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Ansible 32, March 1983

Cartoon: Harry Bell

PLEASE NOTE that this old Ansible is a bit of history. Addresses may have changed (though the editor's postal address hasn't), prices and agents' credits are now invalid, etc. • This issue was produced in my BWP or Before-Word-Processors era and lovingly rekeyed for the archives by Adrian Wontroba ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1996.

ANSIBLE 32 is argute with analystic refulgence and beneficent mansuetude; it makes its preterite way to you in March 1983, hurled like a jerid from the gaunt, compulsory visage of DAVE LANGFORD, 94 LONDON ROAD, READING, BERKS, RG1 5AU, UK, whose unambergrised malison may be aneled by rushing subscriptions – £2 for 8 issues anywhere except Australia / Far East (£2 for 7). Sterling cheques, gelid pound notes or $ bills to me, Giro transfer to a/c 24 523 0408; $US cheques to Burns, 23 Kensington Ct, Hempstead, NY 11550, USA; Euromoney to R. Goudriaan, Postbus 589, 8200 AN Lelystad, Netherlands. Shining like cynosures for their aid are Keith Freeman (labels), Harry Bell (above cartoon), Dave Haden (over [Novacon cartoon]). There are no prizes for guessing which doorstop fantasy blockbuster your editor has recently quaffed like a sapid draught of clinquant roborant whose fulvous surquedry and caducity make knurrs come from the vocabulary out. What a wonderful person Stephen Donaldson is.

Final Ballots: BSFA Award votes – from BSFA or Albacon II members – must reach Joe Nicholas by 30 March or the Albacon desk by 6pm on 2 April. NOVEL: Helliconia Spring, No Enemy But Time, Little Big, The Divine Invasion, The Sword of the Lictor. SHORT: 'Myths of the Near Future' (Ballard F&SF), 'Overture for a Midsummer Night's Dream' (Carter Interzone), 'The Dissemblers' (Kilworth IZ), 'Kitemaster' (Roberts IZ), 'The Third Test' (Weiner IZ). MEDIA: Another Flip for Dominick (BBC), Blade Runner, ET, Mad Max 2, Tron. Artist: Peter Goodfellow, Peter Jones, Bruce Pennington, Tim White. Nebula Awards deadline also 30 March. NOVEL: Helliconia Spring, Foundation's Edge, No Enemy But Time, Transmigration of Timothy Archer, Friday, Sword of the Lictor. NOVELLA: 'Another Orphan' (Kessel F&SF), 'Horrible Imaginings' (Leiber Death), 'Moon of Ice' (Linaweaver Amazing), 'Unsound Variations' (Martin Amz), 'Souls' (Russ F&SF). NOVELETTE: 'Myths of the Near Future', 'Understanding Human Behaviour' (Disch F&SF), 'Burning Chrome' (Gibson Omni), 'Mystery of the Young Gentleman' (Russ, Speculations), 'Swarm' (Sterling F&SF), 'Fire Watch' (Willis IASFM). SHORT: 'Petra' (Bear Omni), 'High Steel' (Haldeman / Dann F&SF), 'Corridors' (Malzberg Engines of the Night), 'Pope of the Chimps' (Silverberg Perpetual Light), 'A Letter from the Clearys' (Willis IASFM), 'God's Hooks' (Waldrop Universe 12). Items are eligible in the year after first US appearance for Nebulas, that after first UK appearance for BSFA Awards. Hugo final ballot is due to be released to Locus any second now and to other newszines in early 1984, which brings us to -

More Scientology! Andy Porter had a moment of paranoia in a recent SF Chronicle, fearing that the massed forces of Scientology would join ConStellation this year to vote the sainted Hubbard's Battlefield Earth a Hugo. Charles Platt, as ever championing the free flow of information, at once wrote to the book's promoters to suggest exactly this. 'I feel very strongly that (BE) deserves to win the Hugo Award for Best SF Novel of 1982... Since Mr Hubbard has many loyal readers beyond the fan in-group, why not get those readers to pull their weight?' The first repercussions have already hit in Britain, with the lovable George Hay served with a SUPPRESSIVE PERSON DECLARE AND EXPULSION ORDER giving him the boot from the Church of Scientology for 'suppressive actions' (unspecified by George), and signed by an INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE CHIEF, no less. Lateral-thinking George says he'll be taking this up in a letter to Foundation as soon as he's read BE... (His current limp is not because he's been done over by a squad of International Justice Chiefs; he encountered a hit-and-run driver in London late last year.)

