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Ansible 336, July 2015

Cartoon: Brad W. Foster

From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Brad W. Foster. Available for SAE, collapsium or a piece of the congohelium.

Me Again with more musty old stuff. Crosstalk: Interviews Conducted by David Langford is a collection of (surprise!) interviews with genre writers, first published from 1976 to 2001. Trade paperback and ebook versions available. Read all about it at

The Oracle of the Dog

Susan Allison, Berkley Publishing Group vice-president and editorial director, retires on 1 July after more than 40 years in publishing and more than 33 years with Penguin. (Publishers Lunch) [AIP]

Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, received the CBE in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours. Other genre-related honours included an OBE for Steven Moffat, believed to have something to do with Doctor Who, and a CBE for the ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch.
• Down Under, ultra-prolific romance writer Valerie Parv – whose sf venture is Birthright (2012) – became a member of the Order of Australia. [PV]

Godzilla, alias Gojira, has been made an official resident of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, for 'Promoting the entertainment of and watching over the Kabuki-cho neighborhood and drawing visitors from around the globe in the form of the Godzilla head built atop the Shinjuku Toho Building.' (, 30 May) [MPJ] Also, presumably, for services to urban renewal by stepping on local eyesores.

Rhianna Pratchett made it clear: 'To reiterate – No I don't intend on writing more Discworld novels, or giving anyone else permission to do so. They are sacred to dad.' (Twitter, 5 June)

J.R.R. Tolkien was in the news again when a 1937 first edition of The Hobbit auctioned at Sotheby's on 4 June fetched a record £137,000. (BBC, 4 June) Part of the attraction was Tolkien's calligraphic verse inscription, described in the Sotheby's catalogue as Elvish but very soon identified as Old English. Oops. (The Globe and Mail, 5 June) [MPJ]


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

2 Jul • London First Thursday pub meeting, from 6pm or earlier, now back at the old pub after refurbishment – name changed from The Melton Mowbray to The Inn of Court. 18 Holborn, London, EC1N 2LE.

4 Jul • Tolkien Society Seminar, Hilton Hotel, Leeds, LS1 4BX.

See .

7-8 Jul • Locating Fantastika (academic conference), Lancaster University. Free. See

11 Jul • Edge-Lit 4, Cinema One, QUAD Centre, Derby. Tickets £30. Book online at

17-19 Jul • SF Foundation Masterclass in SF Criticism, Royal Observatory, Greenwich. £200 (postgrads £150). For fuller details see

22 Jul • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. With Rebecca Levene. Free.

7-9 Aug • Nine Worlds Geekfest (multimedia), Heathrow. £95; child £47.50. Advance booking online only at

19-23 Aug • Sasquan (Worldcon), Spokane Convention Center, Spokane, WA, USA. $210 reg; $105 YA/military; $90 child; $40 supp. Advance registration closes 2 August: $240 at the door. See

28-31 Aug • The Asylum (steampunk), Lincoln. Tickets £35 (day £13), under-17s £18 (£6.50), plus fees. See

23-25 Oct • Fantasycon, Orchard Hotel, Nottingham. £65 reg; couples £110; under-16s £30; under-5s free. Rates to rise 1 July, but no price update at when Ansible went to press. [Later update: £75 reg; couples £130; under-16s £35; under-5s free. Big discounts for British Fantasy Society members. Further increase on 1 September.]

12-15 Nov • Gatecon (Stargate/Farscape), Holiday Inn, Brentford Lock, London. 'Early bird' tickets £100; £45 per day Friday, Saturday or Sunday; banquet £30 extra. See

4-5 Jul 2016 • Global Fantastika (academic conference), Lancaster University. See as above.

Rumblings. Final Alert: the 2015 Hugo voting deadline is 31 July. See ... Worldcon membership number and PIN required. For the WSFS Business Meeting agenda and proposed Hugo rules changes, go to More proposals may be yet added, up to the 6 August cutoff date.

