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Ansible 170, September 2001

Cartoon: Sue Mason

From Dave Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5AU. ISSN 0265-9816. E-mail ansible[at] Fax 0705 080 1534. Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Sue Mason. Available for SAE, the Worsted Monster, or an Oracular Watering-Can.

THE MILLENNIUM PHILCON. All the glitterati of sf and fandom were having fun at the Philadelphia Worldcon while I toiled at home compiling a Discworld quizbook (titled, of course, The Wyrdest Link – and you should see Josh Kirby's cover painting of Anne Robinson as orangutan, or vice versa).... Normally Martin Hoare doesn't really phone in the small hours after the Hugos, but this year he got over-excited and came through at 3am ('You pig, Martin,' I dimly heard Hazel say) to report an unprecedented instance of goshwow in the Hugo Results: NOVEL J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; NOVELLA Jack Williamson, 'The Ultimate Earth' (Analog 12/00); NOVELETTE Kristine Kathryn Rusch, 'Millennium Babies' (Asimov's 1/00); SHORT STORY David Langford, 'Different Kinds of Darkness' (F&SF 1/00); RELATED BOOK Bob Eggleton & Nigel Suckling, Greetings from Earth: The Art of Bob Eggleton; DRAMATIC PRESENTATION Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; PRO EDITOR Gardner Dozois; PRO ARTIST Bob Eggleton; SEMIPROZINE Locus; FANZINE File 770; FAN WRITER Dave Langford; FAN ARTIST Teddy Harvia; CAMPBELL AWARD Kristine Smith. 1,050 valid ballots cast. It was noted that while Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon director Ang Lee had sent a witty note of thanks and apology for not being present, the novel winner couldn't be bothered. • Worldcon 2004. Boston's Noreascon 4 bid defeated Charlotte by 1,196 votes to 832. • Vox Pop. Stephen Baxter, bless him, is still speaking to me: 'I did get a couple of awards myself, for AnLab best short story from Analog and best novelette from Asimov's – a pleasant dim sum breakfast ceremony in which legendary 70s singer-songwriter Janis Ian turned up and turns out to be a Baxter fan – so I was mellow come Hugo night, which was the usual roller coaster ride. • Philadelphia itself was as American as, well, Mel Gibson. I seemed to annoy a few people by asking how many slaves Ben Franklin kept.' Andrew M. Butler (co-editor of Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature) was graceful in Hugo defeat: 'We are not bitter; as some one pointed out during the ceremony, we are all winners, and like those far away long ago sports days, no one went away empty handed. Admittedly the chocolate in the goody bags was so disgusting that we all threw most of it away, but no, any empty handedness was our choice.' Dave Langford is still making incoherent noises of bogglement and thanks.

The Two-Timers

Pat Cadigan is 'Now Officially British, as stated in Publishers Weekly.'

Jon Courtenay Grimwood is utterly crushed: 'Well, now I know that being an SF writer really is the lowest of the low.... I've just had a cat breeder in Surrey refuse to let me have a pedigree cat because he was worried by the content of my web-page. It could have been that press-release for Pashazade, or even the review page featuring those up-market publications Vector and Locus (not to mention also-rans like the Times) or perhaps it was those old features, written years back, for men's glossies. Whatever, it seems a pedigree cat should be able to expect some standards. • Has anyone told Mike Marshall Smith?'

Gwyneth Jones was dismayed when her story 'The Salt Box' (IZ 169) led to a police raid on Interzone HQ. That is, an apologetic policewoman came to pick up a copy of that issue from editor David Pringle, following a reader's complaint that the story – an extract from GJ's new novel Bold as Love – amounted to child pornography. Oh, good grief: it features underage sex in terms which aren't explicit, approving, or remotely arousing. Perhaps the anonymous prude doesn't know that Nabokov's Lolita has been egregiously in print in Britain since 1959?

Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass appears on the 'longlist' of 24 Booker Prize finalists, officially released for the first time this year. [TC] This caused some media flurry and hasty criticism like Suzi Feay's Independent on Sunday comment that 'the Satan figure, Lord Asriel, leader of the rebellion against God, is noble and freedom-loving' ... not the first words that would occur to anyone who'd read the end of book one.

Norman Spinrad, the Richard Feynman of SFWA, disposed of outmoded scientific paradigms at Eurocon in Romania with his revelation that 'Quantum mechanics is bullshit' – apparently because it's too complicated. [JC] Can hidebound physics hope to recover from this blow?

