Monday, October 1, 2012

Ansible! Ansible!

Dave Langford is back! And better than ever!
John Wyndham is remembered by UK magazine hacks. 'According to new research from the University of Western Australia, maize plants may be communicating with each other by making clicking noises with their roots, an idea that John Wyndham had in his masterpiece The Day of the Triffids.' (Giles Wood, The Oldie, October) 'It may well be that Britain's homosexuals have all gone quite mad recently, the sort of sinister and mysterious development that might occur in a John Wyndham novel.' (Rod Liddle, The Spectator, 13 September) [MMW]
We Are Everywhere. From the Financial Times profile of billionaire Peter Thiel: 'Mr Thiel often references the sci-fi promise and optimism of the 1950s and 1960s. His favourite book is Lord of the Rings. He pays homage to the fantasy series in the Tolkienesque names of his various investment vehicles, such as Mithril Capital Management, named for the lighter-than-air mythical metal; Lembas, a secret-formula bread made by elves, and Rivendell One, a haven city for the forces of good.' (25 August) Does he get menacing letters from the Saul Zaentz Company ordering him to stop this misuse of Tolkien's terms? [MMW]

Monday, September 3, 2012


Delayed briefly by the Hugos, here's the latest issue of Dave Langford's Ansible!
Ray Bradbury was honoured again by NASA, which announced on what would have been his 92nd birthday (22 August) that the touchdown site of the Mars rover Curiosity is named Bradbury Landing. Less respectfully, released 1960s FBI files show that Bradbury was investigated as a possible Communist, an accusation made by B-movie screenwriter Martin Berkeley – who was a card-carrying Party member and denounced 155 Hollywood colleagues, telling the FBI that 'that the general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria', whereupon World War III was as good as won. Bradbury received a clean bill of political health. (Huffington Post, 28 August) [DL]
As Others See Us. Joseph Bottum reviews that nice Mr Scalzi's Redshirts: 'Lots of its authors, and a slew of its readers, like to think that science fiction sails on the ocean of science, but mostly it just paddles in the shallows of literature.' (Weekly Standard, 20 August) [MMW] And sometimes it proudly wallows in the gutters of popularity.