Ansible® 349, August 2016
From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website news.ansible.uk. ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Brad W. Foster. Available for SAE or Morishill's Voozy, with Lacto-Ecto.
Ansible®! My application to register Ansible as a UK trademark was approved on 8 July. This began when I worried online that a mooted new sf magazine might usurp 'my' title, and there was a surprise flood of contributions towards trademark registration. Thanks very much to everyone who chipped in; and to Ursula K. Le Guin, as ever, for smiling on all the terrible things I've done with her word since 1979.
Tenser, said the Tensor
Luc Besson was found guilty by an appeals court of plagiarizing John Carpenter's Escape from New York (1981) in his film Lockout (2012), and ordered to pay 450,000 damages. (IndieWire, 29 July)
Robert E. Howard's Western collection A Gent from Bear Creek is worth a few bob if you happen to have the 1937 first edition from Herbert Jenkins. Brian Ameringen confides: 'On 6 July a jacketless ex. lib. copy of this was auctioned by Ebay for British Heart Foundation for £1020 – around a dozen copies are known to exist. On 24 May the only known copy with a 7/6d D.J. was similarly put up for auction. It has a signature from August Derleth and was being sold on behalf of the family of Glenn Lord. Starting bid was $19,500 – no takers!'
Stephen King is to be honoured by the Library of Congress for 'his lifelong work promoting literacy.' (www.loc.gov/bookfest/) [L]
Rob Latham on 8 July: 'Yesterday, after twenty years of service on the board of Science Fiction Studies, I submitted my resignation as editor, effective with the March 2017 issue. It has been a joy working with the greatest editorial collective in the world, including my brilliant coeditors, all the hard-working consultants, and the scores of incredible essayists and reviewers who have made SFS the greatest journal on this or any planet.' Has he never seen the Rigellian edition of Ansible?
Patrick Nielsen Hayden is now Associate Publisher of Tor, and Devi Pillai of Orbit is joining Tor with the same role. (Tor.com, 26 July)
Jane Yolen brags of having been chosen as one of the 125 – by your editor's count – Unsung Heroines of Massachusetts for 2016, and asks meaningfully: 'How does a body get sung around here?' (18 July)
Click here for longlist with links London Overseas
Until 1 Oct Sci-Fi Under the Stars (BFI summer film season), various venues. See www.thelunacinema.com/sci-fi/4592658751.
Until 2 Oct Adventures in Space (exhibition; sf architecture), The Lighthouse, Glasgow. Free. See www.thelighthouse.co.uk.
6 Aug Preston Comic Con, Guild Hall, Preston. 9:30am-5pm. Adults £12 (£8 from 10:30), under-15s £6 (£4 from 10:30), under-5s free. See www.prestoncomiccon.co.uk.
12 Aug Fantasy in the Court (mass signing), Goldsboro Books, Cecil Court, London. 'Evening.' Tickets £5. See fantasyinthecourt.com.
12-15 Aug Continuum (RPG), John Foster Hall, Leicester University. Cost revealed when you sign up at continuumconvention.co.uk.
12-14 Aug Nine Worlds Geekfest (multimedia), Novotel London West, Hammersmith. Now £115 reg (day £50); 5-15s £38 (day £17); under-5s free. Book online at nineworlds.co.uk.
12-14 Aug Wadfest (Discworld camp con), Wood Green Animal Shelter, King's Bush Farm, London Road, Godmanchester, Cambs, PE29 2NH. Adult campers £25. See www.wadfest.co.uk for other rates.
17-21 Aug MidAmeriCon II (74th Worldcon), Kansas City, MO, USA. $210 reg ($240 at door); $100 YA/active military service ($120 at door); $60 under-16s; $50 supp. Adult day rates (others at door only) $40 Wed, Sun; $70 Thu, Fri, Sat. Adult weekend (Fri-Sun) $150. Advance booking closes on 5 August. See midamericon2.org for more.
20-21 Aug Creaturegeddon (monsters etc), Langley Conference Suite, Watford. £49 reg or £28.50/day. See www.creaturegeddon.net.
21 Aug Worcester Comic Con, Worcester Arena. Tickets £10 from 11am, £15 10am; under-8s £5. See www.worcester-comiccon.com.
24 Aug Clarke Award Ceremony, Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross Rd, London. 6:30pm-9:30pm. By invitation only.
25-29 Aug Frightfest (horror film festival), VUE Shepherds Bush, London. Bookings: www.frightfest.co.uk or 020 8296 0555.
