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Ansible® 384, July 2019

Cartoon: Atom

From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Arthur Thomson, 1987. Available for SAE or an invisible whistling octopus.

The Mandrake Shrieks

Peter S. Beagle won a technical victory in his lawsuit against his former manager Connor Cochran when on 21 June a US state judge ruled that while some claims had not been proven (elder abuse by causing mental suffering, conversion of assets), others had (financial elder abuse, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, defamation), and awarded $332,500 damages plus ‘reasonable’ legal fees. But owing to Cochran’s filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2018, both collection of damages and further litigation about co-owned companies remain on hold pending action by the US Bankruptcy Court. (File 770, 24 June)

Brian Eno received the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication in June; and asteroid 81948 has been given his full name, Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, but mercifully will be called Eno for short. (, 26 June) [SB]

Neil Gaiman was thrilled – and so would Terry Pratchett have been – that 20,000 Americans organized by the ‘Return to Order’ Christian campaign signed a petition demanding that the Good Omens tv series be cancelled. Among the outraged complaints are that this is ‘another step to make satanism appear normal, light and acceptable’, that it ‘mocks God’s wisdom’, and worst of all that God is voiced by a woman. By way of punchline, the petition was addressed to Netflix rather than the makers BBC/Amazon Prime. Neil tweeted: ‘... This is so beautiful ... Promise me you won’t tell them?’ (Guardian, 20 June) But somehow they found out, and redirected their wrath. (Guardian, 21 June)

Irene Gallo, multiple award-winning art director at Tor Books, is now vice president and publisher of (, 20 June)

Jim Jarmusch, discussing his zombie film The Dead Don’t Die, revealed a personal nightmare: ‘Also, I’ve been kind of obsessed for some years about what might happen if the earth slipped off its axis. It’s been tipping very slightly for some time, but what if there’s a jump in that? We'd be totally screwed.’ (Sight and Sound, July 2019) [SC]

Philip Pullman was asked, ‘If you could walk out of the back of a wardrobe into a fictional world, which would it be?’ Answer: ‘There are so many ... But if I wanted to live in a world that was full of strangeness and delight, of fear as well as reassurance, of both transience and permanence, I’d hope to find myself among Tove Jansson’s Moomins.’ (Interview by James McConnachie, The Author, Summer 2019)


3-4 Jul • Science for Fiction, Imperial College, London. Science presentations for published authors only: afternoon of 3rd, all day 4th. £30 including catering. Contact Dave Clements, davecl at mac dot com.

4 Jul • Bram Stoker & Dracula in London: talk by Roger Luckhurst, Carlyle’s House, Chelsea, London SW3. Tickets (inc glass of prosecco) £15 from

5-7 Jul • Lavecon (sf/fantasy/gaming), Sedgebrook Hall Hotel, Northants. Tickets at various prices from

5-7 Jul • London Anime & Gaming Con, London Met, N7 8DB. £29 reg; for day and VIP rates see

10 Jul • Aleister Crowley on Drugs: talk by Gary Lachman, Century Club, Soho, London W1. 6:30pm for 7pm. Tickets £12 from

13 Jul • Summer Comic Jam, Tyne Bank Brewery. Noon to midnight. Canny Comic Con event (see on Small Press Day, whose links list is at

13 Jul • Edge-Lit 8, QUAD Centre, Derby, DE1 3AS. 10am-9pm. £30. See

17 Jul • Arthur C. Clarke Award presentation, Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road, London. 6:30-9pm. Tickets £13 at

17 Jul • Plan 9 from Outer Space 60th anniversary showing at Fontaine’s, 176 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16. 8pm for 8:30. Free?

CANCELLED. 20 Jul • Avon Valley Railway SF Day, Bitton Station, 3 Bath Rd, Bristol, BS30 6HD. £8.50; over-60s £7.50; under-15s £6.50; under-5s free. See

7-11 Aug • Tolkien 2019 (Tolkien Society), Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham. £125 reg. See

15-19 Aug • Dublin 2019 (Worldcon), Dublin, Ireland. €260 reg; young adult and Irish First Worldcon €160; child €80; infant €5; supp €40. See Adult day rates: €35 Thu or Mon, €50 Fri, €75 Sat or Sun; more at Note that the voting deadline for the Hugo Awards is 31 July 2019.

