Ansible 259, February 2009
From Dave Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU. Web news.ansible.co.uk. Fax 0705 080 1534. ISSN 0265-9816 (print) 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Brad Foster, 2008. Available for SAE, gruff, deedle or wobbly.
The Ring of Worlds
Neil Gaiman won the American Library Association's Newbery Medal – the top US children's literature award – for The Graveyard Book.
Maxim Jakubowski's specialist crime-fiction shop Murder One – in Charing Cross Road, London – closed at the end of January after nearly 21 years. Amazon and its ilk are blamed. (BBC) The earlier incarnation just across the road included New Worlds, Andy Richards's sf basement.
Warren Lapine, now mostly recovered from the collapse of DNA Publications a couple of years ago, has set up a new genre publishing company: Tir Na Nog Press. This will relaunch DNA's Fantastic Stories as a quarterly magazine edited by Lapine himself – first issue to be released in September but dated January 2010. (SFscope, 22 January) Outstanding DNA subscriptions should be transferred to Fantastic.
Terry Pratchett apologized for resorting to a circular-email response when knighthood congratulations swelled into a 'Tsunami of mail from more or less everybody. / Apart from a continuing feeling that it isn't really happening, there's not an awful lot that I can say about the K. It's all happened in that curious and subtle way in which these things happen. I am rather upset that I won't be allowed to wear a sword in public, but it does turn out that I am now married to an official Lady. And, more seriously, I am pleased that this has gone to a fantasy author; it's not a genre that is usually in the frame for these kinds of things. / Lots of people are asking whether I will now be "Sir Terence Pratchett" on my books. This is not going to happen. Custom and practice seems to be that writers just go on writing with the same name. / I did contemplate briefly the idea of buying an old nag that could spend its retiring years in our fields so I could be a genuine Knight with a horse, until I was told how much the farrier bills are! It turns out Jimmy Choo is in the wrong business!' (6 January)
Charles Stross lurks on the bookshelf of the UK Tory leader, according to a 13 January Guardian analysis of books visible in the background of a David Cameron photo. But our Charlie reckons that the Saturn's Children in question isn't his novel but a book on ... politics.
Lisa Tuttle achieved undying fame as the answer to clue number 5 down ('Author of the novels Panther in Argyll and Lost Futures') in thelondonpaper's General Knowledge crossword on 16 January. [RR]
Gordon Van Gelder adds a bit more about the F&SF magazine schedule change: 'For 2009, we've got the Jan., Feb., and March issues. / Then the switch will occur and we'll have April/May, June/July, and Aug./Sept issues before the jumbo Oct/Nov anniversary issue. / You might be amused to note that Ed Ferman talked about making this switch to bimonthly issues at least ten years ago.' (3 January)
6-8 Feb AXXIdental (filk), Ramada Grantham Hotel, Grantham. £32 (39) reg, £16 under-18s/supp/unwaged, £1 kids under 6. Contact 15 St Catherine's Cross, Bletchingley, Surrey, RH1 4PX.
14-15 Feb Hi-Ex (comics), Eden Court, Bishop's Rd, Inverness, IV3 5SA. £16 reg, £10/day; kids £8/£5. Tickets from www.hi-ex.co.uk or box office: 01463 234 234. Contact hiex dot comics at gmail dot com.
20-21 Feb Frightfest (film) mini-event as part of the Glasgow Film Festival. Tickets now available: see www.frightfest.co.uk.
20-22 Feb Redemption 09, Britannia Hotel, Fairfax St, Coventry. Added GoH: Rob SHearman. £55 reg or £35/day; under-18s £15/£10. Advance booking closes 6 February. At the door: £60 or £40/day; under-18s £15/£10. Contact 26 Kings Meadow View, Wetherby, LS22 7FX.
21-22 Feb Microcon, Devonshire House, University of Exeter. GoH Jasper Fforde, Pat Cadigan. SF society members free, other students £5, non-students £7 at the door. More TBA.
25 Feb BSFA Open Meeting, The Antelope, 22 Eaton Terrace, London, SW1W 8EZ. 5/6pm onward. With Nick Lowe.
28 Feb Picocon 26, Imperial College Union, London. 10am-7/8pm. £10 adult reg, £8 students – payment at the door only. Contact ICSF, Beit Quad, Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BB.
21 Mar God in the Lab (skeptics), Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL. 10:30am-4pm £10 at door; students £5.
