17 May 2013 Gosh, I have a story in the impressive volume below. It's the Russian version of Mike Ashley's The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures.
8 May 2013 Avram Davidson's bizarrely erudite (and sometime arguably bonkers) essays on the possible (if rarely probable) roots of myth and legend are collected in the 1993 small-press volume Adventures in Unhistory, a great favourite of mine. There seemed no hope of any further enchantment in this vein, but a long-lost 1981 "Adventure" typescript has come to light and was published today to mark the twentieth anniversary of the author's death. I devoured my review copy with ill-concealed glee. The very Davidsonian title is The Wailing of the Gaulish Dead; Eileen Gunn contributes a brief but perfect introduction.
17 April 2013 I remembered to check the Sunday Telegraph for 14 April and confirmed that this contained my latest batch of reviews almost too small to be seen with the naked eye (more or less uncut, although the summary of The Rapture of the Nerds has suffered a bit; no link because it doesn't yet seem to have reached the Telegraph website). Of the wall-to-wall Thatcher eulogies filling the rest of the paper, I will only say: Gorblimey.
10 April 2013 Yes, it's my birthday, and one of those big ominous ones too. Thanks for all messages of greeting and/or gloating. The most utterly unexpected was a piece in Monday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – tucked away behind a paywall, but Hannes Riffel sent this PDF (which Google Translate doesn't render very well). Gosh.
2 April 2013 Ansible 309, the April issue, is delayed by illness (mostly mine, but Hazel isn't well either). Sorry.
30 March 2013 I continue not to be at Eastercon (it's a lovely day here in Reading and I feel too bloody awful to go out and enjoy it) but will be there in spirit for the Bad Death [Scenes] Awards at 7pm Saturday evening – see official programme schedule. Those unlucky enough to attend should hear some redolent lines and passages from the Thog Files, supplied by special request....
26 March 2013 Being in the grip of various bodily unpleasantnesses – none apparently life-threatening – I've cancelled all travel plans and am staying home trying to keep warm while reading genre books for an imminent review deadline. SF Encyclopedia updates are mostly on hold, and today I'm missing long-planned revelry with brother Jon in South Wales. It's just as well I'd decided (for reasons of private personal caprice) to skip Eastercon, or still more prepaid travel bookings would be going to waste.
1 March 2013 St David's Day, and the daffodils are in bloom elsewhere in Reading but not in our miserable garden. Hazel and I celebrated the occasion with tasteful pies at Sweeney & Todd's in Castle Street before stuffing envelopes with the print edition of Ansible 308 – whose Bunny Cat cartoon is, Brad Foster explains, a special "Easter-ish tie-in". Clearly I have underestimated the depth of our artist's religious feelings.
11 February 2013 For anyone not utterly bored with the saga of the Langford eyesight: those computer-monitor-only glasses arrived last week and are helping a lot. Like so many others, I couldn't resist playing with the PULP-O-MIZER Pulp Magazine Cover Generator. Alas, only preset "magazine titles" are allowed – no custom choices like Unbelievable ANSIBLE Stories:
1 February 2013 I'm struggling with the expensive new glasses, and awaiting a second (not so expensive) pair exclusively for working at the computer screen, which continues to be a pain. I wonder how many typos there still are in today's Ansible 307?
24 January 2013 Oops. Later on 21 January I was too knackered from SF Encyclopedia editing and site updating to gloat below that this mighty enterprise had passed four million words – as recorded in my news note and Graham Sleight's official blog post.
15 January 2013 Early in the New Year the eye surgeons decided I didn't need the expected further operation, at least for another twelve months. At last, after tiresome blurriness in my right eye ever since late January 2012, the problem could be transferred to the opticians. Who demanded the most staggeringly enormous sum I've ever paid for new glasses: these are now awaited with fear and trembling. Let's hope they work.
