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Ansible 34, July 1983

PLEASE NOTE that this old Ansible is a bit of history. Addresses may have changed (though the editor's postal address hasn't), prices and agents' credits are invalid, etc. • This issue was produced in my BWP or Before-Word-Processors era and lovingly rekeyed for the archives by Tony Smith ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1994.


ANSIBLE 34: the July 1983 issue of Britain's optician-sponsored SF newsletter wings its minuscule way to you from DAVE LANGFORD, 94 LONDON ROAD, READING, BERKSHIRE, RG1 5AU, UK. Scientific tests show that nobody ever reads this tiny print: I can say what I like here, I can libel John Brunner and Harry Harrison, I can raise the subscription rates and fandom will never... wait a minute. Note last issue's increase, please: £2 brings you seven issues wherever you live, airmailed outside the UK. Sterling notes/cheques to me, also dollar bills; Giro transfer to a/c 24 523 0408; $ cheques to US agents Mary & Bill Burns, 23 Kensington Ct, Hempstead, NY 11550 (they invite you all to their pre-worldcon party there on 27 Aug, 4pm onward); Euromonies to Roelof Goudriaan, Postbus 1189, 8200 BD Lelystad, Netherlands; Leigh Edmonds distributes Australian copies but doesn't yet take subs. Cartoon by D. (Famous Dave) West; labels superlatively dataprocessed by Keith (Infallible) Freeman. Please read your label and note that: LASTISH XX means XX is the last Ansible you get on your current subscription (all who now write in to observe that we're already up to issue XXXIV will be Punished); SUB DUE means the chopper is ready to fall, avertable only by sending Langford money (as above) or hot news (credit given at editorial discretion); ***** means you are on the dustbin of history and lucky to see this issue at all, as increasing poverty is causing me to prune the list ever more ruthlessly; TRADE means you're currently getting free copies in exchange for your frequent newszine, for sundry nameless favours, or out of shameless Langfordian sycophancy. This issue's immediate mailing goes to 327 addresses, same as last time since new subscribers have balanced out a fairly ruthless purge. Help! Nuclear Debate Thought for Today, from the notebooks of Samuel Butler: "We shall never get people whose time is money to take much interest in atoms." (circa 1880.)


Don't Throw Away seemingly valueless sf oddments like those J. Brunner form postcards (with a tick against the phrase 'Your fanzine was junk mail fit only for recycling'). One Colin Huggett of Sheffield offers such rare memorabilia for sale: an 8-word typed postcard from Asimov goes for £6, a 32-word handwritten one from Aldiss is £10. Bradbury only has to write his name and 'Hallo' on a form letter to make it worth £10.50, while Clarke does the same and adds 'All good wishes' but rates a mere £7.50. Star item at £30 is a carbon of Priest's 'The Invisible Men', listed as 'possibly unpublished' (actually published twice at least)... Invited to comment, Brian Aldiss rushed back a 59-word handwritten postcard demanding a cheque of commensurate value, and ever-informative Chris Priest revealed all: "I remember being approached by someone called Colin Something, a few years ago. Represented himself as a lifelong fan, whose collection would not be complete without a signed MS. Smelt fishy to me, so ignored it. Then he wrote again later. I called Brian, and asked him what to do. Brian said: 'Oh that bastard...I think he's a dealer.' So ignored him again. After a third letter I decided no harm would come of sending him a bottom carbon copy of my worst story, thinking that he'd never get a price for it. Now, years later, it emerges with a £30 tag. Ho ho ho." (CP) Offers for the full 239-word typed letter with rare indecipherable Priest signature may be sent to the usual address.