Infinitely Improbable

Dept of Prophetic Speech: 'I am Groot.' (Michael Moorcock, The War Hound and the World's Pain, 1981) [TMcD]

Awards. John W. Campbell Memorial: Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.
Lambda Award SF/F/H category, Chaz Brenchley, Bitter Waters.
Nebulas: NOVEL Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation. NOVELLA Nancy Kress, Yesterday's Kin. NOVELETTE Alaya Dawn Johnson, 'A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i' (7-8/14 F&SF). SHORT Ursula Vernon, 'Jackalope Wives' (1/7/14 Apex). DRAMATIC Guardians of the Galaxy. YA Alaya Dawn Johnson, Love Is the Drug.
Science Fiction Hall of Fame: James E. Gunn, Georges Méliès, John Schoenherr and Kurt Vonnegut. [L]
Seiun (Japan) for translated work: LONG Andy Weir trans Kazuko Onoda, The Martian. SHORT Pat Cadigan trans Yooichi Shimada, 'The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi'. [SFS]
Sturgeon Award (short): Cory Doctorow, 'The Man Who Sold the Moon' (Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future). [F770]

Happy Juxtaposition. Discovered in a listing of books for sale: 'A student of archeology in a magical world comes across a sentient book that used to be a sorcerer. No remainder marks, not price-clipped, does not appear to have been read. Minor bumping to one edge, slight edge wear to jacket ...' [BA] Pointy hat slightly foxed.

R.I.P. Phil Austin (1941-2015) of the radio/recorded comedy group The Firesign Theatre – whose albums Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (1970) and I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus (1971) were Dramatic Presentation Hugo finalists – died on 18 June aged 74.
Paul Bacon (1923-2015), US graphic artist whose more than 6,500 book covers include over 100 for sf novels, died on 8 June; he was 91. [PDF]
Katherine Chappell (1985-2015), US film visual effects editor whose credits include Game of Thrones, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Godzilla (2014), was killed by a lioness in Lion Park, Johannesburg, on 1 June; she was 29. [PDF]
Robert Chartoff (1933-2015), Oscar-winning US producer whose best-known genre film was Ender's Game (2013), died on 10 June aged 81. [MPJ]
Callisto Cosulich (1922-2015), Italian actor/writer who scripted the original Planet of the Vampires (1965), died on 6 June aged 92. [PDF]
Rick Ducommun (1952-2015), Canadian actor/comedian whose genre films include Spaceballs (1987), Gremlins 2 (1990) and Groundhog Day (1993), died on 12 June aged 62. [PDF]
Chris Gilmore (1947-2013), Interzone reviewer in the David Pringle era, freelance copyeditor who worked on Spectrum SF, and author of a few short stories, died on 6 May 2013 aged 66. [DP]
Julie Harris (1921-2015), Oscar-winning UK costume designer who worked on three James Bond films plus The Land That Time Forgot (1975), Rollerball (1975) and The Great Muppet Caper (1981), died on 30 May; she was 94. [MPJ]
James Horner (1953-2015), Oscar-winning US composer of film scores whose genre credits include Star Trek II (1982), Star Trek III (1984), Cocoon (1985), Aliens (1986), Field of Dreams (1989), The Rocketeer (1991), Deep Impact (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999), Avatar (2009) and many more, died in a small-plane crash on 22 June; he was 61. [MH]
Wolfgang Jeschke (1936-2015), Czech-born German sf author, fan, editor and publisher (the long-time sf specialist at Heyne) whose first novel was Der letzte Tag der Schöpfung (1981; trans as The Last Day of Creation 1982), died on 10 June; he was 78. [DP]
Richard Johnson (1927-2015), UK actor whose credits include The Haunting (1963), Zombie (1979) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), died on 6 June aged 87. [PDF]
Hiroshi Koizumi (1926-2015), Japanese actor seen in Godzilla Raids Again (1955) and many more films starring Godzilla/Gojira or other monsters, died on 31 May; he was 88. [MPJ]
Sir Christopher Lee (1922-2015), UK actor most famed for his many Hammer Films portrayals of Dracula and perhaps most loved as the Laird in The Wicker Man (1973) – with further memorable appearances in the Fu-Manchu, James Bond, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Hobbit franchises – died on 7 June aged 93. Early monstrous rôles for Hammer included The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and The Mummy (1959). His autobiography is Tall, Dark and Gruesome (1977; exp 1997). He was knighted in 2009.
Graham Lord (1943-2015), Rhodesia-born UK author whose genre ventures were God and All His Angels (1976) and A Party to Die For (1997), died on 13 June aged 72. [PDF]
Patrick Macnee (1922-2015), UK actor forever identified with The Avengers at its 1961-1969 classical best – which featured many weird and science-fictional tropes – died on 25 June aged 93. Other genre credits include Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979: several roles), The Howling (1981) and Lobster Man from Mars (1989). [AW]
Ron Moody (1924-2015), UK actor whose genre credits included The Mouse on the Moon (1963), Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979) and Into the Labyrinth (tv 1981-1982), died on June 11; he was 91. [SFS]
Earl Norem (1924-2015), US artist who painted for Masters of the Universe and other pop-culture franchises, died on 19 June; though 91 he was still working, on a Mars Attacks trading card project. [PDF]
Jack Rollins (1915-2015), executive producer (usually jointly; not always credited) of Woody Allen's films, including Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex ... (1972), Sleeper (1973) and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), died on 18 June; he was 100. [MMW]
Charles W. Runyon (1928-2015), US author of thrillers and some sf – including Pig World (1971) and three other novels – died on 8 June; he was 87.
Kazuya Tatekabe (1934-2015), Japanese voice actor best known for the anime series Doraemon (1979-2005 tv, plus specials and films), died on 18 June aged 80. [PDF]
Mary Ellen Trainor (1952-2015), US actress whose credits include Back to the Future II (1989), Death Becomes Her (1992) and Freaky Friday (2003), died on 20 May aged 62. [PDF]
Dick Van Patten (1928-2015), US actor whose films include Westworld (1973), Freaky Friday (1976), Spaceballs (1987) and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), died on 23 June; he was 86.

