David Langford

Langford photo

19 November 2015 Two small items of good news are that I got safely home from Novacon and that the latest SF Encyclopedia site update took us past the once unthinkable milestone of five million words. Unfortunately the bad news happened in between: total failure of my main working computer and, until I've done a great deal of software reinstallation on the coming replacement, loss of access to my email archive and other tools of the trade. The usual email address is still working during the interregnum, but via a nasty web interface that makes it hard to keep track. Expect delays. I'll catch up eventually.

10 November 2015 Fun With Desktop Publishing, part 5,271,009. Like a good little small-press publisher I've been working on the latest instalment of Rob Hansen's expansion of his history of British fandom, covering the 1950s. No trouble with the Early 1950s and Mid-1950s chapters, but venturing too far into the Late 1950s invariably caused WordPerfect 12 to crash. I spent most of today researching this, gradually narrowing down the problem area (or one of the problem areas) to a single paragraph about the 1957 London Worldcon. Instant hangup whenever the text cursor entered this forbidden zone. Aha, I thought, the document is corrupt – I'll re-import the paragraph from clean HTML. The same thing happened. And again when I pasted it in directly as plain text. And even when I RETYPED IT FROM SCRATCH.... Apparently something to do with the particular combination of sf author/fan names which WordPerfect auto proofreading was trying to highlight as unrecognized words. Turned off auto proofreading and sanity was restored. • I don't know when this enlarged edition of Rob Hansen's Then will become available. He still has the 1960s and 1970s sections to revise, but these probably need less work than the earlier parts (1930s-1950s) where research has unearthed so much more in the way of Astral Knowledge and True Facts.

30 October 2015 An early release for Ansible 340, which is officially the November issue. Pay no attention to the October behind the curtain.

16 October 2015 Writer on the Borderland, an October blog celebration of William Hope Hodgson and his heritage, took a strange turn today with a post plugging my tales of Dagon Smythe – that dauntless psychic investigator distantly inspired by Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. Time to turn on the Electric Pentacle and cower within as a terrible vengeful grunting begins to reverberate from the nameless Outer Spheres.... • Also today, Martin Hoare took me down to Newport in his Great Big Red Van. By cunning texting en route I arranged for cousin Mark in South Wales to drop by – about 30 seconds after the van arrived – and help load it with all the remaining stuff from my mother's house that needed to come back to Reading. Two hours out, half an hour loading, two hours back again. Hazel was boggled by the swiftness of it all. I owe Martin many drinks, as usual. Next Wednesday, the professionals clear the rest of the furniture, with Hazel and I on guard to make sure they don't take brother Jon's piano. No idea what's supposed to happen to this in the long run: Jon doesn't want to part with it but the cost of shipping to Chicago doesn't bear thinking about. I hope this doesn't mean that Mark has to store it for the rest of his life ... his home in Pontypool is already bulging with Jon's other treasures from the Newport house. Anyway, this feels like progress. Or it would if the house buyer hadn't just dropped out and left the estate agents to start all over again.

2 October 2015 Here's Ansible 339 (October 2015). The Vince Clarke fanwriting collection mentioned earlier is now available from the TAFF free ebooks page.

8 September 2015 Another ebook project: the collected fan writings of Vince Clarke. What have I missed that's important?

1 September 2015 Oh no, not again: Ansible 338 for September 2015.

17 August 2015 The late Joe Mayhew's cartoon for Ansible 147 (October 1999) seems curiously topical in these puppy-infested times.

Joe Mayhew cartoon

15 August 2015 A worthy cause: "The EUVAT VATMOSS Campaign. Fundraising to attend a VITAL meeting". See the VATMOSS page at Ansible Editions for all too many background links. Including this: "Everything wrong with VATMOSS in one image".

31 July 2015 August comes earlier every year: here's Ansible 337, the August issue. Our printers close over the weekend, and I'd rather be a day early than wait until Monday 3 August.

14 July 2015 Another ebook (sorry, no POD edition this time) compiling mouldy old stuff from the Langford files – Don't Try This at Home: Selected Convention Reports. The cover photo shows nocturnal balloon activities at Loncon 3, the 2014 Worldcon. (This will never become any clearer.)

Don't Try This at Home

13 July 2015 Amazing Stories has reviewed my Crosstalk interview collection.

6 July 2015 Never expected to appear with brother Jon on a listicle of "44 real-life pop-culture siblings you (probably) didn’t know were related": see 23-24. Thanks to Richard Bleiler for the link. • Today, soon after passing 4.9 million words earlier this month, the SF Encyclopedia now has over 16,000 entries.