Isaac Asimov, somewhat to the chagrin of the Seacon 84 committee, has belatedly decided that his promise to come here as Guest of Honour 'health permitting' actually meant 'health and absence of lucrative novel contracts permitting'. While Asimov exits giggling to write a sequel to Foundation's Edge, the committee (no doubt murmuring "Our gain is literature's loss") is seeking an alternative US guest, said to be Philip José Farmer. Asimov's defection is one reason for further delay of Progress Report 1, planned for mid-May and currently due Real Soon Now. But, three months to the day from its bid victory, Seacon has produced its first publication, a page of information with the proper European air of having been translated from Serbo-Croat. Attending membership costs £7 (rising in December), payable to Seacon 84, 321 Sarehole Road, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 0AL; Brighton Metropole hotel rates £16.50/person/night inc. breakfast, and ditto in the Bedford (overflow). Paid-up pre-supporters of both the Blackpool and Brighton bids for this 1984 Eastercon/Eurocon get £1 off membership. Meanwhile, the infosheet mysteriously insists that two of the remaining four Guests of Honour (Chris Priest, Pierre Barbet) are not guests but merely authors who are coming along – though I suspect this is an error of ace creative typist Alan Dorey.

Chinese SF Secrets: writing in the TLS, the possibly famous Yang Xianyi reveals all. "There is a vogue for sf in China today... [But] Chinese people do not have pessimistic ideas that the world is going to be dominated by insects, robots or creatures from outer space, or destroyed by a nuclear holocaust or other catastrophe; so they find most present-day Western sf too depressing and unacceptable." The phraseology is familiar enough to make you wonder whether the editors of Asimov's SF Mag are secretly Chinese.

Magazines: Imagine and White Dwarf, sf/fantasy games mags covered last issue, currently have circulations of 15 and 18.5 thousand respectively; fiction rates seem to vary with auctorial fame, around £25-30 from I, £15-25 from WD, per thousand words. Interzone, depressingly, is doing rather less well: Dave Pringle, as usual ashen-faced and tight-lipped, says "As of mid-June we had received only about 25% of the anticipated resubscriptions. If more people don't resubscribe soon we're going to have to take measures. Keep Britain's only sf magazine alive! The small ad which we paid £130 to place in the Grauniad books page a month ago has resulted in just 7 subscriptions. Count them: 7. Out of a Guardina readership of, what? Half a million? It's at times like this that us sf fans feel with perfect justification that we're part of a tiny persecuted minority." (DP) Ouch. Rush Dave a fiver today, you deadbeats... The long-promised Sebastian (Intergalactic Art Ltd, 31 Morecambe Street, London, SE17 1DX) recently appeared, 64pp inc. glossy covers, a strange semipro affair dominated by artwork and comic strips from Huge French Names in translation, plus some fiction. £2.50 + 50p p&p, says secret master Patrice Bernard; issue 2 in a year or so, depending on colossal response...

Sweden: An anonymous Stockholm source reports that that great work The Science In SF will appear from huge publishing firm Norstedts there next year, translated and – ominous word – edited by Sam J. Lundwall. He plans to revise the text and remove claimed anglo-chauvinistic errors ("Frankenstein's monster wasn't the first artificially created human in the literature, for instance"), no doubt replacing all those boring Anglo-US references with really important Swedish authors like H.G. Wellsson, Mary Shellejsdottir and Lucian of Samosataholm. Reports of numberless references to the works of hugely famous Sam J. Lundwall are eagerly awaited. Meanwhile it is mere coincidence that roving reporter Marc Ortlieb has been reading Harry Harrison's Starworld, there to find the line: 'Old Lundwall, who commands the Sverige, should have retired a decade ago....' No comment, thanks.

Book Marketing Council October SF Promotion: Geoff Rippington went on about this in Vector 114, revealing among other things that the Gang Of Four who picked the books to be plugged had a mere 6 days in which to locate and read the nominated books: naturally lifelong skiffyfan Geoff was the only one who did. (His printed account differs in small details from what I extracted over the telephone: it apparently cost £600 per book to nominate for the promotion, plus 50% for non-BMC publishers, explaining certain strange absences; and the 'history of sf' theme used to justify the older choices was only dreamed up at the last second in face of unremitting awfulness of newer material.) Geoff lists 23 titles – he says 27 but that's his problem – so, omitting the final choices listed in A33, here are the Ones That Didn't Make It... GRANADA Complete Short Stories Of Ray Bradbury, The Encyclopaedia Of SF (Nicholls); MICHAEL JOSEPH The Science In SF (Nicholls, Whatsisname, Stableford); HODDER (it says here) Friday (Heinlein); CORGI Radix (Attanasio), Dinosaur Tales (Bradbury), Secret History Of Time To Come (MacAuley); ARROW Run To The Stars (Rohan); SPHERE Fade-Out (Tilley), Vaneglory (Turner), The Amtrak Wars (Tilley).

