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Ansible® 356, March 2017

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 personal congenital radiation detector.

Editorial. Rob Hansen and I are suitably thrilled that his Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK 1930-1980, published late last year by Ansible Editions, is on the BSFA Awards final ballot (below) for best nonfiction. See for a special offer on the ebook.
• Meanwhile, Ian Whates's NewCon Press plans to launch All Good Things: The Last SFX Visions at Eastercon. This collects the final run of my columns for SFX magazine, plus extras to bring the total to a round 100 pieces, and a selection of Andy Watt's illustrations for the original appearances in SFX. Trade paperback and limited-edition hardback; ebook to follow.

Cram Me With Eels

John Clute has given his name to an institution, the Clute Science Fiction Library in Telluride, Colorado, whose 11,000 volumes came from his private sf collection. It's now a public collection under the auspices of the nonprofit Telluride Institute, whose trustees include John and Pamela Lifton-Zoline – yes, that's Pamela Zoline of 'The Heat Death of the Universe' fame. (Telluride Daily Planet, 18 February)

Ursula K. Le Guin has been invited into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a formerly genre-hostile institution that accepted Kurt Vonnegut but never Ray Bradbury. (, 27 February)

Jonathan Lethem is not immune to fashion-related cliché: 'The American [...] was dressed in layers of baggy, unwashed black polyester, too tight on his paunch, and a windbreaker over black jeans and running shoes – a costume exhumed from some Dungeons and Dragons basement.' ('A Gentleman's Game', New Yorker, 5 September) [MMW]

Cat Rambo's 'Red in Tooth and Cog' (F&SF) was announced as a Nebula novelette finalist and then found to be too short to qualify. In its proper category, short story, it would break the three-way tie for fifth place – see below. Rather than disappoint three announced finalists, Rambo (SFWA President) withdrew her story. (Blog, 20 February)

Adam Roberts: 'Fielding a query from a publisher on whether a ("new, major, 750,000 word") Encyclopedia of Science Fiction might be a viable publishing project, I gently pointed them in the direction of a certain online SF Encyclopedia with a few more than 750K words.' (Facebook, 13 February) Now 5.3 million words at


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

10 Mar - ? Oct • Beyond Dredd & Watchmen: The Art of John Higgins (exhibition), Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool.

11 Mar • BSFA/BFS Pubmeet, New York Club WMC, 22-26 Blossom Street, York, YO24 1AJ. 5pm-8pm(ish). With A.J. Dalton. Free to all, but please book in advance at

17 Mar • Sisters in Science Fiction (1/12): Writers (Black History Walks), starts from University of Westminster, 4-12 Little Titchfield St, London. 6:30pm-9pm. Free. See

18 Mar • Canny Comic Con (comics), Newcastle City Library, 10am-3:30pm. Free. See

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

30 Mar - 2 Apr • Sci-Fi Weekender, Hafan y Mor Holiday Park, near Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales. Booking by accommodation from £640 for two; Fri+Sat day pass £89; More at

8-9 Apr • Sci-Fi Scarborough (multimedia), The Spa, Scarborough. Adult tickets £25, or £15 per day; under-17s £10, £5; under-5s free. See

14-17 Apr • Innominate (Eastercon), NEC, Birmingham. £80 reg (£90 at door); YA/concessions £55 (£60); under-16s £20 (£25); under-6s £1 (£5). Adult day rates £20 Fri, £30 Sat or Sun, £10 Mon. Advance booking closes on 7 April. See for more.

27 Apr - 6 May • Sci-Fi London (film festival), various London venues. For more details see

29 Apr • Supernova (sf film festival), Odeon Printworks, Manchester. Further details at

2 May • Sci-Fi London Pub Quiz, Juju's Bar and Stage, 15 Hanbury St, E1 6QR. 7pm-10pm. £30/team of 6. See

3 Jun • Wonderlands: UK Graphic Novel Expo. Cityspace Centre, Chester Rd, Sunderland. 10am-6pm. Free. Guests include John Wagner and Martin Rowson. More TBA at

9-24 Jun • Visions of Space 2: IAAA Exhibition of Astronomical and Space Art, Wells & Mendip Museum, 8 Cathedral Green, Wells, BA5 2UE. 10am-5pm (closed Sun). Free. See

27 Jul • Clarke Award, Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London. Tickets should become available later in the year.

