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Ansible® 351, October 2016

From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Brad W. Foster. Available for SAE or texts on Prehumous Morbid Bibliomancy.

Ebookery. Ansible Editions ebook releases in September included the much expanded 2016 version of Rob Hansen's Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980, plus my own skiffy novel The Space Eater. Read all about it at and
• Hardback and trade paperback editions of Then should be available in the Novacon 46 dealers' room, with Rob himself there to sign them. Please email me if interested; I have no idea how many copies to bring.

The Moment of Thlabber

Margaret Atwood is to receive the PEN (Harold) Pinter Prize, given to authors who cast an 'unflinching, unswerving gaze upon the world', in a 13 October event at the British Library, London. (

Neil Clarke allowed himself a little editorial gloat in the October issue of Clarkesworld, now online at and marking this magazine's tenth anniversary. Congratulations!

Ed Fortune, books man at Starburst, insists he's flattered by this published reader's letter: 'Liking the book news, even if your book guy is really just a pound shop David Langford.' (Twitter, 16 September)

Nalo Hopkinson is the Honorary Graduand – for services to letters – at this month's Anglia Ruskin University graduation ceremony. [FM]

Cat Rambo, speaking as President of SFWA, updated the saga of that Hungarian sf magazine Galaktika and its habit of publishing translated English-language stories without permission or payment. The publisher, István Burger, has 'explained' that he had a verbal agreement with 'the leader of one of the most respected literary agencies' whereby he was allowed to make free with short stories as loss leaders for novels to be published in Hungarian and even paid for. Since the respected agency has yet to be named, and since the Galaktika depredations were not confined to any one agency's authors, this claim was greeted with hoots of incredulity and even sarcasm. Cat Rambo therefore summed up: 'SFWA formally recommends that authors, editors, translators, and other publishing professionals avoid working with Galaktika until the magazine has demonstrated that existing issues have been addressed and that there will be no recurrence.' (, 26 September)


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

5-16 Oct • London Literature Festival: 'Living in Future Times', Southbank Centre, London. See

6-9 Oct • Grimmfest (horror/cult films), Odeon, The Printworks, Manchester. Day passes £20 Thu; £25 Fri, Sat, Sun; see

7-9 Oct • Destination Star Trek, NEC, Birmingham. Day £29; 2 days £39; 3 days £49; VIP £145 to £2999! See

8 Oct • Nor-Con 6 (tv/film/comics), Norfolk Showground Arena. 9:30am-6pm. Tickets £15 for 9:30 entry, £10 for £10:30 (under-15s £10 and £6) plus booking fees. See

14-16 Oct • Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, Cumbria. Some parts free. For tickets see

14-16 Oct • Octocon, Camden Court Hotel, Dublin, Ireland. Now €35 reg, €25 concessions; under-13s free. See

23-25 Oct • Celluloid Screams (horror film festival), Showroom Cinema, Sheffield. See 0114 275 7727.

26 Oct • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. With Jason Arnopp. Free to all.

27-30 Oct • Bram Stoker International Film Festival, Whitby. 4-day pass £125; various extras. See

28-30 Oct • Festival of Fantastic Films, Pendulum Hotel, Manchester. £75 reg; day £30 Fri or Sun, £40 Sat. Contact 95 Meadowgate Rd, Salford, Manchester, M6 8EN. See also

29 Oct • BristolCon, Doubletree Hotel, Bristol city centre. £25 reg; £30 at the door. Cheques to 18 High Leaze Road, Patchway, Bristol BS34 5AF. See also

30 Oct • Paperback & Pulp Fair, Royal National Hotel, 38-51 Bedford Way, Russell Sq, London, WC1H 0DG. 9:30am-3pm. Admission £1.50. Contact 020 8249 8278; at virgin net.

4-6 Nov • Armadacon 28, Future Inns, Plymouth. £35 reg; day £20 Sat, £15 Sun (concessions £30, £15, £10). Contact Moor Cottage, Cardinham, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 4BR; or see

SOLD OUT: 4-6 Nov • BCon (Eurocon), Barcelona, Spain. See for waiting list for cancelled memberships.

5-6 Nov • Comic Con (comics), Leeds. Part of Thought Bubble, the Leeds Comic Art Festival, running 1-6 November. Tickets £26 weekend or £16/day (plus booking fees) from

11-13 Nov • Novacon 46, Park Inn, Nottingham. £46 reg; under-17s £12; under-13s free. Contact 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ. PayPal registration now accepted at

10-12 Feb 2017 • Conrunner 4 (conrunning), Park Inn, Nottingham. £40 reg, rising to £45 on 1 November. Contact 56 Jackmans Place, Letchworth Garden City, Herts, SG6 1RH. See

11 Jun 2017 • Blake (Blake's 7), Steventon Village Hall, Oxon. 10am-5pm. Tickets £15 plus booking fee. See

Rumblings. Worldcon 75 (Helsinki, 2017) is doing a trial run of the proposed Best Series Hugo category as its permitted special Hugo option, with a series defined as three or more linked volumes (at least one published in 2016) totalling 240,000 words or more. How long is a novel? The qualifying length for the Hugo category is 40,000 words, and 60,000 or 70,000 used to be regarded as decent novel lengths; but a whole trilogy of such puny little things doesn't now count as a series. I suspect that Asimov's original Foundation trio, given a one-off Hugo as All-Time Best Series in 1966, would now be reckoned too short.

