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Ansible 7, March 1980

Cartoon: D. West

PLEASE NOTE that this old Ansible is a bit of history. Addresses have changed (in particular, the editor's postal address has), 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 Richard Brandt ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1995.

ANSIBLE SEVEN from Dave Langford, 22 Northumberland Avenue, Reading, Berks, RG2 7PW, UK. Please note totally revised subscription rates: UK 4/60p, US 5/£1, Australia ditto, Europe 6/£1: sent airmail abroad. Existing subs honoured at old rates. All foreigners may subscribe at UK rates and get ANSIBLE by seamail (i.e. very late). No subs over £1 (£1.20 UK) please. And no foreign cheques or currency: I've had too much trouble with slithering dollars, funny cheques &c. Sorry! Your status should appear on the mailing label (take another bow, Keith Freeman). 'Langford for TAFF' cartoon by D. West – take heed! This issue is dated March 1980; the next will appear in time for Albacon, with luck.


I think it's time somebody did something definite to squash this Rockcon thing. There is no doubt whatever that it's a kid-on by Blob Shaw, as are other silly ads like 'Aviemore in 84'. Although Jim Darroch didn't say so in Matrix, he and Owen Whiteoak, another stalwart of Edinburgh SF, were most displeased at Novacon when Shaw turned up and started handing out Edinburgh con literature; not to mention never having been consulted. And if they are not prepared to organize an Edinburgh con, Shaw will not, because several of the Trouts, over a year ago, recommended the Albacon committee to try Edinburgh hotels as possible sites for Albacon: firstly because though in Shaw's eyes the Albany was ideal and there was no way he could forego it, it was forcibly pointed out that the Albany wasn't offering a reasonable deal on room rates (it's all very well to advertise their basic room rate at £26 per night, but could they possibly hope to fill their hotel – guaranteed – in the off-season?), and secondly because Glasgow has an ill-deserved reputation, and Edinburgh would be more acceptable to English fans. But Shaw, it appears (up here at close range), is organizing the con single-handed, and wilfully not telling his committee what he is doing until he has done it. And with none of the regular-con-going Trouts willing to be on the same committee again with Shaw, because of him doing exactly the same at Faircon 1 (only one of the dozen on the Faircon 1 concom was on the Faircon 2 one), it appears to most of us that he is using his present committee as a rubberstamp. No doubt they will deny such allegation vehemently, but the truth is quite obvious.

Next, a word in defence of Jimmy Robertson, who is unfairly collecting a lot of stick about the Albacon fanroom. About a year ago, Shaw asked me (!) to organize the fanroom. I declined, (1) because of having been involved in Faircon 1 (see above) and (2) I knew I wouldn't be acceptable to fandom. I suggested to Shaw that Jim Barker would be entirely acceptable, despite being FGoH, and would enjoy the experience. So I broached the subject with Jim at Yorcon. He, needless to say, was not keen, but when officially approached by Albacon, reluctantly agreed, but, also at Yorcon, asked Jimmy Robertson to act as local agent for him in connection with the fanroom. Now, Jimmy was quite aware that he wasn't the ideal choice, but, because he's a nice guy, didn't want to let Jim down, so he agreed. He came up with some ideas, but because there are so few Albacon PRs, and those that do come out are late, he's been left with egg on his face by being quoted in February 1980 as looking for fanroom ideas which should have appeared in a nonexistent July 1979 PR. But then, the fanroom is only what fans make it.

... Perhaps a likely name for the 1982 bid should be Frockcon. (Sandy Brown)


Not having been present, the Ansible staff has little to report on the appalling scenes of violence and brutality at last month's Maule/Dorey party. The central-heating pipes are said to be 'as well as could be expected'; a number of spokespersons added, 'No comment, for god's sake!' With a further outbreak of sickening violence, fannish fandom has switched partially from the crowded One Tun to the Three Compasses nearby (turn left not right out of Farringdon station): a Canadian zine, THE MONTHLY MONTHLY, carries a letter from Graham England explaining how he was bounced from this select gathering. More violence, more brutality! Only ANSIBLE brings you the full blow-by-blow record of this atrocity:

GRAHAM ENGLAND: (appears in doorway of Three Compasses)
GREG PICKERSGILL: Ahh, it's bloody boring Graham England.
GRAHAM ENGLAND: (turns around and goes back to One Tun)

Where will all this violence end?


