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Ansible 252, July 2008

From Dave Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU. Web news.ansible.co.uk. Fax 0705 080 1534. ISSN 0265-9816 (print) 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Brad Foster. Available for SAE, egoboo, or the Bild-A-Man Set #3.

Time in Advance

Brian Aldiss knows Liverpool is a City of Culture: 'On the first of July I shall be in Liverpool, where the University will give me an honorary degree. After which solemn ceremony a black tie dinner will be held. Please note that no money will be involved, and very little drink.'

J.G. Ballard is praised for avoiding the obvious pitfalls as 'one of the most significant figures in the 60s New Wave. His bleak dystopias were very powerful and influenced both readers and writers. It's true, though, that he did not go in for the clichés of the genre at that time – rayguns and tentacled aliens and so on.' In short, he's 'a science-fiction novelist in the way that Orwell and Huxley are'. (Professor Dinah Birch, quoted in Guardian interview with JGB, 14 June) [BB]

Russell T. Davies got an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Philip K. Dick's Four Novels of the 1960s has become the fastest-selling volume in the Library of America classics, with 23,750 copies shipped in its first year and only 5% returns. Corresponding figures for the H.P. Lovecraft volume are 11,860 and 5%, placing him between Jack Kerouac (<15,000, 10%) and Edmund Wilson (9,250, 12%). [cj]

Tom Easton is stepping down after 30 years of book reviews in Analog, and has delivered the final instalment of his column 'The Reference Library' for the December 2008 issue. [PDF/GVG]

William Gibson received an honorary doctorate from Simon Fraser University, Canada, on 5 June. The SFU website list of his credits (cyberspace, etc) includes: 'The author of numerous anthologies'. [CC]

Garry Kilworth won the first ever Charles Whiting Award for Literature for his historical novel Rogue Officer, part of a series published under the impenetrable pseudonym Garry Douglas Kilworth.

Sam J. Lundwall wants a quiet life: 'I am not yet dead, but in somewhat bad shape, so I am withdrawing from most things. No more travel, no more conventions anywhere, no more contacts, no more writing. I have prepared several issues of my little sf mag, Jules Verne-Magasinet, that will appear whether I am doing stuff or not. The world has generally been very kind to me, and I hope to continue having it being kind for some time, but on a much more quiet level. More than 50 years of fanac and professional writing has taken its toll, I guess. It has been great knowing you and the gang. Thanks a lot!'

George Takei was among the first to invest $70 in a wedding licence when California lifted its same-sex marriage ban on 17 June. He and long-time partner Brad Altman plan to marry in September. [DKMK]

Howard Waldrop is recovering from a 17 June heart operation. [ED] Caroline Spector writes: 'He had a quintuple bypass (thereby tying Gardner[ Dozois]'s record, which will no doubt end in a thumb-wrestling competition between the two of them for bragging rights at a later date). By all accounts he did extremely well during surgery.'

Jane Yolen almost avoids gloating: 'I had a piece in Newsweek this past week about my favorite books, and have heard so far from seven elementary school friends, half a dozen high school buddies, college mates, far-flung cousins, and one very strange man who insisted that reading Moby Dick had ruined his life forever so I should be careful not to recco it to anyone again. / Also just sold my 305th book.' (2 June)


Conjacency

11-13 Jul • PhantasmaGoria (horror/sf film festival), Arts Centre, Old Town, Swindon. £30 all showings. Bookings 01793 614837.

23 Jul • BSFA Open Meeting, Antelope, 22 Eaton Tce, London, SW1W 8EZ. 6pm on; fans present from 5pm. With Christopher Priest.

6-10 Aug • Denvention 3 (66th Worldcon), Denver, USA. $200 reg, $50 child/supp. Advance booking closes 10 July. At the door: $225, child $50, 'kid-in-tow' free. Day: Wed $55, Thu $75, Fri $85, Sat $85, Sun $35. Contact Denvention, PO Box 1349, Denver, CO 80201, USA.

8-10 Aug • Wolf Galactica (BSG), Thistle Hotel, Heathrow. Tickets £85, children £35. Bookings (not 24-hour) 01327 878550.

9-10 Aug • Caption (small-press comics), East Oxford Community Centre, Princes St, Oxford. £10 at the door or £5/day. [SG]

21-25 Aug • Frightfest (film), Odeon West End, London. Tickets are now available: www.frightfest.co.uk or 0871 224 4007.

22-25 Aug • Discworld Convention 2008, Hilton Metropole, Birmingham (NEC). 'Membership applications are now closed.' Contact PO Box 4101, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 5XD, or www.dwcon.org.

29-31 Aug • Wadfest (Discworld), Trentfield Farm Camp Site, Church Laneham, Retford, Notts, DN22 0NJ. Adult campers £15 (2 nights), accompanied children 1p each. See www.wadfest.co.uk/2008/.

5 Sep • British Fantasy Society Open Night, Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet St, London, EC4 1AA. From 6pm. All welcome.

19-21 Sep • Fantasycon 2008, Britannia Hotel, 1 St James St, Nottingham. Now £70 reg (BFS members/students £60). Contact 5 Greenbank, Barnt Green, Birmingham, B45 8DH.

25-28 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), Christchurch, Oxford. £42 reg (members £35), rising to £49.50 (£42.50) on 1 Aug. Contact 29 Tockley Rd, Burham, Bucks, SL1 7DQ; bookings at tolkiensociety org.

18-19 Oct • Octocon, Royal Dublin Hotel, O'Connell St, Dublin. GoH announced: Ken MacLeod. €30 reg, until 12 October; students €12; under 18s and supp €10. Payment to Octocon 2008 c/o Electric Dragon, 19a Main St, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

11 Nov 08 - 4 Jan 09 • Science Fact & Science Fiction exhibition, National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NS. Contact info at spacecentre co uk; phone 0116 261 0261.

5-7 Dec 08 • Battlestar Starfury (BSG), Thistle Hotel, Heathrow. £78.50 reg; £33.50 under-15s; under-8s free. Booking 07930 319 119.

6-8 Feb 09 • AXXIdental (filk), Ramada Grantham Hotel, Grantham. £32 (€39) reg, £16 under-18s/supp/unwaged, £1 kids under 6. Contact 15 St Catherine's Cross, Bletchingley, Surrey, RH1 4PX.

Jun 09 • SF Foundation Masterclass, Liverpool. Dates TBA. Applications needed by 31 Jan 09: farah dot sf at gmail dot com.

19-21 Jun 09 • Aetherica (fantasy), Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chester. GoH Peter Beagle, Joe Abercrombie. £45 reg to 31 Oct; registration not yet open. Contact membership at aetherica dot org.

25-26 Jul 09 • Satellite 2, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow. £40 reg to 26 Jul 08. Contact 33b Hardridge Rd, Corkerhill, Glasgow, G52 1RH.

6-10 Aug 09 • Anticipation (67th Worldcon), Palais des congrès de Montréal, Montréal, Canada. $Can190/$US190/£95/€130 reg to 31 July; $Can55/$US55/£30/€35 supp; usual discounts for site voters etc. Contact PO Box 105, Station NDG, Montréal, QC, H4A 3P4, Canada.


Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Buckminster Fuller. 'Fuller's themes often had the hallucinatory quality associated with science fiction (or mental hospitals).' (Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker, 9 June) [MMW]

R.I.P. Chingiz Aitmatov (1928-2008), noted Kyrgyzstan (FSU) novelist whose sf story The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years (1980, trans 1983) describes a Soviet/US space mission, died on 10 June aged 79. [PDF]
Algis Budrys (1931-2008), German-born (from a Lithuanian family) US author, critic and editor, died on 9 June; he was 77. In fiction he is best remembered for Who? (1958), Rogue Moon (1960, aka The Death Machine) and many fine short stories; as critic, for the Galaxy review columns collected in Benchmarks (1984); as editor, for Tomorrow SF magazine and the Writers of the Future competitions and anthologies. Other notable novels are The Amsirs and the Iron Thorn (1967), Michaelmas (1977) and the underrated Hard Landing (1993). Budrys received the 2007 Pilgrim award for criticism. I very much admired his writing and reviewing.
Ljuben Dilov (1927-2008), prolific Bulgarian author sometimes called the father of Bulgarian sf, died on 10 June. [SFS]
Robert H. Justman (1926-2008), US tv producer involved with the original Star Trek and ST:TNG, died on 28 May; he was 81. [O]
Edward S. Kessell, US pulp magazine fan who co-organized the first Pulpcon (1972) died on 4 June. [AIP]
Harry Lange (1930-2008), German-born illustrator who after working for NASA was art director for 2001 (1968), died on 22 May aged 77. He also worked on the first three Star Wars films, Moonraker, The Dark Crystal, etc. [AIP]
David Mitton (1939-2008), UK tv director who directed 182 episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends (1984-2003) – some of which he also scripted – died on 16 May aged 69. As a special effects man he worked on Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, The Secret Service and U.F.O.
Jonathan Routh (1927-2008), UK author, artist and broadcaster best known for the UK Candid Camera, who ventured into comic alternate history with The Secret Life of Queen Victoria and Leonardo's Kitchen Note Books (with Shelagh Routh, arguing that all da Vinci's sketched fortresses and engines are food-related), died on 4 June aged 80.
Jack Speer (1920-2008), long-time US fan who produced the first history of fandom, Up To Now (1939), and the original Fancyclopedia (1944), died on 28 June aged 87. He was a Fan GoH at the 2004 Worldcon, and the last surviving founder member of FAPA who still contributed to the mailings; indeed he invented the APA mailing comment. [RL]
Tartan Films (1982-2008), influential UK movie distributors who imported much notable Asian horror including the Japanese Ring, went bankrupt on 26 June after several months of difficulties. [GW]
Michael Turner (1971-2008), US comics artist (Witchblade, Fathom, Soulfire, Superman/Batman and other titles) died from cancer on 27 June; he was only 37. [DKMK]
Stan Winston (1946-2008), US special effects and make-up artist who won Oscars for his work on Aliens, Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, died on 15 June; he was 62. [GW]
Erick Wujcik (1951-2008), US role-playing game designer, co-founder of the games publisher Palladium Books and creator of the Roger Zelazny-based Amber Diceless RPG, died on 7 June aged 57. [MR]

