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A gloomy time of year, alas, with more deaths to report. Help restore better cheer by sending Thogworthy quotations to Authors seeking publicity by submitting their own awful lines will be severely dealt with.

As Others See Us. 'Close encounters of the prolonged kind: Steven Spielberg's mini-series Taken will please science fiction fans but everyone else should prepare to laugh in the wrong places.' (BBC website)

R.I.P. Ron Goodwin (1925-2003), UK musician and composer, died on 8 January aged 77. His film credits include Village of the Damned (1960), the remake Children of the Damned (1963), Day of the Triffids (1962) and The Spaceman and King Arthur (1979); he was by then the in-house composer for all British Disney productions. Virginia Kidd (1921-2003), US literary agent and sf anthologist (twice in collaboration with Ursula Le Guin), died on 12 January after prolonged illness. Best known as an sf agent, she wrote some fiction — her first solo story was 'Kangaroo Court' in Damon Knight's Orbit 1 (1966) — was married to James Blish 1947-63, and brought a strong feminist viewpoint to the genre. Peter Tinniswood (1936-2003), UK author and scriptwriter best known for radio and TV work, died on 9 January after years of treatment for oral cancer. He was 66. His idiosyncratic humour always tended towards the surreal and fantastic; the outrageous cricket stories are set in what's virtually an alternate world, and The Stirk of Stirk (1974) is a comic-heroic fantasy which didn't make it into the Encyclopedia.

Convention Stuff. Noreascon IV (Worldcon 2004) is taking up its option to award Retro Hugos for 1953 work, since none were given in 1954. The Hugos haven't missed a year since 1955, and Retros are allowed only 50, 75 or 100 years after a Hugoless Worldcon, so the Retro Hugos should then fall into merciful oblivion until the 2014 event considers its option of awarding the Hugos not presented at the first ever Worldcon in 1939. Eurocon 2003 (Finncon X/Baltcon) announces a short story competion, entries to be in English. Read the full and frank details at …

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Dimensional Analysis. 'If you could enlarge the human body, blow it up to a vast size, you would see that it was literally nothing but a swirling mass of cells and atoms, clustered together into smaller swirls of cells and atoms.' (Michael Crichton, Prey, 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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