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Ansible® 350, September 2016

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 or a reliable second-hand Sending Boat.

Now: Then! At last, Ansible Editions proudly presents Rob Hansen's Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK: 1930-1980 in its first book edition, hugely revised and expanded from the long-ago fanzine incarnation. 454 pages, nearly 228,000 words, heavily photo-illustrated: $22.50 in trade paperback and $36.50 (with an introductory 10% discount) in hardback. Read all about it at

MidAmericon II Awards

Hugos. NOVEL N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season. NOVELLA Nnedi Okorafor, Binti. NOVELETTE Hao Jingfang trans Ken Liu, 'Folding Beijing' (1/15 Uncanny). SHORT Naomi Kritzer, 'Cat Pictures Please' (1/15 Clarkesworld). RELATED WORK No Award. GRAPHIC Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture. DRAMATIC, LONG The Martian. DRAMATIC, SHORT Jessica Jones: 'AKA Smile'. EDITOR, SHORT Ellen Datlow. EDITOR, LONG Sheila E. Gilbert. PRO ARTIST Abigail Larson. SEMIPROZINE Uncanny Magazine. FANZINE File 770. FANCAST No Award. FAN WRITER Mike Glyer. FAN ARTIST Steve Stiles. CAMPBELL (Not a Hugo): Andy Weir.
Retro Hugos for 1940 work. NOVEL A.E. Van Vogt, Slan. NOVELLA Robert A. Heinlein, 'If This Goes On ...'. NOVELETTE Heinlein, 'The Roads Must Roll'. SHORT Isaac Asimov 'Strange Playfellow' aka 'Robbie'. GRAPHIC Batman #1. DRAMATIC, LONG Fantasia. DRAMATIC, SHORT Pinocchio. EDITOR John W. Campbell. PRO ARTIST Virgil Finlay. FANZINE Futuria Fantasia. FAN WRITER Ray Bradbury.
Big Heart: Joe Siclari and Edie Stern.
Campbell Memorial: Eleanor Lerman, Radiomen.
First Fandom Hall of Fame: Ben Bova, Roy V. Hunt, Lew Martin, Olon F. Wiggins, Joseph Wrzos.
Sam Moskowitz Archive Award: Stephen D. Korshak, Ned Brooks.
Sidewise. SHORT Bill Crider, 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' (Tales from the Otherverse). LONG Julie Mayhew, The Big Lie.
Sturgeon (short): Kelly Link, 'The Game of Smash and Recovery' (10/15 Strange Horizons)
• George R.R. Martin again threw a lavish Hugo Losers' Party and gave hood-ornament 'Alfie' awards to worthies pushed off the Hugo ballot by slate voting: SHORT Alyssa Wong, 'Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers'. RELATED Alisa Krasnostein & Alexandra Pierce, Letters to Tiptree. GRAPHIC Bitch Planet, Volume 1. ARTIST Julie Dillon. FANZINE Journey Planet. FANCAST Tea and Jeopardy. FAN WRITER Alexandra Erin. Plus 'special committee awards' to Black Gate and Locus.

The Way of the Wender

Jim Butcher is being honoured by Hull City Council! A new street on Alexandra Dock will be named Jim Butcher Way; sadly for Dresden Files fans, this Jim Butcher was a pioneering trade unionist. [CN]

Gregory Feeley on the unmentionable: 'The New York Times's refusal to use the term "science fiction" continues apace. Colson Whitehead's new novel The Underground Railroad, in which the Underground Railroad of the antebellum American South is rendered literal, is not called a "fantasy"; moreover the reviewer refers to his previous novels by noting that The Intuitionist had "dystopian concerns and [a] futuristic mood," while Zone One represented "Whitehead's contribution to the unquenchable American thirst for zombies." Neither "science fiction," "fantasy," nor "horror" are ever identified by name.' (14 August) In certain contexts the term is allowed: see 'As Others Avoid Us' below.

