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Rush! Panic! Worldcon! Toronto! Argh! Fortunately our star Toilet Reporter is filling in for me this week:

Diana Wynne Jones reports fundamental flaws at the Edinburgh Book Festival: `Not only did they seem to have little but Gaelic poetry in the bookshop tent, but they also had an insane arrangement whereby the author's loo (a specially provided Portaloo) was kept permanently locked. If you needed to go, you were supposed to go to a stone faced lady in boots and ask for the key. Then, provided you could PROVE you were an author, she grudgingly dispensed the key, with strict orders to bring it straight back afterwards. And -- here was the cunning bit -- there was no way of finding this out. I ran into this difficulty after having done two sessions and two signings and got -- as one does -- quite anxious for a loo. Having rattled unavailingly at the door of the thing, I was standing wondering if I could make it back to the hotel and risk an accident on the way, when a tiny Scottish lady -- she had waist length white hair and was wrapped in a black crochet shawl -- seemed to sense my problem. She stood opposite the nearest tent and screamed repeatedly into it, "This wumman needs the toilet!" And when, finally, a bored man grudgingly emerged, she positively shrieked, pointing wildly in my direction, "THAT WUMMAN THERE" A small crowd gathered as the bored man came up to me and explained the arrangement. When I looked round for the tiny lady, she had vanished. Hm. Yes, I did get to the loo in the end. But I don't think I want to take part in this event again.'

R.I.P. Gordon Creighton (1908-2003), UK diplomat, civil servant, and editor of Flying Saucer Review, died on 16 July aged 95. He saw his first UFO in 1941, became a contributor to the magazine in 1955, and took over as editor in 1982. James Hale (?1946-2003), the UK editor and literary agent who notoriously `discovered' Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory on the Macmillan slushpile, died on 14 August aged 57. Iain always insisted on Hale as his freelance editor even when they'd both left Macmillan. See Guardian obituary.

That Toronto Worldcon Again. Looking through the complete member list in Progress Report 6 led me to marvel at the database software which places one group of obvious lowlifes at the very end of the Attending Adult list, immediately following the Zs:

Freas, Frank Kelly
Freas, Laura Brodian
Glyer, Diana
Glyer, Mike
Martin, George RR
McBride, Parris
Robinson, Jeanne
Robinson, Spider

My guess is that they are connected in some way....

As Others See Us. John D.MacDonald, writing about his own sf novels, was an early adopter of our favourite distancing technique: `They are both more accurately categorized as science fantasy than as science fiction, in that they are neither space-adventure, nor mad-scientist, nor doom-machine epics.' (1968 afterword to Ballroom of the Skies)

Thog's Masterclass. Eyeballs in the Sky Dept. `Her jolly brown eyes made a complete circuit round my head, instead of looking at me straight when she answered.' (E.F. Benson, `Home, Sweet Home', 1927)


He Do the Time Police in Different VoicesDavid Langford is an author and a gentleman. His newsletter, Ansible, is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. His most recent books are Different Kinds of Darkness, a new short-story collection of horror, SF, and fantasy, Up Through an Empty House of Stars: Reviews and Essays 1980-2002, 100 pieces of Langfordian genre commentary, and He Do the Time Police in Different Voices, a short-story collection that brings together, all of Dave's SF parodies and pastiches. (This is a scary thought. Are you ready to laugh that hard?)

Dave 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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