Opin­ion

David Lang­ford bids us farewell af­ter two decades with SFX

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

It’s farewell to a leg­end who’s been with us since is­sue one.

Twenty- one years ago I wrote in SFX # 1 about Har­lan El­li­son’s long de­layed an­thol­ogy The Last Dan­ger­ous Vi­sions ( break­ing news: still un­pub­lished). I’ve been in ev­ery is­sue since then and hoped to make it to # 300, but the harsh re­al­i­ties of mod­ern pub­lish­ing say oth­er­wise. So Thog, my con­nois­seur of Dif­fer­ently Good Prose, of­fers a farewell ban­quet of weird SF anatomy. His favourites – so tasty! – are eye­balls: “Franklin left his eyes on the floor, took half a step back­ward.” ( Kelli Stan­ley, City Of Dragons.) “His eyes fixed like grap­pling hooks on AAri’s face...” ( Rachel Pol­lack, Golden Van­ity.) “... his eyes felt as if they had ten­drils grow­ing out of them, crawl­ing like ants across the floor­boards.” ( Sheng Keyi, Death Fugue.) “Eyes like an­guished talons were clutch­ing hers.” ( Charles L Har­ness, The Rose.)

Brains: “The hu­man’s brain be­gan to func­tion once more; he could al­most feel it sweat­ing.” ( Poul An­der­son and Gor­don R Dick­son, Earth­man’s Bur­den.)

Stom­achs: “The pes­simism of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury has been a mas­sive burp of in­di­ges­tion; but the stom­ach ache is pass­ing.” ( Colin Wil­son, The Philoso­pher’s Stone.) “Maybe her stom­ach knew what it was do­ing when it threw up her toe­nails.” ( Mike Shep­herd, Kris Longknife: Un­re­lent­ing.)

Big Hair: “His un­ruly shock of red hair tow­ered six feet above the floor...” ( Ed­mond Hamil­ton, Cap­tain Fu­ture And The Space Em­peror.)

Lungs: “But at least in space I can breathe...” ( EE Smith and Gor­don Ek­lund, Lord Tedric.)

Rear End: “Her but­tocks were fresh- baked loaves; they were ivory eggs, they were the eggs of the lonely phoenix. They were a fist.” ( Ron Miller, Silk And Steel.) “He felt once again the de­sire to bite his own back­side in fury.” ( An­drzej Sap­kowski, Blood Of Elves.) “There has to be a nat­u­ral limit to how long any­one can spend like this, in a black alu­minium sup­pos­i­tory lodged in the ass­hole of the earth.” ( Garth Risk Hall­berg, City On Fire.)

Faces: “His dark face was pale.” ( Terry Brooks, The Wish­song Of Shan­nara.) “Her face had the fra­grance of a gib­bous moon.” ( Ron Miller, Silk And Steel.) Plus a cheesy grin: “... I said through grated teeth.” ( Ioanna Boura­zopoulou, What Lot’s Wife Saw.)

Hearts: “His heart didn’t have the strength to do much of any­thing, ex­cept pound, and beat, and maybe squat in his mouth...” ( Gor­don Ek­lund, Space Pi­rates.)

Legs: “The wind was shriek­ing, and so were her legs.” ( Kelli Stan­ley, City Of Dragons.) “Her legs were quills. They were bun­dles of wicker, they were can­de­labra...” ( Ron Miller, Silk And Steel.)

Naughty Parts: “Breasts like bronzed man­goes.” “... her tits look like soft blue bal­loons.” ( Garth Risk Hall­berg, City On Fire.) “The nip­ples rose like mer­cury with her heat.” ( Ron Miller, Silk And Steel.) “But when she took the warm shaft in her hands, she found that she did not know how to call upon its strength.” ( Stephen Don­ald­son, The Runes Of The Earth.) Oh, sorry, that was ac­tu­ally the Staff of Law.

Lastly, adapt­ing the words of a fa­mous fan­tasy char­ac­ter: though twenty- one years is far too short a time to spend among you – this is the END. I am go­ing. I am leav­ing NOW. GOOD- BYE! ( Puts on the Ring and van­ishes.)

Watch an­si­ble. uk for the an­nounce­ment of David Lang­ford’s fi­nal SFX col­umn col­lec­tion, The Last SFX Vi­sions.

“Twenty- one years is far too short a time to spend among you – this is the end”

Il­lus­tra­tion by Andy Watt

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