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Mainstream critics will no doubt froth at the mouth at the latest release from the UK bookshop chain W.H. Smith, which 'announced the results of a survey to find the nation's favourite books. It polled 1000 adults and came up with a top five of Lord of the Rings, the Bible, Harry Potter, The Hobbit and The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.' Not bad at all: one sf novel and four fantasies.

As Others See Us. Steven Bochco on the NYPD 2069 tv series pilot. 'It's an interesting notion to envision a major urban centre like New York 65 years down the road … This is not science fiction. This is trying to conceptualise a relatively near-term future that's logically a function of the world we know today.'

Iain Banks, Philip Pullman and John Fowles were among the over 100 public figures who signed a protest letter to the BBC, complaining of its ban on atheist contributors to Radio 4's little morality slot Thought for Today.

R.I.P. Dave Van Arnam (1935-2002), 'longtime NY fan and pro author, co-chair of NYCon III in 1967 and all-round good man, died from a heart attack of 3 August,' writes F.M. Busby. His first book was the TV novelization Lost in Space (1967), co-written with 'Ron Archer' — a pseudonymous Ted White.

Small Press Horrors. The Third Alternative was left short of £484 when — which processed subscriptions for this magazine — went into liquidation. Harder hit was Interzone, owed £2,146, which in David Pringle's carefully understated words 'poses difficulties, especially as it comes on top of two previous bad debts of similar size (Firebird Distributing in the USA and Andromeda Bookshop in the UK). Interzone can't afford to lose circa £7,000 within 12 months! Still, I daresay we'll struggle through somehow.'

Andromeda Bookshop, after liquidation, repurchase, and a move from Birmingham, England, to warehouse space in Walsall (reported to me by one correspondent as Warsaw), is now back next door to its former address: 1 Suffolk St, Birmingham, B1 1LT.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of More Neat Tricks. 'They don't kill any of them but the women are — how you say — mutilated. Same way. And beheaded.' (Charlee Jacob, 'Bonerider', in Decadence ed. Monica J. O'Rourke, 2002) 'Mark pulled Anna's blue bikini top off her shoulders and slid them down to her waist.' (Nicholas Kaufmann, 'V.I.P. Room', ibid)


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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