Michael Swanwick brags about many series commissions to write short stories at monthly, weekly, biweekly, and for all I know hourly intervals: 'Are you intimidated yet?' Your editor most certainly was.


14-16 Sep • Cavalcade (costuming), Whitby Spa Pavilion, Whitby, North Yorks. £30 reg; £35 at door. Contact Chandlers House, Green Lane, Whitby, N. Yorks, YO22 4EU. 01947 821711.

17 Sep • ZZ9 Douglas Adams Memorial Evening, upstairs room, Florence Nightingale, London. Follows invitation-only memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields. All welcome to pub event.

23 Sep • British Fantasy Society 30th Birthday Bash (instead of Fantasycon), Champagne Charlies, 17 The Arches, Villiers St, London, WC2N 4NN. 9am-late. GoH Hugh Lamb, Simon Clark. £15 reg, £10 for BFS members booking in advance: cheques to Fantasycon. Contact Beech House, Chapel Lane, Moulton, Cheshire, CW9 8PQ.

25 Sep • Science and Storytelling, ICA, The Mall, London, 7pm. Tom Wilkie, Lisa Jardine, Martin Rees (Astronomer Royal), and Peter Tallack (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) discuss the role of just-so stories in establishing scientific truth.' Ticket enquiries 020 7930 3647.

26 Sep • BSFA Open Meeting, The Rising Sun pub, Cloth Fair, London EC1. 7pm on, fans present from 5pm.

29 Sep • Dreddcon 2 (2000 AD), Galleries of Justice, Nottingham. Tickets £6, inc entry to Dredd: The Law exhibition. Cheques to Galleries of Justice, Lace Market, Nottingham, NG1 1HN. 0115 952 0555.

5-7 Oct • Animecon UK, Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. GoH Gilles Poitras, Helen McCarthy. Now £35 reg to 30 Sep, £40 at door. Contact PO Box 30564, London, SW16 1WZ.

5-7 Oct • Supernova-Retribution (Trek), Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow. £50 reg. Contact PO Box 1701, London, SW6 5WU.

13-14 Oct • Octocon 2001 (Irish national con), Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire, Co.Dublin. Now £17 or £20(I). Irish cheques c/o Yellow Brick Rd, 8 Bachelors Walk, Dublin 1, Ireland; sterling to Dave Lally #2 A/C, 64 Richborne Tce, London, SW8 1AX.

20 Oct • World Video Premiere of David B. Wake's 20:01 – a sunday odyssey and 20/10 – odyssey too, Midlands Arts Centre, Edgbaston Road, Birmingham. At 20:01 sharp. 'Over the top premiere outfits please.' Contact the maestro if you want to go:

9 Feb 02 • Reminiscon Fifty, Hanover Hotel, Schooner Way, Cardiff. Celebrating Lionel Fanthorpe's 50 years in print, with many other guests. 10am-9:30pm, then optional dinner. £15 reg, £35 dinner; all-in £60 inc lunch, tea etc. Contact Fanthorpe Management Consultancy, 48 Claude Rd, Roath, Cardiff, CF24 3QA. 'Supported by Welsh Academi.'

9-11 Aug 02 • ConteXXt (Unicon 20), Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education. GoH Keith Brooke. £25 reg, £15 concessions, small children £1. Contact 17 Cow Lane, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 7SZ.

2-6 Sep 04 • Noreascon 4 (62nd Worldcon), Boston, Mass. GoH Terry Pratchett, William Tenn, (fan) Jack Speer and Peter Weston. $100 reg to 31 Dec, $60 for site selection voters, $35 supp. Mastercard and Visa accepted. Contact PO Box 1010, Framingham, MA 01701, USA.

RumblingsWorldcon 2006 bidding: Kansas City vs Los Angeles.

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Us, perceptively for once: 'In the world of science fiction, Gardner Dozois is huge.' (Eils Lotozo, 'Philadelphian Is a Titan in the Field', Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 Aug 2001) [MMW]

Publishers & Sinners. Aboriginal SF is reportedly ceasing publication, with inventory stories to appear in sister mag Absolute Magnitude.

