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Ansible 35, October 1983

Cartoon: Margaret Welbank

PLEASE NOTE that this old Ansible is a bit of history. Addresses may have changed (though the editor's postal address hasn't), prices and agents' credits are invalid, etc. • This issue was produced in my BWP or Before-Word-Processors era and lovingly rekeyed for the archives by Alex McLintock ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1994.

The Oct 83 issue of Britain's occasionally frequent SF newsletter from DAVE LANGFORD, 94 LONDON ROAD, READING, BERKS, RG1 5AU. Still £2.00 for 7 issues, airmailed outside UK: notes to me, cheques to ANSIBLE, Giro transfer to a/c 24 475 4403. Americans may send $3.50 to Burns, 23 Kensington Ct. Hempstead. NY 11550. Artwork by Margaret Welbank, e-stencils by John Harvey, labels by Keith Freeman – please resubscribe if yours says SUB DUE or ****. #35 is late because your editor diverted his priceless time to finish a novel for Frederick Muller Ltd, out (with luck) next Spring; #35 has a somewhat cheapo aspect because your editor is broke. Back to litho and sybaritic luxury next time, I devoutly hope.


The Hugos offered some surprises, but not in the novel category, won by Isaac A's Foundation's Edge, the novel which supersedes Valium. Novella: 'Souls', Joanna Russ. Novelette: 'Fire Watch', Connie Willis. Short: 'Melancholy Elephants', Spider Robinson. Nonfic: Isaac Asimov: The Foundations Of Sf, James Gunn. Editor: Ed Ferman. Artist: Michael Whelan. Dramatic: Bladerunner. 'Fanzine': Locus. Fanwriter: Dick Geis. Fanartist: Alexis Gilliland. JWC Award (for new writer – not a Hugo): Paul O Williams. And the coveted award of the Right To Hold The 1985 Worldcon went as expected to Melbourne, Australia (GoH Gene Wolfe, FGoH Ted White, 22-26 August 85), and a British 1987 bid was almost instantly mooted to save Americans from the awful 87 alternatives of Phoenix and San Diego. Meanwhile back in civilisation, an international panel awarded the JWC Memorial Award to Helliconia Spring by Brian... Brian something... it's on the tip of my tongue...


Of far more cosmic value was the straw poll at Silicon 7, where on penalty of not receiving free drinks the entire membership passed on these cosmic issues:

Also the most popular appliance with which to be marooned on a desert island was a typewriter and/or an Inflatable Steve Higgins / Eve Harvey / Linda Pickersgill. Market researchers take note.

CONSTELLATION • Malcolm Edwards

Several thousand people showed up to the World SF Convention in Baltimore – conceivably enough to avert the committee's bankruptcy (rumour had it that they were so grossly overspent that any figure less then 7500 attending spelt disaster). (Final attendance was a shade over 6000 – DRL) Still, by Saturday 800 people were said to have shown up and paid at the door – $55 full attending membership which is, believe me, Too Much.

ConStellation was held in a convention centre and several main hotels. The committee had cunningly arranged for the Hilton to be the 'party hotel', even though it was much further from the centre than was the Hyatt, and even though its 23 floors were serviced by just two lifts.

The convention itself? Mediocre organisation and programming, I'd say, but went off OK. (At least, I had a good time ) The main programme was remarkably short on items of any interest. The fan programme worked better, and the new practice (to Americans) of having a fan lounge / fanroom area did serve its purpose by providing a focal area where people could find each other. Highlight of the fan program was the 'Fans Are Slans' panel, wherein Steve Stiles extemporised a remarkable account of Claude Degler's insanitary habits, John Shirley exposed parts of his body nobody (except representatives of the French media) wanted to see, and Charles Platt developed his 'I love fandom' act with glutinous sincerity. Lowlight of the main programme was the Hugo ceremony, which sabotaged its own intention of being short and punchy by starting 45 minutes late. The restive audience was then treated to slides projected onto one of those monster videoscreens currently popular at sports stadia. Evidently nobody had told the organisers that the image on such screens doesn't resolve until you're about 100 yards away... cavernous as it was, the main hall was no more than 75 yards long. A slide came up. Toastmaster Jack 'I've never won a Hugo' Chalker invited the audience to guess what it was. It looked to me like bits of tumbleweed on a desert plain. 'That's right.' said Jack, 'the first Worldcon banquet.' Not many surprises among the awards, except the relegation of E.T. to third place. Isaac Asimov, receiving his Hugo, said that it really belonged to everyone who had ever written sf. But he refused to hand it over to me later.

Missed moment of the con: Charles Platt and I were talking at length to Fred Harris of Author Services Inc. (L. Ron Hubbard promotional organisation), hoping to extract some untoward revelation. Finally he leaned forward saying. 'I really shouldn't tell you this –' We waited in eager anticipation. A person from Porlock (or in this case Locus) unknowingly intervened. The moment was gone.

British representation was not overwhelming but did exist. I spotted John & Marjorie Brunner (of course), Martin Tudor, John Bark, Colin Fine, Huge Machete, Tanith Lee among others.

