Yet more Ansible
jottings, again overshadowed by gloom as the old-time sf community dwindles
Damon Knight (1922-2002), one of the great shapers of
twentieth-century sf, died on 14 April. He was 79. Any attempt
to list Knight's achievements stretches on and on: artist (the
least of his talents), our genre's first critic of real stature
(see his 1956 collection In Search of Wonder), winner of
a 1956 Hugo as Best Book Reviewer and a 1975 SFRA Pilgrim award
for distinguished criticism, author of many unforgettable
stories, influential editor (especially of the 21 Orbit
anthologies, 1966-80), founder of SFWA and cofounder of the
Milford SF Writers' Conference, underrated sf novelist (late in
life producing the sly, quirky, unexpected treats Why Do
Birds and Humpty Dumpty), biographer of Charles Fort,
sf/fan historian in The Futurians, SFWA Grand Master
laureate (1995), popular convention guest, husband of that other
fine writer Kate Wilhelm (who survives him), and all-round good
fellow. Our loss is great.
Fred Clarke, Arthur C. Clarke's younger brother, had
a heart attack at Easter but is out of hospital, recuperating,
and should make a full recovery. Still a dedicated
behind-the-scenes worker in UK sf circles (especially the Clarke
Award), Fred was 81 in April.
Mike Moorcock, following his successful surgery,
pondered my timely suggestion of fell, rune-carved, prosthetic
toes: 'I'm not sure even I can get a good name for magical,
self-willed pinkies Antfrightener? Snakeupsetter?
More Awards. James Tiptree Award for
gender-bending sf: The Kappa Child by Hiromi Goto.
International Horror Guild awards presented on 13 April
for 2001 work included: NOVEL
Threshold, Caitlin R. Kiernan; FIRST
NOVEL Ordinary Horror, David Searcy; COLLECTION Through Shattered Glass, David
B. Silva; ANTHOLOGY Night Visions
10 ed. Richard Chizmar. Tim Powers's novel
Declare, announced as a current Nebula finalist, has been
judged ineligible owing to a limited edition published in
R.I.P. John Agar (1921-2002), US actor
remembered in sf circles for his parts in 1950s B-movies like
The Mole People, Revenge of the Creature and
Tarantula, died on 7 April; he was 81. Henry
Slesar (1927-2002), US sf/fantasy author and scriptwriter
though better known for his crime fiction died on 2 April.
Thog's Masterclass. One-Eyed Trouser Snake Dept.
'Poring over the curves of her breasts and hips, Patrick's
erection pulsed wildly.' 'And then there was the old man
she'd met that afternoon. He'd behaved as if a wolverine were in
his drawers when she'd mentioned Chris.' (both Thomas Staab,
Heart of Ice, Blood of Fire, 2000)
David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant.
His monthly SF newsletter, Ansible,
is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. He lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards.