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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 Politician.'

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.

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