1 January 2013 What, already? Far too busy here for any kind of inspirational New Year message, but good wishes to anyone who sees this. The January Ansible, which must in any case wait until the printers open again on Thursday, may well be delayed further than that. So it goes.
21 December 2012 Herewith "A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy's Day, Being The Shortest Day". Cheer up, John Donne, it isn't the end of the world!
7 December 2012 Though not wanting to be pushy about self-promotion, anyone who's tempted by the Algis Budrys collection Benchmarks Continued: F&SF "Books" Columns 1975-1982 should know that (as I learned only this morning), Lulu.com is offering a 20% discount on all orders until 14 December. Details here while the offer lasts.
3 December 2012 Here is yesterday's Sunday Telegraph sf column. Quotes cut from the hobbit book description, just before my closing two words: "Isengard is the Monsanto of Middle-earth" while the Lockholes are "the Guantanamo of Hobbiton". Later: here's Ansible 305. The horror is over ... until the New Year.
30 November 2012 Now at last it can be announced. Benchmarks Continued: F&SF "Books" Columns 1975-1982 by Algis Budrys, published by Ansible Editions, is available via Lulu.com. Click Preview on the Lulu page for a glimpse inside.
27 November 2012 Censored again! As with the Lavie Tidhar micro-review (see 2 October), the Telegraph wouldn't run this one. Apparently their crime reviewer has first dibs on supernatural thrillers: "I Remember You (Hodder £13.99) by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, a police-procedural ghost story of lost children, deep-freezes us with supernatural dread in Icelandic winter. A hapless trio stranded in a haunted village and a bereaved psychologist investigator all seem innocent victims, until the emerging back-story reveals a nasty web of guilt and complicity. It bites, like frost."
17 November 2012 I've been so busy (pushing the SF Encyclopedia text past 3.8 million words and now working on another Sunday Telegraph column) and otherwise distracted (Novacon 42, where I fell down a manhole to comical but painful effect) that I neglected to post some links. My Hugo Award from Chicon has arrived – see gloating photograph here – and my and Greg Pickersgill's Algis Budrys book project is nearing actual publication, with contracts signed, proof copies admired and web pages under construction.
2 November 2012 Since my last post here I've dealt with my 193rd Interzone news round-up, my 230th column for SFX, Ansible 304 (the November 2012 issue, published yesterday), and much SF Encyclopedia copyediting and site updating: this enterprise is now very close to 3.8 million words. And now for something completely different: cartoonist Mike Giblin was inspired, if that's the word, by my grotty old SFX photo to create the caricature below. Langford: "I daren't let my wife see, or she'll say 'That DOES IT. You start on that diet RIGHT NOW!'" Giblin: "Haha, you're welcome David – but that's a granite, Bruce Wayne-esque jaw I've given you there! Very heroic!" I'm trying hard, indeed with granite hardness, to see it that way ...
2 October 2012 I'd really hoped to publish Ansible 303 on the first of the month, but time and chance and the SF Encyclopedia all conspired against this. Shock horror censorship! The batch of micro-reviews I sent to the Sunday Telegraph last week (they should appear on 7 October) originally included the following, which was vetoed: "The world of Lavie Tidhar's Osama (Solaris £7.99) isn't ours. Terrorism is unknown: 'Osama bin Laden, Vigilante' exists only in rubbishy thrillers. Our private eye hero, hired to trace the books' author through an evocatively described alternate Paris and London, is haunted by not-quite-real people and the oblique oppression of our own reality. A remarkable performance." I thought this first mass-market appearance of a notable work from the small-press PS Publishing deserved mention; but the ST had run a review of the PS edition last year and that was that. Well, I tried.
22 September 2012 For the first time in recorded history, the vine in our back garden has produced grapes. Can such things be?