8-9 Sep • TitanCon, Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast. Friday afternoon free; £28 reg Saturday; £5 supporting. See

21-24 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Soc), St Antony's College, Oxford. £60/£70 reg. See

23 Sep • Crossness Steampunk Convivial, Crossness Engines, Belvedere Rd, Abbey Wood, SE2 9AQ. See

23 Sep • Preston Comic Con, Guild Hall, Preston. 10:30am (9:30 'early bird') to 5pm. See

23-24 Sep • Comic Con, Leeds. As usual this is part of Thought Bubble, the Leeds Comic Art Festival, running 18-24 September. Ticket prices and other details are awaited at

13-15 Oct • Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, Cumbria. Some parts free. For tickets see

20-22 Oct • Festival of Fantastic Films, Pendulum Hotel, Manchester. £85 reg. Cheques c/o 8 Glenfield, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4QH. For other payment routes see

2 Dec • Dragonmeet (gaming), Novotel London West, Hammersmith. 9am-midnight. Booking from June at

2-4 Feb 2018 • Enharmonicon (filk), Best Western Hotel, Marks Tey, Colchester. GoH The Crooklets (UK), Betsy Tinney (US), Omega (Special). More TBA at

30 Mar - 2 Apr 2018 • Follycon (Eastercon), Majestic Hotel, Harrogate. £60 reg, rising to £70 on 1 May; £45 YA/unwaged; £30 child (5-17)/supp; under-5s free. Cheques to Eastercon 2018 c/o 19 Uphall Rd, Cambridge, CB3 1HX. Credit cards (preferred) via

Rumblings. 2017 Hugo Nominations close on 17 or 18 March depending on time zone. More details at • Eurocon 2019: the TitanCon (Belfast) bid is at

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Saw Us. 'For years, sensible adults have been amused by the talk of small fry about spaceships, interplanetary travel, and the weirdly-garbed science-fiction characters of extra-terrestrial domains.' ('The Astronauts Are Coming', Harper's Magazine, May 1952) [MMW]

Awards. Jack Gaughan (emerging artist): Kirbi Fagan.
Oscar for animated film: Zootopia.
Robert A. Heinlein Award: Robert J. Sawyer.
Skylark Award (NESFA): Jo Walton.
William L. Crawford Award (fantasy by new author) Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky.

Communications Masterclass. 'As things turned out, Bitomsky was working in Santa Clarita, California, not far from where I live, which made an email interview easy to do.' (Donald M. Scott, The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart, 2012) [JB]

