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Ansible 292, November 2011

Cartoon: Brad W. Foster

From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Web ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Brad W. Foster. Available for SAE or information on Squig Stars and drunfilers.

SF Encyclopedia. The 'beta' release is out: This went up on 10 October, there was a major update on the 25th, and the SFE team is still madly busy. General thanks for all the feedback.

The Law's Delays

Ben Aaronovitch gloats: 'My novel Rivers of London has been nominated for the Galaxy National Book Awards in the category of Best New Author. I expect to be soundly beaten by Pigeon English but I thought you might find the inclusion of an SF book interesting. PS: Your bloody encyclopaedia is already eating into my writing time.'

Peter Beagle has at last settled his long-standing complaint about non-payment of royalties for the 1982 animated film of his The Last Unicorn. This had to wait until ITV, owners of the offending Granada Media, took on a new CEO who according to Beagle's publisher Connor Cochran 'had no reason to cover up for anyone's past bad judgment or mistakes'. Royalties on future takings and merchandise are now agreed, with back-payments to cover the moneyless years. And about time too. There's to be a $5m 'renovation' of the film itself, for re-release with new footage, backgrounds and effects. (, 15 October) [RC]

Philip K. Dick's estate filed suit against Media Rights Capital and others involved with the film The Adjustment Bureau, for trying to avoid coughing up $500,000 in bonus payments on the flimsy pretext that Dick's original story 'Adjustment Team' is in the public domain. (Variety, 27 October) [PDF/AIP] Which it apparently is in the USA, though the film people didn't learn this until a month after release. The story was in Orbit magazine, September-October 1954, and copyright wasn't renewed in 1982 as then required. Interestingly, though, the US copyright website records a 1983 renewal claim on the basis that 'Adjustment Team' first appeared in Imaginative Tales, September 1955 – an issue containing nothing by Dick. The Dick estate now insists that the Orbit publication was somehow 'unauthorized' and doesn't count.

Suzette Haden Elgin has conveyed through friends that she is now disabled, unable to concentrate or continue her blog. (PW) Alas.

David Gerrold confided to an intimate circle of 800 million Facebook users: 'I am told that David Langford is one of the most unpopular people in the SF community.' [CH] I couldn't possibly comment.

Mitchell Gross, a US author who as Mitchell Graham published a fantasy trilogy beginning with The Fifth Ring (2003), is undergoing federal prosecution for swindling women into investing some $4.4 million in one of his other fantasies – a fraudulent company. (AOL, 7 October) Martha Wells remembers his gift of the gab in sf circles: 'At the con, he told a panel audience that as a child he had corresponded with C.S. Lewis, and had a letter from Tolkien breaking the news to him that Lewis had died. He told me he had a multi-million dollar movie deal with Steven Spielberg for his fantasy trilogy. I could go on.'

Leonard Nimoy said goodbye to conventions at the Creation Star Trek con on 2 October – his final appearance. (

Steph Swainston has stepped down as a 2012 Eastercon guest.


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

4-7 Nov • Irish Discworld Convention, Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, Co. Clare. €45 reg; students €35; under-19s €30, under-16s €15, under-8s free. See; irishdiscworldcon at gmail dot com.

11-13 Nov • ArmadaCon 23, Future Inns, Plymouth. £30 reg, £20 concessions. Contact 18 Wadham Road, Liskeard, Cornwall, PL14 3BD.

11-13 Nov • Novacon 41, Park Inn, Mansfield Road, Nottingham. £40 reg. Contact 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ.

14-20 Nov • Thought Bubble (comics), Leeds, inc. 19-20 Nov con at Saviles & Royal Armouries Hall. See

23 Nov • BSFA Open Meeting, The Antelope, 22 Eaton Terrace, London, SW1W 8EZ. 5pm for 7pm. Free. With Stephen Baxter.

23 Nov • Starmaker: The Philosophy of Olaf Stapledon, British Interplanetary Society, 27/29 South Lambeth Rd, London, SW8 1SZ. 9am-4:30pm. 'Delegates' £70; BIS members £60; students £35. With Stephen Baxter, Andy Sawyer, others. See

28 Nov - 7 Jan • Howl's Moving Castle (play), Southwark Playhouse, London. 3pm and 7:30pm Mon-Sat (not 24-26 Dec, 31 Dec, 1 Jan). £16; £14 concessions; £50 family. Box office 020 7407 0234.

