Ansible 18, June 1981
ANSIBLE 18, June 1981: 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, 1996.
ANSIBLE EIGHTEEN June 1981 Dave Langford, 22 Northumberland Avenue, READING, Berks, RG2 7PW, UK. Subs 6/£1 UK, 5/£1 Europe, 4/£1 elsewhere (US fans may send $ equivalent to agents Mary & Bill Burns, 48 Lou Ave, Kings Park, NY 11754). Mailing label (with your sub status) by Keith Freeman; 'Starfan' strip by, as usual, Rob Hansen....
CHECKPOINT/ANSIBLE FAN POLL RESULTS (1980-1981)
38 people voted in this tenth annual British fan poll: – A. Akien, M. Ashley, J. Barker, H. Bell, G. Boswell, S. Brown, B. Day, M. Dickinson, B. Earp, M. Edwards, C. Evans, A. Ferguson, M. Ford, A. Frost, W. Goodall, R. Hansen, S. Higgins, C. Hughes, P. James, R. Kaveney, H. Langford, C. Lewis, E. Lindsay, P. Lyon, P. Mabey, H. McNabb, J. Nicholas, S. Ounsley, P. Palmer, R. Palmer, G. Pickersgill, P. Pinto, A. Richards, D. Rogers, J. Shire, C. Simsa, K. Smith. Thanks.
Best British Fanzine: 29 titles plus 'No Award' nominated; 5 points for 1st-place vote, 4 for 2nd, etc. (this system also used for writer & artist); ANSIBLE ineligible; last year's placings in brackets; a few changes this year....
1) TWLL-DDU (80 pts) (1st) ed. me, address as above; 50p or the usual; two issues in 1980-81. Funnyish personalzine. 2) SECOND-HAND WAVE (48 pts)(-) ed. Alan Ferguson & Trev Briggs, 6 Hoecroft Court, How Lane, Enfield, Middlesex; £10/$20 or polite request; 4 issues in 1980-81. Wildly variable and eccentric genzine; much good artwork. 3) NEW RIVER BLUES (27 pts)(-) ed. Abi Frost & Roz Kaveney; address correspondence to Abi at 69 Robin Hood Gdns, Cotton St, London E.14; usual or 20p; two issues in 1980-81. Unpredictable joint personalzine; superliterate; get it. 4) NO AWARD (20pts)(=10th) Goshwowboyohboy! =5) NABU (19pts)(=10th) ed. Ian & Janice Maule, 5 Beaconsfield Rd, New Malden, Surrey KT3 3HY; usual; two issues in 1980-81. Solid genzine with some fine contributors. =5) OCELOT (19pts)(9th) ed. Graham James, 12 Fearnville Tce, Oakwood, Leeds LS8 3DU, & Simon Ounsley, 13a Cardigan Rd, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3AE; usual; 2 issues in 1980-81. Enjoyably fannish with much Leeds-centered scurrility. OTHERS WITH 5+pts: Arena (18); Amanita & Matrix (13); Napalm in the Morning (12); Twentythird (8); In Defiance of Medical Opinion & Out of the Blue (7); Dead Hedgehog, Fantasmagoria/Rule 42 & Self Abused But Still Standing (6).
Best British Fanwriter: 31 nominations plus 'No Award'. 1) DAVE LANGFORD (100pts) (1st); 2) NO AWARD (25pts)(-); 3) JOSEPH NICHOLAS (23pts)(7th); 4) CHRIS PRIEST (21pts)(4th); =5) SIMON OUNSLEY (19pts)(-) & D. WEST (19pts)(2nd). ALSO: Kevin Smith (18); Michael Ashley (12); Dave Bridges, John Clute & Roz Kaveney (9); John Collick, Alan Dorey, Chris Evans & Bob Shaw (8); Rob Holdstock (8).
Best British Fanartist: 16 nominations plus 'No Award'. 1) PETE LYON (111pts)(-); 2) JIM BARKER (61pts)(1st); 3) D. WEST (59pts)(4th); 4) JOHN COLLICK (32pts)(5th); 5) ROB HANSEN (27pts)(3rd). ALSO: Harry Bell (13); Alan Hunter (1); Arthur Thomson/'Atom' (10).
Best Single Issue: 28 items nominated plus 'No Award'. =1) NABU 10 (Ian & Janice Maule) & Twll-Ddu 19 (me) (4 votes); =3) Ocelot 4 (Graham James & Simon Ounsley), 'No Award', Starfan (Rob Hansen), The Tinned Milk of Human Kindness 1 (Michael Ashley) & Twll-Ddu 18 (all 3 votes); 8) One Dead Hedgehog (Jim Barker) (2 votes). NB: an issue of Second-Hand Wave would probably have been placed had I not had to disallow unqualified votes for 'SHW 42' ... since all four eligible issues have that number. Sorry!
