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Ansible® 376, November 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 cure for misplaced pervulsions.

The Pot Was Awful

Poul Anderson’s ashes were scattered in Puget Sound by Astrid Anderson Bear and her children on 14 September. (Locus, 26 October)

Paul Cornell, whose connections with Doctor Who include many tie-in novels since 1991 and scripts for three broadcast episodes, dared to tweet that Jodie Whittaker was ‘A great new Doctor’; he was swiftly put in his place by Twitter twit Jr Hunter with ‘Yea... I could tell you never seen previous doctor who’s’. (7 October) Another such pundit dealt with Neil Gaiman, also a long-time Who enthusiast and scriptwriter: ‘ahh so your a new fan because the doctor is a woman not a real fan of the show since the 60’s then’. Truly all knowledge is contained in Twitter.

Liz Gorinsky, Hugo-winning editor who in 2018 left Tor after 15 years there, is now President and Publisher at the new independent genre publisher Erewhon Books: see [F770]

Kelly Link has joined the select list of sf/fantasy authors to receive MacArthur ‘genius’ fellowships. Responding to news of the $625,000 grant, she mused ‘I believe the traditional reaction is to feel that someone must be pulling your leg ...’ (Washington Post, 4 October)

George R.R. Martin had a little gloat when his Game of Thrones books placed 48th in the Great American Read voting: ‘Pretty cool. I was in the top 50, anyway, and I edged out the Foundation series and War and Peace. Not half bad.’ (, 25 October)

Bram Stoker plumbed greater depths of evil than we ever knew. While researching Dracula at The London Library, of which he was a member, he defaced library books with crosses, underlinings, instructions for passages to be transcribed, and so forth: 25 such marked-up works including Sabine Baring-Gould’s The Book of Were-Wolves can still be found in the collection. See [AIP]

Beau Willimon, creator of the coming Channel 4 drama The First – about a manned mission to Mars – pre-empts any thoughtless fans who might call this science fiction: ‘Mars is the latest iteration of a very old narrative [...] going back to the first cave people who wondered what was on the other side of the horizon. I see this as an ancient tale that happens to be set in the near future.’ (Total TV Guide, October) [JMcN]


Until 24 Nov • 2001: A Space Odyssey (IMAX), Science Museum, London. Showings on 1, 3, 7, 10, 21 and 24 November. Further details and ticket sales (various prices) at

2-4 Nov • Armadacon 30, Future Inn, Plymouth. £35 reg; concessions £30; under-16s free. PayPal registration at

3 Nov • Frightfest, Cineworld, Leicester Square, London. Tickets £45 all day or £15 per film. See

8 Nov - 9 Dec • Fanatical: A Sci-Fi Convention Musical, Playground Theatre, London. Various ticket prices from £11 to £25 (£10 to £22 concessions) at

8 Nov • Science Fictions (lecture, on scientific imagination more than sf), Oxford Examination Schools, 5pm. See

9-11 Nov • Novacon 48, Park Inn, Nottingham. Now £55 reg (the same rate applies at the door); under-17s £12; under-13s free. Contact 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ. See

10 Nov • HumberSFF (readings etc), Waterstones, Jameson St, Hull. 4:30-7:30pm. Free registrations at

10 Nov • SFX Book Con, Foyles, Charing Cross Rd, London. 12:30-6:30pm. £18 reg; £15 for students and (oh dear) ‘Foyalty’ members. See

24 Nov • Sledge-Lit, QUAD Centre, Derby. 10am-6pm. Tickets £25; 16-25s £15. See

25 Nov • Expelicon (Harry bloody Potter), Humber Royal Hotel, Little Coates Rd, Grimsby. 10am-4pm. Tickets £4; child £2; family (2 adults + 2 kids) £10. See

28 Nov • BSFA Open Meeting, Artillery Arms, 102 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8ND. 5/6pm for 7pm. Speaker(s) TBA. Free.

