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07.25.03

Grim news came from Darren Nash, senior editor at Earthlight -- a position for which he gave up a well-paid marketing job after assurances that this Simon & Schuster UK sf imprint would continue to be supported by the parent company. Now the corporate bean-counters have struck, with a vast S&S shake-up: Earthlight will be abolished at the end of 2003, while Darren gets the push in late September. Unsurprisingly he says: 'I'm desperately disappointed, appalled, disgusted ...' Earthlight authors, some awaiting contracts for their next series novels, may not be entirely comforted by the official announcement that they 'will be published on the Simon & Schuster and Pocket lists where they will be given the same profile and commitment as before, but will enjoy the benefits of belonging to the main body of the fiction list.' These benefits, judging by the recent fate of Christopher Priest's The Separation in that 'main body', could include zero publicity budgets and disastrous marketing. See The Alien Online for an extended rant about this blow to British sf publishing.

Michael Swanwick reports momentous news which, if confirmed, could shake the very foundations of sf scholarship. 'I had a surprising conversation at Readercon with literary superstar Samuel R. Delany, who told me of how at an early Clarion the students and teachers had decided to see exactly how bad a story they could write if they put their minds to it. Chip himself contributed a paragraph to the round robin effort. Its title? "The Eye of Argon".' Paging Jim Theis ...

R.I.P. Matt Jefferies, designer of many series props for the original Star Trek, died on 21 July aged 82. The BBC website obituary includes a picture of the USS Enterprise, described as 'instantly recognisable'; unfortunately they showed the film version, which Jefferies didn't design.

Warren Lapine & John Betancourt, supremos of DNA Publications and Wildside Press, are jointly launching the Fantastic Book Club in September; the first title assembles uncollected shorts by the late Roger Zelazny. More information from Fantastic Book Club, PO Box 2988, Radford, VA 24141, USA, or on line at www.fantasticbookclub.com.

Man Buried Under Paper Mountain! We confidently expect to run this headline following the news that Hal Hall, Curator and Senior Bibliographer of the SF Research Collection at Texas A&M University, is looking for donations of sf fanzines. He can be contacted at Cushing Library, 5000 TAMU, College Station, Texas, 77843-5000, (972) 862-1840.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Zarkonian Science. 'The stuff of Black Holes is thought to be anti matter; a concept that is almost as difficult to grasp as that of infinity.' 'Man uncaringly proceeds to pollute the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, DDT, lead, mercury and other harmful substances, along with the other great enemy of natural evolution, radiation.' ('Zarkon', The Zarkon Principle, 1975; the author concedes that 'I am not a scholar in the strictest sense of the word.')

 


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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