3-4 Mar 2012 • P-Con IX, Irish Writers' Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin. GoH Robert Rankin, Bryan Talbot. €20 reg: payment accepted via PayPal only for the present. See

10-11 Mar 2012 • QED (science/skeptics), Piccadilly Hotel, Portland St, Manchester, M1 4PH. £89 (students £68) via

26-29 Apr 2012 • Kontakt (SFeraKon/Eurocon), Zagreb, Croatia. GoH Tim Powers, Charles Stross, Darko Macan. €17 reg, €28 deluxe (includes guided tour and airport shuttle) to 1 April 2012; then €20 and €30. See James Shields is Irish agent.

24-27 Aug 2012 • Discworld Convention, Hilton Metropole, Birmingham. Now £58 reg, £39 concessions, rising on 1 March. £25 supp; under-13s free. PO Box 4101, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 9AJ.

30 Aug - 3 Sep 2012 • Chicon 7 (70th Worldcon), Hyatt Regency, Chicago. $195 reg, $540 family, $100 YA (17-21), $75 child (5-16), accompanied under-5s free. Contact PO Box 13, Skokie, IL 60076, USA.

6-9 Sep 2012 • The Asylum (steampunk), Lincoln. £22 basic reg, with a lunatic variety of discounts and extras. Online booking only: Contact majortinker at aol dot com.

27-30 Sept 2012 • Fantasycon 2012, Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton. Details awaited 'in late November' at

31 Oct - 3 Nov 2013 • World Fantasy Convention, Hilton Brighton Metropole. £75 reg until 7 November 2011; £100 thereafter; £50 supp; no at-door or day memberships. Cheques to 130 Park View, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 6JU; PayPal payments at

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Us. Salman Rushdie risks another fatwa: 'There was a series called "Game Of Thrones" which was very popular here in the United States, a post-Tolkien kind of thing. It was garbage, yet very addictive garbage – because there's lots of violence, all the women take their clothes off all the time, and it's kind of fun. In the end, it's well-produced trash, but there's room for that, too.' (Haaretz, 14 October 2011) [MPJ]

World Fantasy Awards. NOVEL Nnedi Okorafor, Who Fears Death. NOVELLA Elizabeth Hand, 'The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon' (Stories: All-New Tales). SHORT Joyce Carol Oates, 'Fossil-Figures' (Stories: All-New Tales). ANTHOLOGY Kate Bernheimer, ed., My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. COLLECTION Karen Joy Fowler, What I Didn't See and Other Stories. ARTIST Kinuko Y. Craft. SPECIAL, PROFESSIONAL Marc Gascoigne for Angry Robot. SPECIAL, NON-PROFESSIONAL Alisa Krasnostein for Twelfth Planet Press. [L]

Political Coalitions Masterclass. From Doctor Who and The Crusaders (1965) by David Whitaker: 'No decision was more difficult for Susan or easier for her grandfather [the Doctor], who knew in his heart that she must share her future with David Cameron.' [JO]

