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Ansible® 407, June 2021

From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Sue Mason. Available for SAE or a belt buckle, a tungsten filament, three hens’ eggs and ...

The Dream of X

Adrian Cole’s author page at reports that his works ‘have been translated into many languages including German, Dutch, Belgian ...’ Our researcher speculates that ‘readers are eagerly awaiting the translations into Swiss and Yugoslavian.’ [PD]

Steve Davidson of Amazing Stories, who had ‘only been operating at between 10 and 30 percent capacity this past 18 months’ (Facebook, 12 May), has had successful open heart surgery and is reportedly doing well (Amazing blog, 13 May). Fingers crossed for a full recovery....

Aidan Harte, the Irish fantasy author who is also a sculptor, has been in the news since his sinisterly horse-headed ‘Púca of Ennistymon’ sculpture, commissioned by Clare County Council, was put on hold after objections from locals that ‘culminated with the priest denouncing it from the altar as a pagan idol.’ (, 12 May) [JF/SJ] I forget whether Scots Catholics were similarly frit by plans for The Kelpies.

Rhys Hughes nears the end of the tunnel: ‘I have been writing short stories almost non-stop for the past thirty years, averaging thirty stories per year. I am extremely glad that long ago I set myself an upper limit of 1000 and no more, because now I am weary of writing short stories. Looking forward to reaching my target and then forgetting about short stories forever. People don’t believe me when I say this but it’s true. Only 24 short stories left to write and I am done, finished, free!’ (20 May)

Michael Moorcock was silenced: ‘Some Tolkytroll got me kicked off Facebook so I can no longer be contacted there. [You] need a mobile phone to get back on and I don’t have a mobile phone! Neither do I intend to jump through censorship hoops. Tcha! So it looks like Jeremiah Cornelius is exiting Fb.’ (4 May) He has since returned with a new user ID that thumbs its nose vigorously at Facebook’s ‘real names only’ rule.

John Steinbeck’s estate is resisting academic pleas for the release of his werewolf ‘horror potboiler’ Murder at Full Moon, rejected in 1930 and never published despite his later fame. (Guardian, 22 May)


Until 31 Oct • V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask (exhibition), Cartoon Museum, London. £8.50; £5 concessions; £3 students. See

ONLINE. 3 Jun • Virtual First Thursday, 6-10pm, instead of the London pub meeting. See Could there be a physical meeting on 1 July? Updates to follow at

ONLINE. 4-6 Jun • Cymera: Scotland’s Festival of SF, Fantasy & Horror Writing. See

ONLINE. 18-20 Jun • Punctuation 2. £5. See

ONLINE. 26 Jun • BSFA and SF Foundation AGMs plus panels etc. Starts at noon. Further details emailed to BSFA members; SFF members (Foundation subscribers) should ask grahamsleight at gmail dot com.

2-4 Jul • Lavecon (sf/fantasy/gaming), Sedgebrook Hall Hotel, Northants.Tickets are on sale at

ONLINE. 3-4 July • Tolkien Society Summer Seminar. See

15-18 July • Eurocon 2021, Fiuggi, Italy. €50 reg. Still planned as an in-person event requiring COVID-19 vaccination or pre-testing (Facebook, 24 April). Registration form and latest news at

CANCELLED. 18 Jul • Forever Avon (Blake’s 7), Steventon Village Hall, Steventon, Oxfordshire. Next event 10 July 2022. Tickets automatically transferred. See

25 Jul • Paperback & Pulp Book Fair, International Students House, 229 Great Portland St, London. 10:30am-4:30pm. £2 admission.

CANCELLED. 6-9 Aug • Continuum (RPG), John Foster Hall, Manor Road, Leicester University, Oadby. Cancellation announced by email on 11 May [MR] but not as yet at

HYBRID? 20 Aug • TitanCon, Hilton Hotel, Belfast. Perhaps a free limited-numbers ‘moot’ with readings broadcast online; see

ONLINE. 22-24 Oct • The Ineffable Con 3 (Good Omens). Ticket price: what you will (for charity). See

5-7 Nov • Corflu 38, Mercure Holland Hotel, Bristol. £50/$60 reg; $15/$20 supporting; planned 1 July rate rise delayed to September. Hotel booking form, for members only, downloadable at

15-19 Dec • DisCon III (Worldcon), Washington DC, USA. Now $225 reg; YA $115; virtual $75; supp $50; other rates at Hugo voting is open, closing 19 November: see

Infinitely Improbable

Always Look on the Bright Side. ‘Say what you will about the people in Shirley Jackson’s unsettling short story “The Lottery”, but at least they took pride in their town’s unique traditions.’ (John Kelly, ‘John Kelly’s Washington’ column, Washington Post, 6 May) [PL]

Awards. Bram Stoker (horror) novel categories only: NOVEL The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. DEBUT The Fourth Whore by EV Knight. YOUNG ADULT Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare.

