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Ansible 325, August 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 or a mulbus, a crawg, and a common creeb.

Loncon or Bust. Yes, I'll be at the London Worldcon, though not with scores of programme appearances: only the heavily populated panel 'Evolution of the SF Encyclopedia' (6pm Friday). Otherwise I'll be wandering round seeking cutting-edge gossip and failing to hear it. SF Encyclopedia news: on 1 August the online text passed the 4.5 million words mark and John Clute's personal word count exceeded 2 million.

The Doom of the Great City

Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro are the two winners of the World Fantasy Award life achievement honour for 2014.

Albus Dumbledore headed the Times Educational Supplement poll for UK teachers' favourite role model. (Independent, 25 July) [MPJ]

Gregory Feeley, reading a Hugo nominee, was 'fascinated by the eruption of eyebrows beginning in Chapter 5. Although it was only with the arrival of the character Strigan that eyebrows began to be raised, cocked, and twitched, pretty soon other characters were doing it, too. Is the author telling us, with Wolfean subtlety, that some kind of infection is spreading among her characters?' Thus, Dept of Ancillary Eyebrows: 'Strigan held the icon out, raised a steel-gray eyebrow.' 'She raised an eyebrow, tilted her head slightly.' 'Strigan said nothing, only twitched one gray eyebrow.' '... she walked into the main living space, stopped, folded her arms, and cocked an eyebrow.' 'Anaander Mianaai turned to her, eyebrow raised.' 'The eyebrow rose farther.' 'Strigan raised an eyebrow ...' 'Strigan raised one skeptical eyebrow.' '... the siren elicited no more than an upward glance and a raised eyebrow.' 'The Lord of the Radch raised one graying eyebrow.' 'Anaander Mianaai [...] raised one grayed eyebrow.' 'Strigan cocked one gray eyebrow ...' 'She raised one eyebrow, and then another, disbelieving.' 'It was my turn to raise a skeptical eyebrow.' 'Lieutenant Issaaia raised an eyebrow.' 'She raised an eyebrow.' 'Moments later, at the mention of Ime, eyebrows twitched.' 'Her eyebrows twitched just slightly.' 'She lifted an eyebrow.' 'It was guaranteed to lift Radchaai eyebrows ...' 'Inspector Supervisor Skaaiat raised an eyebrow ...' 'I raised an eyebrow.' 'I raised one eyebrow and a shoulder ...' 'At Inspector Supervisor Skaaiat's raised eyebrow Seivarden added ...' '[P]eople had stared and whispered, or just raised their eyebrows.' 'Seivarden lifted an eyebrow briefly.' 'I raised an eyebrow, incredulous.' 'I raised an eyebrow ...' 'Seivarden raised an eyebrow, sardonic.' 'I stopped and turned to look at Seivarden, raised an eyebrow.' 'This security officer did not even twitch an eyebrow.' 'The right-hand Mianaai lifted an eyebrow.' 'Mianaai lifted an eyebrow.' 'Anaander Mianaai raised an eyebrow ...' 'I didn't answer, didn't even raise an eyebrow.' 'I turned my head [...] and raised an eyebrow.' (all Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice, 2013)

Tove Jansson of Moomintroll fame appears on a new two-Euro coin from the Mint of Finland, marking her birth centenary in August.

Kim Newman announced: 'So I'll be letting my Horror Writers Association membership expire.' This was in response to the HWA vote to allow self-published works as an active membership qualification, provided they earn $2000 within two years of publication. Various commentators say SFWA [must never/urgently needs to] follow suit.

Terry Pratchett sadly cancelled his Discworld convention guest-of-honour appearance in August: 'I am very sorry about this, but I have been dodging the effects of PCA [posterior cortical atrophy] and have been able to write for much longer than any of us ever thought possible, but now The Embuggerance is finally catching up with me, along with other age-related ailments.' (Guardian, 2 July) Ouch.


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

2 Aug • Super Relaxed Fantasy Club (with the BSFA and British Fantasy Society), Brigantes Bar & Brasserie, 114 Micklegate, York, YO1 6JX. 4pm-late, with readings by assorted authors. Free to all.

