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Heigh-ho: by the time you read this I should be in the remote fastnesses of North Wales, soothed by the happy absence of any phone or net connection. Will there be a new Runcible on 13 June, or will we resort to a boring 'David Langford is on holiday' notice? That sound you don't hear is our editor failing to bite her fingernails in anguished suspense.

[Editor's note: If I bit my fingernails every time one of my intrepid columnists diappeared into Wales, I would soon have no fingernails at all, and find myself defenseless. Can't have that. — Eileen]

Sidewise Awards. Shortlists for this juried alternate-history award have been released:

Long Form

  Gary L. Blackwood, The Year of the Hangman

  Martin J. Gidron, The Severed Wing

  Christopher Priest, The Separation

  S.M. Stirling, The Peshawar Lancers

  Harry Turtledove, Ruled Britannia

Short Form (under 60,000 words)

  Charles Coleman Finlay, 'We Come Not to Praise Washington' (F&SF 8/02)

  John Kessel, 'The Invisible Empire' (Conjunction: 39)

  William Sanders, 'Empire' (Alternate Generals II)

  Robert Silverberg, 'With Caesar in the Underworld' (Asimov's 10/02)

  Walter John Williams, 'The Last Ride of German Freddie' (Worlds That Weren't)

Charles N. Brown of Locus fame was in London last week, and held court at the British SF Association's pub meeting on 28 May. He suggested arm-wrestling to decide the fate of this year's semiprozine Hugo. The result was an obvious fix; and, unfairly, Locus but not Ansible had a photographer in attendance....

Diana Wynne Jones, author of Charmed Life, was pressed by Ansible to comment on the Mythopoeic Awards nonfiction nominee A Charmed Life: The Spirituality of Potterworld by Francis Bridger. Her noncommittal response: 'All I can say is ooOOOOOOOH!!!!!'

In Typo Veritas. To the great delight of American Pratchett-lovers, Terry's The Wee Free Men (US hardback) proudly proclaims on the back cover that its predecessor was: 'A New York Pubic Library Book for the Teen Age 2002'.

R.I.P. William C. Anderson (1920-2003), former USAF pilot and author of 20-odd novels, including the sf comedies Penelope (1963) and Adam M-1 (1964), died on 16 May; he was 83.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Space Propulsion. 'Reaction rays many times faster than light, pushing back against the cosmic dust of space ...' (Edmond Hamilton, City At World's End, 1951) Dept of Explaining the Big Bang. 'Einstein's equations proved that if matter moved faster than light, it would expand indefinitely ...' (Ibid)


He Do the Time Police in Different VoicesDavid Langford is an author and a gentleman. His newsletter, Ansible, is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. His most recent books are Different Kinds of Darkness, a new short-story collection of horror, SF, and fantasy, Up Through an Empty House of Stars: Reviews and Essays 1980-2002, 100 pieces of Langfordian genre commentary, and He Do the Time Police in Different Voices, a short-story collection that brings together, all of Dave's SF parodies and pastiches. (This is a scary thought. Are you ready to laugh that hard?)

Dave 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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