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Ansible 36, December 1983

Cartoon: Kev Clarke

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 John Bray ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1994.

ANSIBLE 36 comes to you with merry Xmas greetings (since this year the Langfords can't afford even cheap Xmas cards – take another bow, Pocket Books) from ever-misinformed DAVE LANGFORD, 94 LONDON ROAD, READING, BERKSHIRE, RG1 5AU. Shock horror inflation strikes the sub rates again following a further Agonizing Reappraisal: the usual £2 now brings a paltry SIX issues, airmailed outside the UK. Notes to me, cheques to ANSIBLE, Giro transfer to a/c 24 475 4403 and pawns to Q4. Americans: $3.50 to Mary & Bill Burns, 23 Kensington Ct, Hempstead, NY 11550. Continental Europeans: equivalent of £2 to Roelof Goudriaan, Postbus 1189, 8200 BD Lelystad, Netherlands. Institutions who insist in messing around with invoices rather than paying with order like honest folk: £4 to me or $7 to the Burnses. Thanks this issue to KEV CLARKE (cartoon), KEITH FREEMAN (libels/labels editor), CHRIS SUSLOWICZ (cheapo white paper) and JOHN HARVEY (electrostencil boss). For those unskilled in the esoteric mailing-label cipher: the arcane runes LASTISH (followed by a number) mean you're OK to the given issue number; SUB DUE or ***** mean absolutely frightful things such as the extreme unlikelihood of your receiving another ANSIBLE unless you rush along money or hot news. (Your change of address, essential though it is to the continuing supply of ANSIBLEs on your doormat, does not actually count as Hot News for this purpose.) Subscription/trade list at the type of typing: 362 copies to me mailed out in one glorious day. Death, where is thy sting? Almost forgot: thanks for collation and assistance over the last few issues to Chris Hughes, Jan Huxley and Hazel. Here is the small print, where nobody will read it, this fanzine feels safe in supporting ROB HANSEN FOR TAFF and BRITAIN FOR THE 1987 WORLDCON. Also: Happy New Year.


(4-6 Nov Royal Angus Hotel, Birmingham) The usual appalling debauchery and disconnected events seemed to be cloaking a pretty good Novacon this time. GoH Lisa Tuttle explained all about cons in her fannish speech (in the fanroom, which was down that sort of mineshaft hidden in a labyrinth at the back of the hotel restaurant), revealing fannishness to be a virus and the con phenomenon to be ascribable to the Selfish Gene; her pro speech was in the main hall and thus allowed room for an audience, which emitted appropriate oohs and ahs of horror at her uncensored revelations of what it's like to collaborate with George RR Martin. When this speech was over a committee member who shall be nameless popped up to announce something or other, and an Ansible editor who shall be nameless still feels deeply guilty for allowing the spirit to move him to flee the hall shrieking 'Oh God it's Steve Green!' – thus getting a round of cheap applause, tut tut.

The Drunken Dragon Press publication The Other Book, a special 80pp Tuttle mini-anthology, was unfortunately cancelled by putative publisher Rog Peyton when the estimated cost reached £8.95 per copy; so this Novacon didn't feature the usual Special GoH Publication. Light on this was provided by another talk from Toby 'Publishing Is The Last Of The Cottage Industries' Roxburgh, who overwhelmed his audience with book-production cost figures and excoriated them for the Neanderthal insistence on dustjackets ('the most expensive single bit of a hardback') by which the reader in the street helps keep books overpriced. Less successfully, a panel on 'Why are American SF authors so reactionary, and British ones so revolutionary?' (invisibly chaired by Phill Probert) turned out to have been sabotaged beforehand by behind-the-scenes organiser Jan Huxley's tendency to accidentally swap the terms 'American' and 'British' in the panel title when inveigling people onto it. Peter Weston talked about Larry Niven's jacuzzi, Joe Nicholas uttered hideous curses on the lickspittle fascists running dogs of the repressive Thatcherite/Reaganite juntas, D. Langford failed in agonizing efforts to Define Terms, and supercool Stu Shiffman (hauled onstage as Token American despite firm protests) confided that these British generalisations did somewhat tend to piss him off. We draw a veil over Jack Cohen, master of the semi-infinite question from the floor, and also over the gruelling 'Novacon Factor' event in which P. Morgan, L. Kettle, J. Jarrold and Yr.Editor were tested for forgotten abilities such as memory, SF knowledge and doing the dreaded Astral Leauge Pole Test. Few survived.

The next Novacon is to be in the Grand Hotel (the usual Novacon overflow) with S. Green as chair and Rob Holdstock revealed as Big enough to be GoH. One hopes the committee will overcome the Grand's rumoured tendency to offer a choice of two bars, a small closed poky one at the top and a big one full of the general public at the bottom. Martin Easterbrook records this immortal dialogue during the announcement – Green: 'Next year's Novacon registration will be cheaper because the hotel is letting us have the function rooms free.' Probert: 'But the Angus let us have the function rooms free this year.' Green: 'Yes, but the function rooms at the Grand are bigger.'

Nova Awards were duly presented. Best British Fanzine: A Cool Head from Dave Bridges (so that's why he put out 3 issues simultaneously). Fanwriter: D. Bridges. Fanartist: Margaret Welbank. A kindly mole revealed the runners-up in each category, respectively: Still It Moves and DT, Linda Pickersgill and D. West, Pete Lyon and D. West. The fabulous COFF award again raised a fair bit for TAFF and GUFF at 10p/vote, this year's victor having an enormous majority said to have been 'arranged' by the Women's Periodical apa-mob for his wicked printing of the tasteless Matrix 48 cover – in which case one might enquire why Pete Lyon got no votes at all for drawing said cover ...

Those thought most in need of a Concrete Overcoat (at least by those who voted early and often): Simon Polley (84 votes), Pauline Morgan (22), Bob fake Shaw (21), Pete Weston (20), All Babies/John Brunner/Steve Green (all 15), Joy Hibbert (12), 'A Crook Named Bolt' (10), Graham James (7), Rog Peyton (6), Tibs (5), Adam Baxter (3), Jack Cohen/Martin Hoare/David Power/Matt Williams (2), Jon May/Ian Sorensen (1), Kevin Clark (½). Polls now open for 1984, say official ballot stuffers Kev Clarke (h'm) and Chris Suslowicz – 111 Valley Road, Solihull, W Midlands, B92 9AX.

The Rob Holdstock Tact Award went to Martin Hoare, who congratulated Peter Weston on his 'new fancy-woman', only to discover the lady in question to be Eileen Weston in a new hairstyle. ('The Brum Group is going to collapse at the beginning of 1984', she loyally confided: 'Peter hasn't time to be chairman again.') The Chris Carlsen Mindless Violence Award had Greg Pickersgill hot favourite following reports of how his fist had instinctively sought Martin Tudor's face, but Greg's almost apologetic performance seemingly pales into insignificance when compared with that orgy of destruction at Mr Tudor's (non-Novacon) party, where a glass door suffered personality dissociation and all I know is that Steve Green rang me to ask that I refrain from printing the foul libels I would receive from Chris Suslowicz (but didn't). Nor can Ansible, fanzine of good taste, reveal which 1984 Novacon chairman was complained of by a bitter Chris Hughes, for 'completely demolishing more than half of an eight-member committee meal whilst nobody was looking'. Surely not....?


Furtive meetings, fanroom discussions, and official announcements happened at Novacon, emerging with a provisional committee of Chris Atkinson, Malcolm Edwards (chair), Colin Fine, Dave Langford, Hugh Whatsit, Martin Tudor and Paul Vincent (later purged). Presupporting memberships – over 100 – were taken at £1 apiece, since lots of money is needed for publicity (especially in the US and Australia): rush yours to 28 Duckett Road, London, N4 1BN, for now the Official Address. Americans: $2 to Gary Farber, 2773 8th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105. Australians: $2 to Roger Weddall, 79 Bell St, Fitzroy, 3065, Australia. Europeans: Equivalent of £2 to UK address or Roelof Goudriaan, address lurking in Ansible masthead. More agents are needed all over the place, and we hope sympathizers will help with donations, fundraising Auctions, etc. Carey Handfield reports that the Aussie 85 bid, spent about £1300 on bidding expenses (and were still criticized as cheapskates by one or two US fanzines). So: money, money, money!

What's going for this bid? American fans seem enthusiastic, as reported last issue. Gene Wolfe Himself is presupporting member #1, and also GoH at Aussiecon II in Melbourne, where the voting will take place ... And, although boring old Pete Weston has some quibble in this area, it's generally accepted (Encyclopaedia etc) that the first-ever planned SF convention was the British one in Leeds, 1937. Fifty years on... can this be destiny?

The 22 Denbigh St People's Revolutionary Collective

"... has surrendered to the forces of Bourgeois Middle Class Respectability," writes Political Correspondent Pam Wells. "Or, put another way, Judith Hanna and Joseph Nicholas were married on Saturday 19 November. After the brief ceremony in fascistically marble-halled Westminster Registry Office, Joe & Judith led their guests crocodile-fashion through the Underground network to Collective HQ. Tucking into hummus dip and piles of crisps, many of us evidently hadn't had time for breakfast that morning; the mountains of chilli con carne which Judith magnificently produced satisfied the toiling masses' hunger for the kulaks' blood. Wine flowed freely and its effects were freely visible; all we had to do was raise our empty glasses for Joseph to fill them again. John Harvey fell asleep in the loo, to be forcibly roused by Ian Maule hammering on the door in defiance of Eve's pleas to 'leave him alone'. As a stumbling Harvey descended the stairs, the paintwork of the second stair was slightly rearranged, the almost visible chip alarmed the fastidious Joseph, who hardly even paused to mutter Property Is Theft before setting about repairs. John, undeterred, resumed his nap huddled in a heap by the bed.

"The Opening of the Presents took a fair while, mostly because the happy couple were laboriously trying to keep the paper intact. The Collective seemed particularly taken with a gift of bright red towels, obviously a worthy contribution to the Revolutionary cause. There followed a speech from 'unaccustomed as I am' Joseph, and another from 'unaccustomed as I am' Judith: since neither of them is the least bit unaccustomed to speaking in public, I think the Trades Descriptions people should be told.

"Despite having the wedding certificate about his person, Joseph said he didn't feel married; Eve assured him that he probably wouldn't for a few weeks. Thus spake the voice of experience... When you're drinking wine from noon to evening, it seems much later than the lying clocks tell you. I wobbled homeward at eight, convinced it was really midnight. An excellent party: Congratulations to Ms Hanna and Mr Nicholas." (Pam Wells)

Charles Platt: "At the beginning of November, Putnam/Berkley collaborated with book publisher Byron Preiss in an extravaganza at Danceteria (fashionable NY midtown disco) to mark publication of a collection of old Arthur C. Clarke stories [The Sentinel] being hyped as a 'major publishing event'. Banks of colour TVs showed 2001 while a competing sound-system played 'background music' and guests shouted in each other's ears. Highlight of the evening: 'a special message from Clarke, a 1-minute taped phone call that sounded like Hurro ar uh in nuh orrrrk thisss Arrrthr C. Clarke via brrrrkkkk communications satellite rrhhhggttss awrr sss... while at the same time the TVs blared 'Open the pod bay door, Hal!' etc... Scott Edelman, a Brooklyn wine dealer, is pushing his new mag The Last Wave as the 'last hope of speculative fiction', successor to 'New Worlds, Orbit and Dangerous Visions'. (Funny, he doesn't mention Interzone.) Despite glossy paper and decent typesetting, the mag looks slightly tattier than a socialist leaflet, whereas it costs slightly more. Recognizable names in the first issue include Disch and Sladek, represented by old stories apparently unsaleable elsewhere. Upcoming, in issue 2: the libretto of an 'unpublished opera' by Disch, who must shoulder the blame for having discovered Edelman at a Clarion writing workshop." (Charles Platt)

Cymrucon 3 (26-7 Nov Central Hotel, Cardiff): "A wave of nostalgia hit me as I approached the third Welsh National Con," hiccups our beer correspondent Martin Hoare. "Not just the alcohol (due to a derailment at Paddington the train was so overcrowded that I was compelled, against my will, to stand at the bar for the whole journey), nor the general shabbiness of the hotel (bringing back memories of early Novacons at the Imperial): it was arriving at a con that in the previous two years avoided the pretension of many more established counterparts.

"In the homely Central Hotel, my room seemed just as I'd left it last year; gladly I retrieved my corkscrew from the bin where I inadvertently threw it in a moment of awful drunkenness last November. What the Central lacked in image it made up for in enthusiasm. The bar really did stay open all night, and the bar meals – unlike the Royal Angus's – were good value.

"Cymrucon is an enigma among British cons. It's been described as seven cons sharing the same hotel: where else can you watch Fireball XL5 (don't worry, Dave, it was the same episode as last year) or films more severely edited than Ansible con reports (Carrie cut to 30 mins!)? John Brunner proved a good GoH, both by failing to walk out on any programme items he was on and by mingling in the bar much more than most guests. He even stayed in the hotel, reluctantly, while fans dragged me out against my will around the real ale pubs of Cardiff. This showed foresight: returning, I found the Beccon group's fan room in full swing, which along with Martin Tudor's party was the highspot of the con.

"Alas, many notable fans were absent; even Lionel Fanthorpe was hardly in evidence, due to his newly discovered religious scruples rather than the apathy or poverty which overcame most of British fandom. Cymrucon hasn't yet acquired the middle-aged bloom of respectability of Novacon etc, and I'll certainly be going to next year's." (Martin Hoare)

Footnote: The consensus seems to be that Cymrucon 3 was less triffic than the first two. Famous iconoclast G. Pickersgill went further, as usual, with such phrases as 'fucking awful', and 'I went because I'd heard it turned the clock back to when cons were really good, but you can turn the clock too far back and when I saw all those cretins chasing each other with water-pistols ...' As usual: one convention, several hundred opinions.

Martin Morse Wooster: "You should know about the interview the del Reys had with the Washington Post. Not only does Lester reveal 'I'm a happy little moron who happily and deliberately dropped out of college because I didn't think it was worth a damn'; not only does Judy-Lynn disclose 'I used to be a Jewish princess – now I'm a Jewish empress'; but the del Reys' secret passion is revealed: 'three identical figures of bulls, each 3" high, each with a thatch of mink fur between the horns... They are garlanded in miniature kerchiefs and neck chains, and each has a teeny teddy bear half its height "to sleep with".' The bulls are fed regularly, and one has a business card: 'Urban del Rey. Represented by Scott Meredith Literary Agency'. Two more quotes: Lester now says 'I consider myself, by my own choice, a has-been writer.' And David Hartwell says that Judy-Lynn's success 'is too narrow. The basis for her success is the repeatable product. That response to the marketplace is no different in kind, in many respects, from Silhouette Romances [US Mills & Boon].' Way to go, David. Where are you working now?" (MMW)

World Fantasy Awards have been awarded. Novel Nifft The Lean, Michael Shea (I quite liked the book, but it does happen to be a collection of short stories); Novella 'Beyond any Measure', K.E. Wagner, tied with 'Confess the Seasons', C.L. Grant; Artist, Michael Whelan; Life Achievement, Roald Dahl; etc... Games: Imagine magazine is expanded to an alleged 30,000 printrun with national distribution via WHS etc; not to be outdone, the Old Firm at White Dwarf plans to boost printrun to 21,000+ and get distributed via WHS etc; contributors to both anticipate hugely increased payments... Constellation (Worldcon 83) has lost $25-30,000 and is begging for donations; plans include flogging the mailing list and selling leftover goodies like the Brunner Songbook (with great commercial acumen they contrived to sell only 177 out of 1500 copies at the con). The giant video-screen (A35) alone cost $15,000 to hire, a sum apparently unauthorized by the main Worldcon committee.


Gian Paolo Cossato: "With the phrase 'Marjorie Brunner sends harrowing details of the return from their Italian trip' (A34) you give the impression that the incident happened in Italy. This is not the case. In a letter dated 15/7/83 and addressed to me, Marjorie says '... the con at Les Allues was fun but spoilt at the end because someone ripped off the hood of the Stag and stole many things, – and we have always felt a little fear about leaving the Stag in the car park in Venice!! Oh well.' The aforementioned place is outside the Italian border.

"Not many years ago the magazine Der Spiegel had a nice cover with some spaghetti and a gun which was meant to describe the Italian situation with red brigades and such. And the message was do not got to Italy, you might get killed. It did not take long for the Germans to experience their own brand of the same... I am sure there was nothing intentional on your part but I just wanted to make it clear." (GPC)

* To the entire Italian nation, Ansible apologises! Implication not intended, A35 also wrongly conflated (or rather the information source did) two items at ConStellation: a moderately well attended 'antinuke meeting' not organised by Marjorie Brunner (though featuring John), and the SF radio drama where Marjorie's cassette of When The Wind Blows failed – like everything else there – to attract an audience. After a period of the usual death threats signed in blood, diplomatic relations between Reading and South Petherton have been resumed...

Bob Fake Shaw: "A couple of points about the latest issue that I find more than slightly offensive. Firstly, the strange suggestion that Faircon '84 isn't the side wearing the white hats, and the mischievous implication that Faircon is solely the creation of Bob Shaw. We've been straight with everyone else in Glasgow and elsewhere. In turn, we've been fucked about as much as possible by our fellow fans – yourself included. We made a serious, and responsible, set of suggestions to the somewhat insubstantial Albacon 84 Committee which led to less than nothing. ...Such approaches were very much at the behest of the Committee in general. My own feelings about the whole thought of attempting to talk to a bunch of folks who range – in my opinion – from the merely defective right through to the actively poisonous were in many ways at odds with those in the rest of the committee... Vilification of Faircon is wrong. You shouldn't do it. Why not simply let actions speak? Our actions have been fair, open and honest. Can the same be said of the lot you characterise as the Good Guys? The membership Secretary of Faircon '84 informs me, by the way, that we have 43 members (and counting)."

* From this letter it would be hard to deduce that the 'defective/poisonous' Albacon 84 mob consists of much the same people who ran the quite successful Albacon II earlier this year: that after the initial foolish situation of 'confrontation' (Albacon '84 and Faircon are on the same weekend) had been set up, Bob's reasonable proposal consisted not of combining the events or offsetting one by a week or so, but of asking that Albacon hand over all memberships and start from scratch with a new con at the chilly end of the year; or that the hideous bias of Ansible 35 was such that I also got verbally ticked off by one or two Albacon '84 committee members, for giving some credit for superior publications production (since equalised by Albacon) etc to 'evil' Bob. Of course the membership figure is pre-Novacon, like the 50+ reported by Albacon '84.

* Bob goes on to complain about 'the hopelessly deranged Neil Criag' (sic), to explain that the whole business of Bob's bookshop being temporarily called 'Futureshop' – to rival Neil's 'Futureshock' – was but a merry harmless jape, and to add that Glasgow vandals have also done over his shop: 'Of course I might have arranged [this] just as a smokescreen...' Ansible, bias-free as ever, must give equal time to the possibility that Neil's was the evil hand, attacks on 'Futureshock' being mere persiflage...?

* Shaw News from other sources hints that one of his emporia has been closed, leaving only the one in Woodlands Road with Neil's, and that his spouse Morag is anticipating a Happy Event.

Marta Randall, President: SFWA. "I am writing on behalf of Andre Norton and Jessica Amanda Salmonson, who have asked me to respond to your recent note in Ansible (35) concerning these folk. Ms Norton has advised me that she was never asked to review a Salmonson script, by Don Wollheim or anyone else, and certainly would never have threatened to boycott a publisher because that publisher printed something Ms Norton did not like. Ms Salmonson advises me that to the best of her knowledge, no manuscript of hers has ever been submitted to DAW... It appears that the story which appeared in Ansible is a fabrication from beginning to end, in general and in particular, in whole and in part.

"At least, it was ill advised to print such a story without calling one of the principals to check the facts. Both Ms Norton and Ms Salmonson are understandably quite upset, both by the ostensible 'feud' which was foisted on them behind their backs. Perhaps a note of apology and a retraction in the next Ansible would be appropriate – and a resolution that, in the future, such stories will be verified before they are printed." (MR)

* I can only accept this correction, retract the Ansible 35 snippet in toto, and offer apologies to all concerned. Varyingly temperate letters on this subject were received from Jessica Amanda Salmonson, from the Larry Sternig Literary Agency (Andre Norton's agents) and from Yergey and Yergey (Andre Norton's attorneys). Although my retraction and apology is made without qualification, I note for the benefit of the latter that the untrue rumour wasn't of my invention, but was reported to be as circulating in certain 'US academic' quarters. Which is no excuse but does place the fons et origo mali back in America.

Brian Aldiss: "Re your ANSIBLE 35 knocking of Interzone. IZ is obviously superior to New Worlds, since NW would accept the occasional story from me, whereas IZ turns them all down. So be more respectful to IZ!" (BA)

* I asked Malcolm Edwards (erstwhile IZ maestro) what sort of stories that mag was after. He launched into an outburst about how he'd tried to persuade Ellen (Omni) Datlow to reject a few of Wm Gibson's stories, since famous Mr Gibson had promised after frightful threats to let IZ have a second look. Quoth Ms Datlow: "I'm never going to reject a Gibson story!" The author in question had better not read this Ansible or he'll become overconfident (oops, he's a subscriber)... Meanwhile Richard Bergeron, convinced that WG is the leading literary light of the known universe, plans to run extracts from the author's Neuromancer (recently bagged by Malcolm for Gollancz. Were IZ given the chance to serialize it? I think we should be told) in his fanzine Wiz. What all this is leading up to, Brian, is that I'm sure I could handily serialize Helliconia Winter in Ansible 42-123 if we can arrange terms...

The British Library Lending Division: "To: British Science Fiction Association Ltd, 94 London Rd, Reading, Berks... The British Library Lending Division is building up a worldwide collection of serial literature. Our attention has been drawn to your publication 'Fantasy and Science Fiction'. Before deciding to place a subscription to this title, we would like to inspect a sample..."

* No comment... Next, the much-maligned former organiser of 'SF in Southend' exercises the Right to Reply in what one hopes – SFiS being reportedly defunct and fandom unified in those parts – will be the last word or something:

Joe Beedell: "Thankyou very much for Ansible 35, the whole SFiS issue is not yet over, as you see I have some loose ends to tie up, like Alex Stewart for instance. I thought that you would be pleased to know that I have joined the Alex Stewart fan club for real prats (excuse the punn) but I have still got the needle over the following things,

"1. He caused one of my very best friends, who I have known for over II years to turn against me because of the melicious lies he has been telling about me.

"2. Apart from that I warned certain people no end about the high and mighty attitude that he delights in talking about media fans in general, lets take UNICON as an example shall we UNICON was supposed to be for media and general fans alike but of course as Alex is two faced, and believe me he is as some of his media friends have found out.One of the members of the UNICON convention helped out after Susan Francis let everybody down the angels name is Helen MacArthey[1], who is a member of Fanderson came as a blessing in disguise to John Murphy who was left with the sinking Ship. Now when the convention has ended and John said to Alex why don't we have a whip round for Helen as a kind of thankyou for all she had done, Alex turned round, and said 'We don't have to get her anything do we'.John was very angry about this and had to have a whip round himself. John said the program was disgraceful and asked what he could do for the media fans before the end of the convention, Alex's reply to this is unprintable even in this letter.

"To clear up any rumers about me and somebody else starting another science fiction club,they are totally unfounded,as for me leaving S.F. Fandom,I am not leaving because if fandom is to be c leaned up it's people like Alex Stewart that needs to be calmed down to the media fandom. As it stands, Alex used UNICON and me to publicise the fact that he wants to be one of the biggots of fandom, by trying to drag my name into disrepute that Alex seems to love that womens talk by himself.

"I have the following thing to say to Alex, and he had better take notice of this. 'Are Alex my old friend,have you herd of the Klingon proverb that Telsors revenge is a dish best served cold. It is very cold in media SF fandom.'

"Hope to be subscribing to ancible soonand look forward to his reply because I am telling Alex to FUCK off. Never to come near me ag ain." (JB)

[1. Probably McCarthy.]

* Maybe this – printed as received since some of the allusions escape me – won't be the Last Word after all. From Alex I merely have a report of the Unicon 4 business meeting: four A4 pages of complaints about the U of Essex venue's standards of accommodation, inadequate health & safety precautions and surly staff – who at one stage stole the committee's membership receipt stubs for a Mancon-style morals check on attendees from the same address who'd only booked one room between them. Various drastic reprisals were discussed – legal action, reporting the centre as a substandard venue to the Conference Bluebook, etc – but I gather there was a compromise whereby the committee paid lots less than originally agreed and thus made a vast surplus for Unicon 5/Oxcon's use. The report records no complaints about the committee (who got three votes of thanks, all from Ken Slater) or programme (bar some references to 'unsuccessful' live music one evening), and arch-biggot A. Stewart appears to have proposed a vote of thanks to Helen McCarthy 'for organising the Logan's Run'. Nobody seems to regard Unicon 4 as a particularly good con, but everyone blames this on the almost unrelievedly rotten venue.

Alex Stewart: "It's definitely the last time I get involved in a con committee of less than half a dozen, though, and the last one I want to chair for quite some time...

"About MAP's sci-fi magazine Space Voyager. Apparently the entire editorial staff has just been sacked, by form letter, to be replaced by friends of the publisher. Needless to say, they know even less about SF than the old lot, which leaves my future as an underpaid book reviewer in serious doubt. Marion van der Voort has already come out in support of the old regime by refusing to continue compiling the con listings. [Later she decided it was "better to have one fan still on the strength, no matter what" and is carrying on – verbal update from AS] Me, I always knew it wouldn't last...

"I was very amused by the 'Thunderbirds ice lolly' story in A35: a classic example of myth creation in progress. The confection in question, was, in fact a packet of KP Outer Spacers, which fetched a goodly sum in the con auction due to having been autographed on the spot by Gerry Anderson. I know – I was there (he said, blowing his cover as a closet media fan). But do you want to bet that the far more romantic ice lolly version, suitably embellished with circumstantial detail, will remain forever in mediafannish mythology?" (AS)

R.I. Barycz: "So more ordinariness. The news about the Anderson lollypop (ice) is devastating. It was a direct quote from the man himself in an issue of Screen International. You mean it was... just Hype?"

John F Carr: "It is time once again for your annual SFWA dues. I am pleased to announce that dues will continue to stay at $40 per year..."

* Ironic that this, and SFWA's reproval of a small fanzine (last page) should swiftly follow the news that SFWA feels unable to help extract a four-figure sum owed me/Arrow by Pocket Books.

COA [mostly omitted in this archive edition]

John Sladek ("I got fed up with New York very quickly... a bedsitter in a cockroach-infested building in the more dangerous part of town costs $600/month"), moves to Minneapolis ("Utterly unlike NY, I'm glad to say. A few people here still say hello to strangers on the street! I'm, getting a job – technical writing – & and a car." JS)


Events: A completely updated con listing can wait for A37. The One Tun Xmas Meeting is on 22 Dec. Albacon 84 details at last: £3 supp/£8 att to 62 Campside Rd, Wishaw, ML2 7QG. Conquest (A35) is not just an Elfquest con, protests Linda Miller – address above – but will have James White as token SF person. Beccon 83 (at which I distinguished myself by dropping on for one day, getting up so early that I fell asleep in Brian Stableford's talk and distracted him into reportedly abusing me for several minutes until the person next to me in the front row gave a humane prod) will be succeeded by Beccon 85. Oxcon (A35) is filling up quickly, say the committee: book now, etc... Eurocon 84 is the 6th European Conference on Electrotechnics – it says here. Seacon 84: PR2 is out with a booking form putting Easter back one day in accordance with the little-known religious tenets of PR boss Alan Dorey... Boston In 89 worldcon bid launched, details from Box 46, MIT Branch PO, Cambridge MA 02139, USA... There is no Birmingham in 86 Eastercon bid any more (A35)... Frank's APA is a new UK apa which burst fully-armed from the brow of G. Pickersgill since Silicon: three mailings have already happened and there is now a Waiting List, the goal of 35 members having already been attained. Applications to FRANK (Greg's official title), 7a Lawrence Rd, S Ealing, W5. Reportedly famous Brum person Pete Weston is Deeply Unamused by the fact that f.b.p Rog Peyton has joined FRANK after numerous refusals to be enticed by Birmingham's (ie Peter's) APA-B... More Wooster: "Network News is dead. It was rather a spectacular bankruptcy, and your correspondent has been temporarily transformed from Hero Editor to Self-Employed Hack." So don't send him the articles he was requesting a few issues back. "The composer of the Dune soundtrack is to be Stevie Wonder. Sting, fresh from starring in Dune, has purchased the rights to the Gormenghast trilogy and has written a screenplay containing 'a role for him as a vicious but attractive upstart, his favourite part'"... News Clippings: Dave Wood also sent something about this Sting person, who confessed that "Mervyn Peake is my favourite sci-fi author though I've never met him." Also the traditional local headlines: WEST FARMING WOMEN, WESTON HELD AT BAY, LANGFORD WORKS (a palpable lie) and, attached for some reason to a copy of D's flyer this issue, ILL WINDS FROM THE WEST. Also Brian Aldiss sends a second-hand bit from Private Eye ("I bought this painting – a tasteful abstract – believing it was the work of a famous local artist called Brian Burgess... shortly afterwards I discovered it was not by Burgess but by an 8-week-old Muscovy duck called St James who waddled across the canvas with paint on his webbed feet" – same difference), and Chris Morgan's Solihull Times extract demands quotation in full: "KEVIN'S DREAM MACHINE! The love in the life of Balsall Common window cleaner Kevin Smith weighs several tons, has shiny bells, a deafening klaxon and is painted bright red." Neither recently married Kevin or the love of his life Diana was available for comment... British Fantasy Awards: given at Fantasycon VIII, 16 Oct. Best Novel, Sword Of The Lictor; Short 'The Breathing Method' (King); Small Press Fantasy Tales; Film Bladerunner; Artist D. Carso; Special, K.E. Wagner for something or other ... Twilight Zine 6 "from the Solihull SF Group (who they?)" was found by George Flynn "on freebie tables at Constellation. I reported this to the MIT SF Soc, which has been pubbing its Twilight Zine since 1961. Much indignation ensued... (War should be averted as long as we don't tell Reagan.)"... Ian Watson Computerized! The new firm Mosaic Software (founded by Vicky Carne, once of Dobson Books) is producing tie-in computer games based on Ian's 'The Width of the World', his old buddy Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat books (?) and something by Colin Kapp. The reprinted book/story and programme cassette (?) will be marketed together... William Golding – you must have heard this – picked up a Nobel Prize for Lord Of The Flies (1954) and there was a terrific bust-up just like the Hugos, when one of the judges felt it ought to have gone to a French novel so obscure it's never been read or translated... So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish: what could this be a sequel to? Who is going to write it if he can think of some jokes? Which publishers have paid £100,000 and $400000 for it? Did you really believe somebody when he said Life, The Universe And Everything was to be the Last Of The Series? Answers to Pan and Pocket Books... Dragoncon 2: 22 Jan 84 at The Bull nr Mortlake Station. GoH Anne McCaffrey, Mat Irvine. £5 to 131 Sheen Lane, London, SW1 8AE... RIP: Franz Ettl, long-time German fan and inventor of the fabulous drink Vurguzz; Mike Wood, US fan since the 60s; Maeve Peake, writer and artist best known as the widow of Mervyn P... Priest News: Chris P. is nearing the end of a new book The Glamour and looking forward to publishing a couple more issues of his fanzine Deadloss. A TV play of his, 'The Watched', goes out on ITV Schools (!) Broadcast in February and "isn't set in the Dream Archipelago any more." The Priest Take Your PIQ (Paranoia Induction Quotient) Test is in the Xmas Bookseller, enabling book people to assess their (essential) ability to make authors paranoid and discouraged. And our hero shared a Best Author spot in the Eurocon awards given in Yugoslavia: "I am Najboljsi Pisatelj, scoff as you may, second only to Istvan Nemere. That's going to shake them, down at Faber." Only other name in Eurocon awards which UK folk will all know: Shards Of Babel as co-Best Fanzine... Mike Parry of Project Starcast fame is rumoured to have acquired hordes of 'Captain Scarlett bendy toys' for a nominal sum (going rate apparently £5 each!), only to be pursued with legal threats from the now-enlightened former owner... Boring Boring Boring: Evil John D. Owen responds to Joe Nicholas's j'accuse! (A35) with "a toothy grin, a tip of the hat, and a cheerful cry of 'Sorreee!'" Oh, I say...

Hazel's Language Lessons #27: Afrikaans
courtesy of Chris Morgan

Dit reent oumeide met knopkieries: it's raining cats and dogs (literally: grandmothers with knobkerries).