Magazines? As usual a few are in the air. Reality is a planned magazine of TF or 'technology fiction' which is like SF only subtly different, masterminded by Maurice Goldsmith (Science Policy Foundation), Charles Barren (SF Foundation Acting Administrator). George Hay and just possibly me: having been to a meeting or two and learnt that the planned format was an A3 newspaper costing around 50p, to be launched in the Spring, I dutifully kept all this confidential as requested, only to hear no more (bar rumours from George about £30/thousand for fiction, possible April launch, and submissions to CB c/o SF Foundation, NE London Poly, Longbridge Rd, Dagenham, RM8 2AS) ... but M. Edwards tells me I'm editor of the thing, and I suppose he can't possibly be wrong. Sebastian is a semipro affair which should be out around now. 'A4 size, vicious, shocking, avant-garde, provocative, about 80 pages,' says expatriate Frenchperson Patrice Bernard (Intergalactic Art Ltd, 31 Morecambe St, SE17 1DX). 70% art/comix; relies mainly on French talent; text in English, though. World Tomorrow, mentioned in A28 as 'postponed to Spring', remains silent.

TAFF: Cruelly maligned and deeply wounded Kevin Smith, who is not reclusive at all, explains that he wasn't able to furnish me with TransAtlantic Fan Fund final statistics since Stu Shiffman hadn't passed them to Kevin. Avedon Carol, meanwhile, is eager to meet London fans and visit the One Tun (though she doesn't know this yet) just before Albacon – and thus Malcolm Edwards and I (neither of whose business it is) are unilaterally declaring a mini-One Tun meet on the evening of Wednesday 30 march. Take note. This may be the only warning you get. The really stark and stupendous rumours concern the upcoming 1984 TAFF campaign, with Rob Hansen and D. 'Dave' West contending to go to Los Angeles....

Phil Dick Award for best original US paperback SF of '82 – judges Le Guin, Disch, Spinrad – will be announced soon. Finalists: Waiting for the Barbarians (Coetzee), Aurelia (Lafferty), The Prometheus Man (Nelson), Software (Rucker), Roderick (Sladek), Umbral Anthology of SF Poetry (ed. Tem).

The Wonderful BSFA, who brought you the famous French poet Rambo (Ballard interview transcribed by Dorey/Nicholas) and the philosopher A.G. Ayer (Vector 112 author of Lanjuaje, Truth and Lojic), now offer the amazing disappearing Matrix, as not found in the February mailing. 'Doing away with Matrix is a first giant step towards improving BSFA popularity', chairman Dorey did not say in an exclusive interview. 'Membership will top 2000 when we've gone on to abolish Paperback Inferno and Vector' he failed to add. BSFA profits in 1982 came to £501.

Cartoon of Chris Priest: Anon

Chris Priest Writes! (Slap on the wrist to the smart alec who said 'Yes, but not very often.') According to a current Best of Young British Novelists advert, Chris looks like this on the right, the partial obscuration of his chin being caused by the hairstyle of another B.Y.B.N. Over to him: 'We have a new phenomenon in the SF world, which I think might be called the Elderly Pioneer Syndrome. In this, SF writers getting on in years make certain discoveries about the world, harmless discoveries for the most part, but because for many decades they have believed their own misleading propaganda that SF writers have new ideas, they seem to assume that because it is happening to them it is happening to the world for the first time.

'The first example of this that I can recall was Robert Heinlein's landmark discovery that blood transfusions save lives. More recently we have had Isaac Asimov crowing in public about what he obviously believes is the world's first bestseller, and Arthur Clarke actually hiring someone to inform the world of his breakthroughs. Now Clarke's most recent folly is to announce that he is the first Western writer to negotiate a royalty deal with the Soviet Union.

'Well, Clarke is actually wrong. I neither know nor care who was the "first", but I myself have signed two royalty deals with the Russians, one of them as long ago as 1977. (The deals have been honoured.) Back in 1977 I was given no impression that my case was at all remarkable, but that since the Soviet Union had signed the International Copyright Convention that such deals were routine.