26-29 Aug The Asylum (steampunk), Lincoln. £35 reg plus £2.24 fee (under-17s £17.50 + £1.72) at www.asylumsteampunk.co.uk.
SOLD OUT 26-29 Aug Discworld Convention, Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwick. £75 reg. See dwcon.org to join the waiting list.
26-28 Aug Starburst Film Festival, MMU Student Union, Manchester. Tickets £75; day £25.50. See www.starburstfilmfest.co.uk.
28-29 Aug Stars of Time (film/comics), The Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare. 10:30am-5pm. £6; child £3. See www.starsoftime.co.uk.
3-4 Sep Middle-earth Festival, Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Rd, Hall Green, Birmingham, B13 0BD. Free. See middleearthfestival.co.uk.
CANCELLED 9-10 Sep Andromeda 2, Moseley, Birmingham. Cancelled owing to 'low advance sales'. The website instantly vanished.
12-18 Sep Gollancz Festival, London (Phoenix Artist Club 17 Sep; Foyles 17-18 Sep) and online (12-16 Sep). See gollanczfest.co.uk.
5-16 Oct London Literature Festival: 'Living in Future Times', Southbank Centre, London. See www.southbankcentre.co.uk.
26 Nov Sledge-Lit, QUAD Centre, Derby. 10am-6pm. Tickets £25. See www.derbyquad.co.uk/special-event/sledge-lit-2016.aspx.
3 Dec Dragonmeet (gaming). New venue announced: Novotel London West, Hammersmith. 10am-midnight. Tickets £10 (concessions £6); £12 at door; group discounts. Booking at www.dragonmeet.co.uk.
24-26 Feb 2017 Redemption '17 (multimedia), Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield. £65 reg, rising to £70 on 1 Sep (day £40); under-18s £25 (day £15); under-3s free; £15 supp. Contact 61 Chaucer Rd, Farnborough, Hants, GU14 8SP. See www.redemption-convention.org.uk.
Rumblings. Conception, the long-running RPG convention held in New Milton, Hants, has been discontinued: see www.conceptionuk.org.
As Others See Us. Forget boring old cli-fi! Here's the latest future-fiction category that's untainted by sf. 'This future is only 13 years away, as Lionel Shriver depicts it in "The Mandibles: A Family 2029-2047," her searing exemplar of a disquieting new genre-call it dystopian finance fiction.' (Ruth Franklin, New York Times, 11 July) [GF]
Awards. Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award: Judith Merril.
Munsey (pulp community): Laurie Powers.
Man Booker Prize: the 13-book longlist includes one sf novel, David Means's alternate-1970s Hystopia. [KM]
Prometheus (libertarian): NOVEL Neal Stephenson, Seveneves. HALL OF FAME Donald M. Kingsbury, Courtship Rite.
Scribe (tie-in) genre novel winners. ORIGINAL/SPECULATIVE Dayton Ward, Star Trek The Next Generation: Armageddon's Arrow. ADAPTED Stephen D. Sullivan, Manos – The Hands of Fate.
Seiun (Japan), translation: NOVEL Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice trans Hideko Akao. SHORT Ken Liu, 'Good Hunting' trans Yoshimichi Furusawa.
Shirley Jackson Award (suspense etc) novel winner: Gemma Files, Experimental Film.
World Fantasy Award for life achievement: David G. Hartwell and Andrzej Sapkowski.
As Others See Us II. The baseball angle: 'Not long ago, Terry Collins, baseball lifer, would not have pulled an effective reliever after only a few pitches. Pitchers are now plug-in robots and managers are bound by "The Book", the latest edition filled with science fiction read as repetitive formulas for success.' (New York Post sports, 31 May) [PL]
R.I.P. Caroline Aherne (1963-2016), UK comic actress, writer and producer whose main genre credit was Strange Hill High (2013-2014), died on 2 July aged 52. (Telegraph, 2 July)
Michael Cimino (1939-2016), Oscar-winning US producer, director and screenwriter who co-wrote Silent Running (1972), died on 2 July aged 77. [PDF]
Ron Cummins, US actor seen in Capricorn One (1977), Ghostbusters II (1989) and The Relic (1997), died on 1 July.
