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Ansible 134, September 1998

Cartoon: D. West

From Dave Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5AU, UK. Fax 0118 966 9914. ISSN 0265-9816. E-mail ansible[at] Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: D. West. Available for SAE, whim, or pop-science books on adeledicnander.

YO-HO-HO. As Bucconeer, the piratical Baltimore worldcon, hauled down its Jolly Roger with a final attendance of 5,306, there were appreciative fannish cries of 'Avast, me hearties!', 'Pieces of eight!' and 'Arr, no more publications written in bloody pirate-speak!' • 2001. The Philadelphia worldcon bid beat the mighty Boston-for-Orlando machine by 1,145 votes to 940. • Hugos. NOVEL Joe Haldeman, Forever Peace: 'Like clockwork, every twenty-two years I win a Hugo for a novel ...' NOVELLA Allen Steele, '... Where Angels Fear to Tread'. NOVELETTE Bill Johnson, 'We Will Drink a Fish Together ...'. SHORT Mike Resnick, 'The 43 Antarean Dynasties'. RELATED BOOK The Encyclopedia of Fantasy ed John Clute & John Grant. DRAMATIC Contact. EDITOR Gardner Dozois (Asimov's). ARTIST Bob Eggleton. SEMIPROZINE Locus. FANZINE Mimosa. FAN WRITER David Langford. (Thanks! Everyone: 'Will no one rid us of this turbulent Langford?') FAN ARTIST Joe Mayhew. JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD Mary Doria Russell. John Clute recollects: 'Joe Haldeman was over the moon. Martin Hoare read your funny bits very well.... Charles Sheffield, spaced beyond Mars on nerves, did the toastmaster gig in a pirate costume. David Streitfeld did a genuinely competent piece on the Con for the Washington Post. So it went.' • Shiver Me Timbers! This year's small ('Thank God' – M. Hoare) and tasteful Hugo base incorporates wood 'from the Sloop-of-War USS Constellation. Launched 1854, last Civil War ship afloat.' Secrecy shrouds the pirate raid that carried off this spoil. • Quotables. Weapons Physics Wisdom: 'The idea of using rocks as kinetic weapons is not a new one.' – John Maddox Roberts. [RBW] Steve Jones, having begged in vain for his rightful Hugo lapel pin ever since being nominated in 1992, was boggled and gratified by the gift of Bob Eggleton's: 'Steve should have this one, because I've got the real thing!' Martin Hoare, very loudly, on seeing Elspeth Kovar Burgess eavesdropping on his traditional 4am phone call to Reading: 'Don't! Stop that! Stop taking your clothes off right now!'

The Glory That Was

John Clute wrings our hearts ... 'About a year ago Paragon Films, a Canadian firm producing a movie called The Secret Laughter of Women, got hold of me through Little Brown. They wanted to hire the use of some sf/fantasy awards as props, because one of the film's protagonists was an sf writer, and some sequences were set in his award-bestrewn study. • After being given a copy of their insurance cover, and being assured that all risks to me were more than amply covered, I hired my trophies to Paragon, along with 5 sf books they also wanted. • After considerable delay, they have now paid the rental on the trophies. They have never paid the invoice for taking the 5 books from me. • In October, Paragon came back to me to say all 11 trophies had been lost in transit, as well as the 5 books; but assured me that I would gain an adequate insurance settlement for the loss of objects of such symbolic and (in career terms) substantial importance. • The insurance company, however, subsequently informed the local London adjuster – who had agreed with my estimate of the loss – that their agreement with Paragon only covered cost of physical replacement. The fact that most of these trophies were irreplaceable – all manufactured under special circumstances, usually on behalf of temporary organizations like WorldCons – was irrelevant to them. • I faxed Paragon at this point, without any response. There has never been a word of response to me from Paragon. • The insurance company has now paid out, very generously in terms of a roughly estimated cost of manufacture, but very much less than generously in terms of the actual loss. • So if The Secret Laughter of Women is ever released, look for a row of trophies going West.'

Ken MacLeod had a good gloat over his Prometheus (libertarian sf) Award win for The Stone Canal. The glory was shared with Robert A. Heinlein, whose Time Enough for Love got the Hall of Fame award.

Robert J. Sawyer succumbed to fatal temptation and protested at a hostile review; the result was a lawsuit for $5 million (Canadian). Allan Weiss attacked Sawyer's Starplex in the Canadian free magazine Realms, under the headline 'The best book did not win': 'Robert J. Sawyer's self-promotion was what landed him the Aurora Award.' The irate response was headed 'Reviewer had conflict of interest' and claimed a 'personal vendetta' following Sawyer's rude remarks about some Weiss bibliography of Canadian sf. Weiss hit back with multi-million-dollar libel actions against both Realms and Sawyer.... The Toronto Star sees Canada's sf community as 'divided', with many fundraising for Sawyer while some support the 'underdog' Weiss. [MA] Though always unhappy about such daft lawsuits, Ansible also recalls US critic Paul Fussell's term for angry rebuttals of reviews: the ABM, or Author's Big Mistake.


11-13 Sep • AKFT 98 (Trek), Warwick Arms Hotel, Warwick. £30 reg or £150 for group of 6. Contact (SAE) 7 Belgrave Clo, St Mary Cray, Orpington, Kent, BR5 3TJ.

11-13 Sep • Fantasycon XXII, Albany Suite, Posthouse Hotel, Queensway, Birmingham. £55 reg (£45 BFS members). Contact (SAE) 46 Oxford Rd, Acocks Green, Birmingham, B27 6DT.

12 Sep • London (Media) Group, New Connaught Rms, Great Queen St, London. 10:30am-7pm. With Jacqueline Pearce. £8.

18-21 Sep • Discworld Convention II, Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. A very few memberships possibly still available at £40, £30 unwaged. Contact (SAE) Suite 35, 29 High St, Romford, Essex, RM1 1JL.

19 Sep • Whitchurch Fireworks, nr Pangbourne. Opens 5:30pm. Firing 7:45pm or later. Beer tent etc. Admission £5, kids £3.

23 Sep • BSFA Open Meeting, Jubilee pub, nr Waterloo. 7pm for 8pm; fans probably in bar from 5pm as usual. With Paul J. McAuley.

25-28 Sep • Albacon 98 (sf) & Homeland (Highlander), Central Hotel, Glasgow. Additional GoH Ken MacLeod. £30 reg, £15 supp; £35 at door. Contact F1/2, 10 Atlas Rd, Springburn, Glasgow, G21 4TE.

26-27 Sep • Multicon 98 (media, commercial), Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool. Many media guests. £30 reg, to Dave Prowse Promotions Ltd c/o 12 Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL.

14 Nov • Dangercon 7 (Dangermouse), Ruskin House, Croydon. 11am-11pm. Fan GoH Alan Sullivan. £5 reg at door. Cheques to Robert Newman, 37 Keens Rd, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1AH; 0181 686 6800.

10 Oct • Octocon Lite (mini Irish national con), Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, nr Dublin. GoH James White. £10 reg (Irish or British). Contact 43 Eglinton Rd, Dublin 4, Ireland. UK agent D. Lally, 64 Richborne Tce, London, SW8 1AX; 0171 735 3819.

28-30 May 99 • Seccon ('relaxed general sf con'), Hertfordpark Hotel, Stevenage. GoH Stephen Baxter. £17.50 reg until 15 Nov. Contact c/o 92 Lichfield Rd, Cambridge, CB1 3TR.

25-27 Jun 99 • Avalon (Trek), Derby Assembly Rooms. £50 reg or £20/day. Contact (SAE) 28 Yew Tree Rd, Hatton, Derby, DE65 5EX.

28 Apr - 1 May 00 • AD 2000 (Trek), Palace Hotel, Manchester. GoHs to be confirmed. Contact (SAE) Sector 14 (AD 2000), PO Box 3870, Troon, Scotland, KA10 7PZ.

30 Aug - 3 Sep 01 • The Millennium Philcon (59th worldcon), Pennsylvania Convention Center & Philadelphia Marriott Hotel. GoH Greg Bear, Stephen Youll, Gardner Dozois. FGoH George Scithers. Contact Suite 2001, 402 Huntingdon Pike, Rockledge, PA 19046, USA.

Infinitely Improbable

Welsh SF News! This year's National Eisteddfod Prose Medal was won (for the first time ever?) by an sf novel: Blodwyn Tatws by Eirug Wyn, published 7/98. The title means, of course, Potato Flower. [DW]

Tomorrow SF is having convulsions. By late Aug, all visible website stories were reprints by editor Algis Budrys; story submissions are being returned unread, though nonfiction and cartoons still seem acceptable.

The Wrap Party. This B5-based Aug event reportedly went well despite organizational eccentricities, with capital-P Performances from J.M. Straczynski and H. Ellison. The latter's denunciation of a certain dragonish lady book-dealer was at first thought over the top, but even ever-nice James White complained when this dealer – firmly told that James was too tired to sign more than half her stock – was found feeding the other half by sleight of hand into his mysteriously undiminishing pile of books for signature. Hardly cricket when the author is almost blind. The committee, resigned to a membership shortfall, had propped up the event by putting £8,000 of their own into the kitty ... when this emerged, HE and JMS overrode the committee's reluctance and raised £11,000 by auctioning trips to the B5 set and Chez Ellison. Coo! Meanwhile, refused admission for tortuous reasons, Wolf 359's Bryan Cooney ('The Man in the Mac') sat balefully in hotel reception for four days.

Random Fandom. John Bangsund & Sally Yeoland recently separated but remain good friends. • Ken Cheslin is reprinting John Berry's 60-odd Irish Fandom stories in 4 fat volumes. Free to fans, but help with expenses is welcome: 29 Kestrel Rd, Halesowen, W. Midlands, B63 2PH. • Robert Lichtman has irresistible offers: (a) the Fantasy Amateur Press Association has vacancies, and (b) the cutoff date for $8 presubscribed copies of his Walt Willis Nebula column collection is now 1 Oct (more subscribers needed!). Either way, apply to PO Box 30, CA 95442, USA. • Keith Oborn had a phildickian moment in Athens. His hotel's automatic welcome system used the room TV to display this Hellenically personalized message: MR. KEITH OBORN, WELCOME TO THE MOAT HOUSE HARROGATE.Martin Tudor fled the horrors of 7½ years editing the Brum Group newsletter; a new incumbent is sought.... • Walt Willis was admitted to Ulster Hospital in late Aug, dazed from what was diagnosed as a mild stroke. He's expected home 4 Sept. Cautious optimism prevails, but Madeleine Willis fears 'there is a little brain damage.' [CH/GS]

C.o.A. Socorro Burbee, 12723 Gabbett Dr, La Mirada, CA 90638-2109, USA. Anthony & Joy Hilbert, 34 Grange Ave, Leeds, LS7 4EL. Vince Clarke is in a Sidcup residential home until 11 Sep, 'to get some rest.' Elizabeth Kerner, 9 Harlawhill Gdns, Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland, EH32 9JQ. Ken Lake, 36 Barrington Rd, Loughton, Essex, IG10 2AY. Joseph T. Major, 1409 Christy Ave, Louisville, KY 40204-2040, USA. Mark Manning (but not Getsu-shin), c/o 1300 W Nickerson #119, Seattle, WA 98119, USA. John Richards, 11 Cardiff Rd, North End, Portsmouth, PO2 8BH ... postcode correction. Nigel Rowe (but not Karen Babich), 431 S Dearborn, #402, Chicago, IL 60605-1121, USA.

Small Press. K.V. Bailey's sf/fantasy poetry collection The Vortices of Time is unusual for light-heartedness and a high proportion of triolets. £3 post free; 1 Val de Mer, Alderney, Channel Isles, GY9 3YR. • Holt! Who Goes There? assembles Tom Holt's funny columns for the BFS newsletter. £4.99 plus 50p p&p UK, 75p Europe; £7.00 post free elsewhere. British Fantasy Society, 2 Harwood St, Stockport, SK4 1JJ. • Marcus Rowland's Forgotten Futures disks of (mostly) strange old out-of-copyright sf are now collected as a CD-ROM: £18, or £12 to previously registered FF users. 22 Westbourne Park Villas, London, W2 5EA. • New Earth, yet another new sf mag, invites submissions. Guidelines are available: SAE to 54 Hollicondane Rd, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 7PH.

Sidewise Awards for alternate history, presented at Bucconeer: LONG Harry Turtledove, How Few Remain. SHORT William Sanders, 'The Undiscovered' (Asimov's). SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT Robert J. Sobel, For Want of a Nail ...; If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga.