R.I.P. Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), noted astronomer of unorthodox but influential views (in particular the steady state theory and galactic panspermia), died on 20 August aged 86, following a severe stroke in July. His sf career began with The Black Cloud (1957) and was most publicly visible in the 1961 BBC TV series A for Andromeda and its sequel The Andromeda Breakthrough, both co-written and novelized with John Elliott. Other solo sf works of note are Ossian's Ride (1959) and October the First is Too Late (1966); Hoyle co-authored several more sf novels with his son Geoffrey, from 1963 to 1982. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1957 and was knighted in 1972. • Boyd Raeburn (1927-2001), New Zealand-born fan active in Canada since the 1950s (when he published his fanzine À Bas, one of the finest of that era), died on 13 August. He was 73. Robert Lichtman writes: 'Sad ... another one of the people I think of as integral to fandom gone.' • Oscar Schwiglhofer (1923-2001), Transylvanian physicist/engineer living in Scotland since WWII, died on 7 August. A keen astronomer, he helped found a Scottish branch of the British Interplanetary Society in 1953; in 1963 this became ASTRA, Association in Scotland to Research into Astronautics, with many links over the years to sf and fan circles. [DLu]

More Awards presented at Worldcon. Sidewise, for alternate history: SHORT Ted Chiang, 'Seventy-Two Letters'; LONG Mary Gentle, The Book of Ash. [SHS] • Spectrum, for gay-friendly sf: NOVEL David Gerrold, Jumping off the Planet; OTHER Buffy the Vampire Slayer. [CM] • Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery, first presentation: Olaf Stapledon. (Er, when did he get lost?) • Prometheus, for libertarian sf: L. Neil Smith, Forge of Elders. • Retro Hugos for 1950 work: NOVEL Heinlein, Farmer in the Sky; NOVELLA Heinlein, 'The Man Who Sold the Moon'; NOVELETTE Kornbluth, 'The Little Black Bag'; SHORT Knight, 'To Serve Man'; DRAMATIC Destination Moon; EDITOR Campbell; ARTIST Freas; FAN WRITER Silverberg (who was 15 at the time, had written little, and through no fault of his own appears to have been landed with a Subsequent Career Hindsight award); FANZINE Science Fiction News Letter; FAN ARTIST Jack Gaughan. Cheryl Morgan complained: 'Gormenghast failed to make the final ballot for Best Novel by just two nominations. British voters, where were you?'

Howl's Movie Castle. Diana Wynne Jones gloats fire-demonically: 'I can at last reveal – having been forbidden to by the contract until now – that the Japanese Studio Ghibli, makers of Laputa and Princess Mononoke, are doing a film of Howl's Moving Castle. Really.'

Random Fandom. Jacky & Oliver Grüter-Andrew announced the birth of Corwin Geoffrey Wilhelm Grüter-Andrew on 1 September. • Yuri Mironets of Vladivostok thanks all the fans who helped make his Worldcon trip possible. • Bruce & Elayne Pelz delivered George Orwell's Retro-Hugo for Animal Farm to his estate's London agent on 15 August. 'We didn't want to ship it – a previous shipment of a Hugo into the UK resulted in the recipient having to fight HM Customs to get out of VAT and ghod knows what other taxes. Since there was no reason to think the Estate wanted the thing enough to go through that, the personal delivery route was the simplest, if not particularly timely. Oh, well, it's less that five years since LACon III voted the award....' • Steve & Elaine Silver announced the birth of Melanie Shira Silver on 26 August.

Outraged Letters. James Gifford, author of the Heinlein companion shortlisted for a Hugo as Best Related Book, applauded the winner with good grace but later issued a polemic [since withdrawn – DRL] about the transferable-vote process: 'I won the first, second and third rounds of voting by a significant margin. That the fourth and fifth rounds were allowed to determine this award is a travesty. In this case, the elaborate and complex vote analysis method obscured the winner instead of clarifying the results. When there is significant and spirited voting in a category, determining the winner by highly "cooked" totals is wrong, no matter how right it may be for sparser and highly mixed voting. For 700 votes, a simple plurality should be enough to show the voters's preference. A plurality that persists through three of five evaluation steps is not ambiguous, and to corrupt that result by "overcooking" the votes until a different winner is determined is – I'm sorry for the repetition – a travesty. • No wonder Saul Jaffe was making "hanging chad" jokes at the ceremony.' • David G. Hartwell reports that I don't get my name on a fiction Hugo after all: 'They did not put the winning author's name on the Hugo, only the story title. An odd choice.' Monument to the Unknown Author.

C.o.A. Kathy & Tim Kyger, 1825 North Hills Ave, Willow Grove, PA 19090-3703, USA. Mark Loney & Vanessa, 44 Haystack Cres, Palmerston, ACT 2913, Australia. Alex McLintock & Julie Rigby, 88 Poppleton Rd, Leytonstone, London, E11 1LT. BSFA Matrix, c/o Gary Wilkinson, 18 Water Lane, South Witham, Grantham, NG33 5PH. Damien Warman & Juliette Woods, 400 West 35th St, Apt #106, Austin, TX 78751, USA.

