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Ansible® 386, September 2019

Cartoon: Ulrika O'Brien

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, youth sublime, or the fairy tales of science.

Dublin 2019. A good time was reportedly had by some 5,800 attendees despite the too-small facilities which led to a great deal of queueing, fans being turned away from overcrowded panels, etc. The Irish Times called this Worldcon ‘an extraordinary event that has brought thousands of sci-fi enthusiasts to Ireland from all over the world’ and – switching into more traditional mode – added ‘If you see any strange-looking people wandering around Dublin this weekend, it’s them.’ (16 August) [SF²C]
Hugo Awards: NOVEL The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. NOVELLA Artificial Condition by Martha Wells. NOVELETTE ‘If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again’ by Zen Cho (B&N SFF Blog 29/11/18). SHORT ‘A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies’ by Alix E. Harrow (Apex 2/18). SERIES ‘Wayfarers’ by Becky Chambers. RELATED WORK Archive of Our Own (website). GRAPHIC STORY Monstress, Volume 3: Haven by Marjorie Liu (writing) and Sana Takeda (art). DRAMATIC – LONG Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. DRAMATIC – SHORT. The Good Place: ‘Janet(s)’. EDITOR – SHORT Gardner Dozois. EDITOR – LONG Navah Wolfe. PRO ARTIST Charles Vess. SEMIPROZINE Uncanny Magazine. FANZINE Lady Business. FANCAST Our Opinions Are Correct. FAN WRITER Foz Meadows. FAN ARTIST Likhain (Mia Sereno). ART BOOK (one-off category this year) The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin (writing) and Charles Vess (art). Non-Hugos: LODESTAR (YA): Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD Jeannette Ng.
Retro Hugos for 1943 work: NOVEL Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber. NOVELLA The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. NOVELETTE ‘Mimsy Were the Borogoves’ by ‘Lewis Padgett’. SHORT ‘King of the Gray Spaces’ aka ‘R is for Rocket’ by Ray Bradbury. GRAPHIC STORY Wonder Woman #5. DRAMATIC – LONG Heaven Can Wait. DRAMATIC – SHORT Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. PRO EDITOR John W. Campbell. PRO ARTIST Virgil Finlay. FANZINE Le Zombie. FAN WRITER Forrest J Ackerman.
First Fandom Hall of Fame: Ray Faraday Nelson and (posthumous) Bob Shaw, James White and Walt Willis.
Moskowitz Archive Award: Dr Bradford Lyau.
Big Heart Award: Alice Lawson. [TSOK]
Worldcon 2021: inevitably the unopposed Washington DC bid won with 798 votes out of 878 valid ballots (36 No Preference; 18 None of the Above; 26 assorted write-ins including 3 for Minneapolis in ’73). [GS] See DisCon III listing below.
Alfie Awards. At the Hugo Losers’ Party organized by CoNZealand and George R.R. Martin, the latter presented two more of his car-hood-ornament trophies to those he felt should have won Hugos: editors Malcolm Edwards, late of Gollancz, and Jane Johnson of Voyager.
Special Committee Award: George R.R. Martin and Parris McBride.

The Long Result of Time

Steve Davidson had an ‘As Others See Us’ moment: ‘“I’m not into that Star Trek, Star Wars stuff but I do believe in some crazy shit like alien abductions,” said the customer standing in the AT&T store with me after I explained that I published Amazing Stories.’ (Email, 6 August)

Malcolm Edwards, having left Hachette/Orion/Gollancz (see A383), starts a new career this month as publisher of André Deutsch. His brief is to revive the fiction backlist and publish new genre titles – crime fiction as well as sf/fantasy/horror. (Publishers Lunch, August) [AIP]

Jennell Jaquays, US games designer, was interested to discover that the recent Dungeons & Dragons expansion book Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (from Wizards of the Coast, 2017) copies various character generation tables from her Central Casting Heroes of Legend (1988) with little modification and no acknowledgement. (, 14 August)

Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award acceptance speech caused some controversy at Dublin 2019 and online, beginning as it did: ‘John W. Campbell, for whom this award was named, was a fucking fascist! Through his editorial control of Amazing Stories, he is responsible for setting a tone of science fiction that still haunts the genre to this day....’ Full text, corrected and without the f-word, at Soon after, Analog’s editor Trevor Quachri announced that this award is to become The Astounding Award for Best New Writer (blog, 27 August).