5 Aug - 8 Sep • SF Linkcons, various studio and location tours in and around London. Can you crack the code at

8-10 Aug • Nine Worlds Geekfest (multimedia), Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow. Now £95 reg until 6 August when advance booking closes; £100 at the door. Book at

9-24 Aug • Stripped 2014: Edinburgh Book Festival comics and graphic-novel items. With Mike Carey, Brian & Mary Talbot, others. See

SOLD OUT 9-11 Aug • Discworld Convention, Palace Hotel, Manchester. Waiting list for cancellations at

12 Aug • Fantasy in the Court (mass genre signing), Goldsboro Books, Cecil Court. London. 6-9pm. £5 redeemable against purchase.

13 Aug • Gollancz Festival (talks, readings, signing), Waterstones Piccadilly, London. £6. See

13 Aug & 19 AugLondon Fannish Walking Tour led by Rob Hansen. 2:30pm. See

14 Aug • BSFA Open Meeting, Canada Water Library, 21 Surrey Quays Rd, London SE16 7AR. 6pm prompt. With Ian MacDonald. Free.

14-18 Aug • Loncon 3 (72nd Worldcon), ExCeL centre, London Docklands. £135 reg; £300 family; £75 YA; £35 child (6-15); £5 infant (0-5); supporting membership £25. See

19 August 2014: HarperVoyager Event, Freemasons' Hall, 60 Great Queen St, London, WC2B 5AZ. With George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb. £45 (inc new Hobb book). Tickets at

20 Aug • Biology and Manners: Worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold (conference), Anglia Ruskin U, Cambridge. £60; £25 concessions. See

22-24 Aug • Shamrokon (Eurocon), Hilton Doubletree, Burlington Road (formerly the Burlington Hotel), Dublin. Now €40 reg, and the same at the door: concessions €30 at door; under-22s €20 at door. Join online, or ask where to send a cheque, at

18 Nov • Tolkien in Oxford (symposium), Merton College, Oxford. All day:

3-6 Apr 2015 • Dysprosium (Eastercon), Park Inn, London Heathrow. £60 reg, rising to £70 on 20 August and £80 on 1 February; £25 supp/under-18s, £15 under-12s, £5 infants. Contact 101 Ninian Rd, Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 6NB. £20 discount until 20 August for presupporters joining online at

Worldcon Bids. The Paris bid is now for 2023 – with Disneyland as likely venue; see – leaving Dublin in 2019 unopposed.

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Us. 'And, of course, for those who still feel obliged to read something semi-respectable but prefer not to trouble themselves with heavy lifting, there is science fiction, as well as the fantastic adventure tales that don't quite fit into that genre but are the next best thing.' (Algis Valiunas on Jules Verne, Weekly Standard, 27 July) [MMW]

Awards. Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery: Mildred Clingerman. [JC] Prometheus. NOVEL (tie): Cory Doctorow, Homeland, and Ramez Naam, Nexus. HALL OF FAME Lois McMaster Bujold, Falling Free. SPECIAL Leslie Fish, 'The Horsetamer's Daughter' (filk song) and its novella retelling 'Tower of Horses'.
Seiun (Japanese) for translations: LONG Peter Watts, Blindsight, trans Yoichi Shimada. SHORT Ken Liu, 'The Paper Menagerie', trans Furusawa Yoshimi-dori. [L]

The Weakest Link. Ewen Cameron: 'It lives in a hutch. Bugs Bunny is one of them.' Contestant: 'An owl?' (Heart FM, Glasgow) [PE]

