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Ansible® 397, August 2020

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: Ulrika O’Brien. Available for SAE, flapping tatters, or songs that the Hyades shall sing.

CoNZealand: news from the first virtual Worldcon!
Worldcon 2022: as expected, voters preferred Chicago over Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by 517 to 33 votes: see Chicon 8 in the events list below.
Hugo Awards: NOVEL A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. NOVELLA This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. NOVELETTE Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin. SHORT ‘As the Last I May Know’ by S.L. Huang ( SERIES ‘The Expanse’ by James S. A. Corey. RELATED WORK ‘2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech’ by Jeannette Ng. Graphic LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor, Tana Ford, James Devlin. DRAMATIC – LONG Good Omens. DRAMATIC – SHORT The Good Place: ‘The Answer’. EDITOR – SHORT Ellen Datlow. EDITOR – LONG Navah Wolfe. PROFESSIONAL ARTIST John Picacio. SEMIPROZINE Uncanny Magazine. FANZINE The Book Smugglers. FANCAST Our Opinions Are Correct. FAN WRITER Bogi Takács. FAN ARTIST Elise Matthesen.
‘Not a Hugo’: LODESTAR (YA): Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer. ASTOUNDING (formerly John W. Campbell): R.F. Kuang.
Retro Hugos for 1944 work: NOVEL ‘Shadow over Mars’ (also as The Nemesis from Terra) by Leigh Brackett (Startling). NOVELLA ‘Killdozer!’ by Theodore Sturgeon (Astounding). NOVELETTE ‘City’ by Clifford D. Simak (Astounding). SHORT ‘I, Rocket’ by Ray Bradbury (Amazing). SERIES ‘The Cthulhu Mythos’. RELATED WORK ‘The Science-Fiction Field’ by Leigh Brackett (Writer’s Digest). GRAPHIC Superman: ‘The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk’. DRAMATIC (tie): The Canterville Ghost and The Curse of the Cat People. EDITOR John W. Campbell, Jr. ARTIST Margaret Brundage. FANZINE Voice of the Imagi-Nation. FAN WRITER Fritz Leiber.
First Fandom Hall of Fame: Roger Sims and (posthumous) Chad Oliver. Moskowitz Archive Award: John Carter Tibbetts. Big Heart: Janice Gelb & Stephen Boucher.
• In the absence of a million monkeys with typewriters, the official ConNZealand ‘newsletter’ Cruise Log was constructed as a dump from social media feeds. Oh dear.

The Pallid Mask

Adam-Troy Castro can afford to be philosophical about all the copies of his novel Pharos offered as naughty downloads from pirate websites, finding consolation in the strong likelihood that these are laden with hideous digital infections, not to mention the interesting fact that he has never written a novel called Pharos. (Facebook, 17 July)

Ann Leckie takes her pleasures where she can: ‘Pleased to note that Google Translate still thinks the Spanish title of Ancillary Justice is “Assistant Attorney General”.’ (Twitter, 7 July) [F770]

George R.R. Martin, hosting the online Hugo presentations, made a resolute attempt on the record for interminability: a heavily cut video soon appeared on YouTube, titled When the Toastmaster Talks Less.

J.K. Rowling still has many loyal fans, but may be privately thinking that some are a bit too loyal: ‘Not long before Rowling was published, women authors were unheard of.’ (Twitter, 6 July)

John Sladek, perpetrator of the hoax Arachne Rising: The Thirteenth Sign of the Zodiac (1977 as by James Vogh), would if he were still with us be chuckling at recent Twitter excitement over a not even very new claim that NASA has wickedly upset the astrological apple-cart by adding the thirteenth ‘sign’ Ophiuchus (actually known about for millennia).

Betsy Wollheim of DAW Books broke the code of omertà and grumbled on Facebook about her author Patrick Rothfuss’s tardiness with his third ‘Kingkiller’ fantasy. A fan had speculated about lengthy editorial processes at DAW, but: ‘I’ve never seen a word of book three ... I don’t think he’s written anything for six years.’ (Newsweek, 27 July)


ONLINE. 6 Aug • Virtual First Thursday, 6-10pm, replacing the usual London pub meeting. See The Bishop’s Finger reopens on 3 August, but it still seems too soon for such a gathering. [RR]

ONLINE. 15 Aug • Small Press Day events throughout UK and Ireland. Postponed from 18 July: see

ONLINE. 23 Aug • BSFA AGM, members only. 2:30-5:30pm. With proposal of a new constitution! Discord link is