'But what's important about this is that any Western writer making a deal with the Russians ought to realize what's going on. The Soviet authorities belatedly signed the convention not as a goodwill gesture to the likes of Clarke and me, but as a way of attempting to control the work of their own dissident writers. I happen to believe that on balance it is better for opposing cultures to talk to each other, and not isolate from each other, and so I was pleased to be published in Russia, but I don't think I have any illusions about the wider consequences. The unfortunate signs are, though, that as Arthur Clarke's grow with the years, so do his illusions.

'Clarke has much to be modest about, and I wish you newszine editors would check some facts before accepting any old crumb thrown down from the great men's tables. Clarke'll be telling you next he's the most popular writer in Russia. Well, he's had one book published. I've had two ... but good old Clifford Simak has had seven! (and to nip something else in the bud ... the most popular SF writer in China is James Gunn!)' (Fascinated by all this, your editor begged details of the alleged Soviet use of the ICC....)

'What happened, as I recall the reasoning, was this. Dissidents could not get their work published in the Soviet Union – and hence not abroad either – so began the practice of smuggling out MSS to Western publishers who then held the royalties for collection. (The same operated in reverse: Western writers published in Russia had to go to Moscow to collect their money and spend it locally. I believe that Brian Aldiss has actually done this.) Both sides were technically in breach of copyright ... so the Russians had the brilliant idea of using international Copyright Law to their own advantage. They set up a State Copyright Agency, through which all foreign sales and money must be passed – in either direction. (It deducts 10% for the service ... on top of other deductions.) Whether this in reality serves to prevent undesirable Russian books appearing in the West, I've no idea.. but certainly no Western publisher can now print a Russian writer without either breaking international law or getting permission, which can only be filtered through the State Copyright Agency, which at the very best will act as a bureaucratic obstruction.' (Chris Priest)

Always knew there was something ominous about the SCA....

Ian Watson Writes Too! '(1) Changes is now definitely scheduled for July 83. The editorial team at Berkley/Ace have not been idle in the interim. Disliking the style of typeface provided by the printer, they've had the galleys reset, reports Mike Bishop (who already corrected the galleys once). (2) Latest word about Last Dangerous Visions is that contributors with stories over 6000 words will receive a cheque for an additional $100 real soon now; those under 6000 words, a cheque for $50. Vol 1 "will" appear from Houghton Mifflin this Autumn. May one surmise that Vol 2 might follow in '84, Vol 3 in '85? Indeed one may. No harm in surmising. (3) I've sold a comic novel about mutation and metamorphosis to Granada for '84 publication as an original large-format paperback; title will probably be Converts. This is of course the same Metamorphoses alluded to in our interview – bounced by Gollancz, now hailed by Granada as a "tour de force" – and quite right too. (4) Pamela Sargent & George Zebrowski have taken over as American editors of SFWA Bulletin, with myself as European editor. We intend to publish every three months, and there will be a strong Euro-Brit voice – so long as the Euro-Brits provide enough material. (5) I must say that Soviet timeship could have waited till publication day [of Chekhov's Journey] to impact, preferably with Siberia! Damned annoying, wasting itself in the Atlantic.' (Ian Watson)

Brian Aldiss's minisaga saga drags on, the famous collection of 50-word stories (27 of the 300 being by Brian, we hear, owing to lack of adequately triffic entries) having left original commissioners Cape to become the subject of enthusiastic dithering from Faber, whose offer achieved new breakthroughs into the mathematics of the infinitesimal. Faber having changed their minds, the collection moves on....

E.F. Bleiler, famous biographer, is preparing a vast compendium of essays on fantasy authors, replete with obscure German ones never yet translated, etc – reports Brian Stableford, who was quick to spot an omission from the endless list of authors to be covered. Aha, no Mervyn Peake, he cried. Quick as a flash Bleiler riposted that Peake did not write fantasy. But, said Brian, citing five reams of supportive detail.... At last the truth emerged as Bleiler made his final, crushing statement: he doesn't like Peake. This news has been passed to the hitmen of the Peake Society (enquiries to 1 Brownswood Rd, London, N4 2HP – try SAE).