WSFS/Hugo Oddments. The Worldcon business meeting voted to continue the extra year of Hugo eligibility for non-US-published work, giving Perdido Street Station and other 2000 UK novels another chance in 2002. Dramatic Presentation splits into Long Form and Short Form categories (roughly, Hollywood and Buffy), or will if the change is ratified next year. [CM] Following the most frequent Philcon complaint, the Nitpicking & Flyspeck Committee is to nag all future Worldcons to print the names on badges in legible type, 24-point or better. [KM]

International Horror Guild awards were presented on 1 Sept. NOVEL Tim Powers, Declare; FIRST NOVEL Sean Desmond, Adams Fall; LONG STORY Melanie & Steve Rasnic Tem, The Man on the Ceiling; SHORT Steve Duffy, 'The Rag-and-Bone Men'; ILLUSTRATED Jhonen Vasquez, I Feel Sick #1-2 (2-part series); COLLECTION (tie) Steve Rasnic Tem, City Fishing, and Thomas Tessier, Ghost Music; ANTHOLOGY October Dreams ed Richard Chizmar & Robert Morrish; NONFICTION William Sheehan, At the Foot of the Story Tree; PUBLICATION Horror Garage; ART Joel-Peter Witkin; FILM American Psycho; TV Angel. [D]

Take That, Joe Haldeman! 'The best-known example of "future war" fiction is The Invasion of 1910 by William Tufnell Le Queux, a rich slice of scaremongering which was a sensational success when published in 1906.' (Rupert Forbes, The London Review of Books, 6 Sep)

Take That, Keith Roberts! A Real Critic looks at Kingsley Amis's homage to Pavane: 'The Alteration (1976) invites comparisons with Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, with an echo of Swift's A Modest Proposal.' (Richard Bradford, Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis, 2001; no mention at all of Roberts or Pavane.)

World Fantasy Awards shortlist. NOVEL Declare, Tim Powers; Galveston, Sean Stewart; The Grand Ellipse, Paula Volsky; The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman; Lord of Emperors, Guy Gavriel Kay; Perdido Street Station, China Miéville. • NOVELLA 'Blue Kansas Sky', Michael Bishop; 'Chip Crockett's Christmas Carol', Elizabeth Hand; 'The Man on the Ceiling', Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem; 'Mr Dark's Carnival', Glen Hirshberg; 'Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower', Susanna Clarke; 'Pelican Cay', David Case; 'Seventy-Two Letters', Ted Chiang • SHORT 'Down Here in the Garden', Tia V. Travis; 'Is There Anybody There?', Kim Newman; 'Lincoln in Frogmore', Andy Duncan; 'The Pottawatomie Giant', Andy Duncan; 'The Raggle Taggle Gypsy-O', Michael Swanwick; 'The Saltimbanques', Terry Dowling; 'Shoe and Marriage', Kelly Link. • ANTHOLOGY Dark Matter ed. Sheree R. Thomas; Dark Terrors 5 ed. Stephen Jones & David Sutton; Shadows and Silence ed. Barbara & Christopher Roden; Vanishing Acts ed. Ellen Datlow; Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root ed. Nalo Hopkinson; The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 13, ed. Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling. • COLLECTION Beluthahatchie, Andy Duncan; Blackwater Days, Terry Dowling; Magic Terror, Peter Straub; Perpetuity Blues, Neal Barrett, Jr; The Perseids, Robert Charles Wilson; Travel Arrangements, M. John Harrison. • ARTIST Jim Burns, Kinuko Y. Craft, Les Edwards, Daniel Merriam, John Jude Palencar, Shaun Tan. • SPECIAL AWARD: PRO Ellen Datlow, Cathy & Arnie Fenner, William K. Schafer, Tom Shippey, Gary Turner & Marty Halpern. • SPECIAL: NON-PRO Benjamin Cossel, Jeremy Lassen & Jason Williams; Peter Crowther; Philip J. Rahman & Dennis E. Weiler; Barbara & Christopher Roden; Raymond Russell & Rosalie Parker; Bill Sheehan.

