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Ansible 38, Easter 1984

Cartoon: Alexis Gilliland

PLEASE NOTE that this old Ansible is a bit of history. Addresses may have changed (though the editor's postal address hasn't), prices and agents' credits are invalid, etc. • This issue was produced in my BWP or Before-Word-Processors era and lovingly rekeyed for the archives by Tony Smith ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1994.

ANSIBLE 38 • ISSN 0265-9816

This special Late Issue of ANSIBLE, delayed by the shock of its first Hugo nomination plus a disparaging mention in New Scientist, comes as usual from DAVE LANGFORD, 94 LONDON ROAD, READING, BERKSHIRE, RG1 5AU, UK. Subscriptions: a trifling £2 for six issues, airmailed outside the UK. Cheques/sterling money orders to ANSIBLE; Giro transfer to a/c 24 475 4403; Americans may rush $3.50 to Burns, 23 Kensington Ct, Hempstead, NY 11550, while continental Eurofans who find it convenient may thrust an equivalent £2 into the prehensile hands of R. Goudriaan, Postbus 1189, 8200 BD Lelystad, Netherlands. YOU WILL SUPPORT the Britain-in-1987 Worldcon bid, and how better than by adding a quid's presupporting membership to ANSIBLE subs sent direct to me? An enclosed flyer should reveal all concerning outside-UK agents for this bid; another should allow you one last desperate chance (if you get this by 30 April) to save the world for truth, justice, Welshfandom and baked beans by voting ROB HANSEN FOR TAFF. Enigmatic cartoon this issue by ALEXIS GILLILAND, mailing labels by KEITH FREEMAN and his AMAZING AMDAHL. For those not versed in computers, the esoteric machine-code instruction on your label translates thus: LASTISH XX, send money by issue XX; SUB DUE, send money now; *****, send money sooner than now; TRADE, keep sending whatever appalling thing you send. Mailing list: 381 copies. Collation last issue: Chris Huge, Arnold 'Woe, Gloom and Misery' Akien. This issue officially dated Easter 1984 or so...

April Fool! You read it in these pages, that 1984 is really the year of G.K. Chesterton's Napoleon Of Notting Hill... and duly there's a version of Napoleon playing at the Old Vic until Easter (repeat: September). Somehow I hadn't imagined one of my favourite novels being played as a musical, by 12-18 year olds, with a sex-change for the chief male character. You will hear more of this.

Awards: Having contrived to start with something – anything – other than the Hugo nominations, I now give you... NOVEL Millennium (John Varley), Moron: Dragonlady Of Pern (Anne McCaffrey), The Robots Of Dawn (Isaac Asimov), Startide Rising (David Brin), Tea With The Black Dragon (R.A. MacAvoy). *** NOVELLA 'Cascade Point' (Timothy Zahn), 'Hardfought' (Greg Bear), 'Hurricane Claude' (Hilbert Schenck), 'In the Face of My Enemy' (Joseph Delaney), 'Seeking' (David Palmer). *** NOVELETTE 'Black Air' (Kim Stanley Robinson), 'Blood Music' (Greg Bear), 'The Monkey Treatment' (George RR Martin), 'The Sidon in the Mirror' (Connie Willis), 'Slow Birds' (Ian Watson). *** SHORT 'The Geometry of Narrative' (Hilbert Schenck), 'The Peacemaker' (Gardner Dozois), 'Servant of the People' (Frederick Pohl), 'Speech Sounds' (Octavia Butler), 'Wong's Lost & Found Emporium' (William Wu). *** NONFICTION Dream Makers II (Charles Platt), Encyclopaedia Of Sf And Fantasy Vol III (Donald Tuck), The Fantastic Art Of Rowena (Rowena Morrill), The High Kings (Joy Chant), Staying Alive: A Maven's Guide (Norman Spinrad). *** DRAMATIC Brainstorm, Return of the Jedi, The Right Stuff, Something Wicked This Way Comes, WarGames. *** PRO EDITOR Terry Carr, Edward L. Ferman, David G Hartwell, Shawna McCarthy, Stanley Schmidt. *** PRO ARTIST Val Lakey Lindahn, Don Maitz, Rowena Morrill, Barclay Shaw, Michael Whelan. *** SEMIPROZINE Fantasy Newsletter/Review, Locus, SF Chronicle, SF Review, Whispers. *** FANZINE Ansible, File 770, Holier Than Thou, Izzard, The Filk Fee-Nom-Ee-Non (wot?). *** FANWRITER Richard E. Geis, Mike Glyer, Arthur Hlavaty, Dave Langford, Teresa Nielsen Hayden. *** BEST FANARTIST Brad Foster, Alexis Gilliland, Joan Hanke- Woods, William Rotsler, Stu Shiffman.

Note that the 'fanzine Hugo reform' has been implemented and that trash like Ansible only gets in because SFR & Co. are booted upstairs to the new 'Semiprozine' category. Note how this leaves poor old Dick Geis in the very silly position of being a shortlisted fanwriter whose writing all appears in a semipro- rather than a fanzine. Hugo information came in patches: two items by phone from LA-Con chair Craig Miller (guess which ones), one from Ian Watson (guess which) and the rest from File 770 as usual...

