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05.03.02

To London on 25 April for the glittering, star-studded Gollancz publishing party, held on the very day that my latest book appeared from Gollancz! Knowing them to be a laid-back outfit, I was unamazed by the absence of copies, promotion or even mention of any new Gollancz title… (There were, to be fair, a very few classic reissues on a very small table.)

Ian McEwan conveys that finding inspiration is far tougher for Real Writers like himself than for, say, Kim Stanley Robinson. '… Where does it come from? You have to dig fairly deeply and relax your control of it, unless you're a genre writer and can say, "I'm going to write about the colonization of Mars."' (New York Times, 23 April)

Nebula Awards presented on 27 April:

  Novel The Quantum Rose, Catherine Asaro
  Novella 'The Ultimate Earth', Jack Williamson
  Novelette 'Louise's Ghost', Kelly Link
  Short 'The Cure for Everything', Saverna Park
  Script Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  A special President's Award went to Betty Ballantine for services to sf publishing.

Amazon Mystery. Authors of fantasies on sale at Amazon.com have noticed a rash of oddly similar customer reviews that rubbish their work and instead recommend, say, George R.R.Martin, Robert Jordan, and Robert Stanek. The number of Big Name commendations varies, but not the plug for self-published author Robert Stanek. Who could possibly be posting these reviews (many since removed by Amazon) under a variety of names? It is a mystery, but Ansible is reminded of how Lionel Fanthorpe's pseudonyms would refer in their sf to those great classic masters of the genre, Verne, Wells and Fanthorpe.

R.I.P. Richard Cowper (1926-2002), author of the Corlay trilogy and other lyrical, very English sf, died on 29 April. In real life he was John Middleton Murry Jr, son of the noted critic, and published two memorable volumes of autobiography as Colin Middleton Murry. His wife Ruth Murry had died late in March. George Alec Effinger (1947-2002), talented US author who attracted much attention with his first novel What Entropy Means to Me (1972), and won both Hugo and Nebula awards with 'Schrödinger's Kitten' (1988), died on 27 April. His life had been plagued with health problems and vast medical bills. Mary Scott, London-based 'literary' author who frequently strayed into sf and was a 1993 BSFA guest speaker, died from cancer on 23 April; she was 54.

Gordon Van Gelder of F&SF was alarmed by a Michigan government website story: 'Governor Appoints Gordon Van Gelder to Michigan Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Commission'. Who'd have thought that there could be more than one Gordon Van Gelder?

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Introspection. '"Impossible to see, the future is," the small Jedi Master replied, his great orbs still looking inward.' (R.A. Salvatore, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002) It is suspected that Yoda is here trying to read his own mind.

 


Congratulations, Dave, on two new Hugo nominations!

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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