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While I stayed placidly at home reading old Robertson Davies novels as midnight struck on 20 June, our runcible roving reporter Jeff VanderMeer inspected the now-traditional Rowling Riots:

'Ann and I went down to the local B&N to witness the Harry Potter madness. The mall parking lot was packed. The kids and adults had destroyed the magazine and children's sections. There was no way we could get a book. So, instead, we waited outside. A kid came out, probably all of nine years old. A little girl with braces and a smile on her face. As per our pre-arranged plan, Ann distracted her with some glitter and a pinwheel. Then I snatched the book out of the girl's hands and ran for it while Ann hightailed it back to the car. The girl was screaming her head off, but, luckily, there were so many people around I was able to lose myself in the crowd. Ann then drove round to pick me up. I was hiding where we'd planned for me to, at the darkened South Entrance. It all went off without a hitch. Another successful midnight Potter party intervention for us.'

Believe him or not, as you prefer.

H.P. Lovecraft is in the news again, with the first ('Spring 2004') issue of H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror now scheduled for October 2003 publication by Wildside Press. Meanwhile, infinitely more blasphemous and eldritch than Google, the Cthuugle search engine scans Lovecraftian texts for your favourite keywords. Failure reports come with user-friendly suggestions:

  Sacrifice your parents to the dark lord Cthulhu.

  Gibber until they come and take you away.

  Refine your search parameters.

You Can't Do That! The English town of Wincanton, Somerset, twinned since last year with Discworld's Ankh-Morpork, has been forbidden by the British government to mention this intangible link on road signs. 'Somerset County Council wanted Ankh-Morpork added to the signs but Whitehall refused, saying twin towns had to actually exist.' (BBC News Online, 18 June)

The James White Award for best short story by an unpublished writer is changing its schedule, since the next presentation is to be at the 2004 UK Eastercon rather than in November 2003. (The award after that will be given at the 2005 UK Worldcon in Glasgow.) Hence a new deadline: 15 January 2004. Current judges are Lois McMaster Bujold, Christopher Priest, Michael Carroll, Peter F. Hamilton and David Pringle. See for further details and entry forms.

Wooden Rocket Awards for SF on the web were announced for the first time in dizzyingly many categories, with The Alien Online occupying the star position as Best Online Magazine. More, much more, all too much more, at

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Past Future Slang. '"Back in the twentieth century," he explained, "Bellman of the Rand Corporation predicted 2% of the work force would be able to produce all the country could consume by the year 2000 and ..." "Don't roach me funker," she said. "And don't shirk off in your electro-steamer. This mopsy wants to poke."' (Mack Reynolds, Commune 2000 A.D., 1974)


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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