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Politicians. 'Like Wotan in Wagner's Ring, [David] Cameron clearly judges that, once the spear that symbolises his power has been broken, it is time to slip away quickly and without fuss.' (Martin Kettle, Guardian, 12 September; a Private Eye 'Pseud's Corner' selection) The Spear of State?
• Conversely, Donald Trump 'is like the blond alien in the 1995 movie Species, who mutates from ova to adult in months, regenerating and reconfiguring at warp speed to escape the establishment, kill everyone in sight and eliminate the human race.' (Maureen Dowd, New York Times, 5 March) [MMW]

Awards. British Fantasy: ANTHOLOGY Ellen Datlow, ed., The Doll Collection. ARTIST Julie Dillon. COLLECTION Tananarive Due, Ghost Summer. GRAPHIC NOVEL Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Robert Wilson IV & Cris Peter, Bitch Planet. FANTASY NOVEL Naomi Novik, Uprooted. FILM/TV Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. HORROR NOVEL Catriona Ward, Rawblood. INDEPENDENT PRESS Angry Robot. MAGAZINE Beneath Ceaseless Skies. NEWCOMER Zen Cho for Sorcerer to the Crown. NONFICTION Alexandra Pierce & Alisa Krasnostein, ed., Letters to Tiptree. NOVELLA Usman T. Malik, The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn. SHORT Priya Sharma, 'Fabulous Beasts'. SPECIAL FantasyCon redshirts.
Eugie Foster Memorial Award (short): Catherynne M. Valente, 'The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild' (Clarkesworld 1-3/15).
Forrest J Ackerman Award for Service to SF: Gregory Benford. [GB]
Gemmell Awards (heroic fantasy): NOVEL Mark Lawrence, The Liar's Key. DEBUT Peter Newman, The Vagrant. COVER ART Jason Chan for The Liar's Key.
SF Poetry Association: DWARF STAR (short poem) Stacey Balkun, 'We Begin This Way'. ELGIN/BOOK Mary Soon Lee, Crowned. ELGIN/CHAPBOOK Shannon Connor Winward, Undoing Winter. [SFS]

As Others Rank Us. 'Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it's obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place.' (David Graeber,, 27 September) [HF]

