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Is anyone curious about what the printed Ansible looks like, on European A4 paper and all? No, I didn't think so, but here nevertheless is an experimental Acrobat PDF of the 7 November issue.

Whitbread Prize. Again this major British literary award features genre material in its children's category. The shortlist: Julie Bertagna, Exodus; Hilary McKay, Saffy's Angel; Celia Rees, Sorceress; Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines. Both Exodus and Mortal Engines are sf; the others, though their titles suggest fantasy, appear to be straight contemporary and historical fiction respectively.

The Horror! The Horror! S.P. Somtow suggests the ideal entertainment for those at a loose end (as who isn't?) on 25 December 2002. Why not fly to Bangkok and mingle with royalty for the launch of his horror opera Mae Naak, featuring 'mucho grand guignol coupled with a lyrical score that pulls out all the late-Romantic stops'? Here's the hard sell: 'This year, the Bangkok Opera offers 4 nights in a deluxe hotel, tickets to the Royal Command Gala including private reception in the presence of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, and many other perks, for US $350. Airfares are pretty cheap, too, right now; we can help you locate the cheapest. Just send email to and someone will email you back with all the arrangements…' If you wondered about the title, so did I. Somtow reveals all: 'Mae Naak is the eponymous title character. A woman who died in childbirth, yet remains behind to haunt her husband when he comes home from the war, tricking him into believing she's still alive and grisly-ly disposing of any woman he so much as looks at. Thais actually believe in this character and there's a temple to her in Bangkok at the site where she was exorcised.'

Margaret Weis, interviewed by SF Weekly, brags about her innovative fantasy worldbuilding. Apart from lots of dragons, 'It is a kind of atypical fantasy world in that there are just humans. No elves, no dwarves — at least not yet.' Always keep something in reserve, eh?

R.I.P. Hilary Bader, Emmy-winning US comics and TV scriptwriter who wrote for Star Trek: TNG, Star Trek: Voyager, Xena and other genre series, died from cancer on 7 November; she was 50. James Coburn (1928-2002), Oscar-winning US actor whose sf films were The President's Analyst (1967) and Looker (1981), died at age 74 on 19 November, following a heart attack.

Thog's Masterclass. Secrets of Invisibility Dept. 'We came to your world as fugitives from a great planet that once formed part of the solar system — a planet composed entirely of ultra-violet substances…' (Clark Ashton Smith, 'The Invisible City', 1932)


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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