1 Dec • Dragonmeet (gaming), Novotel London West, W6 8DR. 9am-midnight. £12 reg with group discounts:

1 Dec • Yulemoot (Tolkien Society), Gunmakers’ Arms, 93 Bath Street, Birmingham, B4 6HG. 6pm to late. Open to all.

2 Dec • Stars of Time (media), Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare. 10:30am-5pm. £7.50; under-12s, OAP and disabled £4; under-4s free. Family of 2+2 kids £18; 2+3 kids £19. See

3 Feb 2019 • Sci-Feb (media), Humber Royal Hotel, Little Coates Rd, Grimsby. 10am-4pm. ?£4. Website moved from defunct domain to, where ‘Buy Tickets’ doesn’t work.

29-30 Mar 2019 • Sci-Fi Weekender Part 1, O2 Academy, Sheffield. From £99 reg; other packages at

6-7 Apr 2019 • Sci-Fi Scarborough (multimedia), The Spa, Scarborough. Adult ticket including booking fees: £28. £15/day; students and under-17s £5 day; under-5s free. See

19-22 Apr 2019 • Ytterbium (Eastercon), Park Inn, London Heathrow area. £70 reg, rising to £80 on 14 November and to £90 on 1 April 2019; £30 concessions; £25 under-18s; £5 infants under 5; £20 supporting. See

16 May - 26 Aug 2019 • AI: More Than Human (exhibition), Barbican Centre, London. Tickets £15 Monday to Friday, £17 Saturday or Sunday (plus fees). See

18 May 2019 • Lawless (UK comics – expanded from the Judge Dredd-only LawGiver), Hilton Doubletree Hotel, Bristol. Tickets on sale in January: see

13 Jul 2019 • Edge-Lit 8, QUAD Centre, Derby, DE1 3AS. 10am-9pm. Ticket prices to follow (this month) at

31 Aug 2019 • Whooverville (Doctor Who), QUAD Centre, Derby, DE1 3AS. Tickets should go on sale this month at

28-29 Sep 2019 • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk Showground Arena. Tickets to become available in the New Year. See

11-13 Oct 2019 • Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, Cumbria. Ticket prices to follow at

25-27 Oct 2019 • Destination Star Trek, NEC, Birmingham. Day £29; 2 days £39; 3 days £49; silly ‘VIP’ rates at

30 Oct - 3 Nov 2019 • Sci-Fi Weekender Part 2, Vauxhall Holiday Park , Great Yarmouth. Weekend pass £99; for camping and various accommodation packages see

Rumblings. London First Thursday Meetings: Roger Robinson has booked the Bishop’s Finger pub throughout 2019; the 2018 Christmas meeting will be on 20 December. See

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Group Us. ‘Hell of course will have a library, but one stocked exclusively with science fiction, six-hundred-odd page novels by men whose first name is Jonathan, and books extolling the 1960s.’ (Joseph Epstein, First Things magazine, November) [SL]

Awards. British Fantasy: ANTHOLOGY New Fears ed. Mark Morris. ARTIST Jeffrey Alan Love. AUDIO Anansi Boys (Radio 4). COLLECTION Joe Hill, Strange Weather. GRAPHIC Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda, Monstress vol. 2. HOLDSTOCK (fantasy novel) Jen Williams, The Ninth Rain. FILM/TV Get Out. DERLETH (horror novel) Victor LaValle, The Changeling. INDEPENDENT PRESS Unsung Stories. MAGAZINE Shoreline of Infinity. NEWCOMER Jeanette Ng for Under the Pendulum Sun. NONFICTION Gender Identity and Sexuality in Science Fiction and Fantasy ed. FT Barbini. NOVELLA Ellen Klages, Passing Strange. SHORT Laura Mauro, ‘Looking for Laika’ (Interzone #273). WAGNER (services to fantasy) N.K. Jemisin.
New Academy Prize for Literature (the alternative Nobel): Maryse Condé.
Not the Booker Prize (another alternative award, given by the judges – in defiance of popular vote – to a genre novel): Rebecca Ley, Sweet Fruit, Sour Land. (Guardian, 15 October)
SFPA Grand Master: Ann K. Schwader.

