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Ansible 338, September 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, a Ripe Fruit Party, or That Which is Within.

Sasquan. The Spokane Worldcon tweeted on 21 August: 'As of Thurs night, Sasquan has 11,149 total members & 4394 warm bodies, the biggest Worldcon ever re: total members.'
2017 Site Selection: a first-round win for Helsinki with 1363 votes. Washington DC received 878, Montréal 228 and Japan 120.
Hugo Awards, after a record turnout of 5950 ballots: reportedly a good ceremony presented by Tananarive Due and David Gerrold (who said George R.R. Martin was in the audience but no longer on Twitter because he'd killed all 140 characters). CAMPBELL ('not a Hugo') for new writer: Wesley Chu. FAN ARTIST Elizabeth Leggett. FAN WRITER Laura J. Mixon. FANCAST Galactic Suburbia Podcast. FANZINE Journey Planet. SEMIPROZINE Lightspeed. PRO ARTIST Julie Dillon. PRO EDITOR Short Form: No Award. Long Form: No Award. GRAPHIC STORY Ms. Marvel, Volume 1. RELATED WORK No Award. DRAMATIC, SHORT (presented by a gold Dalek; 'David, my eyestalk is up here. Are you staring at my bumps?'): Orphan Black, 'By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried'. DRAMATIC, LONG Guardians of the Galaxy. SHORT STORY No Award. NOVELETTE Thomas Olde Heuvelt, 'The Day the World Turned Upside Down' (Lightspeed). NOVELLA No Award. NOVEL (presented via video from the International Space Station): Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem, trans Ken Liu. The five No Awards were for categories wholly filled with Puppy slate nominees; no slated item won except the broadly popular Guardians of the Galaxy.
Other Awards at the Hugo ceremony: BIG HEART Ben Yalow. FIRST FANDOM HALL OF FAME Julian May (living), Margaret Brundage, Bruce Pelz, F. Orlin Tremaine. SPECIAL COMMITTEE AWARDS Jay Lake, Julian May.
WSFS Business Meetings, chaired by Kevin Standlee, went on at epic length. Hugo amendments included the anti-slate 'E Pluribus Hugo' (a new algorithm for processing nominations) and '4+6' (rather than the present 5+5: five nominations per member and five slots per final ballot category), both passed but needing ratification in 2016 to take effect in 2017. The Best Series Hugo proposal was referred to a committee which will report next year. More of this at

The End of Summer

Brian Aldiss entered his Naughty Nineties on 18 August, and earlier that month gave a tasty interview to the Telegraph. On J.G. Ballard: 'he fell in with a dreadful fellow, an artist who designed one of the Underground stations [Eduardo Paolozzi] and just ceased to be a friend. Perhaps because he didn't like being associated with the label of science fiction. I don't like the label, but I put up with it.' (7 August) [MPJ]

Kevin J. Anderson on the reek of Washington State wildfires: 'Arrived in Spokane for #Worldcon to the smell of smoke. Sigh. Some fan group must be doing human sacrifices again.' (Twitter, 20 August)

Lou Antonelli, Hugo nominee (via the Puppies slate; see A334), distinguished himself by writing to Spokane's chief of police warning that Worldcon GoH and Hugo MC David Gerrold is 'insane and a public danger', and bragging in a podcast about having done so. Disapproval of bloc-voting shenanigans apparently equates in some eyes to dangerous insanity. Antonelli would have been barred from Sasquan for violation of its code of conduct; but Gerrold accepted his apology and asked that he be allowed to attend. Meanwhile, because of the above, Lakeside Circus editor Carrie Cuinn had decided not to run a previously accepted story by Antonelli – who posted a carefully edited version of her private letter that led his supporters to bombard her with rape and death threats (though later he asked them to 'knock it off'). After the Hugos he helpfully opined: 'However, I'm sure had any Sad Puppies won any Hugos Saturday night, a bomb threat would have cleared out the performance hall in ten minutes.' Is this called projection?

