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More Ansible jottings — but first a word from our sponsor, the new, slimline, post-gangrene-surgery Mike Moorcock: 'RELICS! Now's your chance to own a part of MICHAEL MOORCOCK. Yes, friends, for the first time in literary history (not to mention church history) you can now buy an AUTHENTIC RELIC of a man The Sun once called "an author of rare goodness and sanity" and whom many already believe to be a saint. The author of Behold the Man and Johnny Lonesome Comes to Town, considered by many to have taken science fiction to the extreme, offers his extremities (beautifully preserved in Franklin Mint Formaldehyde) for only a few pounds (down payment). Each extremity is numbered and signed in blood by the AUTHOR HIMSELF and soon to be available on e-bay. In other words, the operation seems to have been successful.'

Harlan Ellison's anti-piracy action against AOL could well continue despite the apparent setback of an adverse judgement in March. My mention that the suit had failed was based on the supposedly authoritative 'BNA's Internet Law News (ILN)', whose account of the decision is hotly disputed by Ellison's lawyers. In his usual temperate style, the great man responded by blaming Christopher Priest's satanic influence on me and asking net-wired friends to 'find your e.way onto that Ansible site, whatever and wherever it is, and put a chokehold on their crowing, lest they have to eat those rotten eggs poached in their own perfidy.' Dearie me.

R.I.P. John R. Pierce (1910-2002), US engineer and writer who published sf as John Roberts and J.J. Coupling as well as under his own name, died on 2 April aged 92. As executive director of Bell Labs (1952-71) he was a key figure in the Telstar project, and always credited the inspiration of Arthur C. Clarke's 1945 Wireless World article on communications satellites.

As Others See Us. Not everyone, it seems, can clearly distinguish between sf and Scientology. 'Sandra Bernhard on Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz: "Leave the Spanish girl alone! Let her go home! Let the chick go! Don't fuck her mind with your mind-bending, scientific, science-fiction shit!"' (London Evening Standard free magazine Hot Tickets, 23-28 March)

Mike Moorcock sends a PS: 'The ad is a bit of a con. I only lost two toes… And actually they don't let you keep the bits. You have to sign an agreement that they will dispose of the bits as per normal. This wouldn't have happened in a free country.'

Thog's Masterclass. Highbrow Dept. 'Nordon dug out the ship's plans and located the approximate position from Jimmy's report. Then he whistled softly and his eyebrows climbed towards the ceiling.' (Arthur C. Clarke, The Sands of Mars, 1951)


David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant. His monthly SF newsletter, Ansible, is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. He lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards.

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