People & Books: Stephen King is expected to be signing his latest, Christine, at Forbidden Planet (London) in May, and ditto Gene Wolfe with the Arrow Citadel of the Autarch on 8 Oct (Andromeda signings in Brum no doubt to be announced).... David Redd passes on a Telegraph mag article 'which manages to destroy the reputations of Isaac Asimov, Martin Amis, Adrian Berry and the Telegraph all in 1.5 pages': Asimov modestly confesses to being a genius and a schmuck, Amis is scathing about Asimov's autobiographies but sycophantic when actually interviewing him, Berry calls Foundation's Edge 'compelling' and quickly twists the subject into his black-hole-travel book The Iron Sun (now quite exploded).... Colin Greenland's launch party (at FP) for his book on New Worlds, The Entropy Exhibition, stressed the entropy metaphor as several crates of wine underwent irreversible degradation inside not very many people.... M. Moorcock (also present) will shortly publish an essay called The Retreat from Liberty (Zomba 'Bee in Bonnet' imprint, another Beautiful Jakubowski Book), proving things about the UK.... The Lorimer Brizbeep SF Looney Party (prop. CUSFS) got a plug in the Grauniad recently.... Your Editor is not the Mr David Langford fingered in the Financial Times as 'missing' in the collapse of dubious security dealers Langford, Scott & Partners; nor, despite One Tun rumours, is he the person appearing in the nude on page 24 of the first March Time Out.... Chris Priest has earned the disfavour of Faber by confiding to some 56 reporters the facts of how Faber remaindered all his books last year (except The Affirmation), only for the Priest/Peyton consortium to buy the lot and – now – to meet the millions of orders pouring in for this Best Young Etc. Faber get 10% for passing on orders; 'I'm now on a 90% royalty,' quipped Chris, but the Grauniad failed to print this.

Albacon II (Easter) is imminent, with PR3 published and a late change of guests: Marion Zimmer Bradley replaces Tanith Lee, who had 'business commitments' – or, to quote a letter allegedly sent by her to Sam J. Lundwall – 'I have a trip planned to Paris around that time. I let the committee know but said I might be able to be in Glasgow for one of the days. They declined this offer. It was the full appearance or nothing. Even then I didn't know that I had been billed as GoH.' (AE)

Rumblings In Brum: The Novacon 13 committee wants to shake up boring old Novacon, whose sparse programme and poor value for money have raised comment. But revitalized Peter Weston is worried (it appears) that spending more money on Novacon (film video, fanroom, free party) may eat up the vital profits which support the Brum SF group – £200-300 according to a defensive Novacon 12 PR, £500 (N-11) or £800 (N-12) according to current committeeperson Jan Huxley. Peter has recently lectured the committee in the presence of embarrassed GoH Lisa Tuttle, revived the BSFG right to veto Novacon actions, and produced a newsletter suggesting ways to 'defuse criticism' by using the profits 'for the greater benefit of fandom.' Next: an extraordinary General Meeting of the BSFG at which Novacon demands autonomy or at least consultation with attendees, and Steve Green runs for BSFG office, dragging in the Pauline Morgan/S. Green feud – Pauline's impartial BSFG newsletter, her last before resigning over differences with P. Weston, slags Steve and says Don't Vote For Him! [More below]

Cartoon: Dave Haden

MORE 1984

Since A31 the Eastercon 1984 arguments have reached such a pitch of frenzied excitement that the merest mention of this debate afflicts your Editor with urgent yawns. To hand are several letters from John Brunner, Malcolm Edwards and others, an Edwardszine (DT4) proving irrefutably that the Seacon 84/Eurocon bid is a load of dingo's kidneys, and a 7-page rebuttal from J. Brunner proving equally irrefutably that it isn't. Though tempted to declare the whole subject too tedious for human consumption, I select and paraphrase as follows:

Alex Stewart says of Seacon 84: 'I can't help feeling that the committee have won the bid, and they should be committed to running Eurocon in '84 regardless. All we, British fandom, should be asked to vote on is whether it should be combined with Eastercon or not. By making Eurocon conditional on winning, they've made a vote for Blackpool a vote against Eurocon itself – rather than a vote for a separate Eastercon.... No one has bothered to explain why it's so unthinkably impossible to run Eurocon separately. All I've seen are vague statements like, "All the best ones have been held in conjunction with a national con."' John Brunner's answer to this point is, roughly, that 'to provide all the facilities we hope for we have to have a very broad financial base ... the likelihood of making a success of a separate Eurocon, particularly if it were to be held during the high season when hotel and travel charges are at their peak, seems to be diminishing by slow and inexorable stages.' John also argues that another big con besides Eastercon would be impossible to get to for all the unemployed or otherwise impoverished fans who can only afford one big con in a year. Malcolm, on the other hand, considers that by virtue of the all-star lineup promised, Seacon 84 would be the big con of the year and a success whenever or wherever held – a separate Eastercon might be smaller as in the year of Seacon 79, but Eurocon is a guaranteed attraction. This argument obviously questions the supposed absence of a 'broad financial base' for a Eurocon not allied with the Eastercon. However, jolly Martin Hoare now declares that it's wholly impossible for the Eurocon to be held later in the year since there's no time to make arrangements, since 'high season' costs will be prohibitive and since the obvious alternative date – August Bank Holiday – is 'too close' to Worldcon in Baltimore. (Of course, certain of these difficulties were overcome by Seacon 79.)

Though Martin's argument may be unanswerable, it does rather beg the question. Malcolm: 'What does strike me as odd about this – purely from the viewpoint of the organizing committee – is how hamstrung they have been by the decision [to run the Eurocon only if combined with the Eastercon]. They've given themselves one year instead of two in which to organize; they've already lost (by Easter) 6-7 months of valuable time. Instead of using letters from stars of sci-fi as inducements to vote, they could be using their promised attendance as inducements to join the convention. They could already, by now, have an assured success on their hands.' But John wants 'people from a lot of countries to get a taste for [Eastercon] while it's still possible.' We have a good thing, he says, and should share it....

The unclearness surrounding the 'Eurocon levy' has, I think, dissipated. John explains that this amounts to 10 French francs per con member (about £1), to be remitted to the International Committee (as opposed to the local British committee) treasurer for such purposes as covering expenses of international committee members and helping float the next Eurocon. Owing to the Swiss Eurocon disaster (which John uses as an example of why Eurocons need to be combined with national cons, but seems more an example of why no con should be run as a one-man show) there'll be no float from this source for Seacon 84.

John Foyster writes saying that Eurocons and national cons shouldn't be combined since this will tend to harm the international character of Eurocon. This strikes me as the least weighty argument against the combination that I've heard; as well declare that Eurocons shouldn't be held in individual countries. The point of Eurocon is that it takes on the flavour of the country it's visiting. The point against the combination (argues Malcolm) is that certain trappings of Eurocon may not blend with the tradition of Eastercon. But they can be ignored by fans who don't want to take advantage of translation services, gape at Eurocon awards, etc (argues John). But you will still have to pay for all this and the 'levy' anyway, says Malcolm quick as a flash. But actually this will be covered by all the extra Eurofans who attend, says John (I think). You can go on as long as you like.

A point about names. Malcolm is hurt that Seacon 84 should be called Seacon 84, since all the Seacon 79/75 people involved in this bidding are on Malcolm's 1984-con Blackpool bid. John's apologetic about this – though not so much so as the idiot who drunkenly suggested it at a Eurocon gathering! – and personally wanted it called just Eurocon 84 UK, only to be outvoted. This may or may not explain why Ken Slater, who inadvertently called the bid Seacon 4, received a Brunneroid letter of correction explaining that the third convention of this name to be held in Britain would actually be called Seacon 2.

If all the stuff above and overleaf sounds confused and inconclusive, it's probably a fair guide to the state of the argument, with no-one appearing to agree on first principles but with names like 'xenophobia', 'tradition', 'levies', 'nationalism', 'internationalism', and 'argument ad hominem' floating about in the acrimonious fog. Ansible looks forward to when all this is over, and is not afraid to predict that Seacon 84/Eurocon/Brighton will win if Blackpool/1984con doesn't.

Oxcon: rushing in to fill August Bank Holiday 1984 is Oxford's first college con, at St Cat's. GoH Brian Aldiss (provisional), £4.50 supp £8 att to 28 Asquith Rd, Rose Hill, Oxford, OX4 4RH. Now going ahead whether or not it inherits the Unicon tradition, Oxcon promises a 24-hr bar with 4 real ales, main plus alternative video programs, and death-defying trapeze acts by the Fellows of All Souls'. Will the video shows feature closed-circuit coverage of Silicon?

Novacon/BSFG (cont. from p.2): The EGM happened on 11 March, mainly to elect more committee members – including Steve Green! – but also to vote on proposals by the Novacon committee that they should have more of a free hand. Pauline Morgan got told off for that tendentious newsletter issue, which was cleverly negated by a Weston Decision that Pauline had really resigned before producing it. The Peter/Pauline disagreement was reportedly because he kept quite unreasonably asking her to apologise for insulting possibly inoffensive Chris Suslowicz in an earlier BSFGN, only it wasn't her but hubby Chris who inserted that bit ... oh god, it's like reading Ah, Sweet Idiocy all over again. Interesting factoids emerged: 'Very obligingly, conventions have donated their profits to the group. During 1982 we received about £130 from the 1977 Eastercon (not a BSFG project but run by some members of the group as individuals) and around £500 from our own Novacon.' (Eastercon 77 published profits were £145.07. No comments received from non-BSFG members of committee.) Also the BSFG's £900 video library had only 4 users last year.... P. Weston's instruction to the Novaconcom was deemed unsaid since not previously approved by BSFG committee: 'So long as you make £500 for the group I don't care what you do with Novacon.' Amendments to give Novacon more freedom were somehow omitted from the printed 'Constitution (including all proposed amendments)' provided at the EGM, but instead were read out with colourful personal commentary by chairman Tim Stannard, and rejected by voters. At close of play, all fiddly clauses about Novacon needing the BSFG to sign its cheques were replaced by one giving the BSFG total power over all Novacon thoughts and actions, irrespective of the con committee, some of whom feel slightly redundant.... (Data: C. Suslowicz, S. Green, J. Wilkes, C. Hughes, J. Huxley)


