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News? Gossip? Scandal? No such luck; just more boring old Ansible snippets….

Sinister White Powder. Michael Swanwick, whose wife works in a state Bureau of Labs, provides the reassuring inside information that 'Most of the powder sent in to be tested, incidentally, turns out to be cocaine.'

Douglas Adams's official biography is being written by British fan M.J. 'Simo' Simpson with a tight July 2002 deadline. Ansible readers with anecdotes about meeting the great man are urged to send them to Fanzine interviews with Adams are also sought.

Quotable. On British TV's South Bank Show, Terry Pratchett updated an old saying: 'At 17, if you don't think Lord of The Rings is the greatest contribution to literature there's something wrong with your head. If you still think that at 50, there's definitely something wrong with your head.'

In Typo Veritas. '… the sea boiled, great birds spat fire from the sky, and metal breasts rose up from the waves and destroyed the harbours.' (Samuel R.Delany, The Jewels of Aptor, Gollancz 2001 reissue)

Signs of the Times. Richard Bleiler was reproved by a copyeditor for using (in an article on John W. Campbell Jr) the phrase in parvo. 'The only reference to "parvo" in Webster's 10th is the contagious canine disease.' This from the once great Oxford University Press.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Pop Science. 'On this planet, the force of gravity was so immense—a hundred times greater than that of earth—that a man on its surface would have weighed ten tons and been unable to lift his eyelids. Under these conditions, the only intelligent life form to develop consisted of giant globular creatures, which on earth would have been called vegetables.' '… when a spider dies, its body turns into a lower form of life called a squid fungus—an octopus-like invertebrate that was fairly harmless to adults, but which loved to suffocate and consume sleeping children.' (both Colin Wilson, Spider World: The Magician, 1992)


David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant. His monthly SF 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.

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