The Weakest Link. Bradley Walsh: 'In the works of Tolkien the Shire was originally made up of four sub-divisions known as what? A. Farthings. B. Pennies. C. Shillings. You've put – Pennies.' Contestant (who had revealed earlier that his favourite book is The Hobbit): 'That was another guess I'm afraid.' (ITV, The Chase, 1 June) [MPJ]

Locus Awards SF Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword. FANTASY Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor. DEBUT Mary Rickert, The Memory Garden. YA Joe Abercrombie, Half a King. NOVELLA Nancy Kress, Yesterday's Kin. NOVELETTE Joe Abercrombie, 'Tough Times All Over' (Rogues). SHORT Amal El-Mohtar, 'The Truth About Owls' (Kaleidoscope). ANTHOLOGY Rogues ed. George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois. COLLECTION Jay Lake, Last Plane to Heaven. NONFICTION Jo Walton, What Makes This Book So Great. ART BOOK Spectrum 21 ed. John Fleskes. ARTIST John Picacio. EDITOR Ellen Datlow. MAGAZINE (first online winner of a category won by Asimov's or F&SF every year 1987-2014). PUBLISHER Tor.

As Others See Some Of Us. Under the irresistible headline 'Secret files reveal police feared that Trekkies could turn on society', the Telegraph explained: 'For years Star Trek fans – known as Trekkies – have been the butt of jokes about their penchant for wearing pointy ears and attending science fiction conventions. / But the police feared British fans of the cult American show might boldly go a little too far one day. / It has emerged that Scotland Yard kept a secret dossier on Star Trek, The X-Files, and other US sci fi shows amid fears that British fans would go mad and kill themselves, turn against society or start a weird cult. / The American TV shows Roswell and Dark Skies and the film The Lawnmower Man were also monitored to protect the country from rioting and cyber attacks. / Special Branch was concerned that people hooked on such material could go into a frenzy triggered by the millennium leading to anarchy.' (17 May) [MC] One feels so protected.