At the inaugural SF Supper Club meeting, or more accurately piss-up (at which Kingsley Amis read out all his favourite reviews of his Golden Age collection, several people enthused "This is what the One Tun should be like" even as they fell over, and next day convalescent organizer Priest remarked "It must have been good, people have been phoning all morning to apologize for things –")... I heard strange promotional gossip: what happened to the 2/3 books Futura say they nominated? Or the great Langford novel which Richard Evans swore on a full pint glass had been nominated by Arrow? Was the list somehow weeded even before the selectors saw it? Richard also complained that nominating 2001 was a waste of time, seeing as Arrow sold a steady 20,000 copies every year, the market saturation level. I told you so. Last word from that man Priest: "One of the things which I haven't seen commented on is the disproportionate bias towards British authors. 40% of the writers are British, and this is a scandalous misrepresentation of the sf field as a whole. Also, most of them are dead, which is a bit lacking in taste, if you ask me. All the Americans are alive, so why can't the British be?" (That's enough Priest this issue – Ed.)

Books & Things: John Bush of Gollancz got quite excited at the June BSFA meeting. In a sneak preview of coming sf masterpieces, he casually yawned his way through familiar names, "another Shaw, another Sladek, and [eyelids droop] another Watson..." But then, in a sudden galvanic spasm: "You must read this one book we're doing! [waves arms, leaps up and down] It's called Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle... [froths at mouth, hurls beermugs at inattentive listeners] On September 1st YOU WILL ALL GO OUT AND BUY IT!" Joe Nicholas was seen to regard with awe the fingers with which he'd mistyped so many of Mary's reviews for the BSFA... First Byte is Mike Rohan's vade-mecum of home computing for the ignorant (EP £3.95), notable among other things for Jim Barker cartoons, one of which contrives to use Jim's ANSIBLE mailing label not only as an example of dot-matrix printing but so millions of dazzled readers can now write to Jim and commission artwork... The Whole Truth Computer Handbook is Charles Platt's rival book on why you don't need one of the stupid machines really: it's illustrated by Dan Steffan, is as yet unsold in the UK, and will be translated into English from the original American text by – argh!... The Book of the New Sun has maddened Tom Disch and John Clute into planning an entire critical work analyzing the subtle bits, and famous Mr Clute has developed an answer to the burning question 'Who was Severian's mother?' which he threatens to justify in vast textual detail anytime I approach him with the magic phrase "You are the Foundation man and I claim my free insomnia cure"... Pocket/Timescape are having a further shakeup, with the entire sf line editing farmed out (with the exception of really important Star Trek books which cannot be trusted to others) to the hacks of the Scott Meredith Literary Agency in New York. Lovable former Timescape editor Dave Hartwell gets the boot (not at all amicably, we hear) and will be out by the end of October; there are hints that the now well known Timescape imprint (famous for publishing most recent award nominees etc) will, in a stroke of dazzling market acumen, be renamed. (Sources: everyone really, but Bob Shaw – traumatized by a transatlantic phone call – was first.)... Peter Lavery, spelt like that and not the way Locus prefers, has the Hamlyn as well as Arrow backlists to play with at Arrow now, the former having been bought up by Hutchinson/Arrow. Sources insist that the gaffes of the famous Hamlyn line, such as publishing millions of books and storing them carefully in a warehouse until deciding that the poor sales demanded remaindering, were the fault of others. (Signed, Grovelling Arrow Author)... Famous 'Network News' editor Martin Morse Wooster, whose plea "Write for me as you would write for Tappen" was featured last issue, enthusiastically bounced a Langford submission with the classic words "We're not prudes, but –" Corrected specification: write as you would for Tappen, but omitting anything in the nature of rude words, horrid innuendo, mention of bodily orifices (ears may possibly be OK in certain circumstances), tappens, and most other things to be found in Tappen... Peter Winnington of the Peake Society has been querying E.F. Bleiler's rumoured omission of Peake from a forthcoming fantasy-author compendium, "and got a strange answer which made reference only to the recently published Guide To Supernatural Fiction 'in which I did include Peake's Mr Pym [sic]' – do you play verbal golf? He's found how to get from Poe to Peake in one!" (GPW)... Malcolm Edwards reports imminent Penguin & Puffin editions of his almost famous reprint antho Constellations (1980): same cover, same layout, different price. Still bemused, he writes on A33: "Speaking as the editor who bought Against Infinity over here I confess myself wholly baffled by Greg Benford's letter. Influence of Faulkner? Must go back and read Moonfleet again... 'TF' = termite farting, do you think?" (MJE)

