As everyone not living on a remote Tibetan mountain peak is now aware, Nancy
Stouffer's never very convincing plagiarism case against J.K. Rowling didn't
just fail on 19 September but rebounded spectacularly. Deciding that Stouffer
had naughtily improved the evidence about her creation of Larry Potter and the
Muggles, the judge fined her $30,000 for a 'pattern of intentional bad faith
conduct', warned her never again to claim that Harry Potter violated her
trademark, and ordered her to pay part of Rowling's costs. Oops!
is strangely fascinated by the
Amazon.co.uk ranking of his alternate history
novel The Separation, which is somehow clocking up hardback sales
despite the publisher's decision to avoid tiresome newspaper reviews by
furtively releasing it in trade paperback only. 'According to Amazon, for a few
days at the beginning of August the nonexistent hardcover was outselling the
paperback. I was greatly bemused by this. Since then, its sales have slipped
Now, in an attempt to beef up sales a little, Amazon are
offering the hardcover Sep as a special set, bundled with the paperback.
I'm so-o-o-o tempted to order this to find out what they'll do!'
R.I.P. Robert L. Forward (1932-2002), US gravitational
physicist and author of 11 hard sf novels, died from brain cancer on 21
September; he was 70. He described his sf novel debut Dragon's Egg
(1980) built around the audacious notion of ultra-fast, intelligent nucleonic
life on a neutron star as 'A textbook on neutron star physics disguised as a
novel.' Bob Forward was a popular and ebullient figure at sf conventions.
Thog's Interviewing Masterclass. Guy Haley reports his favourite
interview question by an SFX magazine freelance who shall remain
nameless. Interviewee Jeffrey Combs was discussing the latest Re-Animator
sequel, imaginatively entitled Beyond Re-Animator. Released 13 years
Re-Animator II (1989), the new film is set 13 years later, leading to
the question: 'Will Combs wear make-up so that West looks older?'
Lionel Fanthorpe, according to his latest book jacket (The
World's Most Mysterious Objects), is now Magistral Chaplain General and
Knight Commander of the Templar Priory of St. Mary Magdalene. I don't know
whether you can get that by mail order
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Premature Threats. 'Captain, you
will long have known that I consider Mote Prime the greatest threat to humanity
since the Dinosaur Killer struck Earth sixty-five million years ago.' (Larry
Niven & Jerry Pournelle, The Gripping Hand, 1993)
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.