Maurice G. Dantec (1959-2016), French writer (in Quebec from 1999) whose sf includes Babylon Babies (1999; trans 2005; filmed as Babylon A.D. 2008) and Cosmos Incorporated (2005; trans 2008), died on 25 June; he was 56. (Europa SF)
Jack Davis (1924-2016), US cartoonist whose genre work was mostly for EC Comics – including Tales from the Crypt, Haunt of Fear, Vault of Horror, Incredible Science Fiction and the early Mad – died on 27 July; he was 91.
Jerry Doyle (1956-2016), US actor and radio host who played Garibaldi in Babylon 5 (1994-1998) and its tv-film spinoffs, died on 27 July; he was 60. Other genre credits include Captain Simian & The Space Monkeys (1996-1997) and The Outsider (1998). [BB]
Corrado Farina (1939-2016), Italian director, screenwriter and novelist best known for his film Baba Yaga (1973, aka The Devil Witch and Kiss Me, Kill Me), which he adapted from Guido Crepax's comics, died on 11 July aged 77. [SG]
Robin Hardy (1929-2016), UK film director and writer best known for The Wicker Man (1973), died on 1 July aged 86. (BBC, 2 July)
Aharon Ipalé (1941-2016), Morocco-born actor who played Pharaoh Seti I in The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001), died on 27 June aged 74. Another genre credit is Xanadu (1980). [SFS]
Joyce Katz (1939-2016), long-time US fan who co-chaired the 1969 Worldcon, published many fanzines (including the 1970s newszine Fiawol with husband Arnie Katz) and was a mainstay of Las Vegas fandom, died on 30 July. All sympathy to Arnie.
Tim LaHaye (1926-2016), US evangelist and author who with Jerry Jenkins wrote the 13-book 'Left Behind' sequence of near-future Bible-thumping apocalyptic fantasies, died on 25 July aged 90. (Washington Post, 25 July)
Norman Longmate (1925-2016), UK novelist and military historian whose If Britain Had Fallen (1972, based on the BBC tv series of that name) is an alternate-nonfiction study of the Hitler Wins scenario, died on 4 June; he was 90. [JC]
William Lucas (1925-2016), UK actor whose genre credits include The Strange World of Planet X (1956 tv), X the Unknown (1956), Hammer's The Shadow of the Cat (1961), Night of the Big Heat (1967), Doctor Who: 'Frontios' (1984) and Vampire Cop (1990), died on 8 July aged 91.
John McMartin (1929-2016), US actor whose rare genre credits include Beauty and the Beast (1987-1989), Touched by an Angel (1997-1998) and Into the Woods (2002 Broadway revival), dies on 6 July aged 86. [MMW]
Garry Marshall (1934-2016), US film/tv writer/producer whose best-known genre creation was Mork & Mindy (1978-1982), died on 19 July aged 81. (Variety, 19 July)
Noel Neill (1920-2016), US actress who played Lois Lane in the film serials Superman (1948) and Atom Man vs. Superman (1950), and also the tv Adventures of Superman (1953-1958) – with later appearances in Superman (1978) and others – died on 3 July; she was 95. [PDF]
Carlos Nine (1944-2016), Argentinian illustrator and sculptor whose work appeared in Alejandro Dolina's fantasy collection Gray Angel Chronicles (1988) and the magazines Playboy, Le Monde and L'Écho des Savanes, died on 16 July aged 72. [SG]
Marni Nixon (1930-2016), US singer with many uncredited ghost performances including Audrey Hepburn's songs in My Fair Lady (1964), died on 24 July aged 86. Her genre films are Cinderella (1950), Jack and the Beanstalk (1967) and Mulan (1998). [AIP]
Robert Nye (1939-2016), UK poet and historical novelist whose stylistically rich works include some fantasy – Merlin (1978) and Faust (1980) for adults plus many more for younger readers – died on 2 July; he was 77. [DP]
Joe Napolitano, US director whose genre credits include Earth Angel (1991), Quantum Leap (1990-1992) and Earth 2 (1994-1995), died on 23 July. [SFS]
Sandy Pearlman (1943-2016), producer, manager and lyricist for Blue Öyster Cult, whose sf-themed album Imaginos draws on his unpublished alien-conspiracy verse cycle 'The Soft Doctrines of Imaginos', died on 26 July aged 72. [AIP]
Carolyn See (1934-2016), US author whose sf novels were Golden Days (1986) and There Will Never Be Another You (2006), died on 13 July; she was 82. [JC]
April Rose Selley, US academic who published at least one genre story and whose writings on popular culture often dealt with Star Trek, died on 13 July aged 61. [PDF]
The Shawshank Tree, a white oak in Ohio featured in the Stephen King-based film The Shawshank Redemption, blew down circa 22 July; it was 180-200 years old.