Best Article/Column: 32 items nominated plus 'No Award'. =1) 'How to Write Like Joseph Nicholas' (Kevin Smith/Dot 9) & 'Transatlantic Hearing Aid I' (me/TD19) (5 votes); =3) 'No Award' & 'Symbolism & the 10:10 from the Hearthrug' (Chris Priest/Nabu 10) (4 votes); =5) 'Captive with a Glass Hand' (Jim Barker/One Dead Hedgehog), 'The End of the Dream' (Joe Nicholas/Napalm 3), 'Life on Mars' (Simon Ounsley/Matrix), 'Vive la Revolucion' (Chris Evans/Nabu 10) (all 2 votes). NB: Votes for D. West's 'Ah, Sweet Arrogance' and my 'Mouse of Usher' were disallowed since these articles were eligible (and placed) in the previous poll.
Best Fanzine Cover: 27 items nominated plus 'No Award'. 1) Pete Lyon/Matrix 34 (11 votes); =2) John MacFarlane/Vector 101, No Award, D. West/Matrix 32 (4 votes); =5) Pete Lyon/SHW pre-Xmas '80, Taral/TD18 (3 votes); =7) 'Atom'/Scottishe 80, Phil James/Nabu 10, Pete Lyon/SHW Easter '81, D. West/Ocelot 4 (all 2 votes). NB: maybe I should have disallowed that foreigner Taral, but there again maybe not.
Worst Thing Of 1980-81: 63 nominations, but not 'No Award'. 1) Ken Mann (6 votes); 2) Bob (Glasgow) Shaw (4 votes); =3) The Albacon Report, The Aftermath of Albacon, Joseph Nicholas & Greg Pickersgill (all 3 votes); =7) Matrix 32 cover, Polycon II, Gross Encounters, The GUFF Race, Ian Watson's politicization of Yorcon II, 'Dirty But Nice' (Yorcon II band), Jessica Watson & the GPO (all 2 votes).
OTHER AWARDS AND THINGS LIKE THAT
Nebulas: Novel Timescape (Benford), Novella 'The Unicorn Tapestry' (Suzy McKee Charnas), Novelette 'The Ugly Chickens' (Howard Waldrop), Short 'Grotto of the Dancing Deer' (Simak), Grandmaster Fritz Leiber. Also 'Pierre Barbet' (Claude Avice) became SFWA Eurorep, with Ian Watson as UK sub-man (or something like that). Voting was not conducted according to the rules; I complained about not getting to vote on the preliminary ballot, and as a reward did not receive the final ballot. Stomp 'em for me, Ian!
BSFA Awards: Novel Timescape, Short 'The Brave Little Toaster' (Disch), Media Hitch-Hiker's Guide (2nd radio series), Artist Peter Jones. With a track record like this, you'd thinkTimescape had a good chance at the Hugo, eh? Well –
Hugo Nominations: voting spread given in brackets. NOVEL (73-135) Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (Pohl), Lord Valentine's Castle (Silverberg), Ringworld Engineers (Niven), The Snow Queen (Vinge), Wizard (Varley).
NOVELLA (37-66): 'All the Lies That Are My Life' (Ellison)/F&SF), 'The Brave Little Toaster' (Disch/F&SF), 'Lost Dorsai' (Dickson/Destinies), 'Nightflyers' (George RR Martin/Analog), 'One-Wing' (Martin & Tuttle/Analog).
NOVELETTE (25-42) 'The Autopsy' (Michael Shea/F&SF), 'Beatnik Bayou' (Varley/New Voices), 'Cloak & Staff' (Dickson/Analog), 'The Lordly Ones' (Keith Roberts/F&SF), 'Savage Planet' (Barry Bongyear/Analog), 'The Ugly Chickens' (Howard Waldrop/Universe 10).
SHORT (16-33) 'Cold Hands' (Jeff Duntemann/IASFM), 'Grotto of the Dancing Deer' (Simak/Analog), 'Guardian' (Duntemann/IASFM), 'Our Lady of the Sauropods' (Silverberg/Omni), 'Spidersong' (Susan C Petrey/F&SF).
NONFICTION (13-59) Cosmos (Sagan), DiFate's Catalog of SF Hardware, Dream Makers (Platt), In Joy Still Felt (Asimov), Warhoon 28 (Willis ed. Bergeron). [Committee leak: it was not the fanzine Warhoon – vote for it! – which got the mere 13 nominations.]
EDITOR (66-152) Baen, Carr, Ferman, Schmidt, Scithers.
ARTIST (45-71) diFate, Fabian, Lehr, Maitz, Whelan.
FANZINE (34-80) File 770, Locus, SF Chronicle, SF Review, Starship.