Suzette Haden Elgin's papers, 'hundreds of boxes' of material from an abandoned storage unit, are now owned by a US antique dealer. Some likely universities have been alerted. [F770]

George R.R. Martin hired a Spokane mansion for his Hugo Losers' Party, an invitation-only alternative to the official event ('I did exclude one group. The invite explicitly read No Assholes.'). There he presented unofficial Alfie awards – named for Alfred Bester, first ever novel Hugo winner, and made like the first Hugos from old car hood ornaments – to those who'd just missed nomination owing to this year's slates (as revealed by the just-released Hugo statistics), those who'd withdrawn rather than remain associated with slates, and a few other worthies.

Mike Moorcock on his New Statesman interview (see A337): 'At least Front Row gave me the chance to say it was nonsense but not before the hobbit lovers sprang up all over to say what a bad person and crap writer I was. Fiction confused with faith. Used to be a problem for SF, too, though that seems pretty much over these days. I remember when nobody had heard of the fucking Hobbit. The thing was heavily remaindered. Nobody from my generation remembers it. Healthier and happier times.' (1 August) Later: 'Spectator interview a bit better but I had to cancel the Sunday Times because of leaving [Europe] in a hurry. Funny how so many think it's a real autobiography. That's next.'

John C. Wright deplores the wrongthink of Hugo voters: 'I am, in all modesty, a skilled author, one of the finest writing today.' (23 August) There is more, very much more, at


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

3-5 Sep • Company of Wolves (conference: werewolves), de Havilland Campus, Hatfield. See

5-6 Sep • Middle-earth Festival, Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Rd, Hall Green, Birmingham, B13 0BD. Free. See

10-13 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), St Antony's College, Oxford. £50 reg. See

19 Sep • BSFA/BFS Pubmeet, Ackhorne Pub, 9 St Martins Lane, York, YO1 6LR. 4:30pm-late. Free. With Marie O'Regan, Alex Davis.

23 Sep • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. With Simon Guerrier. Free.

26 Sep • BristolCon, Doubletree Hotel, Bristol. GoH Jasper Fforde, Jaine Fenn. £25 reg; £30 at door. Cheques to 18 High Leaze Road, Patchway, Bristol BS34 5AF. See also

26 Sep • TitanCon, Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast. £25 reg; £5 supporting. See

27 Sep • Crossness Steampunk Convivial, Crossness Engines, Belvedere Rd, Abbey Wood, SE2 9AQ. 11am-5pm. £8 admission; £4 for 6-15s. See Contact 020 8311 3711.

1-4 Oct • Grimmfest (horror/cult film festival), Odeon, The Printworks, Manchester. £65 reg plus booking fee. See

3 Oct - 15 Nov • Anne Sudworth exhibition, Pannett Park Art Gallery, Pannett Park, Whitby. 9:30am-4:30pm. 01947 605559.

23-25 Oct • Fantasycon, Orchard Hotel, Nottingham. Was £75 reg; couples £130; under-16s £35; under-5s free. Rates rise 1 September. There are discounts for BFS members: see

25-28 Mar 2016 • Mancunicon (Eastercon), Manchester. £60 reg; 13-17s £45; 4-12s £30; under-4s free. Rates reviewed 30 November. Hotel booking opened 5 August; the main hotel filled quickly. Contact 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ, or see

8-10 July 2016 • Anticipations (H.G. Wells conference), Wells Conference Centre (Fri/Sat) and The Lightbox, Woking, Surrey (Sun). Call for papers by 15 April 2016. See

17-21 Aug 2016 • MidAmeriCon II (74th Worldcon), Kansas City, MO, USA. $170 reg; $90 YA/active military service; $60 under-16s; $50 supp. Rates are to rise on 1 October: act now if you want to vote in next year's Hugos! MidAmeriCon will also be running Retro Hugos for 1941, to honour notable work from 1940. See for more.