Almost the first thing that happened after we arrived was that I was summoned by Bruce Pelz, who told me that Britain had to bid for the 1987 Worldcon, since the West coast bids (Phoenix and San Diego) were not popular even with West Coast fans. It wasn't long before other prominent West Coasters – Craig Miller and Gary Farber to name but two – reinforced this message. The rest is – or one day will be – history. (MJE)


We interrupt Worldcon coverage to announce that a bidding committee nucleus has been formed, or more correctly has formed itself, and so far consists of Malcolm Edwards, Chris Atkinson and Dave Langford. A few more names should have been added by Novacon, where we hope to discuss the whole thing in an open forum (rotten eggs should be left at the door) Expressions of support, encouragement, unbridled lust, etc. would doubtless be welcome, care of Malcolm or Ansible.

Mary Burns sent pages on ConStellation, opening 'overall this was a good Worldcon' and proceeding in true Ansible style to an extensive list of flaws. Programme: 'There were up to 15 tracks going at the same time... poor choice of competing alternatives, scheduling fan GoH speech against the slide presentation about the new Indiana Jones movie and the making of The Return of the Jedi.' Masquerade: 'Poorly executed... video bad, cameraman often stayed on the MC instead of the costume or focused on the wrong thing... slow handclaps at too-long and too-boring presentation by MC ... 130 costumes, presentation started an hour and a half late. Many people walked out before then.' (Apparently seven children's costumes were shown earlier, and everything else was endlessly delayed while the obligatory prizes all round – calligraphed certificates – were prepared for the seven. so they could then go to bed. As they didn't, and as the kids in the audience were thus kept up much later than need be, this seems not wholly sensible.) Overall: 'Too many people. Too many hotels. Probably unavoidable.' Mary, in the Hilton, tended to miss late-night items in the Hyatt, 'Baltimore streets could be dangerous to my health if I went between them by myself...' Sounds like my own vain efforts to get to bed early at Novacons, striding resolutely through the bar and... (after that, the dark).

Feetnote.... Least Likely Prohibition At A Con: fans were sternly forbidden to walk about exposing their naked feet in the con centre. Most Boring Statistic: Melbourne got 642 out of 725 site selection votes, whereas Bingley received one write-in vote. Fascist Oppression Dept: Astral League Poles were brutally confiscated during the masquerade – subsequently apologies were issued in the con newsletter Scuttlebutt (ed. Mike Glyer), whence most of these notes, and 'responsible' use of poles declared OK, leaving the status of the Astral Initiation open to doubt. Hugo Statistics: too boring to list, but just to twist the knife in the wound I reveal that the final novel placing was Foundation's Itch. Pride Of Chanur (which actually got most first place votes), 2010, Friday, Courtship Rite and Sword Of The Lictor. (Bill Evans)

[Change of Address list omitted]


The second SF Supper Club gathering saw Desmond Clarke, director of the Book Marketing Council, defending this promotion (cannily not titled 'Best of SF') against hordes of rotten nitpickers. Asked why a campaign to promote SF featured (e.g.) a Donaldson fantasy bestseller in no need of promotion, D. Clarke had no hesitation in exclaiming that even when something was a bestseller the volume of sales could still be increased no end. Blank silence from fandom. Cornered and asked the point of this drive to make visibly rich (in many cases) authors richer still, he was not afraid to explain there'd very likely be another and much better follow-up promotion. Tackled again on the matter of Donaldson, he fearlessly admitted it was all the judges' fault (the judges, you will remember, blame the publishers; one wonders if the publishers blame the BMC.) All the fans' points about this campaign's choices and omissions are made by Chris Priest in a Bookseller article, 'Venture into the Stodgy': 'The old pecking order remains, and those wrongfully neglected go on being so.' Aldiss, Ballard, Moorcock, Silverberg and Wolfe are all expected at the 10 Oct promotion launch in London; the revelry continues to 22 Oct. I wait in fear and trembling.

Also at the SFSC: Bob Shaw attempted to teach D. Langford his renowned trick of not falling over, with little success. Famous literary agent Maggie Noach pointed a small dog at people in the hope that it would divine literary talent, and was seen to associate with newly-famous Mary Gentle with open intimacy which (scandalmongers rumoured) presaged a sensuous author/agent relationship. Chris Evans pinched my reviews notebook and thrust it at Rob Holdstock, strangely open at the page containing a detailed statistical analysis of the works of Robert P Faulcon's 'Nighthunter' books (broken down into Major Atrocities, Minor Supernatural Frissons, Outbreaks Of Italics and Bodies Per Chapter).. 'I didn't really have a body-count running into three figures in Book 3, did I?' said Rob with moans which were terrible to behold.

Brian Stableford is plunging back into writing owing to a slight financial crisis caused by the departure of lovely Viv Stableford: 'I can't stand living in Reading.' she cried, and has bought a house in Swansea where she lives with the kids and which Brian (tied to Reading by university tenure) is permitted to help redecorate. The current Stableford masterwork is non-fiction about bionics, genetic engineering, etc., for the ill-famed Roxby Press. whose overlord Hugh Elwes is insisting the book be titled Future Man despite the existence in print of Chris Morgan's opus of genetic engineering, bionics, etc., interestingly titled Future Man. Next challenge for Brian: to re-establish relations with cuddly, batrachian Don Wollheim, strained since DAW left off the downbeat ending of a recent Stableford novel. Writing to Locus (who didn't publish it) and DAW, Brian cracked jokes about censorship etc: a very annoyed Wollheim issued an unanswerable counterblast to the effect that 'we didn't censor a word, it was just a routine, in-house losing of the last page of the manuscript.'

