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Ansible® 369, April 2018

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 immanentization of the Eastercon.

Follycon. Ansible coverage of the 2018 UK Eastercon is scanty because Ansible wasn't there (sorry).
BSFA Awards. Novel: Nina Allan, The Rift. Shorter fiction: Anne Charnock, The Enclave. Nonfiction: Paul Kincaid, Iain M. Banks. Artwork (tie): Jim Burns for The Ion Raider by Ian Whates, and Victo Ngai for 'Waiting on a Bright Moon' by JY Yang (
Doc Weir Award for unsung fan efforts: Flick.
Eastercon 2020: a bid for the Birmingham NEC hotel is currently taking shape.

The Airs of Earth

Brian Aldiss was remembered at the Oxford Literary Festival on 20 March, with talks by Chris Priest and others, a panel on sf in general with Philip Pullman, and an evening champagne reception.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden is now vice president and editor-in-chief at Tor Books; Devi Pillai is now vice president and publisher. Fritz Foy became president and publisher of the parent company Tom Doherty Associates. (, 1 March)

Jack Posobiec's Wade Asher: Agent of Admiralty (2015, as by Jack Michael Doyle) expands the boundaries of sf language: 'Posobiec also goes big on the sci-fi tradition of mixing up regular words to make it sound like the future. Jokes are "wisdomcracks," and offices are now "cubifices." / Cows are "beefcows," and you'll never believe what chickens are called in this extremely inventive world. In the far future, they're called "chikkens."' (Will Sommers, Right Richter, 21 March) [PB]

Philip Pullman provided a surprise 'As Others See Us' moment at his Oxford panel (see Aldiss above) by saying he'd been put off all modern sf by going to a convention and finding 'all those young men sitting around and speaking Klingon.' From the audience, an Ansible reader mentioned having spent a lot of time at conventions, often in conversation with Brian Aldiss, without a word of Klingon being heard.

Rudolf Schonegger, UK book dealer, was found guilty in March of nicking an allegedly rare signed copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 'worth £1,675' from Hatchards. The CCTV evidence showed him furtively substituting a book of 'very little value'. (BBC, 27 March)


Click here for longlist with linksLondonOverseas

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

20-22 Apr • Springmoot (Tolkien Soc), Kingston Theatre Hotel, Hull. See

21-22 Apr • Sci-Fi Scarborough (multimedia), The Spa, Scarborough. Adult tickets including booking fees £28, £16.80 day; under-17s £11.20, £5.60 day; under-5s free. See

25 Apr • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. Speaker to be announced. Free.

28 Apr • Spicing Up Sci-Fi: The Dunes Strike Back (Mfest panel), British Library, London. 2pm-3pm. £5; £3 unwaged; 20% discount code MFestSINDBAD valid to 13 April at

1-7 May • Sci-Fi London (film festival), various London venues. For more details see

1 May • Tolkien Lecture: V.E. Schwab. Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College, Oxford. 6:30pm. Waiting list via

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

8-11 Jun • To See the Invisible (opera based on story by Robert Silverberg), Britten Studio, Snape Maltings, Snape, Suffolk. Tickets £5-£25. See [AIP]

29 Jun - 1 Jul • Two Centuries of Frankenstein: 1818-2018 (course), ICE, Cambridge. With Professor Edward James. £280. See

20-23 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), St Antony's College, Oxford. £70 reg or £60 for members, rising to £75/£65 in May and £85/£75 in August. See

15-19 Aug 2019 • Dublin 2019 (Worldcon), Dublin, Ireland. Now €180 reg, €110 under-26s or first-time Worldcon members, and €65 under-13s. Unchanged: €5 under-6s; €40 supp. See

Infinitely Improbable

The Critical Heritage. 'This is an entire pre-summer slate of would-be event movies getting steamrolled by one very big tentpole.' (Scott Mendelson on Black Panther,, 20 March) [PDF]