Art Spiegelman of Maus fame withdrew his introduction to a Folio Society collection of golden-age Marvel comics, because Marvel objected to the overly ‘political’ sentence ‘In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America.’ (Guardian, 16 August)

J.R.R. Tolkien was remembered in an obituary of Anthony Price: ‘Tolkien taught at Oxford, and Mr. Price sat down with him for what turned out to be Tolkien’s first newspaper interview. “He wasn’t very popular,” Mr. Price recalled. Another Oxford scholar, he said, complained, “Yes, Tolkien: very clever fellow, dear boy. Didn’t teach much. He used to bring that Elvish stuff, and I said, ‘Don’t let’s have any more of this Elvish nonsense!’” (Washington Post, 23 June) [PL]


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

13-15 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), St Antony’s College, Oxford. £55 reg, or £45 for Tolkien Society members; day rates £35 and £30. More at The 2020 Oxonmoot will be in St Anne’s College, 3-6 September.

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

28-29 Sep • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk Showground Arena. Tickets inc fees: £31.03; £20.33 child; £96.30 family. See

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

3 Oct - 1 Nov • London Month of the Dead, various venues and events, a few of genre interest: see

11-13 Oct • Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, Cumbria. £35 reg; students and under-16s £25. Day passes: Saturday £22 (£17); Sunday £19 (£14). More at

13 Oct • Octocon, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, Ireland. (One day only. Venue is 12km from city centre.) €35 reg; €25 concessions; accompanied under-13s free. More at

18-20 Oct • FantasyCon, Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, Clydebank, Glasgow. Now £75 reg; £65 concessions; under-18s £30; all plus booking fees. See The 2020 venue is Sheffield.

2-3 Nov • Bristol Anime & Gaming Con, Bristol Future Inns. £18 reg; day rates £11 Sat, £9 Sun. See

CANCELLED 23-24 Nov • London Film & Comic Con, Olympia. Brexit uncertainty blamed: see Exhibition World,

2-9 Dec • Talos III: SF Theatre Festival of London, Omnibus Theatre, Clapham. More at

14-16 Feb 2020 • London Anime & Gaming Con, London Met, N7 8DB. £29 reg; for day and other rates see

4 Apr 2020 • Bedford Who Charity Con (Doctor Who), University Theatre, Bedford, MK41 9EA. 10am-5:30pm (doors open 9:30am or earlier). Ticket prices to follow at

29 Jul - 2 Aug 2020 • CoNZealand (Worldcon 78), Wellington, New Zealand. NZD $400 reg, rising to $425 on 1 October. Other rates are unchanged: $250 YA, $225 unwaged, $105 child (born 2005+), infants (born 2015 +) free, $75 supporting. See

28-31 Aug 2020 • The Asylum (steampunk), Lincoln. Membership rates to follow at

2-4 Oct 2020 • Futuricon (Rikon/Eurocon), Rijeka, Croatia. €15 reg, rising on 1 June 2020; €5 supp; under 14s free. See

18-21 Mar 2021 • Eurocon 2021, Fiuggi, Italy. Membership rates and other details awaited at

25-29 Aug 2021 • DisCon III (Worldcon), Washington DC, USA. GoH Nancy Kress, Malka Older, Sheree Renée Thomas, Toni Weisskopf, and Ben Yalow. $155 reg; YA (under 26) $80; under-13s $65; accompanied under-7s free. Rates held to 31 December 2019. See

Rumblings. Worldcon 2023. The established bids for Chengdu and Nice now have a US rival: Memphis, Tennessee. Read all about it at
Glasgow in 2024: this UK Worldcon bid was officially launched at Dublin 2019 and announced its planned dates as Thursday to Monday, 8-12 August 2024.£20 presupporting membership; £120 ‘friend’ (£60 YA); £300 ‘super friend’. More at

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Forgive Us. On Aniara by that mere Nobel Prize-winner Harry Martinson: ‘In true epic fashion, its matter acquires authenticity through the persuasive force of its utterance, even the parts manifestly pasted together from old space adventure magazines.’ (Geoffrey O’Brien, New York Review of Books, 15 August) [MMW]

