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Ignore the fnords. There are no fnords. Just further snippets of [fnord] sf news.

Josh Kirby (1928-2001), famous for his highly individual cover paintings on British editions of Discworld novels and spinoffs, is remembered in Paul Kidby's cover for Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. The painting parodies Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch', which at Terry's suggestion appears on the back cover of the UK hardback for comparison: 'No sense in the artist being smart and some people not noticing, eh? Note Josh Kirby in the picture where, in the original, Rembrandt painted himself.' Just half a face, right at the back…

News from Pravda. Possibly taking their cue from all those Australians who gave their religion as Jedi, young Russians in Perm have been filling out census forms with 'hobbit' or 'elf' as nationality. More inscrutably, certain citizens of Rostov-on-Don claim their nationality is 'skiff', a term which the Pravda reporter and translator do not think it necessary to explain. Could this be the local shorthand for skiffyfan?

R.I.P. Craig Mills (1955-2002), US author of five fantasy novels published from 1982 to 1995, died from a heart attack on 15 October. His debut novel was The Bane of Lord Caladon (1982). Dennis Patrick, US TV character actor who appeared in the 1966-71 Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows and a spinoff film, died in a fire at his Hollywood Hills home on 12/13 October; he was 84. Runcible Ansible #43 correction: actor Michael Elphick did indeed die in September but was never 'choked by the Force'. This happened to Michael Sheard in The Empire Strikes Back (fatally) and also Richard LeParmentier in Star Wars (nonfatally), with the latter scene also prominently featuring Don Henderson, who looks rather like Elphick…

Eppur Si Muove! Those London sf meetings on the first Thursday of each month are poised to move again. The Silver Cross pub had another bad evening on 3 October (fractured gas line, and thus no beer, cider, or any other pumped drinks) and looks increasingly unlikely to be booked for 2003. Heroic pub-crawling in the name of research is currently under way. Watch for updates at the meetings' unofficial web page.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Scenery in Hyperspace: 'Never, not even in the deepest natural darkness that she had ever experienced, had she encountered an absence of light as total as this. It was unutterably dark, this was the Stygian darkness of which poets wrote. This was the pit of Acheron of which the creators of classic prose made mention. This was a kind of darkness that made thick, black velvet seem like chiffon by contrast. This was the kind of darkness that turned pitch into translucent polythene, when the two were placed side by side. This was the kind of darkness that made the wings of the raven resemble the pinions of the dove…' (Lionel Fanthorpe, Neuron World, 1965)


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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