Awards. American Academy of Arts and Letters inaugural $100,000 for life achievement: Thomas Pynchon. [JB]
Astrid Lindgren Memorial: Jacqueline Woodson.
Ditmar (Australia) best novel: Thoraiya Dyer, Crossroads of Canopy.
Oscars. Best Film: The Shape of Water, whose other wins included Best Director for Guillermo del Toro. Animated film: Coco. Original screenplay: Get Out. Cinematography, visual effects: Blade Runner 2049.
Philip K. Dick: Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless.
SFRA Pilgrim Award (scholarship): Carl Freedman. SFRA Thomas D. Clareson Award: Veronica Hollinger.
Starburst Brave New Words Award: Margrét Helgadóttir for editing Pacific Monsters.
Stoker Awards (selected). Novel: Christopher Golden, Ararat. First novel: Robert Payne Cabeen, Cold Cuts. YA novel: Kim Liggett, The Last Harvest.
Tiptree Award: Virginia Bergin, Who Runs the World? (US title The XY).

Signage. Some naughty person has been improving – or according to Oxfordshire County Council, vandalizing – roundabout signs in and around Didcot by adding more interesting destinations: Emerald City, Gotham City, Middle Earth, Narnia and Neverland. (BBC, 19 March)

R.I.P. Karen Anderson (1932-2018), US author and fan who collaborated with her husband Poul Anderson (1926-2001) on several books including the Last Viking (1980) and King of Ys (1986-1988) series, died on 17 March; she was 85. Her fan activities included costuming, filk and the SCA; she received the 2010 LASFS Forry Award for life achievement in sf. [AB]
Don J. Arneson (1935-2018), US comics writer/editor who wrote Frankenstein, Dracula and Werewolf scripts for Dell and the Dark Shadows comic for Western Publishing, died on 1 February aged 82. [PDF]
Adrian Barnes (1963-2018), UK-born Canadian author of Satan a la Mode (2006) and the Clarke-shortlisted Nod (2012), died on 5 January aged 54.
David Bischoff (1951-2018), prolific US author whose early novel Tin Woodman (1979) with Dennis R Bailey was based on their Nebula-shortlisted story, died on 19 March aged 66. [JDC] Besides his own books and series he wrote many novelizations and shared-world ties, and edited Starlog with Ted White 1985-1986.
Harry Blamires (1916-2017), UK author of a theological fantasy trilogy influenced by his mentor C.S. Lewis, opening with The Devil's Hunting Grounds (1954), died on 21 November aged 101.
Martin G. Cameron, artist whose work included many interiors for Analog, 3D art for Lucasfilm games and other game companies, and the steampunk Major Arcanum Gazette (2018) with Robert E. Vardeman, died on 26 March. [F770]
Debbie Lee Carrington (1959-2018), US actress and stunt artist in Return of the Jedi (1983), Total Recall (1990), Batman Returns (1992) and others, died on 24 March aged 58. [PDF]
Fred Crippen (1928-2018), US animator who created Roger Ramjet (1965) and worked on many series including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1996), Men in Black (1997-1998) and Godzilla (1999-2001), died on 22 March aged 90. [SFS]
Erwin C. Dietrich (1930-2018): Swiss 'sexploitation' film-maker whose genre releases include Jack the Ripper (1976) and Killer Condom (1996), died on 15 March aged 87. [SG]
Michael Fleisher (1942-2018), US comics writer and novelist remembered for his work on the DC Comics characters The Spectre and Jonah Hex (also for an unwise lawsuit against Harlan Ellison and The Comics Journal), died on 2 February aged 75. [SG/GW]
Stephen Hawking (1942-2018), distinguished UK theoretical physicist who incidentally had cameo roles in Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons and Futurama, died on 14 March aged 76.
Bill Maynard (1928-2018), UK actor in You Too Can Have a Body (1960), The Boy with Two Heads (1974) and Worzel Gummidge (1980), died on 30 March aged 89. [SG]
Peter Nicholls (1939-2018), founder of the SF Encyclopedia, has died after a long illness. 'Science fiction critic, encyclopedist, bon vivant, and pontificator. Died on 6th March 2018, aged 78, surrounded by family. Inspired adoration and exasperation in equal measure. Remembered with enormous love by [family listed here].' (The Age, Melbourne, 9 March) Foundation was never livelier than when he was editor 1974-1978; the first Encyclopedia was a revelation and each edition (1979, 1993, 2011-current) won a Hugo, while Peter received the 1980 Pilgrim Award for criticism; other books included The Science in Science Fiction (1982, with me and Brian Stableford) and Fantastic Cinema (1984). Another sad though not unexpected farewell.
Jörgen Peterzén (1941-2018), long-time Swedish fan who was a founder of the Stockholm Tolkien society (Forodrim), died in early March aged 76. [J-HH]
Mary Rosenblum (1952-2018), US author who won the Compton Crook Award for her first novel The Drylands (1993), and also a 2009 Sidewise Award, died in a solo plane crash on 11 March; she was 65. [F770]
Clive Sinclair (1948-2018), UK author – not the inventor – whose work includes some short fantasy and the Beelzebub-narrated novel Augustus Rex (1992), died on 5 March aged 70. [JC]
David Ogden Stiers (1942-2018), US actor in THX 1138 (1971), Oh, God! (1977), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and several other Disney animations, Justice League of America (1997), Lady in the Water (2006) and Neil Stryker and the Tyrant of Time (2017), died on 3 March aged 75. [MR/MMW]
Lars-Olov Strandberg (1926-2018), major Swedish fan, died on 3 March aged 88. John-Henri Holmberg writes: 'Active in Swedish fandom since early 1956, one of the founders of the still active Scandinavian SF Society (SFSF), committee member of many Swedish sf conventions, a founder of the Alvar Appeltofft Memorial Foundation. He was one of the central fans in Swedish fan history; a link to its beginnings, an attendee of the country's first convention, and a tireless worker, often behind the scenes. Until the last two or three years Lars-Olov attended every con held in Sweden, as well as hundreds in the US and throughout Europe; he was the first Swedish fan to be GoH at a worldcon, at Glasgow in 2005.'
Daniel Walther (1940-2018), French editor and author since 1965 of much sf (including the Swa/Shai series, first two books translated by C.J. Cherryh) and heroic fantasy, died on 3 March aged 77. [PDF]
Kate Wilhelm (1928-2018), US author much valued not only for her substantial and varied output of fiction – including the Hugo-winning Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976) – but for encouraging younger writers through the Milford (with her late husband Damon Knight) and Clarion workshops, died on 8 March aged 89. Her many further accolades include three Nebulas for shorter fiction, the SF Hall of Fame in 2003, and SFWA's 2009 Solstice Award, a career honour since renamed the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award.

The Weakest Link. Bradley Walsh: 'Brueghel the Elder painted the biblical character Jonah leaving which sea creature?' Contestant: 'The Loch Ness Monster.' (ITV, The Chase)
John Humphrys: 'What pantomime, usually set in China, is taken from a story in the Arabian Nights?' Louis Payne: 'Withnail and I.' (BBC1, Celebrity Mastermind) [PE]

Hugo Shortlist. NOVEL John Scalzi, The Collapsing Empire; Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140; Ann Leckie, Provenance; Yoon Ha Lee, Raven Stratagem; Mur Lafferty, Six Wakes; N.K. Jemisin, The Stone Sky. NOVELLA Martha Wells, All Systems Red; Sarah Pinsker, 'And Then There Were (N-One)' (Uncanny 3/17); Nnedi Okorafor, Binti: Home; JY Yang, The Black Tides of Heaven; Seanan McGuire, Down Among the Sticks and Bones; Sarah Gailey, River of Teeth. NOVELETTE Aliette de Bodard, 'Children of Thorns, Children of Water' (Uncanny 7/17); Yoon Ha Lee 'Extracurricular Activities' ( 15/2/17); Suzanne Palmer. 'The Secret Life of Bots' (Clarkesworld 9/17); Vina Jie-Min Prasad, 'A Series of Steaks' (Clarkesworld 1/17); K.M. Szpara, 'Small Changes over Long Periods of Time' (Uncanny 5/17); Sarah Pinsker 'Wind Will Rove' (Asimov's 9/17). SHORT Caroline M. Yoachim, 'Carnival Nine' (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/17); Fran Wilde, 'Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand' (Uncanny 9/17); Vina Jie-Min Prasad, 'Fandom for Robots' (Uncanny 9/17); Linda Nagata, 'The Martian Obelisk' ( 19/7/17); Ursula Vernon, 'Sun, Moon, Dust' (Uncanny 5/17); Rebecca Roanhorse, 'Welcome to your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM' (Apex 8/17). RELATED WORK Zoe Quinn, Crash Override; Paul Kincaid, Iain M. Banks; Nat Segaloff, A Lit Fuse; Alexandra Pierce & Mimi Mondal, eds., Luminescent Threads; Ursula K. Le Guin, No Time to Spare; Liz Bourke, Sleeping with Monsters. GRAPHIC Black Bolt, Volume 1; Bitch Planet, Volume 2; Monstress, Volume 2; My Favorite Thing is Monsters; Paper Girls, Volume 3; Saga, Volume 7. DRAMATIC/LONG Blade Runner 2049, Get Out, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman. DRAMATIC/SHORT Black Mirror: 'USS Callister'; 'The Deep' [song]; Doctor Who: 'Twice Upon a Time'; The Good Place: 'Michael's Gambit'; The Good Place: 'The Trolley Problem', Star Trek: Discovery: 'Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad'. EDITOR/SHORT John Joseph Adams, Neil Clarke, Lee Harris, Jonathan Strahan, Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Sheila Williams. EDITOR/LONG Sheila E. Gilbert, Joe Monti, Diana M. Pho, Devi Pillai, Miriam Weinberg, Navah Wolfe. PRO ARTIST Galen Dara, Kathleen Jennings, Bastien Lecouffe Deharme, Victo Ngai, John Picacio, Sana Takeda. SEMIPROZINE Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Book Smugglers, Escape Pod, Fireside Magazine, Strange Horizons, Uncanny. FANZINE File 770, Galactic Journey, Journey Planet, nerds of a feather flock together, Rocket Stack Rank, SF Bluestocking. FANCAST The Coode Street Podcast, Ditch Diggers, Fangirl Happy Hour, Galactic Suburbia, Sword and Laser, Verity!. FAN WRITER Camestros Felapton, Sarah Gailey, Mike Glyer, Foz Meadows, Charles Payseur, Bogi Takács. FAN ARTIST Geneva Benton, Grace P. Fong, Maya Hahto, Likhain (M. Sereno), Spring Schoenhuth, Steve Stiles. SERIES Martha Wells, The Books of the Raksura; Robert Jackson Bennett, The Divine Cities; Seanan McGuire, InCryptid; Marie Brennan, The Memoirs of Lady Trent; Brandon Sanderson, The Stormlight Archive; Lois McMaster Bujold, World of the Five Gods.
NON-HUGOS: John W. Campbell Award: Katherine Arden, Sarah Kuhn, Jeannette Ng, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Rebecca Roanhorse, Rivers Solomon. WSFS YA Award: Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Warrior; Sam J. Miller, The Art of Starving; Philip Pullman, La Belle Sauvage; Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands; Frances Hardinge, A Skinful of Shadows; T. Kingfisher, Summer in Orcus.
• See for a more detailed list with subtitles and full credits, plus Retro Hugos at

