Ansible logo Thog's Masterclass

Sou'Wester, the 1994 British Easter SF Convention, was for esoteric reasons held not in the south-west but the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. The convention newsletter was thus naturally called – with a tip of the hat to an old John Brunner pun – The Adelphi Coracle.

Much of what appeared in the 11 hefty issues isn't worth reprinting [though I eventually put them on line anyway], but the following special edition – guest-edited by barbarian sf connoisseur Thog The Mighty – collects some of the finest sf, fantasy and horror lines we were able to assemble. Take it away, Thog:

The Adelphi Coracle

Thog's Masterclass Special, Monday 4 April 1994

'"You have a slight fever, suggesting your body is fighting some infection," Nicole told General Borzov. "All the internal data confirms that you are feeling severe pain."' – Arthur C.Clarke & Gentry Lee, Rama II

'Just to the south of them, the new Socket was like a titanic concrete bunker, the new elevator cable rising out of it like an elevator cable ...' – Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars

'Its voice was soft, gentle – but repugnant. Like the breath of a diseased infant. It was a sound with halitosis.' – John Shirley, In Darkness Waiting

'Produced in a durable cloth binding and gorgeously striking dustjacket, Clute and Nicholls have far outstripped any other work of this kind in any field.' – Daryl F. Mallett, SFRA Review #205

'He absorbed Latin in two hours yesterday! It took me a whole year just to learn the Latin alphabet.' – Brett Leonard & Gimel Everett, screenplay for The Lawnmower Man

'Susan awoke to an absolute silence: the traffic outside the hotel had been utterly stilled. John was in the bathroom – she could hear the shower running.' – Robert Charles Wilson, The Divide

'He shuddered, awash in adrenaline, his sphincter pulling unpleasantly tight as he recognized his own youthful scrawl on the outside tab. ... and he felt an ache, a curse of time racing across the ridge of his knuckles.' – Derek Van Arman, Just Killing Time

'... Caymann released a horrible scream into the night air, a painful, deafening and terrifying roar that sounded like a lion whose heart was impaled.' – Derek Van Arman, ibid

'Silver-blue in the moonlight, the river meandered like a garden path ...' – William James, Before the Sun Falls

'She knew how to embroider and milk a cow.' – Connie Willis, Doomsday Book

'A small flying craft, like a bat or a hummingbird, zoomed past the viewport ...' – Arthur C. Clarke/Gentry Lee, Rama II

'He knows in that moment more than he has ever known in his life and more than he will know in five minutes.' – Marge Piercy, Body of Glass

'The agony went on and on as she threshed about the room, oblivious to nothing but the pain.' – Stephen Marley, Shadow Sisters

'She's got an IQ like a phone number.' – [screenwriter], Swamp Thing (1981 movie)

'Jameson was smiling like the canary who had eaten the cat.' – Sara Cavanaugh, A Woman in Space

'A few hours had passed since they had been pulled away from the moon. A few hours and millions of miles. The moon was no longer visible, not even as a star. The whole thing was so crazy, weird and far-out. It was as though they were floating in a giant vacuum.' – Sara Cavanaugh, A Woman in Space

'Now Danelle's big blue eyes looked thoughtfully inward.' – Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven

'Egwene's stomach sank into her feet.' – Robert Jordan, ibid

'Elayne wished the woman would just revert to herself instead of bludgeoning her with a lady's maid from the Blight.' – Robert Jordan, ibid

'Birgitte's dry tone sounded odd with her wet cheeks.' – Robert Jordan, ibid

'Nynaeve formed the image of her as a grown woman, concentrated.' – Robert Jordan, ibid

'... and he tossed his head as if he was about to erupt.' – Robert Jordan, The Dragon Reborn

'We must be patient – the human heart is more complex than any other part of the body.' – John Balderston/William Hurbut, screenplay for The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

'It took courage to write this book, and it will take courage to read it.' – Erich von Däniken, Chariots of the Gods?

'Gosseyn's intestinal fortitude strove to climb into his throat, and settled into position again only reluctantly ...' – A.E.van Vogt, The World of Null-A

'He put the stomach back and began to feel around for the small intestine ... That's when something bit him.' – Simon Ian Childer, Worm

'I had to fight with myself every time circumstances forced me to put it down.' – P. Straub of R. Campbell's Incarnate

'Speak! You've got a civil tongue in your head! I know you have, because I sewed it there myself.' – Kenneth Langtry, screenplay for I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957)

'... a small piece of an asteroid that had been floating around in the Big Empty for a length of time that had more zeroes in it than even Carl Sagan could imagine.' – Simon Hawke, The Reluctant Sorcerer

'The sea was lit by a diffused golden haze that lent it a queer other-worldly aspect but which was very pleasant to the blackened, sun-seared eyes of those who had been so close to the fires of the Solar star.' – Karl Mannheim, When the Earth Died

'The green fur made it look like a Terran gorilla more than anything.' – Michael Kring, The Space Mavericks

'Most of the buildings around us were like towering boxes, almost phallic in their heights.' – Michael Kring, ibid

'The flight of F-104's moved up to the apron. Nasty silver birds with wings like sawn-off shotguns.' – Peter Heath, The Mind Brothers

'They shook hands, and Jason set about retrieving his balls.' – Peter Heath, ibid

'When he finished, Starr's hands were going numb and his arms were drifting slowly away from their sockets.' – Peter Heath, Men Who Die Twice

'The sun came up like a piece of fiery yellow butter.' – Peter Heath, ibid

'His eyes could have cut through rock mountains.' – Sam Merwin Jr, The Time Shifters

'Wearing an aura of rugged-intellectual charm like a plastic raincoat ...' – Sam Merwin Jr, ibid

'Dr Kelter's forehead sprouted italics ...' – Emil Petaja, The Nets of Space

'His mouth muscles forced his sluggish blood agonizingly through his veins ...' – Emil Petaja, ibid

'Don's smile was a lemon twist.' – Emil Petaja, ibid

'Don's eyelids fell shut with a silent thud.' – Emil Petaja, ibid

'The brassy September blue overhead had been obscured by invisible storm clouds.' – Emil Petaja, ibid

'Though she was many years the younger, she seemed by her manner to be the older of the pair – that is, if age could be measured by suspicion.' – Duncan McGeary, Snowcastles

'Palmer's screams became fainter as the slugs ate their way into him, a number burrowing up through his torn genitals, using his anus as a means of access in their search for the softer, more succulent parts of his body.' – Shaun Hutson, Slugs

'It was an Everest of understatement.' – Robert Charles Wilson, The Harvest

'Not Martians ... not Venusians; they were from considerably more distant regions. A neighbouring galaxy, with their own sun and its planets, from a star which, as closely as Creigh could estimate, must have been within the orbit of Antares, their sun.' – Kenyon Holmes, 'The Man who Rode the Saucer'

'A horror tale of supernatural suburban terror in which a couple is stalked by a mail-order catalog with evil powers!' – Warner Books (US) blurb for Fearbook by John L. Byrne

'He closed with Arabs whose breath stank of spices and who fought with knives clutched in their teeth.' – Steve Baxter, 'The Star Beast', in Ignorant Armies ed David Pringle

'The wagon lurched forward like an armadillo trying to mate with a very fast duck.' – James P Silke, Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer, Vol II Lords of Destruction

'Now that important Achilles heel was closed.' – Geoffrey Jenkins, Firepoint

'His lips formed the words, but it was his heart which spoke them.' – Bernard King, Starkadder

'Her heart fluttered at the words, then began to pound in wild abandon, threatening to rob her of breath, to burst from her chest and fill her mouth with pulsing terror, to flood her very spirit with the acid taint of fear.' – Bernard King, ibid

Special True-Romance Supplement

'When she looked at him, something inside her lurched, and she swallowed her errant innards down, holding them still by not breathing for a time.' – Sheri S. Tepper, Sideshow

'Her very existence made his forebrain swell until it threatened to leak out his sinuses.' – Nancy A. Collins, Sunglasses After Dark

'More interesting to Whaleman were the fantastic breastworks, huge swollen globes of shiny flesh upon her chest, crowned with soft pink suckler tips – no doubt, the Gunner surmised – the mammary evidence of a runaway GPC maternal code. He realized that he was inspecting her with excessive interest but could not help himself. The mammala were exquisitely formed, curiously hard-soft in appearance, and jutting out from the chest in a manner that aroused Whaleman's engineering curiosity.' – Don Pendleton, The Guns of Terra 10

'Then they wrestled like enemies, rolling in the black mud, with the flowers crushed between them. ... All the wood seemed moving with them, as if they had disturbed it into utmost life. Bubbles of air burst and leaves were shaken loose on them. ... Under her elbow was the skeleton of a stoat, threshed out of its grave by their fury.' – Tanith Lee, Heartbeast

'Is this your wife? What a lovely throat!' – Speech frame for English-language version of Nosferatu (1922)

'Rand stared at her in amazement that oozed across the emptiness surrounding him like syrup.' – Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven

'He wasn't going to leave Pat Benson on her own, crabs or no crabs.' – Guy N. Smith, Night of the Crabs

'Her hands found the massive muscles on his back and squeezed them in the rhythm of love.' – Peter Heath, Assassins from Tomorrow

'... the touch of their loins drew sparks.' – Sam Merwin Jr, The Time Shifters

'His cocked look sized her up.' – Emil Petaja, The Nets of Space

'I knew he wouldn't come. I sat clutching a chipped white cup until the coffee turned to cold sludge ... The refectory door opened again, my diaphragm jumped ...' – Freda Warrington, 'Shine for Me', in Dark Fantasies ed Chris Morgan

'Richards felt a coolness creep into his testicles.' – Stephen King, The Running Man

'You're lovely; and you're a brick.' – John Wyndham, The Secret People

'Their tongues twisted around each other, strong as pythons. She had never been afraid of snakes.' – Marge Piercy, Body of Glass

'"It was not sex!" she snapped in sudden fury. His moustache writhed in a sneer. "Oh – forgive me!"' – Dave Duncan, Strings

'He lifted her tee-shirt over her head. Her silk panties followed.' – Peter F. Hamilton, Mindstar Rising

Thog Thank: Anon, David V. Barrett, John Grant, Rob Hansen, Kari, David Langford, Ian Sales, Nancy Webber.

Copyprinting [at the convention] courtesy of Gestetner Ltd, Lincoln House, 100 Broadway, Salford, M5 2UW. Contact Peter Maddocks: 061-872-8511.