By training he is a physicist and his first job was as a weapons physicist at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, Berkshire, which formed the basis of his hilarious quasi-autobiography The Leaky Establishment.
He was TAFF winner in 1980 traveling to Noreascon Two and wrote The Transatlantic Hearing Aid as his trip report. The Auld Lang Fund was organized by the FOOLs to bring him to Aussiecon 3. He won the 2002 Skylark Award. Member Oxford University Speculative Fiction Group, BSFA. He was the one of the two first administrators of GUFF.
But it is as a fan writer that he excels, having received 21 Best Fan Writer Hugos, a record for anyone in any category. Much of his fan writing is in his monthly newszine Ansible — which has also received multiple Hugo awards for Best Fanzine (see Best Fanzine Hugo Category for details.) A thirty-one year long streak of Hugo nominations (including 21 wins) came to an end in 2010. See Best Fan Writer Hugo Category for details. His fan writing has been collected in Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man and The Silence of the Langford, both published by NESFA Press, the second being a greatly expanded version of the first; in Platen Stories, published by Conspiracy '87; and in Crosstalk: Interviews Conducted by David Langford and Don't Try This At Home: Selected Convention Reports, both from his own small press Ansible Editions.
As a pro, Langford is noted for his parodies. His first science fiction novel was The Space Eater (1982); he has published numerous pieces of short SF since 1975, winning the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2001. He proofread the second edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, is a principal editor of and major contributor to the third edition (for which he shared another Hugo Award) and was a contributing editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. He has written numerous book reviews, collected in The Complete Critical Assembly (2002) and later collections. He runs the small press Ansible Editions, publishing both fan and pro material.
Winner of a stupendous number of Hugo Awards:
- Best Fan Writer Hugo: 1985, 1987, 1989-2007
- Best Fanzine Hugo: Ansible 1987, 1995, 1996, 1999, and 2002
- 2001 Best Short Story Hugo for "Different Kinds of Darkness"
- 2005 Best Semiprozine Hugo for Ansible
- 2012 Best Related Work Hugo for The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition
Other Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1977 — Nova Award for Best Fanzine Twll-Ddu
- 1980 — TAFF winner, FAAN Award for Best Fan Writer
- 1981 — Yorcon II
- 1984 — Picocon 2
- 1985 — Novacon 15, Picocon Pi
- 1986 — Koancon, Picocon 4
- 1989 — Orycon 11, Picocon 7
- 1990 — Uniconze, Nova Award for Best Fanwriter
- 1992 — Boskone 29, Picocon 10
- 1993 — Eastercon Award, short text category Ansible
- 1996 — Armadacon VIII
- 1997 — Intervention
- 1998 — Orycon 20, Minicon 33
- 1999 — Microcon 19, Recipient of the Auld Lang Fund
- 2000 — Tropicon XIX, Fanhistoricon 10 special speaker
- 2001 — Finncon 2001
- 2002 — Skylark Award
Convention committees: Novacon 7 publications, Skycon publications, Faancon 6 co-organizer, Helicon daily newsletter editor (Heliograph), Mexicon 5 daily newsletter editor (Cactus Times), Sou'wester daily newsletter editor (The Adelphi Coracle). Con newsletters archived at http://ansible.uk/cons/.
TAFF trip reports: The Transatlantic Hearing Aid (his own 1980 report published by Inca Press), TAFF Tales (Ken Bulmer's 1955 report, published by Ansible Editions) and New Routes in America (Peter Roberts's 1977 report, published by Ansible Editions).
Collections of fan writing: Platen Stories (Conspiracy '87, 1987), Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man (NESFA Press, 1992), The Silence of the Langford (NESFA Press, 1996; expanded edition Ansible Editions, 2015 ebook), Crosstalk: Interviews Conducted by David Langford (Ansible Editions, 2015), Don't Try This At Home: Selected Convention Reports (Ansible Editions, 2015 ebook) and Ansible First Series 1979-1987 (Ansible Editions, 2016 ebook).