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Censorship Horror! Ansible's one e-mail subscriber at was denied his February issue by some strange power which has yet to master the apostrophe: 'Ansible 187 This is to advise you that your email has been blocked and will be deleted by the Houses of Parliament in due course since we believe it has inappropriate content. The intended recipient has not received the email. In the event that you believe the email has been blocked incorrectly please contact the intended recipient directly to discuss it's release.' Apparently this new, prudish blocking system objects not only to raunchy Ansible but to MPs' own e-mail discussion of legislation about s*x ... see The Register.

Nebula Final Ballot. Follow link for the full list and various excerpts. The novel finalists are:

  Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge

  American Gods by Neil Gaiman

  The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin

  Picoverse by Robert A. Metzger

  Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

  Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick

Stephen Baxter 'happened to be in NYC when the Columbia news broke. All very sombre. I take no pleasure in my prediction of such a thing in Titan, published in 1997. I predicted a crash of the oldest orbiter, Columbia, on reentry as that's the second most dangerous time of the mission after launch, and in 2004 (not 2003) as I knew there'd be more than 100 missions by then and the odds were on a failure. But I guessed an internal failure rather than a problem with the tiles, as it looks to be as I write. The fact that this was going to happen sometime only enhances the courage of those who climb aboard those beasts, I think. I remember being enthralled by John Young's first flight of Columbia; shame she won't end up in the Smithsonian where she belongs....'

Mike Ashley, whom we have long suspected of criminal tendencies, is shortlisted for an Edgar Allan Poe award (the crime field's Hugo): The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime Fiction made the final ballot under Best Critical/Biographical.

Gary Westfahl is to receive the SF Research Association's Pilgrim Award for lifetime critical contributions, presented at the SFRA event in June.

R.I.P. Lana Clarkson (1961-2003), the 41-year-old actress shot dead at record producer Phil Spector's home on 3 February, had several minor genre credits: the Conanesque Deathstalker (1984) and Barbarian Queen (1985), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), etc.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Single Yet Amazingly Devastating Shots. 'The Scorpion smirked before sending a bullet into Francesco's forehead. Looking around the blood and gut-spattered dining room, the killer ...' (Peter Senese and Robert Geis, Cloning Christ, 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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