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More shavings and sawdust from the Ansible workbench....

Ray Bradbury Day was Friday 14 December, declared his long-time fan Mayor James K.Hahn of Los Angeles, where Bradbury has lived since 1936. On Ray Bradbury Day, either it rains forever or something wicked this way comes. Dealer's choice.

Janet and Chris Morris, former sf writers, have a US $9.5 million defense contract to evaluate 'the use of nanoparticles to clear facilities' of biological threats. Apparently the Morrises became `leading authorities on nonlethal weapons, like high-powered microwaves, pepperballs, and calming agents' after a former CIA deputy director read their 1984 novel The 40-Minute War and liked it enough to recruit them as defence advisers. (Wired, January 2002.) If this nanotechnology offers instant clearance of hostile bolognese sauce particles spilled on one's clothing, the $9.5M can hardly be grudged.

Ellisoniana. Recently offered on eBay: '500 pieces of Star Trek memorabilia, all from the collection of Star Trek Art Director Matt Jefferies'. One such prize, with a $3,000 reserve and the warning `This experience is only for the most fearless fan!', is dinner at a posh restaurant with Harlan and Susan Ellison. Presumably the food will be reheated, but one does worry exactly how long it's been in Matt Jefferies's collection.

Ben Jeapes of UK small press Big Engine plans to launch a new British sf magazine to challenge David Pringle's Interzone. Asked about the title, Ben mused: 'I thought Eat Dirt, Pringle might strike the right balance between hostility and friendly challenge … though he's seen so many of the opposition come and go, I doubt he'll lose much sleep …'

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Old Flames. 'On the gravel path […] lay something black and twisted that he couldn't make out. But his imagination filled in the details: Keri, a hearty brunette with whom he had enjoyed a bit of sport last summer, was calcified as Thebula had been. Amongst the ozone, the sea-spray and the perfume of flowers he could smell the stench of burnt meat. She had been fun.' (Anne Gay, To Bathe in Lightning, 1995)


David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant. His monthly SF 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.

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