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Ansible® 364, November 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 when Owl Friday falls on a Wednesday.

Ebooks Amok at the Bar. Still more free downloads at the TAFF site, Running Amok in the Fun Factory is an anthology of favourite UK convention reports selected and introduced by Graham Charnock. Temple at the Bar by sf author and early UK fan William F. (Bill) Temple, edited and introduced by the ever-industrious Rob Hansen, collects Temple's humorous fanzine writing from 1938 to 1960 – with many a dig at his good friend Arthur C. 'Ego' Clarke. Further titles are on the way, including at least one December release.

The Devil Makes the Law

Peter S. Beagle, long in bitter dispute with his former manager Connor ('Freff') Cochran, now finds it necessary to issue a statement that Cochran 'did not write my stories, as he is now claiming publicly. They are my work, and no one else's – as are all my other books, all the way back to that first one, published in 1960, when I was twenty-one. They are my legacy. [...] For fifteen years, over the counsel of true and knowledgeable friends, I trusted Connor Cochran implicitly with all that I believed to be of any real value: my work, and the future of my legacy. I was certain beyond any question that he was a man of honor and creativity. I will forever regret that I was wrong.' (, October 2017)

Gregory Benford on Margaret Atwood's 'Peace Prize' awarded by the German book trade (see A360): 'Atwood lifted much of Handmaid from Heinlein. Yet the world thinks she's an original.' (File 770 comment, 15 October) Two days later, Atwood received the 2017 Franz Kafka international literary prize at a ceremony in Prague.

Kazuo Ishiguro, author of the sf novel Never Let Me Go and the fantasy The Buried Giant, won the 2017 Nobel prize for literature.

H.B. Marriott Watson (1863-1921), author of the 1893 'The Devil of the Marsh', is not among us to challenge 'The Gas Fields of Mars' (Bewildering Stories, 2009) by Scott Wilson. In this blatant plagiarism, 'Marsh' is cunningly replaced by 'Martian gas' – 'I have the Martian gas in my blood' – and 'witch or devil of the marsh' by 'demon or devil of the Gas Field', etc, etc. When an alert reader detected this naughtiness in October 2017, Bewildering removed the story from its website. [MFD]

Peter Nicholls retired to a Melbourne nursing home earlier this year owing to the continuing advance of Parkinson's Disease, and is no longer in email communication with fandom or professional colleagues. [CC] Clare Coney writes: 'He's not unhappy. He's living in the moment.' Let's remember the standing ovation Peter received at the 2014 Worldcon for creating the 1979 SF Encyclopedia and shaping its later editions.

J.R.R. Tolkien is the subject of a canonization campaign by the Catholic Fellowship for Tolkien: 'We are pursuing Tolkien's Cause for Sainthood in the Catholic Church.' ( The first Mass praying for this process to begin was held in Oxford Oratory on 2 September, the 44th anniversary of his death. [F770] Good grief.


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

Until 28 Jan • Tove Jansson (exhibition), Dulwich Picture Gallery. £15.50; £7 concessions. See

3-5 Nov • Sci-Fi London Experiment at EXP, Swan Wharf, 60 Dace Rd, London, E3 2NN. £28 or £15 per day; the announced all-night film session has been cancelled. See

4-6 Nov • Armadacon 29, Future Inns, Plymouth. £35 reg; day £20 (concessions £30 and £15). Contact Moor Cottage, Cardinham, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 4BR; or see

4-5 Nov • Gollancz Festival, Phoenix Artist's Club & Foyles, London. Saturday: Foyles £25 all day (£12 a.m., £15 p.m.), Phoenix £30 a.m. and £30 p.m. Sunday: Foyles only, £20 p.m. See

6 Nov • Ghost Stories at Keele Hall, SCR, Keele University. 7:30-9:30pm. Free booking: 01782 734340 or

6 Nov - 5 Dec • Grandville: Force Majeure (Bryan Talbot exhibition), Orbital Comics, London, WC2H. See

10-12 Nov • Novacon 47, Park Inn, Nottingham. £50 reg (may rise before con); under-17s £12; under-13s free. Contact 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ. Online registration at