John W Campbell Award for best nearly new writer: Joseph H. Delaney, Lisa Goldstein, R.A. MacAvoy, Warren Norwood, Joel Rosenberg, Sheri Tepper.

Philip K. Dick Award for best original paperback went to Tim Powers for The Anubis Gates (he got $1000), with R.A. MacAvoy's Tea With The Black Dragon as $500 runner-up (info: Jerry Kaufman). Phil Palmer supplies helpful background on UK bidding for The Anubis Gates: "My entertainment these days comes from lying somewhere between Roz Kaveney and Malcolm Edwards (how awful!). At the Tun Roz told me that she and Malcolm had been playing 'handball'. She left early and Big M arrived late. 'Oh is that what she calls it,' he said a little heatedly. 'I call it snatching a book I recommended in a personal capacity, for enjoyment...' Now Roz is furious. 'It is a matter of record that I was a Tim Powers fan before...' well, of such primaeval antehistory as to make the minds of men reel with the titanic vista of such ancientness. And this is only the first book of Roz's list! What other sensitive relationships are to be torn asunder? Roz is much consoled by the answer this makes to the criticism that her list [Chatto & Windus] would be of books that no one else would buy." [PP]

BSFA Awards: the usual shortlist, from the usual administrator Joseph Nicholas, who at Seacon 84 will count the ballots in the usual way. NOVEL Helliconia Summer (Brian Aldiss), Cat Karina (Michael Coney), Golden Witchbreed (Mary Gentle), Tik-Tok (John Sladek), Citadel Of The Autarch (Gene Wolfe). *** SHORT 'The Flash! Kid' (Scott Bradfield), 'The Tithonian Factor' (Richard Cowper), 'Novelty' (John Crowley), 'After-Images' (Malcolm Edwards), 'Calling All Gumdrops' (John Sladek). *** MEDIA Android, The Day After, United States Parts I-IV (stage), Perfect Shadows (BBC-TV), WarGames. *** COVER ARTIST Peter Jones, Ian Miller, Bruce Pennington, Tim White. No other artist got more than one vote: hence a shortlist of only four. John Sladek originally had two nominated novels but withdrew one; we're not allowed to tell you which, so here's a letter on A37 from Richard Cowper: "Did you make up that extract of Helliconia (extract of malt)? It sounds too like a parody to be true – so I guess it IS true. [Yes – DRL] Still, I suppose it's appropriate that it concerns itself with dough..." And following his Hugo gloat, Ian Watson gracefully remarks "Of course I'm chagrined not to be a nominee in the more cut-throat annual award for the best story from any two issues of Internoze." Indeed all 5 BSFA- nominated stories are from IZ, but can this be because F&SF (where Ian's 'Slow Birds' appeared) lacked the elementary sense to offer cheap subscriptions to the BSFA voting pool, and to distribute the magazine with BSFA mailings? A bit more Watson before the Nebulas: "Amazing news about Moreton Pinkney: Alexei Sayle, star of the club circuits, the hit parade, and ex-member of the CP (Marxist-Leninist) has just bought a house here, next door to the spinster ex-schoolmarm secretary of the Tory Party. I'm going to ask him to open the village fete, perhaps by shooting a dead cod through the head." (IW)

Nebula Award Nominations: argh! NOVEL Against Infinity (Greg Benford), Startide Rising (David Brin), Tea With The Black Dragon (R.A. MacAvoy), The Void Captain's Tale (Norman Spinrad), Lyonesse (Jack Vance), Citadel Of The Autarch (Gene Wolfe). *** NOVELLA 'Hardfought' (Greg Bear), 'Gospel According to Gamaliel Crucis' (Michael Bishop), 'Her Habiline Husband' (Michael Bishop), 'Eszterhazy and the Autogondola-Invention' (Avram Davidson), 'Homefaring' (Robert Silverberg). *** NOVELETTE 'Blood Music' (Greg Bear), 'Blind Shemmy' (Jack Dann), 'The Monkey Treatment' (George RR Martin), 'Black Air' (Kim Stanley Robinson), 'Cicada Queen' (Bruce Sterling), 'Slow Birds' (Ian Watson), 'Sidon in the Mirror' (Connie Willis). *** SHORT 'The Peacemaker' (Gardner Dozois), 'Her Furry Face' (Leigh Kennedy), 'Cryptic' (Jack McDevitt), 'Ghost Town' (Chad Oliver), 'Geometry of Narrative' (Hilbert Schenck), 'Wong's Lost & Found Emporium' (William F. Wu).

Things to note. (1) Either there's been a statistically implausible number of ties or the committees which are allowed to add an item in each category 'at their discretion' have been working overtime. (2) Exactly 55% of the fiction shortlisted by the naff, downmarket, populist Hugo poll appears also in the refined, artistic, writers'-choice Nebula list. (3) One of the non-Hugo-listed novelettes, Dann's, had been sent to all SFWA members by Ellen Datlow of OMNI, with the usual plea for Nebula votes – another successful hype!