Thog's Cyberpunk Masterclass. How to make a web search sound exciting: 'Entering key-words and key-phrases in every permutation she could think of, she prepared her hard drives for a worldwide 'Net-trawl ... The hard drives, in their racks, growled their readiness like hounds straining at the leash. Hitting "Enter", she let them slip.' (J.M.H. Lovegrove, The Krilov Continuum, 1998) [GW]

TAFF. Velma (Vijay) Bowen and Sarah Prince emerged as candidates for the 1999 eastbound TransAtlantic Fan Fund trip, from North America to Reconvene in Liverpool. Ballot forms are now available from Ansible and others of the usual suspects. Voting closes 5 Dec.

NASA Conspiracy. The true reason for that announcement of ice on the Moon was revealed by the Association of Autonomous Astronauts – who aim to 'leave this society behind' in backyard spaceships by 2000, without the tainted assistance of multinationals. NASA's March 'news' was in fact cunningly timed to upstage and discredit the AAA Intergalactic Conference (Bologna, Apr). It all makes sense now.... [JN]

More Wired Tales. The San Francisco Chronicle chortles that Wired magazine, for all its cyberspatial trendiness, is prohibited from using its name on a web site. When Wired Digital sold the printed mag to S.I. Newhouse of Condé Nast fame, they retained all on-line rights to the brand name. [DC] Maybe Newhouse could instead license Hardwired from famous Wired fan Walter Jon Williams (see Ansible 123/4)....

World Fantasy Awards. 1998 nominations slate ... NOVEL Charles de Lint, Trader; Jeffrey Ford, The Physiognomy; Harvey Jacobs, American Goliath; Eric Nylund, Dry Water; Patrick O'Leary, The Gift. (Arturo Perez-Reverte's The Club Dumas was originally included and then found ineligible owing to a 1996 UK edition; Dry Water replaces it.) • NOVELLA Richard Bowes, 'Streetcar Dreams' (F&SF); Brian Hodge, 'The Dripping of Sundered Wineskins' (Love in Vein II); Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman, 'The Fall of the Kings' (Bending the Landscape: Fantasy); Kim Newman, 'Coppola's Dracula' (The Mammoth Book of Dracula); Douglas E. Winter, 'The Zombies of Madison County' (Dark of the Night). • SHORT P.D. Cacek, 'Dust Motes' (Gothic Ghosts); Lisa Goldstein, 'Fortune and Misfortune' (Asimov's); Paul Park, 'Get a Grip' (OMNI On Line); Robert Charles Wilson, 'The Inner Inner City' (Northern Frights 4); Jack Womack, 'Audience' (The Horns Of Elfland). • ANTHOLOGY Modern Classics of Fantasy ed Gardner Dozois; Bending the Landscape: Fantasy ed Nicola Griffith & Stephen Pagel; Northern Frights 4 ed Don Hutchison; Dark Terrors 3, ed Stephen Jones & David Sutton; Millennium (aka Revelations) ed Douglas E. Winter. • COLLECTION Peter S. Beagle, Giant Bones; Ray Bradbury, Driving Blind; Paul Di Filippo, Fractal Paisleys; Brian McNaughton, The Throne of Bones; Michael Swanwick, A Geography Of Unknown Lands. • ARTIST Rick Berry, Jim Burns, Alan Lee, Don Maitz, Dave McKean. • PROFESSIONAL Ellen Datlow, editing/anthologies; Gardner Dozois, editing/anthologies; John Clute & John Grant, editing The Encyclopedia of Fantasy; Stephen Jones, editing/anthologies; Gordon Van Gelder, editing (books/F&SF). • NON-PROFESSIONAL Richard Chizmar, Cemetery Dance mag/CD Publications; Fedogan & Bremer, book publishing; Chris Logan Edwards, Tigereyes Press; Barry Hoffman, Gauntlet mag/publishing; Jeff VanderMeer, Ministry of Whimsy Press. Results 1 Nov at World Fantasy Con, Monterey, CA. [SJ]

Worldcon Rules. In a vote awaiting ratification at Aussiecon next year, Bucconeer's business meeting changed the bidding constraints from US regional rotation (with furriners bidding when they like) to a 500-mile exclusion zone. Thus new bid venues must be at least 500 miles from the current worldcon site, with hotel accommodation situated over 500 miles from the convention centre, and the business meeting held 500 miles from both Tim Illingworth and Ben Yalow.

R.I.P. Ariane von Orlow, an enthusiastic German fan, died on 8 August from a brain tumour. She was only 32.

