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It's Hugo nominations season again, and some discreet hints are being dropped about the Best Related Book category. Oliver Morton urges correspondents to note that his Mapping Mars is not just another pop-science book but 'deals with specific works, themes and tropes of science fiction as part of its subject matter.' Although the rules for this category discourage anthologies, Kathryn Cramer wonders whether her and David G. Hartwell's The Hard SF Renaissance might be in with a chance, presumably on the basis of its critical content. This is a terrible temptation to place in the way of D. Langford, who edited and wrote a hefty critical introduction to Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek … no, no, get thee behind me, Kathryn! Meanwhile the publishers of the Canadian fanzine The Voyageur placed a double-page ad in the fourth Torcon 3 (Worldcon 2003, Toronto) progress report, urging us to nominate it and its frequent contributor Alexander von Thorn for the fanzine and fan writer Hugos. Who knows what counter-campaigning may follow?

Michael Swanwick attended the memorial service for Virginia Kidd in Milford on 20 January. 'In attendance were family, past and present members of the Virginia Kidd Agency, David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer with offspring, Eileen Gunn and John Berry, and Thomas Disch, as well as a varied group of friends from outside the SF community. Virginia's daughter, Beth Blish Genly, revealed that her last words were "This is the best glass of water I ever had," and everyone who knew her agreed that the zest encapsulated in that simple statement pretty much summed up her entire life. After the service everybody gathered at Arrowhead, Kidd's home-and-office, to reminisce. A surreal note was added by the fact that all the time a videotape of Virginia, bedridden and talking steadily and calmly, ran with the sound off high in the corner of one room. Because it was a large-screen TV, Virginia remained, even in death, larger than life.'

H.G. Wells isn't often news these days, but various sf groups including SFWA have been offered the stupendous opportunity to buy a 'historic property', the Baker Street flat where Wells lived in the early 1930s. 'Although the property has been fully modernized I have endeavoured to restore and maintain many of the character features that would have been evident when Mr. Wells was in residence,' writes the owner Maggi Bonner Fox. Rush your offers to 47 Chiltern Court, Baker Street, London, NW1 5SP.

R.I.P. Daphne Oram, unsung pioneer of electronic music who in 1957 persuaded the BBC to launch its Radiophonic Workshop (with such results as the 1963 Dr Who theme music), died on 5 January aged 77.

Internet Speculative Fiction Database. This non-profit resource ran into trouble on 17 January when the ISP,, disabled its database search facility for being too popular, with well over 3,000 queries a day. See ISFDB supremo Al von Ruff's lament at

Thog's Masterclass. True Romance Dept (or, The Fingers Have It). 'Discreetly glancing around, my fingers gingerly wriggled into the embroidered hole of her panties …' (Joseph Covino Jr, Prince of the Perverse, 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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