It's that time of year again: the Arthur
C. Clarke Award was presented on 18 May at the London Science Museum, with
copious free wine before and after. Five of the six nominees (Connie Willis
couldn't make it) trembled in the front row of the Imax theatre as administrator
Paul Kincaid worked up suspense
via such delaying devices as a special presentation to Sir Arthur's
brother Fred, for his hero work behind the scenes. Then last year's winner China
Miéville opened the fatal envelope as quickly as he could, and presented
the souvenir bookend and £2002.00 cheque to Gwyneth Jones for her 'near
future fantasy' Bold as Love. Gwyneth later recollected in tranquillity:
'The operation was really very painless. Neither fear nor hope possessed me. I
didn't have a thought in my head when China stood up, besides well, now we can
all clap the winner, stand around nattering for a bit and then go home....'
Adam Roberts, according to our Usually Reliable Source at the now
traditional afternoon of panels before the Clarke Award evening, 'elevated
himself to the title of Mega-Asshole of all time as he explained how surely our
first reaction to 9/11 was gee-whiz thrillery at the fact of seeing an airplane
fly into a building for real. The audience looked at Roberts as though he'd just
sprouted a second head, while clearly wishing they could detach him from the
R.I.P. Bill Peet (1915-2002), who scripted the animated 101
Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone, and contributed to many other
Disney classics, died on 5 May at age 87. He also wrote 35 children's books,
several of them award-winners.
Zero Hour. From the Guardian newspaper's website, 14 May
2002: 'Lembit Opik MP and Guardian science editor Tim Radford discuss
the possibility that an incoming asteroid will hit Earth at 2.30pm today'.
London Pub Horror. Cries of despair resounded through British fandom
when the Florence Nightingale on Westminster Bridge Road, current home of the
fan meetings on the first Thursday of each month, stopped serving meals
after 5:30pm. Greasy, inadequate 'bar snacks' such as potato wedges remain
available for the truly desperate.
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Morbid Physiology. 'His sweat
was cold and clammy now, and even his anus squeezed open and shut.' (Nick
Mamatas, Northern Gothic, 2001) Critical Dept. 'In these
stories of madness and shivered reality, frissons are the body language of the
day.' (Edward Bryant, Locus 5/02)
David Langford is an author and a gentleman.
His 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. He continues to add books and Hugos.