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Another great copyediting moment: struggling with proofs of my reference-book essay on Robert Holdstock, I found 'ley line' carefully corrected to 'lea line'. A Google search to confirm that the former spelling is internationally used in woo-woo circles also revealed that Lea Line is in fact … a breed of potbellied pig. 'Oh God,' said Mr Holdstock when told about this new resonance of his Celtic boar imagery. Meanwhile —

Peter Nicholls, co-editor of The Encyclopedia of SF, is heading for media fame in his native Australia thanks to the hour-long TV documentary The What If Man: The Science Fictional Life of Peter Nicholls. Premiere on 19 July in Melbourne; further screenings at Melbourne Film Festival (July/August) and on Aussie national TV (SBS Network).

As Others See Us. The New Yorker (17 June) ran a merry article on the hobby of its retired editor Gardner Botsford, who collects books so specialized that 'they have an audience of three.' These laughably bizarre titles include Haikus for Jews, Creative Insomnia, Successful Fund Raising Sermons, Refrigeration in America, Knitting With Dog Hair and, alas, The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum.

Mike Moorcock is feeling frivolous: 'For fun, I've written to Del Rey about the new David Gemmell books — the title of the first of three is The White Wolf. Since he's already done Ravenheart ('Ravenbrand' was the title of the last Elric in Interzone) and Stormrider, I suggested that the as yet untitled books in his series be called Bin of the Black Sword and Weed of the White Wolf… He might as well go all the way.'

M.J. 'Simo' Simpson reports from the Douglas Adams biographical workbench: 'Have just finished first draft of Hitchhiker and it's a mere 48,000 words over my contracted wordcount. I believe I can reduce this to an acceptable level by deleting "actually" and "sort of" from all the Adams quotes.'

Simon R. Green has been fearfully slighted in some space-opera magazine feature that I haven't seen but apparently wrote: 'I read the entire SFX Deep Space special, and Not One Word about the best-selling Deathstalker books! I shall take umbrage. Twice daily, in water.' Oh dear, the SFX editor must have cut my fulsome eulogy to the series in which I die horribly.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of True Romance. 'She leaned over, her breasts wallowing on his chest, and began to larrup his time-smoothed stump with her slightly swollen tongue.' (Paul Di Filippo, 'A Mouthful of Tongues')


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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