2003 Log

21 Dec 2003 Merry Solstice to all. I'm feeling a bit knackered, at least in the right hand and arm, after signing some 1,000 sheets for The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases. Don't hold your breath for the official signed edition: after me (ninth in the list for this batch), the vast wad of paper has seven further journeys to make, via Scotland, Switzerland and Australia, before it comes to rest in Portland, OR....

6 Dec 2003 A month of feeling mysteriously low (seasonally disaffected?), but with the coming of December I've managed to start work on a batch of reference book essays....

5 Nov 2003 I've been dithering about attending Novacon on the coming weekend (life has been really complicated of late) but it looks as though I'd better go, because Rog Peyton has announced a Langford signing at his Replay Books stand -- for, principally, He Do the Time Police in Different Voices and Up Through an Empty House of Stars. [Later: been there, done that.]

18 Oct 2003 At last: after much scanning, proofreading, and fretting about story choices, I've delivered the retrospective collection of my "straight" fiction to Cosmos Books. Inevitably it's titled Different Kinds of Darkness for the solitary Hugo-winner. There are 36 stories in all, from 1975 to 2003, and absolutely no overlap with the parody/pastiche collection He Do the Time Police in Different Voices.

15 Oct 2003 Early reviews of The Thackery T. Lambshead Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases can be found via a links page at Night Shade Books. With 65 contributors, some very famous indeed, I didn't expect a namecheck in any review of practicable length and so am extremely pleased by the Locus notice.

28 Sep 2003 James Sallis writes about John Sladek in today's Boston Globe, mentioning me and Maps.

16 September 2003 For anyone wondering what my brother-in-law (Hazel's brother) Andy does these days, here's an article about him.

12 Sep 2003 SFX magazine insisted that I photograph the new Hugo, so here it is.

10 Sep 2003 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: at the Toronto Worldcon I spent enjoyable hours with lots of old and new friends, survived my solo programme item, and carried off a Hugo of particularly classy design (gold plated, too, for the 50th anniversary of the first Hugo presentation). But ... one hour before presenting Thog's Masterclass on the Friday of Torcon, I called home and learned that my mother-in-law Jean Salter -- a keen sf reader -- had died unexpectedly on Thursday. Oh damn. Apologies to those who found me intermittently glum and uncommunicative at the Worldcon. The funeral was on 8 September, by which time I had developed a filthy cold. This continues....

27 Aug 2003 Excitement mounts as the World SF Convention in Toronto gets terrifyingly imminent. Let me assure fans of Thog's Masterclass (see Ansible) that my Live Thog Presentation on Friday evening is pretty much the same as delivered at past British and US cons (and the 1999 Australian worldcon), though the selection of appalling quotes has been slightly updated again.

14 Aug 2003 I never really believe a Langford book is available until I have copies in my hot sticky hands: this week two came along at once, reissues of The Leaky Establishment from Cosmos and of the long out-of-print Earthdoom! (with John Grant) from BeWrite. Sorry about the big gap since mid-July: I've been knocked out by the English heatwave and failing to update this page. This, to the eternal amusement of Americans, is the land where 100 miles is a long distance and 100 degrees Fahrenheit a staggeringly high temperature.

15 Jul 2003 A bit of good cheer: the first Ansible E-ditions title, John Sladek's Wholly Smokes, has enthusiastic reviews from Adam Roberts and Andy Sawyer at The Alien Online. Also my own Up Through an Empty House of Stars got a nice notice from Chris Hill in Vector 230.

10 Jul 2003 Another month, another book: I've delivered a new typesetting of The Leaky Establishment to Cosmos Books, for what will be its fourth edition -- with spiffy cover artwork painted by Geo Parkin to illustrate this novel for the souvenir book of the 1987 World SF Convention in Brighton.

