LANGFORD, David (Rowland)
(1953-)
   UK writer, critic and sf fan, in the latter capacity recipient of 8 HUGO awards for fan writing - some of the best of his over 450 pieces are assembled as Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man (coll 1992 chap US) ed Ben Yalow - plus 1 Best FANZINE Hugo for his self-produced news magazine,ANSIBLE. DL began to publish sf with "Heatwave" for NEW WRITINGS IN SF 27 (anth 1975) ed Kenneth BULMER. His first book-length fiction, An Account of a Meeting with Denizens of Another World, 1871 (1979) as by William Robert Loosley and ed DL, centres on a spoof 19th-century report of aClose Encounter; its main narrative was summarized as if factual, without permission or payment, by Whitley STRIEBER in his "fiction based on fact", Majestic (1989). In DL's one serious novel, The Space Eater (1982),emissaries from a devastated Earth are sent by an unpleasant form of MATTER TRANSMISSION to a distant colony planet, where they must stop thelocal military from ripping the fabric of the Universe. The Leaky Establishment (1984), borderline sf, hilariously examines a crisisinvolving lost nuclear warheads at what many readers have assumed is Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (where DL, who has an MAin physics, worked 1975-80). In Earthdoom! (1987) with John Grant (Paul BARNETT), a parody of the DISASTER-novel genre and of countless sfCLICHES, a multitude of catastrophes afflicts the world, more or less simultaneously. The Dragonhiker's Guide to Battlefield Covenant at Dune's Edge: Odyssey Two (coll 1988) assembles parodies of sf and fantasywriters. Though some of his short fiction is entirely serious, DL remains best known for the witty and ironic humour of his fan writing - perhaps best distilled in the fanzine Twll Ddu (1976-83) - and most of his full-length fiction, although it is sometimes over-broad. It is surprising that a writer so obviously gifted has as yet produced so little sf of real substance.DL has also written, often in collaboration, a variety of nonfiction texts of sf interest, all imaginatively conceived and soundly based: War in 2080: The Future of Military Technology (1979), Fact and Fallacies: A Book of Definitive Mistakes and Misguided Predictions (1981)with Chris MORGAN, The Science in Science Fiction (1982) with Peter NICHOLLS and Brian STABLEFORD, Micromania: The Whole Truth about HomeComputers (1984), which is a reworking for the UK market of Charles PLATT's Micromania: The Whole-Truth Home Computer Handbook (1984), and The Third Millennium (A History of the World: AD 2000-3000) (1985) with Stableford.
   JC/NT
   Other works: The Necronomicon (anth 1978) ed George HAY, DL's contribution being to construct a hoax history of the "lost occult text" invented by H.P. LOVECRAFT; The Transatlantic Hearing Aid (1985 chap), nonfiction; A Novacon Garland (coll 1985 chap dos), fictionand nonfiction; Critical Assembly: The First 50 White Dwarf Columns (coll 1987), book reviews; Platen Stories (coll 1987 chap);Critical Assembly II:The Rest of the White Dwarf (and GM, and GMI) Review Columns (coll 1992), book reviews; Irrational Numbers (coll 1994 chap US).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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