Speaking Of DAW, we have an unattributable rumour from Joyce Scrivner, who reports that [[Sorry, chaps. This was the one time Ansible did nearly get sued. Every trace of the original allegation has therefore been expunged. Literary detectives will just have to reconstruct what they can from the apology in Ansible 36. – DRL]]

Robert P Faulcon Again! What is the eerie significance of the aged, doddering couple called Pat & Graham Charnock who in 'Nighthunter' 3 are eaten by a giant spider? Or of the virginal schoolteacher Kath Mitchell who succumbs to an evil, debilitating, lustful, sweaty, greasy embrace? Does the evil etc. embracer have a big nose? Ansible waits agog for Book 4.

Brian Aldiss must be delighted by US ads for Helliconia Spring: in SFWA Bulletin, Atheneum proudly quote the review of one Roger Schlobin, who compares HS with 'such other monumental world-creating-efforts' as Foundation (h'm), the Dune series (h'm) and ... grand climax ... the Proton/Phaze Trilogy by Piers Anthony.

Daybreak On A Different Mountain, not long to be denied you by Unwin/Unicorn, is the real title of Colin Greenfinger's novel Daysend On A Distinct Mundane, misheard in a phone call from informant Malcolm Edwards and printed last issue as Dayspring On A Deferent Mountain. We at Lesbian suspect this was engineered by C. Greenstreet to ensure further mentions of Offspring Of A Difficult Mounting....

Pocket Books Etc: Somewhere back in pre-geological time (A34) there began to unfold a saga of Proustian proportions and similar riveting plotline. In brief: unhappy with D. Hartwell's handling of the Timescape SF line (specifically his inability to create bestsellers on a publicity budget of 45 cents per book), Pocket Books gave him the boot and announced a secretly fomented deal with famous hack literary agents Scott Meredith Inc, who'd be in the enviable position of packaging a Timescape line relabelled 'Starscope' (for no apparent reason, except that this cleverly ditches the goodwill built up by Timescape), and would be able to favour their own authors if they chose... 'Conflict of interest,' howled SFWA, and quite right too. Greg Benford takes it from there: 'I enclose the just-received press release surrendering the Meredith connection. I am proud of SFWA's alliance with the agents to stop SM taking over the Timescape line. Reportedly. Pocket wrote a press release saying they had differences with Meredith and were breaking off the deal, and mentioning the pressure from-SFWA & agents. They circulated that one in-house, decided it gave too much away, recalled all copies, and issued a new one saying they weren't bending to pressure after all.' (The new PR explains that absolutely no problem that anyone could possibly imagine was responsible for the change of plan, which just sort of happened.) 'They caved in, in part because we had an injunction set to go to court and through the Federal Trade Commission, all nicely researched ... and we (SFWA authors & Directors) had agreed to pour money into the battle, shorting some SFWA programs if need be, and making sure Busch [Pocket president] found that out.... our networks worked remarkably in this crisis. Busch got sandbagged in the press, partly because we already knew his position before he opened his mouth. so we undercut him at every turn.' (GB)

Pocket authors have been enjoying a series of rumours about the new Timescape, or Starscope, editor. Born-again anthologist Roger Elwood; Jim Baen of Tor Books (whose publisher was listening over his shoulder as he got the call from Pocket); Ben Bova; even George Scithers. I am unconvinced by the non-attributable source signing himself 'Yours in it up to here'. who guesses the job will go to that 'reliable arbiter of taste, leading stylist and noted commentator... Darrell Schweitzer.' Excuse me....

Why am I taking such interest in a US firm's fate? Because I am a close and fascinated spectator of Pocket's finances: owing to a contract hassle I still don't fully understand, Timescape have had my very own SF novel in print for eight months without having paid any advance money whatever, and apparently without a contract as well. With financial wizardry like this I don't see how Timescape could possibly lose money.

Cartoon: Margaret Welbank

Interzone: Slagged off by other collective members for 'trying to be honest and realistic' in the depressing resubscription figures last issue, Dave Pringle has adopted a mood of buoyant optimism. Resubs were last seen at 50% and rising; issue 5 sent to lapsed subscribers by way of encouragement; unpublished Philip K Dick material promised by his literary executor Paul Williams; issue 6 to contain Keith Roberts's 'Kitecadet', sequel to 'Kitemaster' and appearing for the first time in IZ despite false claims to the contrary in Scithers Amazing ads (Amazing gets to publish it many moons after IZ). A point: IZ is often called the successor to New Worlds – to the partial irritation of its editors – and it was interesting to read Mike Moorcock's massive Fontana anthology of NW, with its mention of those who carry on the 'tradition' of that mag. Today's only possible candidate is IZ – which is nowhere mentioned. Take that, Interzone, for daring to question the wonderfulness of NW in that editorial!

Battlefield Earth (sorry, that again) missed 1983 Hugo nomination by only 15 votes, confirms omniscient Ted White. A little more shoulder-to-shoulder effort from those staunch allies Bjo Trimble and Charles Platt, and there BE would have been, and in the opinion of some fans the Hugo would have been discredited forever. (Other fans would silently point to some of the things that were nominated, and won, this year.) Ted: "At Westercon I encountered (despite minor efforts to avoid her) Bjo Trimble, who informed me she'd won a bet because of my criticism of her and John's BE fanclub and Hugo-nomination efforts. 'I bet a guy at LASFS that you'd be one of the people who ignored our 30 years of service to fandom,' she told me with a moderately straight face. I told her I thought her promotion of BE was morally indefensible." (TW) My favourite behind-the-scenes explanation of why NEL dropped out of publishing a British hardback of BE: seems they learnt that Scientologists had already imported 15,000 copies of the American hardback, somewhat vitiating the market.

