was 72.
Doohan (1920-2005), Canadian-born character actor famous for (and
inextricably identified with) the part of chief engineer
Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott in the original Star Trek series
and spinoff films, died on 20 June. He was 85, and had been
suffering from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease. (BBC)
His ashes, like Gene Roddenberry's, will be fired into space.
Fitzgerald (1913-2005), Irish-born actress whose lengthy film
career included a part in Poltergeist II (1986), died on
17 July aged 91.
Giles Hart, a British sf enthusiast, died in the London
bus bombing on 7 July; he was 55. A particular fan of Alice in
Wonderland and H.G. Wells, he chaired a branch of the Wells
Society and was scheduled to speak that evening on 'The
Lesser-Known Works of Lewis Carroll.' (New York Times, 17
As Others See Us. A sympathetic viewpoint from Michael (The
Hours) Cunningham, whose latest novel Specimen Days
includes 'a futuristic lizard woman from another planet' but
definitely no talking squid. Is he interested in 'crossing over to
sci-fi?', asked an interviewer: 'No. I've always wondered if it's
a good idea to separate books into the "serious literature"
section, where you practically have to pay people to read them,
and the "other sections," where they fly off the
shelves.' But on the other hand, 'I think sci-fi books are often
more interesting, deep and provocative than the tepid, thinly
veiled autobiographies in the serious section. Yet, almost
everyone I know has read those autobiographies. I wanted to cross
the line.' (USA Today Weekend)
Moorcock reviews The World Hitler Never Made (Telegraph)
Homage to that
War of the Worlds actor.
Scott Card plans to launch that staggering innovation, an
online sf magazine.
reportedly has terminal cancer and has posted three freely
downloadable novels (including the sequel to Hello Summer,
Goodbye aka Rax) as a farewell gift to readers.
M. Banks invaded by space squid!
Thog's Masterclass. Ornamentation Dept. 'Lan's
own helmet was open in the style of dead Malkier, supporting a
steel crescent moon above his forehead [...] The rider drew rein
in front of Lan and Bukama. Remaining in his saddle, he eyed them
uncertainly, no doubt because their armor was unadorned.' (Robert
Jordan, New Spring, 2004)
Langford is an author and a gentleman. His newsletter,
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.