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More bad news from Andromeda Bookshop (Birmingham, UK), the world's oldest sf bookstore. On 20 May, barely a month after the ailing business was bought and relaunched, the new owner sacked its founder and manager Rog Peyton. Sales had failed to rise, largely because there's been no fresh stock since mid-January. Apparently this thrifty new boss declines to fund further book-buying since there are plenty on the shelves. Andromeda struggles on with an overworked staff of just two, one part-time.

As Others See Us. The UK trade journal The Bookseller reacted predictably to a grumble about its and the literary world's snobbish attitude to genre fiction. 'You hear this sort of thing all the time from SF wallahs, who bang on about the Booker Prize and never seem to take the pleasure they should in the fact that they are Not As Other People. In fact I am contemplating a series of riotously funny fantasy novels set entirely in Chipworld, a self-contained universe that hovers permanently just above Terry Pratchett's shoulder.' (17 May 2002)

Judith Merril. Reviews of her memoirs, assembled by her granddaughter Emily Pohl-Weary from a partial draft and various fragments, caused Michael Swanwick to remember 'the only time I ever met the lady. It was at a Readercon, shortly before she died. I was sitting at a table with other writers when, moving with great difficulty, she sat down and joined us. "You're looking well, Judy," somebody said. She looked at him sternly and said, "I am in constant pain." Then she smiled the very best smile in the world and added, "But so what?"'

Twenty Years Ago. The Playmate of the Month in the June 1982 Playboy was a Hawaiian lady whose favourite authors were Edgar Rice Burroughs, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Moorcock, Tolkien, and John Norman. (Ansible 26, June 1982)

Sidewise Awards (alternate history) shortlists for 2002 have been released:

  LONG J. Gregory Keyes, 'The Age of Unreason' series — Newton's Cannon, A Calculus of Angels, Empire of Unreason, The Shadows of God; Allen M. Steele, Chronospace; J.N. Stroyar, The Children's War.
  SHORT Stephen Baxter & Simon Bradshaw, 'First to the Moon'; Ken MacLeod, 'The Human Front'.

Harlan Ellison, discussing copyright law and Internet piracy with Cory Doctorow and Brad Templeton at Baycon on 25 May, denounced listeners as 'an audience of scofflaws' and made the following trenchant debating point to Templeton: 'Do not pull funny faces, motherfucker, when I'm talking.'

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Microbiology. '"… Did men have goals in common, in your day, save to keep on breathing, eating and reproducing?" / I grunted. "Goals shared with the lowest bacillus."' (Stephen Baxter, The Time Ships, 1995)


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.

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