ONLINE. 28-31 Aug • Frightfest (film festival), ‘geo-locked for viewers in the UK only’. Tickets from

29-30 Aug • Sanctuary steampunk gathering, Kelham Hall Park, NG23 5QX. Replaces the cancelled Lincoln ‘Asylum’ festival. Outdoor event with social distancing and masks required. Prebooking only – no at-the-door tickets. See

ONLINE. 18-20 Sep • Oxonmoot (The Tolkien Society). New dates. £30 ‘per connection’ for all events; Tolkien Society members £20. More details at

POSTPONED TO 2021. 19 Sep • International Comics Expo (ICE), Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham. See

CANCELLED. 26-27 Sep • HorrorCon UK, Rotherham. See below.

CANCELLED. 26-27 Sep • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk. See below.

ONLINE. 7-11 Oct • Grimmfest (horror/cult films), was to be at Odeon Manchester Great Northern. See

CANCELLED. 9-11 Oct • Octocon, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. Memberships rolled over to 2021; refunds offered. An online substitute event for 2020 is planned. See

CANCELLED. 6-8 Nov • Armadacon, Future Inns, Plymouth. Memberships will be transferred to the 2021 event. See

28-31 Jan 2021 • ChillerCon UK (horror), Grand and Royal Hotels, Scarborough. The renamed StokerCon, postponed from April to August 2020 and then to 2021; there will be no Stoker Awards presentation, presumably because it’s the wrong time of year. Now £130 reg; HWA members £120; £50 supp. Day rates etc. at

2-5 Apr 2021 • ConFusion (Eastercon), Birmingham NEC Hilton. £70 reg until 22 November; £40 concessions; accompanied under-18s £20, under-5s £1. Online registration now live at

15-16 May 2021 • HorrorCon UK, Magna Science Adventure Centre, Sheffield Rd, Rotherham, S60 1DX. 2020 tickets transferred; refunds on application before 31 August. See

25-26 Sep 2021 • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk Showground Arena. Tickets £13 (£16 early entry); child £9 (£10) from

1-5 Sep 2022 • Chicon 8 (80th Worldcon), Chicago, IL, USA. GoH Charles de Lint (author), Floyd Norman (artist), Edie Stern & Joe Siclari (fan), Erle Korshak (First Fandom). $170 reg; under-25s $90; under-18s $70; under 14s $50; under-10s free; $50 supporting; all valid to 30 April 2021. Special rates for site selection voters etc. at

Rumblings. Worldcon Bids. Nice in 2023 (France) is postponed owing to COVID-19 disruption; Brisbane, Australia, will bid for 2025; Jeddahcon, the failed Saudi Arabian 2022 bid, is trying again for 2026.

Infinitely Improbable

As Others See Us. Interviewer (Hannah Beckerman): ‘Are there any genres you avoid in your own reading?’ Kit de Waal: ‘Yes, I don’t read any fantasy. I’ve never even read Lord of the Rings or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I only really like things that can happen or did happen. As soon as you introduce a talking horse or Mr Tumnus, I’m just not interested.’ (Guardian, 18 July) [JH] But magic realism is just fine.

Awards. Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery: Rick Raphael.
Kate Greenaway Medal (children’s illustration): Shaun Tan for Tales from the Inner City.
Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction: Colson Whitehead. [F770]
Prometheus (libertarian): NOVEL Alliance Rising by C. J. Cherryh and Jane S. Fancher. CLASSIC ‘Sam Hall’ (1953) by Poul Anderson.
SF and Fantasy Hall of Fame: Ted Chiang, D.C. Fontana, the Star Wars film series, and Watchmen (the original graphic novel). [L]
Scribe/Faust for life achievement in media tie-in work: Jean Rabe.
Shirley Jackson (suspense/horror) best novel: The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter. [ED]
World Fantasy life achievement: Karen Joy Fowler, Rowena Morrill.

Not Since Conan the Barbarian ... Tom Shippey’s appreciative review of Sarah Kozloff’s fantasy tetralogy is mostly hidden behind a paywall, but the headline added by the Wall Street Journal caused some fannish outcry and even sarcasm: ‘Science Fiction: Finally, a Grown-up Fantasy / The “Nine Realms” sequence has the scope and much of the gusto of Robert E. Howard’s famous Hyboria ...’ (17 July)