26-29 Mar Eurocon 2009 (with Deepcon 10, Italcon 35), Fiuggi, Italy. 95 reg, but advance booking closes 3 February. See the website at www.euroconsf2009.it for accommodation packages and discounts for host club members. Contact eurocon at euroconsf2009 dot it.
27-29 Mar P-Con VI, Central Hotel, Dublin. 30/£20 reg; 35 at door. Students 15. 10 supp. Contact c/o 6 Weston Ave,Lucan, Co Dublin, Ireland. Euro cheques to Peter McClean; sterling to 'Dave Lally #2 a/c', 64 Richbourne Terrace, London, SW8 1AX.
18-20 Sep Fantasycon, Britannia Hotel, 1 St James St, Nottingham. Guests TBA. £50 reg (BFS members £40) to 31 March; £60 (£50) to 30 June; £70 (£60) thereafter. £30 Sat only; banquet £35. Contact Beech House, Chapel Lane, Moulton, Cheshire CW9 8PQ.
24 Oct Gamesfest 4 (gaming/sf), Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Rd, Watford. £5.50 reg (TBC). Contact 07976629378.
13-15 Nov Novacon 39 has a new venue: The Park Inn, Mansfield Road, Nottingham. GoH Justina Robson. £38 reg until after Easter. Contact 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ.
5-7 Mar 10 P-Con VII, Central Hotel, Dublin (probably). GoH and other details to be announced at this year's P-Con VI – see above.
25-28 Mar 10 World Horror Convention, Brighton. Now £60 reg, or roughly $84/65. Contact PO Box 64317, London, NW6 9LL.
As Others See Us. 'Doctor Who ... has ... made sci-fi – once the domain of pizza-faced speccy boys and middle-aged men named Timothy who iron their socks and still live with their mum – acceptable, if not downright glamorous.' (Paul Connolly, Daily Mail, 10 January) [FS]
Awards. BSFA Awards shortlist. NOVEL Stephen Baxter, Flood; Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World; Ken MacLeod, The Night Sessions; Neal Stephenson, Anathem. SHORT Ted Chiang, 'Exhalation' (Eclipse 2); Greg Egan, 'Crystal Nights' (Interzone 215); Paul McAuley, 'Little Lost Robot' (IZ 217); M. Rickert, 'Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment' (F&SF 10/08). NON-FICTION John Clute, 'Physics for Amnesia'; Roz Kaveney, Superheroes!: Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films; Paul Kincaid, What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction; Farah Mendlesohn, Rhetorics of Fantasy. ARTWORK – all covers. Andy Bigwood, Subterfuge (ed. Ian Whates); Blacksheep, Flood (Stephen Baxter); Blacksheep, Swiftly (Adam Roberts), Vincent Chong, Murky Depths 4; Warwick Fraser Coombe, IZ 218.
Crawford for best first fantasy: Daryl Gregory, Pandemonium. [L]
Philip K. Dick nominees: Adam-Troy Castro, Emissaries from the Dead; Lou Anders, ed., Fast Forward 2; Karen Traviss, Judge; Jeff Carlson, Plague War; David Walton, Terminal Mind; K.A. Bedford, Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait. [GVG] An earlier release included Kristine Smith's Endgame, published in 2007 and ineligible – replaced by Plague War.
Dwarf Star for short-short sf poems of 10 or fewer lines: Greg Beatty, 'Place Mat by Moebius' (Asimov's 1/07).
Futurology Corner, 1976. 'The gassy waste of endless, thoughtless industrial processes had caused all this, he thought bitterly, trapping heat in the atmosphere and melting the ice caps. In the ensuing disaster, his kind had all but died out ...' (Michael Butterworth with Michael Moorcock, The Time of the Hawklords, 1976) [BA]
R.I.P. Lino Aldani (1926-2009), leading Italian sf writer since the 1960s, died on 31 January; he was 82. [L]
Randy Bathurst, US fan artist, has reportedly died. No further details. [AIP]
Ewan Chrystal (1952-2009), UK convention and animé fan who was a department head at the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon, died on 4 January. [EC/PT]
Pat Hingle (1924-2009), US actor who played Commissioner Gordon in the film Batman (1989) and its three sequels, died on 3 January aged 84. [AIP]
Patrick McGoohan (1928-2009), co-creator and star of the unforgettable cult tv series The Prisoner (1967-1968), died on 13 January. He was 80. [AW] McGoohan was also well known as John Drake in Danger Man (US Secret Agent), assumed by many fans to be the same character as The Prisoner's Number Six; further genre work included Scanners (1981) and Treasure Planet (voice, 2002).