Thog's Science Masterclass. 'He could see right through the bodies of his companions. Every detail was clear to him.' The phenomenon explained: '... the space ship was passing through a belt of X-rays, just as it had passed upwards through other kinds of rays ...' (Professor A.M. Low, Adrift in the Stratosphere, 1937; see also the August F&SF)

Awards. Locus Awards, announced 21 June: SF NOVEL Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union. FANTASY NOVEL Terry Pratchett, Making Money. YA China Miéville, Un Lun Dun. FIRST NOVEL Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box. NOVELLA Cory Doctorow, 'After the Siege' (Infinite Matrix 1/07). NOVELETTE Neil Gaiman, 'The Witch's Headstone' (Wizards). SHORT Michael Swanwick, 'A Small Room in Koboldtown', (Asimov's 4/07). COLLECTION Connie Willis, The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories. ANTHOLOGY The New Space Opera ed Gardner Dozois & Jonathan Strahan. NON-FICTION Barry N. Malzberg, Breakfast in the Ruins. ART BOOK Shaun Tan, The Arrival. EDITOR Ellen Datlow. MAGAZINE F&SF. PUBLISHER Tor. ARTIST Charles Vess.
MTV Awards include, as Best Movie, that arthouse masterpiece Transformers; and as Best Summer Movie So Far, Iron Man. Johnny Depp also won a couple. [JG]

As Fantasy Authors See Some Of Us. 'There was even a role-playing game that utilized strangely shaped polyhedral dice, minute but over priced models, and rulebooks the size of bibles. This was aimed at pale young men who mumbled self-consciously, washed infrequently, and never got picked for the stone-skimming team – and it was, frankly, a disappointment.' (David Bilsborough, A Fire in the North, 2008) [RF]

Outraged Letters. Joe McNally reveals a blasphemous, charnel horror: 'the fabled Lovecraft sex shop off Leicester Square has bitten the dust after decades of fannish sniggering at its sign. Couldn't say exactly when it went but it was still there 3/4 weeks ago ...' (20 June)
Gary Wilkinson savoured Newsnight Review (BBC, 6 June): 'During the discussion of The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway, after a general evisceration of the novel by the panel, things took an interesting turn when it was pointed out that there were scientific inaccuracies and chair Kirsty Wark suddenly declared "it doesn't need to make sense for sci-fi fans." After some further talk about sci-fi fans liking it, Safraz Manzoor added that the book's "lack of soul" wouldn't trouble sci-fi fans but wished the author had not been influenced by "Star Wars and Hitch-Hiker" but by the "originals" instead. I was particularly impressed with every enunciation of "sci-fi" as it were a minor swear-word.'

Pre-Publicity. 'Back in 1990, Maps in a Mirror was the landmark volume of the short fiction from [Orson Scott]Card's early years as a young writer. Now, more than two decades later ...' (Tor/Forge press release) [BJ]

Competition Scam. A purported SFWA writing contest advertised in June on Craigslist and Flixer asked a $10 entry fee with the lure of $27,000 in prizes, winners to appear in an anthology called Asimovs of the Future. SFWA, which never runs this kind of contest, issued a cease-and-desist: 'this person has apologized.' An apology? Is that all?