TAFF: Malcolm denies D. West's denial of TAFF candidacy. "D. West is too standing for TAFF. He has no choice in the matter. If need be he will be the first write-in TAFF winner. (Signed: The Secret Masters.) Our slogan is, 'Send D. West to de west'." (MJE) As TD readers know, Famous Dave is proposing an alternative D. West Fan Fund to bring some lucky and deserving person like Ted White to D's own home in Bingley. Already his eldritch powers are working to make the town a place of pilgrimage: the current Soc of Authors mag has a list of hotels offering discount to members, and naturally only a handful of places are willing to encourage vile creatures like authors, but of these the very first is the Hall Bank Hotel in, of course, Bingley...

RIP: Zenna Henderson of 'People' fame died on 11 May, of cancer. She was 65. (LOCUS)


RANDOM CONVENTION UPDATES

Albacon II has paid half of the £500 lift repair bill from the Central Hotel (this being not so much Justice as an attempt to keep the hotel sweetened for future cons). Steve Green complains that the world-famous COFF award, handed by Kev Clarke to the hotel porter before numberless witnesses, was never seen again and according to the hotel never had been seen by their porter: Ansible suspects the trophy's construction is to blame, the beerglass 'dome' over the legendary model Concrete Overcoat having probably been 'repossessed' for the hotel bar, the rest discarded, the embarrassment of admitting to this being relentlessly avoided... Eurocon 8 is not Seacon 84 after all (it'll be Eurocon 9): the Yugoslavs have succeeded in having their September 16-18 (1983) con at Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana, recognized as a Eurocon, which now becomes an annual – not biennial – event. $5US supp, $10 att (cheque/IMO/cash, or approx equivalent in other hard currency) payable to Elizabeta Bobnar, Ul.Ivanke Ovijac 4, YU-61215 MEDVODE, Yugoslavia... Unicon 4 (2-4 Sept, U of Essex): "Oh shit!" quipped merry chairman Alex Stewart after losing two Guests of Honour in one day – John Sladek plans to be in America and Angela Carter in hospital come convention time. Even more famous Ian Watson is GoH, unless his pre-election predictions come to pass and all sf authors in Thatcher's Britain are herded into a concentration camp, there to be subjected to life sentences of readings from the works of R.L. Fanthorpe... Seacon 84 – word reaches my ear that the planned simultaneous translation services look like costing over £3000 (including free rooms for a horde of professional interpreters), or somewhat more than the base figure for ALL other technical equipment and services. "No big fat UN grant, no simultaneous translation," hints a glum informant... Spring Bank Holiday 1984 event has a slight name correction: not Mexicon but Tynecon II: The Mexicon. The idea is to found a dynasty of Mexicons, each at the same time of year but with different locations and identifying names, like the Eastercon but (they say) better. £5 to Sue Williams, 19 Jesmond Dene Road, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 3QT. Hotel rates (Royal Station, Newcastle) £13.25/person dbl/twin, ditto sngl-without-bath, £16.50 sngl-with-bath... Fantasycon VIII (see A33): "We haven't yet released details," says Jo Fletcher of the BFS repressively (no doubt the BFS tradition of keeping Fantasycon hushed up...). Gene Wolfe is GoH; Bruce Pennington isn't a guest but 'may turn up'; Ken Bulmer will be MC; 'more details later' (JF)