Prediction Masterclass, 1902. On the future of transport: ‘... I do not think it at all probable that aeronautics will ever come into play as a serious modification of transport and communication – the main question here under consideration. Man is not, for example, an albatross, but a land biped, with a considerable disposition towards being made sick and giddy by unusual motions ...’ (H.G. Wells, Anticipations, 1902)
On the future of warfare: ‘I must confess that my imagination, in spite even of spurring, refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocate its crew and founder at sea.’ (Ibid)

R.I.P. Tim Bateman (?1961-2018), UK comics fan and fanzine contributor who was a founder member of the Prime (later British) Amateur Press Association, died on 13 October. [SG]
Richard Bausch (1945-2018), US author whose one fantasy novel was Almighty Me (1991) – filmed as Bruce Almighty in 2002 – died on 9 October; he was 73. [AIP/MMW]
Anthea Bell (1936-2018) UK translator best known for her creative punning in 35 Asterix graphic novels, died on 18 October aged 82. She also translated fantastic fiction by Kafka and others. [PDF]
Roger Donald, US editor and publisher for 30 years at Little, Brown, died on 11 October aged 82. [PDF] His authors who have SF Encyclopedia entries include Edward Abbey, John Barth, Thomas Berger and Norman Mailer.
Dave Duncan (1933-2018), Scottish-born Canadian author of 60 sf and (predominantly) fantasy novels beginning with the sf A Rose-Red City (1987), died on 29 October aged 85. [F770] He was a founder member of SF Canada and won two Aurora Awards for best novel.
J.R. Hammond (1933-2018), UK academic who founded the H.G. Wells Society in 1960 and wrote critical works about Wells (several volumes), Orwell, Poe and others, died on 20 September aged 85. [JC]
H.M. (Helen Mary) Hoover, US author of Children of Morrow (1973), The Delikon (1977) and about a dozen more well-received children’s/YA sf novels, died on 22 August; she was 83. [A]
Takanobu Hozumi (1921-2018), Japanese actor in The X from Outer Space (1967) who also dubbed voices in Japanese releases of the Back to the Future films and others, died on 19 October aged 97. (Thus IMDb: Wikipedia has 1931-2018 and age 87.)
Jin Yong (Louis Cha, 1924-2018), Chinese publisher and bestselling author of heroic martial-arts (wuxia) fiction that often – especially in the original newspaper serializations – had mystic and supernatural elements, died on 30 October; he was 94. [PDF]
James Karen (1923-2018), US actor in Capricorn One (1977), Topper (1979), Poltergeist (1982), Return of the Living Dead (1985), Invaders from Mars (1986) and many more, died on 23 October aged 94. [PDF]
John D. Lamond (1947-2018), Australian film-maker who wrote and produced the heavily Spielberg-influenced sf movie Sky Pirates (1985, aka Dakota Harris), died on 24 October aged 71.
Pat Lupoff (1937-2018), long-time US fan who married Richard A. Lupoff in 1958 and shared a Hugo for their and Bhob Stewart’s fanzine Xero (1960-1963) – becoming the second female Hugo winner – died on 18 October. [GVG]
Sue Martin-Smith (1960-2018), New Zealand fan who founded the long-running ‘Phoenix’ sf club and co-created FFANZ (Fan Fund of Australia and New Zealand), died on 23 September. [AR]
Ngok Wah (1942-2018), Shanghai-born actor often billed as Hua Yueh, who starred in Monkey Goes West (1966, based on Journey to the West aka Monkey) and had other fantasy film roles, died on 20 October aged 76.
Jim Novak, Marvel Comics letterer and logo designer who also worked for other comic publishers, was belatedly revealed to have died in late April. [PDF]
Derrick Sherwin (1936-2018), UK tv producer, writer and actor whose Doctor Who work included scripting ‘The Invasion’ (1968, introducing UNIT) and producing ‘Spearhead from Space’ (1969-1970) – in which he also had a cameo part – died on 20 October aged 82. (From
Diana Sowle (1930-2018), US actress in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and the Fallout 3 videogame (voice, 2008), died on 18 October aged 88. [PDF]
Greg Stafford (1948-2018), US game designer who founded the RPG publisher Chaosium in 1975 and created the Glorantha setting of his own White Bear and Red Moon (1975) and Steve Perrin’s RuneQuest (1978), died on 11 October; he was 70. [GW]
Will Vinton (1947-2018), filmmaker and stop-motion animator who coined the term Claymation – as in his fantasy movie Claymation Easter (1992) – died on 4 October aged 70. [PDF]
Audrey Wells (1960-2018), US filmmaker who scripted the genre productions George of the Jungle (1997), A Dog's Purpose (2017) and Over the Moon (forthcoming), died on 4 October aged 58. [PDF]
David Willoughby, bookseller and collector who was a long-established presence in US convention dealers’ rooms, died on 5 October. [SE]
Scott Wilson (1942-2018), US actor in The Exorcist III (1990), The Host (2006), The Walking Dead (2011-2014) and The OA (2016), died on 6 October aged 76. [PDF]
Celeste Yarnall (1944-2018), US actress whose screen credits include Star Trek (1967), Beast of Blood (1970) and The Velvet Vampire (1971), died on 7 October aged 74. [DG]