Awards. ESFS Hall of Fame. AUTHOR Charles Stross (UK). ARTIST Nicolas Fructus (France). MAGAZINE Windumanoth (Spain). PUBLISHER Future Fiction (Italy). PROMOTER Petra Bulic (Croatia). TRANSLATOR Mihai-Dan Pavelescu (Romania). [ESF]
Mythopoeic: ADULT Naomi Novik, Spinning Silver. CHILDREN’S Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, Bob. SCHOLARSHIP: INKLINGS Verlyn Flieger, There Would Always Be a Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien. SCHOLARSHIP: OTHER Dimitra Fimi, Celtic Myth in Contemporary Children’s Fantasy: Idealization, Identity, Ideology.
Splatterpunk (horror) best novel: Kristopher Triana, Full Brutal. [L]

Ancient Engineers. ‘I wonder what seagulls ate before humans arrived on the scene? Road kill, I expect.’ (Steve Allen, LBC) [PE]

R.I.P. Pedro Bell (?1950-2019), US artist whose Funkadelic album covers and liner notes made play with sf themes, died in late August. [PDF]
Tom Boardman (1930-2017), UK publisher whose family company was T.V. Boardman and who became sf adviser to Gollancz, Four Square, Macdonald and NEL, editing Connoisseur’s Science Fiction (1964) and other anthologies, died on 15 June 2017 aged 86. [MA]
Gordon Bressack (1951-2019), US screenwriter for Animaniacs (1993-1997) and Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998), died on 30 August aged 68. [BM]
Mike Brunton (1962-2019), UK magazine editor and writer of role-playing and computer games who edited White Dwarf in the late 1980s, died on 25 July. [MG] He was my editor for many instalments of the ‘Critical Mass’ book review column.
Ernie Colón (1931-2019), Puerto Rico-born US comics letterer and artist perhaps best known for Marvel’s Damage Control and (as co-creator) DC’s Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, died on 8 August aged 88. [F770]
Nigel Dobbyn (1963-2019), UK comics artist who worked for 2000 AD on Future Shocks, Medivac 318, Strontium Dog, Ace Trucking Co. and others, died on 24 August aged 56. [PH] He is also known for artwork in Sonic the Comic, 1995-1999.
Susan Evans, New Zealand fan, worker on conventions – including the first NZ national sf con in 1982 – and APA contributor, died on 25 July aged 58. [TC]
Peter Fonda (1940-2019), US actor, producer, screenwriter and director seen in Spirits of the Dead (1968), Future World (1976), Spasms (1983), Escape from L.A. (1996), Supernova (2005), Ghost Rider (2007), The Gathering (2007) and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (2008), died on 16 August aged 79. [SG]
Cosmo Genovese (1923-2019), US script supervisor for tv series including Star Trek: The Next Generation (176 episodes 1987-1994) and Star Trek: Voyager (99 episodes 1995-2000), died on 30 July aged 95. [F770]
Lee Bennett Hopkins (1938-2019), prolific US children’s author and editor whose vast output included some fantasy/horror anthologies, died on 8 August aged 81. [GVG]
Barry Hughart (1934-2019), author of the highly regarded mock-Chinese fantasy Bridge of Birds (1984) and its sequels The Story of the Stone (1988) and Eight Skilled Gentlemen (1991), died on or before 1 August according to; he was 85. Bridge of Birds won World Fantasy and Mythopoeic Fantasy awards. [LP]
Kristin Landon (1958-2019), author of the 2007-2009 ‘Cold Minds’ trilogy and Windhome (2017), died on 5 March aged 60. [MKS]
Edward Lewis, (1919-2019), US producer of Spartacus whose films include Seconds (1966), Rhinoceros (1974) and The Blue Bird (1976), died on 27 July aged 99. [AIP]
Brad Linaweaver (1952-2019), US libertarian sf author who won a Prometheus Award for Moon of Ice (1988), died on 29 August aged 66. [PDF]
Rick Loomis (1946-2019), US game designer who created Nuclear Destruction (1970) and Starweb (1976) and co-founded Flying Buffalo – publisher of Tunnels & Trolls (1975) – died on 23 August aged 72. [KR]
Barbara March (1953-2019), Canadian actress in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991-1994) and Star Trek Generations (1994), died on 11 August aged 65. [PDF]
Melisa Michaels (1946-2019), US author whose sf includes the ‘Skyrider’ series opening with Skirmish (1985), died on 30 August aged 73. [PDF]
Barrington Pheloung (1954-2019), Australian composer who scored various genre films including Sleep of Reason (1989), The Mangler (1995) and Ghosthunter (2000), died on 1 August aged 65. [SG]
Stu Rosen (1939-2019), US voice actor and voice director of many animated series including MASK (1985), Defenders of the Earth (1986-1989), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1990-1991) and Phantom 2040 (1995-1996), died on 4 August aged 80. [F770]
Charles Santore (1935-2019), US illustrator of children’s books including Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, Snow White and The Wizard of Oz, died on 11 August aged 84. [AIP]
J. Neil Schulman (1953-2019), US author of libertarian sf whose novels include the Prometheus-winning The Rainbow Cadenza (1983), died on 10 August aged 66. [GVG]
Larry Siegel (1925-2019), US writer of humour for tv and for Mad magazine 1958-1990, died on 20 August aged 93. [PDF]
Carl Slaughter (1958-2019), prolific US fan writer, reviewer and interviewer for File 770, SF Signal, Tangent and others, died in a car accident on 11 August. [F770]
Robert N. Stephenson (1961-2019), Australian author, publisher (as Altair Australia) and editor of four Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror anthologies since 2016, committed suicide on 14 August; he was 57.
Yasuhiro Takemoto (1972-2019), Japanese anime writer/director whose genre credits include Gate Keepers (2000), Beyond the Boundary (2013) and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (2017), was confirmed as one of more than 30 victims of the arson attack on the Kyoto Animation studio on 18 July; he was 47. [AIP]
Richard Williams (1933-2019), Canadian-born animator whose work appeared in two Pink Panther films and who was animation director of the Hugo-winning Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) – for which he won two Oscars – died on 16 August aged 86. [PB]