Burn This! Possibly one or two fans in the central Sahara have still not heard of the May test case at the Old Bailey, in which a megalomaniac Dept of Public Prosecutions is trying to set legal precedents whereby, for example, David Pringle can be done under the Obscene Publications Act for depraving and corrupting people by recommending William Burroughs. No joke: WB's Junkie is among many 'drug-related' books seized by our wonderful police, along with Thompson's Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and A. Huxley's Doors Of Perception. The argument going the rounds in fandom is that if reinterpretation of the O.P. Act's words 'to deprave and corrupt' allows this lot to be impounded and possibly burnt, then what about Dick's druggier books, or a million SF tomes depicting legal pot come 1999, or even Doc Smith's Lensman batch with their loving descriptions of 'thionite'-sniffing? H'm. The real point for me is that most of the seized books mentioned are openly on sale in my local W.H. Smith. It's a political prosecution, with the OPA not merely perverted but selectively perverted to attack radical bookshops (like Acorn, my local Reading one). Annoy the government and you can be wiped out by having your stock grabbed and held until the OPA trial: no compensation even if you win. Over to our man of the issue, G.K. Chesterton: "It is most intolerable of all to play the tyrant while appealing only to temporary fiction. Nobody can be expected to stand the inquisitor who says, 'I am burning you alive for what you said today, and what I shall probably think tomorrow.'" (1930) Now, friends, you can have your books burnt for saying things which were perfectly all right yesterday, and are perfectly all right today provided you're W.H. Smith or similar. Anyone worried can send a few quid to the defence fund in that test case (Knockabout Comics & Airlift Books vs Maggie's Censors): 'Right to Read', 249 Kensal Road, London, W.10; 01-969-2945.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch: further publishing horrors. Chris Priest gloats over having had 8 publishers bidding frantically for his new novel The Glamour, finally bagged by Cape for an advance so huge that Chris hastily bought a new car to avoid bursting his bank account. Doubleday bought US rights; the classiest runner-up bid (UK) was said to be on the lines of "We can't afford any more, Chris... but how would you like to see all your other books back in print in nice yellow jackets...?" A. Nonymous writes: "News on the Pantyhose/Omni thing: Penthouse has been sold to Northern & Shell, an advertising agency of (as I understand it) dubious reputation. They've bought the UK Penthouse franchise, including rights to the Omni name & mag as well. However, the boss of N&S hates SF with a vengeance dire and even tried to make the last editor drop my Silverbob piece. (I rather liked it, but wish they'd printed what I'd written. At least I spelt Jakubowski right.) So he doesn't want to do anything with Omni except use it as a showcase for ads. Therefore it's going to be coming out in UK format, unchanged except for UK ads, sometime in the foreseeable future. Isn't that nice to know?" Bernard Leak, our foremost Stephen Donaldson fan, has some old news: "It has transpired that Collins (disguising themselves as Fontana in the hope that God won't know whom to destroy) have published The Man Who Killed His Brother (as by 'Reed Stephens'). I first knew of its British appearance when it found its way into remainder bookshops... It displays all the characteristic Donaldson vices, lurking behind a completely different surface texture of genre cliches – this time it's a detective thriller. I showed Nick 'Donaldson flays the English language alive and empurples his prose with its blood' Lowe how to lay his hands on a copy, and he sallied forth. Next thing he knew, Tibs was reading it, and punctuated the brooding silence with delighted yelps like 'It's good, isn't it?' Er, well, Tibs IS a bit strange..." (BL) Interested in a private eye called (with typical SRD felicity) Mick Axbrewder – not leprous but alcoholic? Try offering a quid for Ansible's copy of TMWKHB.

Arrivals/Departures: Kevin & Diana Smith, realizing that the only way for Big Kev to escape the BSFA company secretary post is to provide a replacement, have arranged to found a dynasty later this year... Mal & Hazel Ashworth, as a preliminary to Mal's December '83 retirement, finally contrived to get married – "at the Registry Office one morning last October (I think it was)," reports Mal, doubtless overtired from the honeymoon... John Newton Chance died recently: the author of 150-odd books including the 20+ 'John Lymington' SF potboilers (Froomb!), he made a steady income by delivering thrillers to Robert Hale at a chapter a week – 4 chapters of the latest remain mouldering in the Hale office... Maxim Jakubowski has resigned as managing director of his very own Zomba Books empire... J.S. Cairns, Sunderland fringefan and amateur publisher, died in November 1983 while partway through a Dorothy Davies manuscript (reports a perturbed Dorothy) – the first Ansible subscriber to die, alas... Harry (Andy) Andruschak writes from an alcoholism unit: "underwent detoxification and today am cold sober for the 1st time in 14 years. But I do have the shakes, and will for a while"... Charles Barren 'semi-retired' as SF Foundation maestro, in February... Ad Astra magazine, which you all thought/hoped had sunk into a peaceful grave in 1981, is still appearing – according to the 1984 Writers' And Artists' Yearbook, which denies the existence of anything called Interzone... Jerry Pournelle, Jim Baen & John F. Carr invite me to contribute to their new skiffy mag which will try to emulate the past glories of (wait for it) Destinies. Rush MSS to Far Frontiers, J.E.P. & Associates, 3960 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Suite 372, Studio City, CA 91604... And George Hay's pterodactyls, long thought extinct, have re-emerged onto his letterhead.