Speaking Of Charles Platt, here he is at the NY Forbidden Planet con: "In a panel on 'how publishing really works' Fred Pohl was accused by an audience member of advocating the 'Milton Friedman school of publishing'. Malzberg lamented 'Has no editor ever had the courage to create a new SF market as opposed to following the trends?' To which I replied 'Yes, Judy-Lynn del Rey.' Jack Chalker and Tom Disch debated SF criticism somewhat dully; Disch repeatedly hinted that he had with him the MS of a forthcoming review he'd written of Chalker, but Chalker refused to take the bait and ask Tom to read it. 'There are nine million SF critics in the SF world,' said Chalker, 'of whom 8,999,998 hate my guts.' He condemned the 'National Enquirer' school of criticism (i.e. Patchin Review) and also all British critics. 'I have an incredible body' he said. 'Of reviews.' he continued after a somewhat confusing pause that had most of the audience momentarily agreeing with him...

"I did an interview with Phil Farmer as a substitute for a GoH speech. He gave me a list of questions to ask him, including 'If you had never been born, where would you be now?' He said he didn't know the answer, but after a moment's reflection came up with one. There is a large reservoir of souls (he said), far more than there are available bodies. Surplus souls are allotted individual body parts. 'So if I had been reincarnated as one of those souls,' said Philip Jose Farmer, 'I would like to have been Ronald Reagan's cock. Then whenever he wanted to have sex, I could say, uh-uh, sorry Ron. That way, he would never have been elected because no one's going to vote for an impotent President.' Mothers of small children in the audience appeared somewhat disconcerted by this revelation." (C. Platt)

Saturn Awards announced at that con went to 2010 (novel), The One Tree (fantasy novel), Ballard's Myths Of The Near Future (short – the surprise of this batch, voted by US SF bookshop customers), Donald Kingsbury (new writer), F&SF (magazine), Michael Whelan (best cover: 2010).

The Con With No Name, scheduled for September, seemingly tried to make it as The Con With No Publicity and as a consequence became The Con With No Registrations (well, a rumoured 12). It self-destructed quietly. Which should be borne in mind by the organisers of Space-Ex 1984 (4-11 Aug Wembley Centre), an event whose long silence has led most fans – including some who'd paid vast membership fees – to a verdict of Presumed Death. Many weeks after an attempt to check this and prise out current data for Ansible. I received this from Mike Parry: 'This letter would have been sooner had you enclosed a SAE as is customary when requesting information. Space Ex 1984 Information is for registered members only until Jan 1st 1984 when we will be advertising widely and when we ourselves are sure of all our schedules celebrities etc etc. At which time you will receive the fullest information that we can provide. ISTRA only owes information to people who are registered, we have to date done exactly that. And as we have sold out of V.I.P. memberships, Public Registrations will be offered January 1st.' (sic) Perhaps some member (this means you, Paul Vincent) could share with me the closely guarded secrets divulged in an immense flood since the last flyer I saw (Jan 81)? Can Space-Ex really have sold the 5000 advertised tickets at prices from 15£ (81) to 19£ (83)? Why should any con want a publicity blackout ending at a traditionally bad time of year for ad campaigns (post-Xmas, with people's holiday plans mainly fixed)? Answers to Space-Ex, 21 Hargwyne St., Stockwell, London. SW9 9RQ.

Books. Asimov's The Robots Of Dawn is not as bad as Foundation's Edge (assures Brian Stableford, hot from slagging off his proof copy) but is still incredibly verbose, stuffed with further attempts to weld Asimov's disparate stories into a triffic Future History, and makes thrilling use of a brand-new suspense technique whereby sleuth Lije Bailey realises the solution to the book's detective puzzle in a blinding flash every time he goes to sleep, forgetting it every time he wakes up. Is Asimov's latter-day verbosity due to his triffic word processor? Rumour has it that after endorsing the wonderful, indispensable TRS-80 system which made writing so much easier, Dr A found himself incapable of using it and reverted to the old portable typewriter.... Heinlein has delivered Job: A Comedy Of Justice, 400pp of religious satire set partly in heaven and sounding suspiciously like Cabell's Jurgen: A Comedy Of Justice (did not win a Hugo). And GALACTIC MEGASTAR Robert P Faulcon's Nighthunter series is all set for a LONG LONG run of ... oh, they stopped you after 5 books, Rob? Sorry.

News From Japan: from M. Edwards's DT I learn of a Japanese con publication printing numberless 'messages of support' requested from UK/US writers. Most are heavy-handed Hints that the writer in question would really like to visit Japan one day as a con GoH.... Ellison goes over the top, listing a dozen Japanese as the world's top fantasists, rivalled in the West only by Borges, Marquez, Kafka, Ellison. Ballard offers a tasteful exhortation: 'That great feat of arms, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, must now be repeated in the realm of the imagination – let the SF writers of Japan set out across the skies of the human psyche, each carrying a piece of that explosive future which will torpedo the battleships of complacency and inertia!'