The Dead Past. 50 Years Ago, kindly George Hay was 'declared to be a Suppressive Person and an ENEMY to Scientology.' (HCO ETHICS ORDER, 19 April 1968) L. Ron Hubbard himself added the damning handwritten comment 'This is an old enturbulator.'
20 Years Ago, in the Lauray of Salisbury plant catalogue: 'EPIPHYLLUMS Small Flowered Hybrids [...] "Ursula Le Guin" – Broad, deep raspberry pink petals form tulip-shaped funnel. Recurved sepals have beige overtones. [...] "Robert Silverberg" – Small, satiny, watermelon red flowers, recurved petals. Free flowering, basket type growth.' (Ansible 129, April 1998)

More Shortlists. Kitschies: NOVEL Michelle Tea, Black Wave; Nina Allan, The Rift; William Sutcliffe, We See Everything; Deon Meyer trans L. Seegers, Fever; Jess Richards, City of Circles. DEBUT Carmen Marcus, How Saints Die; Alex 'Acks' Wells, Hunger Makes the Wolf; RJ Barker, Age of Assassins; JY Yang, The Black Tides of Heaven; Liz Ziemska, Mandelbrot the Magnificent. COVER ART David Dean for The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders; Rose Stafford for Black Wave by Michelle Tea; Jack Smyth for The History of Bees by Maja Lunde; Black Sheep for The Real-Town Murders by Adam Roberts; Richard Shailer for Our Memory Like Dust by Gavin Chait.
Prometheus (libertarian sf): Doug Casey and John Hunt, Drug Lord: High Ground; Travis Corcoran, The Powers of the Earth; Karl Gallagher, Torchship, Torchship Pilot and Torchship Captain; Sarah Hoyt, Darkship Revenge; Ken MacLeod, The Corporation Wars: Emergence; Andy Weir, Artemis.

As Others See Us. 'Yet there isn't anything inherently unfeminine about science fiction. Some might say the dystopic fantasy, apocalyptic tales and paranormal romance so popular with today's teenage girls are actually couched "girl-friendly" variants of science fiction. Perhaps.' (Pamela Paul on A Wrinkle in Time, NY Times, 27 January 2012) [JonC]

Magazine Scene. Penthouse Global Media, which relaunched Omni as a quarterly in late 2017, has filed for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 'The future of Omni is currently uncertain.' (Locus, 22 March)

Thog's Masterclass. In Typo Veritas. '... I was seated in the head – the bathroom – with my red USMC shorts at my ankles when the Gunny appeared and sat down on the toilet next to mine. This was in the "Old Corps," when there were no patricians separating the porcelain thrones.' (Dan Emmett, At Arm's Length, 2014) [TP]
Neat Tricks Dept. 'Lin turned and held out her arms, her face dissolving.' (Elizabeth Bonesteel, Remnants of Trust, 2016) [SS]
Dept of Physiology. 'Balls, Malin thinks. Balls in my head now.' (Mons Kallentoft, Midwinter Blood, trans Neil Smith 2011) 'Börje Svärd walks with his stomach muscles clenched, feeling how their power spreads throughout his whole body.' (Ibid) 'Malin feels a warm glow course through her body. A warmth that is icy cold.' (Ibid) [PB]
Hollywood Eyeballs. 'Five years ago, she [Jennifer Lawrence] klutzily tripped over her puffy pink princess gown while accepting an Oscar for a peppy indie romcom, and audiences watched with bursting hearts in their eyes.' (Guy Lodge, Guardian, 2 March) [PB]

Geeks' Corner

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• 13 April 2018: Michael Carey 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: 11 May 2018, Janet Edwards; 8 June 2018, Alastair Reynolds; 13 July 2018, awaited; 10 August 2018, summer social; 14 September 2018, awaited; 12 October 2018, David Leach; 16 November 2018, Professor Bill Chaplin, 7 December 2018, Christmas social.

