Ansible® 410, September 2021
From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website news.ansible.uk. ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Sue Mason. Available for SAE, fayalin, or a really good Visualization of the Cosmic All.
The Hell-Hole in Space
Mel Brooks of Young Frankenstein fame ‘is publishing his first memoir at the age of 95. All About Me hits the shelves in November. Jonny Geller, his literary agent, says that Brooks felt that now “was the right time to do it – mid-career”.’ (The Times, 6 August) [GA]
Adam Roberts shared one of his deeper thoughts: ‘Today in SF writers dancing: Karel Čapek dancing the Ča-Ča-Ča’. (Twitter, 26 August) A commenter was quick to suggest Rossum’s Universal Rumba.
J. Michael Straczynski shows us how the professionals do submissions: ‘Attention Publishers International and Domestic: by the end of this week I will be sending the *finished* manuscript for The Last Dangerous Visions to the agency that will be handling the sale. If you’re a Real Deal Publisher, flag me down and I’ll give you the deets.’ (Twitter, 11 August) One suspects this means that Ansible Editions need not apply. Harlan Ellison’s legendary unpublished anthology was noted for its hugeness at 700,000 words or more, and remained substantial despite the many stories withdrawn and published elsewhere; but this final cut – even with new fiction recently acquired – runs to a mere 112,000 words. Several authors long loyal to the project have had their stories dropped.
Jeff VanderMeer revealed exclusively to all of Facebook that the Area X litany (‘Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner ...’) was censored: ‘There was actually a bit after this I cut that went, “So, anyways, the dead flowers are not like the living flowers and one shall come forth who shall try to wash a mouse, which you should not do because they can get respiratory infections.”’ (26 August)
HYBRID. 2-5 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society). £95 reg; £45 online; members £10 less: www.tolkiensociety.org/events/oxonmoot-2021.
4 Sep • Whooverville 12 (Doctor Who), QUAD Centre, Derby, DE1 3AS. Tickets £50; concessions £33; under-12s £10; online booking at www.derbyquad.co.uk/whats-on/events/whooverville-12.
ONLINE. 9-11 Sep • Activism & Resistance (LSFRC conference), £30 reg; other rates via www.lsfrc.co.uk/category/activism-resistance/.
24-26 Sep • Fantasycon 2021, Jury’s Inn, Broad Street, Birmingham. See www.fantasycon.org; www.hwsevents.co.uk/shop-2.
25-26 Sep • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk Showground Arena. Tickets £13 (£16 early entry); child £9 (£10) from www.nor-con.co.uk.
ONLINE. 26 Sep • Diana Wynne Jones celebration, 7pm-8:15pm. £5-£10 reg. See www.bristolideas.co.uk/attend/diana-wynne-jones/.
ONLINE. 1-3 Oct • Octocon, normally held in or near Dublin. Free; registration needed, donations encouraged. Physical event memberships carried over to 2022; refunds also available. See octocon.com.
ONLINE. 8-10 Oct • Irish Discworld Convention, formerly Cork International Hotel, Cork. €30 reg; €40 with extras. See idwcon.org.
15-17 Oct • Lakes International Comic Art Festival, Kendal, Cumbria. £25 reg; £15 concessions. See www.comicartfestival.com.
29-31 Oct • Festival of Fantastic Films, Pendulum Hotel, Manchester. £99 reg. More at fantastic-films.com/festival/.
30-31 Oct • Surrey Steampunk Convivial, Epsom. Weekend pass £20 plus fee at bumpandthumper.wixsite.com/steampunkconvivials.
1-4 Nov • Handheld Press Writing Retreat, Malvern. £395 with bed and board. See www.thedellhouse.co.uk/writingretreat.html.
5-7 Nov • Armadacon 2021, Future Inns, Plymouth. £35 reg; £30 concessions. More at www.armadacon.org.
HYBRID. 5-7 Nov • Corflu 38, Mercure Holland Hotel, Bristol. £50/$60 reg rising to £60/$75 on 1 October; virtual (Zoom) membership free via robjackson60 at gmail dot com. Hotel booking form etc at corflu.org.
ONLINE. 6 Nov • Tolkien Society Autumn Seminar. Free. See www.tolkiensociety.org/events/tolkien-society-autumn-seminar/.
26-28 Nov • UK Ghost Story Festival, Derby, presumably at the QUAD Centre as in 2019; details awaited. (Brum Group News, August)
15-19 Dec • DisCon III (Worldcon), Washington DC, USA. $225 reg; other rates at discon3.org. The committee announced in August that attendees must wear masks and show proof of completed vaccination.
Rumblings. Reclamation (Eastercon 2022) is still unable to confirm its hotel venue, known to be in the south of England. Keep watching the skies at reclamation2022.co.uk .
• A bit of incidental gossip is that some other prospective Eastercon hotels now want a £200,000 event deposit.
As Others Read Us. ‘I don’t think I’d ever read a book in which there was a Black character, period. Remember, I’m reading sci-fi [in 1979], so I’d barely read anything in which there were human beings. I didn’t understand reading as having a relationship to the actual world.’ (Robert Reid-Pharr profile, www.radcliffe.harvard.edu, 25 May) [CH]
Awards. Arthur C. Clarke Foundation Imagination Award: Samuel R. Delany.
• Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award: D.G. Compton.
• Munsey Award (pulp community): Rich Harvey.
• Shirley Jackson Awards, best novel: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.
• Splatterpunk Awards, best novel: The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young.
As Others Discard Us. ‘WE DON’T NEED SCIENCE FICTION TO AVERT CLIMATE CATASTROPHE’. (Headline in thenation.com, 14 June) [MMW]
Court Circular. The Tolkien estate will surely not be happy about the launch of a ‘JRR Token’ cryptocurrency advertised with Lord of the Rings imagery, including the One Ring itself and a limping little verse that ends ‘One Token To Hold For All / And In Market Bind Them’. (The Verge, 10 August) [F770] Spend, spend to ruin and the world’s ending!
As Others Saw Us. Dystopian horror in the Olympic women’s gymnastics: ‘Because of a spiteful female chauvinist rule, male coaches are not allowed on the floor, and so it is like a science-fiction movie of a time when women have taken over. The judges are all women, as are the assistants, the messengers. The only men on the premises are the piano players – men being built for that sort of quiet work – who huddle together on a bench by the baby grand.’ (Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, August 1976; quoted in The Washington Post, 2 August) [PL]
R.I.P. Brad Allan (1973-2021), Australian stuntman/stunt co-ordinator in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Hellboy II (2008), I Am Number Four (2011), Mars Needs Moms (2011) and Wonder Woman (2017), died on 7 August aged 48. [F770]
• Edward (Ed) Asner (1929-2021), multiple Emmy-winning US actor in Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987), Elf (2003), Up (2009) and many genre tv series, died on 29 August aged 91. [LP]
• Brick Bronsky (Jeffrey Beltzner, 1964-2021), US pro wrestler and actor in Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown (1991) plus two more films in that series, died on 23 August aged 57. [SJ]
• Ed (E.D.) Buckley (1940-2021), long-time Scots fan (active in the Glasgow group), convention-goer and space artist, was found dead at home on 25 August; he was 80. [MA] Ed was a guest of honour at Satellite 5 (Glasgow, 2016); I was always cheered to meet him at cons.
• Shin’ichi (Sonny) Chiba (1939-2021), Japanese martial-arts actor in Wolf Guy (1975), Legend of the Eight Samurai (1983), Biohazard the Stage (2015) and others, died on 19 August aged 82. [PDF]
• Alex Cord (1933-2021), US actor in Chosen Survivors (1974) and Airwolf (1984-1986) plus guest spots in various genre tv series, died on 9 August aged 88. [LP]
• Ian Dallas (1930-2021), Scots author – and Islamic Shaykh of Instruction as Abdalqadir as-Sufi – whose sf novel was The Book of Strangers (1972), died on 1 August. [MJE]
• Desmond Davis (1926-2021), UK film-maker whose many camera credits include The Crawling Eye (1958) and The Giant Behemoth (1959), and who directed Clash of the Titans (1981), died on 3 July aged 95. [SJ]
• Alistair Durie (1944-2021), UK book, magazine and early fanzine collector whose Weird Tales (1979) reprinted cover art from 150+ issues of that magazine, died on 5 August aged 76. [MA]
• Marilyn Eastman (1933-2021), US film-maker who worked on, acted in and helped finance Night of the Living Dead (1968), died on 22 August aged 87. [LP]
• Tom Flynn (1955-2021), US editor of Free Inquiry and author of satirical sf beginning with Galactic Rapture (2000), died on 23 August aged 66.