R.I.P. Margot Adler (1946-2014), US radio journalist (creator of the sf/fantasy reading programme Hour of the Wolf), Clarion attendee and author whose books include the nonfiction Vampires Are Us (2014), died on 28 July aged 68. [JS]
Skye Cole Bartusiak (1992-2014), who debuted in Stephen King's Storm of the Century (1999), died on 19 July aged 21. Other genre credits include Firestarter 2: Rekindled (2002), Lost (2005) and Boogeyman (2005). [MMW]
Thomas Berger (1924-2014), US author best known for the quasi-Western Little Big Man (1964), several of whose novels explored sf themes – from cryonics in Vital Parts (1960) to androids in Adventures of the Artificial Woman (2004) – died on 13 July. He was 89. [AIP]
Dora Bryan (1923-2014), BAFTA-winning UK actress whose genre credits range from Vampire over London (1952) and Alice Through the Looking Box (1960) to MirrorMask (2005), died on 23 July aged 91. [HB]
Neil Craig, proprietor since the early 1980s of Glasgow's sf books and comics shop Futureshock, died unexpectedly on 29 June; he was 59. [JS]
J.T. Edson (1928-2014), UK author famed for Westerns, who also wrote the Tarzan-inspired Bunduki sf series opening with Bunduki (1975), died on 17 July aged 86. [DP]
James Garner (1928-2014), US actor whose genre credits include Space (1985 tv), Fire in the Sky (1993), God, the Devil and Bob (2000 tv as the voice of God), Space Cowboys (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and Battle for Terra (2007), died on 19 July aged 86. [O]
Curt Gentry (1931-2014), US author whose disaster novel The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California (1968) drops Los Angeles and most of California into the sea, died on 10 July aged 83. [JC]
• Late notice: Isidore Haiblum (1935-2012), US author of The Wilk Are Among Us (1975) and other comic sf infused with Yiddish humour, died on 25 October 2012 aged 77. [WGC]
Bob Hastings (1925-2014), US actor whose early tv credits included Captain Video (1949), Atom Squad (1953) and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (1955), died on 30 June aged 89. He appeared in many other sf series and frequently voiced Commissioner Gordon in Batman and Superman animations. [MMW]
C.J. Henderson (1951-2014), US author whose work included horror, urban fantasy – the Teddy London series opening with The Things That Are Not There (1992) – and comics, died on 4 July aged 62.
Dickie Jones (1927-2014), US actor who voiced the title character of the Disney animated film Pinocchio (1940), died on 7 July aged 87. [MPJ]
• Late notice: Louise Lawrence (Elizabeth Holden, 1943-2013), UK author of much tough-minded YA genre fiction including the 'Wyndcliffe' and 'Llandor' fantasy series plus several standalone sf novels with varied settings, died on 6 December 2013; she was 70.
Dave Legeno (1963-2014), UK martial artist and actor who was in Batman Begins (2005) and played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in three Harry Potter films, was found dead – apparently from heatstroke – near Death Valley on 6 July. He was 50. [MPJ]
Ray Lonnen (1940-2014), UK actor in the tv The Guardians (1971), Doctor Who (1973), Johnny and the Dead (1995), Budgie the Little Helicopter (1994-1996 voice), Starhunter (2001) and others, died on 11 July aged 74. [MMW]
William C. Martin (1924-2014), US fan involved in fandom since 1934, a member of First Fandom and the SF Research Association, died on 22 June; he was 89. [JLC]
Phillip Marshak, US director of Dracula Sucks (1978), Space Virgins (1984), Night Train to Terror (1985) and others, died on 27 July aged 80. [GW]
Don Matheson (1929-2014), US actor best known for Land of the Giants (1968-1970), died on 29 June aged 84; he also appeared in Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. [PDF]
Ana María Matute (1925-2014), distinguished Spanish author whose novels often included fantasy/supernatural elements, died on 25 June aged 88. Her many awards include the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honour. [JCo]
Christopher Mitchell, C.S. Lewis scholar who was director 1994-2013 of the Marion E. Wade Center of Wheaton College, Illinois – a research collection devoted to the Inklings, Chesterton and other UK authors – died on 10 July aged 63. [F770]
Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014), US author whose popular YA stories (two were Newbery Honor Books) include the sf Brainstorm (1977), died on 1 July aged 76. [JC]
Frederick I. Ordway III (1927-2014), US NASA scientist and author of books on spaceflight, died on 1 July aged 87. As Stanley Kubrick's 2001 scientific consultant, he designed several spacecraft for that film. [GD]
Lawrence P. Santoro, US horror author and podcast host at Tales to Terrify, whose story collection is Drink for the Thirst to Come (2011), died on 25 July aged 71. [SFS]
Jan Shepheard (1935-2014), UK designer and art editor for various comics including Valiant, 2000 AD (where she created the Judge Dredd title logo) from its 1977 launch and Starlord, died on 27 June. [GW]
Jory Sherman (1932-2014), US author of many Westerns and the seven-book 'Chill' psychic-investigator series beginning with Satan's Seed (1978), died on 28 June; he was 81. [SFS]
Dick Smith (1922-2014), Oscar-winning US make-up artist whose films include The Exorcist (1973) and Scanners (1981), died on 30 July aged 92. [GW]
Elaine Stritch (1925-2014), US actress seen in Cocoon: The Return (1988) and 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001), died on 17 July aged 89. [JL]
Richard Vine (1959-2014) UK fan – in Sweden for the last 20 years – who worked on the first three Unicons (1980-1982) and the UK worldcon Conspiracy '87, died on 29 June; he was 54. [CH]

