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What is the late November doing / With the disturbance of the spring? Answers on a postcard to East Coker, please; and meanwhile, the news ...

British Fantasy Awards announced at Fantasycon on 23 November:

  Novel (August Derleth Award) China Miéville, The Scar

  Anthology Stephen Jones, ed., Keep Out the Night

  Collection Ramsey Campbell, Ramsey Campbell, Probably: On Horror and Sundry Fantasies

  Short Mark Chadbourn, The Fairy-Feller's Master Stroke

  Small Press PS Publishing (Peter Crowther).

  Artist Les Edwards (aka Edward Miller).

  Special (Karl Edward Wagner Award) Alan Garner.

A.R.R.R.R. Roberts, the impenetrable pseudonym under which Gollancz published their Tolkien parody The Soddit, is apparently not unrelated to the authors of the similarly packaged Matrix spoof: The Robertski Brothers. But when The Soddit peaked at #8 on the Independent's hardback fiction bestseller list (7 November), the author was given as 'Robert Adams'. Has the late author of the Horseclans sf series risen from the grave? 'Nope; that was a spontaneous typo by the Indie, bless 'em,' writes our special parody correspondent Adam Roberts.

As Others See Us. Doctor Who books editor Justin Richards, interviewed at, makes it all clear: 'Doctor Who is not science fiction, or at least it isn't "just" science fiction. It's broader and more interesting than that. We're in the business of telling stories, we're after plot as a major ingredient alongside situation and character.' Advanced literary notions that could never have occurred to mere sf writers.

Neal Asher insists that his alien 'tors' and 'torbeasts' (in Cowl, forthcoming) were invented long before he'd heard of his present British and American publishers, the ones so many people thought Torcon was named after.

R.I.P. David J. Stern (1909-2003), author of the 1940s 'Francis the Talking Mule' books which became a 1950s film series, died on 22 November aged 94. Embarrassingly, the Encyclopedia of Fantasy gives his death date as 1971.    Kellie Suzanne Waymire (1967-2003), US television actress who played Ensign Elizabeth Cutler in Star Trek: Enterprise and also appeared in ST: Voyager, died on 13 November; she was only 36.

The Immortal Teacup. I couldn't possibly comment on recent upheavals in the fan club 'Six of One' (inspired by the cult TV series The Prisoner), but there is a certain grisly fascination in this partisan site:

Thog's Masterclass. Life in Ancient Mu Dept. 'Enormous birds as large as modern air liners were worshipped as symbols of the Old Ones. [...] Elephants and mastodons grew to a size that rivalled that of the dinosaurs of an earlier age. And in the sky hung an enormous moon, bluey white in colour, that counteracted the earth's gravity and caused the tremendous growth of all the living creatures of Mu.' (Colin Wilson, The Philosopher's Stone, 1969)


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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