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07.18.03

One of my favourite research discoveries in recent years was an "unknown" multiple-choice John Sladek story, The Lost Nose, produced by the man himself in a limited edition of one and offering many alternative paths for the hero Fred's quest for his missing nose. Now here's a news report of the Real Lost Nose....

As Others See Us. A pleasant surprise, for once. New York Times film critic A.O. Scott may not actually like The Hulk or The Matrix Reloaded, but has a good word for sf in general. '[I]t has been a long time since anyone but a few unreconstructed culture snobs has denied that sci-fi and superhero stories can be illuminating, even profound, as well as entertaining. That argument is long settled: without science fiction, we would lack a crucial imaginative resource for grappling with the promise and peril of technology, and without comic books we would have fewer heroes, fewer monsters, and thus a poorer idea of what it is to be human.'

Still More Awards. The John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best SF novel of 2002 went to Nancy Kress for Probability Space, and the Theodore Sturgeon Award for the year's best short SF was won by Lucius Shepard's 'Over Yonder' (Sci Fiction). Bob Graham's children's fantasy Jethro Byrde -- Fairy Child won the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Lisa Goldstein had a rather more traditional 'As Others See Us' moment at a class on copyediting fiction: 'The instructor handed out a leaflet, and the first thing on it was a list of the different types of fiction we will have to copyedit. First there was "Art", then "Entertainment", then "Dreck". And "Dreck" consisted of -- you guessed it -- "fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, suspense ..." After the class I went up to her and told her I was a writer. "And I guess I write" -- big show of looking at leaflet -- "here it is, dreck." She did apologize, which I suppose is progress. Later, though, studying the leaflet, I realized that "Entertainment" is dreck that she likes to read.'

Wildside Press has withdrawn its offer for the assets of the insolvent British small press Big Engine. I infer that the official liquidator had an exaggerated notion of the value of these assets; several BE authors had already withdrawn their books, or (like me) had contracts which automatically terminated when the publisher declared itself bankrupt.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Unfortunate Juxtaposition. 'And they had a wonderful sail on the dancing trimaran all the way around Acadia Park Island and back to a great clam dinner. That night in bed afterwards Loolie brought it up again.' (James Tiptree Jr, 'Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket', 1972)

 


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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