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Ansible® 362, September 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 antidote to Psycho-Chemical Aerosols.

Worldcon 75. Post-con committee tweet: 'We are the second biggest Worldcon ever. 10516 Members and Day Passes / 7119 Warm Bodies on Site.' Thanks to an unexpected late surge of registrations, there was much overcrowding and queueing (even for items other than George R.R. Martin autographs, a four-hour wait) until more function space could be brought into play.
Hugos: NOVEL N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate. NOVELLA Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway. NOVELETTE Ursula Vernon, 'The Tomato Thief' (Apex 1/16). SHORT Amal El-Mohtar, 'Seasons of Glass and Iron' (The Starlit Wood). RELATED Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter. GRAPHIC Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda, Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening. DRAMATIC – LONG Arrival. DRAMATIC – SHORT The Expanse: 'Leviathan Wakes'. EDITOR – SHORT Ellen Datlow. EDITOR – LONG Liz Gorinsky. PRO ARTIST Julie Dillon. SEMIPROZINE Uncanny. FANZINE Lady Business. FANCAST Tea and Jeopardy. FAN WRITER Abigail Nussbaum. FAN ARTIST Elizabeth Leggett. SERIES Lois McMaster Bujold, Vorkosigan Saga. CAMPBELL AWARD (not a Hugo): Ada Palmer.
Business Meeting. Proposed changes to the Hugo nomination process (EPH+ and three-stage voting) were voted down, while Best Series was ratified as a permanent category and the YA not-a-Hugo award approved for 2018.
Worldcon 2019: the unopposed Dublin bid won, of course, with 1,227 site selection votes cast. See Events below.

The Impossible Star

Brian Aldiss (1925-2017), who needs no introduction as a major and amazingly various SF author (since the 1950s), anthologist and critic, died in his sleep early on 19 August after enjoying his 92nd birthday celebrations on the 18th. [MJE] Awards include two Hugos, a Nebula, the Campbell Memorial Award, multiple BSFA awards and such career honours as the Pilgrim, SFWA Grand Master Award and OBE. Brian loved fandom, warts and all, and entertained and enlightened us at countless conventions including the 1965 and 1979 UK Worldcons at which he was guest of honour. Michael Moorcock writes: 'A generous friend I've known since 1957. Sixty years a king. I remember many kindnesses, many arguments and a couple of quarrels, but nothing that ever stopped us talking. He and I were close and affectionate friends and I was able to pay a bit of a tribute to him in my recent introduction to Frankenstein Unbound. The world really is a little darker for his passing. A massive talent, a genial presence, a complicated lust for life.' See for further tributes and memories.

Duncan Lunan is fleeing the horrors of Brexit; or rather, his wife Linda is going home to Eire and taking him with her. They will be in Co. Cork from 2 October (CoA to follow). 'I'm donating my entire collection of books, journals, magazines etc to University College Cork, so that I will still have access to it ... 2500+ SF books and a similar number of SF mags, as well as my nonfiction collections, at least another 3000 books plus journals etc.' See also

Terry Pratchett's unfinished work – or at least, a single elderly and perhaps merely symbolic IDE hard drive – was in accordance with his wishes crushed by a steamroller on 25 August. (Guardian, 30 August)

John Scalzi's 'net worth is estimated to be in the range of approximately $629464287 in 2017, according to the users of vipfaq. The estimated net worth includes stocks, properties, and luxury goods such as yachts and private airplanes.' The man himself cautiously added, 'Spoiler: I may not actually be worth this much.' (Twitter, 16 August)

Robert Silverberg scorns the new-fangled: 'I use the male as the generic third person. Those of you who can't stomach this can take it up with my agent. Or my lawyer.' (Worldcon 75 panel)


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

2 Sep • Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, Univ of West London, Ealing. 9am-8pm. With Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone. See

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

9 Sep • International Comics Expo (ICE), Birmingham Conference Centre, Smallbrook, Birmingham. 11am-11pm. Standard tickets £12; £15 for early entry at 10am. See

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

16 Sep • Organic Systems: Environments, Bodies and Cultures in SF (conference), Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD. See for details.