3 September 2012 It seems a long time since I woke to news of a Hugo Award – shared this time, between the editors of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction for Best Related Work. See the full list of winners at Locus Online. Glad to see Jo Walton's Among Others follow up its novel Nebula with the novel Hugo, not only because it amazed me by including a fervent plug for Ansible. Speaking of which ... yes, I'm working on the September issue now. But first I have to deliver an Interzone news column. SFX column deadline follows imminently. No rest for the wicked. Later: here's the promised Ansible 302.
31 August 2012 To Harry Harrison's funeral and wake in Brighton, a sad, exhilarating and hugely alcoholic occasion. I'll be saying a bit more about this in Ansible on 3 September. Here's Harry's colourful coffin – papered with world maps – being carried from camper-van (no hearse for him) to chapel.
28 August 2012 Another gap: what have I been doing rather than entertain the dozens if not smaller numbers who read this page? Going mad over the SF Encyclopedia; mourning Harry Harrison; reading for the Sunday Telegraph column; writing said column; groaning over the savagely cut version of the latter that appeared on 26 August, although the ST website does at least restore the deleted word that was the subject of a sentence; and did I mention going mad over the SF Encyclopedia? The latter has been updated with various jolly enhancements and today surged past 3.7 million words: see the pretty bar charts! Now I'm working on an SFX column about Harry and hope to have it finished before his funeral and wake; meanwhile, the editor of Interzone has begun to make noises about a new "Ansible Link" column deadline which I would much rather defer until the Worldcon is over and we can report the Hugos.... All just routine, then. Tales of ordinary madness. But about the Encyclopedia seriously am I going mad.
7 August 2012 Chris Nelson-Lee sent this glimpse into the future – from "Sports of Tomorrow" in Planet Comics #42, May 1946 – as a possible Ansible header, but it doesn't shrink well for the print edition's miserable 1.24"-square art slot. Love that futuristic keyboard ...
1 August 2012 Here's Ansible 301. And here from July is little brother in the utterly prestigious South Wales Argus. Which also reviewed his book earlier in the year, with a mention of me (touches forelock in humble gratitude).
12 July 2012 Oops, I failed to acquire the 8 July Sunday Telegraph in order to gloat over my tiny sf review feature in its Seven magazine and send a copy to my mother. The piece has now appeared online, but can anyone oblige with the printed Seven or just a scan of that page? Links that I forgot or was too busy to post here earlier: Lightspeed magazine reissued my short "Different Kinds of Darkness" this May, accompanied by a brief interview about the Langford Mind-Erasing Fractal Basilisks. Peter Nicholls was interviewed about the history of the SF Encyclopedia and said embarrassingly nice things about me. Nick Parisi reports that the Italian edition of Year's Best SF 16 (ed. Hartwell and Cramer) has been retitled Graffiti Nella Biblioteca Di Babele – being the translated title of my own included story. So I'm big in Italy, though not big enough for a front-cover credit.
4 July 2012 In June (as already noted) we went to a reunion gathering of the long-defunct Pieria writers' group, hosted by Kevin and Diana Smith. Now Kevin has put up a blog post about that day, with terrifying retro photographs. [Later: another past Pieria account from 1976.]
24 June 2012 Another long gap. Huge SF Encyclopedia pressures; a happy visit to my dear mother in South Wales and another to Woking for a jolly splendid reunion of the Pieria writers' workshop that long ago teached I to write real good; and stark panic over the review feature to be delivered to the Telegraph tomorrow. Now I pause for breath and to share an instructive example from yesterday's Independent business pages – showing the need to crop one's photos carefully or set the intended transparent background, I'm not quite sure which:
9 June 2012 Very annoyingly, the SF Encyclopedia site (together with Gollancz's associated Gateway) has been down since shortly after 9am today. No IT staff available since it's a weekend ... This is what happens when you entrust your precious work to the web servers at some potty little backstreet operation called Hachette. Later: Back on line around 5:24pm. Scheduled maintenance on Gateway, it turns out. They forgot that this also takes down the SFE (same server) and so neglected to tell us.
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