1979 was a really amazing year for SveriFandom. There were 507 fanzines emerging from Sweden, with about 3500 pages all in all. There has never been such an amount of fanzines any previous year in SveriFandom.

Herman, the concom for our '83 bid, simply refuses to give any info about the progress of their bid. They refuse to reply to letters and fanzines seeking for more information. My suggestion is that every fan who doesn't get an answer to his or her questions about the bid immediately stop to support it. Herman doesn't deserve having fans supporting them if they refuse to give any info away about their bid. Support Australia instead.

The feud between the board of our biggest SF organization, SFSF, and fannish fandom [see Ansible 5 – DRL] was, unfortunately, won by the board of SFSF. They got elected for another year on the yearly business meeting. The old regime is back.... Alan Dorey claims in Ansible 5 that SveriFen at Seacon said 'Where is the science fiction?' when seeing a fanzine. My reply is that most SveriFen are a lot more fannish than Alan Dorey can ever hope to be. (Anders Bellis)


Penguins have killed off their newly-revived SF list. Works bought will probably come out (this includes Jack L. Chalker's Well World series up to and including volume 3A – it's a trilogy with vols 2 and 3 both divided into two halves) but that's all. Culprit is the arch-fiend Peter Mayer, responsible for the slavery contracts dispute between Pocket Books and the SFWA ... could it be he has a grudge against SF now? The Hamlyn Paperbacks SF/Fantasy list has been terminated with the publication of the collection by the Kuttners, Clash by Night. Sales were, unsurprisingly, abysmal in the face of a total lack of promotion and godawful covers (though the Theodore Sturgeon collection A Touch of Strange had a superb cover by Tim White, worth the cost of the book itself). Whether or not the new managing director, Ralph Stokes (who set up that somewhat-less-than-a-success story, Tandem Publishing, circa 1964), will revive the programme ever is in doubt.

There is no truth to the rumor that (Peter Pinto)


The Foundation may totter, but it remains unfallen. If I have anything to do with it, it may actually expand.... The education cuts, here as elsewhere, have the happy effect of obliging heads of academic bodies to do the right thing – a step which, as long as they have their pinkies on the public funds. they would never dream of taking –

The key meeting on this is on the 28th Feb: will brief you thereafter.


Do you suffer from this endemic disease – the piles of paper which make their way through your letter-box to cause suffering and torment? Of course you do. Here is a sampling of my own outbreak (conventional fanzines being excluded because there are too damn many of them).

* Flyer/contents page of Warhoon 28, the super hardcover issue containing 614 pages of Walt Willis's writings. The contents list runs to three sides, closely typed in double columns: looks a pretty amazing effort. $25 to Richard Bergeron, 1 West 72nd St, New York, NY 10023, USA.

* Certificate of registration under Registration of Business Names Act, 1916: yes, Ansible is now an official business name; hope Ursula Le Guin won't mind.

* Flyer for Philip Strick's 'science fiction workshop' titled Attack From Outer Space! One-day event of film & discussion with extracts & 3 full films (Invasion, Not of This Earth, The Thing from Another World); from 9.30am on 15 March 1980 at NELP; £7 inc lunch etc; write to SEH Short Course Unit, NELP, Longbridge Rd, Dagenham, Essex.

* Xerox article explaining in detail the hideous relative effects of various beverages, with such details as how 5½ beers leave you legally incapable after 8 hours sleep ... enough of this. Is Kev Smith, the donor, trying to tell me something?

* Fantasy Artists Network flyer – artists' association asks $8/year membership (inc 4 issues of 'showcase' zine Fantasy): FAN, PO Box 5157, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413, USA.