FANWRITER (20-34) Geis, Glyer, Hlavaty, Langford, Susan Wood.
FANARTIST (21-47) Gilliland, Hanke-Woods, Poyser, Rotsler, Shiffman.
DRAMATIC: Cosmos, The Empire Strikes Back, Flash Gordon, The Lathe of Heaven, The Martian Chronicles. (40-224)
Footnote: Ringworld Engineers appeared in 1979 but was held back for the 1980 Hugos to give people a chance to read it. Superman II was released in Australia etc. in 1980 but is being held over till next year so Americans can see it. But when a book comes out in England the year before it comes out in America ... somehow this courtesy is not extended.
Other Awards: JOHN W CAMPBELL AWARD (best new writer) (13-49) Kevin Christensen, Diane Duane, Robert L Forward, Susan C Petrey, Robert Stallman, Somtow Sucharitkul. DOC WEIR AWARD (for general niceness in Britfandom): John Brunner, who wants all fans to know he's 'amazed and delighted'. JB also got a 'bronze Porgie Award' for his Players at the Game of People. THE CARNEGIE MEDAL (children's books) went to Peter Dickinson's City of Gold (Gollancz), this factoid noted down between swigs of free wine when I accidentally crashed the presentation ceremony on May 29 (ho ho)....
YORCON II: 32nd BRITISH EASTERCON
I have instructions from no less a person than Graham James to say this was a really ace convention: certainly I enjoyed it, and was sufficiently impressed with three of the talks to seek Drilkjis reprint rights from Tom Disch (GoH), Bob Shaw and Ian Watson (GoH). Only got Ian's, though. Now over to a more self-confessedly impartial reporter....
Kevin Smith: It's strange, the impression I had right from Albacon that the Yorcon II committee was that bit more relaxed than for Yorcon I, that bit more slack, that bit more inclined to think it had done it before and could cope with everything again without effort. There were few real signs – PRs, though better arranged than Albacon's, were nonetheless a little late, for example, but little else. Perhaps it was talking to some of the committee members on frequent occasions through the year that did it. And that impression, it seemed, was exactly right. When I arrived on Friday afternoon the bars were closed; arrangements obviously hadn't been properly made with the hotel. Then the fanroom bar opened and a horde of thirsty fans began queueing up for it. It remained the only open bar for some time and effectively destroyed FGoH Dave Langford's talk (on scientific fallacies) in the fan room.... Saturday dragged by a bit, even in the fan room where panels on the BSFA and fanzines failed to sparkle (yes, they were the panels I was on). No-one got properly worked up into the fannish spirit, although the Channelcon room party was pretty damned good with a remarkably low number of cretins and a high percentage of good old boys. But Sunday livened up. Jim Barker found a cartoon of his in the News of the World and instantly bought ten copies, pinning one to a convenient notice board. The fanroom began to hum with the Austral Leauge hour (starring Chris Priest and Lisa Tuttle reading out the latest discoveries of the JLAS – and pretty shocking they were too – Pat and Graham Charnock singing Austral Leauge songs and D. West performing with the Austral Pole), the Trufan Factor (in which Dave Langford downed a pint marginally faster than John Harvey to win the playoff for first place, Stu Shiffman [TAFF delegate] overcame natural American reticence for third place and Ian Williams achieved last place after strenuously avoiding effort), and, of course, 'Sex Pirates of the Blood Asteroid', a stirring tale of the galactic archfiend Nivek with words by Dave Langford and slides by John Collick. All of it was really triffic. In the con hall Ian Watson politicized the convention by demanding, and getting, a vote on unilateral disarmament: the con proved to be pacifist – or those members in the con hall were, anyway. The fascists, apathetics and drunks were too busy watching potential Trufans doing press-ups. Andrew Stephenson was very upset by all this, but when he protested the validity of the vote he was suppressed by panel chairman Graham James. Thus does politics contaminate all.... But Sunday was a good day. Monday was the last day of the con, and you know what those are like. Everyone sitting around dazed, the drivers more miserable than most, unable to cure their hangovers with hair of the dog, and everyone thinking 'Pretty fair!' in a slow sort of way. So once again, an Eastercon defied the efforts of the committee and gave everyone a good time.
AT THE NEBULA CEREMONY: MARTIN WORSE WOOSTER
... I now fully understand and agree with Chris Priest's reasons for quitting SFWA; the relentless peacock-strutting of the obscure and not so obscure was more than I could take. (Worst example of flamboyance was Phil Foglio in a tuxedo, complete with spats.) The high point of the evening was the presentation of the featured speakers. Norman Spinrad had decided that the keypoint of this year's Nebula banquet was to be sf's respectability in the mundane world, and to that end he had asked Mark Chartrand of the National Space Institute, Marvin Minsky of MIT, and Barbara Marx Hubbard of the Institute for the Future to reassure the anxious audience that sf was ok by the real world.