R.I.P. Alan Aldridge (1943-2017), UK artist and designer who created several memorable Penguin sf covers and illustrated The Penguin Book of Comics (1971, text by George Perry) and The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper Feast (1973, verses by William Plomer), died on 17 February; he was 73. [DP]
Dick Bruna (1927-2017), Dutch children's author/illustrator who created the 124 best-selling Miffy the Bunny picture books, died on 16 February aged 89. [MMW]
Edward Bryant (1945-2017), highly regarded US author of short sf who won Nebula awards for 'Stone' (1978) and 'giANTS' (1979), was found dead on 10 February; he was 71. He published several fine collections, notably Cinnabar (1976). [ED]
Susan Casper (1947-2017), US short-story author and Gardner Dozois's wife for 47 years, died on 24 February. They co-edited the anthology Ripper! (1988) and collaborated on stories included in Gardner's Slow Dancing through Time (1990). [GD]
Börje Crona (1932-2017), Swedish author who published two humorous sf novels, five collections and a vast amount of humorous nonfiction, and was active as an sf translator from 1958 to the 1990s, died on 14 February; he was 84. [J-HH]
Neil Fingleton (1981-2017), UK actor named 'Britain's Tallest Man' at 7' 7", with credits for X-Men: First Class (2011), 47 Ronin (2013), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015; stunts, motion capture for Ultron) and Game of Thrones, died on 25 February; he was 36. [AIP]
Richard Hatch, US actor who played Captain Apollo in Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979 tv; 1978 film) and Zarek in the 2004-2009 reboot, died on 7 February aged 71. He collaborated on spinoff novels such as Battlestar Galactica: Armageddon (1997) with Christopher Golden. Further film credits include Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983), InAlienable (2008), Alien Hunger (2014) and Starship II: Rendezvous with Ramses (2016). [SG]
Dave Holmes, UK fan, convention-goer and book dealer at Birmingham's former Andromeda Bookshop (later Magic Labyrinth in Leicester), died on 13 February; he was 61. [SH/RP]
Alec McCowen (1925-2017), UK actor seen in The Witches (1966) and Never Say Never Again (1983), died on 6 February aged 91. [MMW]
William Melvin Kelley (1937-2017) US author who used fantastic tropes to explore his country's racial issues in the near-future sf A Different Drummer (1959) and other works, died on 1 February; he was 79. [PDF]
Bill Paxton (1955-2017), US actor seen in The Terminator (1984), Weird Science (1985), Aliens (1986), Brain Dead (1990), Future Shock (1994), Thunderbirds (2004), The Colony (2013), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and others, died on 26 February aged 61. (BBC)
Richard Purtill (1931-2016), US author of books on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, the six Kaphtu Universe fantasies opening with The Golden Gryphon Feather (1979), and the sf The Parallel Man (1984), died on 4 December; he was 85. [F770]
Raymond Smullyan (1919-2017), US mathematician, philosopher and author who like Martin Gardner framed mathematical and logical puzzles with fantastic themes and settings, died on 6 February aged 97. His non-puzzle books include 5000 B.C. and Other Philosophical Fantasies (1983).
Jiro Taniguchi (1947-2017), prolific Japanese manga writer/artist since 1970, whose 1998-1999 time-travel fantasy A Distant Neighbourhood was filmed in 2010, died on 11 February aged 69. PDF
Tzvetan Todorov (1939-2017), Bulgarian-born literary critic long resident in France, whose 1970 study translated as The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to Literary Genre (1973) has been influential, died on 7 February; he was 77. [PDF]
Nancy Willard (1936-2017), prolific US author and 1982 Newbery Medal winner whose fantasies include the Anatole trilogy for children and, for adults, Things Invisible to See (1984; Crawford winner) and Sister Water (1993), died on 19 February; she was 80. [GVG]
Loren Wiseman (1951-2017), US co-founder of Game Designers' Workshop and a developer of the sf role-playing games Traveller, Space 1889 and Twilight 2000, died on 15 February aged 65. [MR]

The Weakest Link. Q: 'Which Elizabethan playwright had twins called Hamnet and Judith?' A: 'The only playwright I know with twins in it is Cinderella. So I'm going to say Cinderella.' (ITV, Tipping Point) [PE]

