David Langford is a Welsh science fiction writer and fan. He has won a Hugo Award for his short story "Different Kinds of Darkness", and 27 Hugo Awards in Best Fan Writer and related categories.
Many of his short stories are collected in He Do the Time Police in Different Voices (parodies) and Different Kinds of Darkness (more serious works). The latter includes his BLIT stories, set in a future transformed by the discovery of the Berryman Logical Imaging Technique, which creates computer-generated images that hack into the brain through the visual cortex and cause brain damage and even death in anybody who sees them. ("Different Kinds of Darkness" is itself a BLIT story.)
His novels include The Space Eater (straight science fiction), The Leaky Establishment (a satirical novel inspired by his time as a physicist at the government's Atomic Weapons Research Establishment), and, co-written with John Grant: Guts! (a spoof of creature-horror novels) and Earthdoom! (a spoof of disaster novels in which every possible disaster, from alien invasion to nuclear catastrophe to an army of cloned Hitlers, happens simultaneously).
He has had a monthly column in SFX magazine since it started, and used to have a column in White Dwarf magazine (back when it was a general gaming magazine, and not a Games Workshop house organ). He also runs the sf newszine, Ansible, which he describes as a science fiction version of Private Eye.
David Langford's works provide examples of:
- Alien Invasion: Earthdoom!
- Antiquated Linguistics: In a mock-report of Britain's first science fiction convention, supposedly held in 1882 and featuring Jules Verne as the guest of honour.
- Brown Note: The "basilisk" images of the BLIT series.
- Defictionalization: Langford was one of the contributors to a book published in 1978 that claimed to be a reconstruction of the Necronomicon of the Cthulhu Mythos. Also, there's an anonymously-created image floating around the internet that purports to be the safe-view version of The Parrot, the first and most famous basilisk.
- Fantasy Twist: In The Leaky Establishment, when Roy Tappen is trying to smuggle his accidentally stolen plutonium back into the NUTC, he briefly fantasises about claiming to have wrestled it from a Russian spy and being hailed as a hero. This fantasy rapidly shifts towards being asked serious questions about the supposed Russian spy, leading inevitably to being cast into the darkness with "UNEMPLOYABLE" tattooed on his forhead. Later fantasies are even worse, mostly ending with Britain becoming a radioactive wasteland, and he gets fired.
- Go Mad From the Revelation: This happens subsequently to death with the BLITs.
- Lethal Harmless Powers: The denouement of the Temps story "Leaks".
- Literary Allusion Title: "He do the time police in different voices" is a misquote from Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: The Space Eater
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Time-travelling Hitler is a character in Earthdoom!
- You Cloned Hitler: in Earthdoom!