Outraged Letters ... Diana Wynne Jones is 'tediously slowly getting better – I hope – but as the hospital evidently don't expect me to have recovered before October, I suppose I do quite well.' • Bruce Pelz learned the hideous secret that Ansible first-edition typos etc may be fixed for overseas printings: 'Collectors are doomed – there are probably dozens of Variant Edition issues to be chased down in order to have a Complete Collection of Ansible. As this is obviously an Impossible Task, I shall have to give the whole fanzine-collecting idea up and recycle the several tons of now valueless wastepaper. Oh You Fiend, Langford!' • Several Of You insist that though David Brin's rant about the persecuting Swiss did happen ('Ask Tim Powers!'), it was all a year or two ago.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Careful Word Choice. Context: hero finds that, unknowingly, he was hypnotized and involved in a homosexual orgy with naughty monks of the Society of St Peter Martyr. He investigates these events: 'For the first time in several days, Peter thought he had a chance of getting to the bottom of the Society of St Peter Martyr.' (John Saul, Punish the Sinners, 1978) • 'And before you can come to mass, [said Father McBride] you'll need to come to confession, which, for your information, is held every Wednesday from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon. Because if, as you say, you pursued sexual relations with that Venetian woman outside the sanctity of marriage, it's still adultery plain and simple, even if she was dead when you did it.' (Robert Girardi, Vaporetto 13, 1997) [PB] • 'To the Clan, a new life was formed by the ubiquitous essences of the totems and any relationship between sexual activity and childbirth was beyond conception.' (Jean M. Auel, The Clan of the Cave Bear, 1980) [RP] • Dept of Weird Science. 'You're one of these mad-scientists one hears about, I take it?' (Jane Gaskell, Atlan, 1965) ... 'Professor Morgenstahl, the mathematical genius who had upset every previous conviction respecting the relative distances of the planets, who had mapped space, who had proved that lunar eclipses were not produced by the shadow of the earth ...' (Sax Rohmer, President Fu Manchu, 1936) ... 'A six-foot-high working model of the DNA double helix stood against another wall.' – and would presumably soon fill the room. (George Chesbro, The Beasts of Valhalla, 1985) ... [all RC] • Dept of We Have No Shame. 'His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in dressing-gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating.' (H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, 1898) [DG]

Geeks' Corner

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* 1998
Fantasycon XXII (Birmingham, Sep),
Discworld Convention II (Liverpool, Sep),
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Albacon (Glasgow, Sep),
Octocon Lite (Irish national con, Dublin, Oct),
Post-Octocon Party,
Milford UK Conference (Devon, Oct),
Armadacon (Plymouth, Nov),
* 1999
Redemption (B5/B7, Ashford, Feb),
Reconvene (Eastercon, Liverpool, Apr),
Trinity (Eurocon, Germany, May),
Seccon (Stevenage, May),
Telefantastique 2 (media, Heathrow, Jul),
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* 2000
2Kon (Eastercon, Glasgow, Apr),
Chicon 2000 (Worldcon, Chicago, Aug),
Eurocon 2000 (Poland, Aug), Europe ... US
Hogmanaycon (Glasgow, Dec-Jan),
* 2001
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* 2003
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Toronto in '03 (Canada Worldcon),


That Clute Calamity. I can't help wondering whether some of John Clute's lost trophies couldn't be replaced from resources in the cupboards and attics of fandom. For example, I still have a left-over Hugo base that wasn't used in 1979 (not, alas, a relevant year), and the rockets themselves are presumably purchasable from Peter 'Mr Knobs' Weston. But does anyone, anywhere, have a spare Hugo base from ConAdian in 1994 – when JC shared the nonfiction award with Peter Nicholls for the second edition of the The Encyclopedia of SF – or LAcon III in 1996, when he won this category solo for Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia? The Pilgrim Award may be more difficult....

Ansible 134 Copyright © Dave Langford, 1998. Thanks to Martin Abela, Paul Barnett, Rachel Carthy, Dave Clark, John Clute, Dave Gullen, Chuch Harris, Steve Jones, Joseph Nicholas, Ray Proven, Geri Sullivan, Roger Burton West, Gary Wilkinson, Dave Wood and our Hero Distributors: Janice Murray (NA), SCIS, Alan Stewart (Oz), and Martin Tudor (BSFG). 3 Sep 98.