11 Nov • A Day of Horror (HWA UK), Royal George, 133 Charing Cross Rd, London, WC2H 0EA. 1pm-6pm. Free. See

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

25 Nov • Sledge-Lit, QUAD Centre, Derby. 10am-6pm. Tickets £25. 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:

3 Dec • Stars of Time (media), Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare. 10:30am-5:30pm. £6.50; child £3.50. See

9 Dec • 2017: A Clarke Odyssey (conference), Canterbury Christ Church University. Attendance rates now announced: £65, concessions £50, including lunch etc. See

30 Dec - 2 Jan • Steampunk New Year, Mercure Hotel, Leicester. See

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

30 Mar - 2 Apr 2018 • Follycon (Eastercon), Majestic Hotel, Harrogate. £70 reg (rising to £80 on 1 December while the other rates remain unchanged); £45 YA/unwaged; £30 child (5-17) and supp; under-5s free. Cheques to Eastercon 2018 c/o 19 Uphall Rd, Cambridge, CB3 1HX. Credit cards (preferred) accepted at

19-22 Apr 2018 • Dead by Dawn (horror film festival), Filmhouse Cinema One, 88 Lothian Rd, Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ. £90. Box office 0131 228 2688. Online booking via

26 May 2018 • LawGiver 4 (Judge Dredd), Hilton Doubletree Hotel, Bristol. Booking from Jan/Feb 2018. See

8-10 Jun 2018 • Lavecon (sf/fantasy/gaming), Sedgebrook Hall Hotel, Northants. Booking awaited at

4-6 Aug 2018 • Nine Worlds Geekfest (multimedia), Novotel London West, Hammersmith, London – venue now confirmed. £99 reg (this will rise); children free. Book online at

29-30 Sep 2018 • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk Showground Arena. Tickets at various prices awaited at

12-14 Oct 2018 • Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, Cumbria. £35 reg; £25 concessions. 'Friday gala' extra, £8/£5. Day rates: Sat £22/£17, Sun £19/£14. See

Rumblings. Matthew D'Ancona, in a strongly pro-sf article centred on Blade Runner 2049, mentions that 'the Science Museum (of which I am a trustee) is planning a definitive exhibition of science fiction and its influence for 2020.' (Evening Standard, 11 October)

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Us. 'It gave me a feeling I identify with my teenage years, back when I used to visit a store that carried science fiction, comic books, and porn: one-stop shopping for shame.' (Eliot Borenstein, Huffington Post, 30 October)

Awards. Booker Prize: George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo. [MJE]

Bibliomania. For the fan who has everything including that 1953 limited edition of Fahrenheit 451 bound in asbestos, the French publisher Super Terrain is releasing a 'heat sensitive' F451 whose black-coated pages reveal the text beneath only when fire is applied. [AW] Next, the long-awaited H.P. Lovecraft collection bound in gorgonzola?

