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This story behind this: each month, a news column loosely based on material from Ansible appears in Interzone, Britain's leading professional sf magazine, as 'Ansible Link, by David Langford'. When Charles Platt guest-edited Interzone 94 for April 1995, he suggested a more ... fictional ... column format, featuring news from the next century. This was the grim result.

Now read on....

Complaints about this page should be sent to me at the venerable ansible[at] address, please. This applies XXXXXXXX to those who didn't like our light-hearted January squib about XXXXXXXX and the Royal XXXXXXXX, and tried to XXXXXXXX by infecting the Interzone node with a viroid that HA HA HA SMEG AVENGER SAYS EAT ENCRYPTED DEATH LANGFORD. This isn't fair XXXXXXXX readers of XXXXXXXX.

The Ministry of Truth

Pat Cadigan plans a radical publishing route for her thirteenth novel, to be coded as DNA introns in a harmless but contagious strain of colonic bacteria – 'green' biological distribution that conserves Earth's dwindling resources of net bandwidth. 'This one will hit you right in the gut,' she promises.

Robert P.Holdstock cancelled his contract to rework the early Holdstock fiction Mythago Wood (hitherto available only in non-hypertext form) as a republishable novel. He claims technical inability: 'I can't even program my new bathroom, let alone this hard stuff!' Instead, the transliteration will be done by in-house wetware at HarperCollinsGollanczHodderHeadlinePanPenguinTransworld.

L.Ron Hubbard remains locked in a legal death struggle with the Reformed Church of Scientology following his AI recreation in Church neural-net cores. 'Hubbard' has written what is claimed to be our field's first-ever hektology (a story extending over 100 book units), but the Church feels its high reputation in sf circles could be diminished by the appearance of the work. A netsurfer spy claims that the sequence caters to still-falling literacy standards by being written wholly in monosyllables, 80-85% of them violent.

Harry Adam Knight's recent death in several parts of London was followed by eulogies. 'He was the true Dean of Horror,' said Ramsey Campbell. 'He and Guy N.Smith taught me all I know.' The horrific freak accident with a mutated (or tailored?) fungal growth is still under investigation, and author John Brosnan – said to be 'very close' to the deceased – is helping the police with their enquiries.

Larry Niven impersonators continue to infest US conventions; there have been nasty scenes with as many as five pseudo-Nivens of various sexes claiming precedence. This follows a security breach in the Known Space Library project ... the engineered RNA secretor enabling subsidiary collaborators to 'think like Larry' has been widely bootlegged to aspiring authors, carrying its notorious side effect of personality confusion. From his cyberwheelchair in California the grand old man himself wisecracked, 'America can count itself lucky – it might have been Jerry.'

Rog Peyton, the Birmingham arcana dealer whose Andromeda 'Book Shop' closed for the last time this month, was resigned but cheerful. 'We knew it was a doomed enterprise and one day there wouldn't be enough paper books to stock a shop – but it's bloody good to see we outlasted W.H.Smith, Foyle's, Blackwell's and BCA! Don't quote me, Langford you bastard.'

Sir Christopher Priest, in the wake of editing Harlan Ellison's 75th birthday Festschrift last year, has sold a story to that eagerly awaited anthology The Last Dangerous Visions.

Claude Scrote, star of world-famous children's tv fantasy series Pringle & Scrote, contracted his unwritten first novel to ArrowOrbitMillennium: this is expected to top UK best-seller lists next year. Since Scrote is a non-aware 3D animation, there's hot speculation as to which genre author will be commissioned for the typing role. Outline and title remain undecided, but the target genre is humorous fantasy ... news which led to narrowed eyes in the vast Legal Division of Discworld PLC.

Infinitely Improbable

BSFA Sticks Neck Out. Despite the risk of proscription, the British Science Fiction Association is spearheading a protest against our country's latest Criminal Justice Bill proposals – which BSFA hotheads argue will further reduce the legal maximum membership of sf conventions from 250 to 100. This may be a good cause (though fans have learned to love smaller, cosier events), but some proposed tactics have been illicit in Britain since 1998 ... in particular, harassing MPs with mail and discussing politics on the net.

SFFHWPPMOA ... controversy continues over the 'too narrow and elitist' admissions policy of the SF, Fantasy and Horror Writers, Poets, Programmers and Miscellaneous Originators of America.

Hugo Nominations. Following the recent introduction of Hugo awards for Best Digital Video Interactive, Best Nanoware, Best Hypertext, Best VR Presentation, Best Braided Giganovel, Best Netzine (professional and amateur) and new parallel fiction and nonfiction categories for freeware, shareware, machine-generated, guided-aleatory and PierreMenarded works, this column is not afraid to say it has no room to list the nominees.

15 Years Ago, in April 1995, Charles Platt himself guest-edited a paper issue of this very magazine. Hard to believe – but that was before the lonely years of prison and exile, the assassination attempt, the surprise DNA rescripting, and his astonishing elevation. Remember he was once one of us....

David Langford, 2010