Cartoon: Margaret Welbank


Most copies will feature a TAFF flyer, mentioning the names of Hansen and Ounsley, plus the enigmatic D. West: in a postcard from ConStellation, the Nielsen Haydens said 'D. West confirmed as TAFF candidate', but the most D. West was heard to say at Silicon was something like 'If elected I will stand.' Ballots next issue, I imagine, when all will become still less clear. Vote for a Welshman, folks.... The lucky delegate will attend the 1984 Worldcon, LA-Con II in Los Angeles, whose co-Chairman Craig Miller begs that I use Ansible's awesome facilities to deny the rumour (SFC) that free memberships are being offered to all SFWA members.

GUFF should bring an Australian to Seacon 84 here, the slate consisting of Justin Ackroyd, Shayne McCormack, Jean Weber and Roger Weddall (whose habit of phoning me at length about GUFF, from Australia, left me in awe of his riches until Judith Hanna revealed the secret to be a bent telephone engineer in Melbourne). Ballots – er – real soon now?

DUFF operates between the US and Australia: at present Aussies Jack R. Herman and John Packer are contending for the trip to LA-Con II; and among those thinking ahead to the 1985 Melbourne DUFF race are said to be Joni Stopa, Marty & Robbie Cantor, and Mike Glicksohn (er, US = NA up there).

SEFF is the Scandinavian-European Fan Fund, whose UK administrator Colin Fine (205 Coldham's Lane, Cambridge CB1 3HY) says "Yes I know, but try getting an acronym out of 'The Scandinavian-All-the-bits-of-Europe-that-aren't-Scandinavia-not-forgetting-offshore-islands-like-Britain Fan Fund'." Contributions/nominations for a Scanfan to be inflicted on Seacon 84 are requested.

SFAFF, standing for something unmemorable, is or was a tentative plan to complement GUFF by bringing a continental Eurofan to Melbourne in 85. Correspondence/enthusiasm to James Styles in 342 Barkly St, Ararat, Vic 3377, Australia.

SF – what, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom? – is the Shaw Fund planned to bring a democratically elected Bob Shaw to this same Aussiecon II, Melbourne, 1985. Spurious Bob Shaws excluded. Money to GPO Box 2708X, Melbourne, Vic 3001, Australia. Candidates include Bob Shaw.

Searing Controversy about fan funds is rare, but here's one. DUFF administrators Joyce Scrivner and Peter Toluzzi have been getting some stick for (only the bravest should read on) extending the poll deadline of the 1983 DUFFing, enabling an alleged anti-Jan Finder lobby to allegedly affect the result following an alleged but unproven leakage of interim totals. Coincidentally there were similar rumours about the last TAFF race, the allegation this time being that as a result of leakage from US administrator Stu Shiffman, Moshe Feder tried to drum up extra votes for Taral (to spare his hurt feelings at getting so very few, rather than to affect the result). And Scots BNF Frances Jane Nelson has launched an assault on TAFF for bringing over the loathsome Avedon Carol, whose high crimes appear to include such atrocities as being late for things, cracking traditional banquet food jokes, not liking Jan Howard Finder and spending too much time with someone called Langford (bloody hell, I barely saw her after the first day, too). Tut, tut.


F770, from which some of the above was also pinched, reveals the Pong poll results courtesy of Ted White. BEST FANWRITER D. West, FANARTIST Dan Steffan, FANEDITOR Malcolm Edwards, SINGLE PUBLICATION Warhoon 30, #1 FAN FACE Dan Steffan (remember him?), NEW FAN Steve Bieler, FUGGHEAD OF THE YEAR Seth Breidbart (who he?).

F770's own poll... FANWRITER (1) M. Glyer, (2). D. Langford. (=3) R.E. Geis, T. Nielsen Hayden. Other Brits featured: (=7) C. Atkinson, (=16) M. Edwards, (=21) K. Smith, C. Priest, D. West. FANARTIST (1) S. Shiffman, (2) A. Gilliland, (3) J. Hanke-Woods. Brits: (=24) R. Hansen. BEST CON GoH: Harlan Ellison. Brits: (5) Jim White. MOST BORING & REPETITIOUS READING (1) Discussions of whether Hubbard is alive (2) Dick Geis on economics (3) Southern fan feuds (4) Asimov's introductions to his own stories. Practically British item: (9) Judith Hanna's convention reports. The poll also revealed that 101 out of 140 fans would be unwilling to accept a Hugo Award on behalf of Dick Geis.


8 Oct 83: Kev Smith & Diana Reed get married in remote, inaccessible bit of Cornwall. Langford makes best-man speech negligibly altered from previous versions at M. Hoare nuptials. Gene Wolfe & Robert Silverberg sign books at Forbidden Planet in London.

14-16 Oct 83: Fantasycon VIII, New Imperial Hotel, Brum. GoH Gene Wolfe; membership £7.50. Ken Bulmer is MC; BFS Awards to be presented.

15 Oct 83: Wolfe (am), McCaffrey (lunch), Silverberg (pm) sign books at Andromeda, Brum. Aldiss does ditto to Helliconia Summer at F. Planet.

4-6 Nov 83: Novacon 13. Royal Angus Hotel, Brum GoH Lisa Tuttle. £7 att to 46 Colwyn Road, Beeston.. Leeds, LS11 6PY. Hideous Novacon scandal appears to have died down after a final altercation between R. Peyton and S. Green when the former allegedly said 'Look, last year's Novacon was deliberately a crap convention to keep the attendance down....' The tiny Lisa Tuttle collection from Drunken Dragon Press to be released at this con is called The Other Book.