The Weakest Link. Host: ‘What Indian yogurt drink sounds like a famous TV dog?’ Contestant: ‘Scooby-Doo.’ (ITV, The Chase) [PE]

The Company They Keep. The British Fantasy Society, incorporated in 2017 as Brit Fantasy Soc Ltd, is to be struck off the register – presumably for not filing its returns – unless action is taken soon. [ST]

Outraged Letters. Mike Ashley poses a pub quiz question. ‘Apparently only one play has ever been performed in the House of Commons and it happens to be sf.’ Can you guess it? See ‘The Dead Past’ below.

Award Shortlists. Sidewise: LONG Mary Robinette Kowal, The Calculating Stars; Hannu Rajaniemi, Summerland; Charles Rosenberg, The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington; Lavie Tidhar, Unholy Land. SHORT Rick Wilber, ‘The Secret City’ (Asimov’s 9/18); Oscar (Xiu) Ramirez and Emmanuel Valtierra, Codex Valtierra.

Random Fandom. Martin Hoare was celebrated with a toast at the London First Thursday meeting in August, and at Dublin 2019 with a memorial pub crawl and the naming of the fan bar as Martin’s [JB] ... though he would hardly have approved of ‘his’ bar serving only keg beer and no real ale. Martin’s crowded funeral was on 29 August; his TARDIS coffin was tearfully admired; a larger celebration (with fireworks?) should follow. To donate to his favourite cause, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, see
Worldcon Business. From the traditional hoax newsletter: ‘Under-50s in the WSFS Business Meeting must be accompanied by an adult at all times.’ Discussion of a proposed Hugo for Best Translated Novel was postponed indefinitely; Best Series was ratified as a permanent category; the proposed Best Game or Interactive Experience was referred to a committee for consideration; less momentous decisions were also made.

