Fifty episodes of The Runcible Ansible! The virtual champagne is flowing
into the virtual glasses here, and as we drink a virtual toast we encourage you
to support the Infinite Matrix Fundfest before Eileen is reduced to
rewarding her columnists with virtual money.
As Others See Us. When the BBC acquired Steven Spielberg's new sf
series Taken (dealing with 'extra-terrestrial experiences' in the form
of good old alien abductions), their head of programme acquisition Sophie Turner
Laing was quick to explain its staggering innovativeness, unheard-of in mere
science fiction: 'Taken is designed to have a wider appeal than just to
fans of sci-fi, as it tells the stories of individuals and their interactions
over many years.' (Independent, 23 October)
J.K. Rowling was the subject of deeply unexciting rumours that there
might be eight rather than seven books about Harry You-Know-Who. Besides the
five known titles (one still forthcoming), Warner turned out to have registered
three more as trademarks in 2000: HP and the Alchemist's Cell, HP
and the Chariots of Light, and HP and the Pyramids of Furmat. In
fact, according to the Publishers Lunch newsletter, 'The extra names
were all part of elaborate efforts to hide (and/or decide) the name of Goblet
of Fire before it was published.'
Harris (1930-2002), Oscar-nominated Irish actor who did little genre
work but played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, died from cancer
on 25 October; he was 72.
Judging by the Cover. A literary agent with a young female client
was reportedly asked by the publisher: 'Never mind the book. What does she look
like?' This led to UK speculation about Interzone boosting circulation
with a special swimsuit issue, while Liz Williams devised a cunning
plan: 'Fortuitously (or perhaps gratuitously), I have a namesake on the Web who
is a "fashion model" when last doing a vanity search for myself, I
discovered a picture of "Liz Williams", sporting waist-length blonde
hair and a leather thong. Since this is a look which I have not previously
considered adopting, I was thinking of emailing her and suggesting she
impersonate me at conventions
Forrest J.Ackerman's famous sf collection has been largely dispersed
to pay medical and other bills. Its home, the 18-room 'Ackermansion', was sold,
and Forry has moved (with a few cherished treasures) to a more convenient
bungalow: see Bjo Trimble's website
for details and photos.
Twenty Years Ago. D.M. Thomas confessed all to
Esquire. 'When you write the book, it's a virgin. Then when it sells, it
loses its virginity. It's the off-white hotel now
' (Ansible 30,
Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Colourful Prose. 'There were
pinkish streaks among the rock, and it seemed that the chromatic tint from the
atmosphere owed something to these. There were a number of white veins in the
rock, which bore some resemblance to marble, but the majority of it was grey. It
gave an over-all impression of greyness streaked with pink and white, rather
than an over-all impression of whiteness tinged with grey and pink, or an
over-all impression of pink streaked with grey and white.
the predominant shade; neither black nor white but something midway between the
' And so on, and on. ('Pel Torro', Galaxy 666, 1963)
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.