R.I.P. Jack Bannon (1940-2017), US actor whose genre tv series include Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1976-1979), died on 25 October aged 77. [PDF]
Gerald Bishop ('Ye Gerbish'), UK fan most active in the 1970s – London First Thursday meetings, convention committees (often as projectionist for con film showing) and the 1971-1974 fanzine Howl of Feedback – died on 9 October. (CAMRA East Anglia mailing list) [PT]
Brent Briscoe (1961-2017), US actor in The Green Mile (1999), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? (2014) and Twin Peaks (2017), died on 18 October aged 56. [GW]
Dian Crayne (1942-2017), US author and fan who published sf stories 1974-1988 as Dian Girard and novels as J.D. Crayne – including the thriller Murder at the Worldcon and the Captain Spycer space-opera trilogy 2005-2009 – was found dead on 4 October; she was 75. [F770/AIP]
Paul Day (Jean-Paul Breault-Day, 1937-2017) Boston-born chemist who ran the Black Hole book shop in Adelaide from 1978 to 1984, died circa 6 October aged 80. [MD]
Digby Diehl (1940-2017), US editor, author and critic whose books included the EC Comics study Tales from the Crypt: The Official Archives (1996), died on 26 September aged 76. [AIP]
Roy Dotrice (1923-2017), famously versatile UK actor whose credits include Toomorrow (1970), Space: 1999 (1975), Beauty and the Beast (1987-1990), Alien Hunter (2003), Hellboy II (2008) and Game of Thrones (2012; he also recorded the audiobooks), died on 16 October aged 94. [PDF] I fondly remember him as Albert Haddock in Misleading Cases (1967-1971).
Roger Garland (1950-2017), UK illustrator of J.R.R. Tolkien's works for Allen & Unwin, Unwin Hyman and HarperCollins from 1981 to the early 1990s, died on 26 October aged 67. [TG]
ElizaBeth Gilligan, US author of the Silken Magic trilogy opening with Magic's Silken Snare (2003) and concluded this year after delays caused by illness, died on 9 October. [GVG]
Robert Guillaume (1927-2017), US actor in The Kid with the Broken Halo (1982), John Grin's Christmas (1986), Fish Police (1992), The Meteor Man (1993), The Lion King (1994), Crystal Cave (1996), Alchemy (1996), Merry Christmas George Bailey (1997), 13th Child (2002) and the Half-Life 2 videogames, died on 24 October aged 89. [SG]
Yoji Kondo (1933-2017), Japanese-US astrophysicist who wrote sf as Eric Kotani – including the Island Worlds trilogy with John Maddox Roberts, opening with Act of God (1985) – died on 9 October aged 84. [GVG]
Rosemary Leach (1935-2017), UK character actress whose credits include The Plague Dogs (1982), The Tomorrow People (1995) and The Great Ghost Rescue (2011), died on 21 October aged 81.
Umberto Lenzi (1931-2017), Italian director of Nightmare City (1980), Ironmaster (1983), Ghosthouse (1988), The Hell's Gate, House of Lost Souls, Nightmare Beach, The House of Witchcraft (all four 1989), Black Demons (1991) and others, died on 19 October aged 86. [SG]
Federico Luppi 1936-2017), Argentinian actor in Guillermo del Toro's Cronos (1993), The Devil's Backbone (2001) and Pan's Labyrinth (2006), died on 20 October aged 81. [GW]
Trevor Martin (1929-2017), UK actor who was first to play the Doctor on stage – in Doctor Who and the Seven Keys to Doomsday (1974) – and also featured in 1969 tv and 1999 radio versions of the show, died on 5 October aged 87. [SFS]
Julian May (1931-2017), US author whose sf debut was 'Dune Roller' (1951, filmed as The Cremators) and who is best known for her long Pliocene Exile/Galactic Milieu series opening with The Many-Colored Land (1981), died on 17 October aged 86. [ARB] She was active in 1940s fandom and in 1952 chaired the Worldcon, the first woman to do so.
John Mollo (1931-2017), UK costume designer who won an Oscar for his work on Star Wars (1977) and was also involved with Alien (1979), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Outland (1981), Greystoke (1984) and Event Horizon (1997), died on 25 October aged 86. [GW/MR]
Iona Opie (1923-2017), folklore expert who with her husband Peter published The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951), The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book (1955), The Classic Fairy Tales (1974) and much more, died on 23 October; she was 94. Her many honours include a 1999 CBE. [PDF]
Charles Osborne (1927-2017), Australian author, critic and former UK Arts Council director whose books include Kafka (1967) and The Bram Stoker Bedside Companion (edited 1973), died on 23 September aged 89. Interzone received its 1982-1983 Arts Council grant during his administration. [MJE/PF/DP]
Michael Satran, US game designer who besides sourcebooks and adventure modules for various game systems wrote the fantasy novel Hellbow Rune (2014), died on 28 October. [SFS]
Milt Stevens (1942-2017), US fan since 1960, who published fanzines for many APAs including FAPA and co-chaired the 1984 Los Angeles Worldcon, died on 2 October; he was 75. [GG via GC]
Birgitta Margaretha Ulfsson (1928-2017), Finnish-Swedish actress who played Moominmamma in the Swedish live-action Moomintroll tv series, died on 8 October aged 89. [PDF]

As Others Research Us. Interviewing Ross Noble about the Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein musical, the Daily Express conveyed that this production was based on the novel by Bram Stoker. [DS]

Outraged Letters. Mike Christie: 'A sfnal trivia item re Hugh Hefner that many people probably won't know: Hefner joined the Weird Tales Club and listed his address in the magazine in 1943 – see the Wikipedia article on Weird Tales, which cites Robert Weinberg's history of WT. (I wrote the article, which is how I know about it.)' (2 October)

Magazine Scene. Steve Davidson of Amazing had a long dispute with NBC about their plans to produce another Spielberg Amazing Stories tv series while diligently not making the agreed payment to him as trademark holder. 'I want nothing to do with NBC and I want them to have nothing to do with Amazing Stories', he wrote in frustration on 11 October. Ten days later, though, perhaps after NBC had noticed the storm of bad publicity from fandom, a new deal was in the offing after all. As a result, Amazing hopes 'to pay better than SFWA rates for at least one short story per week'. (, 21 October)

As Others Introduce Us. 'Vonnegut's invention of ice-nine, a substance capable of freezing all the world's water in rapid contagion, makes the book in some sense a piece of science fiction, and like most sci-fi, the book will disappoint any reader who insists on the evolving, three-dimensional characters of the realist novel. But unlike most sci-fi novels, as well as most realist ones, Cat's Cradle doesn't concern itself with the creation of a coherent world corroborated in all its details.' (Benjamin Kunkel introducing CC, Penguin Modern Classics, 2008) [DA]

Random Fandom. Rusty Hevelin's collection of 10,000+ fanzines is being transcribed into searchable digital form as a crowdsourced online 'DIY History' project at the University of Iowa. Anyone can sign up to help: see [KB]
Andrew I. Porter found more sf in Jeopardy: '"Any member of the World Science Fiction Society can vote for this literary award, which has led to some drama." No one could answer, "What is the Hugo Award."' (27 October)

The Dead Past. 20 Years Ago: 'Anne Rice was ruled innocent of libel when a New Orleans judge held that her abuse of a local café as "an abomination ... gaudy, tacky ... less dignified than a flophouse", was constitutionally protected. Horror critics, concerned to describe Rice's works only in legal, constitutionally protected ways, may or may not have been taking notes.' (Ansible 124, November 1997)
30 Years Ago: Steve Green had a flashback to that October/November 1987 weekend when 'Martin Tudor and I published the first issue of Critical Wave, at Novacon 17 and Nicon II. How time flies ...' (Email, 24 October)
40 Years Ago: 'The Guardian Award for Fiction was recently presented to Mike Moorcock for his novel, The Condition of Muzak, last of the Jerry Cornelius series. And that's all the sf news you're likely to get this issue – unless you hadn't noticed a new BBC tv sitcom featuring a housewife marooned on a space station, if indeed that's even worthy of note.' (Peter Roberts, Checkpoint 85, Winter 1977)

C.o.A. Duncan Lunan's announced move to Ireland (see A362) fell through 'due to unexpected problems and plain bad luck'; he's back in Troon though not at the former address.
Andy & Angela Richards/Cold Tonnage Books, Poundwater, Farway, Colyton, Devon, EX24 6EG.