As Our Friends See Us. Dept of 1973 Fashion Sense. ‘He seemed to be wearing some kind of leather biker's outfit more suited to a science-fiction convention than the NFT cafeteria.’ (Christopher Fowler, Seventy-Seven Clocks, 2005) [PC]

Outraged Letters. Mike Moorcock on his inclusion in ‘The Art of the Gestetner’ and on Philip Pullman’s lost-property woes (see A375): ‘Hate to tell you that ALL my fanzines were done on a R*neo. While they’re looking for Philip Pullman’s Mont Blanc ballpoint readers might keep an eye out for my MB fountain pen which was lost “somewhere in France” in June 2018. They might be trying to get together.’ (2 October)

Random Fandom. ANZAPA (Australia and New Zealand Amateur Press Association) celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gathering in Melbourne on 7 October. [BG]
The Dirty Movie Book by John Brosnan and Leroy Kettle is now a free ebook download at the TAFF site, with a new Kettle introduction. See Also released on 1 November: The Complete Checkpoint repackages the web archive of Peter Roberts’s fondly remembered 1970s UK fan newsletter Checkpoint – predecessor of and inspiration for Ansible – as a 300,000-word ebook, again free. See

Editorial. Mike Scott Rohan was remembered in an informal service at the Quaker Meeting House in Oxford on 29 October, led by his widow Debby Rohan with support from his long-time friend and novel collaborator Allan Scott (still gathering tributes and anecdotes for inclusion at; several other authors and fans involved with the 1970s-era Oxford University SF Group and the Pieria writers’ workshop contributed their memories. Toasts to Mike were then drunk at The King’s Arms, scene of many past OUSFG excesses. Wish he’d been there. As Terry Pratchett put it in a long-past Ansible, ‘I think I liked it better when I was in the age group that went to each other’s weddings.’

The Dead Past. 30 Years Ago: ‘Chris Priest learned again that sf is ok if written by the Right People, like novelist Maggie Gee. Radio 4’s Start the Week featured hard man Jeremy Paxman grilling her approximately thus: “Now don’t get me wrong. I can't stand science fiction. All those stupid ideas. But your book is SET IN A PLAUSIBLE FUTURE! It takes TRENDS FROM THE REAL WORLD! You are a woman but you WRITE IN THE VOICE OF A MAN! It has GLOBAL COOLING! I’m impressed, I’m amazed, where do you get ideas like that?”’ (Ansible 136, November 1988)
40 Years Ago, there was hot media news: ‘The first part of The Lord of the Rings will be released in November. [...] 20th Century Fox is suing MCA saying that the latter’s Battlestar Galactica is a copy of Star Wars. MCA is countersuing, saying SW is a copy of its properties Buck Rogers and Silent Running.’ (Karass 38, October/November 1978)

Con Horrors. Much bad feeling followed the postponement (from 30 June/1 July to September) and then cancellation (announced on Facebook, 11 July) of Victor Wright’s London Horror Con. The money had been eaten up by a failed Edinburgh event in May, and LHC soon found itself unable to refund either ticket fees or extras like photo opportunities presold at £95. At least one guest, Alex Vincent from the Child’s Play films, felt not only ill-treated but actively insulted. The website ( vanished; Wright declared that the holding company couldn’t afford a liquidator and would be voluntarily struck off the register – apparently problematic when you have lots of annoyed creditors. (, 12 July) [SG]
Nine Worlds Geekfest: blank pages only at as this Ansible goes to press. [Happily the site returned next day, 2 November.]