Neil Gaiman wasn't at MidAmeriCon, but his Hugo acceptance speech was read out at the ceremony and included the following: 'It meant a lot to see Sandman: Overture nominated for a Hugo Award, and was disappointing to see that it had been dragged into the unfortunate mess that the pitiable people who call themselves Puppy had attempted to inflict on Worldcon and its awards. I would have withdrawn it from consideration, but even that seemed like it would have been giving these sad losers too much acknowledgement.'

Franz Kafka's papers belong to the national library of Israel, according to an Israeli court ruling against the heirs of Max Brod. Having preserved these papers – which Kafka himself wanted burnt – Brod asked that they should go to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; his heirs had different and more profitable ideas. An original copy of The Trial from this cache sold for $2m in 1988. (Times, 10 August) [PF]

Ursula K. Le Guin this month joins the highly select company of living authors honoured with a Library of America edition – not outright sf or fantasy but (her own choice) an omnibus of the Orsinia stories.


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

3-4 Sep • Middle-earth Festival, Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Rd, Hall Green, Birmingham, B13 0BD. Free. See

8-11 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Soc), St Antony's College, Oxford. Now £55-£75 reg. See

CANCELLED 9-10 Sep • Andromeda 2, Moseley, Birmingham. Cancelled in July owing to 'low advance sales'. The website has vanished.

12-18 Sep • Gollancz Festival, London (Phoenix Artist Club 17 Sep; Foyles 17-18 Sep) and online (12-16 Sep). See

17-18 Sep • Futurefest (futurology), Tobacco Dock, London. £80 or £50/day; 50% off for students with NUS cards. See

23-25 Sep • Fantasycon, Scarborough. Grand Hotel, St Nicholas Cliff, and The Royal, St Nicholas St. £50 reg (BFS members £40) plus £35 for awards banquet. See

24-25 Sep • Tolkien Weekend, Newcastle Castle. 10am-5pm each day. Free admission. See

28 Sep • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. With Ed Cox. Free; all welcome.

1 Oct • TitanCon, Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast. £25 reg (plus £1.20 PayPal transaction fee); £5 supporting. See

5-16 Oct • London Literature Festival: 'Living in Future Times', Southbank Centre, London. See

14-16 Oct • Octocon, Camden Court Hotel, Dublin, Ireland. €30 reg and €20 concessions, rising on 14 September to €35 and €25; free entry for accompanied under-13s. Join online at

23-25 Oct • Celluloid Screams (horror film festival), Showroom Cinema, Sheffield. See 0114 275 7727.

24-26 Feb 2017 • Redemption '17 (multimedia), Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield. Now £70 reg (day £40); under-18s £25 (day £15); under-3s free; £15 supp. See

5 Jul 2017 • Edge-Lit 6, QUAD Centre, Derby, DE1 3AS. 10am-late. Tickets £30. See

16-20 Aug 2018 • Worldcon 76 (Worldcon), San José, CA, USA. GoH Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Spider Robinson, others. $160 reg; $90 YA (15-21) and military; under-15s $60; $50 supp; under-6s free. Usual discounts for presupporters and site voters. See

Rumblings. 2018 Worldcon Site Selection: Worldcon 76 (as above) defeated the rival bid from New Orleans by 675 votes to 594.

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Research Us. 'Anglo-Saxon democracies, which were never invaded in the 20th century, have produced a rich series of alternative histories of resistance. When the Nazis win the Second World War, audiences can flatter themselves that they would never have collaborated with Robert Harris's Fatherland or Amazon's Man in the High Castle.' (Nick Cohen, Guardian, 30 July) [DM]

More Awards. Arthur C. Clarke: Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children of Time. Self-published novels may in future be eligible.
Mythopoeic: ADULT FANTASY Naomi Novik, Uprooted. CHILDREN'S Ursula Vernon, Castle Hangnail. SCHOLARSHIP/INKLINGS Grevel Lindop, Charles Williams: The Third Inkling. SCHOLARSHIP/OTHER Jamie Williamson, The Evolution of Modern Fantasy: From Antiquarianism to the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series.
Prometheus (libertarian) Life Achievement: L. Neil Smith.

