Hordes of children's writers made merry at a 10 Downing Street reception on
2 December. Wine flowed freely, various Blair offspring were glimpsed, and Prime
Minister Tony Blair himself assured the massed literati that they did valuable
work and that this was a great responsibility at which a voice behind Diana
Wynne Jones growled, 'Yes, we know.' Other author sightings included Joan Aiken,
Peter Dickinson, Philippa Pearce and the inescapable Terry Pratchett. Diana's
usual attendant disasters were the failure of No.10's electronic door-opener
('The polite policeman said, "I think you'll have to knock at the door,
madam."'), a canapé accident ('I took a rice thing from one of the
small ladies and it came open and rice went all up my sleeve, like gummy little
beetles.') and momentary panic when the knob fell off the bolt in the ladies'
loo. Read her full 3 December Bulletin at
Mike Moorcock was swift to comment on this jamboree: 'Sorry to hear
the kids' writers were rounded up by the Blairs to get smugged. I expect Tone
and Cher to feature in various guises as hypocritical villains in future juve
epics. This could affect voting patterns for decades to come. Dangerous
liaisons. Remember how the pop music world turned against them after a bunch of
musicians was invited to Number Ten? Good thing about politicians is that they
never learn, thus remaining perennially good originals for comic roles. Made me
think of the Blurrs as obvious characters from a William book. In fact I'd swear
I remember a suitable Thomas Henry illustration for William and the Pious
R.I.P. Thomas E. Fuller, US author of several short fantasy
and horror stories since 1990, died on 21 November aged 54. His story 'The God
of Midnight' (Realms of Fantasy, 1996) was co-written with Brad
Strickland, with whom he also wrote 14 young adult novels, mostly mysteries.
Glenn Quinn, Irish actor who played the half-demon Doyle in the first
series of Angel, died early this month aged 32.
Did Your Mother Throw Yours Out? A copy of the first issue of that
venerable UK children's comic the Beano, dated 30 July 1938 and one of
only nine known to exist, fetched £7,500 at auction this month.
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Don't Tell Sir Arthur. '"Here
we were experimenting with artificial satellites long ago," said Multavo [a
highly advanced humanoid alien]. "They were not pursued because at that
time it was decided they could serve no useful purpose. There were enough
satellites in space without making more."' (Captain W.E. Johns,
The Death Rays of Ardilla, 1959)
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.