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Excuse me, I've had a nasty shock. Searching the British Library website for one of their publications, I found an unexpected new role for myself in the blurb for the BL's Jack Vance critical anthology: 'In this collection of appreciations, Hugo and Nebula award-winning authors Dan Simmons and Gene Wolfe join with academics such as David Langford …'

Graham Joyce, speaking at Fantasycon, gave a memorable account of trying to explain his first novel to his father. Joyce Junior: 'It's about dreams, and what they mean.' Joyce Senior: 'What do you mean, what dreams mean? They mean you're asleep.'

Darren Nash, the former marketing manager for fiction and the Earthlight sf/fantasy imprint at Simon & Schuster UK, becomes senior Earthlight editor this month — replacing John Jarrold, who left in August. Darren was suitably disconcerted when Walter Jon Williams congratulated him on achieving 'omnipotence'.

The Thog Response. Greg Egan reproves Thog for making mock (in Runcible Ansible #43) of his 'mostly nitrogen — six times as much as on Earth' atmosphere: 'I hate to be a bad sport about my Thog entry, but this is either malice or stupidity. Who said anything about a percentage? Six times "as much" nitrogen would mean six times the pressure to most planetary scientists, and for those in any doubt the next sentence [beginning 'The high atmospheric pressure'] makes this clear… Thog strains so hard to find misreadings and double entendres these days that he only raises a chuckle when his quotes are more selective and misleading than the review snippets on my dust jackets.' Er, apologies; Thog is evidently not a planetary scientist. Neil Gaiman takes a different view of his big moment in Runcible #39: 'I'd been waiting almost twenty years to be Thogged, and practically sent you a thank you card. (I still think a loud smirk is like a loud tie, being one you can see all the way across the room. My story, & I am sticking to it.) I don't think these Johnny Come Latelies realise how lucky they are, getting Thogged like that, straight out of the box. I've written millions of words. Millions, I tell you. And I had to win a bloody Hugo Award before I got Thogged. You tell the kids today that, and they just laugh at you.'

R.I.P. Dal Coger, US midwestern fan since around 1942 and still an sf convention-goer in 2002, died on 2 October.

Thog's Masterclass. 'He had extruded all the furniture and the room presented a desolate appearance.' (Frank Belknap Long, 'The Hounds of Tindalos', 1929) Dept of Now You See It: '…another coralskipper flashed past at a converging speed somewhere close to that of light, too fast for Han's eye to track it.' (Walter Jon Williams, Star Wars, The New Jedi Order: Destiny's Way, 2002)


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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