Kim Manners (1951-2009), US tv producer/director of many episodes of The X-Files and Supernatural, died on 25 January; he was 58. He also worked on Automan and ST:TNG. [GW]
John Scott Martin (1926-2009), UK actor in over 110 episodes of Doctor Who – usually as the Chief Dalek seeking to exterminate the first five Doctors – died on 6 January aged 82. Other genre credits included Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and Monty Python's The Crimson Permanent Assurance (1983). [BB]
Bob May (1939-2009), US actor and stuntman who was inside – but did not voice –
Robbiethe Robot in Lost in Space (1965-1968), died on 18 January. He was 69. [SD]
Ricardo Montalban (1920-2009), Mexican-born actor best known to sf fans as Khan in Star Trek and the film The Wrath of Khan (1982), died on 14 January aged 88. Another famous part was Mr Roarke in tv's Fantasy Island (1978-1984). [DK]
Angela Morley (1924-2009), UK-born transsexual composer whose genre work included E.T. and the first two Star Wars films, and who as Wally Stott was musical director and band conductor of The Goon Show, died on 14 January; she was 84. [IC]
John Mortimer (1923-2009), UK author, playwright, barrister and much-loved public figure perhaps best known for creating Rumpole of the Bailey, died on 16 January aged 85. Genre link: his script work on The Innocents (1961), a film adaptation of The Turn of the Screw. [AW]
Ray Dennis Steckler (1938-2009), cult film director best known for The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1963) – to which he had recently completed a sequel – stopped living on 7 January. He was 70. [GW]
Charles H. Schneer (1920-2009), US producer whose 26 films included The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and most of Ray Harryhausen's other stop-motion animated features, died on 21 January. [DP]
Harry Turner (1920-2009), long-time UK fan and artist whose trademark impossible-object drawings appeared both as fanzine covers and in book form – Triad Optical Illusions and How to Design Them (Dover 1978, cut reissue as The Triad Optical Illusions Coloring Book 2006) – died on 11 January. [PT] He was 88, had been active in fandom since the 1930s, and kept his fan links until the end.
John Updike (1932-2009), highly respected US novelist, critic and poet whose first novel The Poorhouse Fair (1959) was sf and whose best-known fantasy is The Witches of Eastwick (1984, filmed 1987), died on 27 January; he was 76. Updike won two Pulitzers for novels.
Elda Wheeler (1961-2009), UK fan who was in the early-1980s 'Kent TruFandom' group and the UK women's APA, and attended conventions into the 21st century, died on 19 January aged 47. [MM]
As Others Synopsize Us. The Telegraph '100 Novels Everyone Should Read' list (17 January) begins in 100th and lowest place with 'Tolkein' and his 'tale of fantastic creatures looking for lost jewellery'.
Recession Gloom. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's parent company Education Media & Publishing Group, with debts of $6.7 billion, had its credit rating 'slashed': the outlook is grim. (Boston Globe, 1 February) [AIP]
Mad magazine is downsizing from monthly to quarterly publication. Its editor John Ficarra was quoted as saying, 'The feedback we've gotten from readers is that only every third issue of Mad is funny, so we've decided to just publish those.' [via AC] Another Internet casualty. Mad's owners, Warner Bros, have decreed 10% layoffs across the board – including DC Comics, where senior editor Bob Schreck got the chop.
Realms of Fantasy, 15 years old and approaching its 100th issue, will close after the April 2009 number owing to 'plummeting newsstand sales' (SFscope, 27 January) [JdV] This surprised editorial staff who had been planning a special Hallowe'en issue.
Starburst, following some schedule slippage (#364 was dated July 2008 and #365 October; #366 for November remains in limbo) has, according to the UK distributor, suspended publication 'for the foreseeable future'.
Sector General Lives! Heart-warming public safety news from a writer who worked on a UK patient information leaflet for oxygen, as supplied in cylinders to hospitals: the regulator insisted that he include the words 'Do not use if you are allergic to oxygen.' [PM]
Big Numbers. The Abebooks 'most expensive sales of 2008' report includes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at £8,320, a handwritten letter from Edward Lear at £7,425, Lord of the Flies at £5,992, Out of the Silent Planet at £5,136, the Stewart/Riddell Edge Chronicles set at £4,522, and Nineteen Eighty-Four at £4,387. Meanwhile I'm about to throw out heaps of printed Ansibles that no one wants even for free.
