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06.20.03

Shock horror scandal is failing to rock the sf world following the claim from Down Under that Tasmanian author Philip Weeks anticipated the entire conceptual basis of a certain movie, and 'believes The Matrix creators may have "borrowed" his ideas.' Can the following possibly be coincidence? 'In The Protector [by Weeks] the hero has his brain wiped by a corporation and believes he is living in the real world when in fact he is living in the Matrix. In The Matrix, the whole of society is living in the Matrix in the belief they are living in the real world. Both stories have a father figure who offers an escape from the Matrix.' Er, that seems to be about it. The big punchline is the date of publication of the earliest component stories of The Protector, which in this context you'd expect to be long before computerized virtual reality become a stock sf cliché. Wait for it. The year was ... 1994. (And hey, Pohl and Kornbluth had machines plugging people into their data processing systems in the Galaxy serialization of Wolfbane back in 1957.)

Sturgeon Award shortlist for best short sf of 2002:

  'Breathmoss', Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov's May)

  'Bronte's Egg', Richard Chwedyk (F&SF Aug)

  'Coelacanths', Robert Reed (F&SF Mar)

  'Halo', Charles Stross (Asimov's Jun)

  'In Paradise', Bruce Sterling (F&SF Sep)

  'Liking What You See: A Documentary', Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)

  'Madonna of the Maquiladora', Gregory Frost (Asimov's May)

  'Over Yonder', Lucius Shepard (Sci Fiction 2 Jan)

  'The Seasons of the Ansarac', Ursula K. Le Guin (Infinite Matrix 3 Jun)

  'Singleton', Greg Egan (Interzone Feb)

  'Stories for Men', John Kessel (Asimov's Oct/Nov)

  'The Wild Girls', Ursula K. Le Guin (Asimov's Mar)

  A Year in the Linear City, Paul Di Filippo

Arthur C. Clarke has another little brag: 'I think I can claim to be the godfather (with the good and bad implications that has) of the Web. Tim Berners Lee acknowledges that my story "Dial F for Frankenstein" (Playboy, January 1964) was one of the manyinputs that started him thinking on these lines.' (Aerospace America, May 2003) So, no doubt, was Fredric Brown's slightly earlier 'Answer' (1954)....

R.I.P. Kent Johnson, US fan since the mid-70s, committed suicide on 14 May; he was 46. Gregory Peck (1916-2003), US actor who needs no introduction, died on 12 May aged 87. His genre films include On the Beach (1959), Marooned (1969), The Omen (1976) and The Boys from Brazil (1978; Peck played Dr Josef Mengele).

Simon R. Green knows how to endear himself: 'Thought you might like to know that you will be appearing in the final Deathstalker book, and yes, once again you get to die horribly.' Gee, thanks, Simon.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Regrettable Ambiguity. 'Her dress was ragged at the hem, and too short as the clear air pulled her up tall, but her cheeks were flushed with excitement.' (Joan Hunter Holly, The Green Planet, 1960)

 


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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