The Science in SF was not edited even slightly by Malcolm Edwards, as drunkenly alleged by Owen Whiteoak in his post-pub preparation of the RaCon programme book. Happily engaged editor Peter Nicholls ('Is Clare Coney Fay Wray?' asked a famous anonymous correspondent, adding 'I hope Peter doesn't run out of his Dr Jekyll potions.') is no longer arguing with collaborators Stableford and Langford, all having joined forces against vile packagers Roxby Press, who to the horror of all have decided to make a somewhat illicit deduction of nearly £46,000 from the receipts (to cover out-of-pocket expenses like printing the book) prior to calculation of royalties.... RIP: Mack Reynolds, who died of cancer on 30 Jan. (also my Adler Electric typewriter succumbed to bloodsucking repairmen in February.).... Engagements Etc: Chris Lewis plans to marry 'an ex-reader of McCaffrey & Norton'; Steve Higgins reports that his future spouse is Leah Phelps with an April 9 wedding date – and, sadly, that in early March they lost the baby expected for August.... Alien Accounts: a hidden hand, conceivably the fake Bob Shaw's, sends the Neil Craig/Bob Shaw 'Photon Books' accounts from Sept 1980 to Oct 1982. Increasing losses are visible; for 1982/3 Bob's salary appears to have been £324, lucky man; why have I been sent this?.... Screaming Yellow Zonkers (reports nearly famous SF publicist Charles Platt – see A31 for more) 'are a sugar-coated popcorn candy snack. The promotion now seems to have fallen through, Ovaltine, the owners, having decided not to finance dinners at which yours truly would receive $500 a shot for telling sales reps to get out there and SELL SELL SELL. They want me to write it as a press release instead. Cheapskates!' (CP).... By A Strange Coincidence: 'Guests in the Philcon SFWA suite were shocked when a tired and emotional C. Platt grabbed SFR columnist Darrell Schweitzer by the throat and clumsily attempted to strangle him, claiming provocation by Schweitzer in his columns criticizing the 1960s new wave. The attack was defused when New York fan Ginjer Buchanan gave Platt a maternal kiss on the cheek and led him gently away in the direction of the bathroom.' (Leslie Smith).... Arvon Foundation courses this year include one on SF/fantasy, run by J. Brunner and L. Tuttle with 'guest reader' J. Sladek (July 14-19); others feature D.M. Thomas on poetry (Sept 15-20), A. Carter on fiction (Sept 29-Oct 4). A mere £80 (less possible Arts Council Grant if you're Nice) to Arvon Foundation at Totleigh Barton, Sheepwash, Devon EX21 5NS.... RIP: Arthur Koestler. 'he disliked fantasy but supported SF. (He once described himself as a fan of mine....)' (Brian Aldiss – who has delivered Helliconia Summer for autumn publication, and sold Kubrick film rights to his 1969 short 'Supertoys Last All Summer Long').... Fan Fiction: 1983 'AMFFIC' award for amateur SF authors looked like a good idea at first glance. Closer inspection reveals it's compulsory to write stories based on triffic scenarios like Blake's 7 or Star Trek, that the award is strictly honorary and that (celebrities being financed to make the November presentations, change going to 'Children In Need') the entrance fee is not. You are urged, though not by me, to rush SAE-for-details to 2 Palm Ave, Fenham, Newcastle, NE4 9QT.... Graham James features in a recent Grauniad with a letter of impenetrable obscurity referring to earlier letters and a 'lady with pine drawers': baffling.... Albacon II Hotel has either 5 or 0 car parking spaces depending which AA book you consult, reports Martin Easterbrook.... Avedon Carol should arrive in the UK at 8:10 am on 25 March at Heathrow (BA flight 274), so if you happen to be passing.... Unicon 4 finds it's inadvertently acquired yet another Special Guest, Angela Carter (and I've just noticed that her partner on the Arvon fiction course – previous page – is A.C.H. Smith of the Dark Crystal novelization.... Barycz Mediates Again: 'It seems that Nimoy is not to direct ST3 after all.... Bug Jack Barron now has a $20M budget and Harlan Ellison doing the script.... The Salkinds have found their Supergirl, and quite nice looking and all. Will she appear with Superman I wonder? Fascinating: what happens when one removes from a relationship the root cause of sexual inequality, viz. the ability of the male of the species to strong-arm, intimidate and generally thump the female of the same into doing things his way? Fascinating: but do you think the Salkinds have considered the implications? I doubt it.... Disney organization exhibits once more the failings of an institution with too many chiefs and powers. Release of Something Wicked This Way Comes is put back to May to enable extra special effects to be added. Another Watcher in the Woods, innit – half cocked project has to be saved in the editing room and with inserts.... Legal argy-bargy over 2001 sequel (claimed by Fox and MGM) seems to have quietened to sound of legal minds at work. As I recollect, the film served as the basis of AC's novel (no, they were 'simultaneous' – DRL) and MGM would have reserved sequel rights in film only. Whereas our Arthur has sequelled the novel, not the film, and these rights are his to give to 20th C. Fox ... a lot of lawyer's children are gonna be put through college with the unravelling of the relevant clauses. Meanwhile our Arthur appears in TV commercials for Wang electronic offices, looking rather like a suntanned ET.' (RIB) Bob Day accuses RB of spreading perpetual-motion Dune-film rumours without actual substance, and reports 'the ugly rumour that film rights to Foundation's Edge have been sold'.... Thanks to all fans reporting cheapo copies (£1.50-£1.95) of the Morgan/Langford Facts and Fallacies, thus refuting base publishers who claimed £2.95 as the wholesale price.... Bestsellers: I've given up looking at the lists. It was bad enough in Time (14 Feb), seeing five skiffybooks (2010, Space, ET Storybook, Edge, Life The Universe Etc) in various spots from 1 to 9, but when Piers Anthony gets in on the act with Night Mare, oh God.... Good Old Interzone – as recently being reported as being guaranteed against loss to the extent of 2000 Arts Council pounds – is brutally called 'dire' and 'awful' in SFC (March). Ah, these blind Americans – but wait! Actually this is in a 'London Report' by lovable UK fantasy fans Steve Jones & Jo Fletcher, who will shortly be receiving another letter of protest from Joe Nicholas.... More Aldiss: 'HRH (sic) The Queen allowed the term "science fiction" to escape her lips without opprobrium in a speech in San Francisco. WE HAVE ARRIVED.' (BA).... The Gruesome Book is Ramsey Campbell's contribution to junior horror fiction, a collection based on the philosophy 'There are too many nice kiddie-ghost stories. I want to scare the shit out of the little buggers.' To this end he includes a plug for Ansible: quid pro quo, etc....

Hazel's Language Lessons #23: Urdu (from Chris Priest)

Beecham Sahibki gooli is, literally, 'Master Beecham's Balls' ... or Beecham's Pills. That's the name on the packet.

edited by Dave Langford,
94 London Road, Reading,
Berks, RG1 5AU, England.