Bad Luck. Ellen Datlow, in London for her 30 January anthology launch, missed it – kept in hospital because a leg infection wasn't responding to antibiotics. [MP]
Tom Dietz, US sf author, had a heart attack on 18 January. [ML]
Tor Books and St Martin's Press will have to move from the NY Flatiron Building at some stage: its new Italian owners, the Sorgente Group, want to convert it to a luxury hotel. [AIP]
As Others See Us. Just for a change of pace, here's a good word from Richard Dawkins: 'The best of science fiction seems to me an important literary form in its own right, snobbishly underrated by some scholars of literature.' (Unweaving the Rainbow, 1999) [CM]
Outraged Letters. Judy Blish on geeky Presidents: 'Please note that Barack Obama claimed in an interview (17 Oct 2008) to have been sent from the planet Krypton by his father Jor-El. And still he won. Sense of wonder alive and well.'
Ramsey Campbell has sad news of his sister-in-law: 'Jenny's sister Penny died this morning after a heart attack. She also leaves her brother Chris. All three were A. Bertram Chandler's children. Her husband is Alan Bale, their sons are Tim and Robin. We all (and that includes our children and their partners) loved her very much.' (13 January)
Dave Hardy: 'Just flipping through the channels on my TV, I was stopped short by a large caption on the BBC News channel: DR WHORE GENERATES.' But then he re-read it. Everyone apparently 'knew' the next Doctor was going to be Paterson Joseph (SFCrowsnest, 25 December: 'The actor Paterson Joseph is to be the first black Doctor Who. Sources close to the BBC have reportedly confirmed that he has been asked to be the new Doctor and that he accepted a couple of days ago.'), so the announcement of Matt Smith was greeted by highly appropriate cries of 'Who?'
As Others Summarize Us. Tower Books 'Publisher's Note' for Ringworld's Children by Larry Niven: 'When a powerful new weapon threatens the spherical planet of Ringworld, a protector, an exile with the ability to speak with animals, and a native with a mysterious past assist explorer Louis Wu on his quest to save Ringworld from interplanetary war.' (Not the blurb of the actual publisher, Tor, where they know Ringworld's shape and the meaning of Speaker-to-Animals.) [AL]
Nomination Ballots. FAAn Awards: voting closes 26 February (post) or 5 March (email). Ballot at http://efanzines.com/Corflu26/.
Hugos: see http://www.anticipationsf.ca/pub/hugos/nominations.php. Voters first need to join the 2009 Worldcon. Deadline 28 February.
C.o.A. Terry Jeeves, Queen Margaret's Nursing Home, 19 Filey Rd, Scarborough, N. Yorks, YO11 2SE. This is likely to be a permanent move. SF books, magazines and fanzines are all welcome.
Accountability. 'We too easily say, Blame it on the Washington culture. Well, Washington is made up of people. It's not like there's this, like – you know, it's not like some Star Trek episode where some room made me do it.' (Matthew Dowd, Vanity Fair, February 2009) [SG]
A258 Update. Dan Kimmel adds another film critics' award: 'The Boston Society of Film Critics gave WALL*E best animation AND best picture (tying with the overpraised Slumdog Millionaire for the latter). I'm also proud to say that our best foreign language pick was Let the Right One In. For those who haven't seen it, it's a vampire movie from Sweden and one of the best films of the year.'
