The Infinite Matrix

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Everyone seems to produce a weblog or LiveJournal thingy these days, but I am (to use a technical term of British fanspeak) a boring old fart who merely does a little fanzine of personal ramblings, called Cloud Chamber. Of course I put it on the web

Diana Wynne Jones discovers her roots: 'I recently got sent a set of academic essays on my books, published as a slim volume and full of the most extraordinary statements. My favourite is the assertion that I am "rooted in fluidity". Obviously hydroponic, probably a lettuce, possibly a cabbage. A new light is cast.'

Terry Pratchett has had many literary accolades in his time, but I think Michael Dirda's rave review of Night Watch in the Washington Post is the first that compares him with Chaucer. 'Whan that Discworlde with his shoures sote…'

R.I.P. Mal Ashworth, UK fan since the 1950s, died in an Otley pub on 27 November; he was 69 and for years had suffered heart problems which kept him from attending conventions. Mal's principal fanzines were Bem (1954-59) and Rot (1955-63), the latter briefly revived in 1984. He continued to write many articles and letters; I had a cheery postcard from him only last month. Here's a classic Ashworth article. Bert Granet, the US TV producer responsible for The Twilight Zone, died on 15 November aged 92. Belated notice: Lionel Trippett (1935-2002), nuclear disarmament campaigner who in the 1970s was a London sf editor, died on 31 July; he was 66. David Garnett remembers him as 'one of the first book editors to go to a convention. I first met him in Worcester at Eastercon in 1971, by which time he'd read and liked the script of my third novel (Time in Eclipse) but he couldn't publish it because Arrow didn't do paperback originals. (Back in olden times, few publishers did.) But if I could find a hardback publisher, Lionel would take the paperback rights for £250. This was why I started selling to Robert Hale — and they beat Arrow down to £200. Half to me, half to them. (Chris Foss was paid £250 for the cover when, in 1976, Arrow did the paperback edition.) By then, Lionel had moved on to Mayflower. The only other things I persuaded him to publish were a couple of Avram Davidsons. (The Island Under The Earth and The Phoenix And The Mirror, both 1975, Mayflower.)'

Token Movie Spot. Paul Barnett, our man with the popcorn, has been banging his head against the wall after reading this Associated Press report of a coming attraction (rated PG-13 despite an explicit view of George Clooney's bare bottom): 'Solaris, based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem, stars Clooney as a widowed astronaut forced to deal with his grief in space. It's a remake of a 1972 Russian film.' Paul grumbles: 'Yes, and West Side Story is a rewrite of a 16th-century play.'

Thog's Masterclass. Legend of Sleepy Hollow Dept. 'I rolled my head to an empty quadrant of the hall.' (Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon, 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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