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Starcombing by David Langford

01/07/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Starcombing in the USA - or Buy Starcombing in the UK

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pub: Cosmos Books/Wildside Press. 233 page indexed enlarged paperback. Price: $14.95 (US). ISBN: 978-0-8095-7348-6).

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For those who don't know, David Langford is that notorious twenty-eight Hugo Award winner hoarder who just happens to know more than his fair share of all knowledge that is Science Fiction as well as dabbling into what Harry Potter means, for those who care about the subject. This book, 'Starcombing' covers work written outside of Langford's Ansible website from 2000-2009. This also works out as being about 85% material that was first seen in UK's 'SFX' magazine. As this is primarily an American released book, I imagine the target audience is the people who haven't seen said material and as it has an index, you've also get a ready-reference to look up various bits of trivia and points Langford has made in the past near decade.

If you belong to the British Isles like yours truly, then reading this book is more akin to a repeat performance of what I've already read but his articles are easy on the eye and a good recap of information that could easily have been forgotten and needed reminding of again. Reading them all in a bunch does make me wonder how he can rub two brain cells together with his reference to and alcohol consumption over the years but that might also be part and parcel of the people he associates with. As I'm primarily alcohol free on medical grounds, I can look on more sagely.

There's certainly enough reading matter here to keep anyone interested in Science Fiction up on some of its inner workings and other goings-on. Langford spills the beans on past luminaries like John Sladek, Frank Kelly Freas and Forrest Ackerman. He also slips in the odd review although much of this is, of course, from recent books. Picking out interesting tit bits - and emphasis on the first word here is revealing in itself although he is never crude. You've got to love a title like 'See Nipples And Die'. Langford has a certain joie de vers about his interest and if you ever feel yourself needing a tonic then this isn't a bad place to dig in for a read.

GF Willmetts

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This book has 193 votes in the sci-fi charts

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