R.I.P. Late report: F. Alexander Brejcha (1957-2019), who began selling to Analog in 1989 and published the collections No World Warranty and People First! (both 2004), died on 11 February 2019 aged 61. [SHS]
Wilford Brimley (1934-2020), US actor in The Thing (1982), Cocoon (1985; also sequel) and Ewoks: Battle of Endor (1985), died on 1 August aged 85. [LP]
Earl Cameron (1917-2020), Bermuda-born UK actor with many genre credits from Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), Thunderball (1965) and Doctor Who (1966) to Neverwhere (1996), Revelation (2001) and Inception (2010), died on 3 July aged 102. [DC]
Lewis John Carlino (1932-2020), US screenwriter/director whose script credits include Seconds (1966) and Where Have All the People Gone (1974), died on 17 June aged 88. [AIP]
Victor Chizhikov (1935-2020), Russian illustrator of more than 100 childrens’ books (including fantasy) and designer of the 1980 Olympics bear mascot, died on 20 July aged 84. [PDF]
Harry Clein, Hollywood publicist for Star Wars (1977), Batman Returns (1992), Toy Story (1995), The Blair Witch Project (1999) and many more, died on 18 June aged 82. [AIP]
Joanna Cole (1944-2020), prolific US children’s author best known for the ‘Magic School Bus’ sequence opening with At the Waterworks (1986, with illustrator Bruce Degen) – which became a long-running tv series – died on 12 July aged 75. [PDF]
Nick Cordero (1978-2020), Canadian actor who played the title role in the off-Broadway musical of The Toxic Avenger (2010-2011), died on 5 July aged 41. [F770]
Gary William Crawford (1953-2020), US author, critic and publisher who founded Gothic Press in 1979 and wrote books on Robert Aickman, Ramsey Campbell and J. Sheridan Le Fanu, died on 9 July aged 67. [DAA]
Charlie Daniels (1936-2020) US musician who used supernatural themes in his best-known country song ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ (1979, a #1 hit) and in ‘The Legend Of Wooley Swamp’ (1980), died on 6 July aged 83. [LP]
Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020), noted UK actress whose rare genre credits include The Swarm (1978), died on 25 July aged 104. [LP]
Bent Fabricius-Bjerre (1924-2020), prolific Danish film/tv composer whose credits include Jasper’s Ghost (1992), died on 28 July aged 95. [MMW]
Carl Gafford (1953-2020), US comics fan who joined DC in 1973 and also worked for Marvel and others, mostly as editor and colorist, died on 13 July aged 66. [PDF]
Galyn Görg (1964-2020), US actress in The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988), RoboCop 2 (1990), Twin Peaks (1990), M.A.N.T.I.S. (1994-1995) and others, died on 14 July aged 55. [PDF]
Mavis Haut (1936-2020), author and critic who reviewed for Foundation and wrote The Hidden Library of Tanith Lee: Themes and Subtexts from Dionysos to the Immortal Gene (2001), died on 6 July. [JC]
Grant Imahara (1970-2020), US electronics/animatronics expert whose effects credits include all three Star Wars prequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Galaxy Quest (1999), A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) and two Matrix sequels, died on 13 July aged 49. [TM] Actor credits include Star Trek Continues (as Sulu, 2013-2017).
Jean-Pierre Laigle (1947-2020), French writer, critic, sf historian, translator from many languages for many French sf publishers, and editor/publisher of Antares (as Jean-Pierre Moumon), died on 1 July. [J-HH]
Moonyeenn Lee, South African casting director whose credits include Curse III: Blood Sacrifice (1991) and Tarzan and the Lost City (1998), died on 18 July aged 76. [SJ]
Johnny Mandel (1925-2020), Oscar-winning US composer who scored Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Freaky Friday (1976), Brenda Starr (1989) and others, died on 29 June aged 94. [MMW]
Bob Martin (1948-2020), founding editor in 1979 of Fangoria, with screenwriter credits for Frankenhooker (1990) and Basket Case 3 (1991), died on 20 July aged 71. [PDF]