BSFA Awards Shortlist. NOVEL Chris Beckett, Daughter of Eden; Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit; Dave Hutchinson, Europe in Winter; Tricia Sullivan, Occupy Me; Nick Wood, Azanian Bridges.
SHORT Malcolm Devlin, 'The End of Hope Street' (Interzone 266); Jaine Fenn, 'Liberty Bird' (Now We Are Ten); Una McCormack, 'Taking Flight' (Crises and Conflicts); Helen Oyeyemi, 'Presence' (What is Not Yours is Not Yours); Tade Thompson, 'The Apologists' (Interzone 266); Aliya Whiteley, 'The Arrival of Missives' (Unsung Stories)
NON-FICTION Rob Hansen, Then: Science Fiction Fandom in the UK 1930-1980; Erin Horáková, Boucher, Backbone and Blake: The Legacy of Blakes Seven; Anna McFarlane, 'Breaking the Cycle of the Golden Age: Jack Glass and Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy' (Adam Roberts: Critical Essays); Paul Graham Raven, 'New Model Authors? Authority, Authordom, Anarchism and the Atomized Text in a Networked World' (Ibid); Geoff Ryman, '100 African Writers of SFF' (; Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, Introduction to The Big Book of Science Fiction.
ARTWORK (all covers) Juan Miguel Aguilera, The 1000 Year Reich by Ian Watson; Tara Bush, 'Transition' (Black Static 53); Suzanne Dean and Kai & Sunny, The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan; David A. Hardy, Disturbed Universes by David L. Clements; Sarah Anne Langton, Central Station by Lavie Tidhar; Chris Moore, The Iron Tactician by Alastair Reynolds.
• Detailed list with voting link at

In Typo Veritas. Knell of Doom Dept. 'Let them know that their asses will be in the ringer if they do.' (Kate White, Hush, 2010) [PB]

Nebula Shortlist. NOVEL Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky; Mishell Baker, Borderline; N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate; Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit; Nisi Shawl, Everfair.
NOVELLA S.B. Divya, Runtime; Kij Johnson, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe; Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom; Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway; John P. Murphy, 'The Liar'; Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey.
NOVELETTE William Ledbetter, 'The Long Fall Up' (F&SF); Sarah Pinsker, 'Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea' (Lightspeed); Jason Sanford, 'Blood Grains Speak Through Memories' (Beneath Ceaseless Skies); Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam's 'The Orangery' (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, replacing Cat Rambo's 'Red in Tooth and Cog' from F&SF); Fran Wilde, The Jewel and Her Lapidary; Alyssa Wong, 'You'll Surely Drown Here If You Stay' (Uncanny).
SHORT Brooke Bolander, 'Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies' (Uncanny); Amal El-Mohtar, 'Seasons of Glass and Iron' (The Starlit Wood); Barbara Krasnoff, 'Sabbath Wine' (Clockwork Phoenix 5); Sam J. Miller, 'Things With Beards' (Clarkesworld); A. Merc Rustad, 'This Is Not a Wardrobe Door' (Fireside); Alyssa Wong, 'A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers' (; Caroline M. Yoachim, 'Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station ...' (Lightspeed).
BRADBURY (dramatic): Arrival, Doctor Strange, Kubo and the Two Strings, Rogue One, Westworld: 'The Bicameral Mind', Zootopia.
NORTON (YA) Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon; Roshani Chokshi, The Star-Touched Queen; Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree; David D. Levine, Arabella of Mars; Philip Reeve, Railhead; Lindsay Ribar, Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies; Delia Sherman, The Evil Wizard Smallbone.

Random Fandom. Ted White, on the verge of losing his home to the ever-huger property taxes of Falls Church, Virginia, launched a GoFundMe campaign which very soon (see solved the immediate problem; he thanks all the fans and others who generously responded. Further support will be needed since these tax demands continue to arrive every six months.

Still More Awards. Clarke: submissions list revealed 14 February at; shortlist 3 May.
Gemmell Awards: longlists announced 17 February; voting in progress at with shortlists expected on 21 April.
Stoker (horror) novel shortlist: Barbara Barnett, The Apothecary's Curse; Greg Chapman, Hollow House; Tom Deady, Haven; Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason, Mayan Blue; Stephanie Wytovich, The Eighth. For the rest see

Groves of Academe. The Anglia Ruskin Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy has been launched, with a website at

Magazine Scene. The long-running horror glossy Fangoria may never see another print edition, says its editor (or ex-editor since mid-December) Ken W. Hanley. Even the digital version is struggling.

