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Ansible® 360, July 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, photoids, or a dual-vector foil for cleansing.

Back Numbers. For those who like to ignore old Ansibles as ebooks rather than on paper, the 1979-1987 and 1991-2000 compilations at have been joined by a third: 2001-2010. All free!

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters

Margaret Atwood is to receive this year's €25,000 Peace Prize, not the Nobel but awarded by the German book trade. (, 13 June)

Malcolm Edwards reports: 'We visited the new Henrietta Hotel this afternoon. The ground floor of no.14 Henrietta Street is transformed into a cocktail bar. We sat in the front window, where Gollancz's reception used to be (presided over by the ancient and formidable Margot). There's a short menu of 10 cocktails. Four are named for the general list: the Down and Out, the Lucky Jim, the Language, Truth and Logic and The Citadel. Four are named for the SF list: the Sirens of Titan, the Dune, the A Fall of Moondust and the Cat's Cradle. Two have no connection with Gollancz that I could discern: the Reaching the Port and the Ralph's Rigamarole [sic]. [...] There was a small display shelf of yellow jacketed Gollancz titles, and when we asked the waiter if he knew the history he told us that it was on the site of a famous London publisher. At this point I shyly produced my business card, which identifies me as Chairman of Gollancz. He was duly impressed, though not enough to discount our bill at all (curses!).' (10 June) A footnote: 'Might be worth mentioning that the cocktails are not priced to appeal to Orwell – between £10 and £15 each....' Gulp.

Herbert W. Franke was presented with a special Kurd Laßwitz Award for his lifetime achievement in German science fiction.

John Gilbert announced the demise of Fear on 7 June. 'There will be no further issues. Whilst my publisher organised the print side of the magazine I was left to produce the editorial but have so far received no recompense for the outgoings so far and this situation does not look as if it will change. Another £300 bill for the annual maintenance of the website and shop is due this month and I just cannot afford to pay out these sorts of sums any more.' The Fear website goes dark on 4 July.

J.K. Rowling became a Companion of Honour in the Queen's Birthday honours list. Others on this list who have genre links include Billy Connolly (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies etc), knighted; Julie Walters (Mrs Weasley in the Harry Potter films), a dame; and Raymond Briggs of Snowman and Fungus the Bogeyman fame, an OBE.

Zoran Živković was honoured as European Grand Master for life achievement in the ESFS Awards at Eurocon in Dortmund (see below).


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

CANCELLED 1-2 Jul • Swansea Horror Con, Swansea Leisure Complex, Oystermouth Rd, Swansea. 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

13 Jul • The Gamers' Club (panel linked to Into the Unknown exhibition), Frobisher Auditorium 1, Barbican, London. 7:30pm. £25. Last panel – same venue, time, cost – 27 July. See

23 Jul • Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage (orchestra and film), Royal Festival Hall, London. 2:30pm for 3pm and 6:30pm for 7pm. Tickets from £25. See

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

27 Jul • Clarke Award Presentation, Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London. 7pm-9m. 13: tickets from Foyles.

4-6 Aug • Nine Worlds Geekfest (multimedia), Novotel London West, Hammersmith, London. £119 reg; day £49.99; children free. Life entry plus dinner: £1000. Book online at

9-13 Aug • Worldcon 75 (Worldcon), Helsinki, Finland. €195 reg; €95 Worldcon first-timers; €110 youth (16-25); €75 child (6-15); under-6s free. Day rates: see Advance booking closes 26 July; online Hugo voting closes 15 or 16 July depending on time zone.

12-28 Aug • Edinburgh International Book Festival. Five sf panels on 15-18 August, organized and moderated by 'Guest Selector' Ken MacLeod. See for participants.

9-10 Sep • Middle-earth Festival, Sarehole Mill, Cole Bank Rd, Hall Green, Birmingham, B13 0BD. Free. See

2-4 Feb 2018 • Enharmonicon (filk), Best Western Hotel, Marks Tey, Colchester. £37 reg/£25 unwaged until 1 Dec; under-18s £1/year of age; under-5s free. See

25-27 May 2018 • Satellite 6, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow. GoH Paul McAuley. £65 reg rising on 1 July: see

3-6 Aug 2018 • Discworld Convention, Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwick. £74 reg; £50 concessions; £30 supp. Registration opens 1 July at [since delayed to 10 July]. Note that the 2016 event sold out within five days.

19-21 Oct 2018 • Destination Star Trek, NEC, Birmingham. Day £29; 2 days £39; 3 days £49; silly 'VIP' rates at

22-24 Aug 2019 • Eurocon/TitanCon, Waterfront Convention Centre and Hilton Hotel, Belfast. £50 reg; £10 supp. PayPal accepted at (£52 reg with fee); credit card option to follow.

Rumblings. 2019 Worldcon Site Selection opened at the Worldcon 75 site: Dublin is unopposed. • Worldcon 2021: the Boston bid withdrew (no 'affordable, workable' venue found) and the 2024 Washington DC bid has as a result switched to 2021 – see – leaving no current opposition to the planned UK in 2024 Worldcon bid whose website is at

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Ignore Us. Siddhartha Deb's article subtitled 'Why won't novelists reckon with climate change?' ponders this eternal mystery with two mentions of 'genre fiction' (but no examples) and none of sf. 'For [Amitav] Ghosh, this is in great part the result of literary fiction's need to keep the fluky and the exceptional out of its bounds, conceding the terrain of improbability – cyclones, tornadoes, tsunamis, and earthquakes – to genre fiction.' (, 5 June) As Robert Conquest famously did not write: '"Lit-fic shuns climate change," they bellow till we're sick. / "But this book tackles it." – "Well then, it's not lit-fic."'

Awards. Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction: Naomi Alderman, The Power.
ESFS Hall of Fame Awards at Eurocon: AUTHOR Dario Tonani (Italy). ARTIST (tie) Aurélien Police (France), Judith Clute (UK). PUBLISHER Tracus Arte (Romania). PROMOTER Ian Watson (UK). TRANSLATOR Natalia Osoianu (Russia).
James White (debut short): Stewart Horn, 'The Morrigan'.
John W. Campbell Memorial: Lavie Tidhar, Central Station.
Kurd Laßwitz Award novel categories: GERMAN Andreas Brandhorst, Omni. FOREIGN Cixin Liu, Die drei Sonnen [The Three-Body Problem] trans Martina Hasse (also winner as best sf translation).
Lambda Awards (LGBTQ) sf/f/horror category: Indra Das, The Devourers.
Locus Awards novel categories: SF Cixin Liu, Death's End. FANTASY Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky. HORROR Joe Hill, The Fireman. YA Alastair Reynolds, Revenger. DEBUT Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit. [L]
Sturgeon (short): Catherynne M. Valente, 'The Future is Blue' (Drowned Worlds).

R.I.P. Sergio Altieri (1952-2017), Italian sf author, screenwriter and translator of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire saga, died on 16 June aged 65. [PDF/AIP]
Alan Austin, long-time UK comics fan and dealer who edited Fantasy Unlimited/Comics Unlimited from the 1970s, co-published the first UK Comics Price Guide and for years ran the Islington shop Heroes, died on 9 May. ( [F770]
Michael Bond (1926-2017), creator of Paddington in A Bear Called Paddington (1956) and of the animated BBC series The Herbs (1968), died on 27 June aged 91; he received a CBE in 2015. Paddington starred in many book sequels to 2014, plus a 1976 BBC tv series and 2014 film. [JBa]
Morton N. Cohen (1921-2017), US critic and biographer of Lewis Carroll, H. Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling, died on 12 June aged 96. [DP]
Andy Cunningham (1950-2017), UK comic actor, ventriloquist and puppeteer best known for Bodger & Badger (1989-1999 tv), who was the uncredited animator of Jabba's head of security in Return of the Jedi (1983), died on 5 June aged 67. (i, 10 June)
John Dalmas (John Robert Jones, 1926-2017), US author of The Yngling (1969 Analog; 1971) and many further sf novels until 2013, died on 15 June aged 90. [SF]
Helen Dunmore (1952-2017), UK author and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature whose novels include the ghost story The Greatcoat (2012), died in early June; she was 64. [PDF]
Stephen Furst (1955-2017), US actor in The Day After (1983), Babylon 5 (as Vir Cotto, 1994-1998), Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (voice 2000-2001) and Basilisk: The Serpent King (2006), died on 16 June aged 62.
James Galton, president and CEO of Marvel 1975-1991, who's said to have saved the comics company from 1970s bankruptcy, died on 12 June aged 92.
Geoffrey Hayes (1947-2017), US cartoonist and creator of over 50 illustrated children's books including animal and monster fantasies, died on 2 June aged 69. His 'dream project', the graphic-novel fairytale Lovo and the Firewolf, remains unfinished. [PDF]
Glenne Headly (1955-2017), US actress in The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Making Mr. Right (1987), Babe: Pig in the City (1998), Breakfast of Champions (1999) and The Circle (2017), died on 8 June aged 62. [MMW]
Rodney Leighton (1948-2017), Canadian fan whose recent fanzines – produced without a computer or net access – included Rodney's Fanac and Life of Rodney, died on 18 June; he was 68. [CC]
Arthur Mather (1925-2017), Australian illustrator who drew the Captain Atom comic, later publishing The Pawn (1975) and other thrillers or technothrillers with sf elements, died on 4 June aged 91. [PDF]
Patrick Meadows (1934-2017), US author of five stories in Analog and F&SF 1965-1971, died on 22 April. [GVG]
Anita Pallenberg (1944-2017), Italian-born model and actress in Barbarella (1968), Performance (1970) and 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011), died on 13 June aged 73. [SG]
Peter Sallis (1921-2017), UK actor who voiced Rat in The Wind in the Willows (1984-1988 plus follow-up Oh! Mr Toad) and Wallace in the Wallace & Gromit films from A Grand Day Out (1989) onwards, died on 5 June aged 96. Further genre credits include Doctor Who: 'The Ice Warriors' (1967), The Ghosts of Motley Hall (1967-1968) and Frankenstein: The True Story (1973).
Ulf Stark (1944-2017), award-winning Swedish author of children's fiction (some fantastical), died on 13 June; he was 72. [PDF]
William F. Touponce (1948-2017), US academic and critic who published extensively about Ray Bradbury and also wrote books on Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert, died on 15 June; he was 68. [RB] He co-founded the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University and The New Ray Bradbury Review.
James Vance (1953-2017), US author and playwright who scripted Mr. Hero the Newmatic Man and other comics, died on 5 June aged 64. [PDF]
Elena Verdugo (1925-2017), US actress whose early credits include House of Frankenstein (1944), The Frozen Ghost (1945) and the 'Bomba the Jungle Boy' movie The Lost Volcano (1950), died on 30 May aged 92. [PDF]
Adam West (1928-2017), much-loved US actor identified with his star role in Batman (1966-1968 tv) and Batman: The Movie (1966), died on 9 June aged 88. He voiced Batman in animations from The New Adventures of Batman (1977) to the forthcoming Batman vs. Two-Face, with many other voice roles in between. [MR]
Stewart Wieck (1968-2017), US role-playing game designer and publisher who with his brother Steve founded White Wolf magazine (1986-1995) – leading to White Wolf Game Studio and White Wolf Fiction – died on 22 June aged 49. He was a designer of White Wolfe's RPG Mage: The Ascension (1993). [MR]

The Weakest Link. Alexander Armstrong: 'Which novel featured the characters Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox?' Contestant: 'Pride and Prejudice.' (BBC1, Pointless) [PE]

Court Circular. Progress in the Dr Seuss Enterprises lawsuit against the Seuss/Star Trek mash-up Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go! by David Gerrold and Ty Templeton: the US court dismissed claims of trademark infringement by this 'highly transformative work that takes no more than necessary [from Seuss] to accomplish its transformative purpose and will not impinge on the original market for Plaintiff's underlying work'. The copyright claim continues, with DSE required to prove actual harm to their sales and licensing. (File 770, 13 June)

Award Shortlists. Mythopoeic: ADULT Andrea Hairston, Will Do Magic For Small Change; Mary Robinette Kowal, Ghost Talkers; Patricia A. McKillip, Kingfisher; Maggie Stiefvater, 'Raven Cycle' (4 vols 2012-2016); Jo Walton, 'Thessaly Trilogy' (3 vols 2015-2016).
CHILDREN'S Adam Gidwitz, The Inquisitor's Tale; S.E. Grove, 'Mapmakers Trilogy' (3 vols 2014-2015); Bridget Hodder, The Rat Prince; Grace Lin, When the Sea Turned to Silver; Delia Sherman, The Evil Wizard Smallbone.
SCHOLARSHIP: INKLINGS Lisa Coutras, Tolkien's Theology of Beauty; Srina Higgins, ed., The Chapel of the Thorn by Charles Williams; Leslie Donovan, ed., Approaches to Teaching Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Other Works; Christopher Tolkien, ed., Beowulf / Sellic Spell by J.R.R. Tolkien; Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams.
SCHOLARSHIP: OTHER Aisling Byrne, Otherworlds: Fantasy and History in Medieval Literature; Richard Firth Green, Elf Queens and Holy Friars: Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church; Michael Levy and Farah Mendlesohn, Children's Fantasy Literature: An Introduction; Gabrielle Lissauer, The Tropes of Fantasy Fiction; Jack Zipes, Grimm Legacies.
Sidewise (alt-history): SHORT Anna Belfrage, 'The Danish Crutch' (1066 Turned Upside Down); Daniel Bensen, 'Treasure Fleet' (Tales from Alternate Earths); Brent A. Harris & Ricardo Victoria, 'Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon' (Ibid); G.K. Holloway, 'The Battle of London Bridge,' (1066 ...); Adam Rovner, 'What If the Jewish State Had Been Established in East Africa' (What Ifs of Jewish History); Bruce Sterling, Pirate Utopia.
LONG Richard Beard, Acts of the Assassins (aka The Apostle Killer); Ben Winters, Underground Airlines; Nick Wood, Azanian Bridges.

As Others See Us. Spy novelist Joseph Kanon is undogmatic about his dislikes. 'I read pretty much everything except science fiction. It's odd because I often enjoy sci-fi movies, mostly for the visual effects, but the books bore me. I think it's because they're not really interested in character, which for me is the essential element of all good fiction, but maybe it's just a blind spot. In fact, I concede the point now before complaining emails start arriving – my fault.' (NY Times, 15 June) [JBo]

Closure. Jack Rems announced that his Dark Carnival bookshop (Berkeley, CA) is to close after 41 years, the exact date depending on returns from the current clearance sale. (, 12 June)

Random Fandom. BSFA AGM, June. Electing a new Chair wasn't on the agenda, but Gerard Earley of came armed with proxies for a coup against the current Chair, Donna Scott. The AGM compromised by appointing Earley as a BSFA director and webmaster of, which thanks to his attentions has been down for several days. [Back again on 2 July.]
Steve Stiles writes: 'Alas, I have a tumor in my right lung ... Surgery probably in July. According to the doctor who will do the operation, it doesn't look too bad and the "mass" (probably cancer) hasn't spread to the lymph nodes or anywhere else, so once it's out chemo probably won't be necessary and there's a good chance (65%) it won't be back. Fingers crossed.' Mine are crossed too.

The Dead Past. 50 Years Ago: 'New Worlds, the British sf magazine, has received an arts council grant of 1,800 pounds, about $5,040 in American funds. [Michael Moorcock comments:] "I am a little surprised we've got this grant. I didn't think it was that sort of magazine."' (SF Weekly 191, 17 July 1967)
20 Years Ago: 'Arthur C. Clarke is battling against natural modesty to tell the world about his Feb 97 fan letter from the Dalai Lama: "Your short story titled 'The Nine Billion Names of God' was particularly amusing."' (Ansible 120, July 1997)

C.o.A. Lauryn and Loren MacGregor, The New Haven, 13000 Linden Ave. N, Apt. #550, Seattle, WA 98133, USA.

Fanfundery. TAFF Trip Report Anthology: this long-planned ebook of unfinished reports since 1964, plus 'teaser' chapters from newer ones still in progress, is now a free download at

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Neat Tricks. 'I freeze my face and slide it against the back of my neck ...' (Charles Stross, Saturn's Children, 2008) [JDB]
SM Dept. 'Ah, yes, milady! The hand ... when strongly leveled against the flech of the rump – the bare rump, that is – has long been known as a most satisfactory chastisement!' (Shannon Drake, Ondine, 1997)
Can You Do This Indescribably? 'The dealer gave an indescribable, simultaneous shrug of his shoulders and his eyebrows.' (Clark Ashton Smith, 'Ubbo-Sathla', 1942) [BWF]
Dept of Method Acting. 'His haggard face at first registered great perplexity; then it registered worry, thoughtfulness, or whatever other movements of consciousness that might cause his face to look as it did.' (Jean-Patrick Manchette, The Prone Gunman, 1981; trans James Brook 2002) [PB]

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• 14 July 2017: John Jarrold 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: 11 August 2017 Summer Social; 8 September 2017 Jackie Burns; 13 October 2017 Andy Sawyer; 3 November 2017 Peter F. Hamilton; 1 December (date TBC) Christmas Social.
• 11 October 2017: Reading University 'Monsters and the Monstrous' season opens with Nosferatu (1922). 7pm in Van Emden lecture theatre, Edith Morley, Whiteknights campus. £5. With introductory talk.
• 18 October 2017: Frankenstein (1931), as for Nosferatu above.
• 23 October 2017: 'Hybrids and Health Humanities: Ceroplasty, Couplets, Chimeras' discussion, 7pm in LO22, G01, Reading University London Road campus. Free.
• 25 October 2017: Freaks (1932), as for Nosferatu above.

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

Editorial. The threatened ebook of Chris Morgan's and my Facts & Fallacies: A Book of Definitive Mistakes and Misguided Predictions (first published 1981) exists in draft form and has been admired by a small audience of Chris Morgan and David Langford, but keeps being delayed by obsessive tinkering. August, maybe.
• Although Lord Buckethead the 'intergalactic space lord' got most media attention, there were other candidates in the UK General Election who were not of this world. Here in Reading East the most interesting campaign flyer was from the subtly acronymmed Movement for Active Democracy, as below. Shades of Illuminatus!, or the Astral Leauge ...

Campaign flyer

Fuller Listings for ESFS and Locus Awards, plus Ken MacLeod's own blog post about his Edinburgh Festival programming:

Outraged Letters. Ian Covell on Adam Roberts in A359: 'I rather liked the disputatious Walter Harris, and wish he'd managed to publish some more of the books that were scheduled. / Anyway, I don't think Thog would have much meat from the quotes, some of which were spot-on. I suggest finding the (to me) incredible The Day I Died, which is beautifully written, charming, and healthily sexy.'

Thog's Second Helping. Expressive Eyes Dept. '... Her eyes were huge, purple, limpid. They were round and sober with the innocence of a child's; they were inscrutable with ageless wisdom; they were dark wells of agony, ancient and ageless ... I knew she was nothing human. Yet my fancy made her ever so, for her eyes and lips and even the impudent flirt of her crimson plume held all the essence of humanity: wisdom and the vain yearning to forget, pride and bitter defeat, bright courage and consuming fear, living joy and ultimate, infinite agony.' (Jack Williamson, 'Dreadful Sleep', 1938 Weird Tales) [BA]

Ansible® 360 Copyright © David Langford, 2017. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, John Bark, John Boston, Chuck Connor, Paul Di Filippo, Steve Fahnestalk, File 770, Brad W. Foster, Steve Green, Locus, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Private Eye, Marcus Rowland, Gordon Van Gelder, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 30 June 2017.