Our Teeth Grated, And My Nipples Went Spung! All true fans will at once recognize this famous line from The Number Of The Beast, and 102% will hastily add "Of course I didn't read the book, I saw it quoted somewhere." TLS coverage of a book on Japanese comics now suggests a source for Heinlein's subtle onomatopoeia: there are conventional sounds for all sorts of things like slurping noodles (suru-suru), reddening with embarrassment (po), adding cold cream to hot coffee (suron) and vanishing into thin air (fu). Amid all this I find the glad news that "When a penis suddenly stands erect the accepted sound is biin." When biin is found, can spung be far behind?

Thomas Paul Atkinson Edwards is the full name of, er...


EPISTOLAE ET CETERA

Brian Aldiss – "The 6th Annual Meeting of World SF passed off peacefully in Zagreb, 16-20 June. The Jugoslav hosts did a great job; experienced con-goers (like Elsie Wollheim & Sam Lundwall) voted it the best con ever. The new WSF awards were a success. Gerbish received one for dedicated service. An emerald green Harrison Award – named after our founder* – went to Bruce Gillespie. Russian & Chinese delegates (the popular Weng Fengzhen) were present. Next year: Brighton." (*Founder Harrison? Michael? M. John? George? Give us a clue, Brian... Ed.)

Alex Stewart – "The BFI yearbook thudded onto my doormat the other day, and, much to my surprise, it lists no less than seven sf/fantasy/horror films currently in production in the UK. Plus whatever may have started since the new year, of course. In case anyone's interested, in alphabetical order, they are: Greystoke – multi-megabuck Burroughs, from Hugh "Chariots of Fire" Hudson. House Of The Long Shadows – Price, Lee, Cushing and Carradine. No plot summary, but with a cast like that who cares? The Keep – Nazis fight demons in a creepy old castle. How can they tell them apart? Krull – sword & sorcery thingie. No different from all the rest, I suspect. The Sender – fun and games with a suicidal telepath. (I'm not making these up, honestly.) Superman III – 'nuff said. If you don't know what to expect by now... Sword Of The Valiant – Sean Connery, Peter Cushing, Ronald 'Coathanger' Lacey take another crack at Sir Gawain and the Green Knight... The thing I find most interesting is the obvious trend away from space and futuristic subjects towards pulp adventure and the paranormal. I'm not sure if this represents the start of a new cycle, or just reflects the lower budgets available in the UK."

George Flynn – "As you may have heard, ConStellation has subcontracted to NESFA the production of a book of John Brunner's songs. These are about evenly divided between SF parodies and political songs (about rotten landlords, murdering generals, and all that sort of thing); the latter produced a minor outbreak of revulsion among the more conservative NESFA members, who subsided upon being informed that we already had a contract." (NESFA: New England SF Assoc, o ignorant ones.)

Ramsey Campbell (re the once 'unprintable' King tale mentioned in A33) – "As for its being refused publication elsewhere, I for one never saw it, nor even knew of its existence until after I'd closed New Terrors. I gather it has now been published in America, I believe in a Charles L. Grant anthology. Speaking of unprintability, I can claim to be the author of the (commissioned in advance) story the Liverpool Daily Post wouldn't print ('Calling Card') and the Twilight Zone story that Herbert van Thal wouldn't use in his pornographic Pan series ('Again'), though I'm not sure if the latter is because it was too tasteful or too disturbing. Both events can now be seen as stages in my progress to being the British horror author nobody in Britain will print – at least, as of now I'm wholly out of print in Britain save for some of my anthologies and a few short stories. 'We all go down together, mate,' Chris Priest comforts." (Ouch.)

Peter Wareham contributes a snippet from TV-Cable Week spotted during his US holiday – "How do you script a sequel to a film in which the protagonists buy the farm? Well, writers Terry (Candy) Southern and Michael (Saturday Night Live) O'Donoghue are even now polishing Bikers' Heaven, a vehicle for Easy Riders Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda. As Hopper, 47, has come to explain the new movie: 'It takes place 100 years after a nuclear holocaust. This guy on a golden Harley comes down from outer space and brings Peter and me back to life to save America, which has been overrun by mutant bike gangs, black Nazis and lesbian sadists.' Oh." (The piece is unsigned, but here at Ansible we feel the author has the right attitude. Watch for sequels to On the Beach, Dr Strangelove...)

