Another instalment of the column that's survived the delivery at Ansible HQ of a
sinister envelope leaking white powder. This proved to be a gift packet of sweets, 'Cosmic
Flying Saucers filled with Sherbet Moon Powder' or rather, thanks to some postal worker's massive
boot, no longer exactly filled.
Publishers & Sinners. On 4 December, Time Warner announced the closing of its e-books division
iPublish, several of whose dozen or so titles were sf/fantasy. As always, e-publishing is scheduled to be next
year's big thing
while the actual sales go to outfits that (unlike the mighty Richard Curtis e-Reads in my own
case) can offer real print-on-demand books through Amazon and its rivals.
Respect At Last. The Oxford English Dictionary wants knowledgeable sf readers and fans to help
with citations of sf/fannish terms whose earliest printed appearance is uncertain. To offer assistance, go to:
Terry Pratchett had another mighty UK signing tour as 2001 approached its end. Overheard conversation
between fascinated onlookers: 'Oh, you know, he's quite famous he's the guy who wrote The Hobbit.'
Philip José Farmer who is 83, is recuperating at home after a stroke suffered in mid-December.
Complete recovery is hoped.
Award Stuff. The British SF Association Award has a new category: Writing About SF. Single critical
articles, essay collections/anthologies, and complete books are all eligible. Nominations (BSFA members only)
close 31 Jan. 2001 works so far nominated are Stephen Baxter's BSFA-published collection Omegatropic
and, mysteriously, Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature from 2000.
Thog's Masterclass. Thog is no genre snob and will always listen when a real best-selling author tells
us sf people a thing or two about anatomy: 'As his eyes continued to sweep over her, he noted the lean, elegant,
body; but from the smallish hips and waist there grew a breadth of shoulders that suggested exceptional physical
strength.' (David Baldacci, The Winner, 1997)
David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant. His monthly SF 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.