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Excitement mounts in Britain with the approach of Easter and our national sf convention. The venue is Hinckley in Leicestershire, described by tactful fans in such terms as "armpit" or "howling wilderness", and sense-of-wonder speculations abound: Will the hotel food be edible this year? How soon will the beer run out? And since the roads are traditionally choked on this extended holiday weekend, while various rail services including the major terminal at London Paddington will be closed, how many of us will actually get there? Stop Press: Mary Gentle, one of the three guests of honour, has dropped out owing to pressure of work…

Rowena (Morrill), the fantasy artist, had a moment of unexpected limelight when reproductions or imitations of two of her paintings were found hanging in a Baghdad town house apparently used by Saddam Hussein. One example, identified as the cover of Andrew J. Offutt's King Dragon and described by CNN as 'a buxom woman chained to a barren desert mountain ledge, with a huge dragon diving down to kill her with sharpened talons', can be clearly seen on the CNN site.

R.I.P. Anne Gwynne (1918-2003) US film actress during the 1940s and 50s, died on 31 March aged 84. Her many genre films included Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940 serial), Weird Woman (1944, based on Fritz Leiber's Conjure Wife), House of Frankenstein (1945), and Teenage Monster (1957, aka Meteor Monster); her favourite horror appearance was in Black Friday (1940), with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

Flash Betancourt Conquers the Universe! That is, John Betancourt of Wildside Press has finalized his acquisition of Borgo Press, acquiring all the assets including — on a five-year consultancy contract — Borgo's owner Robert Reginald. Now Wildside has similarly offered to buy the book assets of the insolvent UK press Big Engine (see Runcible #71), book stocks and all, and even to retain its founder Ben Jeapes in an editorial role. As author of Big Engine's first book and compiler/editor of another, I am of course highly interested in all this. However, fans of the recently launched Big Engine magazine are out of luck — John B. announced: 'My offer did not include 3SF magazine. I don't need another magazine; Weird Tales and HP Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror are quite enough for now!' The latter — no unsolicited submissions, please — is being edited by Marvin Kaye.

Robert L. Forward planned an autobiography that he was unable to finish before his death in September 2002. His wife and son have now put the existing text on line at

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Relativity. 'That mountain's less than twelve thousand feet high — that's only two thousand under Earth gravity…' (Arthur C. Clarke, 'The Sentinel', 1951)


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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