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Further frenetic fragments from the Ansible assembly line …

Hugo Nominations, that annual curse of the sf journalizing classes, were released on 18 April. The most heavily voted categories were novel and dramatic presentation.

 Novel (486 ballots cast)

The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold;
American Gods, Neil Gaiman;
Perdido Street Station, China Miéville;
Cosmonaut Keep, Ken MacLeod;
Passage, Connie Willis;
and The Chronoliths, Robert Charles Wilson.

 Dramatic (452 ballots)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Monsters, Inc.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer — 'Once More,
    With Feeling'

I am too modest to include the fan writer and fanzine shortlists here. The complete and very voluminous listing can be found at

Andromeda Bookshop (Birmingham, England) continues as the world's longest-running sf shop despite threats of bankruptcy and closure this year. From late January it traded as a speakeasy, 'closed' until you knocked furtively at the door and asked for Rog Peyton. Now it's been bought out by Boomclear Ltd, with a jubilant Rog re-employed as manager; normal trading resumed on 19 April, and Andromeda should soon move to better premises in Birmingham's city centre.

R.I.P. Joan Harrison, wife for 48 years of sf author Harry Harrison, died from cancer on 21 April. All sympathy to Harry and their family.

Mike Ashley was announced as this year's winner of the SFRA Pilgrim Award for distinguished sf criticism, to be presented in June. 'It seems odd to get a lifetime award when I still feel I've only just started!'

The Dead Past. The name Hogwarts first appeared in a school story in the 1950s, as any fule kno. In How To Be Topp by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (1954), young narrator Molesworth explains how perfidious Latin teachers may try to make their dread subject interesting by staging a Latin play: THE HOGWARTS by Marcus Plautus Molesworthus.

Thog's Masterclass. 'He was not as old in appearance as his age might have made him appear.' (Gordon R.Dickson, Soldier, Ask Not, 1967)


Congratulations, Dave, on two new Hugo nominations!

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.

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