Group Gropes. The Croydon SF Group 'will be quietly celebrating our 20th Anniversary on 10 February. Still meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of every month in the Dog and Bull, Surrey St, Croydon, CR0 1RG, from 8pm. No agenda, speakers, fees ... All welcome.' (Robert Newman)
Thog's Masterclass. Neat Tricks Dept. 'I tasted the heady loam of the spongy earth beneath my feet ... Nothing seemed amiss.' (Andre Norton & Jean Rabe, A Taste of Magic, 2006) [AR]
Dept of Doublethink. 'I slammed my chain against the pig, drawing the hooked end across its throat to kill it. I respected all life.' (Ibid)
Runny Eyes Dept . 'Bertram's soulful brown gaze slopped itself all over his face, with particular emphasis on the eyes.' (Ellen Kushner, Swordspoint, 1987) [RF]
Dept of Extraterrestrial Studies. 'It's coming through the opening now! The most awful thing I've ever seen. Vast! Yellow as a slug and far more horrible' ... 'the tentacles are coming for me now. It's not nice. There's a horn on its nose and the longest teeth imaginable. And blue hair! But the tentacles scare me most of all. They seem to come from every part of its body!' ... 'The gun doesn't have the slightest effect on it. You might as well shoot an elephant with a catapult. Oh my God, its tentacles! They can touch me now. It stretched them out like rubber, and they end in sharp points.' ... 'There are sort of pimples all over it, and slime oozing from its skin. I just can't describe it properly!' (Ray Barry [Dennis Hughes], Gamma Product, 1952) [BA]
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Until 25 Oct 2009: Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain, Science Museum, London
6-8 Feb 2009: AXXIdental (filk), Grantham
6-8 Feb 2009: SF Ball (media), Bournemouth
14-15 Feb 2009: Hi-Ex (comics), Inverness
20-22 Feb 2009: Redemption 09 (multimedia sf), Coventry
28 Feb 2009: Picocon 26, London
21 March 2009: God in the Lab (skeptics), Conway Hall, London
26-29 Mar 2009: Eurocon 2009, Fiuggi, Italy
27-29 Mar 2009: P-Con VI, Dublin.
10-13 Apr 2009: LXcon (Eastercon), Bradford
29 Apr - 4 May 2009: Sci-Fi London (film), London
8-10 May 2009: Bristol International Comic Expo, Bristol
23-25 May 2009: <plokta.con> Release 4.0, Sunningdale Park, Berkshire
CANCELLED: 19-21 Jun 2009: Aetherica (fantasy), Chester
25-28 Jun 2009, The Perelandra Project (opera and colloquium), Oxford
CANCELLED: 26-29 Jun 2009: Sectus 2009 (Harry Potter), North Wales
25-26 Jul 2009: Satellite 2, Glasgow
31 Jul - 2 Aug 2009: Constitution (sf, fantasy, RPG), hosting HarmUni 4 (filk), Cambridge
6-10 Aug 2009: Anticipation (67th Worldcon), Montréal, Canada
18-20 Sep 2009: Fantasycon, Nottingham
26-27 Sep 2009: NewCon 5, Northampton
16-18 Oct 2009: Festival of Fantastic Films, Manchester
16-17 Jan 2010: Conrunner 2, Sheffield
25-29 Mar 2010: World Horror Convention, Brighton
2-5 Apr 2010: Odyssey 2010 (Eastercon), Heathrow
2-6 Sep 2010: Aussiecon 4 (68th Worldcon), Melbourne
25-27 Sep 2010: Albacon, Holiday Inn, Glasgow
13 Feb 2009: Brum Group, Briar Rose, Bennett Hill, Birmingham city centre. Quiz night. 7:45pm. £4; members £3. Contact 07845 897760 or bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk. Further meetings in the usual Briar Rose pub: 13 Feb, quiz; 13 March, with Tony Ballantyne.
21 Feb 2009: Leicester Terror Scribes reading-centred pub event, The Lansdowne, 121-123 London Rd, Leicester. 1:30pm-4pm.
26 Feb 2009: Juliet E McKenna talks at Stevenage Central Library. 7:30-9pm.
28 Feb 2009: British Fantasy Society Open Night, York Brewery, York. 7:30pm onward. £2; members £1. All welcome.
2 Apr 2009: Juliet E McKenna talks at The Corner Club, Oxford. 7-8 pm. Tickets £5.00. Oxfringe event: http://oxfringe.com/
4 Apr 2009: Sarah Ash, Chaz Brenchley, Mark Chadbourn, Juliet E McKenna, Ben Jeapes talk at Borders Bookshop, Oxford. 6pm-7:30pm. Free. Oxfringe event, as above.
Editorial. Nice to see that the Guardian knows where to link when discussing the familiar sf topic of As Others See Us:
PayPal Donation. Support Ansible and keep the editor happy! Or just buy his books ... please.