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Invoke Us. Comparing one famously clownish figure with another: 'In a rough year for polling analysis, the Trump surge stands out. The first-time candidate whom so many people wrote off has done for 2016 what Isaac Asimov's Mule did for the psycho-historians of Foundation – a conquest from out of nowhere, unpredicted by any of the calculations, turning his enemies' blasted palaces into new (and classy) throne rooms.' (Washington Post, 5 August) [AL]

Awards. Chesley Award (art) for life achievement: John Harris.
Gemmell Awards (heroic fantasy): NOVEL Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance; DEBUT Brian Stavely, The Emperor's Blades; COVER Sam Green for Words of Radiance.
Munsey Award (pulp-related achievement): Steve Miller, 'mainly for his two great reference books: Mystery, Detective and Espionage Fiction with Michael Cook and Science Fiction, Fantasy and Weird Fiction Index with Bill Contento'. [PS-P]
Mythopoeic (fantasy): ADULT Sarah Avery, Tales from Rugosa Coven. CHILDREN Natalie Lloyd, A Snicker of Magic. SCHOLARSHIP: INKLINGS Robert Boenig, C.S. Lewis and the Middle Ages. SCHOLARSHIP: OTHER Brian Attebery, Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth.
Sidewise (alternate history): LONG Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Enemy Within. SHORT Ken Liu, 'The Long Haul: From the Annals of Transportation, The Pacific Monthly, May 2009' (11/14 Clarkesworld).

In Typo Veritas. 'There was fresh corn so recent from the mill that it had not yet become infested with weasels.' (Nelson Algren, 'A Short History of the American Diet', circa 1941) [PL]

As Others Consume Us. 'The life of the scientist who consumes science fiction has historically been one of frustration.' (Terrence McCoy on The X-Files' science adviser; Washington Post, 10 August) [MMW]

R.I.P. Ned (Cuyler) Brooks (1938-2015), long-time US fan, collector of literary arcana and publisher of the fanzines It Comes in the Mail and It Goes on the Shelf, died on 31 August after a fall from his roof while carrying out repairs. [SHS]
George Cole (1925-2015), UK actor most remembered as Arthur Daley in Minder, died on 5 August aged 90. Rare genre credits include Scrooge (1951), The Vampire Lovers (1970), The Blue Bird (1976) and The Ghost of Greville Lodge (2000).
Robert Conquest (1917-2015), Anglo-US author and historian best known for documenting Soviet atrocities under Stalin, died on 3 August; he was 98. [LP] His sf novel is A World of Difference (1955); with his long-time friend Kingsley Amis he co-edited the five Spectrum sf anthologies (1961-1966), whose verse epigraphs include his famous '"Sf's no good," they bellow till we're deaf. / "But this looks good." – "Well then, it's not sf."' His The Abomination of Moab (1979) collects these verses and assorted essays, including sf criticism.
Yvonne Craig (1937-2015), US actress fondly remembered as Batgirl in Batman (1967-1968 tv), died on 17 August aged 78. She also appeared in Mars Needs Women (1967) and Star Trek (1969)
Wes Craven (1939-2015), US director and screenwriter most famed for the many-sequelled A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), died on 30 August aged 76. [SG/AIP] Other films of genre interest include Swamp Thing (1982), Shocker (1989) and New Nightmare (1994).
Terrence Evans (1934-2015), US actor seen in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), Star Trek: Voyager (1997), Bigfoot the Movie (2015) and others, died on 7 August; he was 81. [PDF]
Ray Girvan (1956-2015), UK fan and writer whose stories include 'The Lord of the Files' with Steve Jones (in Digital Dreams, 1991), died on 30 June aged 59.
Coleen Gray (1922-2015), US actress whose genre credits include The Vampire (1957), The Leech Woman (1960) and The Phantom Planet (1961), died on 3 August aged 92. [JDB/SG]
Clifford Hatts (1921-2015), BAFTA-winning BBC head of design who masterminded the presentation of Quatermass and the Pit (1958-1959), died on 27 July; he was 93. [MPJ]
Richard Manginsay (1971-2015), US animator and director whose credits include Anastasia (1997), The Simpsons, Futurama, The Simpsons Movie (2007) and Dead Space: Downfall (2008), died on 13 August aged 43. [PDF]
Jef Murray (1960-2015), US artist who illustrated Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, died unexpectedly on 3 August aged 55. [F770]
Rick Obadiah, a co-founder in 1983 of the US alternative comics imprint First Comics, died on 16 August. First's productions included Howard Chaykin's American Flagg, adaptations of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion saga, and the translated Japanese manga Lone Wolf and Cub. [PDF]
Roddy Piper (1954-2015), US professional wrestler and actor/producer who starred in They Live (1988), died on 31 July aged 61. His other genre films include Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988) and Sci-Fighters (1996). [LP]
Mark Sheeler (1924-2015), US actor seen in Captain Z-Ro (1956 tv), From Hell It Came (1957) and Adventures of Superman (1958), died on 6 August aged 91. [PDF]
Susan Sheridan (1947-2015), UK actress who played Trillian in the original radio Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978), died on 8 August aged 68. [MPJ] Other voice credits include The Black Cauldron (1985), Moomin (1990-1991 tv, based on Tove Jansson's work) and Beauty and the Beast (1992).