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

Steve Aylett was bemused to discover on 6 March that his Wikipedia entry had been deleted in December for the traditional Wikicrime of Not Being Notable. Multiple novels from major print publishers like Gollancz were not considered worthy of mention in the brief editorial discussion; neither were such references as ISFDB and the SF Encyclopedia. Happily for Mr Aylett, kindly hands soon restored and improved the entry.

Random Fandom. Familiar faces spotted at the reception after that Brian Aldiss memorial afternoon in Oxford (see above) included members of the Aldiss family, Sarah Biggs, Pat and Vernon Brown, John and Judith Clute, Edward James, Dave Lally, Farah Mendlesohn, Patrick Parrinder, Chris Priest, Philip Pullman and Andy Sawyer. And me, they let me in too.
Bruce Gillespie expressed delight that his traditional fanzine SF Commentary, rather than a blog or podcast, won Best Fan Publication in the Ditmar Awards.

Editorial. With all those obituaries and awards listings, I didn't have room to mention in the main text that I'll be reaching one of Those Birthdays in April and becoming a pensioner. Fancy that. I almost came to regret my modest retirement fund with Aviva, an outfit whose policy of handling claims only by phone feels very like systematic discrimination against the hearing-impaired. Eventually I extracted this sensitive response: 'Thank you for your email. I have passed the information onto our admin team to see what changes we can make to our process to make it easier for Death people when it comes to taking their pension.' I've sent off for my black robe and scythe.

In Memoriam. John Kessel adds a word: 'Writer Kate Wilhelm has died. It's hard for readers today to understand, I think, how important a writer she was for my generation of aspiring sf writers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She was writing short fiction at the absolute top of her form at that time, stories like "Baby, You Were Great" and "The Village" and novels like Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang and Juniper Time which perhaps do not shine so brightly today as they did then, but that were eye opening to those of us who wanted to write literary sf. To a lot of people, including me, she seemed at that time as important a figure as Le Guin. She explored feminist issues, wrote real socially aware science fiction, had strong characters, engaging narratives, and beautiful writing.

'I know she was important to generations of writers through Clarion; I was never a Clarion student and did not know her in that capacity. I never met her until the 1980s and that was only briefly.

'Later she moved away from sf, and I did not follow her work the way I had when I was young. But it would be a shame if her best work and her influence were forgotten. It makes me wonder about what makes for an enduring reputation, and how times change.'

Fanfundery. TAFF and GUFF 2018: voting in both races closes today, and announcements will soon follow.
DUFF 2018 voting closed on 31 March and the winner is of course the sole candidate, Marlee Jane Ward.

Thog's Second Helping. Sean Penn, now launched as a novelist, has taken a tip from those who claim to transcend genre and tries his level best to transcend Thog. 'While the privileged patronize this pickle as an epithet to the epigenetic inequality of equals, Bob smells a cyber-assisted assault emboldened by right-brained Hollywood narcissists.' 'Behind decorative gabion walls, an elderly neighbor sits centurion on his porch watching Bob with surreptitious soupçon.' 'She begins to writhe, cackle, and cough out her laughter uncontrollably. Her eyes watering, she nearly poos. Bob spies what might be a dime-sized and expanding moisture blossom from her rear-end center, signifying perhaps some minimal ass-piss.' (Sean Penn, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, 2018) [MMW]

Ansible® 369 Copyright © David Langford, 2018. Thanks to Paul Barnett, Astrid Bear, John Boston, Jonathan Clements, John Clute, John DeChancie, Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Steve Green, John-Henri Holmberg, Locus, Andrew I. Porter, Tim Powers, Private Eye, Marcus L. Rowland, SF Site, Sally Smith, Gary Wilkinson, Martin Morse Wooster, Hero Distributors: SCIS/Prophecy, Alan Stewart (Australia). 3 April 2018.