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Ansible 41, December 1984

Cartoon: Atom

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 Pat McMurray ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1994.

ANSIBLE 41 confronts the impending horrors of 1985, but not with any great effect. Still in charge: DAVE LANGFORD of 94 LONDON RD, READING, BERKSHIRE, RG1 5AU, England. Predictions of grossly inflationary subscription increases are borne out by our NEW RATES: 5 issues for £2.00 sterling. Notes to me, cheques/money orders to ANSIBLE, Girobank transfer to a/c 24 475 4403, $3.50 US to agents Mary & Bill Burns, 23 Kensington Ct, Hempstead, NY 11550. The mysterious silence of Leigh Edmonds has delayed plans for a handy Aussie subscription rate & local address (anyone else interested?). Cartoon by ATOM, mailing labels lovingly hand-crafted on vellum by KEITH FREEMAN, last issue's collation by Chris Hughes and Andrew Stephenson – not to mention the debut of FANG the electric stapler. Mailing label explanation: let's face it, no one ever understands or reads this bit, but the secret is to SEND MONEY unless your label says TRADE or features a number higher than 41. Date: December 1984.

The Small Print: Brian Stableford is looking for cheap copies of his sf novel The Walking Shadow (which did so well as to sell out completely in 7 weeks, whereupon Fontana declined to reprint) and is interested in hearing from you at 113, St Peter's Rd, Reading, Berks, RG6 1PG. Horst G. Troster of Escherscheimer Landstr 319, D-6000 Frankfurt/M 1, W Germany, is eager to contact anyone with tapes of the original Hitch-Hiker series with a view to p*r*cy/purchase/swap. Hazel's Language Lessons are real and come from real dictionaries (to assure new subscribers who've expressed Doubt). Andy Richards sends background from Pages From The Book of III: A Prydain Glossary (TK Graphics)... 'Hazel Nuts Of Wisdom. These remarkable nuts, which enabled the eater to understand the language of animals, grew on only one hazel tree in Prydain...' No comment from Hazel. [ISSN 0265-9816]

NOVACON 14 • Birmingham 9-12 Nov 1984

One awesome fact loomed above all others at Novacon, and that was guest of honour Rob Holdstock's imminent change of address to 54 Raleigh Road, London, N.8, phone 01-348-5727. ("I'm famous," he said. "I want a big prominent CoA notice, none of your mingy little duplicated bits at the back." OK, boss.)

Convention sensawonder began for us in a semi-infinite, rain-lashed NEC car park. "We're late for our Contravention meeting at the exhibition hotel!" shrieked Chris Hughes, hurling Hazel and me dextrously from his car and rattling off with Jan to plot the future of Eastercons. Several monsoon seasons later we found a station, a train, Birmingham, the Grand Hotel and a closed bar (in that order). The venue change from the Royal Angus freshened the con no end, with so many more rooms in which to see the programme not happening; layout was particularly eldritch, inexplicable flights of stairs in mid-corridor and a behind-the-scenes labyrinth recalling The Name Of The Rose. One hoped short cut between floors led me after many adventures to a forbidden balcony full of lighting gear, overlooking the main hall.

Merciful oblivion surrounds my Saturday morning blither, misdrafted on Wednesday while Steve Higgins duplicated millions of fanzines mere inches from the back of my neck; it was, by request, all about The Leaky Establishment and the jokes are far too classified to quote. Later, R. Holdstock confronted me: "You bastard," he said. "I hear your talk was so good, my GoH speech is going to be a pathetic anticlimax. I'll get you for this..." John Brosnan, it seemed, had been cheering Rob with not wholly sincere reports of 10 minute standing ovations – I should be so lucky. Rob's speech I rather liked; it moved from nervous fannish jokes (and declarations of true lust for Jan Huxley) to a thesis on Arthurian Myth In The Novels Of Robert P. Holdstock. A few fans' minds proved insufficiently cosmic to cope with both. I contrived to miss the 'Krapton Factor' game and never discovered the nature of its dreaded food assault course (when questioned, those in the know turned delicate avocado-colour and clapped hands over their mouths). An art auction saw staggeringly colossal bids, enough to make my bank manager put on the black cap, while Pete Lyon's tatty con-clothes began somehow to look like the affectation of an eccentric millionaire. Chuck Harris, surprise revenant fan of the con, was heard to ask the cost of paint-by-numbers kits.

Most soothing party: Beccon's, whose olde-worlde atmosphere revived the dying art of party chat. Most street-credible: Mexicon's, of course, with its merciless right-and-left assault of Disaster Area rock music and Agent Orange punch. (I stopped being street credible a while ago.) Best Rumour: that Bob (fake) Shaw, whose book trade is said to have diversified into porn, had arrived on his motorbike for a Novacon at the usual time and place: several hundred yards away and a week before. This, as a ghastly example of what happens when you let your Ansible subscription lapse, went straight into the Too Good To Check pigeonhole.

Linda Strickler James took me warmly by the throat and explained that last issue I'd been naughty, chiefly by failing to realize her Yorcon II rank of 'co-ordinator' is what in lesser cons would be called 'chair'. Mike Sherwood confided that Space-Ex 84's revised August Bank Holiday date was cancelled with seconds to spare, that 40 of several thousand expected fans turned up, and that the whole debacle was now 'put forward' to 1986 – oh God! Bob Shaw said he'd never buy a word processor, even as Chris Priest, far off in America, was slowly succumbing (after years of denouncing the vile machines he's bought himself an Apricot). Barry Bayley said he never worried about being remaindered, and had some more drinks while I gnashed my teeth over Arrow's perfidy (the usual: Space Eater remaindered, without warning, in breach of contract, and newish Arrow MD Nick Webb thinks he can smooth it over with a flabby apology – ha!).

The closing ceremony was weird. Nova awards went to Dave Wood's Xyster as best fanzine (runners-up This Never Happens and For Paranoids Only), D. West as fanartist (2nd Atom, 3rd Margaret Welbank) and Anne Warren as fanwriter (2nd me, 3rd tied between Mal Ashworth & Nigel Richardson). It was evident that of possible voting blocs feared by paranoids – born-again 50s fans, 70s elitists, apas, women – all had successfully manipulated the award! Huge cheers greeted the Concrete Overcoat Fan Fund presentation; detailed voting figures would appear here had proprietor Kev Clarke sent them. The Big 3, says my notebook, were Ian Sorensen (73 votes), Novacon chair Steve Green (100) and, winner with 149, Richard Bergeron. Puerto Rico being far away, Rob Hansen accepted the trophy on Richard's behalf, not without the shadow of some emotion passing over his face. Then – controversy! Rob Holdstock having often told the committee that as GoH he wished to be fawned on by bevies of naked dancing girls, they took him approximately at his word and hired a 'kissogram' greeting – only for a rumoured Hidden Hand to pay the extra £60 for a 'strippogram'. The Holdstock grin froze as things jiggled in front of it. Bob Shaw wailed his regret at having missed it all; others were less keen, and protests both verbal and written were duly delivered to the committee (doubtless very properly, though Hazel and I had the rebellious thought that when public breastfeeding and the odd bare bosom in the Fancy Dress are seemingly OK, it seemed a trifle much to express huge horror that 'children should be subjected to the display'. Hell, she kept her g-string on ... [*]). Subsequently one committee member dropped out of fandom, while Steve Green says he'll attend no more big cons except –

Novacon 15 passes into the hands of Phill Probert and will cost you £7, to 32 Digby House, Colletts Grove, Kingshurst, Birmingham, B37 6JE. I rather look forward to returning to the Grand, where we had a hell of a good time.


Frank Herbert turned up for a brief press conference on the Dune debacle – er, film – a few weeks ago. There were only two people there who had actually read anything he'd written – myself, and a bald journalist in a shabby mac (yes, I know that describes most of them) who tended to ask magnificent questions like "I read Dune the first time it came out and the thing that struck me then as indeed it seems to have struck most of the reading populace is that it's a great story, a wonderful story, I thought the way it unfolded, the way it was sustained, there was so much imagination involved in it. Later on as the years went on, I suppose people have read things into it, I suppose the same thing happened with Lord Of The Rings and lots of other things. The whole SF genre in general... I'm sorry I shall get to the question... is entertainment still your first priority, Mr Herbert?"

Herbert: I'd feel a helluva lot more comfortable if you'd call me Frank, guys.

Bald Journalist in Mac who Woffled: Er, thank you, er, Frank...

Herbert: Yes it is. Next question?

... etc, etc. Mainly he said what a nice, good, great, magnificent, marvellous, fab, cool, groovy, hip, zowie-gosh film Dune was. He also answered questions like, "As a science fiction writer, people will of course assume you are a weirdo who believes in UFOs?"

Herbert: Well, I do believe in UFOs – unidentified flying objects. Please don't hear that as anything else.

Reporter: No, no, of course, understood, yes. Do you get a lot of people giggling at you because of your beliefs, being seen as a crank etc? [Visions of I HAVE SEEN THE SAUCER PEOPLE SAYS DUNE MAN headlines leaping about him.]

Herbert: I don't think you entirely understood me...

It might have been a livelier time if anybody there had seen the film, but since it still hadn't been previewed a scant month before release date... (I think they're scared. Preview is 2 days before it goes on release!) (NG)


Brian Aldiss: "Germany has just phoned to say I have won the Lasswitz award for Best Foreign Novel of '83 (Helliconia Spring). The Lasswitz is the Booker Prize of Westphalia, by the way... It would have cheered you to be at the Priest pad for Halloween, where a number of magical realists told spine-chilling and gonad-warming ghost stories." (BA)

John Brosnan: "Bob Shaw isn't the only one to have a 'spontaneous combustion' book coming out from Granada in paperback. My own – now called, I think, Torched! after originally being called Sizzle, then The Searing – will be leaving a fiery trail through the publishing firmament in mid-85. It's very different from Bob's, being a sleazy exploitation job with which I'm quite pleased. It will give a whole new meaning to the term 'hot flushes'... Isn't it time you gave a plug to the sterling efforts of Harry Adam Knight, especially as his 3rd book will be out by your next issue? It is, of course, called The Fungus and is so disgusting that two copyeditors at Star had to be hospitalized while working on it. [So far I've been lucky and received no review copies of any HAK books. Nor invitations to the sumptuous launch parties. DRL]

"Sad news from Starburst mag – editor Alan McKenzie has had enough and has resigned. The management threaten to change Starburst's format and make it 'more juvenile'. No need for obvious jokes like 'How?' – countless others have got there before you. But seriously, such a change will mean an end of the few intellectual bits of the mag – Chris Evans's book review section and my column, for example. The management are waiting to see how the special Ghostbusters and Gremlins issues do before their final decision. Even if they don't change the format they insist future issues will be in much 'larger type'. A sign of the times. [Chris Evans since tells me he's got in with a pre-emptive resignation: D]

"And now a gem for your collection of Great Moments From The Slushpile, from an Australian MS I was sent to read. 'He gasped. "I've never seen anything like this. Even remotely. What's its form of space propulsion?" / "Yes," he said eagerly as he activated his sensor converter. / "From what I've been told, I think it will somehow overcome the laws binding the dimensions together, up to the sixth. And then, using a mix of gravity and anti-gravity, a controlled space whirlpool with the power of the big bang is formed. But in a tight beam so that only the ship which is enveloped in a special negative dimensional field, is sucked into the vortex." / "You've explained that quite well, Trisha," Jesse complemented [sic] as he walked towards the awesome ship.'

"From the same MS, a classic line: 'She was a fish out of water in a man's arms.' Aren't we all?" [John Brosnan – who's only half the man Harry Adam Knight is.]

Malcolm Edwards: "I'd love to think that our bog has been immortalized by Tom Disch. Maybe so, but I should just point out that Gollancz didn't turn down The Businessman. Tom turned down our offer ... Take a look at Howard Jacobson's new novel Peeping Tom (widely praised of late). There is a character called Dr Rowland Fitzpiers, 'large and dark and affable' with 'heavy black brows' and a beard. He is an academic grown keen on sf, and is first seen explaining how all the great 19th century novels are really sf. He also has lots of girlfriends who are 'all the ex-wives or mistresses of sf writers.' I'm sure even those of us who met Jacobson when he was best man at Peter Nicholls's and Clare Coney's wedding will realize that there are no roman à clef elements in this characterization." (ME)

Maxim Jakubowski: "Being called a cretin by Peter Nicholls (A40) is, I feel, a worthwhile achievement and I now consider myself a genuine part of the Nicholls Pantheon. Seriously though, the Allen & Unwin encyclopaedia project has sold to the US at Frankfurt and as soon as all contractual matters have been finalized I shall enter a major period of commissioning." (MJ) [who like PN is doing The Encyc. of Fantasy...)

Ian Watson: "Once more into the political fray! Last night I was adopted as Labour candidate to contest the fair city of Lactodorum, more recently known as Towcester, and its surrounding demesnes, in the May County Council elections. Incumbent: a Liberal. Tory White Hope: Lord Hesketh." (IW)

Arthur C. Clarke's new puffsheet lists the 2010 UK film debut (9 March), and in the same month the start of an 'ITV series' called Arthur C. Clarke's World Of Strange Powers. Egad...

William Gibson sends a poster for Katebushcon 1 (Winnipeg, June 84); in revenge I quote his Neuromancer p44: "the interzone where art wasn't quite crime, crime wasn't quite art."


World Fantasy Con: my spy Deep Troll reports the most thrilling scene was at the Sunday afternoon banquet. This was held at 2pm by con organizers who apparently forgot that the last southbound flight from Ottawa was scheduled at 4pm. 88 fans were booked for it, and during the banquet the crowd became strangely depopulated as they fled to avoid another night of Arctic terror; Peter Straub went so far as to disappear before a scheduled award presentation. Imagine the delighted fannish mob discovering at the airport that the flight was, alas, cancelled. More famous agents and authors apparently disgraced the airport's coffee shop than anyone would have the right to expect...

Amsterdam In '88? This is the goal of notorious New York fan Neil Belsky, who recently discovered the enormous subsidies given by the Dutch Minister of Culture and is planning a Netherlands Worldcon bid comprised entirely of American fans. Reportedly Kees van Toorn was approached, but Belsky is going full steam ahead, talking at endless length to anyone who will listen about thrilling plans for subsidized airfares, subsidized hotel rooms, &c.

The Sagan Watch: Imminent publication of Carl Sagan's famous novel Contact (Ansible, passim) has caused numerous moles and hatchetmen to emerge from the woodwork with this vile rumour – C has apparently been farmed out to a hack we will call Sci-Fi Writer X. X is to receive 10% of the gross in return for ensuring that C remains a credible sf novel, that the plagiarisms are kept reasonably restrained, and that the writer Deny All if asked about ghosting. Speculation abounds as to who Mr X may be, but the most likely candidate is Jerry Sohl.

[EDITORIAL NOTE TO ON-LINE EDITION: Mr Wooster's fantasies about Carl Sagan are included for historical completeness and should by no means be regarded as gospel.]

The situation was masterminded by Simon & Schuster's Ron Busch, whose first encounter with sf came in 1976 when he was at Ballantine and Judy-Lynn del Rey rushed into his office with stills from an obscure project called Star Wars. "We could make millions from this" Ms del Rey said. "Little girl, why don't you take your toys and go home," Mr Busch reportedly replied. "We grownups need to work." Del Rey proceeded to make millions from Star Wars while Busch lost $3M on Doctorow's Loon Lake and $1M on John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire.

The person ultimately responsible for Contact is none other than Francis Ford Coppola. In 1979 Mr Coppola, looking for a way to save the ailing Zoetrope Studios, discovered that sf films made zillions of dollars and proposed an sf mini-series to NBC. He reportedly thrashed about for a Big Name to attach to this to make it sell – someone large, cosmically minded... Carl Sagan! CS agreed to participate; S&S, sensing that the Coppola/Sagan collaboration would make zillions of dollars, agreed and gave Sagan the fabled $2M contract. The Coppola floundered, dropped out, and left the world with a forthcoming novelization for a never-to-be-made Coppola movie. So it goes. (MMW)

CYMRUCON • 2-4 November 1984

Dave Wood has desperate fun in S. Wales:

The 1984 Cardiff con has cym and gone with a massive turnout in the wake of poor advertising and the really inspired notion of running it a mere week before Novacon. Rumour has it that the fake Bob Shaw will be advising next year's committee on the benefits of holding it on the same week as Novacon 85. Sydney Jordan is to be approached... 42nd Squadron, flushed with their triumph as Seacon, were in full force, the Dez Skinn Appreciation Society swelled the audience to approx 300 (committee estimate) though to an impartial observer ie. self the place seemed deserted – one could get to the bar with no problem, the battle was to attract the attention of the massive bar contingent and he always seemed to be round the back in the kitchen... Fannish-world count added up to a baker's dozen who sat bemoaning that it had All Gone Wrong. GoH Ken Bulmer fought his way to the rostrum amid cheering support from an audience of 45, following committeeman Neil Burgess's rousing intro ("You all know him and so I won't waste any time introducing him," etc). Bulmer, analyzing the potential of his audience, launched into Future Sex in SF – a serious talk, honest... By 4 pm Sat one Newport fan was seriously debating whether to stay or go home for a bath; thanks to the efforts of Martin & Katie Hoare plus quantities of Brains SA found in a variety of seedy hostelries, he was still there inebriated and unwashed on Sun afternoon, eyeing up the knickers of various females. Amazing incidents were few. The 24-hour 'we won't be closing' bar had shutters down at 8.30am on Sunday, thus defeating attempts by Dave Wood, Mike Sherwood and A Certain Newport Fan to get a pre-breakfast pint. One exciting moment came when Katie H breathlessly announced she'd heard there were hookers in the basement. This was greeted with a surge of apathy by all present, though for the next ten minutes male members of the party kept having to visit the loos in the basement. I found no trace of the ladies in question. Finally made my escape amid cries of 'see you at Novacon' and blooded oaths that nothing would induce us to return to Cardiff 1-3 Nov 1985, see you there?

The certain Newport fan – initials AH – cannot be mentioned as (following the backlash of Security Fear in fandom?) there was no sign of any checking as to who had registered for the con: this gentleman never got round to actually laying out hard cash for his scintillating weekend. He was the lucky one. (DW)

*** Later, the Certain Newport Fan gloated that when he returned legless from Sat-night pub crawling an off-sober committee overcame hotel suspicions by guilelessly vouching for the CNF as a Cymrucon member. Shock horror, etc. (DRL)


Silicone is a (surprise) Silicon-style event: 15-18 Feb in the Doric Hotel, Edinburgh, £4 to 191 Easter Rd, Edinburgh, EH6 8LF. If I can face the trip I might even be there...

Dragoncon 3: 27 Jan (10am-10pm) The Bull, East Sheen with Anne McCaffrey ('provisionally') & Jack Cohen. £7 to 131 Sheen Lane, London, SW14 8AE...

Yorcon III persists with membership said to be approaching 300 (is that all?) and a sensible proposal from Paul Oldroyd – not wearing his committee hat – that two-year Eastercon bidding be introduced in 1986...

Beccon 85 is fully booked (ie. waiting list for accommodation) and has produced The 1984 Eurocon Press Report, a handy 18pp A5 booklet on (basically) how author Jon Cowie press-officered Seacon 84, with hopeful 87 Worldcon tips. 75p post free from 75 Rosslyn Ave, Harold Wood, Essex...

Albacon 85: 19-22 July, Central Hotel, Glasgow, GoH H. Ellison & A. McCaffrey. £8 to 20 Hillingdon Gdns, Cardonald Glasgow, G52 2TP... Camcon aka Unicon 6: 13-15 Sept 85, New Hall Coll, Cambridge, CB2 3QY...

Contravention, unusual among 86 Eastercon bids for not picking Glasgow as venue, has settled on the Birmingham Metropole near (but not using the hangar-like halls of) the NEC. Think I'll be voting for them – we could certainly use a 'new' Eastercon venue... (Glasgow Fandom: 'Sod you, Langford.')