The Joy of OCR. James Lovegrove's Amazon author biography says he was 'Sheri-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke Award', reviews for the Financial T lines and wrote Sherlock Holmes: The Sniff of Nightmares. His title Untied Kingdom was mysteriously 'corrected'. (31 August)

R.I.P. Kenny Baker (1934-2016), UK actor who played R2-D2 in Star Wars (1977) and several sequels and prequels, died on 13 August; he was 81. Other genre credits include Wombling Free (1978), Flash Gordon (1980), Time Bandits (1981) and Labyrinth (1986).
Michel Butor (1926-2016), French nouveau roman novelist and pioneering sf critic who wrote on Jules Verne and published a once mildly notorious 1953 essay translated as 'Science Fiction: The Crisis of its Growth', died on 24 August aged 89. [PDF]
Stephanie Clarkson (1970-2016), Canadian/US fan who was in charge of disabled access at the 2003 Toronto Worldcon, died on 19 July; she was 45. [JDN]
Guy Dessicy (1924-2016), golden-age Belgian comics colourist who worked on Hergé's Tintin albums 1946-1954 and was instrumental in founding the Belgian Comics Centre in Brussels in the early 1980s, died on 29 July; he was 92. [JG]
John G. Fantucchio (1938-2016), US comics artist who drew mainly for such 1960s/1970s fanzines as Rocket's Blast Comicollector but also appeared in Vampirella and Creepy, reportedly died in early August; he was 78. [PDF]
Fyvush Finkel (1922-2016), US character actor who was in the revived Fantasy Island (1998-1999) and The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (voice, 1998), died on 14 August aged 93.
David Huddleston (1930-2016), US actor whose credits include Bewitched (1970-1971), Blazing Saddles (1974), Computercide (1981) and Santa Claus (1985), died on 2 August aged 85.
Barry Jenner (1941-2016), US actor who played Admiral Ross in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, died on August 9 aged 75; other genre credits include Looker (1981). [SFS]
Marvin Kaplan (1927-2016), US actor whose genre credits include Angels in the Outfield (1951), Top Cat (1961-1962 voice) and Freaky Friday (1976), died on 25 August aged 89. [SFS]
Víctor Mora (1931-2016), Spanish comics writer who in 1956 created the highly popular series Capitán Trueno ('Captain Thunder', inspired by Prince Valiant), died on 17 August; he was 85. [PDF]
Robert C. 'Bob' Peterson (1921-2016), long-time fan, publisher of 1940s sf bibliographies including The Fantasy Index, editor of the anthology The Science-Fictional Sherlock Holmes (1960) and member of the First Fandom Hall of Fame, died on 15 August. [SFS]
Jack Riley (1935-2016), US comic actor whose credits include The Addams Family Fun House (1973), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978), C.H.U.D. II – Bud the Chud (1989) and Rugrats (1991-2005), died on 19 August aged 80. [MMW]
Ruth Stuart(1964-2016), Canadian fan and author who helped run WilfCon 1984-1994 and published stories in genre anthologies from 2004, died on 12 August; she was 52. [JDN]
Gene Wilder (1933-2016), US actor best known and loved in genre circles for star roles in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Young Frankenstein (1974), died on 29 August aged 83. [DK] As co-screenwriter he shared Young Frankenstein's Hugo and Nebula awards with Mel Brooks. Other credits include Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask (1972), Blazing Saddles (1974), The Little Prince (1974) and Haunted Honeymoon (1986).

