24 May 2020 A nice surprise to find this enthusiastic review by Paul Di Filippo in Locus of the recent Ansible Editions book Beyond the Outposts: Essays on SF and Fantasy 1955-1996 by Algis Budrys.
1 May 2020 Although I'm confined to quarters not merely by lockdown but by the recurrence of a tiresome Langford lurgi (not coronavirus-related), the Ansible show must go on! With Hazel unfortunately being lumbered with the work of taking snailmail copies – printed right here in the barn – to the post. See Ansible 394 for what may be, I regret to say, our longest R.I.P. section ever.
30 April 2020 This has been the week of the Great Lulu.com Disaster, beginning with that POD publishing service's quite remarkably feckless and incompetent launch of a new site design on 25 April. Wonders and marvels had been promised, but the immediate effects for Ansible Editions were that (a) all AE links to Lulu sales pages now failed with 404 errors, as did the link to the AE "Spotlight" page showing our available titles; (b) diligent use of Lulu's own search engine revealed that the very recent Beyond the Outposts: Essays on SF and Fantasy 1955-1996 by Algis Budrys was the only AE book available at all, at a new sales page whose URL I hadn't been told, while other titles by Budrys, Hansen, Langford and Sladek had all vanished; (c) I couldn't log in to my Lulu account to investigate the damage because they'd also cleverly trashed the password database and the "Reset password" option, which remained unworkable for days. Meanwhile Lulu kept telling worried users to keep calm and wait for the data to migrate (something which in the world of grown-up programming should be completed and followed by careful testing before inflicting the new version on your hapless users). When things seemed to have settled down, eight of the eleven Ansible Editions books were back to normal though with new sales page URLs; two had lost their covers, which could not be recreated using the Lulu "cover design wizard" as before since this feature had been deliberately removed (gosh, thanks Lulu!) and I had to spend hours fiddling with GIMP; one had vanished altogether. I'm still repairing miscellaneous damage and waiting for the substantial – by AE's modest standards – earnings from early sales of Beyond the Outposts to appear in place of the site's current reassurance that no Ansible Editions title has ever sold any copies at all. Just as in traditional publishing, the slowest "migration" by a long chalk is that of money to the creator. Update, 2 May: thanks presumably to Ansible 394, a few book sales dated 1 May are now reported at Lulu. Not, however, any sales from April. I remembered several and have confirmed the number from a 17 April Lulu "custom report" that I didn't bother to save specially (because one could always get the latest version from the Lulu site, ha ha ha) but was happily preserved in temporary storage.
1 April 2020 No fooling at all in Ansible 393, which includes a depressing list of mostly postponed, cancelled or likely to be cancelled genre events – with a few virtual gatherings by way of compensation. The promised Algis Budrys essay collection from Ansible Editions is now available: official page here with link to contents. If you'd like to buy the paperback edition, the coupon code LULU20 gives 20% off at the Lulu.com purchase page and is valid until 2 April.
1 February 2020 Yet another free ebook edited by Rob Hansen, this one very large and long in the making. Homefront: Fandom in the UK 1939-1945 brings together a great many first-hand accounts showing how UK fandom maintained its lines of communication during World War Two despite everything that Hitler and the British armed services could throw at them.
31 December 2019 Looking back from the end of 2019, what have I been doing? Once again the SF Encyclopedia is a whole herd of elephants in the room. From the Statistics page it appears that I formatted, spell-checked and oversaw the upload of 186,320 words including 315 new entries; some 26,000 of those words were my own. As usual I published twelve crowded issues of Ansible and six "Ansible Link" news digests for the bimonthly Interzone. Over at Ansible Editions, I'm particularly proud of having edited and published New Maps: More Uncollected John Sladek; also in preparation is a slim volume containing two substantial but never before collected Brian Aldiss essays from the mid-1960s, with a new introduction kindly contributed by Chris Priest. The free ebooks library at the TAFF site saw twenty new titles in 2019: three were PDFs already prepared by other hands, but the other seventeen (totalling well over 1.2 million words) each had to be compiled into ebook form by my own laborious efforts. Further professional appearances this year were confined to a "Curiosities" piece in F&SF, which is embarrassing; but my backlist continues to earn royalties from Wildside Press, plus a small but gratifying trickle of ebook sales via Ansible Editions.
Of course Martin Hoare's death in July has – even more than the nightmare of UK politics – cast a shadow over the later months of 2019. Particularly in the post-Christmas period when we always got together to drink champagne followed by G&T, and exchange various deeply silly gifts. Sometimes it's the little things that hurt most.
25 December 2019 The legendary fan writer Walt Willis's centenary year is nearly over (he was born in October 1919). As a Christmas treat today, there are two more free ebooks of his work at the TAFF site: The Willis Papers (1961), showcasing his first 11 years of fanzine writing, and Beyond the Enchanted Duplicator (1991) with James White, sequel to The Enchanted Duplicator (1954). This link shows all the available ebooks in reverse order of release, with the latest appearing first.
23 December 2019 Another cheapskate e-card! Photo of Christchurch footbridge (over the Thames between Reading and Caversham) by Hazel; mucked around with by me under her supervision.
2 December 2019 Ansible 389 wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and comes with an unseasonal gift: the announcement of yet another free ebook of olde-worlde fannish writing.
29 August 2019 My old (indeed, oldest) friend Martin Hoare's funeral took place today at Reading Crematorium in Caversham, where the chapel was very crowded indeed. His Tardis coffin was much admired. By his own request the service began with Cwm Rhondda and ended with Always Look on the Bright Side. In lieu of flowers, friends were asked to donate to his favourite cause the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Memory Giving page closes on 23 September).
8 August 2019 When Private Eye made a big fuss about Boris Johnson's remarkable appearance in an SF novel, some fourteen years after I'd written about all this in SFX magazine, I felt I had to tell them – but didn't expect my email to appear only slightly edited in the next issue:
1 July 2019 Yes, I know, these posts are getting dreadfully repetitive. Today saw the release of Ansible 384, which in turn announces still more free ebooks: The Complete Patchin Review edited by Charles Platt; The Meadows of Fantasy by Archie Mercer; and The Complete Cheap Truth edited by "Vincent Omniaveritas" (Bruce Sterling).
1 May 2019 Mayday! Mayday! Civilization is under attack by a rogue copy of Ansible 382! In other news, New Maps: More Uncollected John Sladek (see below) is now available in ebook form, and Terry Carr's 1986 fanwriting collection Fandom Harvest is the latest addition to the free ebooks at the TAFF site.
Look On My Works, Ye Mighty
SF Encyclopedia All Book Pages All Good Things: The Last SFX Visions *The Complete Critical Assembly *Crosstalk: Interviews Conducted by David Langford *Different Kinds of Darkness *Don't Try This at Home: Selected Convention Reports *He Do the Time Police in Different Voices *The Leaky Establishment *The Limbo Files *The SEX Column and Other Misprints *Short Shrift: A Big Book of Little Reviews *The Silence of the Langford *The Space Eater *Starcombing *Up Through an Empty House of Stars: Reviews and Essays 1980-2002
My first solo book War in 2080: The Future of Military Technology – hardback first edition, signed with errata sheet – remains available for the cost of postage within the UK only. PayPal button below. Feel free to bump up the amount if feeling madly generous.
More about David Langford
Some people send photos of this sign ...
... but more prefer this one: