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Ansible® 359, June 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 the initiation rite of the Ten Teacups.

Yet Another Ebook. More Langfordiana in Short Shrift: A Big Book of Little Reviews 1976-2017, collecting over 650 reviews, book columns and other oddments judged too short for my more pretentious nonfiction collections. Well over 800 books are covered at a total length of some 262,000 words, including multiple indexes. Gluttons for punishment can learn more about this at

The Margrave of Daventry

Ken MacLeod is 'moving to the other side of Scotland on 23 June ... like many a fan before me I'm trying to get rid of a vast accumulation of fanzines, semi-prozines, con programmes, copies of Locus and other SF/F ephemera.' Willing to drive to South Queensferry and haul some stuff away? Contact kenneth dot m dot macleod at gmail dot com.

Cat Rambo, speaking ex cathedra as SFWA President, says that 'all forms of game writing will be eligible' for the new Nebula category Best Game Writing, to be first presented in 2018 for 2017 work. [L]

Adam Roberts strolled with Thog through Walter Harris's The Fifth Horseman (1976): 'In a world of rabbits, it pays to be a hare.' 'Tarkis Mavrolados came into his board-room like a wolf into a funeral parlour.' 'The ocean held aloft its might like a mugger his black-jack.' 'The face was set, the young creamy face which had managed to produce an absurd black moustache pale with sorrow.' 'A girl was running swiftly across the pitted field; her terror could be felt a half-mile away; long legs thrust desperately against the tattered material of her dress giving her the appearance of an elegant but terrified scarecrow.' 'Gusts of alcoholic breath flickered around the face like the tongue of an adder.' '"I love you darling!" Rosalind cried, an avowal of love. ... "I love you too." Lorca voiced his response in the litany of lovemaking.' 'Wales disappeared in the evening mist like a sin absolved.' Yes, it does that.

John Wyndham's influence still persists: 'It's impossible for an Englishman to stand in an agave field and not think of The Day of the Triffids.' (Tim Hayward, Financial Times, 6 May) [MMW]


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

2 Jun - 1 Sep • Into the Unknown: A Journey Through SF (exhibition), Barbican, London. Tickets £14.50. See

3 Jun • BSFA/BFS Pubmeet, New York Club WMC, 22-26 Blossom Street, York, YO24 1AJ. 4:30pm-8pm(ish). With Maxin Gee, Steve Toase. Free to all, but please book in advance at

3 Jun • Wonderlands: UK Graphic Novel Expo. Cityspace Centre, Chester Rd, Sunderland. 10am-5pm. Free. See

9-11 Jun • Lazlar Lyricon 3 (Hitch-Hiker), Quality Hotel, Stoke-on-Trent. £60 reg (ZZ9 members £55), 16-25s £30 (ZZ9 £25), 10-15s £10*, under-10s free* (*with adult). See

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

11 Jun • Blake (Blake's 7), Steventon Village Hall, Oxon. 10am-5pm. Tickets £15 plus booking fee. See

15 Jun • The Explorers' Club (panel linked to Into the Unknown exhibition), Frobisher Auditorium 1, Barbican, London. With Stephen Baxter, Adam Roberts. 7:30pm. Tickets £25. Further panels (same venue, time, cost) 29 June, 13 July, 27 July. See

16-18 Jun • U-Con (Eurocon), Fritz-Henssler-Haus, Dortmund, Germany. €45 reg. See

17 Jun • BSFA/SF Foundation mini-con & AGMs, Lecture Theatre 1, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London, SW7 2AZ. GoH Anne Charnock, Stephanie Saulter. 9:30am-4:30pm. Free; all welcome.

24-25 Jun • Lavecon (sf/fantasy/gaming), Sedgebrook Hall Hotel, Northants. Many ticket options at

28 June • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. Speaker TBA. Free.

1 Jul • How to Write Fantasy Fiction (seminar), Bloomsbury Publishing, London. 8:30am-5:30pm. £149! See

2 Jul • Tolkien Society Seminar, Hilton Hotel, Leeds, LS1 4BX. £30 (members £25). See

4 Jul • Twentieth-Century British Periodicals (conference), MERL, Reading. 9am-7pm. £35 reg; £15 concessions. Some sf content was hoped, but there's none. See

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

5-6 Jul • Science for Fiction, Imperial College, London. Science presentations for published authors only. £30 including catering. Contact Dave Clements, d dot clements at imperial dot ac dot uk.

6 Jul • Last and First Men (film, narration, live orchestra), Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. 7:30pm. Tickets from £15. Box office 0161 907 9000; see

26-28 Aug • Starburst Film Festival, MMU Student Union, Manchester. £65 'early bird' reg. See

28 Oct • BristolCon, Hilton Doubletree Hotel, Bristol. Now £25 reg/£20 concessions; £30/£25 at the door. See

4-5 Nov • Gollancz Festival, Phoenix Artist's Club & Foyles, London. £25 Saturday; no information on Sunday. See [Later, 5 June: Sunday events may be scheduled if Saturday sells out and there's a demand for more.]

9 Dec • 2017: A Clarke Odyssey (conference), Canterbury Christ Church University. With Stephen Baxter, Dr Sarah Dillon. Call for papers deadline: 30 July. See

25 Feb 2018 • Digi-Con 3 (sf/comics/anime), Doncaster Deaf Trust, Leger Way, Doncaster. From £10 reg; see

30 Mar - 2 Apr 2018 • Follycon (Eastercon), Majestic Hotel, Harrogate. £70 reg; £45 YA/unwaged; £30 child (5-17) and supp; under-5s free. Sorry for rate errors in an early A358. See

30 Mar - 2 Apr 2018 • Sci-Fi Weekender, Hafan y Mor Holiday Park, near Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales. Booking by accommodation from £520 for two; 3-day pass £120; more at

5-6 May 2018 • EM-Con (media), Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham. Variously priced tickets and extras available at

Rumblings. Birmingham Fearfest (28 May) was indefinitely postponed – news too late for A358. See

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Categorize Us. 'It is telling that The Handmaid's Tale is sometimes miscategorised as science-fiction – we don't like to consider it as a possibility.' (Sian Cain, The Guardian, 25 May) [AK/HR]

Awards. Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist: Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit; Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit; Emma Newman, After Atlas; Tricia Sullivan, Occupy Me; Lavie Tidhar, Central Station; Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad.
Compton Crook Award (first novel) Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning.
Nebulas. NOVEL Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky. NOVELLA Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway. NOVELETTE William Ledbetter, 'The Long Fall Up' (F&SF 5/16). SHORT Amal El-Mohtar, 'Seasons of Glass and Iron' (The Starlit Wood). DRAMATIC Arrival. YA David D. Levine, Arabella of Mars.
SFPA Grand Master: David C. Kopaska-Merkel.
Special Prometheus Award (libertarian): Mark Stanley for his webcomic Freefall ('Chapter One', 2835 instalments 1998-2016).

The Way the Future Was. '[I]nsofar as s-f does depend on technological and scientific "predictions", our generation's crop of imagination has, I suspect, just about run dry and fiction will have to pause while science catches up.... I can see about as much hope for science fiction as we have known it as there is for the detective novel, unless this insistence on novelty relaxes. It cannot hope to be accepted as part of the mainstream while it is bound by conventions more rigid than the ones it claims to be destroying.' (Kyril Bonfiglioli, editorial, Science Fantasy 74, July 1965) [BA]

R.I.P. Edmund Bagwell (1966-2017), UK comics/animation artist best known for his work on Cradlegrave (2009) and Indigo Prime (2011) for 2000 AD, died in mid-May; he was 50. [SH]
Yoshimitsu Banno (1931-2017), Japanese film-maker who co-wrote and directed Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) and was an executive producer of Godzilla (2014), died on 7 May aged 86. [PDF]
Geoffrey Bayldon (1924-2017), UK actor who starred in Catweazle (1970-1971), died on 10 May aged 93. [PDF] Other genre credits include Horror of Dracula (1958), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) and Worzel Gummidge (1979-1981).
Powers Boothe (1948-2017), US actor in Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (voice, 2002-2006), The Avengers (2012) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2015-2016), died on 14 May aged 68. [PDF]
James Burnett (1968-2017), US actor in Transcendence (2014) and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) died on 30 May aged 48. [PDF]
Louis Charbonneau (1924-2017), US author of several sf novels – beginning with No Place on Earth (1958) – novelizations, and two 1960s Outer Limits scripts, died on 11 May; he was 93.
Richard Dalby (1949-2017), UK scholar of supernatural fiction, book dealer and editor of many ghost/horror anthologies beginning with The Sorceress in Stained Glass (1971) and including the three Virago Books of Ghost Stories (1987-1992), died on 21 April at the age of 68. [MV/MA]
Karen Lynn Davidson (1958-2017), wife of Steve Davidson of Amazing Stories magazine – to which she quietly provided much valuable behind-the-scenes support – died on 19 May; she was 59. [SD]
Howard Frank (1941-2017), noted sf/fantasy art (and book) collector who with his wife Jane published two books of images from their famous collection – the first being The Frank Collection: A Showcase of the World's Finest Fantastic Art (1999) – died on 1 May aged 75. [SFS]
Jacque Fresco (1916-2017), US designer, engineer and futurist who created the spaceship miniatures for Project Moon Base (1953) and whose nonfiction Looking Forward (1969) with Ken Keyes Jr. imagined an ideal cybernetic society in the 21st century, died on 18 May aged 101. [PDF]
Don Gordon (1926-2017), US actor in many genre tv series such as Space Patrol (1951), The Outer Limits (1964), The Twilight Zone (1960s) and Knight Rider (1980s), died on 24 April aged 90. Film credits include The Final Conflict (1981) and The Exorcist III (1990). [F770]
Brad Grey (1957-2017), US film-maker who was CEO of Paramount 2005-2017 and whose producer/executive producer credits include Scary Movie (2000), What Planet Are You From? (2000) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), died on 14 May aged 59. [MMW]
Marie Jakober (1941-2017), Canadian author of The Mind Gods: A Novel of the Future (1976), died on 26 March aged 75. [JC]
Daliah Lavi (1940-2017), Israeli actress in The Demon (1963), Casino Royale (1967) and the Verne-based Those Fantastic Flying Fools (1967), died on 3 May aged 76. [PDF]
Quinn O'Hara (1941-2017), Edinburgh-born actress seen in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966) and In the Year 2889 (1967), died on 5 May; she was 76. [AIP]
Jared Martin (1941-2017), US actor in Westworld (1973), The Fantastic Journey (1977 tv), The Sea Serpent (1984), Aenigma (1987) and War of the Worlds (1988-1990 tv), died on 24 May aged 75. [PDF]
Dina Merrill (1923-2017), US actress seen in 1960s episodes of Batman and Mission: Impossible, plus Anna to the Infinite Power (1983) and Mighty Joe Young (1998), died on 22 May aged 93.
Roger Moore (1927-2017), UK actor best known for playing The Saint (1962-1969 tv) and James Bond – Moonraker (1979) being especially science-fictional – died on 23 May aged 89. He also starred in The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970) and has a voice role in the coming Troll Hunters. [SG]
Michael Parks (1940-2017), US actor whose credits included The Savage Bees (1976), Night Cries (1978), Nightmare Beach (1989), Twin Peaks (1990-1991), Sorceress (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) and Planet Terror (2007) died on 10 May aged 77. [SG]
Ama Patterson (1961-2017), US short-fiction author and former Tiptree Award judge, died on 1 May. [SFS]
Molly Peters (1942-2017), UK model and actress best remembered as a 'Bond girl' in Thunderball (1965), died on 30 May; she was 75. [PDF]
Doreen Rogers née Parker, long-time UK fan who was active in the 1960s BSFA and won the 1967 Doc Weir Award, died on 3 May aged 87. She was a 1968 St Fantony initiate, Guest of Honour at Novacon 2 (1972) and a cheering presence at UK cons for many further years. [TR]
Pierre Seron (1942-2017), Belgian cartoonist best known for his long-running strip Les petits hommes (1972-2011) – starring villagers shrunk to tiny size by contact with a meteorite – died on 24 May aged 75. [PDF]
Lord Thomas of Swynnerton (1931-2017), UK historian whose sf novel was The Oxygen Age (1958), died on 7 May aged 85. [JC]
Richard Tucholka (1954-2017), US role-playing game designer and comics publisher whose games include Fringeworthy (1982) and Bureau 13/Stalking the Night Fantastic (1983), died on 27 April aged 63. [MR]
Yves Velan (1925-2017), Swiss author whose future-dystopian sf novel is Soft Goulag (1977), died on 6 May; he was 91. [PDF]
Moray Watson (1928-2017), UK actor whose tv credits include The Quatermass Experiment (1953), Catweazle (1971) and Doctor Who (1982), died on 2 May aged 88. [PDF]
Stanley Weston (1933-2017), creator of the GI Joe action figure and of various animated series including Thundercats (1985-1989), died on 1 May aged 84. [AIP]

The Weakest Link. Michael Ball: 'Which former US president recently announced that he would be co-writing a novel with James Patterson?' Caller: 'Kennedy.' (BBC Radio 2) [PE]

Random Fandom. Rob Hansen has added a 1991-2000 section to the British Fanzine Bibliography at Additions and corrections are welcomed: see email link on the tastefully designed front page.
Elizabeth Leggett is the second fan artist, after Steve Stiles, to replace a disqualified 2017 Hugo finalist: Mansik Yang (on the Rabid Puppies slate through no fault of his own) told administrators that he'd published no non-commercial work in 2016. [W75]
Steven Ogden writes: 'The next mailing of FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Association) will mark the 80th year of FAPA (Aug 1937 to Aug 2017) and we intend to do something special by inviting all members past and present to contribute something and include some historical musings about their time in FAPA or Science Fiction/Fantasy fandom in general.' Press date is 12 August. Contact steven dot ogden at yahoo com.

As Others See Us. John Burnside's Havergey (time-travel to island utopia after a Dark Time of plague, depopulation, pollution, etc) has an unusual reason for not being SF: 'The premise sounds like a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, but Mr Burnside is more interested in exposition than plot and characterisation. [...] The fictional premise is a scaffold on which the author hangs his theories about how to create an ecological and economic Utopian society.' (Anon, The Economist, 20-26 May) [TH]

The Dead Past. 50 Years Ago, the announced nickname for the fan Hugos was de-announced by the 1967 Worldcon: 'The NYCon Committee has decided, because of adverse reaction in fandom, to withdraw the name "Pong" from the fan achievement awards, in the categories of best fanzine, best fan writer and best fan artist.' (SF Weekly 185, 2 June 1967)
20 Years Ago, Neil Gaiman suffered the Curse of Fantasy Encyclopedia pp380-1: authors whose dates were OK in proof arcanely appeared as e.g. (1960-FRANKENSTEIN MOVIES). He wrote: 'I hope it's not a prediction of things to come: "Mr Gaiman did not die, exactly, but many bits of him have attained a virtual immortality starring in Frankenstein Movies. Mr Gaiman's right hand is on the shelf in the castle in Frankenstein Has Risen Up Again and his stomach is attached to the monster in Scary Terror of Frankenstein. His arms and kidneys were in the 'organ donor' scene of Frankenstein Goes Disco Mama, but wound up on the cutting room floor...."' (Ansible 119, June 1997)

Fanfundery. TAFF: John Purcell's 2017 travel schedule to and from Worldcon 75 was announced in May and can be read at New additions to the TAFF Free Ebooks page at include James Bacon's WorldConNomicon (PDF only), John Berry's The Goon Omnibus, Walt Willis's Fanorama (the Nebula etc. fandom columns as assembled by Robert Lichtman) and The Harp at Chicon, and a second Ansible compilation – Ansible Series Two 1991-2000, issues 51 to 161. If you enjoy any of these, a donation to TAFF is appreciated.

Thog's Masterclass. True Romance. 'She went to Simon, pressing her soft lips to his, sucking his tongue into the sexual cavern of her mouth' (Laurence James, Simon Rack: New Life for Old, 1975) [AR] 'As always, the sight of her almost-too-rounded body and almost-too-full lips turned his inside into a volcano which had its base somewhere in his loins and its flame-belching apex right behind his eyes.' (Bob Shaw, The Palace of Eternity, 1969) [LP]
Dept of Anatomy. '... strange feelings popped across my bones ...' 'I shooed her along, my wrist a flick and crunch' 'My teeth were cold against my teeth' (all from Sarah Schmidt, See What I Have Done, 2017) [PB]
Paging Heath Robinson. 'Martin had discovered a way to boil a kettle by generating power from steam. He used a mini boiler fire in which he burned a piece of coal. This created steam that in turn ran a small engine, "not unlike trains", Martin had explained, and it warmed the water.' (Sam Stone, Zombies at Tiffany's, 2012) [DD]
Sock That Metaphor. '"Shut it, Holmes!" Petal bellowed back, giving him a hefty sock on the jaw with one of her spade-like hands. Holmes's face blew up something rotten. Within seconds, it looked as though a pair of fuller-figured jelly-fish were fornicating all over it.' (Kyril Bonfiglioli with [i.e. completed by] Craig Brown, The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery, 1999) [BA]

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• 9 June 2017: Aliette de Bodard 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: 14 July 2017 John Jarrold; 11 August 2017 Summer Social; 8 September 2017 Jackie Burns; 13 October 2017 Andy Sawyer; 3 November 2017 Peter F. Hamilton.

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

Editorial. Further Langford ebooks are vaguely planned, but after the huge Short Shrift: A Big Book of Little Reviews 1976-2017 and the substantially huger Ansible Series Two 1991-2000 (which runs to nearly 360,000 words), I think I need a rest from this particular brand of obsessiveness.

Thog's Second Helping. Autonomous Dept. 'Amused by his thoughts, Bond's right hand came out of his pocket and lit a cigarette for him, quietly and obediently. It had stopped going off chasing rabbits on its own.' (Ian Fleming, The Man With The Golden Gun, 1965) [NW]

Ansible® 359 Copyright © David Langford, 2017. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Mike Ashley, Paul Barnett, John Clute, David Damerell, Steve Davidson, Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Steve Green, Steve Holland, Locus, Amanda Kear, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Haydn Rawlinson, Trish Rogers, Adam Roberts, Marcus Rowland, SF Site, Mark Valentine, Nick Watkins, Martin Morse Wooster, Worldcon 75, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 June 2017.