* Silicon 4 flier; Aug 22-25 in Newcastle; £2.50 to Harry Bell, 9 Lincoln St, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 4EE.

* Floodcon, the Johnstown in '83 bid which guarantees a flood and closed-circuit TV coverage of a (democratically selected) GoH and FGoH's struggles against the rising waters, asks only $1 for voting privileges, PRs, pre-supporter's button. Write c/o 420 Bantel St, Johnstown, PA 15905, USA. In connexion with this, Jan Howard Finder proposes HUFF (Held Under Fan Fund) to take some UK fan to perish beneath the flood also. I appear to be UK administrator; send money and votes at once. Proceeds to TAFF etc (or may be invested in cloud-seeding firm).

* Science Fiction Books Published In Britain: Gerald Bishop still publishes this bibliography bimonthly: sub is £1.50 yearly to Aardvark House, PO Box 10, Winchester, SO22 4QA. Cumulative volumes available also.

* Everett Masson & Furby (Hitchin) Ltd 'have taken this opportunity of writing ... even if you have no plans to sell your business at the present time, we urge you to keep the literature ... extensive recent sales have left us particularly in need of all businesses with a sub post office attached.' What's all this, then?

* Bibliography of all SF/fantasy published in Dutch to 1978: a snip at Dfl.19.50 (around a fiver) from Leo Kindt, Spotvogellan 45 A, PO Box 87933, 2508 DH DEN HAAG, the Netherlands. Gerald Bishop is already drooling, I bet....

* The Fine Art Of Fanzine Publishing: the secrets guarded for so long are revealed at last in a booklet from Unknown Press, 25 Parkway, Montclair, NJ 07042. $1.00.

* Balrog Awards: it's already too late to nominate; you can get a final ballot from the Student Activities Office, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas 66201, USA. Apparently it's another fantasy award. Who needs more awards? Final ballot deadline 24 March 1980.

* Lloyd Biggle Jr would like you to put your fanzine on file for all posterity: SF Collection, Pop Culture Library, Bowling Green U, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA. Fanzine editors are granted permission to send single copies or even several issues at a time! How can you resist it?

* I have been reproved for inadequate plugging of Yorcon II (Leeds Eastercon, 1981). Presupporting membership is available at 50p and in the event of a successful bid this brings you a £1 deduction from membership fees. Committee resembles that of the excellent Yorcon 1 (1979); hotel and manager are also as before (Dragonara, Leeds); I now hear that a room price has been fixed at little more than the 1979 rates. Sounds good. Write to 12 Fearnville Terrace, LEEDS, LS8 3DU.

* Drilkjis 5 has now been printed – a really super issue with Priest, Watson, Bulmer, Nicholls, Langford, Smith, Joe Nicholas and a supporting cast of several including Peter Weston. Available when we see you (Albacon? the Tun?); tell us if you won't be seeing us. Also available for 50p. 'Magnificent' – KJ Smith. 'Yes' – D Langford.

* BSFA Press Release 2 is out and contains news of the BSFA Award nominations ... but let's have a new heading.


Novel: The Unlimited Dream Company (Ballard), The Fountains of Paradise (Clarke), On Wings of Song (Disch), Blind Voices (Reamy), A.K.A.: A Cosmic Fable (Swigart).

Short Fiction: 'Camps' (Dann), 'Sex Pirates of the Blood Asteroid' (Langford – yay yay! Vote for this one!), 'Prose Bowl' (Malzberg/Pronzini), 'Crossing Into Cambodia' (Moorcock), 'Palely Loitering' (Priest).

Media: Alien, The China Syndrome, Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (record), Dr Who, Quatermass.

Artist: Jim Burns, Chris Foss, John Harris, Peter Lord, Tony Roberts, Patrick Woodroffe.

Voting forms go to BSFA members with the next mailing (March) and will be available to all Albacon members (who can vote even without joining the BSFA).