26-27 Nov 83: Cymrucon III, Central Hotel Cardiff GoH John Brunner. £8 att to The Bower, High Str Llantwit Major, S Glam, CF6 9SS. Important Notice: the Cymrucon committee is extremely annoyed to hear that an evil fan – reported to be Hugh Mascetti – has been spreading untrue rumours of Cymrucon's cancellation. Should he tell you this, hit him in the mouth in as tactful a fashion as you can contrive.

20-23 Apr 84: Seacon 84, Brighton Metropole Hotel. GoH Roger Zelazny (Phil Farmer withdrew as soon as the Asimov posters had been burnt and the Farmer ones printed), Chris Priest, Pierre Barbet, Josef Nesvadba, Waldemar Kumming (fan). £7 30 Nov £8 to 31 Jan, £10 to 19 Apr, £12 at door: 321 Sarehole Rd, Hall Green, Birmingham, B28 0AL. Seacon rallied nicely from Asimov's defection, with a flyer about being 'the only con in 1984 which has a written assurance from Isaac Asimov that he won't be attending', but moans of despair were heard when they lost Farmer too, and then Maxim Jakubowski weighed in with a widely disseminated 'formal and public protest about the choice of Pierre Barbet as one of the European guests ... a slap in the face of French SF and denotes a complete lack of understanding of the virtues of excellence in writing which so many other French authors have been promulgating for years ... [as] if the first ever British SF author to be invited to a French con were Lionel Fanthorpe ... that's what Barbet's choice means to the French and European SF community. Also the fact that he is on the Eurocon committee smacks of decidedly mixed ethics in my book... doubt strongly that this decision will influence Eurofans (beyond the small circle who've already been to a British con) to attend. I for one wouldn't go to Paris or Bruges to see John Russell Fearn, even if he were still alive...' (MJ) On the bright side, Seacon has managed to get publicity in a CAMRA magazine thanks to the promised Cheap Real Beer.

25-28 May 84: Tynecon II, the Mexicon. Flyer Enclosed for most of you; otherwise see A#34..

20-23 Jul 84: Albacon 84, Central Hotel, Glasgow, GoH Harlan Ellison, info from 62 Campsie Rd. Wishaw, ML2 9QG. AND: Faircon 84, Ingram Hotel, Glasgow, GoH Sydney-Jordan, £8 att rising to £9 hotel rooms-£16.50 single £14.50/person twin. 18 Greenwood Rd Clarkston, Glasgow, G76 7AQ. I'm glad I don't live in Glasgow. On one hand we have Albacon 84, the alleged good guys. who apart from the coup in securing Harlan Ellison have given no indication that they're doing anything. On the other hand, Faircon and the Fake Bob Shaw's forces of evil, constantly deluging me with flyers, progress reports and assorted bits of paper, but keeping significantly quiet about membership figures (the usual lists don't appear in the PRs). Faircon's letters to Albacon – suggesting that as a reasonable compromise Albacon be moved to Feb 85 and existing memberships be transferred to Faircon – can be taken as a plea to avoid aggro or a gesture of membership-starved desperation depending whom you favour. Also to hand: a record of balloting of the Glasgow SF group FOKT, as to whether dear Bob should be allowed to present FOKT Awards at Faircon (as stated in his PR0). (1) Where should FOKT awards be given? Albacon 84. 21 votes; FOKT meeting 4; Faircon 84, 0. (2) Do members want 'Mr Robert Shaw' to organise events in the name of FOKT? No, 21; No comment, 4; Yes. 0. (Faircon 84 committee folk declined to vote – 'may have distorted voting pattern, did not affect result.') I'm glad I don't live in Glasgow.

4-11 Aug 84: Space-Ex 84. A secret convention.

24-27 Aug 84: Silicon 8, Grosvenor Hotel, Newcastle, 2 Seaton Avenue, Newsham Blyth, Northumberland, probably about £4.50 att, but ask first.

25-27 Aug 84: Oxcon 84, St Catherine's College, GoH Brian Aldiss – £8 att to 28 Asquith Rd, Rose Hill. Oxford. Incorporates Unicon, I believe.

30 Aug -3 Sept: LA Con II, Anaheim Con Centre, CA, Worldcon. GoH Gordon Dickson, FGoH Dick Eney. $40 att to PO Box 8442. Van Nuys. CA 91409, USA.

2-4 Nov 84: Rumoured Novacon 14 in Brum. Rumoured GoH Rob Holdstock.

14-16 Dec 84: Santacon, Dragonara, Leeds. No data. Medioid affair. 10 Langford Rd, Heaton Chapel, Stockport, Cheshire, SK4 5BR.

5-8 Apr 85: Eastercon. Current bid, Yorcon III, Leeds Dragonara. £1 presupp to 45 Harold Mount, Leeds, LS6 1PW. Committee: numerous Leeds fans.

22-26 Aug 85: Aussiecon II, Southern Cross Hotel, Melbourne, Australia. GoH Gene Wolfe, FGoH Ted White. $40 US/$45A to GPO Box 2253U, Melbourne. Vic 3001, Australia. Anyone who voted in the 1983 site selection ballot (like me, ha ha) is already a supporting member. Supp: $25US/$28A. Conversion: $15US/$17A. You must be a member of Aussiecon II to vote for Britain in 1987. Rates rise in 1984. (By the way, a three-years-in-advance bidding system for Worldcons was proposed at ConStellation and will come into effect in 1986 if ratified – I assume – at LA Con II.)