Outraged Letters. Barry N. Malzberg heroically resists the urge to comment on the revealed cutting edge of literary workshopping: 'Claudia Ballard: I ran into Rob Spillman, the editor of Tin House recently and he was telling me that he's teaching a class at his MFA program this semester that's all first paragraphs ... All you can bring in is a first paragraph and those paragraphs are all you workshop the entire semester. I think that is so brilliant.' (Literary agents' panel in Poets & Writers, July 2015)
Mike Moorcock on Simon Pegg's qualms (see A335): 'Pegg raises a valid point. I reached a crossroads in my life at 21 when I had to decide was I going to watch fantasy films and read comics for the rest of my life or was I going to watch only films about real life issues. A question millions face daily.' (1 June)

Random Fandom. Best Saga. The proposed new Hugo category for novel series caused some stir, both in its own right (series novels are regular contenders for Best Novel) and because it came coupled with a proposal to abolish the long-established Best Novelette – leading N.K. Jemisin to post the noble sentence, 'Do you mean to throw a level playing field under the bus, to give more affirmative action to successful white men?' That unpopular clause has since been dropped; Best Saga still needs to be passed by the 2015 and 2016 WSFS business meetings.

Court Circular. Resolving a stupendously boring trademark dispute, Canadian disc jockey Joel 'Deadmau5' Zimmerman has reached an unspecified agreement with Disney about the vaguely Mickey-like mouse head (with 'dead' X-ed out eyes) that he wears on stage and insanely attempted to trademark in the USA last year. (BBC) [MPJ]

Mythopoeic Awards shortlist. ADULT Sarah Avery, Tales from Rugosa Coven; Stephanie Feldman, The Angel of Losses; Theodora Goss, Songs for Ophelia; Joanne M. Harris, The Gospel of Loki; Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key series (6 volumes).
CHILDREN'S Jonathan Auxier, The Night Gardener; Merrie Haskell, The Castle Behind Thorns; Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones, The Islands of Chaldea; Robin LaFevers, His Fair Assassin series (3 volumes); Natalie Lloyd, A Snicker of Magic.
SCHOLARSHIP: INKLINGS Robert Boenig, C.S. Lewis and the Middle Ages; Monika B. Hilder, C.S. Lewis and Gender series (3 volumes); John Wm. Houghton, Janet Brennan Croft, Nancy Martsch, John D. Rateliff, and Robin Anne Reid, eds., Tolkien in the New Century: Essays in Honor of Tom Shippey; John Garth, Tolkien at Exeter College: How an Undergraduate Created Middle-earth; J.R.R. Tolkien ed. Christopher Tolkien, Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, Together with Sellic Spell.
SCHOLARSHIP: OTHER Brian Attebery, Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth; Daniel Gabelman, George MacDonald: Divine Carelessness and Fairytale Levity; Sara Maitland, From the Forest: The Hidden Roots of our Fairy Tales; Michael Saler, As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality; Kristen Stirling, Peter Pan's Shadows in the Modern Literary Imagination.

The Dead Past. 40 Years Ago, hubris was clobbered by nemesis: 'How about a new definition of science fiction? It's about things going wrong.' (Brian Aldiss, Vector 69, Summer 1975.)
20 Years Ago, a note on the joy of freelancing: 'After nearly four years of heroic accountancy, I. Clark, Liquidator of Newsfield Ltd (remember Fear? GMI?), has scraped together some £200,000 of assets, awarded himself a meagre £30,000 fee, and paid off creditors at 8.87p in the pound. I am having my generous £17.72 cheque framed....' (Ansible 96, July 1995)
10 Years Ago, the 7/7 London bombs did not prevent the First Thursday sf pub meeting – held with a turnout of just six fans in The Printer's Devil, since the usual pub had closed its doors. (Ansible 217, August 2005)
2 Years Ago, Science Fiction Awards Watch urged us to cast our Hugo votes by 31 July 2013. That's still the latest post at

C.o.A. Richard Curtis Associates Inc, 200 East 72nd Street: Suite 28J, New York, NY 10021, USA. Guy & Rosy Lillian, 1390 Holly Avenue, Merritt Island, FL 32952, USA.