16 Sep - 13 Jan • Terry Pratchett: HisWorld (exhibition), Salisbury Museum. Tickets £7.50; child £3.60. 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. £15 at

23 Sep • Preston Comic Con, Guild Hall, Preston. 10:30am-5pm. £8; 9:30am 'early bird' entry £12. See

29 Sep - 1 Oct • Fantasycon, Bull Hotel, Peterborough. £56.50 reg (BFS members £46.50), rising soon; see

30 Sep • Super Sci-Fi Festival, Doncaster town centre. Free, with dealer stalls. See

6-9 Oct • Grimmfest (horror/cult film festival), Odeon Printworks, Manchester. Tickets £75 or £80 'premium' from

6-9 Oct • Irish Discworld Convention, Cork International Hotel, Cork Airport, Ireland. €50 reg; €40 concessions; accompanied under-13s €1. SOLD OUT; WAITING LIST AT WEBSITE. See

6-8 Oct • Octocon, Camden Court Hotel, Camden St, Dublin, Ireland. €35 reg; concessions €20; accompanied under-13s free; €10 supp. Join online at

7-8 Oct • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk Showground Arena. Tickets at various prices from

7-8 Oct • SFW in the City (Sci-Fi Weekender spinoff), O2 Academy, Sheffield. Variously priced: see

28 Oct • Writing Horror Stories (workshop), QUAD Centre, Derby, DE1 3AS. 10am-4pm. £30 reg; £25 concessions. For details see

27 Nov • J.G. Ballard and the Sciences (conference), LAB 9, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT. £20 reg; £10 concessions. Lunch not included. See

2 Dec • Dragonmeet (gaming), Novotel London West, W6 8DR. 9am-midnight. £10 reg with group discounts:

17 Feb 2018 • Picocon 35, Beit Quadrangle, Imperial College, London. Guests TBA. £12 reg; £10 concessions; £8 ICSF members; past GoHs free. See

10-12 Aug 2018 • Nine Worlds Geekfest (multimedia): currently exploring London and Birmingham venues, with a decision expected in October. Now £99 reg; under-18s free. Book online at

22-24 Feb 2019 • Redemption (multimedia), Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield. £65 reg; concessions £45; under-18s £25; under-3s free. Online booking (5% fee), day rates:

15-19 Aug 2019 • Dublin 2019 (Worldcon), Dublin, Ireland. GoH Bill & Mary Burns, Diane Duane, Ginjer Buchanan, Ian McDonald. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Steve Jackson (US). €160 reg; €100 under-26s or first-time Worldcon members; €60 under-13s; €5 under-6s; €40 supp. The usual discounts for presupporters, Friends and site selection voters. Rates good until 28 February 2018. See

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Us, Momentarily. 'Gucci made fashion headlines this week with its sci-fi-inspired autumn/winter 2017 campaign. [... M]odels pose in Star Trek-influenced scenarios, fend off dinosaurs and fall prey to extra-terrestrial creatures that emerge from deep, dark lakes. If the Fifties and Sixties science fiction theme feels familiar, it's because the futuristic genre is having a moment.' (Vogue, 26 July) [JF]

Awards. Big Heart: Carolina Gomez Lagerlöf.
First Fandom Hall of Fame: Les and Es Cole, Jim Harmon.
Sidewise: SHORT (tie) Daniel Bensen, 'Treasure Fleet' (Tales from Alternate Earths); Adam Rovner, 'What If the Jewish State Had Been Established in East Africa?' (What Ifs of Jewish History). LONG Ben H. Winters, Underground Airlines.
US Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame: Beatrix Potter, Richard Powers. [AIP]

The Shape of Things to Come in James S.A. Corey's Expanse series: 'Someplace they're not going to start killing Earthers for shits and giggles if things go pear-shaped.' (Leviathan Wakes, 2011) '"Because he's the reason things went pear-shaped?" Holden replied ...' 'This was something that had been prepared for since well before Ganymede went pear-shaped.' (Caliban's War, 2012) '"It's all gone pear-shaped."' (Abaddon's Gate, 2013) 'All goes pear-shaped.' 'No stations or relief ships if things went pear-shaped.' 'We start going pear-shaped, we can let go.' (Cibola Burn, 2014) 'If it was going to go pear-shaped, she should be the one to deal with it.' (Babylon's Ashes, 2016) [KJ]

R.I.P. Hywel Bennett (1944-2017), UK actor whose tv debut was in Doctor Who (1965), died on 25 July aged 73. Other genre credits include Percy (1971), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1972), Artemis 81 (1981) and Neverwhere (1996). [SG]
Joe Bologna (1934-2017), US actor in The Big Bus (1976), Transylvania 6-5000 (1985) and Not Quite Human (1987), died on 13 August aged 82. Animation voice credits include Superman (1997-1998 tv) and Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006). [F770]
Gregg Calkins (1934-2017), long-time US fan whose fanzines included Oopsla! (1952-1961) and The Rambling Fap (for FAPA, 1950s-late 1990s), died on 31 July; he was 82. [AIP]
Paul Doherty, US Exploratorium staff scientist who collaborated with Pat Murphy on scores of F&SF science columns (1997-2017) and the 2016 novelette 'Cold Comfort', died on 18 August. [PDF]
Ty Hardin (1930-2017), US Western actor with sf/fantasy roles in The Space Children (1958), I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) and Image of the Beast (1980), died on 3 August aged 87. [PDF]
Robert Hardy (1925-2017), UK actor whose genre credits include Demons of the Mind (1972), Dark Places (1973), Gawain and the Green Knight (1973), The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1981), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), Gulliver's Travels (1996), The 10th Kingdom (2000), The Lost World (2001), Thunderpants (2002) and four Harry Potter films 2002-2007, died on 3 August; he was 91. [SG]
Lars Helander (1939-2017), former Swedish fan whose late-1950s Sfaria was his country's first English-language fanzine, has died aged 78. [AE]
Tobe Hooper (1943-2017), US director of 'Salem's Lot (1979 tv), Poltergeist (1982), Lifeforce (1985), Invaders from Mars (1986), The Mangler (1995) and others, died on 26 August aged 74. [GW]
Sonny Landham (1941-2017), US actor in Poltergeist (1982), Predator (1987) and Disintegration (2007), died on 17 August aged 76.
Jerry Lewis (1926-2017), US actor and slapstick comedian whose genre films include Visit To A Small Planet (1960), The Nutty Professor (1963) and Way ... Way Out (1966), died on 20 August aged 91.
Thomas Meehan (1929-2017), US writer and producer who scripted Mel Brooks's Spaceballs (1987), died on 22 August aged 88. [PDF]
Mark Merlis (1950-2017), US author whose gay fantasy An Arrow's Flight (1998) won a Lambda Award, died on 15 August aged 67. [MMW]
Haruo Nakajima (1929-2017), Japanese actor who wore the rubber monster suit for Toho's Gojira/Godzilla (1954) and 11 sequels, died on 7 August aged 88. [RR]
Diane Pearson, senior editor at Corgi/Transworld 1964-2002, who ran Corgi SF from the 1960s and in 1984 began to publish the first paperbacks of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, died in August; she was 85. [PDF/MJE]
Victor Pemberton 1931-2017, UK Doctor Who actor, writer and script editor whose 1968 storyline 'Fury from the Deep' (which he also novelized) introduced the famous sonic screwdriver, died on 13 August aged 85. Other script credits include Timeslip (1971) and Ace of Wands (1972).
Kim Poor (1952-2017), noted US space artist whose many cover credits include Analog, Asimov's, Omni and some sf books, and whose work appeared as backgrounds in Alien Nation, seaQuest DSV and Babylon 5, died on 16 August. [PDF]
Jay Thomas (1948-2017), US actor in Mork & Mindy (1979-1981 tv), Hercules (1998-1999 tv), Dragonfly (2002), The Santa Clause 2 & 3 (2002, 2006) and Horrorween (2011), died on 24 August aged 69. [MMW]
Gordon Williams (1934-2017), Scots author of the horror thriller The Bornless Keeper (1974 as P.B. Yuill) and the sf Micronauts series opening with The Micronauts (1977), died on 20 August aged 83. [JC]
Jack Wodhams (1931-2017) UK-born Australian author of many hard sf stories (mostly for Analog 1967-1990), three solo novels beginning with The Authentic Touch (1971) and one 2015 children's book with Adam Wallace, died on 3 August; he was 85. [PC]