The Weakest Link. Q: 'Which Shakespeare play shares its name with a Christian festival celebrated on January 5th?' A: 'Macbeth.' (ITV, Tipping Point) [PE]
Q: 'What is the name given to the series of conflicts fought in mediaeval England between the houses of Lancaster and York?' A: 'Game of Thrones.' (Channel 4, The Question Jury) [PE]

Show Me the Money. Forbes magazine guessed at the earnings of 14 top authors, most with genre links: James Patterson $95 million, Jeff Kinney $19.5m, J.K. Rowling $19m, John Grisham $18m, Stephen King $15m, Danielle Steel $15m, Nora Roberts $15m, E.L. James $14m, Veronica Roth $10m, John Green $10m, Paula Hawkins $10m, George R.R. Martin $9.5m, Rick Riordan $9.5m and Dan Brown $9.5m. [AIP]

Thog's Science Masterclass: In Space No One Can Hear You Diet. 'It was the weightlessness that woke Trey: the sudden, disorienting loss of body mass.' (Elizabeth Bonesteel, The Cold Between, 2016) [AK]

Court Circular. Hachette Book Group is suing Seth Grahame-Smith – of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies notoriety – for half of the $1m advance he received in 2010 for a two-book contract. Book one was duly published in 2015; book two was very late and allegedly not only on an unapproved subject but the wrong length and 'in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work'. (Hollywood Reporter, 26 August). Well, that's what he does, isn't it?

As Others Avoid Us. 'I am confident that my streak of never having read a work of science fiction will remain intact.' (Jeffrey Toobin, NY Times, 7 August) [JB]
• 'I do not like espionage, science fiction or romance novels, because I don't believe half of them, they feel totally implausible; and because I either know how they're going to end or don't care. (Terry McMillan, NY Times, 18 August) [PDF]

Outraged Letters. Simon R. Green liked Brad Foster's 'Box Bat of Cardboard City' cartoon (A349): 'I had my own street of weird homeless people in the Nightside books. Including my favourite image: an Alien Grey in a tattered pressure suit, holding a handwritten sign, Will probe for food.'
Patrice Louinet on that Robert E. Howard rarity (see A349): 'There are currently fifteen known copies of the Jenkins Gent. It has been my good fortune to unearth two of those, incidentally. As to Glenn[ Lord]'s copy, it is the only copy in the world with a dustjacket. There are no known copies of the jacket for the so-called cheap edition. Glenn's copy did find a taker, but outside eBay.'

We Are Everywhere. The company that makes the uninvitingly sf-titled drink Soylent has followed up with a coffee-like derivative called Coffiest – which in Frederik Pohl's and C.M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants was laced with an addictive alkaloid. Expect Can-D, Chew-Z and thionite products any day now. (, August)

Random Fandom. Hugo Tweaks at Worldcon business meetings include ratification of the anti-slate measures E Pluribus Hugo (a complex nomination-counting algorithm) and '5 and 6': 5 nominations allowed in each category for 6 final ballot slots (amended from 4 and 6, the current practice being 5 and 5). Newer proposals needing 2017 ratification include EPH+ (an improved EPH) and 3SV or 3-Stage Voting, a remarkable system which this margin is too small to contain.
Chuck Tingle, as predicted by 5,271,009 fan pundits, lost no time in releasing his new mini-epic Pounded in the Butt by My Hugo Award Loss.

Still More Awards. The inaugural Nommo Awards for African sf/fantasy are to be presented in November under the aegis of the newly formed African Speculative Fiction Society. The winning novel, novella, short story and graphic novel will share $3000 prize money. [L]