'This,' Hubbard said, 'is only the second event of this sort I've attended. The first was a Star Trek convention.' (Groans from the crowd) 'You mean Gene Roddenberry isn't an sf writer?' (Sound of 500 pairs of teeth clamping tightly against one another) 'Well, in any case, I was in this room with Majel Barrett and she had an astronaut's suit with her. I've always wanted to find out how, um, astronauts were built, uh, down there. So Majel and I found this flap and we unzipped it ... and that was my first close encounter with sf.' Hubbard spoke on 'The Normalization of the Miraculous': we were all living in a horrific process known as 'super-exponential speed-up' whereby every event would happen faster and faster. As a result, we would all become supermen. 'New laws of nature,' said Hubbard, 'are being invented every day!' The high-point of all this was that we would all discover cosmic consciousness; Rev. Jerry Falwell was right when he predicted 'something wonderful would be coming.' The first sign of the New Jerusalem would be the first baby born in space....
At this point about 50 people in the audience, steeled against the naked and quivering sensawunda that lectured on the stage, fled into the hall. Somtow Sucharitkul was passing round a cartoon showing a crucified Jesus blasting out into the beyond on a cross-shaped rocket, another exciting issue of Eucharistic Stories of Super-Science. Then came Harlan Ellison, his retinue clustered around him as if they were the Secret Service. Inspired, he pointed a finger towards the ceiling and into Infinity. 'Jaysus,' said Rev. Harlan, 'is comin'! He's goin' to change all of your chromosomes' ... Also overheard at the Nebulas: Famed trade-paper publisher Andrew Porter was carrying the current Ansible [#17] and showing it to Alex Berman, Hero Lawyer of SFWA. Porter points to the item about Bova and Windhaven. 'How can he get away with printing such gossip?' said the former fanzine publisher. 'Well, he's in England, and in England they can print whatever they want,' said Berman.
I've been trying to find out the truth behind the Sagan rumours for you. The best and most reliable report I can give: 1) The novel was not written by Carl Sagan but by Ann Druyan, who supplied the mysticism in the series Cosmos; 2) Rumour has it that Druyan submitted the story as a series of novelets to Asimov's, all bounced; 3) About the suit: seems no papers have as yet been filed, but up to 6 writers are involved, definitely including Heinlein and Spinrad. The first item has been confirmed, the second has not, the third has all the facts I have....
Meanwhile, A Letter From Brian Aldiss: 'I opened my Times to find a headline reading SAGAN IN PLAGIARISM CASE. What a coincidence, I thought. But this coincidence was greater than I thought: this Sagan was Carl's sister, Francoise, of Paris, France. They're both at it!'
[[I understand that all these contemporary allegations about dear old Carl Sagan were very properly exploded when Contact finally appeared ... Dave 'Nervous' Langford, 1996]]
RETURN OF THE ANSIBLE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Chris Evans on Yorcon: My most vivid memory of Yorcon II is of a drunken episode late on Sunday night. Earlier that day several people had been speculating on what male person at the convention they would most like to see fornicating with the most desirable female attendee, and £25 had been raised in the hope of enticing the two favourite choices to perform. (Send cheques for £5, payable to the FIS [Friends in Space], if you want the names.) This project, alas, did not come to fruition, so Greg Pickersgill (to whom the above cheques should be sent) decided that the evening would be livened up by a series of games in the fan room (I use the word 'room' loosely).
Now when he wants to be, Greg is an extremely charismatic person, and within minutes he had the assembled audience in the palm of his hand as he explained what would be required of them. First there would be piggy-back fighting, followed by a session of British Bulldog. Now by coincidence, most of Greg's friends were gathered on one side of the room, with a group of younger fans on the other. With a sweep of his arm, Greg declared that his team would be known as the 'Heroes' and the others as the 'Cunts'. What surprised me was that the younger fans seemed delighted by their appellation, waving their arms and legs and gleefully proclaiming, 'We are the Cunts! We are the Cunts!' So strong was Greg's personal magnetism at that moment, I suspect that if he had asked them to drop their trousers and pee in one another's ears, they would have done so.
I didn't manage to participate much in the actual games myself, collapsing on the floor after a brief and vain attempt to support Greg on my shoulders, my heart pounding so violently that as I lay there I promised myself that I'd give up booze and cigarettes forever only don't let me die. Eventually I managed to crawl to a chair and was a spectator for the rest of the evening, which was just as well, for I don't think I would have managed to survive the violence which ensued. Flurries of arms and legs quickly gave way to piles of bodies on the floor. Greg's team were not doing as well as he had hoped, despite his continual modifications of the rules in an effort to redress the balance. Then he changed the game entirely.
