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Ansible 142, May 1999

Cartoon: Joe Mayhew

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: Joe Mayhew. Available for SAE or mun mun-mun, mun-mun mun (mun).

RECONVENE. The 50th British Eastercon, and the umpteenth in the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, duly lumbered on its eldritch course (flower of rhetoric © H.P. Lovecraft) down the slipway. As usual the Adelphi lounge promoted a languorous, sociable stupor, broken only by the loud popping of male fans' eyes at the latest outfit worn by TAFF delegate Vijay Bowen.... • Awards. Chris Priest won the BSFA novel award for The Extremes; BSFA short-fiction and art awards went to Gwyneth Jones's 'La Cenenterola' (Interzone 136) and Jim Burns's Lord Prestimion cover. The new Richard Evans award is – as explained by John Clute in A141 – for active authors whose commercial success hasn't matched their critical acclaim: the panel's unanimous and popular choice was M. John Harrison. Both the Paper Tiger art show award and the Ken McIntyre award (formerly for fanzine art, now revived for 'unpublished artwork in Eastercon art show') went to Tom Abba. Doc Weir 'fannish good egg' award: ½r Cruttenden. All recipients except Gwyneth Jones were on hand to accept in person. • The con newsletter Broadcasting Louse, writes Thog, was perhaps the most superbly brilliant ever, a triumph ascribed to its policy of barring Langford from the newsroom. • Paragon in Blackpool – see con list – won the 2001 Eastercon bidding with 114 votes; the recurring Isle of Sark spoof bid, Sarkasm, got 34. • For technical reasons I saw only bits of David B. Wake's multimedia mega-production Captain Tartan Saves the World ... Again, but it wasn't half ambitious – with innovations unknown in traditional Dave Hicks/Mike Siddall performances, such as rehearsals. • Later, Pat Cadigan scattered praise: 'Having been to a number of British functions of various sorts, I can assure everyone that there is a Supreme Being in charge of the universe, plus everything else. Her name is Chris Bell.' One exciting Bellian exploit was the hasty metamorphosis of three room parties into a single huge lobby-bar thrash, since the Adelphi bookings manager had with great diplomatic skill placed a weary 74-year-old nonfan in a bedroom at the epicentre of the Official Noisy Party Zone.

For Fear of Little Men

Pat Cadigan still uses the D-word: 'I write to take serious issue with Jane Johnson's statement [A139] about all writers being "a little bit mad." I don't know who she's been having lunch with lately, but I, for one, am not "a little bit mad." I am full tilt bonkers, and probably dangerous as well. Hope this clears up any confusion. You dog.'

Michael Moorcock and Iain Sinclair speaking in concert were a sufficient attraction to draw nearly 100 people (including such luminaries as Robert P. Holdstock and Chris Evans) to the remote fastness of Dulwich library on 25 Mar. Unfortunately, after a long embarrassing wait, a certain lack of either Moorcock or Sinclair caused the meeting to disperse to the pub – pursued by a highly apologetic librarian.

Andy Offutt had a heart attack on 16 Mar, followed by quadruple bypass surgery on 19 Mar. A full recovery is expected. [K]

Chris Priest grumbles that his pseudonym John Luther Novak, used when novelizing the new David Cronenberg sf-and-biological-yuck movie eXistenZ, 'has become one of the worst-kept secrets in publishing.' Open the book and the very first sentence inside explains that JLN 'is the pen-name of award-winning novelist Christopher Priest.'

Michael Swanwick tries hard to be Cadiganesquely shameless: 'I'm not writing to mention the surprise 50th birthday pardon held here in Philadelphia at the studio of Walters & Kissinger for artist Bob Walters, arranged by Tess Kissinger and including a rakish mix of guests from the worlds of art, science fiction, and paleontology. Not even to note that in place of individual gifts, Tess solicited contributions toward a new and enormously loud drum set, thus proving that love is not only blind but deaf as well. No. Ruthless self-promoter that I am, I am writing to alert the world that the Bob Walters cover of the upcoming Asimov's (showing a group of unsuspecting yuppies about to be eaten by a tyrannosaur, and illustrating one of my stories) features Your Humble Correspondent in a cameo appearance. Bob invited Marianne and me to his studio, posed me with a wine glass, and said, "Look fatuous!" I haven't seen the final work, but when questioned, Bob said, "Marianne looks fine, but you – oh man!" and doubled over, helpless with laughter. So I can only assume that I succeeded.' [6 Apr]


9 May • Fantasy Fair, Cresset Exhibition Centre, Peterborough. 10:30am-4pm. Contact Bruce King, 01480 216372.

20-24 May • Trinity (Eurocon), Dortmund, Germany. £33 reg, cheques to 'German Conventions'. Contact UK agent Mike Cheater at 42 Elm Grove, Southsea, Hants, PO5 1JG. Trinity has had trouble with a German Christian group who think sf fans are occultists and demanded – with lawsuit threats – that the con change its 'blasphemous' name.

26 May • BSFA Open Meeting, Florence Nightingale pub, on York Rd/Westminster Bridge Rd roundabout. 7pm on; fans present c5pm.

27 May - 24 Jun • Don Lawrence exhibition, Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex, Falmer. First major UK exhibition by the artist best known to fans for the Trigan Empire series in Look and Learn long ago.

28-30 May • Seccon, Hertfordpark Hotel, Stevenage. £23 reg to 15 May, £27 at door. Contact c/o 92 Lichfield Rd, Cambridge, CB1 3TR.

4-6 Jun • Avalon (Trek), Meadowside Centre, Burton upon Trent. £50 reg. Contact (SAE) 28 Yew Tree Rd, Hatton, Derby, DE65 5EX.

11 Jun • BFS Open Night, Princess Louise pub, High Holborn, WC1. 6pm on. With launch and multiple signing for Pumpkin Books.

13-15 Aug • Wincon V (Unicon), King Alfred's College, Winchester. Now £28 reg, £18 supp, to rise again on 1 Jul. Contact 53 Havant Road, North End, Portsmouth, Hants, PO2 7HH.

9-10 Oct • Octocon X (Irish national con), Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co.Dublin. Now £18 reg to 31 Aug, £22 at door. Contact c/o 43 Eglinton Rd, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland; UK c/o 64 Richborne Tce, London, SW8 1AX. +353 (0)1 2605204, fax 2694039.

5-7 Nov • Novacon 29, Britannia Hotel, New St, Birmingham. GoH Ian Stewart. Now £32 reg; £35 at door. Contact 14 Park St, Lye, Stourbridge, W. Midlands, DY9 8SS.

12-14 Nov • Armadacon 99, Copthorne Hotel, Plymouth. GoH Stephen Baxter, Michael Sheard, Lionel Fanthorpe. Now £27 reg; £22 concessions or £11/day. Contact PO Box 38, Plymouth, Devon.

21-24 Apr 00 • 2Kon (Eastercon), Central Hotel, Glasgow. £25 reg (£30 from 1 Dec), £20 unwaged, £15 supp/junior (8-15), infants (0-7) free. Contact 30 Woodburn Terrace, St Andrews, KY16 8BA.

28 Apr - 1 May 00 • AD 2000 (Trek), Palace Hotel, Manchester. Now £50 reg, rising to £55 in Jul. Contact (SAE) Sector 14 (AD 2000), PO Box 3870, Troon, Scotland, KA10 7PZ.

13-16 Apr 01 • Paragon (Eastercon), Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool. GoH Michael Scott Rohan, Stephen Baxter, Lisanne Norman, Mark Plummer, Claire Brialey. £25 reg, £15 supp, £12.50 junior (12-16), £5 child (5-11), infants free. Contact 379 Myrtle Rd, Sheffield, S2 3HQ.

Infinitely Improbable

Yet More Awards. Philip K. Dick Award for original US pb: Geoff Ryman's 253: The Print Remix. [GVG] • Nebulas ... SHORT Bruce Holland Rogers, 'Thirteen Ways to Water' (Black Cats and Broken Mirrors). NOVELETTE Jane Yolen, 'Lost Girls' (Realms of Fantasy 2/98). NOVELLA Sheila Finch, 'Reading the Bones' (F&SF 1/98). NOVEL Joe Haldeman, Forever Peace. AUTHOR EMERITUS Philip Klass (William Tenn). GRANDMASTER Hal Clement. [SHS] SFWA's Ray Bradbury dramatic achievement award was picked up by J.M. Straczynski for Babylon 5.

Virus Alert. The cryptic appearance of 'Michael Arthur C. Clarke' in Interzone 143's Ansible Link column ('I never wrote that!' – D. Langford) indicates an outbreak of the dread Michael virus, triggered by IZ deadlines. Thought to be at risk are Michael Christopher Priest, who spotted this, Michael Michael Swanwick and Iain Michael Banks.

Random Fandom. Chris Bell on Reconvene: 'I had a rather more fraught time than last one or the one before, on account of the coach-party which used their contract with the Adelphi to pre-empt 15 of our rooms for the Saturday night. They didn't declare themselves until the Tuesday before the con, which made it a tad difficult to do anything about it. Still, Hero Fans slept in other people's rooms to make space for them, and I had my basic faith in the thorough goodnature of the fan as a species very much boosted.' • Ron Bennett's April heart bypass operation was successful, but he subsequently had a stroke which partly paralysed his left side. Intensive physiotherapy continues; Ron is reportedly fairly cheerful but bored. He's in Ward 14 of Leeds General Infirmary. [TJ/KS] • Alison Freebairn, who is braver than me, is 'travelling across Europe in an aid convoy to Bosnia, Croatia and possibly Montenegro ... going the hard way overland, taking medicine and clothes to Kosovar refugees. It'll be grim but I'm hoping to link up with fannish types on the way, for light relief and beer. It will be May/June, for 3 weeks.' Fans sought in the above places and Austria, Slovenia, etc: contact 41 Kendal Rd, East Kilbride, G75 8QT; e-mail • Steve Green broke his left wrist last weekend and may be slow to answer letters or e-mail for 4-6 weeks. • Perry Middlemiss, Aussiecon chair, announced the birth of William Perry LeGarey Middlemiss on 3 April. 'Both mother and son doing well.'

R.I.P. Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999), the Argentine author and anthologist, died on 8 March aged 84. His work is very highly admired in Argentina, though his reputation outside was overshadowed by that of long-time friend and collaborator Jorge Luis Borges. • John Broome, writer of the early Green Lantern comics, died in April aged 85. He had retired from comics in 1970. [RH] • Carl Johan Holzhausen (1900-1999), notable Swedish sf/fantasy author and translator, died in March aged 99. Embarrassingly, various sources including Sam J. Lundwall's bibliography of Swedish sf and the SF Encyclopedia addenda had in recent years anticipated this by listing Holzhausen as dying in 1989. [JHH] • Oliver Reed the well-known actor died on 2 May aged 61. Some of his genre movies made it into the SF and Fantasy Encyclopedias: The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960); The Damned (1961), The Devils (1971), Z.P.G. (1971), The Brood (1979), Dr Heckyl and Mr Hype (1980), Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), The House of Usher (1989), and The Pit and the Pendulum (1990).

Fanfundery. Paul Kincaid is the new GUFF winner after a close-run race, and thus will travel to the Aussie Worldcon in Melbourne. First-round voting, Europe/Australasia/total: Steve Davies 29/2/31, Julian Headlong 20/6/26, Paul Kincaid 20/7/27, No Preference 2/0/2, Hold Over Funds 0. Second round, redistributing JH votes: SD 38/3/41, PK 31/12/43. Total votes 71/15/86. [JN] • DUFF. Janice Gelb was the clear first-round winner and will likewise travel to Aussiecon. Voting, NA/Australasia/total: Lise Eisenberg 58/9/67, Janice 154/15/169, Andy Hooper 76/6/82, No Preference 7/0/7, Hold Over Funds 2/0/2, Write-in 1. Total votes 298/31/329. [JM] • Auld Lang Fund. Dave Langford overcame stiff opposition from write-ins (No Award, Hold Over Funds, The Door, etc) and was boggled that this one-off did indeed raise more or less enough for a flight to Australia, now duly booked. Huge thanks to organizers Marc Ortlieb and John & Eve Harvey, and all contributors. Now Aussiecon shall know the meaning of fear, i.e. the Live Thog Hour. • Electrical Eggs UK. Cuddles sends thanks to all for the £70 raised at Reconvene via sales and raffle tickets. More t-shirts now in from USA: enquiries F1/2, 10 Atlas Rd, Springburn, Glasgow, G21 4TE.

Outraged Letters ... Greg Frost reveals all: 'Regarding Simon Green's comments about Whitley, the aliens, and the proctological exams of lore, it has recently been proposed that the alien ships in fact run on methane, and they aren't remotely interested in the human posterior; they are simply refueling.' • Simon R. Green on the world of comics: 'Peter David's latest villains are a Kali-worshipping cult that are trying to influence young children's minds through TV. The name of their programme: TeleThuggies.' • Harry Harrison footnotes an A138 obit: 'Joe Orlando started as Wally Wood's assistant, became an adept Wood-style artist. Worked with Harvey Kurtzman on the parody of Little Orphan Annie called Little Annie Fanny; I think it was in Playboy. Saw him last in NY when he was one of the editors of Mad. They all hated me there because I told the True Story of EC comics to a comic fanzine. Joe whispered to me that I was right.' • Richard Newsome debunks the anti-sf Falwell rant (A141): 'After this quote was circulated at Lunacon I went to the public library and checked their complete file of Reader's Digest – there is no such article and no such quote by Falwell in that or any other issue. [...] This hoax had its origin in atheist circles, where it has been posted on websites and circulated in e-mail for years.' Alas.

Small Press. Ken Cheslin is at it again, this time assembling an 'Atom 2000' anthology; he asks fans to send copies of Atom cartoons for inclusion. 29 Kestrel Rd, Halesowen, W. Midlands, B63 2PH.

FAAn Awards. FANZINE Outworlds. WRITER Ted White. ARTIST Ian Gunn. LETTER HACK Harry Warner Jr. NEW FAN Karen Johnson. [AH]

C.o.A. British SF Association enquiries, 1 Long Row Close, Everdon, Daventry, NN11 3BE. Carpe Noctem & Bleeding Edge mags, 1093 E Main St #518, El Cajon, CA 92021, USA. Tommy Ferguson, Flat 4, 10 Arundel St, Nottingham, NG7 1NL. Kim Whysall & Tony Hammond (from 11 May), 33 Meyrick Dr, Wash Common, Newbury, Berks, RG14 6SY.

Hugo Nominations. NOVEL (332 ballots cast) Children of God, Mary Doria Russell; Factoring Humanity, Robert J. Sawyer; Distraction, Bruce Sterling; To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis; Darwinia, Robert Charles Wilson. • NOVELLA (187) 'Aurora in Four Voices', Catherine Asaro (Analog 12/98); 'Get Me to the Church On Time', Terry Bisson (Asimov's 5/98); 'Story of Your Life', Ted Chiang (Starlight 2); 'Oceanic', Greg Egan (Asimov's 8/98); 'The Summer Isles', Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov's 10/98). • NOVELETTE (222) 'The Planck Dive', Greg Egan (Asimov's 2/98); 'Time Gypsy', Ellen Klages (Bending the Landscape); 'Steamship Soldier on the Information Front', Nancy Kress (Future Histories; Asimov's 4/98); 'Echea', Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's 7/98); 'Zwarte Piet's Tale', Allen Steele (Analog 12/98); 'Taklamakan', Bruce Sterling (Asimov's 10/98); 'Divided by Infinity', Robert Charles Wilson (Starlight 2). • SHORT STORY (240) 'Cosmic Corkscrew', Michael A. Burstein (Analog 7/98); 'Whiptail', Robert Reed (Asimov's 10/98); 'Maneki Neko', Bruce Sterling (F&SF 5/98); 'Radiant Doors', Michael Swanwick (Asimov's 9/98); 'The Very Pulse of the Machine', Michael Swanwick (Asimov's 2/98); 'Wild Minds', Michael Swanwick (Asimov's 5/98). (Swanwick Speaks: 'For once I am pretty much guaranteed to have a story rank higher than fifth place in the voting. A modest accomplishment, perhaps, but mine own.') • RELATED BOOK (159) Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years, Everett F. Bleiler; Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Awards, Howard DeVore; The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, Thomas M. Disch; Spectrum 5, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds.; The Works of Jack Williamson, Richard A. Hauptmann. • DRAMATIC (261) Babylon 5: 'Sleeping in Light', Dark City, Pleasantville, Star Trek: Insurrection, The Truman Show. • EDITOR (244) Gardner Dozois, Scott Edelman, David G. Hartwell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Stanley Schmidt, Gordon Van Gelder. • ARTIST (214) Jim Burns, Bob Eggleton, Donato Giancola, Don Maitz, Nick Stathopoulos, Michael Whelan. • SEMIPROZINE (214) Interzone, Locus, The New York Review of SF, SF Chronicle, Speculations. • FANZINE (208) Ansible, File 770, Mimosa, Plokta, Tangent, Thyme. • FAN WRITER (199) Bob Devney, Mike Glyer, Dave Langford, Evelyn C. Leeper, Maureen Kincaid Speller. • FAN ARTIST (174) Freddie Baer, Brad Foster, Ian Gunn, Teddy Harvia, Joe Mayhew, D. West. JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD (180) Kage Baker, Julie E. Czerneda, Nalo Hopkinson, Susan R. Matthews, James Van Pelt. 425 ballots cast; ties led to 6 or 7 nominees in some categories. Marc Ortlieb counts just 6 Australian contenders: Greg Egan (twice), Dark City, Nick Stathopolous, Thyme and Ian Gunn.

Group Gropes. Reading 9pm-Mon pub meets are on the move again in May: 10th, Brewery Tap, Castle St; 17th, Sun, Castle St; 24th, Hook & Tackle, Katesgrove Lane; 31st (TBC) Old Society, Friar St.

Liberty or Licence? In a simple yet profoundly silly ceremony after my talk at Reconvene, Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee presented Ansible with a Californian car licence plate bearing the word ANSIBLE. This came 'From The Automobile of Galen A. Tripp'. Er, thanks to all....

Sidewise Awards for alternate history, 1999 shortlist ... LONG Greg Bear, Dinosaur Summer; Stephen Fry, Making History; Pamela Sargent, Climb the Wind. SHORT (<60,000 words) Stephen Baxter & Arthur C. Clarke, 'The Wire Continuum' (Playboy 1/98); Ian R. MacLeod, 'The Summer Isles' (Asimov's 10/98); Robert Silverberg, 'Waiting for the End' (Asimov's 10/98); Howard Waldrop, 'US' (Event Horizon). [SHS]

Thog's Masterclass. 'In her new, improved mood, Thea didn't even mind the unfortunate presence of Glenda Rossner and the heat-seeking missile that passed for Glenda's mouth.' ... 'Biederman also knew how to avoid hanging himself with his own tongue.' ... 'Now, every time she checked, the answering machine was flashing like a festering boil.' ... 'Thea's stomach fisted.' (all Judith Kelman, One Last Kiss, 1994) [PB] • 'Serpents. Nightmare apparitions of gelatinous flesh that hardened on the instant to steel-cable sinew and muscle. Serpentine forms of protoplasm that ripped and tore with tentacular pseudopods as they streaked like lightning through the air, frightful jaws agape for prey. Serpents that were neither reptile, animal nor insect, but giant amoebae evolved to giant size and appalling activity.' (Frank Edward Arnold, 'The Twilight People' in Wings Across Time, 1946) [BA]

