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The Lemony Snicket phenomenon rages unchecked in Britain: the Independent on Sunday newspaper's top ten hardback bestsellers for 4 August include all six volumes of 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' so far published here. Eoin Colfer's second Artemis Fowl novel takes up a seventh slot, leaving just three for the entirety of adult fiction and nonfiction. We live in strange times.

Jo Fletcher of Gollancz (London) had a gruelling bone graft operation in July, to rebuild part of her neck and spine that had collapsed as a result of her car crashes. This seems to have been a success. Fingers crossed.

Simon R.Green seems strangely proud of baffling his American copyeditor with the common English phrase 'Ripped to the tits on absinthe.'

Charles Sheffield has been diagnosed with a brain tumour; he and his wife Nancy Kress are skipping Worldcon; treatment begins almost immediately. (From Mike Resnick's mailing list, 6 August.)

More Awards. Mythopoeic: ADULT The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. CHILDREN'S The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson. SCHOLARSHIP/INKLINGS Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth ed. Verlyn Flieger & Carl Hostetter. SCHOLARSHIP/OTHER The Owl, the Raven & the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimms' Magic Fairy Tales by G.Ronald Murphy. British Fantasy Award novel nominees: Always Forever by Mark Chadbourn; The Night of the Triffids by Simon Clark; American Gods by Neil Sandman; Bold As Love by Gwyneth Jones; Smoking Poppy by Graham Joyce.

Robert Stanek's billions of devoted followers are still promoting him on-line in immensely subtle ways. A reader review of The Amber Spyglass at the Barnes & Noble site from 'Peter Nickels, Librarian' begins: 'In the grand tradition of CS Lewis, Robert Stanek, and JK Rowling, Phillip Pullman delivers another action packed installment in His Dark Materials. […] I compare this favorably to my current reading The Kingdoms & The Elves Of The Reaches by Robert Stanek.' The same Stanek-class novel is also reviewed by 'Wendy Brubaker, Assistant Teacher', with: 'Phillip Pullman is quickly beocoming my favorite author and while this isn't the best book in the series, it is good. Only two other authors I know of are this good: Robert Stanek and JK Rowling.' Thinks: do all Robert Stanek readers spell Philip Pullman's forename like that? [See Runcible Ansible 24]

Brian Aldiss's confession of his working methods in the Guardian newspaper provoked a helpful reader's letter: 'Brian Aldiss has three Apple Macs, so he can work on three books at once. If I showed him how to open three files on one machine, would he give me one of his redundant ones?'

Thog's Masterclass. Big Gulp Dept. 'Jennika flinched as if she had swallowed a thistle whole.' (Kevin J. Anderson, Hopscotch, 2002) Dept of Athletics. 'His stomach leaped with hunger.' (Megan Lindholm, The Wizard of the Pigeons, 1986)


David Langford is an author and a gentleman. His 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. He continues to add books and Hugos.

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