As Others See Us. Ridley Scott on his influences: 'I was never really able to get into sci-fi, I found it intellectually artificial, though truly imaginative.' (Guardian, 31 May) [SS]
• 'The success of the BBC's revived Doctor Who, along with its spin-offs, Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures, have given sci-fi a new popular credibility.' (BBC) [PB]

March of the Robots. Wendy Bradley (still not dead) is alarmed to discover that subscription renewals to her defunct magazine Farthing are still being collected by a rogue PayPal bot unconstrained by the First Law. She's frantically issuing refunds: offers of PayPal-wrangling assistance should go to wendy dot bradley37 at ntlworld dot com.

Random Fandom. Terry Jeeves wrote on 11 June: 'Val has to go into hospital for a operation to remove the cancer. If it succeeds she may be out in three weeks. Since I cannot walk and look after myself I will have to go into some form of care [...] or go to live with my son's family in Sheffield, in both cases I shall be out of e-mail contact for several weeks. Please pass this on.' Fingers crossed for good news. Urgent messages c/o Keith Jeeves, 102 Woodview Rd, Sheffield, S6 5AB.

Mythopoeic Awards shortlists: ADULT FANTASY Theodora Goss, In the Forest of Forgetting; Nalo Hopkinson, The New Moon's Arms; Guy Gavriel Kay, Ysabel; Catherynne M. Valente, Orphan's Tales (In the Night Garden and In the Cities of Coin and Spice); John C. Wright, Chronicles of Chaos series.
CHILDREN'S Holly Black, Tithe, Valiant and Ironside; Derek Landy, Skulduggery Pleasant; J.K. Rowling, the entire Harry Potter series; Nancy Springer, Dusssie; Kate Thompson, The New Policeman.
SCHOLARSHIP: INKLINGS Marjorie Burns, Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien's Middle-earth; Verlyn Flieger, Interrupted Music: The Making of Tolkien's Mythology; Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weiner, The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary; Diana Pavlac Glyer, The Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community; John D. Rateliff, The History of the Hobbit (2 vols).
SCHOLARSHIP: OTHER Charles Butler, Four British Fantasists: Place and Culture in the Children’s Fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper; Heather O'Donoghue, From Asgard to Valhalla: The Remarkable History of the Norse Myths; T.A. Shippey, ed., The Shadow-Walkers: Jacob Grimm's Mythology of the Monstrous; Richard Carl Tuerk, Oz in Perspective: The Magic and Myth of the L. Frank Baum Books; Milly Williamson, The Lure of the Vampire: Gender, Fiction and Fandom from Bram Stoker to Buffy.

Fanfundery. TAFF: Suzanne Tompkins published a final newsletter in June, reporting 'over $10,000 in the TAFF coffers during my time as administrator' – mostly passed to new US administrator Chris Garcia. Who simultaneously issued his first newsletter, President Taff's Bathtub.

A251 Addenda. Paul Barnett's heart bypass operation on 2 June went well, and he was home again on the 9th. [PS] Recovery continues.
• The traditional omission from the final credits was Gary Wilkinson. [GW] Special Ansible reportage for this item: Gary Wilkinson. Additional dialogue by Cordwainer Bird, Alan Smithee and Gary Wilkinson.

Who Can Replace A Man? Following Arthur C. Clarke's death, Stephen Baxter took over as BSFA president and the SF Foundation appointed two new Patrons: Neil Gaiman and Prof. David Southwood.

The Dead Past. 'Dave Wolverton wasn't quite outraged to be outed as the writer behind David "Runelords" Farland – "This is one of those loosely kept secrets" – but hopes the leak won't affect sales. For a small fee, Ansible will announce that its story was hopelessly wrong and that Farland is really Lionel Fanthorpe.' (Ansible 132, July 1998)

C.o.A. Death Ray magazine, Blackfish Publishing, 20 Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2AY. Kip Williams, Cathy Doyle & Sarah Williams, 6 Round Trail Dr, Pittsford, NY 14534, USA.