{Original edition had pasted-in newspaper clippings}

'Saint Kevin's stadium' ... Observer headline vetoed by Kev Smith as title of his Drilkjis 5 editorial....

No comment here (sent in by Michael Ashley): 'Flying Saucer: Gurdjieff Revisits Earth (Coombe Spring Press, £1.95). Bryn Thring, a pupil of the Russian mystic who died in 1949, has kept a diary of her daily thoughts and actions for 30 years. It opens chinks in the unconscious and leads to possibilities only hinted at in most religion.'


Faancon 5 (1-3 Feb) was in downtown Cambridge, the hotel being well placed for the cattle-market etc. 40-odd fans were present; Celia Parsons ran the lack of programme by remote control whilst absent at CUSFS meetings, lectures, rat-torturing sessions, lacrosse games ... however, she was sighted in the bar on at least two occasions. Lousy beer but good fun. Hotel sitting-room layout was a minor problem; fans tended to sit in a huge circle just looking at one another rather than address the whole room; the cursed circle was broken when enough people piled in. Faancon 6 membership £1.50 from Kev Smith, 10 Cleves Court, St Marks Hill, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4PS: I too am involved and already (while considering hotels in Oxford) we're thinking of a namechange. Skycon II?


Nothing Official from the '82 ladies' Easterconcom; I hear that a grotty hotel in Leicester and a pricy one in London are being checked out. Early days yet.... Limpwristcon may not be the name of the Spring Bank Holiday affair intended to replace the Pickerswalsh party, but hotel investigations continue.... South Petherton Folk Festival runs from June 20-22; details presumably available from the Brunners.... Albacon fanroom man Jimmy Robertson begs that TAFF/GUFF auction material be sent clearly marked with its intended destination: 64 Hamilton Rd, Bellshill, Lanarks.... Letter From Bob (Fokt) Shaw Follows: 'I [got] married this month to a two-time con goer (well, Faircons). We decided to make the cat legit. The cat, by the way, will be at Albacon in his Superman outfit. (You'll believe a cat can fliiieegh!) I was on the phone to Original Records, who say they'll do more Hitcher records, but single albums and not re-hashed BBC material: it continues to sell well.... Rockcon: NOT a figment of JUST my imagination. Things are somewhat more real than certain disaffected Edinburgh fans suggest. Try sending for the Bid from Phil Dawson! Or me, even – I just happen to have a few copies. [But he didn't send one. – DRL] Actually, we are worried about Rockcon. Consider: a number of less than generous fen (notably from the deep south, like Leeds) have declined to attend Albacon. The last Faircon attracted 400 folk, 3/4 of whom know nothing about fandom at large and are surpassed in insularity only by (well I won't name him) and will, if offered another Scottish Eastercon, certainly vote for it. So you must consider that there will be 300 parochial Scots sitting in the Con Hall on Sunday, itching to go to Edinburgh the following year.... What chance does anyone else have against that? ... Which is why, like Dr Frankenstein, we're a little perturbed by the potential of our (certainly) real creation. How'd they like a permanent Scottish Eastercon, eh?' (Interesting. I've been hearing that some fans – Albacon members – plan to send in postal votes on '81 bidding. No precedents exist in either direction for this, I believe. Be interested to see how Albacon treats such votes.) Fanthorpe Rides Again with a series of minicons/courses: 'Marvels & Mysteries' June 7/8 (von Daniken & crew), 'Traditional Hauntings, Ghosts & Supernatural Literature' October 11/12: discussions, slides, bookstall, more fannish things, beer etc for around £12 plus £3/night B&B. Venue: Norwich. Details from Greystoke Mobray Ltd, 30 Boverton St, Roath Park, Cardiff, CF2 5ES.


