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July 29, 2005

Shallow readers may think Harry Potter is fantasy, but The Sunday Times (24 July) knows better: 'J.K. Rowling's books seem like fantasy, but she is tackling the dark heart of the real world.' Interviewed under this headline, Rowling confesses to never having finished The Lord of the Rings or the Narnia series, and to not having realized she'd written a fantasy until after her first was published: 'I really had not thought that that's what I was doing. And I think maybe the reason that it didn't occur to me is that I'm not a huge fan of fantasy.' Terry Pratchett observes: 'Well, of course not: that's the stuff with all those wizards and witches and magic schools and wands and other such nonsense ...'

Hugos There? As the 2005 Hugo ceremony looms, Cheryl Morgan announces that her Emerald City will henceforth compete for the semiprozine rather than the fanzine Hugo. Meanwhile, Chris M. Barkley and Patrick Nielsen Hayden are campaigning to split the Best Professional Editor category into book- and magazine-editor subdivisions, a proposal now being debated at (Whose editorial remark that the present system 'overwhelmingly favors the dead over the living' made me wonder whether believes Gardner Dozois, the most overwhelmingly Hugo-favoured editor of recent decades, to be secretly dead.)

As Others See Us. Quentin Letts shows off his sf erudition in an article about tracking down UK politician John Prescott: 'Like Doctor Who, I could sense the Force was nearby. But where?' (Daily Mail)

R.I.P. John William 'Long John' Baldry (1941-2005), British-born singer, songwriter and latterly voice artist whose roles included Sonic the Hedgehog's evil nemesis Dr Robotnik, died from a chest infection on 21 July; he was 64. David Jackson (1934-2005), UK actor whose best-known genre role was Olag Gan in Blake's 7 (1978-9), died from a heart attack on 25 July. He was 71. (Fan site obituary and biography) George Wallace (1917-2005), US actor whose 50-year career included the role of Commando Cody in Radar Men from the Moon, (1952 film serial) died on 22 July aged 88. He also appeared in Minority Report. ( obit)

The Dark Side scandal (see Runcible 175) rumbles on, with editor Allan Bryce seemingly unmoved by evidence that literally hundreds of film reviews have been plagiarized in his magazines. Mirek Lipinski has discussed all this with a leading rights lawyer and plans a publicity bombshell (see posting here -- scroll down to 'The Long Arm of the Law'). He urges contributors and advertisers to boycott The Dark Side: 'Simply put: If you become aware of what's been going on [...] and you continue to write for the magazine or place ads in it, you are electing to help Allan Bryce conduct business as usual and you don't give a damn about plagiarism or your fellow writers and the fans in the genre. I hope this doesn't sound too severe as a judgment, but I simply cannot respect people who turn a blind eye to the most grievous case of plagiarism ever found in the horror genre press. Others can make their own judgments, but that's mine.'

Miscellany. Queen Elizabeth is confirmed as a Doctor Who fan who plans to spend her summer hols watching the DVDs. Fred Saberhagen is being treated for metastasized prostate cancer. ESA Clarke/Bradbury award winners.

Shameless Self-Promotion! Your columnist's new nonfiction collection The SEX Column and other misprints will indeed be available at the Glasgow Worldcon. Rog Peyton (Replay Books) has ever so many copies, Bob Wardzinski (The Talking Dead) has also placed a large order, and Dave Langford will be stalking the dealer's room with autograph pen at the ready.... [That's enough free plugs -- The Editrix] • The next Runcible upload won't be until after the Worldcon.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of In Space No One Can Hear Your Castrophony. 'Then there came a sound, distant at first, that grew into a castrophony so immense it could be heard far away in space.' (Gorillaz, Demon Days, 'Fire Coming out of a Monkey's Head' lyrics)


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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