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The funeral of British sf author "Richard Cowper" (John Murry) took place on 9 May. SF people swelled the crowd in the Brighton chapel, with standing room only: Rob Holdstock and David Wingrove delivered tributes and Chris Priest read a moving passage from the autobiography which the man of many names had published as "Colin Middleton Murry". Afterwards we swapped anecdotes about John — including his own favourite tale of the terrifying woman who greeted him to the first UK Milford conference with a kiss and a cry of what sounded like, "You have the eyes of a prune!" It was Anne McCaffrey. Who apparently thought he looked like one of her characters…

J. Michael Straczynski was tickled to learn that his unfavourite UK fan Bryan Cooney (of Wolf 359 convention-organizing infamy) had posed as a courier to sneak into Bridge Studios, Vancouver, where Jeremiah and Stargate are filmed, and was twice ejected with extreme prejudice after begging actors to sign photographs. 'So outrageous was the situation that, apparently, whatever minor franchise license he had has been revoked by MGM, and by orders of those at Stargate if he attempts to slip onto the lot again he will be arrested on sight.' JMS deeply regrets that 'all this happened within 100 yards of my office on the lot, and I was completely unaware of it until the email came, and I was then able to verify the situation with those directly involved. For this I would've set up a lawn chair on the grounds and sold tickets…'

R.I.P. Bruce Pelz (1936-2002), US fan who was a mainstay of the Los Angeles SF Society, a past Worldcon chair, and did invaluable work in archiving the history and publications of fandom, died from a pulmonary embolism on 9 May. He was 65. I'll really miss the endless series of Bruce's punning 'Tripe Report' postcards sent from exotic places as he travelled the world on cruise ships with his wife Elayne (to whom all sympathy).

Carnegie Medal for children's fiction: the current shortlist of 8 includes two fantasies by well-known names, Peter Dickinson's The Ropemaker and Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.

Forrest J. Ackerman, legendary fan, agent, collector and monster-movie buff, has been seriously ill at Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Hollywood — but the early Locus website report, 'he is not expected to recover,' was far too pessimistic. He continues to improve.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Theology. 'Remember the first commandment? Thou shalt not kill?' (Jack Ketchum, Right to Life, 2002)


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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