As belligerently stated in the almost invisible type of the Ansible 34 masthead, times are hard and it seems that your formerly mild-mannered editor will have to get all brutal too. What usually happens is that Keith's computer detects with infallible electronic senses the final issue of your subscription, and prints a SUB DUE notice on the label. Most fans almost instantly ignore this. Out of the generosity of my heart I have in the past quite frequently sent a further issue or two by way of reminder, and a remarkable number of people still complained "I never noticed my sub had lapsed!" when at last I savagely deleted them from the computer files. Yet more recently I've been experimenting with a bloody great rubber stamp placed embarrassingly on the mailing label for the postman to read and saying:
But this rubber stamp (except in a few whimsical cases) is going into retirement. For all but a few who are real buddies or who possess my signed IOUs locked in a safe place, the issue that says SUB DUE will be the last. Sorry, my children, but with the mailing list at its present ridiculous size I can't afford to send all those extra reminder copies each time. Instead I have instituted this very bit of paper which you are now reading. If you want to let your A subscription lapse, I can respect, admire and sympathize with this courageous decision. If you have a bone to pick (like, you distinctly remember thrusting £2 at a drunken Langford and seeing me write it down in my notebook-always make sure I write it down, fans), now's your chance to complain. But let us have no more whingeing about Ansible's failure to draw your attention to the lapsing of your subscription. OK, folks? OK.
Bye-bye, then. Or possibly au revoir. (DRL)