1 July 2015 What could make the current debilitating British heatwave seem even worse? Of course: Ansible 336.

23 June 2015 What, another Langford book? I'm afraid so. Crosstalk: Interviews Conducted by David Langford started as a quick-and-dirty addition to this free ebooks page; but people on Facebook called quite insistently for a printed version, so I overhauled the text to Ansible Editions standards for a POD paperback (with a modestly priced ebook alternative). Now I need to concoct a replacement for the freebies page – perhaps a collection of my convention reports from fanzines of long ago. Or would that be too embarrassing?

Different Kinds of Darkness

16 June 2015 It is very nearly the end of an era. After strenuous and still not entirely complete efforts to clear out the contents, the Ancestral Langford Home in Newport (Gwent) is on the market.

1 Oakfield Gardens for Sale

1 June 2015 Today is the first of flaming Ansible 335!

27 May 2015 The latest addition to that Free Ebooks Page is THEN, Rob Hansen's history of UK SF fandom from the 1930s to the 1980s. A monumental work of research – especially in the earlier decades – running to nearly 177,000 words.

20 May 2015 I have a tiny bit in the io9 symposium (well, more of a listicle) "10 Utterly Brilliant Novels That Have One Fatal Flaw", posted on 7 May without my noticing until now. I see I've had some past mentions there, including "10 Paranoid Science Fiction Stories That Could Help You Survive" and (a nice plug for Ansible Editions) "There is no snarking about books like Algis Budrys snarking about books".

18 May 2015 As light relief from preparing various Langford ebooks for sale, I made up some fannish freebies by various hands for a Free Ebooks Page now added to the TransAtlantic Fan Fund site. The Langford report of my 1980 TAFF trip is included: over 37,000 words of babble first published in booklet form in 1985.

8 May 2015 Another Ansible Editions ebook from the Langford backlist: an expanded version of my hefty 2004 collection Different Kinds of Darkness.

Different Kinds of Darkness

1 May 2015 Published at the end of an exhausting week: Ansible 334, reminding me that the works of the late great Thomas M. Disch (referenced therein) include both 334 and The Puppies of Terra.

18 April 2015 Busy, busy, busy. Concerning the current Hugo Puppy unpleasantness, there's a box of links on the Ansible site – including a long sequence of pointers to Mike Glyer's comprehensive coverage at File 770 (Mike has a stronger stomach than I).

2 April 2015 As noted by guest cartoonist Steve Stiles, April's Ansible 333 marks the dread Number of the Domestic House Pet. This month's Ansible Editions ebook release from my long-suffering backlist is The Silence of the Langford:

The Silence of the Langford

23 March 2015 Adventures in Newport house clearance: Hazel has been packing vast quantities of glass, china and bric-a-brac for the charity shops. Pausing to pour herself some orange juice in a randomly chosen glass, she discovered by practical experiment that a long-lost Langford family heirloom had come to light. The dribble glass! We'd found the box it came in, but the thing itself looks entirely innocuous: a cut-glass design ("Made in France") concealing invisibly tiny slits that go right through. Now carefully labelled. • Meanwhile, it seems there is no artefact from the cobwebbed depths of the garage that's too rusty or indescribably filthy to be eagerly claimed via Freecycle.

12 March 2015 Goodbye, Terry. Chris Priest wrote the Guardian piece; I don't feel like writing anything but must very soon deliver a column marking 20 years of SFX magazine. I'd forgotten that I reviewed the paperback Soul Music in the first issue. So many more books since then, but still not enough ... • Later: a compendium of links in the SF Encyclopedia memorial post.

3 March 2015 It seemed silly to keep adding links to the VATMOSS horror editorial at the bottom of Ansible 329, so I've now given this thing a page of its own.

2 March 2015 Just as in February (where does the time go?), a new Ansible and a new ebook: Ansible 332 and The Complete Critical Assembly.

The Complete Critical Assembly

2 February 2015 New today: not only Ansible 331 but the first ever ebook release of my 2003 parody/pastiche collection He Do the Time Police in Different Voices.

He Do the Time Police ...

5 January 2015 A little delayed by New Year excesses: Ansible 330.

1 January 2015 Happy New Year to all. • Here's how Ansible Editions is coping with the new and horrendous VATMOSS regime. (Short answer: not very well.)

