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December 2, 2005

Various Ansible readers demanded an RSS feed, and -- after months of hesitation caused by laziness, technofear and uncertainty about what an RSS feed actually was -- I've stirred myself to put up a minimalist version at news.ansible.co.uk/rss.xml. Should I confine this to the monthly Ansible or add pointers to Runcible as it appears each week? H'mm, that begins to sound like work....

Terry Pratchett savours another accolade: 'On Sunday AM on BBC1 yesterday Andrew Marr was kind enough to describe me as "following in the tradition of Philip Pullman and JK Rowling." And a fine tradition it is.' (28 November)

Farah Mendlesohn will end her six-year editorship of Foundation with issue 100 in 2007. All her remaining issues are full; letters and articles should henceforth be sent to the new editor Graham Sleight (gmail.com address 'Foundation.sf'). Who adds: 'I was hoping that being Mr Foundation simply entailed appearing as a hologram every thousand years to tell folk where they were going wrong. But apparently not ...'

Thog's Technological Wizardry. An ITV teletext report of the coming film of The Prestige says that the cast will include David Bowie: 'Bowie is set to play Nikola Tesla, a real-life Serbian magician who discovered the rotating magic field in the early 20th Century.'

Stephen Baxter was the first recipient of the Oxford University SF Group award for 'best Speculative Fiction novel published in paperback in the preceding academic year'. He was slightly bemused to learn in late November that 'Coalescent actually won last May, but the person who was supposed to e-mail you at the time and invite you to Oxford never got round to it.' Speaking as a former president, that sounds like the OUSFG I remember.

Iain Banks has a letter in New Scientist: 'Symbolically, reason has already triumphed in the debate over intelligent design. The faith-based side has shifted from using the term "creationism" to using "intelligent design". So their argument has ... evolved.'

R.I.P. Gary S Potter (1959-2005), US horror fan and reviewer whose fanzine was The Point Beyond (from 1989) and who co-published the story chapbook Voyages into Darkess by Stephen Laws & Mark Morris, died unexpectedly on 13 February 2005 aged 46. Wendie Jo Sperber (1958-2005), US actress who played the kid sister in Back to the Future I and III, had long been ill with breast cancer and died on 29 November. She was 47.

Lonely Hearts of Gor. A reader sends the 'alt.sex.column' page from a recent San Francisco Bay Guardian, in which 'Dark Wolf' asks: 'I am a dominant Gorean male (please look it up and divulge information to the public about us, for we are little-known) looking for a Gorean submissive woman. Do you know of any place in San Francisco?' Alas, although agony aunt Andrea Nemerson responds at great length, she's less than sympathetic. 'You guys are furries, basically, although unlike people who base their identities and lifestyles on funny animal cartoons and nylon plush, the somewhat Wagnerian, vaguely Nietzschean, faintly Randian world of Gor is essentially humorless. But then, it would be.'

Miscellany. Terry Pratchett interviewed at Scifi.com. London pub meetings: latest. US postage stamps of DC superheroes (July 2007). British convention chat forum. C.S. Lewis rises from the grave to denounce Disney's live-action Narnia.

Touchy-Feely. In a Guardian polemic headlined 'The trouble with television is that it can't stop shoving liberal values down our throats' (14 Nov), Mark Ravenhill particularly deplores the recent Doctor Who insight that 'Daleks have feelings too'.

Thog's Masterclass. Method Acting Dept. 'May furrowed her brow. Her pupils jittered side to side, as if her frontal lobes were doing heavy lifting. Her gaze was so intense, it looked like her skull could blow up in a puff of hot steam at any moment. Then her face lit up with a divine epiphany.' (Greg Vilk, Golem, 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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