The Limbo Files:
Writing, Freelancing and the Amstrad PCW

Ebook edition published September 2016Ebook sales page

The Limbo Files -- 1st ed cover

The Limbo Files by David Langford collects all his columns on the horrors of the freelance life, written (with occasional duty mentions of the Amstrad PCW word processors which were the magazines' focus) for 8000 Plus, PCW Plus and PCW Today from 1986 to 2002.

David Langford says: "I had a huge amount of fun producing these columns over many years. Because writing and freelancing and general whimsy were allowed, The Limbo Files isn't littered with the kind of esoteric technocrat material which has made me a bit reluctant to promote The Apricot Files to readers in general. Sean Wallace of Wildside Press evidently agreed -- I planned to self-publish this one but Sean grabbed it for the Cosmos Books imprint which carries so much of the Langford backlist. So buy this book and make an aging author happy...."

  • Reviews
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Publisher: Rockville, MD, Cosmos Books
  • Format: Trade paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-8095-7324-0
  • Page Count: 188
  • Cover Design: Juha T. Lindroos
  • Cover price: $14.95.
  • Availability: Book Depository


"Dave Langford: Wit, slightly deaf person, raconteur and finest swordsman in all of Christendom." -- Terry Pratchett.

In 1985, when all the world was young and dot-matrix printers stalked the primeval swamps of computing, David Langford won his first Hugo Award and began to plan a long-running column for 8000 Plus magazine (later PCW Plus). This notoriously became the page readers turned to first.

The magazine was devoted to the Amstrad PCW, a bestselling home computer that pioneered affordable word processing in Britain. Langford's popular column used this official subject as a launch pad for witty coverage of life, the universe and everything.

Freelance writing and how to survive it; science fiction (especially that); secrets of editors, manuscripts, indexes, submission letters and padding; serious and spoof advice columns; parodies of Adventure games, legal proceedings, noir fiction and more; causes, scams and literary horror stories; timeless satire on shabby practice in the computer industry; awful "Thog's Masterclass" lines from SF ... Langford shows all the wit and skill that brought him 28 Hugo awards..


Martin McGrath, BSFA Focus, Summer 2009

... it isn't so much what Langford says in these columns that is most useful to the aspiring writer, but the way in which some of the columns will encourage authors to reflect on what they're writing and why.

These columns are also full of the warmth, charm and wit that anyone familiar with Langford's work in other areas (Ansible, SFX or his own fiction) will immediately recognise. And that makes Limbo Files, which might seem an esoteric, historical oddity of possible interest only to a narrow band of aging computer geeks, something more -- something that could offer insight to all writers.