Seacon '84, Eastercon/Eurocon: hasn't happened as I type, but this doesn't preclude a pre-con report. Best Committee Coup: the cheapo rail fares (£3.55 return to Brighton from anywhere in Southern Region, £5.50 from anywhere else), leading to a flood of enquiries from other cons to the hitherto obscure Theatre & Concert Rail Club – through whom diplomatic A. Akien arranged the deal by swearing most solemnly that of course the con would be chiefly concerned with the Performing Arts. Most exciting panic: the news about two weeks before the con that the chosen insurance company was refusing to cover the event, and 'no insurance no convention'. (Substitute believed to have been arranged.) Best In-Committee Feud: Katie & Martin Hoare vs Alan Dorey. Newest GoH Outrage (apart from the lack of information about any of them in any progress report): Wiktor Bukato going on in Shards Of Babel about GoH Pierre Barbet (Claude Avice) not having received some Polish medal claimed in PB's own literary biography – Marjorie Brunner phoned at length to explain Bukato is all wet, Barbet is an honourable man, the problematical medal will be on view at Seacon, etc etc. Best How-To-Get-There Map: the one redrawn at the last second for PR4, the Doreyographical original having reportedly omitted vital sidestreets and left the Western Road pedestrian precinct as the only car route to the hotel. Most Alarming Overheard Comment, from a jetlagged M. Hoare back from a Chicago visit just one week before Seacon: "Oh shit, I forgot to cancel the disco." Best Omission: all World SF members (plus selected others: see PR4) are invited to the Mayor's Reception on Thursday, but both PR4 and the WSF flyer neglect to mention that according to the highest authorities on etiquette (K. Hoare) those daring to present themselves without lounge suit or equivalent will be rebuffed at the door... Best Promise: at one stage Author Services Inc offered to provide Kate Bush (by way of Battlefield Earth promotion) but instead are laying on giant inflatable aliens. Having read BE at last and found it unspeakably awful, I was tempted to provide free pins with this issue... Funnybone Award For Most 'Humerous' Typo In PR4: winner's name and address withheld by request. Rumoured Estimate Of Number Of Walk-Ins At £12 Needed For Seacon To Break Even: approx 500. Surprise Award Category: the Doc Weir Award reappeared in PR4 when everyone thought it dead, this because a BSFA chairman who shall be nameless had the trophy valued, found it to be solid silver and worth £1000, and understandably decided it had better be presented to get the responsibility off his hands. After last-minute shouting it's likely that the DWA vote will follow the Eurocon Awards pattern: everyone votes, after which a select jury gives the award to whoever you should have voted for. ("So what's new?" mutter past students of the DWA.) Surprise Non-Award: the planned short story competition – to be judged by C. Priest – was quietly dropped after the discovery that merely because no rules were ever published, there were no entries... An abridged version of Hawkwind, whom I believe to be itinerant players of chamber music, should be making the night air hideous on Sunday, so don't expect to find me there that evening...


Already past: Picocon at Imperial College, London, Feb 18 (which broke new ground in GoH conscription by announcing putative guests and later giving them a nice surprise by telling them they were guests) and a TSR "Gamesfair" at Reading U, 6-8 April (during my fleeting visit I was amazed to discover that people really do sit playing D&D etc all day, that the bar closed throughout the afternoon and that it was regarded as a coup to have secured an evening bar extension to 11.30pm. Fast footwork helped me avoid Stephen Donaldson fans, G. Gygax, and the BBC wallies who wanted to be told where all the devil-worship and human sacrifice was happening). At the Sf Lunch Club, Charles Platt (on a UK promotional tour, pushing Micromania) was mutedly, hideously outspoken about the food and the company: unluckily, or luckily, he was unable to stay and make his speech. As he left to be interviewed for the umpteenth time that week, he charged Malcolm Edwards to repeat the Words of Platt: "This event is stifled by geriatrics! I shall not return!" Speechifying time came round, and Malcolm's free rendition went: "Charles asks me to say, I love all you sons of bitches..." This is known as Editorial Skill. Onward...

UFPcon 84 (4-7 May, Midland Hotel, Manchester) is the 17th "official" UK Trek thingy: £15 att. 135 Greensted Road, Loughton, Essex.

BSFA Meeting (18 May, King of Diamonds, Greville Street, London): these happen 3rd Friday each month. May's should be fun – a repeat of the amazing Nick Lowe 'So You Fancy Yourself As A Writer' event from Fencon. On 15 June, John Clute explains how to define good sf in 15,000 terse, obscure polysyllables; on 20 July, Big Rob Holdstock reveals the severe health hazard of not buying his new novel MYTHAGO WOOD.

Tynecon II: The Mexicon (25-8 May, Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle): £13.25/person single/dbl/twin, £15.50 sngl+bath. Tynecon has provoked astonishingly silly comments from fans who – while accepting cons devoted to a single media interest as Perfectly Normal – regard the Mexicon concentration on "written sf in its widest sense" as monstrous, elitist, and very, very evil. Really! The committee is gloating over having signed up Russell Hoban and Alasdair Gray; with my review copy of Gray's 1982, Janine (Cape) came this fascinating letter – "Although not strictly science fictional Janine certainly has fantastic elements, on the strength of which [Gray] has been invited to read at Tynecon II, the Science Fiction Convention..." First time I've ever known a publisher play up rather than try to deny the sf aspects of a borderline book.

