The mysteries of our schedule led to my delivery of this Runcible instalment
on (tra la la) Christmas Day in the morning. So, a Merry Seasonal Whatever to
those who are so inclined; and for those who aren't, a hearty 'Bah! Humbug!'
Sic Transit Gloria. 'Neil Gaiman? Don't know who
' Thus British TV person Graham Norton on Channel 4, as he
scanned a website listing famous ex-residents of East Grinstead.
Ursula Le Guin led a 50-strong peace march in Portland, Oregon, on 6
December and delivered a writers', editors' and artists'
petition against war on Iraq
to a local congressman.
Terry Pratchett committed trilocation on Saturday 7 December. That
weekend, several hundred fans attended festivities celebrating the official
twinning of Wincanton, South Somerset, England, with Discworld's Ankh-Morpork
featuring a sausage-and-mash feast so oversubscribed that it was split across
three separate pubs, two of them supplied with proxy Pratchetts to entertain and
propose the toast after dinner. Colette Reap explains: 'Terry provided spare
hats to the two substitutes to enhance the illusion of him being in three places
at once.... The shop of the Cunning Artificer (the wonderful Bernard Pearson)
now has a plaque on the wall outside declaring that it is the Ankh-Morpork
Consulate.' All done for charity.
R.I.P. Walter Cole, an active New York fan for more than
half a century (head of the Centaurian League in 1948, and for decades an
officer of the Lunarians club) was found dead in his apartment on 7 December. He
Nicolai Mikhailovich Amosov (1913-2002), Russian-born
engineer, heart surgeon, keep-fit pundit and author whose 'sleeper awakes' sf
novel was translated in 1970 as Notes from the Future, died at his
Ukraine home on 12 December, aged 89.
In Typo Veritas. The current SFWA Bulletin's article on the
Vingean Singularity, by Robert Metzger, interestingly appeared with all
superscripts shown as normal text. Thus it emerges that the human brain has
'something like 10 billion neurons, where we'll use scientific notation of 1010
to denote this large number (in Vernor's case we would naturally suspect many
more). This specialized cell looks like a miniature starfish, with about 104
Where those arms meet a synapse is formed
Do the math and
you find that there are 1014 of these synapses. [
] At the time I write this,
the most advanced microprocessor
is made up of about 108 transistors.
That's certainly a big number, but still one million times smaller (106) than
the number of connections in your head (perhaps 107 in the case of Vernor).'
A Fan Is Born. Kathryn Cramer & David G.Hartwell were
(for some reason or other) too distracted to let me know earlier: 'Elizabeth
Constance Cramer Hartwell, born October 21, 3:28 pm, 6lbs, 10 oz. Mother and
baby in fine condition.'
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Pleonasm. 'Truth had at last
become time-urgent.' (Martin Amis, Koba the Dread, 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.