Geeks' Corner

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Back issues etc:
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Ansible Agents
Naveed Khan (net/web maestro),
Steve Jeffery & Vikki Lee France (SCIS),
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Alan Stewart (Aus),
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BSFA enquiries,
Electrical Eggs UK t-shirt enquiries,
Don Lawrence exhibition details: contact David Edgar Booth,

Convention E-Mail
* 1999
Trinity (Eurocon, Germany, May),
Seccon (Stevenage, May),
Supernova (Trek, Manchester, Apr),
Incense & Insensibility (dope/academia, Liverpool, Jun),
Avalon (Trek, Burton upon Trent, Jun),
Baroquon (RPG, Cambridge, Jul),
Nexus (media, Bristol, Jul),
Telefantastique 2 (media, Heathrow, Jul),
Wincon (Unicon, Winchester, Aug),
Conucopia (NASFiC, Anaheim CA, USA, Aug),
Festival of Fantastic Films (Manchester, Sep,
Nocturnal (media, Manchester, Sep),
Aussiecon Three (Worldcon, Melbourne, Sep), ... UK
Hypotheticon (Glasgow, Sep),
Octocon (Dublin, Oct),
Novacon (Birmingham, Nov),
Armadacon (Plymouth, Nov),
* 2000
Didgeri-12 (filk, Milton Keynes, Feb),
Discworld Convention 3 (?),
2Kon (Eastercon, Glasgow, Apr),
AD 2000 (Trek, Manchester, Apr-May),
ConStruction (conrunning, Jul),
Nexus 2000 (media, Bristol, Jul),
Chicon 2000 (Worldcon, Chicago, Aug),
Eurocon 2000 (Poland, Aug), Europe ... US
Hogmanaycon (Glasgow, Dec-Jan),
* 2001
Paragon (Eastercon, Blackpool),
Millennium Philcon (Worldcon, Philadelphia, Aug-Sep),
* General
London (Media) Group,

Convention Bid E-Mail
* 2002
San Francisco (Worldcon), (UK
* 2003
ConCancún (Mexico Worldcon),
Toronto in '03 (Canada Worldcon),


Post-Worldcon Fun. Robin Johnson wants fans to know: 'I am planning a 5-day tour of Tasmania for Sept 7-12 (the Tuesday to Sunday following the Worldcon). The details are on the Web at:' ... and RJ is reachable at when he gets back from his current British trip.

Reconvene sends its utterly thrilling list of lost (or rather, found) property. Roger Burton West says: 'Anyone who wants to claim something should mail or write to 3 West Shrubbery, Redland, Bristol, BS6 6SZ.'

* One red cuddly dinosaur
* One tupperware-style round box
* One pair black high-heeled pumps
* One pair prescription spectacles
* One small brown plastic hair-grip
* One black comb with outsize teeth
* Books by:
+ Jack L. Chalker
+ John Wyndham
+ Ian Fleming
+ M. Jay Livingstone
+ Laura Waring
+ Denis Schmidt (three volumes)
+ Arthur C Clarke
+ Peter F Hamilton
* One game CD, Krondor. Enough said.

Ansible 142 Copyright © Dave Langford, 1999. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, Rob Hansen, John-Henri Holmberg, Andy Hooper, Terry Jeeves, Kronos, Janice Murray, Joseph Nicholas, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Steven H. Silver, Ken Slater, Gordon Van Gelder, and Hero Distributors: Janice Murray (NA), SCIS, Alan Stewart (Oz), Brum Group News. 6 May 99.