Entertainer Jonathan Ross has pulled out of hosting a sci-fi awards ceremony and his wife has deleted her Twitter account after their family received torrents of abuse regarding his appointment as presenter of the show.

Science fiction author Neil Gaiman, himself a previous winner at the Hugo Awards, wrote on his blog about his dismay at the reaction of the fantasy fans' community.

"I was seriously disappointed in the people, some of whom I know and respect, who stirred other people up to send invective, obscenities and hatred Jonathan's way over Twitter," he said.

The couple's daughter, Honey Kinney, 17, stepped into the fray, tweeting: "I'm Jonathan's overweight daughter and I assure you there are few men more kind & sensitive towards women's body issues."

Her Tweet was in response to a barbed comment from Hugo-winning author Seanan McGuire, who tweeted: "I've really enjoyed knowing that, were I to be nominated for a Hugo, the host wouldn't see me and make fat jokes.