Fanfundery. TransAtlantic Fan Fund. John Purcell writes: 'Nominations for the 2018 East to West TAFF race, bringing a European Fan to the San José WorldCon next August, are officially open. Nominations close 30 November 2017, and the tentative voting dates are 4 January to 4 April (90 days, and not another day longer) in 2018.' See his newsletter at Email: askance73 at gmail dot com, or Euro admin Anna Raftery at Anna.raftery (at)

Editorial. The laser eye treatment that I nervously awaited last issue was a great success, instantly clearing the fog that had made it impossible to read with my right eye all this year. Morale is hugely improved. For eyesight and other reasons I've been reluctant for some while to commit to attending sf conventions, and don't yet know when or if I'll get back into the habit again. Apologies to everyone who was looking forward to buying me copious drinks at Novacon 47.

Thog's Masterclass. Inner Secrets of Bestseller Research. 'According to, a "regent" is someone appointed to oversee an organization while its leader is incapacitated or absent.' (Dan Brown, Origin, 2017) [MMW]
Dept of Pencil Sentience. 'Frank folded his notes up and slid them into his coat pocket. The pencil hurried after them.' (Philip K. Dick, 'Human Is', 1955 Startling) [JCo]
Year of the Sex Olympics. 'What did they have in common anyway? Good sex. They'd trained for the Twin Cities Marathon together.' (Theresa Monsour, Cold Blood, 2004) [PB]
Nerve Endings Dept. 'She was tired of it, and her own resentments toward him had begun to grow like warts on the ends of her nerves.' (Tami Hoag, Prior Bad Acts, 2006) [PB]

Geeks' Corner

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• 3 November 2017: Peter F. Hamilton 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: 1 December (date TBC) Christmas Social.
• 11 November 2017: The Art of Horror Movies multi-signing, 12:30pm-2pm at Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Ave, London, WC2H 8JR. In conjunction with 'A Day of Horror' in the main events list above.
• 15 November 2017: Bryan Talbot Grandville: Force Majeure signing and exhibition launch. 5:30pm-7pm at Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H. See link below.

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

More Editorial. The traditional distribution of Ansible with Brum Group News has been suspended for several months. A few loyal readers asked why; BGN 553, the October issue, explains that after losing its cheap printing service the Brum Group can no longer afford to print Ansible as well as its own newsletter. (The same issue includes a plug for Chris Morgan's and my Facts & Fallacies ebook as described at, for which many thanks.) Fair enough: bereft group members can still send me SAEs for printed copies or read Ansible on the website at

Outraged Letters II. Simon R. Green on A363: 'It's a shame Nigel Kneale never embraced fandom, because it would have loved to embrace him. I remember seeing him at the Brighton WorldCon in '79. He turned up with the first three tv episodes of Quatermass and the Pit, and it played to a house that wasn't just packed; it was shoulder to shoulder in the aisles. We were all so entranced, you could have heard a pin drop. At the end, Mr Kneale came on pushing something under a sheet, and it was an actual Martian from the tv series. He got a standing ovation. Everyone there loved and admired his work; we would happily have carried him shoulder high through the streets of Brighton. Which might have been the problem. I get the feeling it was too much; he didn't believe it. / All I know is, his work is one of the reasons I write what I write.' (29 October)

Fantasycon 2018 will be at The Queen Hotel in Chester, 19-21 October. The actual website will presumably be revealed at ...

Thog's Second Helping. Anatomy Dept. 'Phrrg felt as an intelligent blood corpuscle would feel when caught in the circulation and fed unceremoniously through a palpitating aorta!' ('John E. Muller', Dark Continuum, 1964)

Ansible® 364 Copyright © David Langford, 2017. Thanks to Dev Agarwal, Angry Robot Books, Karen Babich, Paul Barnett, Graham Charnock, Clare Coney, Jonathan Cowie, Paul Di Filippo, Mark Fuller Dillon, Martin Dunne, Malcolm Edwards, File 770, Paul Fraser, Glenn Glazer, Steve Green, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Marcus Rowland, SF Site, Tolkien Gateway, Paul Treadaway, Andrew Wells, Gary Wilkinson, Martin Morse Wooster, and our Hero Distributors: Dave Corby (BSFG), SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 November 2017.