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With the global village now wired reality, it's no surprise that the first Frankfurt Book Fair of the century has been a quiet, businesslike affair. Where a decade ago Naomi Campbell was paraded around to meet prospective publishers of a novel she'd scarcely bother to read, let alone write, this year's celebrity author, Posh Spice, was sized up in absentia. But the biggest deal - a cosmic $2m for US rights alone - was for Columbia professor's Brian Greene's study of "space, time and the texture of reality", The Fabric of the Cosmos. Greene's The Elegant Universe was a Pulitzer contender and won our Aventis Prize; he will soon host a TV series based on the book.

With the global village now wired reality, it's no surprise that the first Frankfurt Book Fair of the century has been a quiet, businesslike affair. Where a decade ago Naomi Campbell was paraded around to meet prospective publishers of a novel she'd scarcely bother to read, let alone write, this year's celebrity author, Posh Spice, was sized up in absentia. But the biggest deal - a cosmic $2m for US rights alone - was for Columbia professor's Brian Greene's study of "space, time and the texture of reality", The Fabric of the Cosmos. Greene's The Elegant Universe was a Pulitzer contender and won our Aventis Prize; he will soon host a TV series based on the book.

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A visit by Gao Xingjian, winner of the Nobel Prize, caused a good deal of excitement, and it was encouraging to see Harper Collins US buying rights to two of his novels, including Soul Mountain. For the UK, new head Victoria Barnsley has yet to make a decision, memories of a certain Last Governor and the little local difficulty he caused perhaps still fresh.

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The book that most excited Bantam was Puppetry of the Penis, a how-to book based on the hit show by Simon Morley and David Friend. Publisher Patrick Janson-Smith was, er, orgasmic at the deal and he predicted "stiff competition" for US and foreign rights.

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Agent Ed Victor closed a six-figure deal with Macmillan for Justine Picardie's book on life, death and the afterlife, If the Spirit Moves You. Her sister Ruth Picardie died young of cancer, chronicling her last months in Before I Say Goodbye. Justine will examine how we come to terms with loss in the supposed age of science.

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Granta spent a small fortune on a book by Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He argues that technology now provides us with access to too much information but cannot give us moral guidance to deal with it. But the firm lost Orange Prize winner Linda Grant to Little, Brown: Still Here, set in her native Liverpool, was bought for a significant sum thought to be near £300,000.

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