Henry Martin (1925-2020), long-time New Yorker cartoonist who also contributed over 100 cartoons to F&SF, died on 30 June aged 94. [AIP/GVG]
Kurt Mitchell, US writer, artist, comics creator and videogame developer whose novels include A Stranger Side of Red (2012), died on 1 July aged 67. [SJ]
Haruma Miura (1990-2020), Japanese actor in Attack on Titan (2015) and the tv mini-series Never Let Me Go (2016), died on 18 July aged 30. [AIP]
Ennio Morricone (1928-2020) , Italian film/tv composer whose credits include The Thing (1982), Red Sonja (1985), Genesis: The Creation and the Flood (1994) and Mission to Mars (2000), died on 6 July aged 91. [SG]
Ro Nagey (1953-2020), US fan, con-goer, fanzine publisher, co-founder of the Stilyagi Air Corps fan club and juggler (sometimes with Stephen Leigh as Cosmos and Chaos) who had for some years lived in Wales, died on 27 July aged 67. [JZ]
Ted Newsom (1952-2020), US film-maker, film historian and screenwriter whose documentaries on genre topics include the 100 Years of Horror series (1996), and who had many director credits from Evil Spawn (1987) to Superman and the Secret Planet (2013), died on 4 July aged 67. [SG]
Jonathan Oppenheim (1952-2020), US film editor best known for documentaries, with a genre credit for The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), died on 17 July aged 67. [AIP]
Alan Parker (1944-2020), award-winning UK filmmaker whose productions include Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982) and Angel Heart (1987), died on 31 July aged 76. [SG/JJ]
Regis Philbin (1931-2020), US tv host and actor in Little Nicky (2000), Pinocchio (2002), Shrek the Third (2007) and Shrek Forever After (2010), died on 24 July aged 88. [LP]
Kelly Preston (1962-2020), US actress in SpaceCamp (1986), Amazon Women on the Moon (1987), Battlefield Earth (2000) and The Cat in the Hat (2003), died on 12 July aged 57. [AIP]
Naya Rivera (1987-2020), US actress in The Master of Disguise (2002), Frankenhood (2009) and At the Devil’s Door (2014), died on 8 July aged 33. [SJ]
Maurice Roëves (1937-2020), Scots actor whose genre credits include Doomwatch (1970), The Nightmare Man (1981), Doctor Who: ‘The Caves of Androzani’ (1984) and Judge Dredd (1995), died on 15 July aged 83. [S]
Annie Ross (1930-2020), UK singer and actress in The Beast Must Die (1974), Superman III (1983), Witchery (1988) and Basket Case 2 and 3 (1990, 1991), died on 21 July aged 89. [SJ]
John Saxon (1935-2020), US actor in Planet Earth (1974), Strange New World (1975), Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Death House (1988, which he also directed) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), died on 25 July aged 84. [LP]
Ronald L. Schwary (1944-2020), Oscar-winning US producer whose credits include Shadow of the Hawk (1976), *batteries not included (1987) and Medium (2005-2011), died on 2 July aged 76. [AIP]
Jacqueline Scott (1931-2020), US actress whose genre credits include Empire of the Ants (1977), died on 23 July aged 89. [PDF]
Susan Sizemore (1951-2020), US author of bestselling paranormal romances whose series include the vampire-themed ‘Laws of the Blood’ (6 novels) and ‘Primes’ (9 novels), died on 20 July aged 69. [JLN]
Phyllis Somerville (1943-2020), US actress in It All Came True (1998), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Daredevil (2015), died on 16 July aged 76. [AIP]
Guy Thomas, US screenwriter who scripted Wholly Moses! (1980), died on 10 July aged 66. [AIP]
Glen Warminger (1957-2020), UK fan and convention-goer – initially active in the Norwich sf group – whose fanzine was This Farce (5 issues 1980-1984), died on 17 July aged 62. [RS]
Brad Watson (1955-2020), US author of two novels and much short fiction – some, like ‘Water Dog God: A Ghost Story’, fantastic – died on 8 July aged 64. [GVG]