As Others See Us. Another belated realization to chill our very bones: ‘The stuff of science fiction is once again becoming the stuff of reality.’ (Theunis Bates, editorial in The Week, 14 May) [MMW]

R.I.P. Tony Armatrading (1961-2021), UK actor with voice roles in Eragon (2006) and four Star Wars: The Old Republic videogames (2011-2015), died on 10 May aged 60. [SJ]
Charles Beeson (1957-2021), UK tv director whose credits include Afterlife (2005-2006), Timeless (2016) and Supernatural (14 episodes 2007-2020), died on 26 April. [AIP]
K. (Karl) Arne Blom (1946-2021), noted Swedish crime fiction author – three of whose novels are set in a bleak future twenty years distant – died on 20 April aged 75. [J-HH]
Shane Briant (1946–2021), UK actor whose early Hammer films included Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), died on 27 May aged 74. [SJ]
John Bush, UK editor and publisher who oversaw the Gollancz sf list and chaired the company from 1963 until he retired in 1982, died on 29 April aged 105. He was the 1977 Eastercon guest of honour. [MJE]
David Butler (1960-2021), South African actor in The Canterville Ghost (1983), Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) and others, died on 27 May aged 61. [SJ]
René Cardona III, Mexican director and actor whose horror films included Vacaciones de terror (1989 aka Horror Holiday), died on 16 May aged 59. [SJ]
Eric Carle (1929-2021), noted US children’s writer and illustratror best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), who in his long career created a few sf book covers, died on 23 May aged 91.
Gary Compton, UK small press publisher and editor at Tickety Boo Press, died on 25 May. [SJ]
Neil Connery (1938-2021), Scots actor – brother of Sean – in Operation Kid Brother (1967, aka Operation Double 007) and The Body Stealers (1969), died on 11 May aged 83. [LP]
Frank Cox (1940-2021), UK tv producer/director with genre credits for Doctor Who (1964) and Doomwatch (1970), died on 29 April aged 80. [PDF]
Johnny Crawford (1946-2021), US actor in The Space Children (1958), Village of the Giants (1965), The Thirteenth Floor (1999), Hellboy (2004) and others, died on 29 April aged 75. [SJ]
Blackie Dammett (1939-2021), US actor in The Lost Empire (1984) and A Night at the Magic Castle (1988), died on 12 May aged 81. [SHS]
Olympia Dukakis (1931-2021), US actress in The Last Keepers (2013), died on 1 May aged 89. [SHS]
Dave Evans alias Bolt-01, UK independent comics editor, letterer and publisher with FutureQuakePress (whose titles include Dogbreath, FutureQuake and Zarjaz), died on 5 May. [GW]
Charles W. Fries (1928-2021), US executive producer of She Waits (1972), Sandcastles (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978), Timestalkers (1987), the Dick-based Screamers (1995) and others, died on 22 April aged 92. [SJ]
Charles Grodin (1935–2021), US actor in Rosemary’s Baby (1968), King Kong (1976), Heaven Can Wait (1978) and The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), died on 18 May aged 86. [LP]
Robert Hall (1973-2021), US make-up/effects artist with many genre credits from The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) to The Malibu Tapes (2021), died on 24 May aged 47. [SJ]
Richard Halliwell (1959-2021), UK game designer who co-created the original Warhammer in 1983, died on 3 May aged 62. [SHS]
Jesse Hamm, US comics artist for DC, Marvel and alternative/independent imprints, died on 12 May. [SHS]
Wynn Hammer (1924-2021), US still photographer who worked on genre films from The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973) via Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) to Maxie (1985), died on 2 May aged 97. [SJ]
Billie Hayes (1924-2021), US actress who played witches in H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-1970), Lidsville (1971-1972), The Black Cauldron (1985) and Shrek Forever After (2010), died on 29 April aged 96. [PDF]
Marty Helgesen (1938-2021), US fan and APA contributor whose 1980s-1990s fanzine was Radio Free Thulcandra, died on 23 May aged 82. [AIP/F770]
Tom Hickey (1944-2021), Irish actor in Gothic (1986) and High Spirits (1988), died on 1 May aged 77. [SHS]
Chuck Hicks (1927-2021), US actor and stuntman in many genre films from Creature with the Atom Brain (1955) to Legion (2010), died on 4 May aged 93. [SJ]
Kevin Jackson (1955-2021), UK author, broadcaster and film-maker whose genre work includes the vampire rock opera Bite (2011, plus related short films), the comics adaption Dante’s Inferno (2012 with Hunt Emerson) and the BFI Classics book on Nosferatu, died on 10 May aged 66. [DP]
Nathan Jung (1946-2021), US actor in Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Darkman (1990), The Shadow (1994) and others, died on 24 April aged 74. [MMW]
Lorina Kamburova (1991-2021), Bulgarian-born actress in Nightworld: Door of Hell (2017), Doom: Annihilation (2019) and others, died on 26 May aged 30. [SJ]