Thog's Masterclass. Inscrutable Technology Dept. 'Just how they could get a device as small as this to orbit an entire sun system at such a distance is beyond me.' (Philip E. High, 'Bottomless Pit', New Worlds 128, March 1963) [JB]
Dept of Anatomy. 'Holmes and Lowell were overcome, hearts contorted in their throats.' (Matthew Pearl, The Dante Club, 2003) [EO]
Heredity Dept. 'Walmsbury, not yet nineteen, had inherited the effulgent brouhaha of his strain.' (Noel Langley, 'Scene for Satan', Saturday Evening Post, 1947) [AR]
Dept of Cybersalesmanship. 'This is the Model 899D57 ... the newest and the best. The cyb circuit can analyze a sequence in half a minute, give or take a few seconds ... There are flashing lights, too – all over the board.' (Frank Belknap Long, The Strange Tomorrow, 1966) [AR]
'As You Don't Know, Bob ...' '"Have you ever heard of Frederick Carswell's hypothesis of superimposed suns in overlapping or doubled back space?" Crowley shook his head. "Well ... very few people have."' (Ibid)
Use of Weapons Dept. 'Nothing short of a machine gun could have stopped Gog in his first outburst! He was finally subdued with tear gas.' (John Taine, G.O.G. 666, 1954) [AR]


Geeks' Corner

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Conventions/Events Longlist
Details at http://links.ansible.co.uk#cons
London meetings/events – http://news.ansible.co.uk/london.html
Overseas – http://news.ansible.co.uk/conlisti.html
2008
Until 25 Oct 2008, Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain, Science Museum, London
11-13 July 2008, PhantasmaGoria (film festival), Swindon
6-10 Aug 2008, Denvention 3 (Worldcon), Denver, USA
8-10 August 2008, Wolf Galactica 4 (BSG), Heathrow
21-25 Aug 2008, Frightfest film festival, London
22-25 Aug 2008, Discworld Convention 2008, Birmingham
29-31 Aug 2008, Mecon, Belfast
5-7 Sep 2008, ZombieCon, Bentley, Walsall
12-14 Sep 2008, Reunion5 (media), Coventry
19-21 Sep 2008, Fantasycon 2008, Nottingham
25-28 Sep 2008, Oxonmoot (Tolkien), Oxford
4-5 Oct 2008, Birmingham International Comics Show, Birmingham
11-12 Oct 2008, NewCon 4, Northampton
17-19 Oct 2008, Festival of Fantastic Films, Manchester
18-19 Oct 2008, Octocon, Ireland
7-9 Nov 2008, ArmadaCon XX, Plymouth
11 Nov 2008 - 4 Jan 2009, Science Fact & Science Fiction exhibition, National Space Centre, Leicester
14-16 Nov 2008, Novacon 38, Bentley, Walsall
5-7 Dec 2008, Battlestar Starfury (BSG), Heathrow
2009
20-24 Jan 2009, Wyrd Sisters: The Directors' Cut (play), Abingdon
6-8 Feb 2009 • AXXIdental (filk), Grantham
20-22 Feb 2009, Redemption 09 (multimedia sf), Coventry
26-29 Mar 2009, Eurocon 2009, Fiuggi, Italy
27-29 Mar 2009, P-Con VI, Dublin.
10-13 Apr 2009, LXcon (Eastercon), Bradford
19-21 Jun 2009, Aetherica (fantasy), Chester
CANCELLED: 26-29 Jun 2009, Sectus 2009 (Harry Potter), North Wales
25-26 Jul 2009, Satellite 2, Glasgow
6-10 Aug 2009, Anticipation (67th Worldcon), Montréal, Canada
2010
2-5 Apr 2010, Odyssey 2010 (Eastercon), Heathrow


Endnotes

Apparitions.
• 1 Jul 2008: Hannah Berry, Paul Gravett & Bryan Talbot, Ipswich
Literary Festival.
• 5 Jul 2008: Steven Erikson & Diana Wynne Jones signing, Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR. 1-2pm.
• 10 Jul 2008: Juliet E McKenna & Chaz Brenchley at Aylesbury Library, 8-9:30pm
• 11 Jul 2008: Brum Group, Briar Rose, Bennett Hill, Birmingham city centre. 7.45pm. £4; members £3. Contact 07845 897760 or 4bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk. Further meetings: 8 Aug 'Summer Social' meal at Black Eagle pub.
• 7 Aug 2008: Richard Morgan signing, Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR. 6-7pm.
• 22 Aug 2008: Alan Grant & Bryan Talbot, Edinburgh
Literary Festival. 8:30pm.