Ahrvid Engholm – "SEFF, the Scandinavian-European Fan Fund, intends to bring over a scandinavian fan to Seacon 84. Any fan may nominate one candidate – send your nomination of the Swedish fan you'd like to see at Seacon 84, no later than 18 August 1983, to me at Maskinistgaten 9 Ob, S-117 47 Stockholm, Sweden. The most popular fans will later appear on the final ballot which will be distributed this autumn. Donations to the fund are highly appreciated!" (To clarify: nominations need not be accompanied by donations, but they'd be welcome; voting will require a donation as with TAFF/DUFF/GUFF. Ahrvid is Scandinavian administrator and is still after a UK administrator for SEFF. Also he's editorial secretary of Sweden's Teknik-Magasinet (means more or less what it sounds like), sponsored by the biggest local magazine publishers and with a planned run of 50,000. Autumn launch. Another real fan, Anders Palm, is editor-in-chief, and sf, reviews and fannish articles are expected. Ahrvid also hopes to run translations of published stories by UK writers.)

Dave Locke sends a thrilling news item – "FANNISH LITTLE AMATEUR PRESS HAS SLIGHT FLAP... Co-OE Locke was observed scratching his head as zine after incoming zine contained mailing comments castigating ace fanwriter Langford for subtle, invidious and unspecified remarks made in the previous mailing against the personage of the co-OE. Langford himself, in responding to Locke's review of The Space Eater, commented 'Lots of thanks, and I take back all the obscure jokes about you last issue'... Due to recent experiments in FLAP to encode messages by such devious means as underlining letters or using the first word or first letter of each sentence, reviewing Langford's two-page 'last issue' for subtle or encoded slander became a task of almost forbidding proportions. Before he was carried away, the co-OE was finally observed holding the potentially offending sheet of paper up to a mirror while sprinkling his own urine on it..." (Strange people, these Americans, eh?)


L5: Charles Platt passes on an L5 Society flyer featuring a really quite remarkably illiterate exhortation to join, from Robert Heinlein. With amusement Charles points out the naked nationalism ("The construction crews may speak Chinese or Russian – Swahili or Portuguese" warns RAH in accents of horror) followed by hasty internationalism: "Space is big enough for everyone – all races, all languages." So long as America gets there first... Susan Wood collection (advertised last issue) sold out, but the 'Best Fanwriting of 1981' collection is still available from me for £2 post free, proceeds to TAFF... Big Ike: Ansible, the fnz of sweetness and light, has found something nice to say about Asimov (in SFC). Proof copies of his novel The Robots Of Dawn are infesting America, while, because Asimov is a lonely and obscure author devoid of public recognition, Columbia U is cheering him up with an honorary doctorate. "Writing brilliantly about the future," they told him encouragingly, "you have shown a profound understanding of the past; your respect for fact is equalled only by the penetration of your fantasies." Excuse me, I feel momentarily unwell... Space-Ex 1984, the planned hugecon, came nostalgically to mind when I unearthed their last publication, the Jan 1981 newsletter which opened with a broadside of dyslexic denials of the rumoured cancellation. Oh, fond memories. A letter to organizers ISTRA evoked no reply. Anyone pay money for this thing? Anyone hear from them recently? Anyone get any money back?... Michael Whelan recently broke his right wrist in karate class, reports SFC: I can think of many artists and writers far more deserving of this incapacity... Space Eater 6th favourite first novel in Locus poll! Wow. My thanks to both voters... Hugos: the statistically implausibly number of ties which produced more or less than the standard five finalists in four Hugo categories and the JWC award (Hugo categories were novel, novella [somehow I omitted mention of K.S. Robinson's 'To Leave a Mark' here in A33], artist, fanwriter) resulted from the Worldcon committee's decision that two items less than X votes apart, X not being specified, would be treated as tied. Need I remark that the Hugo rules make no such provision? (F770)... Avedon Carol reaches page 16 of TAFF report!

COA

WILLIAM BAINS, 1950 Cooley Avenue #5207, Palo Alto, CA 94303, US • JIM BARKER, pesty fellow, asks me to stress that his business address as mentioned last issue is not for mere fanzines etc – send to his home, 113 Windsor Road, Falkirk, FK2 5DB • AL FITZPATRICK, 214 Morsetown Road, West Milford, NJ 07480, USA • STEVE HIGGINS, 26 Montague Road, Hornsey, London, N8 9PJ • AKE JONSSON, Regementsgatan 53, S-723 45 VASTERAS, Sweden • ANN LOOKER, 12 Russell Street, Swansea, Wales, SA1 4HR • VIC NORRIS, 29 rue des Chapelles, Sevres 92310, France • EUNICE PEARSON & PHILL PROBERT, "Ballard's View", 32 Digby House, Colletts Grove, Kingshurst, Birmingham, B37 6JE • DAI PRICE (to end August), 2 Gaer Road, Newport, Gwent, NPT 3AD • GEOFF RYMAN (from 15 July), Manor Farm Cottage, Crawley Road, Old Minster Lovell, Oxon • CYRIL SIMSA is moving he knows not where in mid-to-late July: mail c/o 18 Muswell Avenue, London, N10 2EG • JEFF SUTER (but NOT Pam Wells, who is staying put), 4 Henry Road, Finsbury Park, London N.4 • SIMONE WALSH, 74 Corsebar Road, Top Flat/Left, Paisley, Scotland, PA2 9PS • ROB WELBOURN, Flat 7, 11 Eldon Square, Reading, RG1 4DP • To answer certain confused enquiries: you don't have to be famous to have your CoA mentioned here; it's automatic if you're an A subscriber or buddy; otherwise, try intimidation or (especially) bribery • Unusually, we have some Changes of Name: GRAHAM KOCH (formerly Graham England, but he lives in Germany where postmen get very confused by the old surname and send his mail back over here) • MIKE DON (formerly known, though only in Ansible, as Mike Yon thanks to his awful handwriting and anonymity in his own fanzine) • CATHRYN EASTHOPE •

INFINITELY IMPROBABLE

Appalling Scenes At Brunners' Silver Wedding Party (2 July), if any, were not observed by your editor, nor by the steering committee of Seacon 84 (J. Brunner, Co-Chairman) since they were cleverly scheduled for a meeting in Birmingham that day... Marjorie Brunner sends harrowing details of the return from their Italian trip (car hood ripped off, wine, presents and other valuables removed) and John a release about how the month abroad since January, the coming teaching at the Arvon Foundation (mid-July), the International Conference of Writers in Hiroshima (end July), the Baltimore Worldcon GoH appearance followed by something else in California and Cymrucon GoH-ing (Nov)... all this and Seacon 84 is slowing up his current novel. Poor John... "My, He's Rather Good-Looking" said Ted White of a certain British fan caught in Avedon Carol's UK photographs, and according to her was quite disappointed that she hadn't fooled around (her phrasing) with this sensuous chap. Good-looking? "I hadn't really thought so myself, and certainly not from these pictures of him, but Ted was, well, intrigued, I guess. Well, is this a new transatlantic romance in the making?" (AC) The UK fan in question was, of course, Phil Palmer... Group Theory: Reading skiffyfans meet these days on the 3rd Thursday each month (Railway Tavern, Greyfriars Street, ignore Steve Green's BSFA Clubs Directory – I hear the Gannet venue there is some years out of date, too). Steve himself, famous for having interviewed Margaret Thatcher during her pre-election Brum visit ("didn't use the opportunity to attempt an assassination before the election, thus saving the entire country the mindnumbing torment of staying up for the results, alas..." SG), mentions the Solihull group's habit of meeting 2nd Sunday each month (Red House, Hermitage Road) and charging £1/year membership. All pales before the egregious 'SF in Southend' under infant prodigy Joe Beedell, whose habits of charging lots for membership, offering little in return bar the chance to subscribe to a group fanzine, buying unspecified quantities of office equipment for his own use from group funds, raising subs in a tactful way whereby to have paid £3 or whatever last week still leaves you liable for £4 or whatever immediately after the increase... these rumoured habits have caused Unrest, and even now Joe is getting in Real Accountants to audit everything, scotch rumours and find the £100 or so alleged to have gone missing (AS)... The Answer: £2A is the cryptic comment scribbled in my deadly notebook against the names of those who have just given me £2 subscription for something called A. "Good grief," said Martin Hoare, interrupting execution on his mouth/ale interface, "that's the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, in hexadecimal!" As of this year Mr Hoare is 1F even though he may look 4F... Forbidden Planet SF Con (US) has Charles Platt in charge of programming: by the time you read this Samuel Delany should have interviewed A.E.van Vogt (the mind splurgs) and Tom Disch, if not restrained, will have read his coming Twilight Zone hatchet job on the complete works of Jack Chalker, to an audience consisting largely of Jack Chalker... Colin Greenland, famous author, has at last sold his famous novel Daybreak on a Distant Mountain to Unwin's pb fantasy line. Greenland Appreciation Society supremo Ian Watson is counting the minutes until he lays hands on a review copy... Fantasycon data just arrived, and I take back any unkind thoughts which may have crossed my mind in the remote past (p.2). 14-16 Oct, New Imperial Hotel, Brum: £7.50 att (£6.50 BFS members) to 15 Stanley Road, Morden, Surrey. Rooms £12.50/person/night. COA: Steve Jones/Jo Fletcher/BFS publications, 130 Park View, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 6JU... RIP: Bob Pavlat, longtime fan and FAPA stalwart, died of pneumonia on 17 June; he was 57. Buster Crabbe, Olympic gold medallist famous for playing Flash Gordon (& Buck Rogers) died of a heart attack at 75, on 17 April (Dave Locke, SFC)... Barry Bayley spoke to the Brum Group in June. Why did Brumfans later shudder in horror at the suggestion that he be asked to a certain other con? Why were comparisons made with the late Edmund Cooper (who if memory serves me right regaled bored Brummies with between-drinks details of how he'd done naughty things that day with both wife and mistress, until he fell over)? Ansible is eager for hard facts which will explode these vile allegations, or not... Hugo Name Pro Emerges From Reading: local fan, BFS mole and Derleth hierophant Nic Howard has sold his 'verse cycle' Follow The Dream to Moorlands Press under their special terms of 0% royalties and all the copies you can carry... Talking Heads: Scotfans Matt Sillars & Brian Hennigan are running an appeal in their fnz The Head to (a) raise £500 to sponsor a (democratically chosen) SF book's recording on 14-hour cassette by the RNIB for blind fans; (b) encourage taping of fnz for the same. 8 Beaverbank Place, Edinburgh, EH7 4ER... Battlefield Earth, notes F770, was within 20 nominations of the 96 minimum (scored by Cherryh's Pride Of Chanur) to reach the Hugo final ballot. I'll say no more, having been Reproved by one John Hertz in that same fnz for daring to mention Scientology and BE on the same page. "Langford's potshots aren't even 'man bites dog'," he complains, presumably meaning that the BE controversy is normal 'dog bites man' news and that I should instead focus on those rare, bizarre books whose weirdly non-reclusive authors are never rumoured to be dead/gaga, which are curiously unpublicized by Scientologists and whose UK editions are unprecedentedly published rather than hastily cancelled... Fuzzy Language is George Hay's contribution to computer thought: away with all these cloggingly precise relationships, instead let's have, eg.: 'in some circumstances equals', 'could quite possibly mean that'... Offers from IBM, please? Foundation AGM 21 July 2pm...


Hazel's Language Lessons #25: Hebrew
Contributed by Edmund Wilson

At the Convention Fancy-Dress:
shokoh – to wander around lasciviously.

ANSIBLE 34: Dave Langford
94 London Road, Reading,
Berks., RG1 5AU, England.