Was he a nutter?

Via Ansible, this:

MURIEL GRAY learned the peril of telling anecdotes, after joking in a Fantasycon 2004 interview about some chap’s complaint to HarperCollins that her horror novel _The Ancient_ (January 2000) was suspiciously similar to his fantasy (unpublished). Her comment ‘So obviously he was a nutter’ clearly rankled, but not as much as her claim that his book had been written after hers appeared. Since she didn’t mention his name — Geoff Widders — this was hardly defamatory; still, he went to the Small Claims court, asking not for damages but for an official ruling that Muriel Gray had told a fib and should jolly well be ashamed of herself. The case moved to High Court and then Court of Appeal, ultimately being thrown out in December 2009 with costs against Widders. He feels a vast sense of injustice and has created a website about the whole affair (hewasanutter.com), plugging this on literary messageboards: the British Fantasy Society’s because of Fantasycon, Stephen King’s because _The Ancient_ had a King cover quote, and (at Facebook) Gray’s home-town football team Glasgow Rangers. [JS] Oh dear….

Via hewasanutter.com, this opening excerpt from the author’s unpublished novel:

“Upstairs in the bottom of the wardrobe…get the best tablecloth Davey…” his mother called breathlessly as she staggered down the lobby with armfuls of plates, “Davey!” she screeched after him.
“Yes Mum?” he halted.
“Make sure it’s not the cloth with a hole in it,” she whispered.
“Did you say, make sure it’s not the one with a..” he called loudly but his mother interrupted with a scream of panic, “DAVEEE!” They both laughed as she busied her way into the street. She shouted after him, “and get a move on or you’ll be late. Your uniform’s hanging on the banister!” “That lad’ll be the death of me,” she muttered emerging into the hustle and bustle.

And another excerpt from chapter 18:

“IT IS I WHO SEEKS YOU! IT IS I WHO SHALL FIND YOU,” roared the Shaman. The shout had a horrible hissing quality to it. As they looked closer they could see why. Only his head and forearms had yet to be absorbed into the body of the snake, his split tongue flickered in and out.
His head poised itself before the hole in the wall of the cell, the tongue scented the air wafting along the shafts. A look of comprehension passed through the remains of his face before it became totally reptilian and without expression.
The snake entered the tunnelways, its huge mass filled every space as its muscles propelled it forwards. The scaly scratch its skin made as its scales gripped the sides of the tunnel echoed horribly.

“Jesus Christ Davey!”
Powerless to do anything they sat and watched.

Posted without comment for fear of a drawn-out lawsuit.

Hmm, I feel this calls for a Mamatas!

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