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More chippings and sawdust from the Ansible workbench ...

Mike Moorcock feels cheery after unspecified surgery, or would if it weren't for an imminent movie release: 'I have, by the way, emerged from under the knife lighter and feistier. I have dropped the Gandalf hit plan and have decided to go and do the job myself. Or did he die in the end? I started skipping too soon, I suppose. Yep, I'll never know who bought Frodo's beautiful hole or whether they found his ring. The Lord of the Rings ballet at Covent Garden, done à la the all-male Swan Lake, should be good. I see Sauron in pastels.'

As Others See Us. The British media are still evolving strategies to deal with the vast popularity of Terry Pratchett without seeming too uncool. One national newspaper recently ran an appreciative review of Terry's The Truth which ended: 'a funny and curiously tender satire on the origins of journalism.' But the opening was: 'A good stiff drink should see you through this one. Failing that, give it to a Pratchett fan.' Perhaps a disapproving subeditor added that bit?

Big Numbers. I got quite excited about the royalty statement which announced that they'd shifted 3,931 'units' of my story 'Different Kinds of Darkness', downloadable for a trifling sum. Closer inspection of the figures indicated approximately 31 actual sales and 3,900 downloads from when they offered all this year's Hugo nominees as freebies. Oh well.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Astrogation. 'Captain Vandermeer, if you will please initiate a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree turn of the Washington, we'll begin the long journey home.' (Anne McCaffrey, The Tower and the Hive, 1999) Note also the cunning name placement by author Jeff VanderMeer.


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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