British Bulldog began, with Greg the man in the middle, striving to stop the hordes of bodies who rushed past him. Each person he stopped would in turn help him to stop others. In this role, Greg combined the best attributes of Norman Hunter, Nobby Stiles and Attila the Hun. Gradually the stoppers came to outnumber the runners, but nevertheless Rob Holdstock continued to surge through the defensive line to safety like some latter-day Hercules, effortlessly shrugging off the fifty or so people who were trying to stop him by clinging to every available inch of his body.
My final image is of Harry Bell lying on the floor in the arms of some person unknown to me. Everyone else had retired from the fray by now, but Harry and this person continued to writhe and roll on the floor for at least ten minutes, glaring intently into one another's eyes as if the fate of the world depended on the outcome of their duel. What was doubly odd was that their spasmodic bouts of movement were interspersed with long periods when they seemed to be just holding one another, sometimes poking out their tongues, sometimes looking as if they were about to kiss. At this point I remember dimly thinking that we were all grown men of above average intelligence. There was some moral to be grasped here, some profound insight into human behaviour. Then I noticed that my pint glass was empty. Knowing that I would need liquid refreshment if I was to grasp the full significance of my realization, I went off to the bar. That's the last thing I remember. (Chris Evans)
Jim Barker on The Channelcon Fan Room: Basically, what I want to do is put on a display with the theme 'The Fannish Year: Eastercon to Eastercon'. This would cover as many events as possible occurring between Yorcon and Channelcon which would be of fannish interest ... cons, parties, outings, births, marriages, the lot. This would be broken down on a month to month basis, giving everything at least a mention and (at best) providing written reports and photographic coverage of major events. Obviously this is a large undertaking, and since I'm stuck away up here in the land of instant porridge and ten gallon kilts I'm looking for help.... I'm looking for volunteers to write reports on the various conventions being held in Britain throughout the year. Ideally, these should be kept to one A4 side and not be published elsewhere. And if you're planning to take photographs, can I borrow some prints for display purposes? These will be returned. These requests also apply to things like 10th Anniversary Parties, Anglo/American marriages and suchlike.... If you think you can be of help, please contact me at the address below. If you see any snippets concerning SF fans, or silly stories about SF in general, in the national or regional press – could you send me a cutting? I particularly want the 'Way Out Sci Fi Guys' type of story, and unlikely stories concerning people with names not dissimilar to well-known SF fans. If you or your fan group publish a fanzine, please send me a copy or make sure a committee member gets one: just like the British Library, I'd like to display a copy of every zine published in Britain during the period. There is also a possibility that we'll be producing a Fanzine Index for 1981-82, and we'd like it as complete as possible.
I have various bits and pieces of the fan programme in the works, but I'm always on the lookout for comments, criticisms, suggestions. Is there anything from recent cons you'd like to see repeated or avoided? Again, please get in touch. Volunteers to participate in programme items will be looked on with great favour. If you can help with any of the above, please contact me at 113 Windsor Rd, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Central Scotland, FK1 5DB. Telephone 0324-24959 (office hours) or 0324-35452 (after six). (Jim Barker)
Duncan Lunan on Paul Barnett on Bob (Glasgow) Shaw on Duncan Lunan: It's very nice of Paul Barnett to come to my defence [A17] but he has the key facts wrong. My problems with 'Glasgow' Bob Shaw go back not to last year but to six years ago, and his campaign against me is still intensifying.... Bob wrote to me in 1973 and subsequently joined ASTRA. His first spoken words to me were 'I'm Bob Shaw, I'm going to illustrate your next book.' Having established that he couldn't compete with Ed Buckley he made a determined effort to oust Gavin Roberts, all to no purpose since even if I had thought Bob's work was better, Ed, Gavin and I already had a signed agreement.... Over the next three years Bob became increasingly critical of my research into Contact with Other Intelligence, disrupting discussions with filibustering and abuse. Eventually there was a showdown in which he announced to the society that he would disrupt any further meetings at which the subject came up. A full third of the membership then gave me an ultimatum that the rows must cease or they would leave.... I resigned the Vice-Presidency and left. Strangely enough, the rows continued and the President found he was now the target – exit Bob. Technically his renewal of subscription for that year was not accepted.... I then rejoined and stood for Treasurer next year, President the year after that. Bob's attacks on me from outside ASTRA have continued without letup.... 'Rockcon Progress Report' has been mailed out to a lot of people who know me.... To anyone reading it: Bob's accounts of ASTRA and me can be judged by his statement that he left voluntarily. He was thrown out, in my absence, by unanimous vote of members who could stand no more of it, and that gives an idea how much of the rest can be believed. (Duncan Lunan)
D. West on Yorcon: A few cloudy memories and impressions. At some point – probably Friday – I picked up Ann's trick of putting an inch of Coke in the glass and then diluting it with rum. This is undoubtedly the correct way to drink such a mixture, but it does have a tendency to lead to a certain level of confusion. Complete strangers kept addressing me with great familiarity, as if they knew me. Am I really famous, or was it just the usual brain damage? Sigh.