Death of Print Predicted, 1968. 'I am perfectly willing to assume that the magazine of the year 2000 will be an attractively decorated gelatin capsule. The subscriber swallows it with a beverage of his choice and – VROOOMMM! In iridescent colors, the whole of the magazine will be performed in the theater of the mind – small problems of separating fiction and nonfiction having been solved.' (William A. Emerson Jr, editor, Saturday Evening Post, 10 August 1968) [MMW]

World Fantasy Awards. Novel shortlist: Richard Bowes, Dust Devil on a Quiet Street; Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons; Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane; Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria; Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni; Gene Wolfe, The Land Across. More at

GRRM Is Still Everywhere. A US conservative columnist explains the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision (that corporations, those devout creatures, can restrict contraceptive coverage by employee health insurance for religious reasons) in easy-to-understand terms: 'If I like to dress up as a character from Game of Thrones on weekends, pretending to fight snow zombies and treating my mutt like she's a mystical direwolf, that's none of my employer's business. But if I ask my employer to pay for my trip to a Game of Thrones fan convention, I am asking him to make it his business. If my employer refuses, that may or may not be unfair, but it's his right. If, in response, I go to the convention and have the government force my employer to pay for my travel, that only makes things worse.' (US syndicated papers, 2 July) [MMW]

Random Fandom. Velma (Vijay) Bowen, former TAFF winner, needs help to survive the brutal cost of US cancer surgery and chemotherapy: see

Man Booker Prize. Titles of genre interest on the 13-book longlist: Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; Howard Jacobson, J; David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks; Richard Powers, Orfeo. [L]

Court Circular. The US Supreme Court rejected the Conan Doyle estate's 'emergency petition' against the 7th Circuit decision (see A324) that pre-1923 Sherlock Holmes stories are in the public domain. [MPJ]

The Dead Past. 30 Years Ago: 'Arthur C. Clarke was recently in town [Washington DC], making his cinematic debut as "a wine-sucking bum" in 2010: The Sequel. Clarke's ascent to bumdom was reportedly not a success: attempts to film him feeding breadcrumbs to pigeons were interrupted by a marathon, a walkathon, Pres. Reagan's helicopter [etc ...]. As a result, the scene was cut from the film. "If you can't be a successful bum," Clarke says, "the next best thing is a writer."' [MMW] (Ansible 39, August 1984)
Neil Gaiman, in the same issue, gloated over how he'd aroused the wrath of Tanith Lee by tactfully describing her in an interview as 'obviously once attractive'. (Ibid)

C.o.A. Harry Bell, 7 Beaconsfield Crescent, Low Fell, Gateshead, NE9 5XR. Brian & Anne Gray, 791 Spring Lane, York, PA 17403, USA.

Fanfundery. Corflu Fifty: this informal fan fund, operating by consensus rather than vote, will bring Geri Sullivan to the 2015 Corflu in Newcastle; she hopes to attend Eastercon too. More C50 information available from Rob Jackson: jacksonshambrook at uwclub dot net.