29 December 2014 About Mum's funeral on 9 January.

21 December 2014 Catherine ("Kit") Alice Lenta Langford, 24 October 1925 to 20 December 2014. The best of mothers. She died very peacefully without waking from a long sleep in the Royal Gwent Hospital.

18 December 2014 No cheerful posts here because I haven't been feeling cheerful, thanks to a steadily worsening family health crisis. It's going to be a rotten Christmas.

6 December 2014 So much for those plans to create ebook editions of my story collections (Different Kinds of Darkness, He Do the Time Police in Different Voices) when I can find the time. Time has run out: the new EU VAT regulations which apply from 1 January 2015 are extremely hostile to small ebook vendors. See the editorial in Ansible 329 and the Last Chance Saloon post at ae.ansible.uk.

1 December 2014 Another Black Monday, that fateful day when so many are crushed in the teeming frenzy while struggling to escape the latest Ansible.

17 November 2014 We're still in the four-week period of prescribed eyedrops after that operation, and each time Hazel dutifully gives the bottle a vigorous shake. So the SF quote of the season is "I always get the shakes before a drop."

3 November 2014 At last, Ansible 328 (November 2014), the special post-cataract-surgery issue. Those aren't typos, they're floaters.

26 October 2014 At last: yesterday I had that long-awaited cataract operation. The eye is still somewhat painful and weepy, but I can say without fear of metaphor that things are looking good. Since photos of bloodshot eyeballs aren't much fun, here instead is Hazel investigating a fungus in our local cemetery.

Hazel and Fungus

16 October 2014 Nick Parisi interviewed me earlier this year for his Nocturnia blog. After teaser posts (in Italian) about Ansible and the mysterious Langford phenomenon ...the interview itself has now appeared, happily with an English-language version below (scroll down) so I can find out what I said.

2 October 2014 Following an email alert from Nominet today, I am now the proud owner of the ansible.uk, davidlangford.uk and sf-encyclopedia.uk net domains (reserved for me since I already owned the .co.uk equivalents). Whatever shall I do with them?

1 October 2014 Brad Foster's cartoon for Ansible 327 cunningly links Hallowe'en and (something he didn't even know about) the Langford cataract operation scheduled for late October....

14 September 2014 Kim Huett recently sent some old fan memorabilia with these rather jolly stamps on the envelope. I don't suppose I'll ever read the commemorated author Banjo Paterson, but I love the title Clancy of the Overflow. Even if to British ears it's somehow reminiscent of plumbing. Percy of the Plughole, Danny of the Drain, Sidney of the Sump....

Banjo Paterson stamps

6 September 2014. There are many ways for self-published authors to get talked about, but I don't think I'd care to follow the route taken by Stephan J. Harper in the comments to this online review.

3 September 2014 Ever since Loncon 3 I've been kept busy with deadlines, SF Encyclopedia drudgery and post-convention lurgi. Here's Ansible 326 with terse Worldcon coverage, plus some photographs I took there.

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SF Encyclopedia CD-ROM (1995)
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Amazon Reviews (also in limbo)

More about David Langford
Ansible EditionsAnthologyBuilderElloFacebookFantastic FictionGollanczInfinity PlusISFDB[Not LinkedIn]LiveJournalLulu.comChristopher PriestSF EncyclopediaTV TropesTwitterWikipediaWildside Press

Selected Blogs
Bad Science (Ben Goldacre)
Fifteensquared (crosswords)
Hooting Yard (Frank Key)
Making Light (the Nielsen Haydens)
Christopher Priest
Sibilant Fricative (Adam Roberts)
The Sideshow (Avedon Carol)
Charlie Stross

Past Entries from This Page

Comic Relief
DilbertDoonesburyThe OatmealWondermarkxkcd

Family Links
Jon Langford on MySpace
Jon Langford: Art and Music
Jon's Paintings
[Jon] The Mekons
[Jon] Waco Brothers fan site
Rock Candy: Helen Tsatsos's jewellery
Cousin Susan, Dog Fancier
Peg O'Keef at IMDB

Reading Local Interest
Kall Kwik (Ansible printer)
Museum of English Rural Life
Oxfam Bookshop
Reading Museum, home of The Other Bayeux Tapestry
True Food Co-op

Some people send photos of this sign ...

LANGFORD town sign

... but more prefer this one: