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Ansible 322, May 2014

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, news items or the lost Theorems of Wukim.

Hugos. As usual, the shortlist has something to annoy everyone: see many links at
NOVEL (1595 ballots) Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie; Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross; Parasite by Mira Grant; Warbound by Larry Correia; The Wheel of Time (entire series) by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson.
NOVELLA (847) The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells; 'The Chaplain's Legacy' by Brad Torgersen (Analog 7/13); 'Equoid' by Charles Stross ( 9/13); Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente; 'Wakulla Springs' by Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/13).
NOVELETTE (728) 'The Exchange Officers' by Brad Torgersen (Analog, 1/13); 'The Lady Astronaut of Mars' by Mary Robinette Kowal ( 9/13); 'Opera Vita Aeterna' by Vox Day (The Last Witchking); 'The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling' by Ted Chiang (Subterranean Fall 13); 'The Waiting Stars' by Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky).
SHORT (865) 'If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love' by Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13); 'The Ink Readers of Doi Saket' by Thomas Olde Heuvelt ( 4/13); 'Selkie Stories Are for Losers' by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/13); 'The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere' by John Chu ( 2/13).
RELATED WORK (752) Queers Dig Time Lords ed. Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas; Speculative Fiction 2012 by Justin Landon & Jared Shurin; 'We Have Always Fought' by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink); Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer with Jeremy Zerfoss; Writing Excuses Season 8 by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson.
GRAPHIC STORY (552) Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City Phil & Kaja Foglio with Cheyenne Wright; 'The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who' by Paul Cornell & Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013); The Meathouse Man by George R.R. Martin (original story) & Raya Golden; Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples; 'Time' by Randall Munroe (XKCD).
DRAMATIC – LONG (995) Frozen; Gravity; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Iron Man 3; Pacific Rim.
DRAMATIC – SHORT (760) An Adventure in Space and Time; Doctor Who: 'The Day of the Doctor'; Doctor Who: 'The Name of the Doctor'; The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot; Game of Thrones: 'The Rains of Castamere'; Orphan Black: 'Variations under Domestication'.
EDITOR – SHORT (656) John Joseph Adams; Neil Clarke; Ellen Datlow; Jonathan Strahan; Sheila Williams.
EDITOR – LONG (632) Ginjer Buchanan; Sheila Gilbert; Liz Gorinsky; Lee Harris; Toni Weisskopf.
PRO ARTIST (624) Galen Dara; Julie Dillon; Daniel Dos Santos; John Harris; John Picacio; Fiona Staples.
SEMIPROZINE (411) Apex; Beneath Ceaseless Skies; Interzone; Lightspeed; Strange Horizons.
FANZINE (478) The Book Smugglers; A Dribble of Ink; Elitist Book Reviews; Journey Planet; Pornokitsch.
FANCAST (396) The Coode Street Podcast; Galactic Suburbia Podcast; SF Signal Podcast; The Skiffy and Fanty Show; Tea and Jeopardy; Verity!; The Writer and the Critic.
FAN WRITER (521) Liz Bourke; Kameron Hurley; Foz Meadows; Abigail Nussbaum; Mark Oshiro.
FAN ARTIST (316) Brad W. Foster; Mandie Manzano; Spring Schoenhuth; Steve Stiles; Sarah Webb.
CAMPBELL AWARD (767; not a Hugo) Wesley Chu; Max Gladstone*; Ramez Naam*; Sofia Samatar*; Benjanun Sriduangkaew (*final year of eligibility).
• Some Hugo categories have 6 or 7 nominees owing to 5th-place ties; Short Story has only 4 since 5% of the vote is required.
• For fuller list with subtitles, media teams etc, see For the 1938 Retro Hugo lists, see
Q. Will this year's Hugo voter package therefore contain all 14 of those very fat main-sequence Wheel of Time fantasies in ebook form? A. Yes, says Tor Books. Gulp.

View from a Half Roon

Brian Aldiss is looking forward to August 2015: 'When and if I reach the age of ninety, my publishers plan to throw a grand thrash for me.'

Ari Handel, one of the screenwriters of Noah, responded to complaints about the film's all-white cast by explaining how diversity leads to extreme uncoolness: 'Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise.' (Independent, 17 April) [MPJ]

Peter Jackson's altered subtitle for the third Hobbit movie was not, as I'd expected, The Battle of the Three Armies with a fourth film added to do proper justice to The Battle of the Other Two Armies.

George R.R. Martin's death grip on the Zeitgeist becomes ever tighter: 'Need a baby name? Try Game of Thrones! 146 Khaleesis were born in the USA in 2012. Strangely there are no recorded instances of a Joffrey.' (Independent on Sunday, 13 April) [MPJ]


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

Until 4 Jan 2015 • Longitude Punk'd (steampunk exhibition), Royal Observatory, Greenwich. 10am-5pm. Usual entry fees: £7 adult, £5.50 concessions, £2.50 child 5-15, under-5s free. Also family rates.

2 May - 19 Aug • Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK (exhibition), PACCAR Gallery, British Library, London.

9 May • Mary Stewart's Arthurian Novels: talk by Andrey Ansimov, Helmore 222, Anglia Ruskin University. 1-3pm. Free.

10-11 May • BCExpo (comics), Future Inns Conference Centre and Hotel, Cabot Circus, Bristol. Tickets £16, child £8; Sat £10/£8, Sun £8/£4; family (2 adult 2 child) £38. See

28 May • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. With Tori Truslow and Alex Dally MacFarlane interviewed by Tony Keen. Free.

7 Jun • BSFA/SF Foundation AGMs & mini-convention, City of Westminster Archives Centre, 10 St Ann's St, London, SW1P 2DE. From ?11am. GoH Jo Fletcher (SFF), Frances Hardinge (BSFA). Free.

3-6 Apr 2015 • Dysprosium (Eastercon), Park Inn, London Heathrow. GoH Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Herr Döktor, Caroline Mullan. Now £60 reg, rising to £70 on 20 August and £80 on 1 February; £25 supp/under-18s, £15 under-12s, £5 infants. Paid-up presupporters: deduct £15. Contact 101 Ninian Rd, Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 6NB; online registration awaited at

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Some of Us. 'A savage internecine struggle is being fought between two rival factions: dorks who watch "Game of Thrones" and dorks who read "A Song of Ice and Fire," George R.R. Martin's as yet unfinished fantasy saga upon which the series is based. Whatever peaceful overlap may still exist between the two camps, well, that is almost assuredly going to end.' (Washington Post, 3 April) [MMW]
• 'You might have pooh-poohed the HBO series as the kind of programme watched by teenage boys and strange men who play Dungeons & Dragons, or spend alternative Thursday evenings standing in fields pretending to be knights. I understand because I used to think that, too.' (Bryony Gordon, Telegraph, 8 April) But it's OK to like it: 'Game of Thrones is more Dynasty than Lord of the Rings, more House of Cards than Xena: Warrior Princess. It may have pretensions to the fantasy genre but in reality it is pure soap opera, sex and gore, and family politics dressed up in corsets and fabulous costumes.' (Ibid) [MPJ]

Awards. Arthur C. Clarke Award: Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice.
BSFA: NOVEL (tie) Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice and Gareth L. Powell, Ack-Ack Macaque. SHORT Nina Allan, Spin. ARTWORK Joey Hi-fi, cover, Dream London by Tony Ballantyne. NONFICTION Jeff VanderMeer, Wonderbook.
Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Award (first novel): Charles Gannon, Fire With Fire.
International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF): Ahmed Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad. [MPJ]
PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.
Philip K. Dick Award: Ben H. Winters, Countdown City. [GVG]

Safe Viewing. After long negotiation with the BBC and careful screening-out of vile Western corruption, North Korea has decided on three BBC television series which its people can be allowed to watch: Doctor Who, Top Gear and The Teletubbies. (Independent, 6 April). [MPJ]

R.I.P. John Clagett (1916-2013), US author of the sf novels A World Unknown (1975) and The Orange R (1978), died on 5 November 2013 aged 97.
Bob Hoskins (1942-2014), UK actor, screenwriter and director whose best-known genre role was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), died on 29 April aged 71. Other credits include Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven (1978), Brazil (1985), Hook (1991), Super Mario Bros (1993) and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). [SG]
Alexander Malec (1929-2014), US author whose sf stories are collected in Extrapolasis (1967), died on 1 January aged 84. [JC]
Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), hugely popular and distinguished Colombian author who won the Nobel Prize for his works of magic realism – most famously the unforgettable One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) – died on 17 April at the age of 87.
William H. Patterson Jr (1951-2014), author of the Locus Award-winning 2010 biography Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century, Vol. 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve (second volume to be published later this month), died on 22 April. [F770]
Juan José Plans (1943-2014), prolific Spanish sf/fantasy/horror author who adapted many genre classics for radio, died on 24 February. [JCo]
Andy Robertson (1955-2014), UK editor, publisher and author, with Interzone for some 20 years from 1984, and latterly running his own Night Lands project (stories in William Hope Hodgson's dying-earth milieu), died on 17 April aged 58. David Pringle writes: 'He was an unflagging assistant editor of Interzone, a consumer of vast slush piles, who helped in the discovery of numerous new writers.' SMS/Smuzz writes: 'The reason I first came to Eastercons was to sell comics. The reason I stayed was Andy Robertson. Andy Robertson was the Thinking man's Brian Blessed. A large, athletic man of massive love and enthusiasm who embraced a deep understanding of science, a love of Nature and a passion for literature – most especially the finer SF.'
Mickey Rooney (1920-2014), US actor whose long film career began in 1926, died on 6 April; he was 93. Genre credits include The Atomic Kid (1954), The Twilight Zone (1963), Journey Back to Oz (1974), Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989), Night at the Museum (2006) and a forthcoming new version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. [SG]
Hilbert Schenck (1926-2013), Hugo- and Nebula-nominated author of several striking sf stories 1953-1993, whose novels include the fine A Rose for Armageddon (1982), died on 2 December 2013 aged 87. [SFS]

The Weakest Link. Host: 'Buzz Lightyear was on the Apollo 11 space mission. True or false?' Contestant: 'True.' (BBC1 Perfection) [PE]
Bradley Walsh: 'Which mythical ship is said to sail round the Cape of Good Hope?' Contestant: 'Titanic.' (ITV1 The Chase) [MPJ]
Walsh: 'New Zealand was mapped out in the 1770s by which English explorer?' Contestant: 'Robinson Crusoe.' (ITV1 The Chase) [PE]

Court Circular. Tess Gerritsen, whose 1999 novel Gravity has 'a lone female astronaut trapped aboard a space station and struggling to get home', is suing Warner Bros not for copyright infringement (they bought the book rights and then used a supposedly original screenplay) but for not giving her a 'based on' film credit. (, 30 April) [PDF]
• A US judge ruled that 118 alleged similarities between the Matrix trilogy and the screenplay 'The Immortals' by Thomas Althouse – who sued for plagiarism – are 'too general for copyright protection ... or are commonly used, unoriginal ideas'. (BBC, 29 April) [MPJ]

Outraged Letters. Chip Hitchcock reminisces: '[Bryan] Talbot's discovery of the intellects of furries brings to mind a tale of a recent Pennsic War (the largest SCA gathering). One of the groups that shows up is a Gorish set called Tuchux. My narrator observed a couple of Tuchix (his term) discussing affairs in their typical language ("Thog wife sad. Thog come home late, drunk, no good.") when a cellphone rings and is extracted from a fur bikini or equivalent. Overheard: "How long ago was it? What are the vitals?" "Is an OR reserved?" "Who's on for anesthesia?" "No, I won't work with him. Who else?" "Him I can work with. I'll be there [soon]." Then the callee turns to her commiserator and says "Thog wife go now."'

Media Awards. Empire: overall film and director Gravity; British film The World's End; sf/fantasy The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug; thriller The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; horror, The Conjuring.
MTV Movie Awards: film of the year, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. [MPJ]

Mysteries of Amazon. 'Best SF Stories from New Worlds 7 by H.E. Bates (Paperback, 1971) Used & New from: $12.40.' [MFD] Another of Mike Moorcock's lesser-known pseudonyms exposed at last?

Gemmell Award (heroic fantasy) shortlists: NOVEL Peter V Brett, The Daylight War; Mark Lawrence, Emperor of Thorns; Scott Lynch, The Republic of Thieves; Brandon Sanderson & Robert Jordan, A Memory of Light; Adrian Tchaikovsky, War Master's Gate.
DEBUT Mark T Barnes, The Garden of Stones; David Guymer, Headtaker; Brian McLellan, Promise of Blood; Antoine Rouaud, The Path of Anger; Luke Scull, The Grim Company.
COVER ART Benjamin Carre for The Republic of Thieves (above); Jason Chan for Emperor of Thorns (above); Cheol Joo Lee for Skarsnik by Guy Haley; Gene Mollica & Michael Frost for Promise of Blood (above); Rhett Podersoo for She Who Waits by Daniel Polansky.

As Others Forget Us. The web page for 'Pier Zine: a series of drop-in zine making workshops' (Stromness, Orkney, 17-19 April) airbrushed away the sf fanzines of the 1930s to the 1960s with a sparkly new history of zines: 'Originating in 1970s America in a culture of D.I.Y. and collaboration, their popularity has since sky-rocketed ...' [AW]

Publishers & Sinners. Could there be any connection between the sale of Quercus Books and the mid-April appearance at Works remainder outlets of the Quercus/Jo Fletcher paperback of Sarah Pinborough's Mayhem, not supposedly published until 1 May? Whistleblower Steve Tollyfield grumbles: 'I tweeted Jo Fletcher Books yesterday that this was the case, but rather than expressing horror, they retweeted my tweet, so that anyone who wants this book can get it early at a bargain price!' As it is written in the classics, 'Do not meddle in the affairs of publishers, for they are subtle and quick to remainder.'

Crystal Balls. Another of those eerily prophetic sf moments: 'She did look a little strange, though, since she had a vestigial head cosmetically implanted in her neck ... Obviously from Babylon-5, I thought ...' (Somtow Sucharitkul, Mallworld, 1984) [BA]

Imperial Politics. 'Ukrainian authorities banned a man who changed his name to "Darth Vader" from running in the country's upcoming presidential election, suspecting he was being paid by Russia to discredit the vote.' (The Week, April) [MMW]

The Dead Past. 80 Years Ago, sf fan Otto Steinhardt was well ahead of his time in Astounding: '... I think some of your authors and artists don't stop to reason things out. For instance, in [Harl] Vincent's "Lost City of Mars" [February 1934], Kal Turjen, the Martian, is always reaching for a cigarette. I think that by the 22nd century people will have banished cigarettes because of their effect on health.' (Readers' letters, May 1934) [MA]
40 Years Ago, the London First Thursday fan meetings had to switch pubs: 'It looks like the story of the Globe is drawing to its close at last. The next regular meeting (Thursday June 6th) may well be the last one at the present venue, and the building itself will not be standing for much longer. As from the July meeting, (Thursday July 4th) the London Circle will be migrating to "THE ONE TUN" at 125 Saffron Hill, London E.C.1.' (Checkpoint 49, May 1974)

Fanfundery. TAFF: Curt Phillips won the 2014 eastbound race voting by a clear first-round majority and will attend Loncon 3 as TransAtlantic Fan Fund delegate. Voting figures: Curt 75 (54 NA/21 Europe), Brad & Cindy Foster 45 (31/14), Randy Smith 17 (15/2), No Preference 2 (0/2); 139 ballots in all. More at
Jim Mowatt reports £390.20 raised for TAFF and GUFF in 45 minutes at the Eastercon fan funds auction.
GUFF now has an online voting form at (closes 9 June).
DUFF: Juanita Coulson won the 2014 southbound race to the Australian NatCon, Continuum X in June, by a first-round majority: 42 votes (17 ANZ/25 NA) to Aurora Celeste's 24 (6/18) with 6 No Preference. 72 ballots cast.