GRAHAM ENGLAND (forwarding address only from March 16: he's leaving for Munich): c/o 70 Woodland Close, Ickenham, Middlesex • FOCUS editorial address: 38 Peters Avenue, London Colney, Herts., AL2 1NQ • ROCHELLE REYNOLDS: Country Club Apts #23, Bldg 1840 Middlesex St, Lowell MA 01851, USA • NICK SHEARS; 1 Beechwood Court, West Street Lane, Carshalton, Surrey • SIMONE WALSH: 35 Braund Avenue, Greenford, Middlesex. (Lots of Middlesex about these days.) Quotation from D. West follows to fill up page: 'I am rather in favour of a successful Edinburgh in 81 bid. Wake the buggers up a bit. Eastercons are going the same way as the Olympic Games. Spleen. Venom. Bile. Reckless laying waste of absolutely everybody. Fandom getting dull and complacent. KTF. ... More later.'


The eldritch silence of Peter Roberts is now explained: book 1 of his fantasy trilogy The Bogdark Maccora (not a sequel to The Corobite Mines) has been submitted to Granada. Spies report links with Peter's D&D days (book 2, The Massymore of Trevarrow, is named for his D&D zine and dungeon): I trust it features those baddies more boring than orcs, the dreaded mongs. • John Brosnan is writing a best-seller about a giant nuclear-powered zeppelin. • Harlan Ellison speaks (Comics Journal, spotted by Rob Hansen): 'Two years from now, I will be on the top of the best-seller list ... the novel that I'm writing ... will be the number 1 fiction best-seller in the nation. I promise you ... a natural best-seller idea. It's got to be a runaway. I mean, it's such a simple, terrific idea you say, "Oh Christ, why didn't I think of that? Why didn't anyone think of that?" I thought of it. And I'm going to write it.' Doubtless 1982 will see Harlan's book about a giant nuclear-powered Zeppelin. • Chris Priest resigns from SFWA! In the usual exclusive interview he confided: 'I've explained why in a Vector article.' In a less exclusive interview, Alan Dorey said: 'Triffic article. No, I don't have a copy handy, so piss off Langford.' As always, Ansible brings you the facts. • Chris Morgan, new Brum Group newsletter editor, is urgently soliciting review copies from publishers. Asked how a busy pro has time for so much reviewing, he laughingly explained 'Pauline will do most of them – I'm only going to read the good ones.' • Elmer T Hack's memory lingers on at BSFA-HQ, where countless Best of Hacks (Barker, Evans, Priest) remain unsold. Send Alan Dorey 80p (BSFA members 60p, US $2.20): 20 Hermitage Woods Cres, St John's, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1UE. (That OK, Alan? Do I get the award now?) • The Langford/Barker TAFF zine has (so far) a cover, writings on mice, caterpillars, dyspepsia and Larry Niven, the first ever page of Langford fanart and a lengthy 'Captive' strip. Jim plans to upstage me at Albacon with a 'Captive' slide show (different from Foglio's 'Capture' in that Jim intends to win 3 rather than 2 Hugos). John Brunner supplies the voice of Number One. • Casualties at last month's Oxford SF Group banquet were light, though President Hugh Mascetti was several times blown up and set afire in the traditional manner, to much applause. Albacon banquet please copy. • D West is gloating over his massive article for (probably) Ocelot: all UK fandom is denounced, especially Langford, Dorey, Nicholas. 'Everybody denounced. Grudging approval for self.' I am 'both Middle Class Fandom and A Bad Example.' D also proves the continued existence of the MaD Group with a cinema ad: The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue. • Chris Chivers was recently killed on Blake's 7, but not thoroughly enough. • Line reported from J Lichtenberg book: '"Zlit!" he rasped.' • Joe Nicholas is retitling the BSFA's Paperback Parlour ... Paperback Inferno. Eventually the word 'paperback' will be dropped. • Brian Earl Brown is suspicious of Ansible news: thinks it's distorted. I have the authority of the Astral Leauge (also the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen) in saying: 'Nonsense!'

'Names are not always what they seem. The common Welsh name Bzjxxllwcp is pronounced Jackson.' (Mark Twain)

Really it's pronounced 'ANSIBLE 7'

from Dave Langford
22 Northumberland Avenue,