• TAFF bits •

A Statement By D. West: "As the losing candidate I wish to make it absolutely clear that I have no complaints whatsoever about either the result or the administration of the 1983/84 TAFF election. I consider that the attacks made upon the integrity of Avedon Carol as North American TAFF administrator are wholly unjustified and unjustifiable and represent nothing more solid than slurs and innuendoes arising from personal animosity and malice. To date no evidence at all has been produced to show that Avedon Carol is guilty of any wrongdoing, and I therefore call upon those concerned either to produce their proofs without further delay and equivocation or to make a full public withdrawal of their allegations. In the event that this is not speedily done I urge fans everywhere to join me in publicly condemning with the utmost severity the behaviour of Avedon Carol's attackers." (DW, 24 Oct 84)

[No proofs have appeared, though the astonishingly malicious Puerto Rico fan – whose name will no more disfigure these pages – has indulged in further spitefulness which he calls proof but shows only his wish to hurt and wound.]

Important. Vaguely connected with the above is a further attempt to use TAFF as a weapon, by Central US fans wishing to settle scores with the East and West coasts. The idea is to swamp the voting with endless write-ins for one Martha Beck (who's showed none of the transatlantic interest which should be a sine qua non for candidates). Votes are being whipped up at Central US cons, by appeals to local chauvinism and efforts to stir up resentment between "con" and "fanzine " fans. If successful, this would incidentally disenfranchise British fandom altogether (cf. the Hugos) and kill TAFF – what Brit will bother when the US block vote will always have the final word? Please use the TAFF ballot with this issue. I particularly recommend the Nielsen Haydens for your vote.

COA [1984 changes of address: omitted here]


*600200# is what you type at any Prestel terminal to get to the utterly triffic Langford-edited SF news/reviews pages. Practically the first thing I did was to break the current 'no political activity on Prestel' rule and insert an electronic petition form enabling everyone to protest against the sinister Treasury proposal to slap 15% VAT on books, etc. Interested fans can collect signatures locally, to the WE ARE AGAINST VAT ON READING petition, and bung them off to Nat. Book Committee, Book House, 45 East Hill, SW18 2QX. 105 fans signed this at the December One Tun! A lot were also signing the Pickersgills' petition to 'protest the use of British TAFF funds to support candidates who have no contact with or interest in British fandom' – details from 7a Lawrence Rd, S Ealing, London, W5 4XJ... Roz Kaveney has resigned as Chatto & Windus SF person: 'a matter of principle' after decisions to cut back SF etc were taken without consultation while she was away in hospital... Britain In 87 has expanded with a bidding committee reshuffle – Martin Tudor has left and several new fans have joined, including Paul Oldroyd, Chris Donaldson and Linda Pickersgill. US agent Marty Cantor reports that the opposing US bid, Phoenix in 87, 'decided to convert their bid to a NASFiC bid. They are leaving their name on the Worldcon ballot but are now actively campaigning for NASFiC. Bruce Farr, bid leader, handed me a flyer announcing these intentions.' Marty further conveys that LA-Con profits look to be some $75,000, of which $250 goes to TAFF though not until R. Hansen publishes his complete report. (Ouch)... Appeals: Ian Watson begs 'a noble Spanish-speaking soul to translate (unpaid) an essay of splendid quality on Argentinian SF of about 12,000 words for Foundation. Said volunteer (please contact me via Ansible) will receive eternal fame and 2 years' free sub to Foundation!!' Paul Barnett, presuming on Hazel's and my enormous gratitude at being featured in the dedication of his new 'John Grant' novel The Truth About The Flaming Ghoulies (h'mm), is interested in testing his theory that SF fans tend not to be amateur cricket players and vice-versa. All cricket-playing Ansible readers are begged to write to him (84 Wykes Rd, Exeter, EX1 2UD). No, I don't know why... John Piggott Writes!! 'Bloody hell – Kettle nuptials shock! It's enough to make one glad one's sub to Risible has expired. Mind you, the spectre of the forthcoming Kettle infant pales into insignificance when compared with the Piggott three (no. 3 born 26 May this year, making 1 girl, 2 boys), which explains some of my continuing inactivity.' (JP)... George Hay has achieved great kudos as guest editor of the special 'Applied SF' issue of Science & Public Policy (Oct 84); its 331 pages will cost you a mere £13.60... GUFF: nominations deadline extended to the end of December. The candidates are ever-cuddly Eve Harvey and ever-cool John Jarrold (whom I seem to have nominated)...