The Weakest Link. Q: ‘What celestial body orbits the Earth at a distance of about 239,000 miles?’ A: ‘The Sun.’ (ITV, The Chase.) [PE]

Sword and Sordidry. Lin Carter’s literary executor Robert M. Price revived Carter’s fantasy anthology series with Flashing Swords 6 (Pulp Hero Press, August), but contrived to sabotage it with his introduction. This wildly irrelevant political rant persuaded several contributors – who hadn’t seen it until Amazon let them ‘Look inside’ – to withdraw their stories, and the publisher to delist the book. (Bleeding Cool, 31 July)

Random Fandom. Fan Funds: the CoNZealand online auction raised $NZ2,190 for DUFF, FFANZ, GUFF and TAFF.
The Retro Hugo Statistics reveal that a single Fan Writer nomination for 1944 work (it took three to get on the final ballot and no one had more than six) went to some chap called David Langford. Ho ho, very satirical....

The Critical Heritage. Clifton Fadiman introduces a James Blish story: ‘This one, by an English science-fictioneer who at his best is as good as any of our home products ...’ (The Mathematical Magpie, 1962)

Editorial. Ansible Editions has just released John Sladek’s last completed novel, the offbeat mystery Puff Love, as a trade paperback and in the usual ebook formats. More at

Thog’s Masterclass. Eyeballs in the Simile. ‘... Harrowhark was quivering like a maggot next to a dead duck. As the Third traipsed out – as noisy as if they were leaving a play, not a sickroom – Harrow’s eyes went with them.’ (Tamsyn Muir, Gideon the Ninth, 2019) [NE]
Neat Tricks. ‘He was standing face-to-face with the man without a face.’ (Alfred Bester, The Demolished Man, 1953) [J-HH]
Familiar Scene in the Chemistry Lab. ‘... there were test tubes, beakers and a few graduates broken and lying around.’ (Jerry Sohl, The Haploids, 1952) [BA]
Expressionist Dept. ‘She stamped her foot, but a merry smile contradicted her stern frown.’ (Miles J. Breuer, ‘The Captured Cross-Section’, Amazing Stories, 1929)
Servants of the What? ‘... then he saw two pheasants balancing on the rim of the fountain. A wanking and flapping from behind made him wince ...’ (Pamela C. Dean, The Secret Country, 1985) [BA]
Radiophonic Workshop Dept. ‘She pushed her chair forward and tried to drown out all of the noise around her: Marianne on the telephone, Charlie banging away, the persistence of a clock ticking somewhere in the room, and the sound of Mr. Babcock’s eyeballs on her back.’ (Susie Orman Schnall, We Came Here to Shine, 2020) [KM]

Geeks’ Corner

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

The Dead Past. 40 Years Ago, a plunge was taken: ‘For reasons shrouded in official secrecy and middle-class reticence [...] this humble editor has left AWRE for the far more thrilling and less remunerative field of pro writing. Undaunted by the encouragement of publishers (“It’s an easy decision to make, but ...”) and agents (“The book trade is in the worst depression it has known for a great many years ...”), your hero freed himself with a single bound and is now self-employed! Some day I must write a book....’ (Ansible 11, August 1980) Some day I must.

Virtual Fan Meetings.
• 6 August 2020, evening: Alison Scott has set up this alternative to the physical London First Thursday meeting: ‘Please share this with people who you know typically come to the Bishop’s Finger, but aren’t on Facebook.’
• 10 August 2020, 8pm-9:30pm: Event Horizon online.
• 16 August 2020 (and every other third Sunday of the month), afternoon/early evening: Sheffield SF and Fantasy Society online meeting using Zoom. For access details contact Fran Dowd, thesofa [at] gmail dot com.

Editorial II. Four of the free ebooks at the TAFF site were significantly updated in July with added material: All Our Yesterdays: The Fanzine Columns (December 2019) by Harry Warner Jr, A Budrys Miscellany by Algis Budrys (May 2020), The Full Glass Bushel (June 2020) by Bob Shaw and The Serious Scientific Talks (November 2019) by Bob Shaw. See

Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• CoNZealand Hugo and Retro Hugo statistics; watch the Hugo ceremony; condensed version When the Toastmaster Talks Less (3hr 35min) (1hr 42min)
• New Michael Moorcock bibliography under construction
• Scribe Awards for media tie-in work
• World Fantasy Awards shortlist
• Worlds Apart: Sci-Fi Visions of Altered Reality

Late-Breaking Awards Extra: Mike Ashley has won the Munsey Award for services to the pulp community.

Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 157, August 2000. ‘Out came the contents of his stomach in a heaving, gelatinous rush – the mixed grill he had eaten for breakfast at the hotel, the sandwich and the can of 7-Up he had had for lunch ...’ (J.M.H. Lovegrove, The Krilov Continuum, 1998)
Pre-Copernican Dept. ‘The lurid light was as bright as the day of a planet circled by a red sun.’ (Barbara Michaels, Houses of Stone, 1993)
Dept of Unexpected Positioning. ‘The sky over Vattown was a dull, flat, grey, and Ada Chichelski walked beneath it.’ (Anne Harris, Accidental Creatures, 1998)

Ansible® 397 © David Langford, 2020. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Douglas A. Anderson, David Carlile, John Clute, Ellen Datlow, Paul Di Filippo, Nick Eden, File 770, Steve Green, Janice Hillman, John-Henri Holmberg, John Jarrold, Steve Jones, Locus, Kyle McAbee, Todd Mason, Jody Lynn Nye, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Roger Robinson, Siadwell, Robert Stubbs, Gordon Van Gelder, Steven H Silver, Martin Morse Wooster, Joel Zakem, and Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (BSFG), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Oz). 3 August 2020