Arrival. Talking to Garry and Annette Kilworth I was suddenly seized by nymphet Jessica Watson, who screamed 'Daddy! Daddy!' in piercing tones, thus creating doubt and uncertainty in the minds of all those who had thought she was the GoH's daughter. 'Don't tell everybody,' I hissed agitatedly, but to little avail. (I now wish to take this opportunity to state categorically that there is absolutely no truth etc.) A child of limited ideas but much persistence, the Watson brat molested several other men in similar fashion, but hurriedly abandoned G. Pickersgill when admonished in a curt bellow to 'Get the fuck out of it.'
'What do you think of the Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
I kept an eye open for Scottish fans wearing See Leeds And Die badges (as promised by Fake Bob Shaw) but none were in evidence. (I was hoping to catch the moment when they worked.) However, one body was brought back to the hotel by the Police, who apparently instinctively knew that anybody found lying in a City Centre gutter clutching a half-empty bottle of Southern Comfort must belong to the convention.
'What do you think of the Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
The Fake Bob Shaw seemed unusually quiet on the occasions he was sighted, though I understand he became much more animated when informed that neither the Yorcon committee nor anyone else gave much of a fuck about the momentous decisions made at the Albacon Business Meeting (conveniently held on the Easter Monday afternoon, after all the poncy Southerners had cleared off home) concerning the future of all Eastercons till the end of time. 
'What do you think of the Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
Rampant as ever, Famous Berserk Author Chris Carlsen was lustfully eyeing everything which showed promise of being hot, hollow and reasonably receptive. 'I wish she'd sit down,' he panted, 'then I'd go over and say, "Kate, open your mouth," and – ' Groaning deeply and scattering large droplets of moisture he bounded away in search of further objects of lewdness.
'What do you think of the Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
The Fancy Dress remained inaccessible and unseen behind walls of quivering and craning bodies. In any case, more interesting were the rather ambiguous black-clad persons with boots, belts, daggers and rayguns who paraded and posed in the bar. Such dedicated narcissism seemed worthy of admiration. Also, as one who believes in recycling, I approved of the way in which much of their intricate webbing had been cunningly fabricated out of old bra straps.
'What do you think of the Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
BSFA Head Waiter Alan Dorey was a stunning sight in full evening dress. I asked him if his bow tie was of the sort which lights up or revolves propellor-fashion. 'I shall hit the next person who says that,' he rasped through gritted jaws.
'What do you think of the Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
Musical chairs: the lifts of the Dragonara seemed to have an irresistible fascination for simple lovers of furniture and song. Every now and then those in the bar would be disturbed by the opening of lift doors to reveal a banked choir of twenty or so perched on two or three sofas. Ragged but noisy harmonics concerning alleged aberrations of Alan Dorey and/or Isaac Astral would burst forth, then the doors would close. Five minutes later, the same performance (or something slightly more obscene) would be repeated by the same choir from the other lift. 
'What do you think of the Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
Sunday night saw scenes of appalling savagery organized by G. Pickersgill, whose machismo (which had been showing signs of breaking out all weekend) finally got loose entirely. 'British Bulldog' seems to consist of two groups of deranged persons charging at each other from opposite sides of the room and hitting, kicking, twisting, throttling, gouging and generally molesting each other. Those who survive can probably be regarded as winners. (There is some other purpose, but when asked to explain next day Harry Bell merely groaned.) Despite frequent Pickersgillian screams of reproof and command, team discipline was not entirely perfect. I was sitting in a safe corner, marvelling at Man's Inhumanity to Man, when an obvious loser was ejected from the fray. Sobbing for breath (having just been kicked in the gut, kneed in the balls, elbowed in the throat and generally pummelled, thumped and trampled), he painfully hoisted himself upright and cast a piteous glance of reproach and betrayal back to the violently convulsed heap of bodies rolling and crashing on the carpet. 'I don't understand this,' he whimpered, his lip trembling. 'They're not doing it right; they seem to have forgotten all the rules.'
'Fucking hell, West, what do you think of the fucking Fan Room?' asked John Collick.
