2020 Log

21 December 2020 The winter solstice is also the official release date for another Langford lockdown project, a new paperback collection of my own writing for fanzines and other offbeat venues, titled Beachcombing and Other Oddments. Now available for mere huge sums of money!


1 December 2020 Besides the usual festive event cancellations and merry obituaries, Ansible 401 promises yet further free fannish ebooks at the TAFF site, which if all goes well will be released just before Christmas. [Later: no, this isn't going to work out. One of these is still bogged down in proofreading while the other awaits a promised afterword from an old-time fan. I now hope to announce the availability of both ebooks in the next Ansible, expected on 4 January 2021.]

5 November 2020 Unobtrusively announced in the depths of Ansible 400 below, Ansible Editions has released the first ebook edition of David Langford's and John Grant's definitively tasteless horror spoof Guts. The blurb quotes by noted horror authors on the linked page are all genuine, the first three written specially for Guts and the last appropriated without permission.


2 November 2020 I wish I had the time and energy to put on some kind of special show for Ansible 400, but I'm afraid it's just the usual mixture with the usual too many obituaries.

27 October 2020 Wendy Aldiss has launched a Kickstarter fundraiser for her planned photobook My Father's Things. Much Brian Aldiss memorabilia on view even if you don't want to contribute.

9 October 2020 Gosh: someone remembers and has written about one of my very early stories for the Armada Ghost Books. I've never quite mustered the courage to go back to those anthologies in search of material for another collection. Chris Priest eventually brought together his uncollected early work as Ersatz Wines (2008), but what makes that book is the long autobiographical introduction plus the detailed "Then" and "Now" notes on each story's genesis and, with hindsight, flaws and virtues. The latter, for me, would of course require the horror of actually reading them again. "Then: I think I needed the money. Now: Oh God!" At present I'm working on yet another nonfiction collection, mostly of fanzine material somewhat in the vein of the long-ago The Silence of the Langford (1996), but without that book's bonus short stories.

1 October 2020 I am trying hard not to contemplate the looming Big Round Number as we reach Ansible 399.

1 September 2020 We enter the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and Ansible 398; as a bonus, the project to release all Bob Shaw's short fanzine writing in three ebooks is now complete with Slow Pint Glass:

Slow Pint Glass

29 August 2020 Now it can be revealed: the latest from Ansible Editions is The Jonbar Point: Essays from SF Horizons, bringing together two long critical studies by Brian Aldiss that never appeared in any of his own collections.

The Jonbar Point

16 August 2020 A new issue of Cloud Chamber doesn't come along every week or even every blue moon, but somehow during the dog-days of lockdown I got into the mood again: here is Cloud Chamber 164. The archive of back numbers is here.

1 August 2020 Some Worldcon news in Ansible 397, and yet another John Sladek title (never before published) added to the Ansible Editions list: Puff Love.

Puff Love

1 July 2020 Here is Ansible 396, and see below for the latest free ebook at the TAFF library: 81,000 words of vintage fanzine writing by Bob Shaw.

Full Glass Bushel

1 June 2020 Still produced from home ... Ansible 395.

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.

Beyond the Outposts

2 March 2020 And now Ansible 392. There is a big Algis Budrys essay collection in the pipeline from Ansible Editions: contents here.

3 February 2020 What but Ansible 391?

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.


2 January 2020 The last and worst symptom of the New Year hangover is Ansible 390.