R.I.P. George Baker (1931-2011), actor who was a Number Two in The Prisoner and appeared in the films Curse of the Fly (1965), The Canterville Ghost (1987) and Back to the Secret Garden (2001), died on 7 October aged 80. [SG]
David Bedford (1937-2011), UK composer who was fond of fantasy, sf and astronomical themes, died on 1 October aged 74. Explicitly sf work included the 1989 concept album Rigel 9 with Ursula K. Le Guin, and a 2001 cantata adaptation of The City and the Stars with Arthur C. Clarke narrating between movements. (Guardian/SFE)
Derrick Bell (1930-2011), US lawyer and civil rights activist whose disturbing sf racial parable 'The Space Traders' (1992) was adapted for tv as a segment of Cosmic Slop (1994), died on 5 October. He was 80. [PDF]
John Burke (1922-2011), UK author and anthology editor who began publishing sf with 'Chessboard' (1953 New Worlds) and wrote much sf, fantasy and supernatural fiction, died on 20 September; he was 89. [PW] He also wrote as J F Burke, Jonathan Burke and – for novelizations like Moon Zero Two and UFO – Robert Miall.
John Dunning (1927-2011), Canadian producer whose work included David Cronenberg's early films Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), died on 19 September; he was 84. [MPJ]
Charles Napier (1936-2011), US actor with many genre credits for tv series (Star Trek, Incredible Hulk, and the animated Legend of Tarzan, Men in Black and The Mummy) and films (Dragonfight and the Austin Powers movies), died on 5 October aged 75. [SG]
Alastair Reid (1939-2011), Scots tv director whose productions included Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (BBC 1980) and Artemis 81 (BBC 1981), died on 17 August; he was 72. [MPJ]

As Others See Us II. On the death of Steve Jobs, a little past context: 'Computers were for geeks, science fiction enthusiasts and others even further beyond the pale.' (Andrew Coyne, MacLeans, 14 October 2011) [JKS]
• On our kinship with rappers: 'Eminem will say things about chainsawing his granny but with him it's like science fiction.' (Wretch 32, Guardian Guide, 13-19 August 2011) [SS]

British Fantasy Awards. These generated much high melodrama in October. NOVEL Sam Stone, Demon Dance. NOVELLA Simon Clark, Humpty's Bones. SHORT Sam Stone, 'Fool's Gold' (The Bitten Word). COLLECTION Stephen King, Full Dark, No Stars. ANTHOLOGY Johnny Mains, ed., Back From the Dead: The Legacy of the Pan Book of Horror Stories. NONFICTION Vincent Chong, Altered Visions: The Art of Vincent Chong. ARTIST Vincent Chong. SMALL PRESS Telos Publishing. MAGAZINE Black Static. GRAPHIC NOVEL I.N.J. Culbard, At the Mountains of Madness. FILM Inception. TV: Sherlock. KARL EDWARD WAGNER (special award) Terry Pratchett. SYDNEY J. BOUNDS (newcomer): Robert Jackson Bennett for Mr Shivers.
• As pointed out by various people including Steve Jones (who posted but later deleted a grumpy attack on most of the above choices, complaining inter alia of too much small press and not enough mainstream publishing), the British Fantasy Society chairman David J. Howe had found himself in the embarrassing position of having to stand in for the awards administrator – who'd abandoned this role for unstated personal reasons – and thus to preside over three wins for his own Telos Publishing and its authors (novella, nonfiction, small press) and two for his domestic partner Sam Stone. She, distressed by the subsequent controversy, returned her novel award. Howe resigned as BFS chair, replaced pro-tem by Graham Joyce, whose official statements included an announcement of the BFS committee's 'firm belief that no corruption or wrongdoing took place'. Joyce is working on an overhaul of the awards procedure, since 'It was always a vulnerable system and with its weakness to "boosting" votes now only too exposed, it is in my view irreparable.' A side-effect is that David Howe and Sam Stone pulled out as organizers of the 2012 Fantasycon planned for Corby, Northamptonshire; this event will now take place in Brighton.

Blurbismo. Dept of 45 Years On and Still Getting It Wrong. 'The 34-year-old [Zachary] Quinto, known for his role on NBC's Heroes and as Dr. Spock in JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot, talks about his sexuality in an interview with New York magazine.' (, 17 October) [AL]

As Others See Us III. Glen Duncan of the NY Times sympathizes with a slummer: 'A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star. It invites forgivable prurience: What is that relationship like? Granted the intellectual's hit hanky-panky pay dirt, but what's in it for the porn star? Conversation? Ideas? Deconstruction? [...] Colson Whitehead is a literary novelist, but his latest book, "Zone One," features zombies, which means horror fans and gore gourmands will soon have him on their radar. He has my sympathy. I can see the disgruntled reviews on Amazon already [...] Broad-spectrum marketing will attract readers for whom having to look up "cathected" or "brisant" isn't just an irritant but a moral affront. These readers will huff and writhe and swear their way through (if they make it through) and feel betrayed and outraged and migrained.' (28 October) [JW] Those who wallow in H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith can't be expected to cope with obscure or even eldritch words.
• But zombies transcend mere genre, according to Charlie Collier of the US network AMC, whose The Walking Dead is a major hit on cable tv: 'This isn't just a genre exercise. You get all the escapism of a post-apocalyptic world, but you also get the character drama that we've been delivering since we launched Mad Men.' (, 19 October) [TM]

More Awards. The Kitschies, awards for 'progressive, intelligent and entertaining' sf/fantasy in the categories Novel (£750 prize), Debut (£250), Cover Art (£250) and Judges' Discretion, are collecting publishers' submissions for a January shortlist announcement. More at
Monica Hughes Award: from the Canadian Children's Book Centre, for children's sf and fantasy, to be awarded annually from October 2012 with a $5000 cash prize. To qualify, the author must be Canadian or a permanent resident of Canada. [FM]

The Rich List. 'Who are the wealthiest film characters?' is a question that apparently torments some people in the small hours. Total Film magazine did the sums, adjusted for inflation, and came up with a genre-heavy Top Ten: Adrian Veidt (Watchmen) $74 billion, Richie Rich (Richie Rich) $70bn, Bruce Wayne (Batman films) $30.4bn, Lex Luthor (Superman films) $29.3bn, Dr Eldon Tyrell (Blade Runner) $25bn, Jabba The Hut (Return of the Jedi) $25bn, Joh Fredersen (Metropolis) $22bn, Tony Stark (Iron Man films) $19.75bn, Willy Wonka (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory) $19.5bn, Dr Evil (Austin Powers films) $15.9bn. A recount is being urgently demanded by Scrooge McDuck.

Outraged Letters. Kyle McAbee adds a further note about Dan Hoey (A291): 'Dan was an active science fiction fan until his death. For many years he was a member of the Potomac River Science Fiction Society, hosting one of our monthly meetings each year at his apartment, usually in a summer month. Our June 2011 meeting was at his place. Dan was a genius, yet modest. He could solve Rubik's Cube while holding it behind his back. At his memorial service, we learned that he had struggled with depression for much of his adult life. He was a spirited and enthusiastic fan. We will miss him.'

We Are Everywhere. The BBC2 comedy quiz Mock The Week (13 October) had the traditional 'If this is the answer, what is the question?' round. Answer: 'Booze, blondes and dwarves.' Question (Andy Parsons): 'Why did Gandalf go missing for so long in The Lord Of The Rings?' Question (Chris Addison): 'What are Carrie Fisher's main recollections of filming The Return Of The Jedi?' (The answer actually referred to the World Cup antics of the England rugby team.) [MPJ]
• More evidence that a genre fan is trapped in the OED and sending coded messages via its Word of the Day: the selections for 5-8 October were Planet X, Earthship, Multiverse (hello, Mr Moorcock) and Perigee. Late in the month came Foo Fighter. [MPJ/JAT]
Have I Got News For You explained international finance. Host: 'Does anyone know what a trillion actually is?' Ross Noble: 'A trillion is when a human mates with a Klingon.' [MPJ]
Klingon Beauty Tips. After repeated application of a £90+ eyelash serum, 'your lashes will darken and fatten and seem to multiply like triffids.' ('Beauty', Evening Standard, 28 October) [RH]

Change and Decay. Terry Martin of Murky Depths magazine announced on 25 October that the current issue #18 will be the last.
• Greg Ketter's DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis will close as a physical shop at the end of January; catalogue/convention sales continue. [SHS]

By Any Other Name. Erik Masting reviewed an sf novel, 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks, in the Times Literary Supplement. How to describe it in suitably upmarket terms? Aha: 'anticipatory fiction'. (30 September)

