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Starcombing by David Langford

Contents List

Author biography Back to book page

The book contents are laid out in rough chronological order from 2000 to 2009, with non-SFX material followed by SFX columns in each year. Just to be different, the list below groups the SFX columns (with brief descriptions) separately. Items newly added in the ebook edition are marked with a paragraph sign ¶.

  • Introduction by Adam Roberts to the 2009 book
  • Author's Note (plus a 2016 update)
  • Introducing Hal Clement
  • Edward Gorey 1925-2000 ¶
  • Maps of Minnesota: Stalking John Sladek
  • Three Faces of Horror
  • Remembering John Sladek
  • Introduction to Alien Emergencies by James White ¶
  • "All Your Base ..."
  • Microcon Metamorphoses
  • Justina Robson – Natural History
  • James Branch Cabell – a long essay
  • John Myers Myers – a long essay
  • Thorne Smith – a long essay
  • New Hope for the Dead – flash fiction
  • Torching John Brosnan
  • The History of Mr Wells
  • Ken MacLeod – Learning the World
  • Warez – flash fiction
  • Hogwarts Proctology Class: Probing the End of Harry Potter
  • The Trials of Albert Haddock – a longish essay
  • The Cold Truth – flash fiction
  • Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter – "Time Odyssey"
  • Introducing Paul Kincaid
  • Gigatech – flash fiction
  • Introducing John Grant
  • John C. Wright – Null-A Continuum
  • The Grim Grin of Christopher Priest
  • Ian McDonald – Cyberabad Days
  • SFX #129, April 2005: Farewell, Kelly Freas – another good man gone
  • SFX #130, May 2005: Retro Wars – flashing blades in space
  • SFX #131, June 2005: Confound Their Politics – politicians’ names dropped in SF
  • SFX #132, July 2005: Rule Britannia – the Brit-infested Hugo shortlist; also, John Brosnan’s death
  • SFX #133, August 2005: Eye of the Beholder – another compendium of those ever-popular, ever-irritating “As Others See Us” lines
  • SFX #134, September 2005: The 64-Square Madhouse – chess in SF
  • SFX #134, September 2005: Back to the Roots – additional feature for “advertorial” on fantasy fiction
  • SFX #135, October 2005: First Thursday – London meetings and London bombs on 7 July
  • SFX #136, November 2005: Britannia Rules – more triumphalism at the World SF Convention in Glasgow
  • SFX #137, December 2005: Glasgow Snapshots – further Worldcon memories
  • SFX #137, December 2005: The Chronicler of Narnia – extra feature; the editor made me do it
  • SFX #138, Christmas 2005: Bah! Humbug! – seasonal Santa-ism
  • SFX #139, January 2006: Ring Out the Old – (some of) the SF people we lost in 2005
  • SFX #140, February 2006: Ask the SEXperts – shallow mockery of a revered institution
  • SFX #141, March 2006: Again and Again – more memories: Sheckley and Bulmer
  • SFX #142, April 2006: Pride and Prejudice – “As Others See Us” revisited
  • SFX #143, May 2006: Encyclopedia of Madness – the SF Encyclopedia rides again
  • SFX #144, June 2006: Better Than Jet-Packs – nostalgia for the only sensible way to travel
  • SFX #145, July 2006: Lost in Translation – how much of a book makes it into the film version?
  • SFX #146, August 2006: It’s The Law – Langford’s Law says that desperate men end up writing columns like this
  • SFX #147, September 2006: Blurbismo Revisited – the spicy secrets of Miss Belinda Blurb
  • SFX #148, October 2006: The New Reality TV – on the displeasures of a chronoscope
  • SFX #149, November 2006: Product Placement – on naming names, and the Tucker Technique
  • SFX #150, December 2006: The Eyeballs of Thog – not for those of a nervous disposition (this means you, Claire Brialey)
  • SFX #151, Christmas 2006: John M. Who? – yet another memorial column
  • SFX #152, January 2007: The Trouble with Harry – more about writing for corrupt personal gain
  • SFX #153, February 2007: Seventy Years On – on the UK Eastercon tradition, with a thinly veiled plug for the replacement event thrown together when the 2007 convention collapsed
  • SFX #153, February 2007: The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester – additional “SFX Book Club” feature
  • SFX #154, March 2007: Xenolexicography – revisiting the OED’s researches into SF words
  • SFX #155, April 2007: All Must Have Prizes – the 2007 awards season gets under way
  • SFX #156, May 2007: Glory, Glory – SF, terrorism and Mr Justice Cocklecarrot
  • SFX #157, June 2007: Free Reads – how to waste even more time on line
  • SFX #158, July 2007: Poo-tee-weet! – farewelling Kurt Vonnegut
  • SFX #159, August 2007: Conan the Librarian – another clash of titans: Stephen Baxter vs. my dwindling shelf space
  • SFX #160, September 2007: The Torture Never Stops – back to that perennial theme of SF -phobia and SF denial
  • SFX #160, September 2007: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin – additional “SFX Book Club” feature
  • SFX #161, October 2007: Have You Ever Kippled? – on the true origins of a famous SF word
  • SFX #162, November 2007: Potterdammerung – positively the last appearance of a certain boy wizard
  • SFX #163, December 2007: Ultraman Rules – the more or less obligatory 2007 Hugo report
  • SFX #164, Christmas 2007: Odd Volumes – ramblings about unusual book packages
  • SFX #165, January 2008: Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretches – a title which is surely self-explanatory
  • SFX #166, February 2008: You Can’t Do That! – a tale of two Unauthorized Companions
  • SFX #167, March 2008: Brief Encounters – rubbing shoulders with the famous
  • SFX #168, April 2008: Rotten Apple – the forgotten Hugo-winning novel
  • SFX #169, May 2008: Transformative Bubbly – champagne parties and the Rowling/Lexicon lawsuit revisited
  • SFX #170, June 2008: Happy Birthday – a few 2008 anniversaries, including Discworld’s 25th
  • SFX #171, July 2008: Here We Go Again – further masochistic wallowing in the wonderful world of As Others See Us
  • SFX #172, August 2008: Ray Guns Forever – pow! zap! fzzzt! ... the noise of boys’ toys
  • SFX #173, September 2008: Lunch and Lulu – self-publishing secrets and a translation mystery
  • SFX #174, October 2008: A Pyrzqxgl by Any Other Name – the power of naming, and of misnaming
  • SFX #175, November 2008: Into the Null – goodbye to Algis Budrys and Tom Disch
  • SFX #176, December 2008: Yesterday’s Man – imagine a fantastic alternate timeline in which Langford no longer wins Hugos
  • SFX #177, Christmas 2008: Futurespeak – The Future Is Tekon!
  • SFX #178, January 2009: Lexicongate! – positively the last appearance of the Harry Potter Lexicon in this column
  • SFX #179, February 2009: See Nipples and Die – intending readers who appear to be under 21 will be asked to show ID
  • SFX #180, March 2009: Round Numbers – centenaries and things
  • SFX #181, April 2009: The Ackermansion is Empty – once again waving goodbye
  • SFX #182, May 2009: Looking Forward – advance predictions of Sir Arthur, Sir Terry and more
  • SFX #183, June 2009: More Spelling Reform – or why Hi-Fi World magazine must inevitably change its name to Hyfy
  • All the SFX Columns and Features (extending the above list in both directions, from the first instalment in June 1995 to the last in July 2016) ¶

Author biography Back to book page