29 Aug - 2 Sept 85, NASFiC, Austin, Texas – the big US con always staged (sometimes with a mild whiff of sour grapes) when the Worldcon goes out of America. GoH Jack Vance, ho ho, and Richard Powers. FGoH Joanne Burger. Details. FACT, PO BOX 9612, Austin, TX 78766, USA.

28-30 Mar 86: Eastercon. Current bid, Contravention, to be 'somewhere in the Midlands.' possibly the NEC Metropole. Doreys, Oldroyd, Donaldson, Wilkes, Pearson, Huxley, Hughes – in no particular order, Probably £l presupp to any of these?

Worldcons: New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta are bidding for 1986, the latter most favoured in the F770 straw poll. In 1987, San Diego, Phoenix and B*R*I*T*A*I*N. In 1988, Yugoslavia – one might feel guilty about a 1987 UK bid being detrimental to this, were it not for prevalent US opinion that Yugoslavia is a total non-starter. In 1989. Boston again. After which, who knows?


'Space Patrol' of antient US-TV fame is to be resurrected as a feature length movie cum TV series pilot partly in 3D... wonder if the new will recapture the heady naivete of the old – that in prevideotape days went out live and there are still people around who remember The-Episode-In-Which-The-Monsters-Of-The-Planet-Tharg-Got-Bored-And-Began-To-Eat-The-Cardboard-Scenery-And-Revealed-Themselves-As-Small-Lizards-With-Stuck-On-Fangs-Made-Large-By-Crafty-Camera-Angles. Or the time the stars forgot a line and ad-libbed a whole episode....Oh, the Golden Age.

ROTJ was the end of a six year love affair. I can do no review – mostly out of annoyance. I coughed up £50 for 2nd, 3rd and 4th draft scripts of Star Wars at a movie jumble in March and IT'S ALL THERE AND I READ IT. A dreadful sense of deja-vu, or djedi-vu. In the last draft I gather Lucas got to do his favourite scene viz. where the hero is adopted into a tribe of Wookies and teaches them to fly X-wings and off they zoom to knock the guano out of the Death Star. For wookiees, substitute Ewoks and there it is. Lucas Plays Safe. Boo, Hiss.

Cannon will start filming Colin Wilson's The Space Vampires in England in Jan 84: scriptwriter to be Dan (the good bits from Van Vogt) O'Bannon..


Unicon was 'bloody awful'. apparently due to low numbers and Manconish university venue; X-Con (Holland) was also underpopulated but reportedly OK despite the awful ravages of a drink called Mort Subite whose cherry-flavoured version (it's a sort of stale barley wine laced with methanol) was inadvisedly tried by Bob Shaw. UFP-Con (4-7 May Midland Hotel Manchester) is the 84 Trekthing, £15 to 135 Greensted Rd, Leighton, Essex, IG10 3DJ; Mythcon 84 (7-9 Sept, Hull) £10 to 53 Glencoe St, Hull, HU3 6HR; Conquest (12-14 Oct 84 Ingram Hotel Glasgow) is devoted to – oh God – Elfquest, GoH Pinis, £10 to 63 Waybridge Mead, Yately, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 7UX. Birmingham In 86. another Eastercon bid (see p.6) reputedly from M. Tudor & S. Green. Amusing if this and Contravention were offering the same rumoured venue....


Henrietta the Rat reports: 'The 1983 Milford SF Writers' Conference (UK) attracted a baker's dozen to the usual venue, the Compton Hotel, from 25 Sept to 2 Oct. Present: Scott Baker, Richard Cowper, Malcolm Edwards, David Garnett, Mary Gentle, Rob Holdstock, Garry Kilworth, Rachel Pollack, David Redd, Diana Reed, Kevin Smith, Andrew Stephenson, Lisa Tuttle. Daytimes were as usual devoted to serious activities such as reading, discussing manuscripts, and drinking. Evenings were as usual divided between serious activities such as open discussions and drinking, and frivolous activities such as games and drinking. The period between 3am and 7am was reserved for sleeping. Important Facts: K. Smith was undefeated in the pool league, while G. Kilworth racked up the high score on the now-venerable Meteoroids machine. Call My Bluff sessions came up with the usual absurd definitions: crantara a piece of bloody wood carried from clan to clan in medieval Scotland; dowcet a deer's testicle; papaphobia intense fear of the pope. All these definitions proved to be true. New chaos emerged in a game introduced by R. Cowper: one person leaves the room, the rest choose an adverb, and the victim tries to guess the word by asking people to perform different actions in the fashion it suggests. The only sight to rival G. Kilworth encountering a rat in the street offensively was the spectacle of all twelve other players dying melodramatically in front of a baffled R. Pollack. Everyone present vowed never to mention the Cowper interpretation of painting a picture pervertedly.

'L. Tuttle was elected as the new Chair, replacing clapped-out D. Garnett. The other committee members – Langford (Secretary) and Edwards (Treasurer) – were re-elected. Next year – same time, same place (yet again.)' (HtR)

(NB: Mary Gentle's rat Henrietta was present all week but didn't bring a story. The report is actually not by Mary.)


