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09.20.03

Another arcane web resource: the Fictionmags bibliography is an ongoing project to index not merely sf and fantasy but all magazines that have ever published fiction in English. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.

Stephen King will receive the US National Book Foundation's 2003 'Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters'. (Past recipients include Ray Bradbury.) Harold Bloom was swift to comment: 'He is a man who writes what used to be called penny dreadfuls. That they could believe that there is any literary value there or any aesthetic accomplishment or signs of an inventive human intelligence is simply a testimony to their own idiocy.' (New York Times, 15 September) Coo er gosh!

Mary Shelley is to be commemorated by a blue English Heritage plaque on the London house where she died -- an honour proposed in 1975 but strenuously resisted by the vicar who then lived there. He objected to the words 'author of Frankenstein', presumably for fear of crowds of peasants with torches, and felt that 'author(ess) and wife of the poet' would be quite sufficient. English Heritage is now going with 'author of Frankenstein'....

Letter Column. John Brosnan, master of double entendre, revisits a van Vogt classic: 'Here are a couple of gems from The Voyage of the Space Beagle which I'm rereading for the first time in ages (I have my reasons): "Presently, Morton said, 'I'm going to ask various experts to give their suggestions for fighting pussy.'" And: "Barricades had been flung up and there was the unmistakable odour of ozone. Vibrators fumed and fussed.' Clearly there was a sub-text to the work that eluded me when I read it as a teenager. The spaceship in Beagle even has a "stenography section". This is a feature that has long been missing from spaceships in recent years. Even the USS Enterprise doesn't have any stenographers on board. The time is ripe to bring back stenography to science fiction! I can see it now: "STENOGRAPHERS IN SPACE! They fight, they type and they're very good at shorthand!"'

R.I.P. Kir Bulychev (1934-2003) was the sf pseudonym of Russian author and historian Igor Vsevolodovich Mozheiko, who died on 5 September. Marilyn E. Marlow, literary agent (later, executive VP) at Curtis Brown since 1959, died from cancer on 25 August, aged 75. Her clients included Jane Yolen and Robert Cormier. Warren Zevon (1947-2003), US singer/songwriter famed for the song 'Werewolves of London', died from lung cancer on 7 September; he was 56. Zevon also wrote theme songs and scores for TV's Tales from the Crypt and William Shatner's Tekwar. Late Update. A.P. Lukashin reports the deaths of three Russian authors who have Clute/Nicholls SF Encyclopedia entries: Vladimir Dudintsev (1918-1998), Viktor Kolupayev (1936-2001), and Lydia Obukhova (1924-1991).

Thog's Masterclass. Visual Imagery Dept. 'O'Malley had a face like an inflated punctuation mark.' (Joel Goldman, Motion to Kill, 2002)

 


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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