22-26 Aug • Frightfest (film), Leicester Square, London. Tickets on sale from 6 July at There’s also a Hallowe’en special at a Leicester Square venue on 2 November.

7-8 Sep • Film & Comic Con Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. Tickets £8 or £15 for early entry. See

3-6 Oct • Grimmfest (horror/cult films), Odeon Manchester Great Northern cinema. £90 (£76 concessions) plus fees from

14-15 Sep • Other Worlds Workshop Weekend, Nottingham. £27.50 plus £2.40 booking fee per day. See

13 Oct • Octocon, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, Ireland. (Venue is 12km from city centre.) At last we have a date – NB one day only – and online registration is awaited at

25-26 Oct • Bicentennial Vampyre Ball, Century Club, Soho, London W1. 9pm-3am. ‘Super early bird’ tickets £20 (five or more £15) at

25-27 Oct • Festival of Fantastic Films, Pendulum Hotel, Manchester. £85 reg. See for hotel booking (rooms are held to 31 July only). The rumour mill says this 30th event may be the last unless there’s a significant change of organization.

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

8-10 Nov • Novacon 49, Nottingham Sherwood Hotel (was the Park Inn). Contact 379 Myrtle Road, Sheffield, S2 3HQ. £49 reg to end of August; under-17s £12; under-13s free. See

30 Nov • Dragonmeet (gaming), Novotel London West, W6 8DR. 9am-midnight. £10 reg, £12 from 1 October:

23-26 Apr 2020 • Sci-Fi Weekender, Vauxhall Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth. Basic weekend pass £99; for camping and accommodation packages see

16-17 May 2020 • HorrorCon UK, Magna Science Adventure Centre, Sheffield. Ticket sales awaited at

5-7 Jun 2020 • Cymera: Scotland's Festival of SF, Fantasy & Horror Writing, Edinburgh. See,

29 Jul - 2 Aug 2020 • CoNZealand (Worldcon 78), Wellington, New Zealand. Now NZD $400 reg; $250 YA/unwaged. $105 child (born 2005+), infants (born 2015+) free, $75 supporting. See

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Us. ‘UFOs are usually the preserve of science fiction ...’ (Miranda Bryant, Guardian story headlined ‘“We’re watching”: Trump stokes UFO rumors during ABC News interview’, 22 June) [PB]

Awards. Betty Trask (under-35s) winners of genre interest: The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower; The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh.
Ditmar (Australia) best novel: City of Lies by Sam Hawke.
Grand Prix de L’imaginaire (France) for translated novel: Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters. [ESF]
John W. Campbell Memorial: Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller.
Kate Greenaway Medal: The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris.
Kurd Laßwitz Preis (Germany) for translated novel: Eiswelt [Early Riser] by Jasper Fforde. [ESF]
Lambda (LGBTQ) sf/fantasy/horror category: The Breath of the Sun by Isaac R. Fellman. [F770]
Locus (novels only): SF The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. FANTASY Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. HORROR The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. YA Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. DEBUT Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse.
Sturgeon (short story): ‘When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis’ by Annalee Newitz (

Plagiarism Latest. ‘So someone just tried to submit The Three-Body Problem (the novel by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu) to Clarkesworld as their own work. Stunned.’ (Neil Clarke, Facebook, 28 June)

