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Ansible is delighted to have made it into 2002 and at last left behind the Year of Obligatory Mentions of Arthur C. Clarke—oh damn, another one slipped in....

Harlan Ellison reckons his sf awards 'pale into insignificance before the singular fact that I am the author of the longest running serial in the history of science fiction. It's been going since 1956....' The latest episode of !Nissassa appears in the Nov 2001 issue of Lee Hoffman's fanzine Science-Fiction Five-Yearly, founded 1951.

The Hubbard Award was announced as a special 2002 Worldcon Hugo rewarding 'outstanding achievement in presenting science fictional concepts as fact to the general public', to be given to Whitley Strieber for unforgettably linking the phrase 'alien contact' with 'rectal probe' and so setting back the SETI movement by fifty years. Yes, it's all a joke from a satirical website; but the Hugo administrators were still alarmed by e-mail requesting seat reservations for the Hubbard presentation. Next, Retro Hubbards for past egregiousness?

R.I.P. Dan DeCarlo (1919-2001), the Archie Comics cartoonist who created Sabrina the Teenage Witch, died on 18 December aged 82. * Jack C.Haldeman II (1941-2002), sf author since 1971, Joe Haldeman's elder brother, and a popular figure in US fandom as 'Jay Haldeman', died on 1 January from complications of kidney cancer after entering a hospice on 30 December. He was only 60 and is much missed. His most recent novel was High Steel (1993), written with Jack Dann; they were working on a sequel. * Nigel Hawthorne (1929-2001), UK actor best known as Sir Humphrey in BBC-TV's Yes, Minister, died on 25 December; he was 72. His sf movie credits include the Judge Dredd clone Demolition Man (1993) and the film of Doris Lessing's Memoirs of a Survivor (1981). He also had voice roles in Watership Down (1978), The Black Cauldron (1985), and Tarzan (1999).

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Nose Jobs. 'A thick branch crashed through the tunnel, just missing Filidor's nose, and he carefully sliced it away before resuming his slow upward progress.' (Matthew Hughes, Fools Errant, 1994)


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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