View From Two Shores (2-5 July, NE London Poly): subtitled '1984: Now or Never?' Guest speaker: A.C. Clarke. Membership: £75.00 plus 15% VAT. Accommodation: more or less up to you. Bar: nothing about one in the flyer. Incipient academics should rush their cash to Colin Mably, SEH Short Course Unit, NE London Poly, Longbridge Road, Dagenham, Essex, RM8 2AS. A conference, not a convention.

Albacon 84 (Central Hotel, Glasgow, 20-23 July): £4 supp £9 att. GoH Harlan Ellison. 62 Campsie Road, Wishaw, ML2 7QG. Still beset by the deadly Shavian rival:

Faircon 84 (Ingram Hotel, Glasgow, 20-23 July): £6 supp £9 att. GoH Sidney Jordan plus the 2000 AD mob (said to have signed up as Albacon 84 attending members so they can Meet Harlan). 18 Greenwood Road, Clarkston, Glasgow, G76 7AQ. Forgot to mention Mat Irvine, another GoH, and the fake Bob Shaw, who as organizer will be very hurt if not vilified as usual in these pages. Vilify, vilify.

Leisure Hive (it says here)(4-5 August, somewhere in Swindon): a Dr Who thingy. Data: 2 Domestic Qtrs, Bryanston School, Blandford, Dorset. That's all I know.

Space-Ex 84 (6-11 Aug, Wembley Centre, or so it's said): we last met this no doubt sincere and wonderful, but extremely inept, outfit in A35 (Oct 83), when bossman Mike Parry explained that publicity (you know, what you do to get new members) would be confined to existing members until 1 January 1984, when a massive campaign would be unleashed on the world. It is April and my Seacon spies – hi there, Rochelle! – report the first sign of life in the form of a 'really juvenile' ad in the programme book, with a new contact address (24-25 Foley Street, London, W.1) and a curious lack of data such as registration fees. Paul Vincent, who long ago joined Space-Ex, complains of having received little but dross for his money, going on in great and fascinating detail in a letter which I've lost. (Ooops.) Whither Space-Ex?

Fanderson 84 (17-19 Aug, Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, London): GoHs Gerry Anderson, Christopher Burr; £15 att; PO Box 308, London, W4 1QL. Con devoted to the productions of... no, let me leave you with the tormenting enigma of just whom.

Oxcon (24-27 Aug, St Catherine's Coll, Oxford) – aka Unicon 5. GoH Brian Aldiss. £4.50 supp £8 att to 18 Norham Gardens, Oxford. Single rooms (only) £14 inc VAT and breakfast. Elitist convention devoted to 'Helliconia' cult fandom.

Silicon 8 (24-27 Aug, Grosvenor Hotel, Newcastle): elitist event devoted to not talking about sf. £4 att to same address as Tynecon II; hotel rooms from £7.50 (communal attic dormitory) to £26.00 (vast family room with gold-plated taps, football pitch, sauna etc) inc breakfast, VAT. "Cheapest con anywhere," they say.

Galileocon 84 (24-26 Aug, Newcastle Crest Hotel) – 18th "official" UK Trekthing. £15 att; 30 Kirksdale Green, Rye Hill, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE4 6HU.

LA-Con II (30 Aug – 3 Sept, Anaheim Con Center, Los Angeles): 42nd worldcon, GoH Gordon Dickson, FGoH Dick Eney. $50 att ($75 after 15 July) to PO Box 8442, Van Nuys, CA 91409, USA. Since page 1 a Hugo release has arrived: 513 ballots cast with a total of 9,594 nominations covering 1,705 separate items (books, films, people etc) – what useful information! Total number of items to get nominations in each category: novel 200, novella 58, novelette 121, short 230, nonfic 72, dramatic 100, pro editor 76, pro artist 156, semiprozine 52, fanzine 176, fanwriter 165, fanartist 193, JWC 105. 1984 Hugo ballots will be "machine-readable mark-sense cards", prompting evil Colin Fine to suggest we all return slightly enlarged or reduced xeroxes to annoy the computer...

Beneluxcon (7-8 Sept, Gent, Belgium): still the most popular continental con amid UK fans. GoHs Robert Sheckley, James White, Michael Kubiak. Date shifted forward a week to avoid clashing with international Policecon. Info: Eendenplassstraat 70, B9050 Evergem, Belgium. Membership approx £5.50 att, rooms approx £4.50 per person per night. Accommodation in 'Fabliolahome', con in 'Van Eyck Centre' some 10 minutes' walk away.

Mythcon 84 (7-9 Sept, Humberside Coll of Higher Ed): Gohs Anne McCaffrey, Jack Cohen, Brian Froud. Data: 131 Sheen Lane, East Sheen, London, SW14 8AE.

Brunnercon (22 Sept, Hotel Calgary, Casalbordino Lido, (CH), Abruzzo, Italy): GoH John Brunner. In celebration of JB's 50th birthday. Open party for any fan who should happen to be passing. Organizers: John Brunner PLC.