As Others See Terry Pratchett. Jonathan Jones, supreme arbiter of literary wossname, writes: 'It does not matter to me if Terry Pratchett's final novel is a worthy epitaph or not, or if he wanted it to be pulped by a steamroller. I have never read a single one of his books and I never plan to. Life's too short. / No offence, but Pratchett is so low on my list of books to read before I die that I would have to live a million years before getting round to him. [...] Because life really is too short to waste on ordinary potboilers.' (Guardian, 31 August)

Outraged Letters. Steve Jeffery reports: 'In the letters column of Radio Times 1-7 Aug 2015, one David A. Hardy of Birmingham takes issue at a comment on a BBC news item about the new photos of Pluto: "There is no longer any need for artists' impressions."'
Sam J. Lundwall, now living in a nursing-home flat with his wife, caught up on Ansible 'and am very happy for it. Found that several of my old chums have passed away, which was less cheerful of course. Even Tanith Lee, whom I always regarded as a young girl ... Perhaps you could mention the nursing home somewhere, that would explain why I have not attended cons or such for years.' (28 August)
Mike Moorcock: 'The Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup/Prix du Goncourt was announced at a meeting of the judges yesterday. After lunch at the Brasserie Goncourt, Boul. Parmentier, Paris, the judges (Moorcock, J-L Fromental, Guy Lawley, Lynn Hoggatt, Martin Stone) unanimously awarded the Prix to Nicholas Lezard. Previous winners include Steve Aylett and Howard Waldrop. The terms remain the same. After two weeks the recipient should not have a thing to show for it. The cup and the $1,000 cheque will be accepted by Mr Lezard in London.' (1 August)

Court Circular. The owner of and is appealing against Nominet's ruling – see A337 – that these and similar domains must be surrendered to Disney. (BBC, 10 August) [MPJ]

As Others Criticize. '... Jurassic World epitomises four-quadrant-striving boardroom-delegated moviemaking and the quagmire resulting from fan-expectation-driven supersizing that's endemic to sequel-making and "rebooting."' (Nick Pinkerton, Sight & Sound) [PE]

Clute Apotheosis. The Telluride Institute of Colorado is acquiring John Clute's vast genre library as a research resource: the John Clute Science Fiction Library. More to follow at [JC] John comments: 'Applicants for vacated shelves queue to right.'

Random Fandom. Black Hole Awards: my favourite of these traditional spoofs was an unspoofy response to this year's divisiveness – 'Best Publisher: Tor Books and Baen Books, awarded jointly, for continuing to publish great science fiction of whatever kind.' A deserved 'Fortitude' award went to Hugo administrators John Lorentz and Ruth Sachter.

C.o.A. Dan Goodman, 687 5th St E, St. Paul, MN 55106, USA. Locus (new street address for deliveries unsuitable for the unchanged PO Box), 1933 Davis St, Suite 295/297, San Leandro, CA 94577, USA.

