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September 2, 2005

It seems that our old friends PublishAmerica (motto: 'Not Really A Vanity Press, You Bastards') have contrived to get themselves sued by the Encyclopedia Britannica. Counts range from trademark infringement to unfair business practices. C.E. Petit's Authorslawyer.com has a copy of the full complaint in PDF form: 'Defendants' use of the PublishBritannica mark is without Britannica's consent or permission.' And, the Britannica people feel, is likely to bring their mark into disrepute. Cease-and-desist letters allegedly had no effect, and hence the lawsuit. What larks!

Patrick Janson-Smith, publisher at Transworld since 1981, is to desert Terry Pratchett for J.K. Rowling. That is, having lured Terry P. from Gollancz to the Doubleday UK imprint in 1997, he's now moving to the Christopher Little Literary Agency -- which represents Rowling. (Publishers Lunch)

As Others See Us. The Guardian reviews Primer: 'If the term science fiction didn't conjure images of overblown special effects and alien make-up, it would be the perfect description for this: a gripping, low-budget thriller with lots of science.' (20 August) Wired coverage of that peculiar clone-claim cult the Raelians identifies those who are most susceptible: 'Now, rare video footage of the group taken at one of its Las Vegas seminars has been spun into an as-yet-unreleased documentary that brings a fresh, critical slant to the Raelians -- replete with allegations that the sect uses sex as a recruitment tool, targeting people most likely to sympathize with its message that aliens populated the world: "Trekkies and whatnot," explained Abdullah Hashem, who taped the group in May [...] "There are a lot of people (at these seminars) who believe in aliens, and all these beautiful women who will have sex with you even though you're a dork," he said. "And that's why most people were there."'

R.I.P. Gretchen Franklin (1911-2005), British actress whose occasional genre appearances included parts in the TV Quatermass (1979) and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1981), died on 11 July -- four days after her 94th birthday. Michael Sheard (-2005), UK actor whose appearance as Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back made him a popular and frequently-seen figure on the sf convention circuit, has died from cancer. He was 65. Another well-remembered genre part was that of Hitler -- whom he played five times in all -- in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. (BBC story) Mel Welles (1924-2005), US actor seen in various genre films including the original 1960 Little Shop of Horrors, died on 19 August.

Useful Critical Advice. 'In Barbara: The Story of a UFO Investigator, Barbara Bartholic and co-writer Peggy Feilding, address these questions and other universal mysteries by taking the reader down the path of Bartholic's amazing life journey... Best read with the lights on' (Book description)

As We See Ourselves. David Brin's weblog deftly avoids the sf-words by describing him as 'a scientist and best-selling author whose future-oriented novels include ...'

Miscellany. Hurricane Katrina check-in for sf people at sff.net; more extensive links at Making Light. The Science Fiction Foundation strikes back! Web archive under construction: Peter Robert's UK sf/fan newsletter Checkpoint, predecessor of Ansible. More on that wondrous loon and connoisseur of giant lizards, David Icke.

Editorial Horror! 'The Runcible Ansible' will be skipping its next instalment, since I'll be Mysteriously Unavailable on 9 September. Expect a mighty clearing of backlog on the 16th.

Thog's Masterclass. Earth Is The Alien Planet Dept. 'Driving north toward Albany on the Taconic Parkway, Parker watched both dawn and a heavy cloud cover move in from the west.' (Richard Stark [Donald E. Westlake], Backflash, 1998)

 


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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