R.I.P. Alexis Arquette (1969-2016), US actress whose genre credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992 film), Bride of Chucky (1998), Children of the Corn V (1998) and Xena: Warrior Princess (2001 tv), died on 11 September aged 47. [MMW]
Terence Bayler (1930-2016), New Zealand-born actor seen in Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), Brazil (1985), She-Wolf of London (1990-1991 tv) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), died on 2 August; he was 86. [PDF]
Bernard Bergonzi (1929-2016) UK literary academic whose many publications include The Early H.G. Wells: A Study of The Scientific Romances (1961) and H.G. Wells – A Collection of Critical Essays (1976, as editor), died on 20 September aged 87. [DP]
Sören Cardfeldt, long-time member of Club Cosmos, Sweden's oldest still-active sf club, and founding member of the country's Tolkien Society, died on 19 August; he was 68. [J-HH]
Giuliano Carnimeo (1932-2016), Italian spaghetti-western director and screenwriter whose sf films include Exterminators of the Year 3000 (1983 as Jules Harrison), Computron 22 (1988) and Rat Man (1988 as Anthony Ascot), died on 10 September aged 84. [SG]
C. Martin Croker (1962-2016), US comics artist, animator and voice actor who drew and played multiple parts in Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1994-2004 tv) – of which he was animation director – Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000-2012 tv) and others, died on 17 September aged 54. [PDF]
Jorge De Abreu (1963-2016), Venezuelan author of much short genre fiction who was president of the Venezuelan Association of Fantasy and SF and edited two of its online magazines, died on 28 September; he was 52. [SS]
Doug Fratz (1952-2016), US fan best known for his fanzine/semiprozine Thrust (1973-1993, renamed Quantum in 1990), which received five Hugo nominations, died on 27 September; he was 63. His many reviews appeared in various places from The Washington Post to The New York Review of Science Fiction. [AS/MF] I was grateful to Doug for publishing several Langford essays in Thrust/Quantum.
Duane E. 'Doc' Graveline (1931-2016, US doctor – briefly a NASA astronaut in 1965 – and self-published sf author whose novels include The Ark (1997) and Brothers of the Perseids (1998), died on 5 September aged 85. [AIP]
W.P. Kinsella (1935-2016), Canadian author best known for baseball stories including the fantasies Shoeless Joe (1982, filmed 1989 as Field of Dreams), The Iowa Baseball Confederacy (1986) and If Wishes Were Horses (1996), died on 16 September; he was 81. [PB]
Dave Kyle (1919-2016), long-time (since 1933) fan, writer, illustrator and publisher who was a member of the Futurian group, co-founded Gnome Press in 1948, chaired the 1956 Worldcon, was fan guest of honour at the 1983 Worldcon and entered the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1988, died on 18 September 2016; he was 97. [AIP] Professional publications include three novels set in E.E. 'Doc' Smith's Lensman universe and two lavishly illustrated coffee-table books about sf, the first being the BSFA award-winning A Pictorial History of Science Fiction (1976).
Herschell Gordon Lewis (1929-2016), 'Godfather of Gore', US splatter-movie director whose cult films include Blood Feast (1963), Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964), Something Weird (1967) and many more, died on 26 September aged 87. Herschell Gordon Lewis' Bloodmania is currently in post-production. [SG]
D. Keith Mano (1942-2016), US author whose novels of religious dilemmas include fantasies and the future-apocalyptic sf The Bridge (1973), died on 14 September aged 74. [PDF]
Leslie Martinson (1915-2016) US director of Batman: The Movie (1966), The Bionic Woman (1976) and Small Wonder (1985-1989) plus multiple episodes of Batman (1966), The Immortal (1969-1971), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1975), Wonder Woman (1978-1979) and Fantasy Island (1981-1983), died on September 3; he was 101. [SFS]
Richard T. 'Sparky' Moore (1925-2016), highly prolific though generally uncredited comics artist who drew for Western Publishing (often Disney characters), Dell Comics and such 1960s animations as Marvel Super Heroes and Hanna-Barbera's Jonny Quest, Mightor and Space Ghost, died on 7 September aged 91. He published an uncertain but substantial amount of ghosted work in others' styles. [ME/PDF]
Hugh O'Brian (1925-2016), US actor best known for Westerns but also seen in Rocketship X-M (1950), Fantasy Island (1977-1982) and Doin' Time on Planet Earth (1988), died on 5 September; he was 91. [PDF]
Jon Polito (1950-2016), US actor whose genre credits include C.H.U.D. (1984), The Rocketeer (1991), Blankman (1994), Tale of the Mummy (1998), Stuart Little (1999), Black Mask 2 (2002), Rock Monster (2008), Super Capers (2009) and voice work for animated tv series, died on 1 September aged 65. [SG]
Robert E 'Bob' Weinberg (1946-2016), US author, bibliographer, book dealer, prolific anthologist, small-press publisher, sf/fantasy art connoisseur and expert on the pulp magazines whose heritage he did much to preserve, died on 25 September; he was 70. His first novel was The Devil's Auction (1988); he received a special committee award from the 2012 Worldcon for 'years of service and devotion given to advancing the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.' [SHS]
Bill Woodrow (1970-2016), Canberra fan – particularly of Doctor Who – died on 4 September. He was cremated (writes Chris Nelson) in an immaculate TARDIS coffin fashioned by a cousin.
M.K. Wren (Martha Kay Renfroe, 1938-2016), US author of the 1981 Phoenix Legacy space-opera trilogy and the critically praised post-holocaust novel A Gift Upon the Shore (1990), died on 20 August; she was 78. [AIP]

Gollanczfest! During its London festival in September, Gollancz held a boozy party on the acoustically-challenged top floor of Foyles in Charing Cross Road, celebrating five glorious years of SF Gateway and of the online SF Encyclopedia – which had just reached the landmark of having added Two Million Words since the launch party in 2011. Gollancz digital supremo Darren Nash became over-excited by a 1970s photo of Malcolm Edwards in a proof copy of Then, and rushed around showing it to everyone while Malcolm watched with narrowed eyes.

Court Circular. The creators of the US tv series Timeless, whose innovative premise is the tracking of crime via time machine while avoiding any damage to history, are being sued by Onza Entertainment of Spain for allegedly stealing this unprecedented concept from Onza's proposed El Ministerio del Tiempo, whose startlingly original gimmick is ... (, 29 September) [AIP] Commenters on the post seem mysteriously fixated on Harlan Ellison, who is not involved.