Publishers and Sinners. The Harper Voyager UK website was hacked on 4 August, and for days showed many 'Admin' posts extolling the virtues of cheap Chinese NFL jerseys in strange prose traceable to spam comments elsewhere online. Sample headline: 'CHEAP JERSEYS IS NOT JUST THE DEATH OF A CELEBRITY ...' (

Random Fandom. Theodore 'Vox Day' Beale, whose Rabid Puppies bloc-vote made him a Hugo finalist as best editor (long form), received 32 first-place votes on the final ballot; the more charismatic No Award had 186.
Steve Stiles's cancer operation on 9 August was a success; he's now recovering at home, minus two-thirds of his right lung.

C.o.A. Duncan Lunan, from 2 October: somewhere in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Howard Waldrop, 5426 Manchaca #123, Austin, TX 78745, USA.

Here Today, Gone Today. On 24 August, Lani Sarem's fantasy Handbook for Mortals was briefly number one on the New York Times YA hardback bestseller list. That a debut novel from a new publisher, not widely available from retail outlets, could sell 18,000 copies in a week roused suspicion and even suggestions of strategic bulk ordering from selected bookshops that report sales figures to NYT. Within hours a replacement NYT list appeared, with Sarem no longer included. (NPR, 25 August) All in the great tradition of L. Ron Hubbard!

In Typo Veritas. Egg-Throwing Dept: 'Sixty years after Dresediel Lex cast off the gods' yolk, its masters still demanded blood.' (Max Gladstone, Two Serpents Rise, 2013).

Court Circular. More on the lawsuit against Moppet Books and its KinderGuides (see A355) by publishers and literary estates including Arthur C. Clarke's: a US judge ruled on 28 July that these 'unauthorized derivatives' of copyright texts, though framed as study guides for kids, weren't protected by fair use. (PW, 1 August). A later injunction against their further distribution made little difference, since takedown notices had removed the offending KinderGuides from sale months ago. (PW, 17 August). Yet more court proceedings begin on 2 October. [AIP]

The Dead Past. 12 Years Ago, Brian Aldiss told us about his OBE: 'I was greatly chuffed by the award "for services to Literature" – a euphemism in this case for SF.... But when chatting to Her Majesty, I was disappointed to find she had only got as far as John Wyndham and the triffids. "What do you like about it?" I asked. She replied, "Oh, it's such a cosy catastrophe." I blushed.' (Ansible 216, July 2005)
30 Years Ago, a Court Circular: '"It's UFOs By Royal Appointment!" says a clipping sent by bibliophile David Garnett. "Head-in-the-Stars Prince Charles has joined a galaxy of celebrity space-watchers who believe in little green men. He's at the centre of a new cosmic controversy after graciously accepting weirdo sci-fi novels by the founder of the evil Scientology cult L. Ron Hubbard. The mystical Hubbard trilogy Mission Earth – stories of futuristic heroes zapping across the universe in flying saucers – is now sitting on the Prince's personal bookshelves," etc. "Sick and dangerous ... corrupting works ... the wacky Prince ..."' Thus spake the mainstream Sunday Sport. (Ansible 50, August/September 1987)

Fanfundery. TAFF: John Purcell returned from his trip with 5,862 photos, and now takes on the duties of North American Administrator.
• Worldcon 75 fan fund auctions, sales and donations raised nearly €2,300, divided between TAFF, GUFF and DUFF: see [AR]

Thog's Masterclass. Astronomy Dept. 'Ganymede didn't revolve on its own axis. It went around the mother planet about once a week, but always with the same surface facing it ...' (Lester del Rey [ghostwritten by Paul W. Fairman], The Runaway Robot, 1965) [BA]
Dept of Vacuum Engineering. 'A flat stone closed the cave tight. When we were inside, we could make a vacuum by packing dirt round the edges [...] so Paul could use his portable air unit and take off his suit.' (Ibid) [BA]
My Vegetable Love Should Grow. 'Anne Marie sighed, a sigh so deep it caused her breasts to swell – like two young pears as fresh as spring, thought Lars.' (Neal Barrett, Jr, The Karma Corps, 1984) [DAg]
Dept of Pointed Looks. 'Lars turned on him, his eyes slivers of glass.' (Ibid) [DAg]
Dept of Nature Study. 'The Ministry of Defence bred acronyms like a mangrove swamp.' (Douglas Board, Time of Lies, 2017) [MMW]
Neat Tricks. 'Her fingertips moved like small warm feet across his back.' (Dean Owen, Konga [film novelization], 1960) [DAn]
Eyeballs in the Sky. 'She had very nice tits, large with pink nipples and fricking gorgeous blue eyes ...' (John Ringo, Ghost, 2005) [IC] 'Amamiya was standing in the middle of the hallway, eyes still half-down but looking straight at him.' (Hideo Yokoyama, Six Four, 2012; trans Jonathan Lloyd-Davies 2016) [PB] 'He suspected his eyes had barked the order.' (Ibid) [PB]
Mot Juste Dept. '"Like you hustling that toilet paper, right?" / I flushed at the mention.' (Emma Cline, The Girls, 2016)

Geeks' Corner

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• 8 September 2017: Jackie Burns 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 events/speakers: 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 the film 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. Despite having bought an attending membership out of general solidarity, I didn't make it to Worldcon 75 and am not planning any convention appearances for some while. Maybe after I've reached the top of a long, long waiting list for hearing aid reassessment. Meanwhile here are links to the latest at Ansible Editions (no hard sell this time) and, as a reminder, the above-mentioned Brian Aldiss memorial supplement.

Hugo Statistics Etc. All you could possibly wish to know, revealed by Hugo administrator Nicholas Whyte in official reports, personal blog posts and the Hugo Packet Debrief: Report2_nominations.pdf Report3_nomination_details.pdf Report4_systems_comparison.pdf Report5_decisions.pdf

Further Worldcon 75 Oddments. Publications, including the at-con newsletter; the traditional spoof newsletter; WSFS Division Post-Con Report:

Outraged Letters. Steve Sneyd's famously handwritten Data Dump roundup of sf poetry news hasn't been seen for some while, but he reassures Ansible that he's alive and well: 'Gist is, after DD 25th annish end of last year, reptile brain went on strike demanding a break. Since then been a mix of mental and physical inertia, still not managed to motivate to get back to it, though must do RSN as nightmare backlog of data/review copies silted up. So it goes.'

Last-Minute R.I.P. Richard Anderson (1926-2017), US actor best remembered as Oscar Goldman in The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978), The Bionic Woman (1976-1978) and spinoffs to 1994, died on 31 August aged 91. Further credits include Forbidden Planet (1956), Seven Days in May (1964), Seconds (1966), Ghostbreakers (1967), The Night Strangler (1973) and The Stepford Children (1987). [SG/LP]

Thog's Second Helping. Simile Dept. 'Her lips wore smugness like a slipper.' ('Michael Morgan', Decoy, 1953)
Dept of Strong Language. 'Langly, sinking rapidly now, expleted: "You!"' (William L. Rivera, Panic Walks Alone, 1976)
Nautical Commands Dept. 'All hands on deck and the cook!' (Cromwell Gibbons, The Bat Woman, 1938)

Ansible® 362 Copyright © David Langford, 2017. Thanks to Dev Agarwal, Brian Ameringen, David Annandale, Anonymous, Paul Barnett, John Clute, Paul Collins, Ian Covell, Anna Feruglio Dal Dan, Paul Di Filippo, Malcolm Edwards, Ahrvid Engholm, Julian Fifield, File 770, Steve Green, Kenneth James, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Anna Raftery, Roger Robinson, Gary Wilkinson, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 September 2017.