He was the best. His light will continue to shine.



The season has sprung and the grass is riz. I almost had a real life last month. The spectacle of the new Star Trek, the silliness of Iron Man 3 (which pleased my inner six-year-old, who has little sense of engineering constraints), and the clever funniness of Bill Bailey, currently on his "Qualmpeddler" tour. Scarborough Fair will never sound the same again. Highly, highly recommended.

Yesterday, we sat with sixteen hundred of our closest friends in a large pavilion at the Hay Festival to listen to John le Carré in conversation for ninety minutes. Enthralling. He is an absolute master of the novel form. Yvonne spotted (we think) a Big Name Fantasy Writer in the audience, while one of the festival staff turned out be an old family friend of another writer of our acquaintance. Not so much a small world as a highly connected one, in the sense of networks organising themselves according to an inverse power law... Oops. Maths alert.

But never mind the Hay Festival. We SF/F types have our own version, don't we? I'm looking forward to being GoH at next year's Eastercon, which is Satellite 4, and has a theme: the interface between science and science fiction, with an overlay of science fun.

The Science Guest Of Honour was an addition to the original list. Christine, that is Dr Christine Davidson who pulled off the coup, emailed the rest of us, checking that it was OK to add Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell to our number. The others of course said yes, while I went off on a rapturous spiel about how legendary she is, how important the discovery of pulsars was, and how iconic she is for women in science, both for her work and the injustice she's faced... Christine shot a reply straight back, saying that my inner physics geek was showing. She added a smiley, too.

I could probably make a juvenile link between smileys and le Carré, but I'm too old for that. So back to work. Per ardua ad astra, once again.