Marvin Kaye (1938-2021), US editor – of many anthologies, H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror 2004-2009 and Weird Tales from 2011 – and author best known for The Masters of Solitude (1978) with Parke Godwin and The Incredible Umbrella (1979), died on 13 May aged 83. [TM]
Shunsuke Kikuchi (1931-2021), Japanese composer with score credits for Kamen Rider (1971-1973) plus spinoffs, Gamera films beginning with Gamera vs. Jiger (1970), the Dragon Ball (1968-1989)/Dragon Ball Z franchise and many more, died on 24 April aged 89. [SJ]
Tawny Kitaen (1961-2021), US actress in Witchboard (1986), Eek! The Cat (1992-1995) and Hercules in the Underworld (1994, plus related Hercules films and the tv series), died on 7 May aged 59. [LP]
David Anthony Kraft (1952-2021), US comics writer/critic, sf publisher as Fictioneer Books, and editor of Comics Interview and OAK Leaves (the official Otis Adelbert Kline journal), died on 20 May. [PDF]
Willy Kurant (1934-2021), Belgian cinematographer whose films include The Incredible Melting Man (1977) and Mama Dracula (1980), died on 1 May aged 87. [SJ]
Joe Lara (1962-2021), US actor in American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1993), Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996-2000, as Tarzan) and Doomsdayer (2000), died on 29 May aged 58. [MMW]
Paul Leon (1972-2021), US comics artist who worked on Static, Earth X, and Batman: Creature of the Night, died on 1 May aged 49. [PDF]
Stephanie Sinclaire Lightsmith, US film-maker whose productions include The Tell-Tale Heart (2004), Goblin Market (2016) and Tears of Valhalla (2016), died on 14 April aged 67. [AIP]
Gary Littlejohn (1946-2021), US actor/stuntman in Howard the Duck (1986), Near Dark (1987), The Mask (1994) and others, died on 15 May aged 75. [SJ].
Douglas Livingstone (1934-2021), UK actor and screenwriter who voiced Gimli in the Radio 4 Lord of the Rings (1981) and adapted The Day of the Triffids as a BBC tv series (1981), died on 19 April aged 86. [AIP]
Norman Lloyd (1914-2021), US producer, director and actor whose credits include Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1957-1962; follow-up 1963-1965), Journey to the Unknown (1968-1969) and Tales of the Unexpected (1982-1985), died on 10 May aged 106. [SG]
Frank McRae (1944-2021), US actor in *batteries not included (1987), Last Action Hero (1993) and Asteroid (1997), died on 29 April aged 77. [MMW]
Kentaro Miura (1966-2021), Japanese comics artist who created the best-selling dark fantasy manga Berserk (1989-current), died on 6 May aged 54. [AIP]
Jim Rittenhouse (1957-2021), US fan who founded the alternate history APA Point of Divergence and was a long-time Sidewise Award judge, died on 16 May aged 64. [SHS]
Jean-Claude Romer (1933-2021), French film critic and historian who co-edited Midi-Minuit Fantastique magazine (1963-1971) and had cameos in many genre films – playing the Frankenstein monster in Cinémania (1978) – died on 8 May aged 88. [SJ]
Don Sakers (1958-2021), Japanese-born US author and reviewer whose novels include the Scattered Worlds sf series opening with The Leaves of October (1988) and who wrote the Analog ‘Reference Library’ books column 2009-2021, died on 17 May aged 62. [SE]
Roy Scammell (1932–2021), UK stuntman and stunt arranger for A Clockwork Orange (1971), Rollerball (1975), Alien (1979) and many more, died on 15 May aged 88. (Guardian)
Paul Soles (1930-2021), Canadian actor whose tv voice credits include King Kong (1966), Captain America (1966), Spider-Man (title role 1967-1970) and Redwall (2000-2001), died on 26 May aged 90. [PDF]
Benoît Sokal (1954-2021), Belgian comics artist and videogame developer who created the Syberia adventure game series (2002-current), died on 28 May aged 66. [PDF]
Peggy Spirito (1929-2021) UK script/continuity editor whose credits include One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Avengers (1967-1969) and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) (1969-1971), died in May aged 92. [SJ]
Bill Starr (1933-2021), US author of the linked space operas The Way to Dawnworld (1975) and The Treasure of Wonderwhat (1977), died on 8 May aged 87. [WDS via A]
Janet (Jan) Stirling (1950-2021), US author of several genre stories since 1995 – both solo and with her husband S.M. Stirling – died on 8 May aged 71. [PH]
Romy Walthall/Romy Windsor (1963-2021), US actress in Howling IV (1988) and The House of Usher (1989), died on 19 May aged 57. [MMW]
Victor Wood (1946-2021), Filipino actor who starred in Fight! Batman, Fight! (1973), died on 23 April aged 75. [SJ]
Samuel E. Wright (1946-2021), US actor with voice roles in The Little Mermaid (1989, plus tv series and sequels) and Dinosaur (2000), died on 24 May aged 74; he was also in the 1997 Broadway version of The Lion King. [PDF]

