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Everybody's an e-book publisher these days, and Chris Priest and I recently took the plunge after seeing John Sladek's final unpublished novella — too eccentric for the magazines, perhaps too short for book publication. Thus Ansible E-ditions was born, and we look forward to the joys of dotcom (or at any rate dotcouk) bankruptcy....

Oscars 2003. Fantasy was rewarded by the victory of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away as Best Animated Feature, while The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers had the small consolation prize of wins for Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.

Accolade. Alas, the UK sf author who was the key to the 8 March Spectator crossword is no longer with us to appreciate it (or, more likely, to blow raspberries at the magazine's far-right politics). Besides a 50-letter unclued quotation from an article on 1960s fashion, the puzzle contained both its author's names, clued without definition: 'Set about gossip? On the contrary' (6) and 'Tense, in charge? Right (6)'. This should pose no difficulty to our cosmic-minded readers....

Zoran Zivkovic, the Serbian sf author (born 1948) who's a regular contributor to Interzone, is in fact not Zoran Zivkovic the new Serbian Prime Minister (born 1960). Though they do both live in Belgrade.

As Others See Us. The latest Sci-Fi Channel miniseries is an adaptation of Children of Dune, and director Greg Yaitanes was quick to perform the traditional Rite of Distancing: '"I looked at this as a story of a family, not a science fiction film," says Yaitanes, a Wellesley [Mass.] native who directed an episode of Sci Fi's The Invisible Man three years ago. "What's great about the film is there are empowered women in it. Science fiction traditionally has had a male appeal to it." * What's more, he says, his film offers a lot more than "just hardware and monsters and explosions. There are real human emotions, which is very, very rare in science fiction."' (Boston Globe, 16 March)

R.I.P. Dame Thora Hird, the UK actress who died on 15 March aged 91, inevitably played genre roles in her long career — e.g. in the 1955 The Quatermass Xperiment, whose success kick-started the Hammer Films sf/horror tradition.

Thog's Masterclass. Genealogy Dept. `Lord Voldemort — who is the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin ...' (J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1998)

PS: That Crossword. Oh, all right, it was Angela Carter.


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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