18 Jun 2003 Another lapse -- I spent some time away in North Wales, as is my wont. The expanded Langford sf parody collection is now available: He Do the Time Police in Different Voices. Meanwhile I've signed up to write many entries for Gary Westfahl's The Encyclopedia of Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Greenwood Press) and a few for F. Brett Cox's 20th Century American Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers.

3 Jun 2003 A last, a small batch of site updates! Thanks to an Ansible E-ditions co-publishing deal with Cosmos, I am also gloating over real printed copies of the first Ansible E-ditions titles, John Sladek's novella Wholly Smokes and David Masson's collection The Caltraps of Time (now expanded to comprise his complete sf).

21 May 2003 Here's the June issue of SFX, with yet another cheering review.

18 May 2003 Gosh, what a weekend. Yesterday I cheered wildly as Chris Priest won the Clarke Award (including a £2003 cheque for The Separation; today I find I've been reviewed in the Washington Post....

10 May 2003 It's always a long, suspenseful wait for the first review of a new book, but electronic publishing brings us ever closer to instant gratification, and Adam Roberts has done me proud in The Alien Online: I'm stunned by his generosity.

23 Apr 2003 Now recovering from various excitements like the UK Eastercon.... Just before Easter, I received the latest Hugo shortlist with nominations for me as fan writer and Ansible (for the first time ever) as semiprozine. A highlight of the convention itself was winning a BSFA Award, nonfiction category, for my introduction to Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek. And, gosh wow, the day after returning home I found myself on the Japanese Seiun Award shortlist for the translation of "Different Kinds of Darkness"....

12 Apr 2003 The terrifyingly significant birthday is past, my electronic typesetting of John Sladek's novella Wholly Smokes (see Ansible E-ditions) should be with Cosmos Books for their sublicensed print edition, and John Grant (Paul Barnett) and I are working cheerfully with BeWrite to finalize the cover and blurb for their reissue of our Earthdoom!, out of print since 1987 or so. Meanwhile, I hope to meet lots of the usual suspects at the UK Eastercon in Hinckley next weekend!

Apr 2003 I have one of those Significant Birthdays with terrifyingly round numbers this month. Don't ask.... A long-delayed publication: the E-reads trade paperback of The Space Eater is available after inhabiting a mysterious limbo since its expected appearance in mid-2001.

31 Mar 2003 It's out, at least in Cosmos hardback via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk: Up Through an Empty House of Stars, my Big Critical Book of 100 previously uncollected sf/fantasy/etc essays and reviews from 1980 to 2002. The trade paperback is also listed but isn't officially available until November. And E-reads has reportedly published -- after years of delay -- the POD reissue of The Space Eater! More when this is confirmed....

16 Mar 2003 Good old Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek has picked up another nice review, at Infinity Plus.

12 March 2003 For several months, Chris Priest and I have been planning a modest venture into e-book publishing -- much delayed by our other distractions, but now visible on line as Ansible E-ditions at http://ae.ansible.co.uk/. Feedback nervously welcomed....

8 March 2003 A sad lack of updates for several weeks while I toiled at various grandiose schemes like Ansible E-ditions and a new story collection -- He Do The Time Police In Different Voices, now in the pipeline at Cosmos Books. The latter expands my 1988 sf/fantasy parody collection (The Dragonhiker's Guide ...) to well over twice the length with extra material.

4 February 2003 To celebrate its BSFA award nomination, my introduction to Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek is now readable on line at the Big Engine website, at least until Easter. Gwyneth Jones writes: "I thought your intro was masterly -- a perfect trailer."

1 Feb 2003 January was rather a complicated month, with my publishers behaving strangely even by the elastic definition of normal behaviour which writers have learned to apply to the publishing business. The brief version is that, rather than writing a book for a substantial advance as expected (and as frantically researched) since mid-November, I'm being paid a merely large fee not to write the book. Good news, though: my introduction to Maps: The Uncollected John Sladek is shortlisted for the BSFA Award in the new "Best Related Publication" category.

Jan 2003 A happy 2003 to all of you!