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Let's not be afraid of the obvious. A happy (or at least reasonably runcible) 2003 to you all … with hopes that the Grim Reaper will take less interest in the sf community than in 2002. Cheers!

Emily Somma clarifies Great Ormond Street Hospital's attempts to block US publication of her Peter Pan sequel After the Rain (see Runcible #55): 'The reason why there is no issue in Canada is because the GOSH didn't apply for an extended copyright here for the 1904 play (Peter and Wendy). So, in Canada, all of Barrie's works (including the play) are public domain. In the US though, the GOSH has an extended copyright on the play until 2023. I think that by US copyright law, if my work was a similar expression to the play … which it's not … but if it were, the GOSH could ask for royalties. (And actually I did offer them royalties from the outset … not because I had to … but as a goodwill gesture.) Legally though, they can't block a publication, or order someone to "cease and desist" as they did to me because they felt (and expressed in writing) that my book created or creates unfair competition for them. I think I can tell you this, because this part is already out in the open.'

In Typo Veritas. Book Trade News Digest reported a financial coup on 13 December: 'Rare Harry Potter book sells for 000. / A woman who bought a Harry Potter book for 99 today sold it for 000 at auction.'

Jonathan Weir resigned as reviews editor on 18 November, to become marketing and publicity boss for the Voyager sf/fantasy imprint at HarperCollins UK. He replaces Susan Ford, who has left HC to work from home.

Joel C. Rosenberg, author of The Last Jihad (heavily promoted in the US in recent weeks) is not 'our' Joel Rosenberg, the sf and fantasy author. Who wrote: 'I know nothing about the book, but I do hope that it's good, and will do well, for both the obvious reasons, and the self-centered one that, perhaps, some of his readers will accidentally pick up my books.'

R.I.P. Kenneth Tobey (1919-2002), US actor who appeared in more than 100 films and played a lead role in the classic The Thing From Another World (1951), died on 22 December aged 83.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Arresting Simile. 'When he was yet a million miles away the bright ring of fire that marked its portal filled the sky in front of him, flexing and twisting like the devil's anus in spasms of immortal agony.' (Alan Glasser, The Demon Cosmos, 1978)


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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