Milford SF Writers' Conference UK (23-30 Sept, Milford-on-Sea): the real elite, by invitation only, a devious, twisted group of literary mafiosi by comparison with whom the Bavarian Illuminati are but children playing in the sand. Your only chance is to bribe the wholly corrupt committee: Tuttle (chair), Edwards, Langford.

Conquest (10-12 Oct, Ingram Hotel, Glasgow): GoHs the Pinis, James White. £12 att. 104 Pretoria Road, Patchway, Bristol, BS12 5PZ. Whenever I make jokes about ConQuest, Linda Miller hits me and threatens me with horrid tortures, but – ouch! gerroff! Oh, all right, supporting membership £5.

Galacticon (27-28 Oct, London): media thing, presumably. £7.50 day, £15 att. 171 Heath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex.

Cymrucon (2-4 Nov, Central Hotel, Cardiff) – swaps places with Novacon in shock horror escape bid! In other words, Cymrucon tried to move from the fabulously squalid Central Hotel, and by the time they'd explored every stone and left no avenue unturned (without luck), the Central was full every weekend except... £5 att to 56 Honinton Road, Llanrumney, Cardiff, CF3 9QL. Usual guest list, but no R.L. Fanthorpe: John Brunner remembers with a cringe of horror how last year he presented born-again RLF with a lovingly crafted certificate making him perpetual patron of Cardiff SF and cons, and Lionel spurned it because "he didn't approve of the things that happen at night at conventions." Which things...?

Novacon 14 (9-11 Nov, Grand Hotel, Birmingham): GoH Rob Holdstock, yay yay. Membership fee cut to £6 by resorting like Mexicon to duplicated rather than litho PRs – though unlike Mexicon's, no.1 was incredibly tatty and provoked a grovelling Steve Green (chair) to ring and inform me that it was wholly untypical. Hotel £15/person, presumably including breakfast and VAT (not mentioned in PR1). Bouquets to 11 Fox Green Cres, Acocks Green, Birmingham, B27 7SD. Despite PR1's aspersions on Ansible and significant mentions of COFF, I shall turn the other cheek and urge my readers to put away all thoughts of helping Steve Green win the Concrete Overcoat Fan Fund by sending 10p/vote and Steve's name to COFF, 438 Station Road, Dorridge, Solihull, W Midlands. (COFF proceeds go to GUFF and TAFF.)

Eastercon 1985 will be decided before many of you see this: as we go to press the only visible bid is Yorcon III (Leeds), 45 Harold Mount, Leeds, LS6 1PW... one or two subtle irregularities in the Falcon 85 (Falkland Islands) bid flyer give the hint that they may fail to carry the vote despite announcing Jorge Luis Borges as GoH. Speaking of which, D. West writes concerning a chance reference which I failed to edit from his last issue's letter: "I can tell you that Graham James was not best pleased by that leak concerning the GoH. In fact, he was fucking livid, and two weeks later is still muttering unsociable things about ripping out my lungs and liver. My defence that it would all be the same in a hundred years and that nobody gave a shit about GoHs anyway did not seem to go down too well. Another satisfied Hansen voter. Anyway, there is no news from Leeds except that all future discussions of Yorcon III will be held behind locked doors at two in the morning on dates when it has been ascertained that I am not less than 15 miles away, unconscious, or both. It's really sad, this lack of trust... Speaking of which, Simon Ounsley showed me the latest issue of Microwave. I see that Terry Hill has got his nerve together enough to move on from slandering me in private (by way of telephone calls asking if I can be relied upon to embezzle the TAFF funds) to libelling me in public (by way of similar suggestions in his editorial). Interesting times, eh? (He hasn't quite got his nerve together to the extent of sending me a copy, though. Still, it's the thought that counts.)" (DW)

But we're slipping away from the subject of cons. After Easter comes Beccon 85 (26-28 July, Basildon, Essex Crest Hotel, £4 supp £8 att to 191 The Heights, Northolt, Middlesex), the Australian 43rd Worldcon (see Britain in 87 flyer) and a clutch of other stuff. A massed Trout (Glasgow fandom) meeting failed to confirm Bob fake Shaw as the manifest leader of Albacon 85 (July): John Wilkes of the famous Wilkettes is chair, after a hard-fought vote in which he narrowly defeated a hamster. For 1986 we have two Eastercon bids, Glasgow again – no details – and Contravention (Donaldson, Doreys, Hughes, Huxley, Oldroyd, Pearson, Wilkes, Vine; £1 presupp to 46 Colwyn Road, Beeston, Leeds, LS11 6PY). Contravention's questionnaire asks fans to pick their favourite venue from Brighton, Blackpool (where we hear the hotel whose smallness told against the 1984con bid for this Easter is to grow much huger in the near future) and the Birmingham NEC or subset thereof. Committee opinion is believed to favour the latter. Stop Press: Ian Watson writes! "We were going to the Festival de l'Insolite down in the south of France, last week of May, but organizer Bernard Blanc writes that the whole festival has been cancelled due to poverty, bugger it." (13-4-84)