The Dead Past. 50 Years Ago there was appropriate solemnity at the London Worldcon: 'Harry Harrison introduced his talk "SF – The Salvation of the Modern Novel" by promising that he would make no mention of meat pies, immediately ducking as pies were thrown at him by Brian Aldiss and Tom Boardman. Appearing somewhat loath actually to begin his talk Harrison invited Brian Aldiss onto the platform in order to say something serious. Aldiss merely said "Greybeard costs 18/-."' (Skyrack 83, September 1965)
30 Years Ago: '"But This Looks Good ..." An SFC listing of October (US) books features Contact by Carl Sagan. Publishers Simon & Schuster say it's "not science fiction. It is an engrossing, believable novel, rich in detail and peopled by characters about whose lives we care."' (Ansible 44, September 1985)

Fanfundery. Ulrika O'Brien reports a successful fan funds auction at Sasquan that raised $1870 for TAFF, DUFF and GUFF.

Thog's Masterclass. Science Dept. Why the atom disintegrator failed to zap the enemy: 'It is attuned to all forms of earthly matter.' ... 'But Nairn is Jovian matter and composed of Jovian atoms and molecules.' (Vargo Statten [John Russell Fearn], Science Metropolis, 1952) [BA]
Eyeballs in the Sky. 'John Shaka did not answer, though his eyes danced across the other's face.' (Perry A. Chapdelaine, 'The Return of Prince John Israel Mcwayizeni Shaka' in Pulsar 2, 1979) [CM]
Dept of Well, It Would, Wouldn't It? 'Sophie's scream caused Rachel's eardrums to vibrate.' (Sarah Ward, In Bitter Chill, 2015) [PB]
Neat Tricks. 'Earth shivered in a momentary absence of vibration.' (A.E. van Vogt, Earth Factor X, 1974) [O]
Conceptual Breakthrough Dept. 'His brain began to sway on its base, as the landslide of possibilities unreeled before it.' (A.E. van Vogt, 'Juggernaut', August 1944 Astounding) [CG]

Geeks' Corner

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• 10 September 2015: An Evening with Patrick Ness, Waterstones New Street, Birmingham. 7pm. £3 admission. 0121 631 4333.
• 11 September 2015: Edward James talks to the Brum Group, 7:30pm for 8pm at the Briar Rose Hotel, Bennett's Hill, Birmingham city centre. £4 or £3 for members. Contact bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk. Future meetings: 9 October 2015, Justina Robson; 6 November 2015, Emma Newman; 4 December 2015, Xmas Social; 8 January 2016, AGM and Book Auction; 12 February 2016, Annual Quiz.
• 17 September 2015: Stephen Baxter signing at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore, 6pm-7pm.

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

Editorial. Profound apologies to Bill Higgins – let's make that BILL HIGGINS – whose initials following a news item last issue were shamefully not matched by a corresponding BILL HIGGINS in the end credits. Other victims of this oversight in past issues include MARTIN MORSE WOOSTER, who reckons he has been an Ansible stringer for 35 years. Death will not release him.
• Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Ansible Editions has two projects on the go. One is a new, much expanded and photo-illustrated trade paperback of Rob Hansen's THEN: A History of UK Fandom 1930-1980, to appear when Rob has finished his revisions. The other is a ebook collection of the late Vince Clarke's fanwriting (still in progress but approved by his daughter), to be added to the free ebooks page at the TAFF site:

VATMOSS Horror Continues! The EU's inadvertent but brutal VAT attack on microbusinesses selling ebooks and other digital products has been recognized as a mistake, which doesn't mean that officialdom is actually rushing to correct it. Funds are being raised by EU VAT Action – co-founded by our very own Juliet McKenna – to lobby a coming EU summit conference in Ireland:

Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland, 9-13 August 2017. Guests of Honour: John-Henri Holmberg, Nalo Hopkinson, Johanna Sinisalo, Claire Wendling and Walter Jon Williams. €95 reg (site selection voters €60), €35 supp, €80 youth (16-25), €55 child (6-15). For fuller details see:

Ansible 338 Copyright © David Langford, 2015. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, John D. Berry, John Clute, Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Carl Glover, Steve Green, BILL HIGGINS, Martyn P. Jackson, Steve Jones, Andy Love, Pamela Love, Chryse Moore, Omega, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, SF Site, Steven H Silver, Jim Steel, Phil Stephensen-Payne, Martin Morse Wooster, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 September 2015.