Translation Corner. Alasdair Gray’s version of Dante suggests the poet was influenced by Blade Runner: a famous line about memories that melt away like snow is here amplified with ‘and this is how our tears are lost in rain’. (Paradiso, canto 33, translation published 2020)

Outraged Letters. Stephen Gallagher writes: ‘Much buzz in social media over a Variety announcement that Bryan Talbot's “Luther Arkwright” graphic novels are in development for live-action TV by Three River Studios. Bryan’s deal was made by Ellen Gallagher of Casarotto Ramsay, of whom I’d say “no relation” were it not for that fact that I’d be lying and missing out on a moment of parental pride.’ (3 May)
Mike Moorcock was unimpressed by Guillermo del Toro’s US court win against a claim of plagiarism in The Shape of Water (see A406), reckoning that ‘they picked the wrong case to sue him over. I’ve always considered him a good xerographer. As do others he’s pinched from.’ (30 April)

The Dead Past. 40 Years Ago, the essence of Ballardian diction was captured: ‘a poster in Forbidden Planet bookshop depicts a noted skiffy author with speech-balloon: “Hi! I’m J.G. Ballard! I’ll be signing copies of my new book Hello America here on June 6 ...”’ (Ansible 18, June 1981)
50 Years Ago, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth: ‘The Arts Council have discontinued their grants to both New Worlds (about £1500) and Ambit (£400). The latter will almost certainly fold as a result. Hurrah for jolly Conservatives....’ (Checkpoint 5, 26 June 1971)

Random Fandom. John Bray has set up a wiki called FanBase which does clever things by automated scraping of other fan history sites: [project now being reconsidered; URL redacted at John’s request].
The National Fantasy Fan Federation president treated members on 2 May to an emailed bundle of ‘Free Fanzines from the N3F’, including PDF issues of Ansible. [MG] When mildly reproved for not asking permission, he poutingly cancelled his subscription.
John Scalzi ‘needs his writing license revoked’, tweeted an admirer who got the reply: ‘I am an unlicensed writer and YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME, COPPERS, he yelled, driving away down the wrong side of the English language, gerunds screaming as they ran for cover’. (Twitter, 26 May)

Fanfundery. The sixtieth TAFF ebook is Rob Hansen’s Faan Fiction 1930-2020: an exploration – a critical survey of UK fan fiction in the older sense of fiction about fans, with many examples. Free download at Also, I’ve added another 5,000 words of previously undiscovered material to A Budrys Miscellany:

Thog’s Masterclass. Neat Tricks. ‘Poirot concealed a smile in his moustache.’ (Agatha Christie, Hickory Dickory Dock, 1955)
Mysteries of Anatomy (or What, No Cellphone?). ‘The girl had a tiny purse tucked into her vagina, just big enough to hold her driver’s license, a credit card, and a few bucks.’ (Stuart Woods, Desperate Measures, 2018) (Twitter @menwritewomen) [LW]
Dept of Irresistible Opening Lines. ‘It was the year 1992 when the premonition that an incalculable disaster would strike its fangs into some member of the universe caused much concern in our solar system.’ (Clinton Constantinescu, ‘The War of the Universe’, Amazing Stories Quarterly, Fall 1931) [DS]
Great SF Predictions. ‘Under the influence of Plutonium, you were able to extend the moment of present cognition in both directions, and to behold simultaneously a certain portion of that which is normally beyond perception.’ (Clark Ashton Smith, ‘The Plutonian Drug’, 1934) [NWW]
Hard Radiation Dept. ‘The aggression radiating from the girl’s shuddering body was so palpable it could have had a thousand-year half-life.’ (Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Lucifer’s Dragon, 1998) [BA]
Dept of Elocution. ‘“Hziulquoigmnzhah,” he sought to articulate.’ (Clark Ashton Smith, ‘The Door to Saturn’, 1932) [NWW]
One-Legged Army Dept. ‘From ten thousand throats a cry went up “Kill them! Kill them!” And like some vast beast with ten thousand legs ...’ (George R.R. Martin, Fire and Blood, 2018) [BA]

Geeks’ Corner

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Virtual Meetings.
• 3 June 2021, 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.’
• 27 June 2021 (normally third Sunday of the month; delayed to avoid clash with Punctuation above), afternoon/early evening: Sheffield SF and Fantasy Society online meeting using Zoom. For access details contact Fran Dowd, thesofa [at] gmail dot com.

Editorial. Preparing a new home for the SF Encyclopedia (still due to be evicted from its current Hachette/Gollancz host in October) has been taking up rather too much of my time. The only current book project, though very much on the back burner, is a planned collection of fan fiction by Walt Willis inspired by Rob Hansen’s latest TAFF ebook as described above; even the monumental Willis collection Warhoon 28 omitted almost all of Walt’s writing in that curious subgenre. Don’t expect anything to come of this for many months....
• Matthew Davies, to whom thanks for unearthing the new material added to A Budrys Miscellany, has also discovered a Thomas M. Disch/John T. Sladek collaboration previously lost to history – in which the two great men combine forces to produce a determinedly groovy profile-cum-interview piece for GQ Scene (Winter 1967-1968), titled ‘St. Eric the Animal’ and starring Eric Burdon of The Animals. Matthew: ‘I knew Disch had contributed a few items to a GQ spin-off marketed at the teen/college market, but I didn’t expect a profile of a pop star, and certainly can’t see why it took the two of them to write it.’ Bibliographers take note!

Outraged Letters II. R.I. Barycz provides a warning from history: ‘Do we not realize that every person vaccinated against the smallpox by Dr Jenner in 1796 has now up and DIED? The antivax cretins of this parish never mention that fact.’ (10 May)

Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• Bram Stoker and HWA awards in full
• A fantasy-themed crossword
• Locus Awards finalists

Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 167, June 2001. How to Recognize the Marquis de Sade. ‘Only his hands betrayed the disguise – white and plump like a pair of corpse-fed spiders, ornamented with a dozen costly jewels like the glistening bodies of dead insects. Despite the well-tended softness of the skin, the nails were black and ragged, as if eaten away by unspeakable vices.’ (Andre Norton & Rosemary Edghill, Leopard in Exile, 2001)
Can You Feel Anything When I Do This? ‘Then it [pain] entered him with power: into his eyes, down his throat, in through his nose, his ears, ripping open his rectum and jamming up the length of his shriveled penis, forcing into him with howling lust; it filled him to bursting, swelling him from within, stretching him thinner and thinner like a weather balloon expanding toward destruction, while it dissolved and digested his guts, his heart, lungs and bones, everything within the stretching membrane of his skin. His eyeballs expanded, threatening to burst from his face, to explode from the pressure that built within them. / He screamed in pain as he squeezed his eyelids shut, trying to keep his eyes in their sockets by sheer strength ...' (Matthew Stover, Blade of Tyshalle, 2001)

Ansible® 407 © David Langford, 2021. Thanks to Ahasuerus, Brian Ameringen, Peter Danssaert, Matthew Davies, Paul Di Filippo, Scott Edelman, Malcolm Edwards, File 770, Jo Fletcher, Mike Glyer, Steve Green, Peter Halasz, John-Henri Holmberg, Steve Jones, Pamela Love, Todd Mason, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, Marcus Rowland, Darrell Schweitzer, Steven H Silver, William December Starr, Nicholas Wynn Watkins, Gary Wilkinson, Liz Williams, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 June 2021