JUSTIN ACKROYD: no fixed abode, but temporarily c/o Nicholas/Hanna (address Bin87 flyer) • TOM BOARDMAN JR (& SF Lunch Club), Books for Children, Park House, Dollar Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2AN • FAITH BROOKER, Flat 2, 191 Anerley Road, Penge, London, SE20 8EL • LINDA & RON BUSHYAGER, 24 Leopard Road, Paoli, PA 19301, USA • PETER COHEN, 2 Belgravia Road, North End, Portsmouth, Hants • BENEDICT S CULLUM, 35 Totteridge Lane, Whetstone, London, N20 0HD • STEVE DAVIES, 87 Holland Pines, Great Hollands, Bracknell • CHRIS EVANS as Faith Brooker • GEORGE FLYNN, PO Box 1069, Kendall Square Station, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA • WM GIBSON, 2630 W 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6K 1Z1 • GARY FARBER (see Bin87 flyer) • PATRICK & TERESA NIELSEN HAYDEN, 75 Fairview (2B), New York, NY 10040, USA • PAUL HESKETT, Sunshine House, Nat Children's Home, Clayhill Road, Alverstoke, Gosport, PO12 2BZ • GARRY & ANNETTE KILWORTH, 'Greenacres' ("Yuck! That'll have to go" – GK), The Chase, Ashingdon, Rochford, Essex • BERNARD LEAK, 15 Sunderland Road, Tittensor, Stoke-on-Trent, ST12 9QJ • LINDA MILLER, 1A Aylesham Way, Yately, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 • LINDSEY MORRIS, 59 Bernhard Baron House, 33 Henriques Street, London, E.1 • MARC ORTLIEB, 453 Kooyung Road (modulating to 455 Kooyung Road, for the promotion of greater confusion), Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia • SIMON POLLEY, 85a Victoria Road, Leeds, West Yorks, LS6 1DR • GEOFF RIPPINGTON is moving to Reading in the near future – argh! • CYRIL SIMSA, (back at) 18 Muswell Avenue, London, N10 2EG • JAMES STYLES, 145 Faraday Street, Carlton, Vic 3053, Australia • JEFF SUTER, 18 Norton Close, Southwick, Fareham, Hants PO17 6HU • Sources: named fans, F770, THYME.


Fanfundery: David Nessle won the first Scandinavia to Rest-of-Europe race by a vast majority and attends Seacon 84; a Rest-of-Europe to Scandinavia race should follow next year, allowing some lucky UK or Continental fan to travel all the way to Swecon 85 only to discover with a thrill of nameless horror that the GoH is Chris Priest. DUFF (Australia to US) was won by Jack Herman, 78 votes to John Packer's 11: as punishment for hubris, Jack attends LA-Con. Dave Wood rushes me a headline attesting to the widespread fear that D. West may win TAFF and never return from America, thus depleting the UK gene pool: BID FOR A WEST SPERM BANK. (Also HEART SWAP FOR WEST, INTERPOL TO PROBE WEST, &c.) Vote for Hansen!... Judith Hanna has achieved Total Anglicization, as proved when I phoned to ask about Marc Ortlieb's COA above, and she assumed that Victoria could only refer to the station. Her new job is p.a. to Bruce Kent & Joan Ruddock of CND... Fanzines In Theory And Practice by D. West (see flyer, A36): 11 weeks past 'publication date' and counting... Constellation (1983 Worldcon) losses reported to be as vast as $63-69,000. Desperate fundraising campaigns have made up some $27,000 of this, but the market for Masquerade videotapes is by now almost as limited as the continuing supply of anonymous $1000 donations from the Boston area (F770). Does bankruptcy loom?... BSFA Coup! Something of the sort has been rumoured for the AGM, with the names of K. Rattan and C. Connor bandied as chief conspirators. I wonder... Chairman Dorey contributes a worried editorial to Matrix 52, wondering whether the visible decay is due to 'forgetfullness' or 'dis-satisfaction': to annoy Alan I intended to compile an index of noted fans who've recently left, including Steve Green (who nevertheless appears, to his surprise, as offering himself for Council re-election in the AGM notice) and Jim 'Captive' Barker (escaped after all these years!). But life is too short. Focus has now been bagged by Dorothy Davies & Sue Thomason... Glasgow Horror: after being accused so often of lack of balance, Ansible is unwilling to print the report that Bob (fake) Shaw has had to be removed by upstanding Glasgow policemen after causing a nuisance in rival Neil Craig's shop. For the sake of balance can someone please send a rumour about Neil having to be warned off by the police after...? Terry Carr updates the "rather wild rumours" concerning him and Author Services Inc (A37): "There was an initial misunderstanding, but this has been resolved in a thoroughly professional manner and the matter is closed... I want to make it clear that I was treated very well by Doug Hay and Fred Harris of ASI and by Len Forman of Bridge Publications," etc etc. (TC)... People And Others: Pascal Thomas loved Corflu (US version of Silicon) because "conventions always look better when seen from the guest-of-honour seat. Bless the hand that picked my name from the hat. Oh shoot, I've just blessed Terry Carr's hand, he'll just have to wash it real hard for the next few days... Exchange heard when a couple of hardy fans were trying to work a vintage mimeo: 'It's the duplicator version of the Society for Creative Anachronism' – 'Yes, but they only print with blunt mimeos'." (PT) Chris Priest turned out to be the brain behind a Society of Authors poll to determine the wonderfulness of W.H. Smiths as booksellers – final score Priest 1, WHS 0... Wm Gibson regrets the "indefinite postponement of the fanzine-of-comment promised to British faneditors who so generously posted their product down the black hole of my Professional Activity: I was midway through the more or less final draft of ENDLESS FUCKING NEUROMANCER, and I'd read them and promise I'd Do Something About It as soon as I was through the damn book. Some six months later, having signed two more contracts (Count Zero for Ace, Log Of The Mustang Sally for Arbor), I see where I slipped up." (WG)... Olon Wiggins, 3rd Worldcon chairman (Denvention I, 1941), died in February aged 74... Robert Lichtman invites you to buy his fanthology Best Of FRAP, 76pp of fanwriting by famous names (many of them Greg Benford), $8.50 post free – PO Box 30, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, USA... M. John Harrison turned up recently with a story in Women's Journal, and romantic-fiction lists are being eagerly scanned for the appearance of Forever Viriconium or similar... Neil Gaiman writes in horror to complain that famous sf knowledge master Dr C. Greenland has never read any G.K. Chesterton! And: "self & Kim Newman just signed a contract with Arrow to produce Ghastly Beyond Belief, a book of sf quotations from all media featuring worst blurbs, worst prose from award-winning stories, oodles of wonderful trivia though not of course LISTS." (NG)... MARY GENTLE joins reviewers' mafia (inc Langford, Evans, Greenland) with Interzone column, passing her initiation test with flying colours by throwing up on all the right pages of Habitation One (F. Dunstan)... Imago SF/F mag (US) folds after exciting run of zero issues... APAs: proliferation reaches alarming levels with a Soft Toys Apa (Pam Wells – who rejoices in the title 'Big Ears' – 24a Beech Road, Bowes Park, London, N11 2DA). D. West's A37 letter provoked comment from Paul Vincent, who wishes it to be known that he administrates the Nova Award these days (25 Dovedale Avenue, Pelsall, Walsall, W Midlands, WS3 4HG) and think the rules debar work confined to apas; also Joy Hibbert, who made vast numbers of mutually contradictory points about 'insecure male fans', and observed that D. West was very parochial for not having visited RaCon to look at something displayed in its artshow and therefore not at all restricted to Women's Periodical eyes. (For 'parochial', I think, read 'broke'.)... Surprise, Surprise: what a treat it was for John Brunner when Arrow books, instead of photo-offsetting his Crucible Of Time from the US edition as planned, reset the whole book and gave him an exciting week of unexpected proofreading... Books For Sale: ask me for new/remainder of s/h lists...