Random Links. See the latest additions here:
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PayPal Donation. Support Ansible and keep the editor happy! Or just buy his books ...
http://ansible.co.uk/paypal.php
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Media Oddments. The Pixar people are working on a script for Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars. [PB] Interviewer: Is it going to be CGI or live action or a mix? Andrew Stanton: We don't know. We honestly don't know, because it's clearly got to be a hybrid of some sort and we're going to basically spend the first – this year for sure – just worrying about the story. Full interview at Firstshowing.net:
http://tinyurl.com/6pzslq
• A small outfit about which I know nothing has a website raising funds to complete an interesting-looking production of Gene Wolfe's 'The Death of Doctor Island' (info from Tony Ellis):
http://www.doctorisland.com/

Editorial Note. I have perpetrated another issue of Cloud Chamber:
http://ansible.co.uk/cc/cc158.html

Random Fandom II. David V. Barrett sees the light: 'For the first time in a considerable number of decades I am now somewhat bemusedly wandering around without glasses, having had cataract surgery on both eyes this month, with new (and experimental) lenses implanted. Quite a surreal, almost SFnal experience, listening to the surgeon giving a running commentary to his junior while you're staring into incredibly bright light with things moving around in it, while keeping your head v-e-r-y still...'
Steve Cooper has early news of another UK con-running convention: 'ConRunner 2, to be held the 3rd or 4th weekend of January 2010 up north, probably in the centre of either Manchester or Sheffield.'
Chip Hitchcock on the ubiquitous J.K. Rowling (A251): 'So – how many people have pointed out that the Harvard Crimson columnist was trying to be sarcastic/ironic about previous chattering against the "lowbrow" choice?' None. Well, one now.
Martin Hoare on his pyrotechnics calendar: 'Pangbourne Fireworks [as part of the village fete] are now on 19th July. The championships in Plymouth are on 12th and 13th of August. Skyburst [whose team includes Martin] are up 2nd on Tuesday.'
http://www.britishfireworks.co.uk/2008/plymouth.htm
Marcia Illingworth sends grim news: 'Chris Cooper (the tall one) is gravely ill in ICU in a major London hospital. He has been comatose and on a ventilator for two weeks. The doctors are not certain what brought this on. He just collapsed one evening and has been in this state ever since. He has been battling a major illness for over a year now, but there doesn't seem to be a direct link between this and his existing illness. Obviously we are all seriously concerned. Prayers and positive energy in whatever form you choose would no doubt be welcome. I have contact details for the family if anyone needs them. Contact me at marcia at bellhouse dot org dot uk.'
Ben Jeapes is strangely uncertain: 'John Gribbin's In Search of Schrödinger's Cat played a key role as a Clue in tonight's episode of The Bill [12 June], complete with actual quote from the back cover: "so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it." Specifically, a battered copy served as a prop to inform our heroes that a guest character was cleverer than they thought, from the simple fact that he owned said copy. Further, upon opening the book they noticed that the name inscribed on the inside cover was different to the name the character had earlier given. Presumably, until they opened the book he was simultaneously the old and the new name. Sadly that was as deep as it got, but as DC Masters pronounced the longest word on the cover "Shrodinjer" my hopes had never been high.'
Fred Lerner reminds us that a selection of the late Jack Speer's best fanwriting was published as Fancestral Voices in 2004.
Caroline Mullan enjoyed the thrill of being spelt 'Mullen' in a Grauniad interview which at least let her mention John Brunner and her status as a trustee of the SF Foundation. [PC]
Yvonne Rousseau is mortified to have been made a cityless person by her Post Office Manager: 'Even though RUNDLE MALL is a CBD street location it is classified as a Suburb for delivery to our Post Office Boxes and therefore ADELAIDE should not appear as part of your postal address, as this will cause delays to the delivery of your mail.' Thus her address has shrunk to just PO Box 3086, Rundle Mall, SA 5000, Australia.

Ansible 252 Copyright © Dave Langford, 2008. Thanks to Paul Barnett, John Boston, Bill Burns, Caryn Cameron, Pat Charnock, Ellen Datlow, Paul Di Filippo, Rose Fox, Joe Gordon, Steve Green, Ben Jeapes, carl juarez, David K.M. Klaus, Robert Lichtman, Emmet O'Brien, Omega, Andrew I. Porter, Adam Roberts, Marcus Rowland, Pamela Scoville, SF Site, Steve Sneyd, Gordon Van Gelder, Gary Wilkinson, Martin Morse Wooster and Hero Distributors: Vernon Brown (BSFG), Janice Murray (NA), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Oz). 30 Jun 08.