Where Are They Now? Some fans still remember: 'Ex-Brummie and one-time SF fan DAVID PRINGLE is now editing the UK's premier SF Magazine, Interzone.' (Brum Group News #359, August 2001)

In Memoriam. Greg Bear after Poul Anderson's memorial service on 4 August: 'It was pretty obvious to me that the outpouring of love for Poul would be large, but it surpassed even my expectations. The memorial on Saturday was lovely, and the room was packed – several hundred attendees. How many more in spirit? Hard to tell – but judging from the emails, thousands, and as the word gets out, tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands. Of course, Poul touched the lives of millions, ultimately.' • The family asks that anyone wishing to make a memorial donation in lieu of flowers should give to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund, c/o Chuck Rothman (Treasurer), 1436 Altamont Ave, PMB 292, Schenectady, NY 12303-2977, USA.

Group Gropes. Stockport SF fans plan a monthly reading group at the town's Central Library: enquiries 0161 474 4540.

Thog's Masterclass. 'I looked at Norathar, who was staring at Aliera with eyes like mushrooms.' (Steven Brust, Yendi, 1984) [EO] • 'Despite his slant eyes and yellow skin, he proved to be quite a likeable fellow as well as an erudite scientist.' (Captain S.P. Meek, 'Awlo of Ulm', 1931) • 'Fear exploded in her mouth like a drug.' (Linda Nagata, Limits of Vision, 2001) [LP] • 'The barest flicker of anguish passed over his eternally immobile mouth.' 'Then a horrid, unforgettable giggle bit at his unbelievable left ear.' (Charles Harness, The Paradox Men, 1953) [BA]

Geeks' Corner

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Back issues etc
[obsolete FTP link removed]
Ansible's Links,
Langford's Ego,

Harry Andruschak,
Big Engine enquiries (buy The Leaky Establishment, everyone!),

Convention E-Mail
*** 2001
14-16 Sep, Cavalcade (costuming), Whitby,
26 Sep, Science and Storytelling, ICA, enquiries
29 Sep, Dreddcon (2000 AD comics), Nottingham,
5-7 Oct, Animecon UK, Liverpool,
5-7 Oct, Supernova-Retribution (Trek), Heathrow,
13-14 Oct, Octocon (Irish national con), Dun Laoghaire, UK agent
9-11 Nov, Armadacon, Plymouth,
9-11 Nov, Novacon 31, Walsall,
7-9 Dec, Smofcon 19 (secret mastery), York,
*** 2002
1-3 Feb, Contabile-Fortean (filk), Basingstoke,
9 Feb, Reminiscon (Fanthorpe jubilee), Cardiff,
8-10 Mar, MeCon V (Belfast),
29 Mar - 1 Apr, Helicon 2 (Eastercon), Jersey,
3-6 May, Damn Fine Convention (Twin Peaks), Shepperton,
1-4 June, plokta.con 2.0 (venue TBA),
9-11 Aug, ConteXXt (Unicon 20), Cheltenham,
16-19 Aug, Discworld Con 3, Hinckley, Leics,
29 Aug - 2 Sep, ConJosé (Worldcon), San José, California,, UK
4-6 Oct, Conquest (media), Southend,
*** 2003
21-23 Feb, Redemption (B5/B7), Ashford,
18-21 Apr, Seacon '03 (Eastercon, venue TBA),
28 Aug - 1 Sep, Torcon 3 (Worldcon), Toronto,
*** 2004
2-6 Sep, Noreascon 4, Boston (Worldcon),

Convention Bid E-Mail
*** 2005
Britain in 2005 (Worldcon),


Eileen Gunn reports, with modified rapture, the delayed launch of her sf webzine The Infinite Matrix ...

'I'm not sure that launched is the term, but I'm standing here soaking wet and holding onto a broken bottle. It's out there anyway, just the first issue, courtesy of Internet guru John S. Quarterman, who bankrolled the hosting. No money for a second issue, unfortunately.... • In the old pokey-slow paper-based economy, science-fiction magazines dragged out over dozens, even hundreds of issues. In the new post-meltdown pixel economy, a single issue can be the entire magazine!' • Stop Press, 6 September: 'I'm pleased to say mysteriously that we may not be as dead as we look. If you hold a mirror to the website, it fogs. More later.'

Ansible 170 Copyright © Dave Langford, 2001. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Jonathan Cowie, Tony Cullen, DarkEcho, Duncan Lunan, Kevin J. Maroney, Cheryl Morgan, Murray Moore, Emmet O'Brien, Lawrence Person, Greg Pickersgill, Steven H Silver, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Martin Morse Wooster; to Hero Hugo Accepters, David G. Hartwell (standing in for Gordon Van Gelder, who had to leave early) and Martin Hoare; and Hero Distributors, Rog Peyton (Brum Group News), Janice Murray (NA), SCIS, and Alan Stewart (Oz). 6 Sep 01.