Apparently Channel Four will be running a four-part series on the history of the novel from this Saturday on, which should be interesting. Unsurprisingly, and perhaps inevitably, the website associated with the series doesn't seem to hint at any sf-nal presence, although not having actually seen the series yet I could, of course, be very wrong. Wells is in there, however; and even Alisdair Gray. William Burroughs floated across the screen during the trailer as well. At the very least, it'll be interesting if they 'dirty' themselves by touching on the general pre-war boom in cheap paperbacks and magazines with novel reprints.

For some reason, this reminds me of a recent conversation. I met someone 'in the know' for a quick chat in a coffee shop about house prices, mortgages etc. I mentioned I'd got a book contract and he perked up.

"Oh, very good," he said. "What kind of thing is it?"

"Science fiction," I said.

Long, blank stare. Several seconds passed during which he said nothing. He reached down, picked up his coffee, stared out the window at the street beyond while sipping it. He looked either embarrassed or angry. I couldn't quite figure out which.

"Anyway," he said, and changed the subject.

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