This week I have a message from Thog: "Gwllb." According to his
interpreter, this conveys deep thanks for all the Masterclass material sent in by loyal readers, mingled with gentle yet firm apologies to those whose
submissions have been delayed in the backlog, found unworthy, or traced to the
works of David Langford, and concluding with an unforgivable insult directed at L. Ron Hubbard. Thoggese is a richly compact language.
As Others See Us. Max Barry, author of Jennifer Government,
is another sufferer from that Atwoodian fear of sf props: 'I had the idea for a
story set in an ultra-capitalist world for a long time. But I didn't want to
write a science-fiction book with laser guns and flying cars. I was more
interested in writing a social fiction: taking the world we live in now and
tweaking it a bit.' (Orbit Ezine 60) Of course no sf author could write
that kind of thing.
Raymond Briggs, in his autobiographical retrospective
Blooming Books, reveals that his notorious personal eccentricity began
early in life thanks to his mother who, he insists, was an inspiration for
Fungus the Bogeyman. (Independent, 22 July) The mind bogles.
Science Corner: Astronomy. 'Like total eclipses, the chance to write
a Dalek story only happens once in a blue moon.' (Simon Clark, Telos Publishing
SF Mags Go Decimal. The Dell-owned magazines
Analog and Asimov's are changing schedule to 10 rather than 11
issues a year, including two double issues apiece.
Interzone's regular boast of being the only printed fictionzine to
appear 12 times yearly couldn't be made in 2002, with 10 issues (two double).
There's been one double IZ this year, May/June: can Mr Pringle avoid a
second and stay ahead of the Dell mags? If not, F&SF surges into the
lead, as I pointed out to Gordon Van Gelder who said, 'Good lord, you're
right! If we continue to publish 11 issues a year and
Analog publishes 10 per year, we'll overtake them for the #1 spot of
most issues in ... what, 300 years?'
Quentin Tarantino pays homage to sf in his upcoming film Kill
Bill, according to a fragment of opening screenplay published in a UK
newspaper. BLACK FRAME / QUOTE APPEARS: / 'Revenge is a
dish best served cold' credited not to the usual sources like Les
Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) or any number of 19th-century proverb
collections, but as 'Old Klingon Proverb'. (Independent Review, 22 July)
Gene Wolfe, as a writer in residence at the Odyssey workshop in
mid-July, caused much on-line buzz when he walked out early. Had the ungrateful
pupils refused to accept expert criticism? So it seemed when Wolfe was handed a
letter of protest, supposedly from most of the class but actually from one
'disruptive' member, threatening a student boycott for such Wolfean crimes as
opining that some submitted MSS were better than others. Alas, while Wolfe and
the Lone Complainer exchanged strong words, many workshop members nervously
stayed well clear, unknowingly giving the impression that a partial boycott was
in progress.... Much dissection followed in the Locus website's letter
column, where Gene
Wolfe explained why he'd felt he had to go, others
supportively (but tended to blame the whole class), and
uncovered the above sequence of events.
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Sexy Cars Make Sexy People. 'He
appreciated the fact that the woman who walked beside him was young and virile
by her carriage.' (Russell Thorndike, Dr. Syn Returns, 1935) Striking
Simile Dept. '... the abbot watched dazedly as they rushed like lemurs
towards destruction.' (Frank Corsaro, Kunma, 2003)
David 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.