• James Follett (1939-2021), UK author of sf radio plays such as Earthsearch (1981; 1982) – which he also novelized – died on 10 January aged 81. [GD]
• Mary Frey (Osmanski), US SCA fan published in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 1990s Sword and Sorceress anthologies, died on 18 August. [SS]
• Saginaw Grant (1936-2021), US Native American actor in It Waits (2005), Beyond the Quest (2007) and Wind Walkers (2015), died on 28 July aged 85. [AIP]
• Anna Gross (1952-2021), US production manager of The NeverEnding Story (1984), died on 23 July aged 68. [AIP]
• Elizabeth Anne Hull (1937-2021), US academic, author and critic long active in the SF Research Association – as newsletter editor 1981-1984, president 1989-1990, and winning the 1998 SFRA Clareson Award – died on 2 August aged 84. She was married to Frederik Pohl from 1984 to his death, and with him co-edited the World SF anthology Tales from the Planet Earth (1986). [GVG]
• Ken Hutchison (1948–2021), Scots actor in Ladyhawke (1985) and various genre tv series, died on 9 August aged 72. [SJ]
• Alvin Ing (1932-2021), US actor whose genre credits include The Final Countdown (1980) and Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1997), died on 31 July aged 89. [AIP]
• Don Jones (1938-2021), US film-maker with crew credits for The Astro-Zombies (1968), Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968) and The Mighty Gorga (1969), died on 19 August aged 83. [SJ]
• Erle Korshak (1923-2021), long-time US fan active from 1934, who attended the first Worldcon (New York 1939), co-chaired the 1940 Chicago Worldcon and co-founded the sf small press Shasta Publishers (1947-1957), died on 25 August aged 97. He entered the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1996 and was to be a guest of honour at the 2022 Chicago Worldcon. [L]
• Fred Ladd (1927-2021), US producer and screenwriter who adapted Japanese anime for US tv – beginning with Astro Boy in 1963 – died on 3 August aged 94. Film credits include Pinocchio in Outer Space (1965) and Journey Back to Oz (1972). [JC]
• Peter A. Lees, US producer whose credits include An Accidental Zombie (2017), Living Among Us (2018) and Attack of the Unknown (2020), died on 6 August aged 51. [SJ]
• Lisa Mannetti, US horror author who won two Bram Stoker awards – one for her debut novel The Gentling Box (2008) – died on 19 August. [SJ]
• Jill Murphy (1949-2021), UK author and illustrator of children’s books including the popular Worst Witch series opening with The Worst Witch (1974) and adapted for film, tv and theatre, died on 18 August aged 72.
• Masaya Nihei (Masanori Nihei, 1940-2021), Japanese actor in the original Ultraman tv series (1966-1967) plus later film compilations and sequels up to Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers (2008), died on 21 August aged 80. [PDF]
• Scott Allen Nollen (1963-2021), US author of many books on the history of film – subjects including Peter Cushing, Conan Doyle, Robin Hood, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price and Robert Louis Stevenson – died on 12 August aged 58. [SJ]
• Colette O’Neil (1937-2021), Scots actress in The Pilgrim’s Progress (1967), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Dreams Lost, Dreams Found (1987), died on 11 July aged 84. [SJ]
• Victoria Paris (1960-2021), US porn actress with genre credits for The New Barbarians (1990), Snatched to the Future (1991), Time Barbarians (1991) and others, died on 10 August aged 60. [SG]
• Eddie Paskey (1939-2021), US actor who was William Shatner’s stand-in and body double for the original Star Trek (1966-1968), died on 17 August aged 81. [SJ]
• Steve Perrin (1946-2021), US RPG designer who co-created RuneQuest (1978) for Chaosium and worked on many other games, died on 13 August aged 75. The Wild Cards shared world was inspired by his Superworld game; he contributed to the WC ‘mosaic novel’ Joker Moon (2021). [KAM]
• Markie Post (1950-2021), US actress in Transformers Prime (voice, 2010-2013), plus guest roles in various genre tv series, died on 7 August aged 70. [LP]
• Zdenka Procházková (1926-2021), Czechoslovakian actress in The Lost Face (1965), Lady Dracula (1977) and Ferat Vampire (1982), died on 25 August aged 95. [SJ]
• Rosita Quintana (1925-2021), Argentina-born Mexican actress whose films include Demon in the Blood (1964), died on 23 August aged 96. [SJ]
• J.W. Rinzler (Jonathan Rinzler, 1962-2021), US author best known for nonfiction books about film franchises including Star Wars and Alien, died on 28 July aged 58. [GVG] Mary Robinette Kowal added: ‘... he was one of the authors we were fighting for with #DisneyMustPay. / And no, they still haven’t paid. Said they would, but... / And yes. They knew he had cancer.’ (4 August) [F770]
• Sompote Sands (1941-2021), Thai director of tokusatsu sf/horror films from Tah Tien (1973) and Hanuman vs. 7 Ultraman (1974) to Kraithong 2 (1985), died on 26 August aged 80. [SJ]
• Clive Scott (1937-2021), South African actor in Sumuru (2003) and various genre tv series, died on 28 July aged 84. [SJ]
• L. Neil Smith (1946-2021), US author who founded the Prometheus Award for libertarian sf and won it several times, initially with The Probability Broach (1980), died on 27 August aged 75. [PDF]
• Una Stubbs (1937-2021), UK actress with genre credits for The Water Babies (1978), Worzel Gummidge (1979-1981 plus sequel) and The Worst Witch (1998-2001), died on 12 August aged 84. [CM]
• Lorna Toolis (1952-2021), Canadian librarian who was Head of Collection for the Merril SF Collection in Toronto 1986-2017, died on 11 August. [PH] With her husband Michael Skeet she edited Tesseracts 4 (1992) in the series of Canadian sf showcase anthologies.
• Jeanne Keyes Youngson (1924-2021), US academic and film-maker who founded the Count Dracula Fan Club (now the Vampire Empire) in 1965, the Dracula Museum in 1990, and published many vampire-themed anthologies and nonfiction works, died on 17 August aged 96. [PDF]
The Weakest Link. ‘“Down with Big Brother” is a quote from which George Orwell novel?’ Contestant: ‘1986.’ (ITV, The Chase) [PE]
Magazine Scene. Amazing Stories, having been repeatedly let down by NBC/Universal Television failing to pay the contracted fees for their tv show licensing of the name, is switching to annual digital-only publication with the option of a ‘separately purchased’ POD edition. (Amazing, 25 August)
• Curious Fictions, the online stories platform run by Tanya Breshears, went on ‘indefinite hiatus’ from 27 August. [L]
• ParSec, the digital sf magazine from PS Publishing, launched in August with #1 dated Autumn 2021: see www.pspublishing.co.uk/parsec-79-c.asp.
Science Masterclass. Dept of 165 Gravities. ‘The ship’s relative velocity was now in the region of 173,000 miles per second, increasing at the rate of almost exactly one mile per second per second [...] The constant acceleration rate had some drawbacks, however. None of the men was able to move without considerable muscular effort ...’ (Lee Elliot, Overlord New York, 1953) [BA]
• Astronomy Dept. ‘She was like a meteor coming back to dazzle the very world from which it had flown for a while into space.’ (John Fox Jr., The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, 1908) [PL]
Random Fandom. Triffid Alley, that John Wyndham memorial site, closed last year and has been usurped by a porn merchant. See the Internet Archive for an August 2020 snapshot: tinyurl.com/es82pvy8. [RP]
• TV and Fandom. A new source of con-going paranoia: ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Detectives Goren and Eames discover that a victim may have fallen prey to a woman who trawls sci-fi and vampire conventions for lonely men.’ (Freeview electronic programme guide, August) [CM]
The Dead Past. 70 Years Ago, an early As Others See Us: ‘ “To rival Wells in this line is not an uncommon ambition, and it seems curious that both authors and public fail to realise that the bottom dropped out of the market in 1914. The element of ‘science-fantasy’ really played quite a small part in the success of Wells’s novels; the real point of them was a wrenching disturbance of ordinary life.... Wells’s success ... has never been repeated, and can now never be approached.” (New Statesman Reviewer)’. (Science Fantasy News 9, September 1951)
Group Gropes. London First Thursday Pub Meetings at The Bishop’s Finger resume on 2 September (all evening), with further bookings for 7 October, 4 November, 2 December and the usual extra Christmas meeting on 16 December. [RR] Please check news.ansible.uk/london.html for any updates. Virtual meetings are moving to third Thursdays beginning with 16 September: as before, see tinyurl.com/uow6hqn for details.
• Northumberland Heath DA8 SF plans its first live pub meeting for ages on 9 September. See www.concatenation.org/n-heath-sf.html. [SF²C]
As Others Identify Us. Repeating a 1989 Face to Face interview: ‘Jeremy Isaacs talks to science writer JG Ballard ...’ (BBC, August)
Fanfundery. TAFF: SCIFI Inc (Southern California Institute for Fan Interests) has sent the traditional $500 bounty to mark the publication of Anna Raftery’s report within 5 years of her trip.
• DUFF: in 2022 it’ll be 50 years since the first Down Under Fan Fund trip, when winner Lesleigh Luttrell travelled from the USA to Australia. Celebrations are expected.
Thog’s Masterclass. Lockdown Hair Dept. ‘... he grimaced perpetually in a manner that caused his unclean beard to toss and curl like seaweed on a boiling whirlpool.’ (Clark Ashton Smith, ‘The Voyage of King Euvoran’, 1933) [BA]
• Mysteries of Female Anatomy. ‘She was the perfect picture of a beautiful Japanese girl. Small feet, small nose, wide eyes, narrow hips that showed she was a virgin.’ (Larry Correia and John Ringo, Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge, 2016) ‘Her legs, he thought, were almost certainly the legs of a virgin, dry and without hair ...’ (Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried, 1991) (boredpanda.com, 6 August)
• Secrets of Female Characterization. ‘At Bristol University, she had already achieved a reputation as a sex scientist. In her first year she had gone through the men like an enema.’ ‘Her curved breasts were tense with concentration.’ ‘She moved towards the village, allowing her hips to continue the conversation.’ ‘She stopped, pursing her nipples towards him and then swung on.’ ‘The left breast was fractionally larger than its sister. It was Anna’s favourite. She flexed it towards the wall.’ (All from David Pinner, Ritual, 1967 – inspiration for The Wicker Man) (Ibid)
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The Dead Past II. 20 Years Ago: ‘Take That, Joe Haldeman! “The best-known example of ‘future war’ fiction is The Invasion of 1910 by William Tufnell Le Queux, a rich slice of scaremongering which was a sensational success when published in 1906.” (Rupert Forbes, The London Review of Books, 6 September)’ (Ansible 170, September 2001)
Editorial. Nothing much is happening here apart from the regular SF Encyclopedia update routine – not even a new ebook at the TAFF free library this month. But here’s a happy discovery in an old book from the Langford shelves:
Outraged Letters. ‘Dear Mr. Langford / I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the number of R.I.P.s in Ansible. It is obviously quite impossible for there to be so many in the SF field each month, so this must be a work of fiction. Since I was born in 1936 I just hope that I do not find my name there. (Or do I? If I can read it….) / Yours sincerely, David A. Hardy.’ (1 September)
• 16 September 2021, evening: the virtual London First Thursday meeting moves to the third Thursday. ‘Please share this with people who you know typically come to the Bishop’s Finger, but aren’t on Facebook.’
• 19 September 2021 (every 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.
Rumblings II. ScotiaCon, the Scots furry convention (3-5 September Glasgow), was cancelled with the next event expected on 11-13 February 2022. See ...
Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• Mythopoeic Awards shortlists
• Shirley Jackson Awards: all winners
• Splatterpunk Awards winners
Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 170, September 2001. ‘I looked at Norathar, who was staring at Aliera with eyes like mushrooms.’ (Steven Brust, Yendi, 1984)
• ‘Despite his slant eyes and yellow skin, he proved to be quite a likeable fellow as well as an erudite scientist.' (Captain S.P. Meek, ‘Awlo of Ulm’, 1931)
• ‘Fear exploded in her mouth like a drug.’ (Linda Nagata, Limits of Vision, 2001)
• ‘Then a horrid, unforgettable giggle bit at his unbelievable left ear.’ (Charles Harness, The Paradox Men, 1953)
Ansible® 410 © David Langford, 2021. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Graham Andrews, Michael Aries, Jonathan Clements, Gordon Davie, Paul Di Filippo, Malcolm Edwards, File 770, Steve Green, Peter Halasz, Chip Hitchcock, Steve Jones, Locus, Pamela Love, Chris Moore, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Lawrence Person, Rog Peyton, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Roger Robinson, SCIFI Inc, SF² Concatenation, Susan Shwartz, Gordon Van Gelder, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 September 2021