Richard Thompson (1957-2016), US cartoonist best known for his strip Cul de Sac, whose early work appeared from the 1980s in such fan publications as Science Fiction Eye, Blat! and the Disclave programme book, died on 27 July. [F770]
Carolyn Whitaker, UK literary agent who founded her London Independent Books in 1971 and represented Alex Bell, Joe Delaney, Elizabeth Kay, Richard Morgan and Chris Wooding, died on 17 June; she was 79. [AIP]
Prophetic Dept. James Thurber gives an imaginary example of terrifying broadcast statistics: 'Every eleven seconds in America some man, woman or child is stricken with Googleman's disease.' (Lanterns and Lances, 1961) The infection rate is much higher these days.
SFWA now admits writers of sf/fantasy/horror game narratives – as distinct from nonfiction game instructions or mechanics – who meet the stated paid-word-count criteria. (www.sfwa.org, 21 July)
As Others Research Us. A new DVD box-set of Timeslip (BBC 1970-1971) includes a 'making of' book by Andrew Pixley that says: 'By the start of October , it transpired that Timeslip – and Cheryl Burfield in particular – had won an award. The actress was awarded the Nova Cup because Liz Skinner had been voted the Best Character in Science Fiction (Production of British Television 1971); this was part of the forthcoming Novacon, a science fiction convention being held at Birmingham's Imperial Centre in November 1971.' Whatever was that? Novacon's Nova Award (for fanzines) didn't launch until 1973. [SG]
Award Shortlists. Gemmell (heroic fantasy): NOVEL Miles Cameron, The Dread Wyrm; Larry Correia, Son of the Black Sword; David Guymer, Gotrek & Felix: Slayer; John Gwynne, Ruin; Mark Lawrence; The Liar's Key. DEBUT Stephen Aryan, Battlemage; Seth Dickinson, The Traitor; Francesca Haig, The Fire Sermon; Lucy Hounsom, Starborn; Peter Newman, The Vagrant; Sabaa Tahir, An Ember in the Ashes. Cover Art Kerem Beyit, The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron; Jason Chan, The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence; Larry Elmore & Carol Russo Design, Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia, Raymond Swanland, Archaon: Lord of Chaos by Rob Sanders; Paul Young, Ruin by John Gwynne.
Sidewise (alternate history): LONG FORM Julie Mayhew, The Big Lie; Tony Schumacher, The British Lion; Harry Turtledove, Joe Steele. SHORT FORM Eneasz Brodski, 'Red Legacy' (Asimov's 2/15); Eric Cline. 'Elizabethtown' (Galaxy's Edge, 11/15); Bill Crider. 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' (Tales from the Otherverse); Rev Dicerto, 'Losing Amelia' (Deco Punk); Ken Poyner. 'The Last of Time' (Daily SF, 5/11/15). James Reasoner. 'The Hero of Deadwood' (Tales from the Otherverse).
World Fantasy (novels only): Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant; N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season; Naomi Novik, Uprooted; K.J. Parker, Savages; Anna Smaill, The Chimes; Paul Tremblay, A Head Full of Ghosts. For other categories see www.locusmag.com/News/2016/07/11044/.
Publishers and Sinners. Ian Whates's NewCon Press celebrated ten years of publishing at a 9 July London pub party. Books were released; birthday cake was eaten; toasts and various guests were drunk.
Outraged Letters. Stephen Baxter on his and Arthur C. Clarke's Brexit 'prediction' (A348): 'If only Clarke had got his prediction of cold fusion right, instead of that! / I vaguely remember cooking that up with him. He was an advocate of world government, etc. I doubt he would have voted Brexit. But he liked to be playful. When we worked on that book there was a rumour circulating that President Lincoln had been gay (he once shared a bed with another young lawyer in digs, but at a time when everybody did that, innocently). In the end we decided to have him accepted as a gay icon, but then have our time viewer prove he wasn't after all. "Good," said Arthur. "That will annoy everybody!"'
Magazine Scene. Scott M. Roberts took over from Edmund Schubert as editor of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, the first issue under the new regime being dated July/August 2016. [SFS]
Random Fandom. Jonathan Coleclough's SF/Fantasy Literary Map – the UK built from authors' names – flatteringly plasters me all over Reading. Search for Coleclough at www.theliterarygiftcompany.com.