The Dead Past. 40 Years Ago, in the wake of the first Brighton Worldcon, Ansible had its finger on the fannish pulse: ‘Useless Facts Dept: 19,000 pints were drunk at Seacon by the time of the closing ceremony....’ (Ansible 2/3, September 1979)
Much Longer Ago, the only play ever performed in the House of Commons was Lionel Britton’s J.W. Dunne-inspired time fantasy Spacetime Inn, in 1931. A UK theatre licence had been refused because the characters include Queen Victoria. [MA]

Fanfundery. The fan funds auction at Dublin 2019, together with table sales of left-over auction material, raised some €3,345. [CB]
TAFF Ebooks. New additions at are Hyphen 37 (the 1987 revival issue) and the deeply esoteric The Astral Leauge Dossier (donot impinge copyright or THE ASTRAL LEAUGE WILL TAKE MEASURES).

Follow-Up. Defying the wrath of planners, the shed protecting the Dalek at the Museum of Classic Sci-Fi in Allendale (see A383) was given a year’s reprieve by Northumberland County Council. (BBC, 13 August)

Thog’s Masterclass. Dept of Wokeness. ‘Now even the primitive villagers knew that psychological disturbances were simply a byproduct of the mind, and that Ticky George was not “different”. Just inferior.’ (‘Leo Brett’, March of the Robots, 1961)
Fun for Young and Old Alike. ‘The Men, who’d spent the last long hour with their heads between their legs, renewed their favorite pastime ...’ (Neal Barrett, Jr., Aldair: The Legion of Beasts, 1982) [BA]
True Romance Dept. ‘Capitulating from their combined sexual efforts, the two spent forms separated from whence they were joined, their genitalia virtually licking their proverbial wounds!’ (Vince Laurie, Dial ‘O’ for Orgy, early 1970s) [KL]

Geeks’ Corner

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• 13 September 2019: Catherine Webb (aka Kate Griffin, Claire North) talks 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: 11 October 2019, Dr Amaury Triaud; 1 November 2019, TBA; 6 December 2019, Christmas social.
• 25 September 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.

Complaints Dept. Ahrvid Engholm was so affronted by Jeannette Ng’s above-cited Campbell Award acceptance speech that he formally reported it as a supposed violation of the Dublin 2019 Code of Conduct.
Simon R. Green writes: ‘I had a great time at the Worldcon in Dublin, though regretfully I have to report that there was an official complaint made to the Con committee, concerning a panel I was on. Saying that I had interrupted the discussion with flippant remarks. / Me? Really?’

R.I.P. II. Stop press: Terrance Dicks (1935-2019), UK author and screenwriter who was script editor for Moonbase 3 (1973), 156 episodes of Doctor Who (1968-1974) and The Invisible Man (1984) – also writing several Doctor Who serials and scores of novelizations – died on 2 September aged 84. He received the 2015 Scribe Grandmaster career award for tie-in works.
• Late notices, recently reported: Boris Beizer (1934-2018), Belgian-born US software engineer who as Ethan I. Shedley wrote Earth Ship and Star Song (1979) and The Medusa Conspiracy (1980), died on 7 October 2018. [DB]
Pat Gorman (1933-2018), UK character actor in The Tomorrow People (1975-1979) and 105 episodes of Doctor Who (1964-1985), died on 9 October 2018 aged 85. [GC]

Magazine Scene. Science Fiction Trails, specializing in weird sf Western fiction, has ceased; the final issue was #14 for April 2019. [L]

Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• Dublin 2019 newsletter, The Salmon of Knowledge
• Hugo and Retro Hugo winners in full detail
• Hugo statistics and administrator’s comments

Rumblings II. Middle-Earth Festival (Sarehole Mill, Birmingham): no date was ever announced for the 2019 event expected in September, whose status on the website quietly shifted to ‘cancelled’ at some point in August. According to, the next one will be in September 2020.

Fifteen Nanoseconds of Fame. Private Eye 1502, dated 9 August, surprised me by publishing my comment on their big sf scoop from the previous issue (see also A385):

Eye letter

Ansible® 386 © David Langford, 2019. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Mike Ashley, James Bacon, Paul Barnett, Claire Brialey, Dirk Broer, Tom Cardy, Gary Couzens, Paul Di Filippo, Europa SF, File 770, Marc Gascoigne, Steve Green, Peter Hogan, Kessily Lewel, Locus, Pamela Love, Beth Meacham, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Kevin Redfern, The Salmon of Knowledge, SF² Concatenation, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Stephen Theaker, Gordon Van Gelder, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 2 September 2019