The Dead Past. 50 Years Ago, Brian Aldiss revealed: '"Hothouse" has sold in hard covers on both sides of the Pond. Brian says that he is working on a sequel called "Greenhouse, a Novel of the Beet Generation" ...' (Skyrack 39, November 1961)
40 Years Ago, Peter Roberts prophesied: 'NOVACON SUCCESS: The first British November sf convention was held last weekend at the Imperial Centre Hotel, Birmingham, and was judged to be an exceedingly fine innovation with a pretty good chance of continuing.' (Checkpoint 12, November 1971)
20 Years Ago: 'Meanwhile ace reviewer John Clute was poring delightedly over his latest task, being Futurespeak: A Fan's Guide to the Language of SF by Roberta Rogow [...]. "This entry has more mistakes than words," he marvelled: SLANS (literary): Superhuman successors to homo sapiens in a series of stories by A.E. van Vogt, beginning in 1925 with Galactic Lensman....' (Ansible 52, November 1991)

Fanfundery. TransAtlantic Fan Fund. The 2012 TAFF voting deadline is 9 December. North American candidates for the trip to Olympus 2012 (Eastercon) are Warren Buff, Kim Kofmel and Jacq Monahan. See for the ballot form.
GUFF: Australasian candidates for the northbound trip to Olympus 2012 are Grant Watson and Kylie Ding. Voting deadline: 22 January. See for ballot form.

C.o.A. Harry Harrison's address is available to old friends.

Thog's Masterclass. Art Dept. 'Praetor Ming Lee resembled the Chinese Princesses hanging in the ancient art galleries of Beijing.' (Glenn Hough, 970 A.D.S., 2011) [PM]
Deep Emotion Dept. 'Something salty and bright was searing a deep, angry streak in her chest, and it felt like tears clawing their way up her throat.' (Cherie Priest, Boneshaker, 2009) [FB]
War Against Allison Dept. 'She had discussed possible projects for subtly revealing Military's gross misconduct of the war with Allison.' (L. Timmel Duchamp, Tsunami, 2007) [AK]

Geeks' Corner

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• 4 November 2011: Brum Group, Briar Rose Hotel, Bennett's Hill, Birmingham city centre, 7:30pm for 8pm; £4 or £3 for members. With Ian Whates. Contact bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk or rog.peyton at btinternet com. Further meetings: 2 December, Christmas Social at Selly Park Tavern, entry by £10 advance ticket only; 13 January, AGM/Auction; 10 February, quiz.

Editorial. The editor is too tired to write one.

PayPal Tip Jar Thingy. Support Ansible, cover website costs and keep the editor happy! Or just buy his books.

Tragi-Political SF. David Garnett sends a news item on Palestine's admission to full membership of UNESCO. According to Nimrod Barkan, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO: 'This resolution is a tragedy for UNESCO ... UNESCO deals in science and not science fiction and nevertheless adopted the science fiction reality.' (Guardian, 1 November)

Nova Awards. As announced last issue, UK and Irish fans can now vote by email in these fanzine awards, with a 7 November deadline. See ...

More Events.

9 Dec • British Fantasy Society Open Night and (for members only) Extraordinary General Meeting at the Mug House, London Bridge, London, SE1 2PF. Official meeting start 7:30pm; EGM 6:30pm.

10-12 Aug 2012 • Congenial (Unicon/RPG), Murray Edwards College (formerly New Hall), Cambridge. GoH Phil and Kaja Foglio. £30 reg to Congenial, 19 Uphall Road, Cambridge, CB1 3HX. Discount for room bookings before 10 January: see

Ansible 292 Copyright © David Langford, 2011. Thanks to Frank Boehmert, Rafe Culpin, Steve Green, Rob Hansen, Colin Hinz, Martyn P. Jackson, Amanda Kear, Locus, Andy Love, Todd Mason, Farah Mendlesohn, Petréa Mitchell, Jonathan Oliver, Andrew I. Porter, Steven H Silver, Steve Sneyd, Jonathan K. Stephens, James A. Tucker, Peter Weston, James Worrad, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (BSFG), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 November 2011.