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August 19, 2005

I've always wondered what a real ansible looks like. Here's a recent sighting in sf: 'She pressed the coordinates into the ansible, an iron box fifty centimeters long, ornately painted with a pattern of exploding stars. Typewriter keys protruded from one side, and her stained fingers played on them.' (Paul Park, A Princess of Roumania, 2005)

Mythopoeic Awards

  • Fantasy, Adult: Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  • Fantasy, Children's: Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
  • Scholarship, Inklings: Janet Brennan Croft, War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Scholarship, General: Stephen Thomas Knight, Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography

As Others See Us. Ann Coulter struggles to find words harsh enough for Muslim jihadists: 'No wonder they dream of an afterlife with 72 hot teenage girls. These guys are klutzes. Nerds. Dweebs. In the Las Vegas of life they're at the convention center with the other Star Trek fans.' (11 August)

R.I.P. James Booth (1927-2005), UK actor and screenwriter who appeared in several episodes of Twin Peaks and also such minor genre films as Deep Space, Moon in Scorpio and Programmed to Kill (all 1987), died on 11 August at age 77. Philip J. Klass (1919-2005), US technical journalist and noted debunker of UFO claims, who for 35 years was a senior editor at Aviation Week and Space Technology, died on 9 August after long illness. He was 85. (UFO Magazine biography.) SF references have occasionally confused him with the 1920-born Philip Klass who is still with us and writes as William Tenn.

Jonathan Vos Post wishes to brag: 'I mysteriously predicted volcanoes on Io, well before Voyager found them, and before I was Mission Planning Engineer on Voyager 2 for the Uranus flyby.' Thus: 'First of all, I'd like to thank my teacher, the legendary Khan Joel Kroll, who taught me on the rugged Volcanoburg terrain of Io ...' ('Skiing the Methane Snows of Pluto,' BSFA Focus 1:1, Autumn 1979)

British Fantasy Awards -- here's the Best Novel (August Derleth Fantasy Award) shortlist.

  • Clive Barker, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War
  • Mark Chadbourn, The Queen of Sinister
  • Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  • Christopher Fowler, The Water Room
  • Stephen King, The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower

For other categories, the British Fantasy Society website has yet to be updated (as of 19 August), but The Alien Online -- a Small Press nominee -- has the full list.

Miscellany. Intelligent Design and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The Genre Traveler -- a new e-zine for sf/fantasy/horror fan tourists planning trips to visit 'genre-related attractions'. Talking Squids in Outer Space now have their own website (and it's not my fault, it's Vonda McIntyre's).

Thog's Masterclass. Gastric Beyond Belief Dept. 'Norman felt his stomach tighten, in a different direction than it had at the sight of Dr. Mitchell.' (Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold, 'The Rivers of Eden', 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 The SEX Column and other misprints, collecting ten years of columns and essays for SFX magazine; 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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