December 9, 2005
Sometimes I hate collecting news.
(1928-2005) died today, 9 December, at the age of 77. He was one
of the true greats of intelligently humorous sf, and a personal
hero too. Bob had been in the Intensive Care Unit at Vassar
Brothers Medical Centre (Poughkeepsie, NY) since undergoing
surgery for a brain aneurism on 10 November. He never really
recovered, and spent his final days in coma. Oh damn. (SFWA
David Lammy, UK Minister for Culture, may not know much
about Art but he knows what he doesn't like. His opening words
when presenting this year's Turner Prize (awarded to the DIY
conversion of an old shed by laborious stages into an old shed):
'I don't care who wins, as long as it's not Lord of the Rings.'
Brian Aldiss went to the movies: 'I feel compelled to
report that the SF Film Festival took place in Trieste in November
(23rd to 27th). Screenings in the new and sassy Cinecity. Among
the organisers, Daniele Terzoli. / Since I attended the original
festivals there in the sixties and seventies, together with such
luminaries as Kingsley Amis, Harry Harrison and Walter Ernsting,
they invited me back as a sort of totem -- a role I find
increasingly easy to perform. / Most enjoyable flick was a Russian
mocumentary, First on the Moon, shot in grainy b-&-w.
The pretty humorous concept was that a Soviet ship reached the
Moon successfully in the 1930's, unfortunately crashing in Chile
on its return, so that the whole thing was hushed up. Among fake
shots of the early USSR was one of the young Stalin proclaiming, "The
hallmark of the new Soviet Union will be gaiety".... The
satirical rogue who made this movie is one Aleksey Fedorchenko
(Russia 2005) Use your immense influence to get this neat little
trick shown in the UK. / Another mocumentary was Kevin Willmott's
C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America. The South wins
the civil war. Slavery still exists in 2004. So, another satirical
rogue. / The film that won the award was James Bai's Puzzlehead.
Another take on Frankenstein, the theme originated rather
more engagingly by Miss Mary What's-her-Name.'
R.I.P. Jack Colvin (1934-2005), US actor seen in
the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man,
The Bionic Woman and (as a regular character) The
Incredible Hulk, died on 1 December. He was 71.
Hooker (1950-2005), US writer and literary agent who
represented A.E. van Vogt and other sf authors, died on 24
November aged 54. (SFWA)
L. Strock (1918-2005), US producer and director who did early
TV work in the 1940s and directed such B-movies as
I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957), How to Make a
Monster (1958), and The Crawling Hand (1963), died on
30 November after a car accident. He was 87.
The Rich List. Forbes magazine produced a
somewhat idiosyncratic list of the
wealthiest characters in fiction. Taking it from the top:
Santa Claus allegedly has infinite wealth and Oliver 'Daddy'
Warbucks from Little Orphan Annie is asssessed at $27.3
billion. Lesser lights: Richie Rich, Lex Luthor, C. Montgomery
Burns, Scrooge McDuck, Jed Clampett, Bruce Wayne, Thurston Howell
III, Willy Wonka, Arthur Bach, Ebenezer Scrooge, Lara Croft,
Cruella De Vil, and finally Lucius Malfoy ($900 million, though I
see no evidence for this in the Harry Potter books). H'mm. Where's
Cordwainer Smith's Rod McBan, who bought Old Earth? Or the chap in
Wells's The Sleeper Awakes, who owns the world after
snoozing through 200 years of compound interest? Or even the Count
of Monte Cristo? Of course, the Totally Rich of John Brunner's
story will have paid Forbes well to keep their names
Priest on Michael Coney (Guardian obit)
versus the Net.
imitates Langford novel.
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Nose Noises. 'But
the younger man had a nose for trouble which Acevedo had learned
to trust, or at least listen very carefully to.' (David Weber,
'Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington' in Changer of Worlds, 2001)
'He whispered under his nose.' (Greg Vilk, Golem, 2005)
Langford is an author and a gentleman. His newsletter,
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
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.