R.I.P. Milan Asadurov (1949-2019), Bulgarian sf author, publisher (the ‘Galaxy’ imprint) and translator (notably of the Russian Strugatsky brothers), died on 8 June aged 69. [PDF]
Adrish Bardhan (1932-2019), Bengali author, editor, translator and publisher who launched Bengali sf (‘kalpavigyan’) in 1963 with the magazine Ashchorjo – edited as by Akash Sen – died on 21 May aged 86.
• Late report: Paul Barrett (1940-2019), UK rock-and-roll agent, Festival of Fantastic Films regular and occasional actor in such horror films as Bloody New Year (1987), died on 20 January aged 78. [SF²C]
Edward P. Berglund, US Lovecraftian author, scholar and editor – magazines From Beyond the Dark Gateway (1972-1977) and Nightscapes (1997-2001); anthologies include The Disciples of Cthulhu (1976) – reportedly died in June. [PDF]
Keith Birdsong (1959-2019), US Native American artist best known for his prolific output of covers for Star Trek novelizations, died on 4 June from car-crash injuries; he was 59. [PDF]
William F. Brown (1928-2019), US playwright, librettist and cartoonist who wrote the book for the Oz-based hit musical The Wiz (1975), died on 23 June aged 91. [PDF]
Alistair Browning (1954-2019), New Zealand actor whose credits include Hercules (1997-1998), The Lord of the Rings (2002, 2003) and Power Rangers Dino Charge (2016), died on 2 June aged 65. [PDF]
Paul Darrow (1941-2019), UK actor and author best remembered as Avon in Blake’s 7 (1978-1981), died on 3 June aged 78. He was also in the Doctor Who serials Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970) and Timelash (1985); his novels include the B7-related Avon: A Terrible Aspect (1989). [JM]
Bob Dorian (1934-2019), US magician, tv host and actor in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) and The Evil Dead (2013), died on 15 June aged 85. [PDF]
Billy Drago (1945-2019), US actor in Vamp (1986), Cyborg II (1993), Lunarcop (1995), Sci-fighters (1996), Tremors 4 (2004), Demon Hunter (2005) and others, died on 24 June aged 73. [PDF]
Peter Allan Fields, US screenwriter and producer with many genre credits from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1965-1966) to Star Trek: The Next Generation and – as both writer and producer – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999), died on 19 June. [PDF]
Yuzuru Fujimoto (1935-2019), Japanese voice actor in Gigantor (1963) and many more anime productions to 2015, died on 10 June aged 83.
Eddie Garcia (1929-2019), noted Filipino director, tv personality and actor seen in Beast of the Yellow Night (1971), died on 20 June aged 90.
Nonnie Griffin (1933-2019), Canadian actress with voice roles in Star Wars: Ewoks (1985-1986), Care Bears (1986-1988) and The Care Bears Movie (1986), died on 7 June aged 85.
Steve Hawkes (1942-2019), US actor born Stjepan Šipek in Croatia, whose films include Blood Freak (1972) and unauthorized Spanish-language Tarzan adventures (character name changed to Zan for English release), died on 23 June. [PDF]
Sean Hewitt (1935-2019), Canadian actor in Vampire Circus (1972), Thinner (1996), Battlefield Earth (2000) and Crimson Peak (2015), died on 6 June aged 83.
• Late report: Sandra Rae Laney Holland (1940-2018), Francis Towner Laney’s daughter and former child mascot of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (see Ah! Sweet Idiocy!), died on 11 September aged 78. [RH]
• Late report: Timothy Wade Huntley (1939-2018), US author of One on Me (1980) and the 1999-2002 Earthgame trilogy, died on 13 June 2018 aged 79. [PV]
Andrey Kharitonov (1959-2019), Russian actor who starred in the Wells-based Soviet film The Invisible Man (1984), died on 23 June aged 59.
Kevin Killian (1952-2019), US poet, editor and gay fiction author who contributed to several genre anthologies, died on 15 June aged 66. [PDF]
Yoshio Kobayashi (1951-2019), Japanese fan, editor and (as Takashi Ogawa) translator of much English-language sf for publication in Japan, died on 13 June. [L]
Al Johnston, UK fan and convention-goer – a familiar figure at Novacons – died on 8 June. [TD]
Sean McCann (1935-219), Canadian character actor in Starship Invasions (1977), The Uncanny (1977) and Naked Lunch (1991), died on 13 June aged 83.
Bryan Marshall (1938-2019), UK actor in The Witches (1966), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Boy Merlin (1979) and Selkie (2000), died on 25 June aged 81. [SG]
Sylvia Miles (1924-2019), US actress whose genre films include The Sentinel (1977), The Funhouse (1981) and Sleeping Beauty (1987), died on 12 June aged 94. [F770]
Nickianne Moody, UK academic who was a trustee of the SF Foundation and contributed to books of genre criticism including The Parliament of Dreams (1998) and Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature (2000), died on 9 June. [AS]
John Llewellyn Moxey (1925-2019), Argentina-born UK director whose genre productions include The House That Would Not Die (1970) and The Night Stalker (1972), died on 29 April aged 94. [AIP]
Holly Prado (1938-2019), US author who explored mythic themes in Esperanza: Poems for Orpheus (1998) – one selected for Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror – died in June aged 81. [PDF]
Carl Schell (1927-2019), Austrian actor in Lycanthropus (1961, aka Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory), died on 6 June aged 91.
Edith Scob (1937-2019), French actress whose films include the sf/horror classic Eyes Without a Face (1960), died on 26 June aged 81. [PDF]
William Simons (1940-2019), Welsh actor in Doctor Who: ‘The Sun Makers’ (1977) and The Woman in Black (1989), died on 21 June aged 78.
Andrew Sinclair (1935-2019), UK author of The Project (1960) – which ends on the brink of nuclear holocaust – and the fantastical Albion trilogy opening with Gog (1967), died on 30 May aged 84. [MJE]
Peter Whitehead (1937-2019), UK film-maker and author whose film Fire in the Water (1977) and novel The Risen (1977) both have fantasy elements, died on 10 June aged 82. [SG]
Max Wright (1943-2019), US actor best known for the sf sitcom ALF (1986-2004), died on 26 June aged 75. Other credits include Misfits of Science (1985-1986). [CH]