Fanfundery. DUFF: Lucy Huntzinger has launched the long-awaited official website for this fund, at
GUFF 2016 'will feature the suave and sophisticated Jukka Halme running against the ever-prestigious and somewhat mysterious Hold Over Funds.' [GP] Online voting and downloadable ballots coming soon at The winner will attend the 2016 Brisbane NatCon.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of the Cruel and Unusual. 'If they were captured wearing the enemy's uniform, they would probably be tortured to death before being shot.' (Giuseppe Filotto, 'Red Space', 2014) [AK]
Occupational Hazard Dept. 'His eyes are blue but red rimmed. They bulge from all his time spent reading.' (Benjamin Percy, The Dead Lands, 2015) [ED]
Dept of Does My Mind Look Big In This? 'And she being who she was, the back of her mind was a substantial thing.' (Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice, 2013)
Literally Dept. 'This was literally navigating by the seat of his pants ...' (Roger Zelazny & Thomas T. Thomas, Flare, 1992) [BA]
Neat Tricks. 'The six-year gap was conspicuous by its absence.' (Larry Correia, Monster Hunter International, 2007) [F770]
Lesser Evil Dept. 'The Mayor and the cops have tried really hard to keep it out of the papers. Or worse, the media.' (Christopher Golden, The Shell Collector, 2006) [PB]
True Romance. 'The penis passed from one mouth to the other, the tongues crossing like flights of swallows, lightly troubled, in the summer sky ... when they are ready to leave Europe for their winter pilgrimage.' (Michel Houllebecq, Submission, trans Adam Gopnik 2015) [MMW]
Wrath of Ouroboros Dept. 'He felt once again the desire to bite his own backside in fury.' (Andrzej Sapkowski, Blood of Elves, 1994 trans 2008) [SS]

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• 10 July 2015: Adrian Cole 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: 14 August 2015, Summer Meal; 11 September 2015, Edward James; 9 October 2015, TBA; 6 November 2015, Emma Newman; 4 December 2015, Xmas Social.
• 17 July 2015: Joe Abercrombie signing at Waterstones Reading Oracle, 12.30 pm. 'This event is not ticketed and free of charge so early arrival is encouraged as it will be popular.' Further information 0118 9503400.

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

Blurbismo. Dept of the Alarmingly Credible: 'The Americans have a top secret project – called the Black Planet – which they plan to send up 10,000 miles where it will rotate on its axis and by means of instruments, bring back a record of what's happening all over the world. A new and strange element called Maggellarium [this should read Magellanium] is discovered. A piece the size of a pill is so heavy that a man cannot lift it from the floor. At other times it is so light that it climbs the wall and pushes through to disappear at an angle. It is controlled by the position of Sirius, the Dog Star. These discoveries unleash jealousy among the scientists, sabotage, international incidents and United Nations intervention. A thrilling and alarmingly credible novel.' (on David Duncan, Dark Dominion, Consul Books 1961) [BA]

Thog's Second Helping. Simultaneously Channelling Lionel Fanthorpe and Guy N. Smith: 'Here the creatures [crabs] vastly outnumbered the men, and were very much alive, with the menace of inconceivable dark places still dripping from their shells.' 'Armies of crawling, scuttling, fighting crabs and lobsters flying like demons from hell in the night sky of the sea.' (Gordon Honeycombe, Dragon Under The Hill, 1972) [BA]

Ansible 336 Copyright © David Langford, 2015. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, Michael Cule, Ellen Datlow, Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Mark Hopper, Martyn P. Jackson, Amanda Kear, Locus, Tim McDaniel, Gillian Polack, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, SF Site, Stuart Stratu, Paul Voermans, Andrew Wells, Martin Morse Wooster, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (BSFG), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 July 2015.