Oh, not bad. Mind you, I remember back in 19.... (D. West)
Your Editor Annotates: First, a couple of footnotes to D's bit.  This refers to the revived notion of an 'Eastercon Charter', something which – if desirable at all – I'd rather see in less formal guise ('Traditional Guidelines' etc.). It had been proposed several times in the past yet never put into practice, possibly owing to the major stumbling block of its unenforceability. Comments would be very welcome: maybe we can try to ignore the minor stumbling block, which is that a lot of fans distrust anything looked on with favour by the Scottish Bob Shaw. (Sorry, Bob!) Probably it would be enough to revive the tradition of a post-con report to be produced cheaply, as soon as possible after the con: the Albacon Report contains some useful data but is marred a little by Shavian paranoia (e.g. 'the downright hostility of the BSFA' is roughly translatable as 'Bob Shaw and Alan Dorey don't much like each other') – and a lot by its omission of the figures most useful to the next convention (such usefulness being the supposed raison d'etre of the report), e.g. breakdown of income, numbers of registrations received at times through the year, final supporting and attendance figures....
 Ah, those lift parties. I am still trying to forget the lift trip during which Kevin Clark – conducting his choir from the top of an inexplicable stepladder – switched from a ditty about Alan Dorey and some penguins to a rousing chorus of 'Bob Shaw is Dave La-a-angford / Dave Langford is Bob Shaw....'
Other con memories. There was the Collick Omen early on Thursday morning, when (according to him) he unzipped his fly and at once his Yorcon badge fell into the toilet. There was Ian Williams showing his Pickersgill Wedding photos and inviting unwary neofans to 'spot the transsexual' in one nicely-posed threesome: one-third picked Kate Jeary, one-third Roz Kaveney and one-third Lisa Tuttle. Try Our Futuristic Cocktails, it said over the hotel bar. GALACTICA SPACE-WALKER Pernod/Parfait Amour: £1.60. EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL ENERGIZER Blue Curacao/Grenadine/Lemonade: £1.20. No prizes for guessing there'd been a Trekcon there the week before. In no time at all the notice vanished in a wave of fannish revulsion, though Roz Kaveney thought Someone Should At Least Try One Of Them.
MIKE DICKINSON, 111 Potternewton Lane, Leeds LS7 3LW / GRAHAM ENGLAND c/o M. Koch, Steinstr. 7, D-2800 Bremen 1, West Germany / PAUL HURTLEY, 67 Derbyshire, Derby, CT 06418 USA / PAUL KINCAID, 114 Guildhall St, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1ES / DAVE MONTGOMERY, 2 Holkarn Close, Kentwood Close, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks, RG3 6BZ / DAVID ROW, 143 Porter Rd, Brighton Hill, Basingstoke, Hants, RG22 4JT. (One of these isn't new: sorry again about that, Mike....)
Channelcon (April 9-12 1982) is the next Eastercon. Metropole Hotel, Brighton, £16+VAT/person/night for rooms (inc breakfast); £3 supp/£6 att (£1 off for presupporters) to 4 Fletcher Rd, Chiswick, London W4 5AY Cymrucon (14-15 Nov 1981); Central Hotel, Cardiff; rooms £13.50 single £20 dbl (inc breakfast, VAT); supp £2 att £5 to 129 City Rd, Cardiff Mediacon 82 (March 20 1982): Conway Hall, London (one day only); £1.50 supp to 45 Welby House, Hazelville Rd, London N19; profits to charity (Mediacon 80 gave £250 to MIND). Oops: £3 att. Worldcon 83: the Scandinavians did get in their bidding papers, though only after Denvention had prodded them with two letters and a telegram....
Helmdon Council Election: 2801 votes cast, 14 spoilt; Tattersall (Con) 1860, Ian Watson (Lab) 927. 'Not bad for a safe Tory seat,' Ian told our reporter, adding: 'The mob chose Barabbas.' Vonda McIntyre, we hear, wrote to Peter Nicholls saying her Encyclopaedia entry was sexist since it failed to mention Dreamsnake (actually published after the cutoff date), and anyway it was despicable that it should have been written by that well-known sexist J. Clute.... Dell (as you all know) have shut down their sf line; Berkley/Putnam are ceasing to publish sf hardbacks; even 'Timescape' Books have been under pressure from Simon & Schuster to halt. British publishing efficiency is exemplified by Futura, who've had Trouble With Tribbles on their stock list for 2 years yet keep telling Rog Peyton the book's Out of Stock. A raid on the warehouse disclosed no less than 5000 dusty copies imported years ago.... RIP: Robert Aickman, James Schmitz, Prof Francois Bordes ('Francois Carsac' – another of the generation of writers in France who created a whole body of the SF tradition which we in the Anglophone countries remain largely unacquainted with, says John Brunner.) Delphi: remember that predictive business in JB's Shockwave Rider, whereby you ask millions of people and take the average, or something like that? The Ministry of Defence are trying it, asking lots of experts such as authors of War in 2080 about future military hardware. Preliminary predictions include