The Dead Past. 40 Years Ago: 'The fannish peer who's been turning up at the London One Tun meetings recently is [...] Jestyn Reginald Austen Plantagenet Philipps, Baron Strange Of Knokin, Baron Hungerford, Baron de Moleyns, and Viscount St Davids, Bart. That should put the St Fantony hoi-polloi in their place.' (Peter Roberts, Checkpoint 80, March 1977)
20 Years Ago: 'Jeremy Paxman to University Challenge teams (5 Mar): "Published in 1996, The Unseen University Challenge quizbook is based on the works of which author?" Hopeful Irish Student (Queen's, Belfast): "Er ... the Marquis de Sade?" Discworld quizbook author swoons, fulfilled at last.' (Ansible 116, March 1997)

C.o.A. Yvonne Rousseau, 66a Royal Parade, Reservoir, Victoria 3073, Australia.

Fanfundery. TAFF voting has been extended from the former 4 March deadline to the end of Eastercon on 17 April. Some campaign links from candidates can be found at
Last warning: 2017 DUFF voting ends on 10 March; GUFF voting on 1 April.

Thog's Masterclass. Facial Dept. 'Her nose held the memory of Spanish conquistadors. Her skin was the color of leaves just starting to turn. And beneath her dark eyes were full lips that looked as if they'd never smiled.' (Weston Ochse, Grunt Life, 2014) [AK]
Dept of Inspiration. 'An idea suddenly gurgled up in her mind.' (Kate White, Hush, 2010) [PB]
Chronoclasm Dept. 'She was dressed in a clinging medieval tea gown ...' (Agatha Christie, 'At the Crossroads', 1926)
Dept of See-Through Opacity. 'She wore something long, opaque and diaphanous in a vivid shade of lime green.' (Mike Ripley, Mr Campion's Fault, 2016) [CH]
Service with a Smile Dept. 'His grin shot to my loins.' (Becky Masterman, Rage Against the Dying, 2013) [PB]

Geeks' Corner

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• 10 March 2017: Gerry Webb 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/speakers: 7 April 2017 Dave Hutchinson; 12 May 2017 Adrian Tchaikovsky; 9 June 2017 Aliette de Bodard; 11 August 2017 Summer Social; 13 October 2017 Andy Sawyer.
• 15 March 2017: Stephen Gallagher in conversation with Stephen Laws, Northern Mining Institute, Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE. 7pm; tickets £3.
• 1 April 2017: Steph Swainston, Reddit AMA 'Ask Me Anything' at Reddit Fantasy as below. 7am to midnight (GMT/UTC).

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

Editorial. Another month with no new titles from Ansible Editions, doubtless to the relief of the sf world. Current titles and the backlist remain copiously available at the website, and I'll also add the pre-order link for my coming NewCon Press collection:

Outraged Letters. Steve Jones (of the Birmingham SF Group) on Vicky Stock and Peter Weston: 'It was a terrible tragedy for the Brum Group to lose two on the same day. Vicky was as important for the later days of the Brum Group as Peter was for the beginning.'
Simon R. Green: 'I only met Peter a few times, but he was always very encouraging to me.'
Lloyd Penney: 'My condolences to you, and to all British fandom who saw Peter Weston as one of its brightest lights. He was one of the many I wanted to meet, but never did.'

Magazine Scene II. The 1990s UK sf-oriented magazine Infinity is to return on 27 April as a sister title to the horror organ The Dark Side. Like its sibling, it will be six-weekly. [SG]

Even Still Yet More Awards. Special marks for interminability to the Rhysling (SF poetry) longlist:

Thog's Second Helping. Was It Perhaps Circular? 'Madame Rosa's voice dropped to a whisper. "I took Victor's hand to read his palm. It was the life-line, Doctor ... I could see no end to it. They must be immortal, those Brains!"' (Sidney J. Bounds, The Robot Brains, 1958) [AK]

Ansible® 356 Copyright © David Langford, 2017. Thanks to Paul Barnett, John Boston, Ellen Datlow, Paul Di Filippo, Gardner Dozois, File 770, Steve Green, Steve Hatton, Chip Hitchcock, John-Henri Holmberg, Amanda Kear, Rog Peyton, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Marcus Rowland, Gordon Van Gelder, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 March 2017.