Thog's Masterclass. Tedious Eyeballs in the Sky. 'His boring eyes fixed themselves in Jeremy's face. They deepened in color, became luminous, virulent, flaming again. And Jeremy, staggering from the force of them, reeled backward.' (Hugh B. Cave, 'Murgunstrumm', January 1933 Strange Tales) [BA]
Ejaculatory Dept. '"The Automaton!" escaped involuntarily from all lips.' (The Master Mystery [Harry Houdini film novelization], Arthur B. Reeve & John W. Grey, 1919) [SC]
As Opposed to the Noisy Kind: 'In Oland the dawn comes along the straight line of the horizon like a silent, dazzling light ...' (Johan Theorin, Echoes from the Dead, trans Marlaine Delargy 2008) [PB]
Piercing Dept. 'The sound of Eddie's voice had been an injection through the ear.' (William McIlvanney, The Papers of Tony Veitch, 1983) [PB]
Dept of Metaphor. 'She smiled, and Harkness's head turned a somersault. [...] Harkness decided it was an Amazon of a smile and he knew what he wanted to be: an explorer.' (Ibid)
Reaction Shot. 'Calcified, he stood peering up, his heart collapsing inside him.' (Philip K. Dick, 'A Game of Unchance' July 1964 Amazing) [BA]
Neat Tricks Dept. 'I had barely time to secrete myself before he turned. Luckily, the wall beside me was irregular with protuberances, and I was able to pack myself into one of them.' (Hugh B Cave, 'The Door of Doom', January 1932 Strange Tales) [BA]
• 'Masters hoisted his beef with two hands, took a bite, and looked at me through hunched shoulders as he chewed.' (Michael Harvey, The Chicago Way, 2007) [PB]
• 'She looked back at Marnes, saw him frowning at her beneath his moustache.' (Hugh Howey, Wool, 2011) [AK]

Geeks' Corner

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• 8 August 2014: Brum Group Summer Social at The Bull, 1 Price Street, Birmingham, B4 6JU. 7:30pm for 8pm. Places should be reserved in advance. Contact bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk or rog dot peyton at btinternet dot com. Future meetings (£4 or £3 for members) at the usual venue the Briar Rose Hotel, Bennett's Hill, Birmingham city centre: 12 September 2014, Chris Morgan; 10 October 2014, Richard Ashton; 7 November 2014, Storm Constantine; 5 December 2014, Christmas Social.
• 9 August 2014: Robin Hobb signing, Waterstone's Reading Oracle, Reading. 1pm. Free. Enquiries 0118 9503400.

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

The Dead Past II. 30 Years Ago, we were proud to offer a little spiritual uplift from William McGonagall: 'And when Life's prospects may at times appear dreary to ye, / Remember Alois Senefelder, the discoverer of lithography.' (Ansible 39, August 1984)

R.I.P. II. Robert Halmi (1924-2014), Hungarian-born producer of many genre tv series and tv films including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997), Gulliver's Travels (1996), Alice in Wonderland (1999), Animal Farm (1999), Earthsea (2004), Hogfather (2006), Neverland (2011) and the forthcoming Olympus (2015), died on 30 July aged 90. [MPJ]

Fanfundery II. Some of Bob Shaw's home-made stained glass will feature in the fan funds auctions at Loncon 3 and perhaps also Shamrokon:

Thog's Second Helping. Claire M. Jordan shares a passage from Dracula which she and others found somehow too comical to finish reading aloud. 'If I remember correctly, it was the quivering nostrils which did it for me, the waggly eyebrows which did it for [a friend] and the lumpy forehead which reduced my mother to convulsions of hilarity.' Introducing the splendid and phrenologically notable Van Helsing:

'... he came towards me, a man of medium weight, strongly built, with his shoulders set back over a broad, deep chest and a neck well balanced on the trunk as the head is on the neck. The poise of the head strikes me at once as indicative of thought and power. The head is noble, well-sized, broad, and large behind the ears. The face, cleanshaven, shows a hard, square chin, a large resolute, mobile mouth, a good-sized nose, rather straight, but with quick, sensitive nostrils, that seem to broaden as the big bushy brows come down and the mouth tightens. The forehead is broad and fine, rising at first almost straight and then sloping back above two bumps or ridges wide apart, such a forehead that the reddish hair cannot possibly tumble over it, but falls naturally back and to the sides. Big, dark blue eyes are set widely apart, and are quick and tender or stern with the man's moods.' (Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897)

Ansible 325 Copyright © David Langford, 2014. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, Harry Bell, Steve Carper, John Clute, Jonathan Cowie, William G. Contento, J.L. Coker, Gordon Davie, Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Martyn P. Jackson, Amanda Kear, Jim Linwood, Locus, Omega, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Joyce Scrivner, SF Site, Steven H Silver, Jim Steel, Gary Wilkinson, Martin Morse Wooster, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). Onward to Loncon 3! 1 August 2014.