The Dead Past. 5 Years Ago, John Pelan introduced the first Best of Richard Wilson collection: 'I am very much indebted to Harlan Ellison for making "At the Sign of Boar's Head Nebula" available (originally written specifically for The Last Dangerous Visions) ... his only concern was our ability to get the book out in a timely manner.' (The Story Writer and Other Stories, Ramble House, 2011) [BS]
40 Years Ago, there came news of the founding of the UK Daedalus Society: '"the Society is being set up so that Science Fiction fans may also make their own contributions to man's conquest of space." [...] If you have some spare time at weekends and feel like conquering space, drop the society a line.' (Checkpoint 74, September 1976)
50 Years Ago, William F. Temple wrote about a star-studded party, 'almost a small convention, at Mike Moorcock's flat [...] Among those present were Judy Merril, who is over here to compile an anthology of British sf for U.S. readers, Arthur C. Clarke, who is still working on the Kubrick Cinerama film, Brian Aldiss, William Burroughs (he brought his lunch with him – naked, of course), Arthur and Gladys Sellings [...], J.G. Ballard, George MacBeth the poet and BBC producer, Jim McConnell of Ann Arbor, Keith Roberts and myself.' (Skyrack 92, September 1966)

Court Circular II. David Kelso-Mitchell, sentenced earlier this year to ten years' jail for attempted murder (South Wales Evening Post, 16 March) is also the author and publisher D.M. Mitchell who edited such Lovecraftian anthologies as The Starry Wisdom (1994) and compiled the definitive history of Savoy Books, A Serious Life (Savoy 2004). [DP]

Fanfundery. Corflu 50: Pete Young was chosen by this consensus-based fan fund to travel to Corflu 2017 in Los Angeles (see

Publishers and Sinners. Alex Davis announced the shutdown of his small press Boo Books on 10 August. The closing sale is now over.

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Anticipation. 'Rapid sonorous beats of turmoil and uncertainty pulsed in his head to near unimaginable proportions as the potential ramifications perpending if what he expected to discover was to come true overtook him.' (Peter Senese and Robert Geis, Cloning Christ, 2002) [PB]
In Your Face Dept. 'She was comely; a slight skew of the cheekbones only lent her face a stronger punch.' (Greg Vilk, Golem, 2005) [PB]
Pathetic Fallacy Redivivus. 'The air grew so thick with tension that even the wind outside backed off to a safe distance.' (Ibid)
Sherlockian Technology Dept. 'Holmes leant over the gasogene and lit his cigarette.' (Anthony Horowitz, The House of Silk, 2011) [RR/AM]
Dept of Astrogation Equipment. 'She gestured at the powerful prism binoculars, a part of the uniform of every officer of space.' (E.E. Smith, First Lensman, 1950)
Simile Dept. 'Like black pudding, the maze threatened to congeal around him ...' (Alan Dean Foster, Reunion, 2001) [PB]
Paging Lionel Fanthorpe. 'Did clouds moot before resolving to rain? Did atmosphere argue prior to sending a breeze northward, or to the east? When a whirling magnetar blew off overwhelming quantities of gamma rays, was the direction and moment of eruption a consequence of cognizant confutation?' (Ibid)

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• 9 September 2016: Best SF Film discussion (replacing joint event with the cancelled Andromeda 2). 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/speakers: 14 October 2016 Andy Lound; 4 November 2016 Film Night; 2 December 2016 Christmas Social.

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

Editorial. Yes, there will also be an Ansible Editions ebook of Rob Hansen's expanded Then, which should be available before long in the usual formats. After that, AE returns to the Langford backlist with an ebook of The Space Eater – cover by the great David A. Hardy!

Thog's Second Helping. 'Her eye has been caught by a rogue tulip, a pink one.' 'My insides have turned to red.' (both Sabine Durrant, Remember Me This Way, 2015) [PB]

Ansible® 350 Copyright © David Langford, 2016. Thanks to Paul Barnett, John Boston, Paul Di Filippo, Paul Fraser, Joe Gordon, Amanda Kear, Dan Kimmel, Locus, Adrian Middleton, Dez Mundie, Chris Nicole, James D. Nicoll, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Private Eye, Robert Rankin, Bill Seabrook, SF Site, Martin Morse Wooster, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Brum Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 September 2016.