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A nasty accident happened to the issue of Ansible sent to the e-mail list on 1 June. According to Paul Melko, 'You'll probably be tickled to know that Ansible 179 did not reach anyone at who had their spam filters activated. The combination of three phrases within 179 ("i am" & "million" & "transfer") activated our deflector screens. I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't store my spam for later perusal. Perhaps next month you can figure out another three glyphs that will purge your newsletter.'

So now I have a tasty letter to Ansible which I can't publish without the July issue being identified by as Nigerian-swindle spam and so denied to my legions of readers there (18, apparently). What to do?

Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen may not be entirely recognizable in the proposed live-action film version. Screenwriter James Robinson grumbles that this alternate-Victorian X-Men team comprises two psychopaths (Jekyll/Hyde, the Invisible Man), a drug addict (Allan Quatermain), and 'a sort of sexually ambivalent vampire girl' (Mina Harker from Dracula), leaving only Captain Nemo (who seemed fairly psychopathic to me) to engage our sympathies. Therefore, that nice all-American boy Tom Sawyer must be added … while of course the arch-villain Dr Fu-Manchu gets the chop as a 'potentially volatile racial stereotype.' Oh dearie me.

Greg Egan provides a vital correction to his novel Diaspora, whose 17th chapter laughably refers to 'Poincaré's rotational "pole" — the two-dimensional sphere on the hypersurface that stayed fixed in space as the star rotated.' The author's website warns that this is in fact an unlikely situation in 5-dimensional space, and that it's more probable that there would be 'two single-point rotational poles, as in 3 dimensions.' Thog's Higher Mathematical Masterclass is deprived of its prey…

As Others See Us. On The Time Machine: 'Now here's an idea for a time-travel film: H.G. Wells himself visits the future, sees what a dead end science fiction is headed into, and decides to stick to novels like Kipps and Tono-Bungay.' (Jonathan Romney, Independent on Sunday newspaper, 2 June)

Thog's Masterclass. 'Her brother's twitching eyes and bared buck teeth gave him the look of a gopher on pure crystal meth, capable of anything, one way or the other.' (S.M. Stirling, Island in the Sea of Time, 1998) 'When he spoke again he could barely suppress a yodel of irritation.' (Ian McEwan, The Innocent, 1990)


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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