2021 Log

21 December 2021 Merry Solstice to everyone! Hazel is putting up decorations and I'm posting the promised link to my miserable Xmas-card substitute Cloud Chamber 165. • Of late I've been beset by pangrams. A recent Inquisitor crossword revolved around Mark Dunn's 2001 novel Ella Minnow Pea (fortunately I have a copy), whose plot requires the finding of a sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet and improves on the traditional THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG by being shorter yet still comprehensible. The book's answer is the long-known but less famous PACK MY BOX WITH FIVE DOZEN LIQUOR JUGS. Just two weeks later, another Inquisitor setter required us to discover and write in a "perfect" pangram of exactly 26 letters: CWM FJORD BANK GLYPHS VEXT QUIZ. "Carvings on the side of a valley inlet annoyed an eccentric", according to the official explanation of that puzzle in last Saturday's i. Whose easier general knowledge crossword included PANGRAM as an answer which Hazel pointed out to me. "Blimey," I said, since I'm comfort-rereading Augustus de Morgan's A Budget of Paradoxes (1872, revised 1915, mostly about circle-squarers and other mathematical cranks) and had just reached the page in Volume 1 where de Morgan trades pangrams with a friend, decides it's necessary to use I for J and omit V altogether (as presumably covered by W), and comes up with I, QUARTZ PYX, WHO FLING MUCK BEDS. The fickle finger of fate, insecurely attached to the long arm of coincidence, had struck again.

Ella Minnow Pea

1 December 2021 It's time for the last Ansible of the year (no wimpy Christmas special in these tough times, although I do have a new issue of Cloud Chamber up my sleeve): here's Ansible 413.

7 November 2021 Today I discovered something I'd have kept back for Ansible if not for the December deadline involved. The National Library of New Zealand quietly announced in July that it's giving a huge tranche of discarded books from its overseas collection to the Internet Archive, which will digitize them all and put them online. In October it was revealed equally quietly that authors who'd rather not be pirated have until 1 December to opt out. See here. I downloaded the immense spreadsheet of 428,232 titles and found only one by me. But 46 by or edited by Robert Silverberg; 24 by Michael Moorcock; several by Chris Priest; many more still-in-copyright titles. Author friends may want to check for their names. • Later, 29 November: plans for the donation, now given as 600,000 titles, have been put on hold.

3 November 2021 Covid booster shots today at the local pharmacy: Pfizer this time. Perhaps my arm felt a little bit sorer that night than after the previous AstraZenecas, but nothing alarming happened.

1 November 2021 October was mostly spent settling the SF Encyclopedia into its new web-server home, as briefly mentioned in today's Ansible 412.

1 October 2021 Shut up, Fred Hoyle, I'm publishing Ansible 411 no matter what you say!

October the First ..

21 September 2021 Here's a belated review of All Good Things: The Last SFX Visions. Also, Keith Freeman points out that The Leaky Establishment is cited in the comments to this recent story at The Register.

1 September 2021 What, Ansible 410 already? Where does the time go? When will the RIP list get shorter and Thog less resolutely tasteless? Answers may be submitted on a postcard, but not to me.

24 August 2021 An unexpected bookplate discovery on the front endpaper of a volume in my collection (The Story of Manon Lescaut, 1731; translated by Helen Waddell for the New York Heritage Press, 1935):

Boris Karloff bookplate

1 August 2021 An experiment: I placed a tiny classified ad for Ansible Editions in Private Eye #1550 (25 June - 8 July). No detectable blip in sales or even shows of interest, so I probably won't try this again.

Eye ad

30 July 2021 The traditional avoidance of weekends means an early "August" issue: Ansible 409 is out today!

1 July 2021 It's time for Ansible 408.

25 June 2021 At last I've disposed of that long run of complimentary copies of SFX magazine, after going through the whole lot and (for the sake of future bibliographers) noting all the title changes they made to my long-running column there. More than I remembered. In the collections – The SEX Column and Other Misprints, Starcombing and All Good Things: The Last SFX Visions – I naturally used my original titles, thus causing fearful confusion at the Internet SF Database.... • Do I regret not having that regular soapbox for (almost) anything I cared to write? Not really, although I could have had some fun with the true and terrible history of the online SF Encyclopedia following the Gollancz announcement that they will be pulling the plug on this noble enterprise in October 2021. Instead – in between the agonies of constructing a replacement website where the SFE show will go on – I've written about all this for the next issue of William Breiding's fanzine Portable Storage.

1 June 2021 Here is Ansible 407, which also announces today's launch of another ebook in the free TAFF site library, compiled and with commentary by Rob Hansen (click on cover image for the download page):

Faan Fiction 1930-2020

30 April 2021 Continuing the great tradition of not publishing this thing on a Saturday or Sunday, Ansible 406 is the first Friday issue in quite some time.

21 April 2021 Hazel and I had our second AstraZeneca vaccinations today at the Mills Archive Trust, a familiar place within easy walking distance which Hazel the watermill fan had visited many times before. Now waiting to learn which super powers will develop.

1 April 2021 Not only Ansible 405 (guaranteed to contain no April Foolery) but a new ebook for free download at the TAFF site: Creative Random Harris, a huge collection of fanwriting by Chuck (alias Chuch) Harris, one of the founders of TAFF.

Creative Random Harris

1 March 2021 What else but Ansible 404? Because I had so much fun with Beachcombing below, I've also published a trade paperback of my very fannish ebook from 2015, Don't Try This at Home.

Don't Try This at Home

10 February 2021 Phone call at 5:15pm calling me and Hazel to the local surgery for COVID-19 vaccinations (our first) at 6pm. AstraZeneca. Back home again by twenty past.

1 February 2021 It's time for Ansible 403.

22 January 2021 Chris Priest has released an ebook of The Magic, his long essay on the complex relationship between the film The Prestige and the original novel. This ebook was prepared by (faint noises of trumpet-blowing) Ansible Editions.

4 January 2021 Here's Ansible 402, including announcements of yet more free ebook downloads at the TAFF site.