More COAs: GWEN FUNNELL, 28 St Martin's Place, Brighton, E Sussex, BN2 3LE • ANDY LUSIS, 33 Majuba Rd. Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 • MICKEY POLAND, 2 Sqn, 21 Signal Rest, RAF DET OSNABRUCK, BFPO 36 • Lord Foul's Baen – Official! 'Jim Baen is the new El Supremo at Pocket / Timescape / Starscope / whatever,' reports M. Edwards, who got it from G. Benford, who we'll hope didn't just read it in Ansible ... Patrick Nielsen Hayden writes announcing his and Teresa's 1985 TAFF ambitions: "We must descend to active solicitation, crassly prostrating ourselves like some, some... Jan Howard Finder ... (gnashing of teeth, gurgling of internal juices) ... Nearly recovered from the brutal phantasmagoria that was ConStellation, little Teresa is almost completely reassured that really nothing so horrible as 'Isaac Asimov' exists, much less wins Hugos for first drafts, and the twitch in Patrick's shoulder – the tragic result of one too many obsequious pleas for an award by the gruesome 'Jack Chalker' audioanimatron – may be, they tell us, treatable through incisions of only one lobe." (PNH) Headlines: WESTON CRUSHED. THE BRUMMIES JUST LOVE WESTON! WESTON IS NOW 'TWINNED' – AND THAT'S OFFICIAL! All passed on by Dave Wood, who (not to keep you in suspense) lives and buys his newspapers in Avon. Also Joyce Scrivner sands a Minneapolis Tribune ad offering, with your purchase of a 1982 Snapper, a FREE THATCHERIZER – sobering thought. Wm Gibson, famous Vancouver author not to be confused with Continental person Wim Gijsen, was himself confused enough to send a congratulatory note on the arrival of their baby to Malcolm Edwards and Chris Evans.... R.I. Barycz reports Dune location footage to be in the can, George Lucas to have celebrated ROTJ's success with divorce proceedings ('This is very American'), ST-III: The Search For Spock to be shooting under Nimoy's direction, the only 70mm print of 2001 in the UK to have been recently junked, 2010 to be in preproduction ($20M budget) ... 'At a recent Anderson con someone was mad enough to buy a Thunderbirds ice-lolly, 10 yrs in a fridge. And unwrapped it and sucked it to the stick there and then.' [But see next issue.] R. Peyton reports recently auctioning a rude 'Kirk-Spocking' fanzine for £105, one of Kirk's old jackets for £135 ... SF In Southend – An Apology: We are very sorry about 'SF in Southend'. (Old jokes aside, last issue's snippet generated inflammatory letters from J. Beedell, A. Stewart, J. Murphy, all somewhat confusing. All are no doubt paragons and merely misunderstood – JB's naivete being eagerly hoped to conceal corruption, etc) ... Nuclear-Free News Item: US sympathy with the antinuclear movement, or with Marjorie Brunner (take your pick), was revealed when she organized an antinuke meeting at ConStellation and nobody turned up. A Gollancz editor too often mentioned this issue offers floorspace to fans attending CNDcon (22 Oct), but ring first – 01-340-9983. Worries about what my quondam employers AWRE would say about this item are eclipsed by worries of what they'll do to me on reading my novel The Leaky Establishment in Spring, it being about nuclear high-jinks at a totally fictional research establishment. Boring Boring: Joe Nicholas 'would like to point out to recipients of John Owen's fnz Rastus that his letter, partly paraphrased therein, was expressly DNQ (a fact Owen actually acknowledges in passing) – and that having broached this standard fannish confidence. Owen completely misrepresents the content of the letter. It's nice to hear he's calling off his attacks on me, but would he have done so if I hadn't pointed out that he was contradicting his own advice about me in the WAHF column of Crystal Shit 6?' (JN) GUFF ballots are now out but are in A4 format (no Ansible distribution) – ask Joe at the Tun, Novacon, or 22 Denbigh St. Pimlico, London, SW1V 2ER (sae?) ... Charles Platt, overexcited at a Worldcon party, was heard to proclaim that if someone brought him Judy Lynn del Rey he'd piss on her. (Nobody did.) He reports: 'John Sladek arrived here and has been staying in an illegal sublet upstairs from me. Unfortunately the building superintendent heard him typing and deduced his presence. He is therefore moving again, to Minneapolis, Minnesota state of his youth. He had contemplated a 3-month walk down the Appalachian Trail: this being his answer to NY's High Rent Problem, but a stroll up and down a hill overlooking Tom Disch's country summer house changed his mind.' (C. Platt) The Fake Bob Shaw, writes Neil Craig, has expanded with another shop close to NC's 'Futureshock' SF bookshop. "He has made it clear that the purpose of this new site is not to make money particularly but to get me for not coming to heel etc and publicly objecting to being ripped off. To quote Shaw: 'He he cackle.'" The Craig/Shaw partnership (dec'd) having been 'Photon Books', this new place shared with a photographer – started as 'Photo'n Books', became 'Futureshop' after legal muttering and after more legal muttering is 'Books'n Photo'. Price war in progress. Also 'Futureshock' has suffered a curious rash of superglued locks, smashed windows ... 5 Oct.

Hazel's Language Lessons #26
Hindustani by Numbers

dhauncha: number from the four and a half times table;
chhanga: man with 6 fingers;
battisi: 32 of something;
sankh: 10 billion; 100 billion; a conch shell.