Space Art vs SF Art, Continued. Unable to cope with forum discussion of the important-to-some distinction between space (astronomical) and science-fiction art, Boris Bello of the Space Art Network at ning.com had a tantrum and shut the whole site down. Or in his own measured words, 'Some of these legendary "old-timers", as we called them, and "classical astronomy artists", literally exploded and started a furious discussion with us, feeling threatened by a bunch of young people, who but had absolutely no clue which nerve they struck. Indeed, we didn't have the slightest idea what humiliation these colleagues had undergone, long before some of us were even born. As you understand, this can be not just frustrating but devastating to a "scientist/artist" in his professional career.' And, therefore: 'Due to unsolved (not unsolvable) major differences of professional opinions about the term "space art" [...] SAN is shutting down on January 26, 2009, at 10am CMT. / Please save ALL your artworks, articles, and/or comments, because this network is going to be DELETED. ALL its content and historic debates are going to be lost and ALL of you would have to RESUBMIT to the new Cosmic Art Magazine (CAM), with the same vision.' Thanks to James Summerson for preserving this announcement.
Meanwhile, Dave Hardy tells me that various literally exploded old fogeys have overcome their devastating trauma and humiliation to the extent of setting up an alternative ning.com site subtly named International Space Art Network (InSANe):
Fanfundery. DUFF 2009 runs from Australasia to Anticipation, the 2009 Montréal Worldcon. Nominations are open, closing 15 March; voting should then continue until 17 May. More here:
TAFF reminder: European candidates for the TAFF trip to Anticipation are Steve Green and Tom Womack. Voting continues to mid-April.
Realms of Fantasy Again. The magazine's website was taken down with indecent haste and replaced by a brief farewell page:
Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest. 'Write a short story of no more than 8,000 words, that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration.' No pessimists need apply. Deadline 1 April 2009.
The Dead Past. 25 Years Ago at the SF Supper Club: 'Everyone was reeling at the news that the Public Lending Right scheme was actually going to bring them money: "How much are you getting?" was the question at the tip of every tongue, and naturally evil Malcolm [Edwards] assembled the answers, subsequently calling the roll of authors present in strict order of PLR precedence, from those who hadn't registered at all (e.g. himself) and were wailing and gnashing their teeth, up to the heights of Chris Priest (who later bought himself a new photocopier [...]) and Brian Aldiss, who, when pressed for details of his PLR, smiled modestly as he ordered a further magnum of Moet & Chandon to wash down his tureen of caviar.' (Ansible 37, February 1984)
Worldcon Stuff. Vince Docherty reports that the Reno in 2011 Worldcon bid filed its necessary paperwork with Anticipation at the end of January. The deadline is 6 February. Will the rival bid, Seattle in 2011, make it?
Outraged Letters II. 5,271,009 readers berated me for writing that Majel Barrett-Roddenberry played Troi rather than Lwaxana Troi. I'd cut the forename in the usual struggle to fit the printed issue on two sides of A4. Silly me.
Pat Cadigan sends an Ellen Datlow update as the presses are about to roll: 'She can't get on the web right now because she's in hospital with cellulitis.' All best for recovery by 'the end of the week, when she'll be back in NYC. Assuming she doesn't get snowed in with us. 8 inches and it's snowing again – yes, in London!' (2 February) Heavy snow at Ansible HQ too, still falling as I finish this issue. Brrr.
Peter Hassall thought I should have written lots and lots more about Forry Ackerman: 'You completely failed to mention that he started the masquerade tradition by wearing a costume to the very first WorldCon ...', etc, etc. Ansible labours under space constraints, but there's an entire Langford SFX magazine column about FJA in the works.
Chip Hitchcock felt the Donald E. Westlake obit should have mentioned his 'most focused legacy: "Nackles" [F&SF, January 1964, as by Curt Clark], the story of a made-up anti-Santa Claus who becomes real through belief.'
Mark Meenan reports that Elda Wheeler's funeral will be on 5 February at Daldowie Crematorium, Glasgow. Her death followed a diagnosis of ovarian cancer last October.
Terry Pratchett worries about his new duties: 'Dear Diary, Damsels undistressed – nil / Dragons slain – nil / Windmills tilted – nil / All in all, not a good knights work.' (22 January)
Ansible 259 Copyright © Dave Langford, 2009. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Barbara Barrett, Avedon Carol, Eddie Cochrane, Ian Covell, Jetse de Vries, Steven Dunn, Alistair Durie, Rose Fox, Sharon Goetz, Dan Kimmel, Denny Lien, Locus, Andy Love, Making Light, Mark Meenan, Caroline Mullan, Marion Pitman, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Adam Roberts, Roger Robinson, Fred Smith, Jim Steel, Paul Treadaway, Philip Turner, Gordon Van Gelder, Andrew Wells, Gary Wilkinson, and our Hero Distributors: Vernon Brown (BSFG), Janice Murray (North America), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 2 Feb 09.