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Suicidal? Despairing? Tough. Here's more from the ever-clanking Ansible assembly line…

As Others See Us. 'There are more nutters on the road than at a Star Trek Convention.' (Quentin Wilson, Britain's Worst Driver, UK TV Channel 5)

Publishers and Sinners. Just to confuse us all, Tor Books is launching in Britain in March 2003 as an sf/fantasy imprint of Pan Macmillan.

John Cleese is reportedly writing a new 96-page Superman comic, to be called True Brit. One hotly unrumoured possibility is that thanks to the impish spells of Mr Mxyzptlk, Superman will find himself resistlessly compelled — even while fighting crime — to do the silly walk.

R.I.P. Jerry Sohl (1913-2002), US sf author and TV scriptwriter, died on 4 November aged 88. His first sf story appeared in Galaxy in 1952 and his debut sf novel The Haploids in the same year; he later wrote for The Twilight Zone and Star Trek.

Utopiales 2002, France. Andy Sawyer braved the apocalypse: 'According to the December Fortean Times the "Neo-Phare" sect, based in Nantes and headed by someone called Arnaud Mussy, predicted that "Nantes will be consumed by the apocalypse on 24 October. All life will cease and the Earth will be invaded by flying saucers carrying 'beings of light'." I can confirm that this didn't actually happen. The only invasion I noticed while there for the 2002 Utopiales sf festival included the customary disreputable crew of usual suspects, some of whom may have been beings of light in the guise of Samuel R. Delany, Brian Aldiss, James Morrow, K.W. Jeter, David Brin, Rob Holdstock, Chris Priest, Terry Bisson, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Liz Williams, Alasdair Gray [who we hear was removed unconscious from the bar each night], and Norman Spinrad. Robert Silverberg won the Prix Utopia. Jamil Nasir won Best Foreign Novel for Tower of Dreams. Graham Joyce won Best Foreign Short Story for "Leningrad Nights". Rob Holdstock won a special award for the new French edition of Mythago Wood, and another Brit success was Andrew Parkinson's "Mike Leigh zombie film" Dead Creatures, which won an award whose name I can't translate but which I think is sponsored by cinema chains. Shame about the missed apocalypse. Perhaps we were having such a good time that we never noticed!'

Another Bookshop Sublimes. Justin Ackroyd's 'Slow Glass' sf bookshop in Melbourne closed its doors for the last time on 26 October; sales continue by mail order and on line at

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Anatomy. 'Ace crept back down the corridor, her heart pounding in her neck. She swallowed, trying to push it away, concentrate on what she was doing, but it wouldn't shift.' (Dale Smith, Dr Who — Heritage, 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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