The Dead Past. 70 Years Ago: 'New Worlds. Most of you will have seen a copy of this, the first post-war British science-fiction magazine. In my opinion the best story, though it is not s-f and hardly even fantasy, is William F. Temple's "The Three Pylons". It is a neat, well-printed magazine.' (D.R. Smith, British Fantasy Society Bulletin 27, August 1946) Useful to know that the New Worlds tradition of destroying the sf canon by printing non-sf stories goes right back to issue 1.
60 Years Ago, Kingsley Amis wistfully imagined contemporary mainstream writers broadening their scope: 'only the hyper-sensitive could greet without warm emotion [...] an imagined invasion of Earth by Vegan vegetables from the pen of Miss Ivy Compton-Burnett.' (Spectator, June 1956)
C.o.A. Brad Foster (email) jabberwocky2000 at hotmail dot com.
Thog's Masterclass. Simile Dept. 'Rolant seemed to shrink into himself like a dried garlic clove.' (Lionel Fanthorpe, 'Curse of the Khan', Supernatural Stories 105, 1966)
À la Recherche des Eyeballs Perdus. 'The letter, of whose provenance he knew absolutely nothing, fascinated him and at any moment I expected his glittering eyeballs to detach themselves from their sockets and fly to the letter, insignificant in itself, which his curiosity had magnetised.' (Marcel Proust, Sodom et Gomorrhe, trans C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, 1989) [JFH]
Hitler Was a Martian Dept. '... Robot Army ... From a million metal throats burst a terrifying roar – the Martian Cry of Victory: / "Zhig Gheil! Zhig Gheil!"' (Errol Collins, Mariners of Space, 1949) [RR]
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12 August 2016: Brum Group Summer Social meal at the Black Eagle. Normal Brum Group meetings are 7:30pm for 8pm at the Briar Rose Hotel, Bennett's Hill, Birmingham city centre. £4 or £3 for members. Contact bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk. Future meetings/speakers: 12 September 2016 Jasper Bark (Andromeda 2 joint meeting, plus panel discussion); 14 October 2016 Andy Lound; 4 November 2016 Film Night; 2 December 2016 Christmas Social.
PayPal Tip Jar Thingy. Support Ansible, cover website costs and keep the editor happy! Or just buy his books.
Editorial. Again fervent thanks to all who contributed to the Ansible® trademark registration fee. In order of response: Andrew Wells, Mike Cobley, Liz Williams, Alison Scott, Catherine Pickersgill, Jayne Nelson, Fiona Scarlett, Camilla Pomeroy, Mark Slater, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Jonathan Lewis-Jones, John Waggott, Kari, Brian Nisbet, Nicholas Gibbins, Vanessa May, Steve Glover, Sarah Mooring, Ian Collier, Mark Yon, Paul Lagasse, Sean Ellis, John Bangsund, Carl Allery, James Shields, Becky Thomson, Beale-Williams Enterprise, David Weingart, James Viner, Douglas Faunt, Philip Dyson, Judith Mortimore, Eddie Cochrane, Peter Mabey, James Bacon, George Wells, Colin Harris, Susan Shwartz, Mark Price, Harry Payne, Jody Lynn Nye. This surge of generosity, which raised the needed amount in less than 48 hours, arose from a friends-only discussion on Facebook; please don't feel slighted if you didn't see it. I'm also most grateful to Simon Bradshaw for his legal advice.
BSFA London Open Meeting. The usual fourth-Wednesday timing gives 24 August, clashing with the Clarke Award presentation. Watch the BSFA site and/or Ansible London events page for news of rescheduling or cancellation.
Yet More Events (2017 Preview).
29-30 Apr 2017
EM-Con (media), Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham. Labyrinthine tickets/extras pricing to follow at www.em-con.co.uk.
2 Jun - 1 Sep 2017
Into the Unknown: A Journey through Science Fiction (exhibition), Barbican, London. See www.barbican.org.uk.
The Dead Past II. 70 Years Ago: H.G. Wells died on 13 August 1946.
Ansible® 349 Copyright © David Langford, 2016. Thanks to Barbara Barrett, John Clute, Gregory Feeley, File 770, Paul Di Filippo, Steve Green, John Francis Haines, Locus, Pamela Love, Kevin McVeigh, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Roger Robinson, SF Site, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 August 2016.