Kaiju Horror! ‘Rogue slug blamed for Japanese railway chaos’, says the BBC headline (22 June), and the story can only be an anticlimax.
• Another headline full of sf sense-of-wonder is ‘The Latest: Trump to Nominate Esper to Lead Pentagon’ (Associated Press, 21 June). [PDF]

Comic Cuts. DC Comics has announced that its Vertigo imprint – and also the DC Zoom and DC Ink imprints – will close in January 2020, laid waste by a ‘new publishing strategy’. (Hollywood Reporter, 21 June)

Infodump Masterclass. “‘They’re the Glashan, fallen Seruvim and followers of Pyratheon. They intend to capture the Keruvim and wage war against Riathamus ...’” (G.P. Taylor, Shadowmancer, 2002/2003) [BA]
• ‘“Tell me of the ships as if I know nothing of them. Tell me as if I were a child.”’ (Becky Chambers, Record of a Spaceborn Few, 2018)

Random Fandom. Bruce Gillespie received Australian fandom’s rarely presented Eternity Award, given for ‘a huge amount of work for SF fandom over an impossibly long time’.
Martin Hoare is booked for an operation on 9 July: ‘They are going to remove 10cm of my bowel.’ He sternly warns me against making ‘semi colon jokes’. Good luck, boss.
Remembering Vonda, memories of Vonda N. McIntyre ed. Stephanie A. Smith and Jeanne Gomoll, is available as a paperback and a free PDF:,

The Dead Past. 20 Years Ago: ‘ Another conflicting origin story for our barbarian critic Thog the Mighty! In Imaginary Worlds (1973) the late Lin Carter deplored Robert E. Howard’s inept coining of fantasy names ... “Thak, Thaug, Thog, Yog, Yara, Yogah, Zang, Zogar, Sag.” I confidently expect Tom Holt to set this catchy chorus to music.’ (Ansible 144, July 1999)
40 Years Ago (argh): ‘AND TAFF, ALREADY seems to have two probable candidates in the shape of Jim Barker and the ubiquitous Dave Langford.’ (Peter Roberts in Checkpoint 98, July 1979)
80 Years Ago, the first Worldcon was held in New York, 2-4 July 1939, with Frank R. Paul as GoH and 200 attending fans. A twentieth anniversary report by co-organizer James V. Taurasi in Science Fiction Times 319 (July 1959) gave great prominence to “the communist element then in fandom” who “wanted the World Con for their propaganda machine” and were very properly Excluded. Thus science fiction was saved from the red menace of Cyril Kornbluth, Frederik Pohl, Donald A. Wollheim....

