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Suddenly the award season is on us with a rush. At the British Eastercon (a pleasant, smoothly-run event), the big surprise for me was winning the British SF Association Award for nonfiction, with my introduction to Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek. Dominic Harman won the artwork category with his Interzone 179 cover, Neil Gaiman's Coraline took the short fiction award, and the wildly cheered novel winner was Christopher Priest for The Separation. Earlier on the same weekend, the splendidly silly presentation of the James Tiptree Award to M. John Harrison (for Light) showed us how very fetching he looks in the ceremonial Tiptree tiara...

More Glittering Prizes. In other news, the Philip K. Dick Award for best paperback original went to Carol Emshwiller for her novel The Mount, and the Nebula winners were:

  Novel: Neil Gaiman, American Gods

  Novella: Richard Chwedyk, 'Bronte's Egg'

  Novelette: Ted Chiang, 'Hell is the Absence of God'

  Short: Carol Emshwiller, 'Creature'

  Script: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Hugo Nominations. The list is long, and appears in full at the Torcon 3 website. Here are the two categories that attracted most nominations ...


  Michael Swanwick, Bones of the Earth

  Robert J. Sawyer, Hominids

  David Brin, Kiln People

  China Miéville, The Scar

  Kim Stanley Robinson, The Years of Rice and Salt

Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

  Minority Report


  Spirited Away

As Others See Us. Patrick Gale's review of the new Margaret Atwood admires her 'gleeful inventiveness' in imagining unheard-of wonders like 'rats genetically spliced to snakes' or 'pain-free chickens developed to produce only multiple breasts', yet deftly avoids calling this sc**nce f*ct**n: 'In Oryx And Crake she makes a welcome return to fantasy. She would probably chuckle at that and murmur "if only" for, like The Handmaid's Tale, it is less a fantasy than an imaginative projection with a rational foundation in current facts.' Gale's other acceptable code phrase for the genre that dares not speak its name is 'dystopian myth'. (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)

R.I.P. Jacques Chambon (1942-2003), French sf editor and translator, died on 16 April following a heart attack. In the late 1960s and the 1970s he contributed much criticism to Fiction, the French F&SF; later he translated such texts as Christopher Priest's The Affirmation. He was a major editor for 12 years at Editions Denoel, and later (since 1998) at Editions Flammarion. N. Lee Wood writes: 'It's hard to take in that someone so alive is gone. French publishing has lost one of their finest, and I've lost a good friend.' Willis E.McNelly, compiler of the 1984 Dune Encyclopedia, died on 7 April aged 82.

Thog's Masterclass. True Names Dept. Not content with calling his evil fantasy hordes Trollocs, Robert Jordan subdivides them with great linguistic subtlety: 'The known tribes include the Ahf'frait, Al'ghol, Bhansheen, Dhjin'nen, Ghar'ghael, Ghob'hlin, Gho'hlem, Ghraem'lan, Ko'bal, Kno'mon, Dha'vol and the Dhai'mon.' (The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, with Teresa Patterson, 1997)


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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