Thog's Masterclass. On The One Hand ... '"There is one datum I can adduce, I believe," said Lebret, scratching his beard with his left hand and manoeuvring a cigarette out of its case with his left ...' (Adam Roberts, Twenty Trillion Leagues under the Sea, 2014) [AB]
Eyeballs in the Sky. 'His eyes seemed to disconnect themselves.' (Robert Moore Williams, 'To the End of Time', July 1950 Super Science Stories) [CG]
Easily Amused Corpse Dept. 'For half an hour they left the man on his bench. His dead eyes were open and seemed to smile slightly at a photograph of the Minister of Rest and Culture.' (John Blackburn, A Scent of New-Mown Hay, 1958) [PW]
Dept of Guilt. '... This planet and its creatures! The erection/detumescence of each instant he'd shared with them lay on his awareness with scalding pressure. He felt like a bivalve at the tide-edge of the universe. History was collapsing within him and he could only remember the ages of his crime ...' (Frank Herbert, The Heaven Makers, 1968) [BA]
The Gap into Thogness: Clench and Aura. 'Angus' heart clenched in a grimace which didn't show on his face.' 'Her shoulders hunched into a clench of disgust, which she deflected into a shrug.' 'Nick let out a clenched laugh.' 'Above his open mouth, his eyes blinked like cries.' 'His aura yowled of furies that didn't show on his face.' 'The smears on his lenses refracted his blue gaze into streams of hope and apprehension.' 'His eyes slid off as if they'd lost their grip.' 'The air had grown viscid with mortality.' (all Stephen R. Donaldson, The Gap into Madness: Chaos and Order, 1994) [AR]

Geeks' Corner

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• 9 May 2014: Dr Nick Hawes (Senior Lecturer in Intelligent Robotics, University of Birmingham) talks to the Brum Group, Briar Rose Hotel, Bennett's Hill, Birmingham city centre, 7:30pm for 8pm; £4 or £3 for members. Contact bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk or rog dot peyton at btinternet dot com. Future meetings: 13 June 2014, Stephen Hunt; 11 July 2014, Sam Stone and David Howe; 8 August 2014, TBA; 12 September 2014, Chris Morgan; 10 October 2014, Richard Ashton; 7 November 2014, Storm Constantine; 5 December 2014, Christmas Social.

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

R.I.P. II. Al Feldstein (1925-2014), US comics writer/artist – with EC Comics 1948-1956, working on Tales from the Crypt and other genre classics – and editor of Mad magazine for 28 years from 1956, died on 29 April aged 88. He received the 2011 Bram Stoker Award for life achievement in horror.
Carl Ruhen (1937-2013), prolific Australian pulp author whose 78 books include some horror and, with Terry Hayes and George Miller, the novelization of Mad Max 2 (1981), died on 28 November 2013 aged 76. [JC]

Editorial. I was wrong to complain last issue that the cost of airmailing Ansible had risen from 88p to 97p. This information came from my local post office, but the official rates leaflet reveals that 97p is for continental Europe only: Australasia and the USA, where all my airmailed copies go, now start at £1.28. Not a 10% rise but over 45%. Bloody hell.
• Here on a happier note is an interview with me and John Clute at Amazing Stories, and a teaser at SF Gateway about their ebook of my first Discworld quizbook: /

Outraged Letters II. Petréa Mitchell joins the Things Your Editor Didn't Know About Thog chorus: 'Were you previously aware of Thog's other life as a Muppet? I'm currently reading Blood's a Rover by D.J. Bershaw, where I came across this line: "For a minute or two, as we bounced along, I tried to think which muppets Farrell and I could be, but that turned out to be a dead end, except maybe Thag and Thog, the two big critters from that Christmas special with Art Carney." There's a complete dossier on Thog here:'

Thog's Second Helping. Dept of Oh Sniffle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad: 'The face that greeted him in his mirror was as wrinkled and used as a sheet of crumpled tissue.' (Stephen R. Donaldson, The Gap into Madness: Chaos and Order, 1994) [AR]

Ansible 322 Copyright © David Langford, 2014. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Mike Ashley, Alex Bardy, John Clute, Jonathan Cowie, Paul Di Filippo, Mark Fuller Dillon, File 770, Mike Glyer, Steve Green, Martyn P. Jackson, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Adam Roberts, SF Site, Gordon Van Gelder, Peter Wareham, Andrew Wells, Martin Morse Wooster, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (BSFG), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 2 May 2014.