This fanzine supports PATRICK & TERESA NIELSEN HAYDEN for TAFF; CONTRAVENTION for Eastercon 86; and JOHN HARVEY for doing this issue's usual electrostencil. (DRL)

Hitch-Hiker's Guide – The Movie is to start filming in May with the same production team as Ghostbusters (thus D. Adams on LBC radio recently). It'll contain material from the first three books but, wisely, not the fourth... LAZLAR LYRICON (25-27 MAy, Strathallan Hotel, Brum) is a Hitcher con costing an appalling £16.50 to 10 Bourne Parade, Bourne Rd, Bexley, Kent DA5 1LQ... The Barycz File: 'More media bits to put in A where they, rather than items of importance, may be obliterated by the postmark.' (Oops, I've been rumbled – DRL) "Lucas being sued by one Lee M. Seiler of SanFran, artist/modelmaker, over creatures in Empire Strikes Back. Unfortunately he says his original drawings were destroyed in a 1979 flood and the judge won't allow substitutes as evidence. Now one of the alleged thefts is/was a 'Garthian Sprinter': I remember issue 1 of Unearth (US SF mag, 1978) had a full-page ad for skiffy type models featuring the words 'Garthian Sprinter'. Later issues had irate letters: fans sent cheques (cashed) but got no skiffy models. Unearth ed commiserated: ad placer hadn't paid for his ad, final demands were coming back marked 'gorn away' etc. The sweet irony of it all, if it has anything to do with Mr Seiler that is... OBITS: Richard Brautigan (49) of Hawkline Monster, In Watermelon Sugar and others which, like much 60s West Coast scribbling, used sf elements. Francois Truffaut (52) who directed Fahrenheit 451 and appeared in Close Encounters... Spielberg writing script for POLTERGEIST II in special ink supposed to fade instantly if exposed to light from a duplicating machine. A very old one, not the new types with 0.001 sec double flash; also he seems blissfully aware of mini-cameras etc. Precaution seems excessive – it's going to be about mobile rotting corpses of a restless disposition, everybody knows that.... Warner's being sued for $17,000,000 unpaid royalties on ET computer game and others, $14M for ET alone. Seems video game freaks don't want to spend their quarters helping ET phone home, they'd much rather kill quadrillions of little green wogs... R. Corman does his Conan The Barbarellian 2 ripoff with something called The Warrior & The Sorceress with a full page ad of David Carradine taking his sword to the tentacles of an octopus plant. Assume he's the Warrior & it's the Sorceress he's busy rescuing from this affectionate piece of vegetation. She'll be tricky to cast. The ad shows she has to have four tits." (R.I. Barycz)... Serious Science: Bob Shaw's 1982-84 Eastercon speeches are now available: £1 (£1.50 signed) from Eve Harvey, 43 Harrow Rd, Carshalton, Surrey, SM5 3QH, or – since this is to fund a Shaw visit to Aussiecon – Marc Ortlieb in Australia. Learn why 'near Basingstoke there is a pond full of newts which bear an uncanny resemblance to Dave Langford'... John W. Campbell's Collected Letters – George Hay exults over vol. 1 of this many-year project, now in proof from Perry Chapdelaine (USA)... D. Langford loses further street credibility, flogs poem to Amazing, hopes no one will notice.

Hazel's Language Lessons #32: Sinhalese

akshauhiní: a complete army consisting of 109350 foot, 65610 horse, 21870 chariots and 21870 elephants.
atura: tying cocoanut trees together from the top, to enable toddy drawers to walk from one tree to another without descending when they are extracting toddy.
miyuru: peacock; liquorice; frog

ANSIBLE 41 from 94 London Road, Reading,
Berkshire, England, RG1 5AU. Dec 1984

[*] Others have since insisted that the observation 'she kept her g-string on' was incorrect and that the Novacon stripper did in fact Reveal All. Correction accepted. All this was near the close of a somewhat alcoholic weekend.