Fanfundery. TAFF 2019: nominations for the 2019 race from North America to the Dublin Worldcon remain open until 22 November; voting will run from 1 December to 22 April 2019. See for official announcement.
GUFF: nominations for the 2019 race from Australasia to the Dublin worldcon opened on 8 October and close on 5 December; voting will end on 22 April 2019. See

IP Wars. The romance author wanting a US trademark on ‘Quantum Series’ (A375) was persuaded to amend her application, restricting it to romance novels – so the existing sf series is safe – and to the full two-word term, omitting ‘quantum’ alone. Phew. (, 29 October)

Thog’s Masterclass. Optical Illusion Dept. ‘Her breasts were soft and bigger than you might think to look at them.’ (Keigo Higashino, Under the Midnight Sun, trans Alexander O. Smith & Joseph Reeder, 2016) [PB]
Dept of Exobiology. ‘Mars has two-fifths the gravity of Earth. They’d need a double heart to drive their blood or whatever it is they have in their veins.’ (Richard Matheson, ‘Mother by Protest’ [aka ‘Trespass’], 1953 Fantastic)
So Sharp You’ll Cut Yourself Dept. ‘The black man was tall and thin as a stick, and his eyes were green razors stropped to a keen edge by the sunset.’ (Matt Ruff, Sewer, Gas and Electric, 1997) [BA]
That Small Betraying Detail. ‘These vampires can usually pass as humans until someone notices that they possess a third eye.’ (White Wolf, The Vampire Players Guide, second edition, 1993) [AK]

Geeks’ Corner

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• 16 November 2018: Professor Bill Chaplin 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: 7 December 2018, Christmas social.

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

Creature Feature. The creatures-and-monsters con Creaturegeddon has long promised a 2018 event at its site, which still has no specific information but links to a Facebook page containing (as Ansible recently discovered) the announcement that 2018 will be skipped, that the next Creaturegeddon will be at the end of February 2019, and that ‘there are some unscrupulous individuals out there who take pleasure in trying to destroy Creaturegeddon!’ Gosh, that sounds exciting.

Outraged Letters II. Simon R. Green on A375: ‘Seeing the S.T. Joshi piece made me think the three sections on modern horror should be: Things we’d seen before but not done nearly as well; I can’t believe it’s not Stephen King; and of course ... Let’s make vampires even less scary than they used to be. / I am definitely moving into broody old fart territory.’ (23 October)

Gollancz Non-Festival. The limited-attendance Gollancz Writers’ Day event replacing the 2018 Festival was announced at some point in October (though not at 2 November at Hachette HQ in London, with tickets at £80 plus booking fees. Sales end on 1 November, so this link may well appear too late for the eager public ...

Cruciverbalism. A couple of Inquisitor crosswords in the i newspaper during October had genre themes: an insanely difficult one to mark the latest regeneration of Doctor Who, and a rather more typical challenge featuring various works by Franz Kafka:

Editorial II. To clear a little space at Ansible HQ in Reading, I’m tempted to dispose of my long run of SFX magazine beginning with #1 in June 1995 and still increasing: somehow I stayed on the complimentary list despite the cancellation of my regular column in 2016. Not complete, since owing to postal and other glitches a few issues never reached me, but nearly so; too massive to be shipped; is anyone prepared to haul the whole lot away?

Thog’s Second Helping. Ramsey Campbell sends a link that Thog durst not follow: ‘I do believe The Eye of Argon may be toppled from its plinth ...’

Ansible® 376 © David Langford, 2018. Thanks to Ahasuerus, Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, Pat Charnock, John Clute, Paul Di Filippo, Scott Edelman, File 770, David Gerrold, Bruce Gillespie, Steve Green, Amanda Kear, Simon Litton, Locus, Joe McNally, Andrew I. Porter, Alan Robson, Debby Rohan, Gordon Van Gelder, Gary Wilkinson, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books for the Birmingham SF Group, SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 November 2018