Fanfundery. TAFF Site Free Ebooks. Newly added: The Complete Patchin Review, assembling all issues of Charles Platt’s controversial 1980s magazine about sf and publishing, with a new introduction by Charles himself: download at The Complete Cheap Truth, the full run of the polemical cyberpunk ‘samizdat’ fanzine from impenetrably pseudonymous Vincent Omniaveritas (Bruce Sterling): The Meadows of Fantasy, Archie Mercer’s humorous 1965 novel of UK fandom (also hosted by Bill Burns at
CUFF (Canadian Unity Fan Fund): the 2019 winner is Fran Skene.

C.o.A. The Cartoon Museum, 63 Wells Street, London, W1A 3AE.

Thog’s Masterclass. Line of Sight Dept. ‘... such a firm, round, lively and truly impressive behind that the haunting vision of this interesting aspect of her personality frequently obscured the face of my math teacher at school.’ (Romain Gary, Promise At Dawn, 1960; trans John Markham Beach, 1961) [MMW]
Dept of Expressive Eyes. ‘“Well, m’boy,” the physiologist’s fleshy eyelids quivered....’ (Isaac Asimov, ‘Blind Alley’, Astounding SF, March 1945) [DR]
In Space, No One Can Hear You Complain. ‘Interstellar travel, though it had improved over the last five hundred years, was still anything but quick, and boredom had replaced death as the most common complaint.’ (Gustavo Bondoni, Outside, 2017) [AK]
None So Blind. ‘His feet were sure, but they could not see.’ (Guy Gregory, Heroes of Zara Keep, 1982) [TPR]

Geeks’ Corner

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Convention and Event Links
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• ? July 2019: Shoreline of Infinity Event Horizon, Edinburgh. 7:30pm. Free. See link below for details (date not announced when this Ansible went to press)_.
• 12 July 2019: Christopher Priest and Nina Allan talk to the Brum Group. 7:30pm for 8pm at the Briar Rose Hotel, Bennett’s Hill, Birmingham city centre. £6 or £3 for members. Contact bhamsfgroup at yahoo co uk. Future events/speakers: 9 August 2019, summer social; 13 September 2019 TBA, 11 October 2019, Dr Amaury Triaud; 1 November 2019, TBA; 6 December 2019, Christmas social.
• 24 July 2019: BSFA Open Meeting, Central Station, 37 Wharfdale Road, King’s Cross, N1 9SD. 6pm for 7pm. Guest(s) TBA. Free. Date or venue changes may be announced after Ansible has gone to press: always check for the latest information.

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

Late R.I.P. Paul Darrow’s death was reported after Ansible 383 had been printed and mailed, and the obit appeared only in digital editions under this heading; now expanded in the main R.I.P list above.

Shameless Puffery. New Maps: More Uncollected John Sladek (Ansible Editions, 2019) has sold modestly well in paperback, and doing the half-yearly royalty statement reminded me that I still have a few spare copies of the first-state printing left over from Eastercon. Available within the UK only for just £17.00 including postage and packing. If interested, please email me at the usual address or via Also available worldwide from Lulu: see

Some Links from the Ansible home page.
Amazing Stories events calendar
• Ian Stewart remembers Jack Cohen
Locus Awards: full list of winners
• Mythopoeic Awards finalists

Thog’s Second Helping. Portrait of a Scientist. ‘The professor was muttering contentedly in the brush, pocketing plant specimens and dissecting small vermin with his fingernail clippers.’ (John Silbersack [anonymously], No-Frills Science Fiction, 1981) [TPR]

Ansible® 384 © David Langford, 2019. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Paul Barnett, Sandra Bond, Stephen Cox, Theresa Derwin, Paul Di Filippo, Malcolm Edwards, Europa SF, File 770, Steve Green, Rob Hansen, Chip Hitchcock, Amanda Kear, Locus, Joe McNally, The Patchin Review, Andrew I. Porter, Dan Reid, Andy Sawyer, SF² Concatenation, P. Villars, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 July 2019