As Others Avoid Us. 'I have never been drawn to science fiction or fantasy. In fact, I can say with some certainty that I have never read a fantasy novel.' (Daniel Silva, NY Times Book Review, 4 September) [JB]

Outraged Letters. Avedon Carol remembers Doug Fratz: 'he started the sf club at University of Maryland (College Park), and even managed to throw a little convention (where Fred Pohl and Tom Monteleone roped me into a bridge game and some other guy none of us knew so Tom just wrote "X" on the scorecard, which is how he was known for a while before we finally learned his name was Jack Heneghen). And he made a fanzine called Thrust, and seemed genuinely embarrassed when someone made a sexual joke about it – "I was just thinking of, y'know, a rocket thrust!" / I liked him. I'm glad I knew him. I'm really sad that he's already gone.' Amen to that.

The Dead Past. 20 Years Ago: 'Stan Nicholls, reviewing Clive Parker's Sci-Fi and the Internet for Time Out, puked at "the dreadful word "sci-fi" (a derogatory term among aficionados)"; his column is unfortunately titled Sci-Fi Books.' (Ansible 111, October 1996) • Penguin Books distinguished itself with a computer virus alert that propagated around the world – 'Please be careful and forward this mail to anyone you care about ... Alert your friends and local system users.' – and proved to be a deliberate hoax perpetrated as teaser for an interactive novel by good old Stephen Baxter (who was not consulted). A back-pedalling non-apology followed: 'the release was sent in hard copy by post to named individuals [i.e. news journalists] to avoid any wider dissemination.', etc. (Ibid: more at

C.o.A. Yvonne Rowse & Ian Sorensen 'decided to doom their relationship by moving in together': 61 Flaxpiece Road, Clay Cross, S45 9HD.

We Are Everywhere. A newspaper correction of sf relevance: 'The house was the setting of the "Mork and Mindy" TV show, not the residence of the poet Allen Ginsberg.' (New York Times, 11 September) Further correction needed: it's Mork & Mindy with an ampersand.... [AC]

Fanfundery. GUFF nominations for the 2017 race from Australasia to the Helsinki Worldcon are now open until 17 November. Voting will follow, closing on 1 April 2017. Further details at

Thog's Masterclass. Self-Taut Dept. 'I felt myself clench. Tight as a mollusk.' (S.J. Watson, Before I Go to Sleep, 2011) [PB]
Dept of Losing Face. 'Ruth Ann's face drifted off ...' (Christina George, The Publicist, 2012) [MR]
Hypernasality Dept. '"There are ways, there are ways!" declared Drecke, winking and laying his finger along the cucumber-sized lump of his nose.' (Jack Vance, 'The Man From Zodiac', August 1967 Amazing) [BA]
Dept of Describing a Woman's Bottom. '... two wrestlers full of muscles in a crush, each one in turn gaining an inch on their opponent who immediately takes it back, deadlocked so that they merely seem to heave from side by side.' (Alan Moore, Jerusalem, 2016) [MMW]
If Badger Books Had Sex Scenes. 'Color it purple and fill out your vision with pulsing, pistoning, driving, churning, sliding, surging, suctioning, gripping, kneading, undulating, writhing, twisting, rocking, swaying, bucking, heaving, jerking, convulsing, ecstatic movements of your own devising ...' (Clyde Ames [William H. Knoles], Gorgonzola, Won't You Please Come Home?, 1967) [BA]

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• 14 October 2016: Andy Lound talks to the Brum Group. 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: 4 November 2016 Film Night; 2 December 2016 Christmas Social; 13 January 2017 AGM; 10 February 2017 Quiz.
• 25 October 2016: Chris Beckett in conversation at Waterstones, Birmingham. 7pm-9pm. Free booking at shop, or call 0121 633 4353.

PayPal Tip Jar Thingy. Support Ansible, cover website costs and keep the editor happy! Or just buy his books.

BSFA Awards for 2016 work: first-round nominations are open, to close on 31 December. As I understand the current rules, Rob Hansen's much-expanded Then is eligible for the Best Nonfiction category: it has my far from impartial recommendation.

Fantasycon: the next will be held in Daventry, 22-24 September 2017. So far the event has only a Facebook page and a 'coming soon' website with no obvious way to sign up:

Editorial. My personal good cheer is somewhat boosted because the sale of that vacant house in South Wales seems to be going through at last, after far too many months of stressful delay and expensive survey reports. (So many horrors came to light during this process that we expected at any moment to be told there was a plague pit under the lawn.) To be precise, we've exchanged contracts for the sale; I keep telling myself nervously that it's rare for problems to crop up after that point. Hoping to see some of you at Novacon 46 in November and/or at Innominate, the 2017 Eastercon.

Ansible® 351 Copyright © David Langford, 2016. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, Gregory Benford, John Boston, Avedon Carol, Mark Evanier, Henry Farrell, Moshe Feder, Paul Di Filippo, Steve Green, John-Henri Holmberg, Farah Mendlesohn, Chris Nelson, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Private Eye, Marta Randall, SF Site, Steven H Silver, Al Sirois, Susana Sussmann, Martin Morse Wooster, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 3 October 2016.