Hazel's Language Lessons #29: Ila
(a.k.a. Seshukulumbwe)

ing'ombe-muka: a kind of beetle used by the Baila to tie into their hair to catch lice.

ANSIBLE 38: Dave Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks., RG1 5AU, England.


This page, in earlier issues of Ansible 38, contained an extremely thrilling flyer from a fannish book dealer (Oh all right – Simon Gosden, 25 Avondale Road, Rayleigh, Essex, SS6 8NJ). I've run out of the flyers, and I've dealt with the vast mailing list, and I still have a heap of copies left all virgin and uncollated. This is BY DESIGN; it is in accordance with a MASTER PLAN. Over the year or so since my last issue of the almost famous Twll-Ddu, I've been assailed by guilt as hordes of fanzines arrive, and arrive, and keep on arriving, while I don't seem to have got round to another TD as yet. (But that is not dead which can eternal lie, and TD contained more lies than most things – except possibly Ansible – so don't send flowers just yet.) Instead, this Ansible is going to millions of truly deserving fans as a deeply felt thankyou, as a truly sincere acknowledgement of the great joy and intellectual engagement given me by your fanzine. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. (And if any cynical bugger suggests I'm only trying to scrape up a few Hugo votes, I'll... I'll... ignore them, that's what I'll do.)

Since A38 appeared at Easter, many things have happened. Rob Hansen won TAFF by 101 votes to 60 or thereabouts. D. West published his collected fanwriting at last (v. triffic); I believe current price is £5/$20 (don't ask me). John Sladek got the BSFA novel award and David Brin got the Nebula. Yorcon III is the 1985 UK Eastercon nearly losing to Hold Over Funds – £4 supp £8 att to address as elsewhere. My Seacon 84 talk 'The Dragonhiker's Guide to Battlefield Covenant at Dune's Edge: Odyssey Two' brought me notoriety and death threats from the authors discussed – now published in Dave Wood's Xyster and shortly due in Marty & Robbie Cantor's Holier Than Thou, so there. The BSFA Conspiracy (facing page {i.e. above}) fizzled. A Certain Fan who went to Noreascon in 1980 has at last finished his TAFF report... collected edition later this year, with luck, from Rob Jackson's Inca Press. Blank Space below is graciously left for you to scribble in, if I haven't already done so. Keep well, and keep phoning the really vile hot news through to Reading (0734) 665804.

Dave Langford, May 1984