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Big Engine, my favourite British small press, has sadly run out of steam. Ben Jeapes, founder and proprietor, explains:

'I'm sorry to break the sad news that Big Engine is going down. * I'm seeking insolvency as the response to two stages of reasoning. (1) BE is running out of capital and won't be able to keep going as it is. This is not insuperable, and it could be overcome with reinvestment and a renewed spurt of time and energy on my part. But this brings me to (2), which is that I don't really want to reinvest. Over the last couple of years I've had to accept that my strengths are as a writer, not as a businessman. I base this on the facts that my writing has (a) been more enjoyable and (b) paid me more than Big Engine since I started in 2000. I would feel awkward seeking reinvestment as I couldn't put my hand on my heart and say I would do the best that could be done with the money. So, best not to. * All the contracted authors have been informed; all the authors who have manuscripts in with me will be (apologies to those who read this first). This also means that 3SF will be suspended, at least pro tem. The ideal situation would be to find someone who will take on the books and/or the magazine. I'm putting out feelers but would welcome suggestions to'

David A. Hardy, famous Brit sf and space artist, has now set his mark on the skies: 'Just heard that an asteroid has been named after me. (13329) Davidhardy = 1998 SB32 ... Discovered 20 September 1998 by Spacewatch at Kitt Peak.'

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is to receive the 2003 World Horror Convention Grand Master Award at the event itself, later this month.

Diana Wynne Jones was subjected to ruthless house style when attempting to promote her new The Merlin Conspiracy: 'Publicity for this book seems to involve being photographed an unusual number of times — usually the same local photographer appearing with a different hat on and a different book of rules. Did you know that the Daily Mail insists that all women have to be photographed in a skirt? And not in black. I had to buy a skirt.'

Sapient Pearwood. A Pratchettian moment was spotted in a press release on safety testing from the snappily titled European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardization: 'In one test, the luggage itself broke into the passenger compartment, potentially threatening other occupants.'

Paul Barnett resigned his art-editorial position with Paper Tiger in order to spend more time being John Grant and writing actual books.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Classic Metaphor. 'We are between the wild thoat of certainty and the mad zitidar of fact — we can escape neither.' (Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Gods of Mars, 1918)


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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