operational land-to-air energy beam weapons by 1993 (or 2007 for the UK)... Aldiss Again: 'I have an original book about to be published in a Third World country. Chopmen Enterprises of Singapore will soon bring out Foreign Bodies, a collection of short stories with Far East backgrounds written specially for the Singapore audience. I'm proud of this. Another Unprofitable Aldiss Venture....' Donaldson & Del Rey: Joe Nicholas wrote 'It's not that The One Tree is told in the first person that caused Del Rey to object to it; it's that its main protagonist is a woman.' Malcolm Edwards: 'The two reasons put forward for our Lester's displeasure should in fact be conflated – he was annoyed because it was written in the first person by a woman character. In heroic fantasy this is Not On, quoth Del Rey, who knows this to be true because he's never previously read one in which it was, and as we know innovation is death in genre fiction. My source for this is one Stephen Donaldson, whom I interviewed for Starburst when he was over here last year. The reason you haven't read the interview in Starburst is that it was so tedious that I couldn't bring myself to transcribe it. What a fascinating man.... Another Interesting Fact I learnt about Donaldson is that his stylistic influences – which should be readily apparent, he said, from an examination of his work – are Conrad, Henry James and Faulkner. You remember all those Conrad fantasy trilogies (Lord Jim & His Magic Sword?).... The Priest/Tuttle matrimonial extravaganza [28 April] went off without a hitch (aside from the obvious one), apart from the registrar's inability to pronounce Lisa's middle name. Chris's awful secret (his middle name is McKenzie) was also revealed to a fascinated world....' Non-COA: although Chris and Lisa are living in Devon the Priest/Harrow address still holds and is visited monthly.... Erratum for 'Folestone' read 'Folkestone' last page.... Dupers For Poland raised £90.94p at Yorcon II (now passed to the TUC Solidarity Assistance Fund ...) and thanks are due to Brian Aldiss, John Brunner, Reg Palmer and lots of others (Abi Frost). The Faan Awards (remember them?) appear to be in limbo: though reformed along the enlightened lines of the C/A poll (see p.1) they've got no further, parly through committee apathy and partly because Mike Glicksohn – who did most of the actual work – has had to step down as Teller.... RIP: Kit Pedler... TAFF rolls along, with some £120 raised during and after Yorcon II, and three 1982 candidates declared: Alan Dorey, Kevin Smith and (surprise surprise) Greg Pickersgill. More in Taff Talk 8 and the official ballot, next issue.... In The Great Tradition Of Tolkien: a Bookseller ad for some future-war book goes 'You sold World War III; You sold War in 2080; NOW SELL THE FACTS...' Well, well. Meanwhile, buy Facts & Fallacies (Webb & Bower £5.95) and help me and Chris Morgan become capitalists... Film News: 'Ridley Scott is directing Blade Runner, from a Phil Dick detective novel (no, I don't know which one, and nor do the guys I spoke to at Warner-Columbia). Harrison Ford is leaving his Star Wars persona on ice to play the film's lead character, a private eye in the not-too-distant future.' (Steve Green – who wants data for his BSFA clubs column) Dark They Were & Golden-Eyed bookshop is being sold to Marvel (Cadence Industries Inc), rumours Peter Pinto, who also offers a SE LONDON SF GROUP: Southern Stars pub, New Cross Rd (A2): R out of New Cross tube station, L at main road & 3 min walk; 3rd Tuesday of month; ring 01-691-2792 for details.... Ladies & Jurgen at the Gate Theatre is/was 'an ingenious – and most excellently done – amalgam of Jurgen and other Cabell works ... a British first' (George Hay): Cabell fandom (22 Northumberland Ave branch) salutes the Gate theatre.... L. Ron Hubbard has a 'massive' sf novel due out within the year in the US, and has written the script for an upcoming sf film (gosh).... Best Dialogue Award: a poster in Forbidden Planet bookshop depicts a noted skiffy author with speech-balloon: 'Hi! I'm J.G. Ballard! I'll be signing copies of my new book Hello America here on June 6... etc.' The sense of wonder reels.... Censors Strike: (1) the World Fantasy Con wants to ban unicorns from its artshow because they're commercialized (good reason for banning SF, at that); (2) the Norwescon artshow refused for a long while to hang GoH Rowena Morrill's painting because it was all sexist and would corrupt innocent fans (ie. it depicted a naked lady).... Worst Thing 1980-81: a bonus point to the GPO for delivering 5 ballots too late for inclusion. Other late mail impels me to issue the Statement that sayings ascribed to me in Dot 10 are wholly the invention of K. Smith: personally I thought this was self-evident, but Ocelot's credulity knows no bounds.... (3-6-81)
Hazel's Language Lessons
Number Ten: Yoruba
konko the sound of a knock on the back of the hand with the shell of the snail.
ANSIBLE 18: from 22 Northumberland
Avenue, READING, Berks, RG2 7PW, UK