Ansible® 416, March 2022
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, blobel skins, wubfur, chains of air or webs of aether.
The War with the Fnools
Richard Corben (1940-2020) received a 2021 Chesley Award for lifetime artistic achievement. For the full list of Chesley winners see the news release at asfa-art.com/news/2021-chesley-award-winners.
Peter Jackson, according to the Forbes rich list, was the highest-paid entertainer of 2021 – as a result of selling off parts of his visual effects business Weta Digital for some $1.6 billion. (Guardian, 11 February)
Ben Okri is another author annoyed by online ghostwriting services’ fraudulent claims (see A415). To the amazement of nobody, he did not pay ‘a ghost writer variously called Roseanne Wynter and Lisa P. Whitle’ to bash out his 1991 Booker-winning magic realist novel The Famished Road, as asserted on Twitter. (The Bookseller, 7 February) [SF²C]
Jared Shurin announced that he had fed the programmes of 2,432 post-WWII American conventions into an AI which generated exciting new panel permutations. Favourites include ‘Asimov and Heinlein: Live Swordfighting’, ‘Gaiman on Gaiman’, ‘What is a Semi-Asimov?’, ‘Dune from a Lovecraftian Perspective’, ‘Debate: Cake or Hugos?’ and ‘Ursula K. Le Guin and the Other Woman of SF’. (Twitter, 1 February)
Michael Swanwick resigned his position as Honorary President of the Moscow-based International Union of Writers, in protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Flogging Babel blog, 23 February)
Volodymyr Zelensky,President of Ukraine, voiced Paddington Bear in Ukrainian dubs of Paddington (2014) and its sequel (see Wikipedia). Hence cartoons of a small bear giving a huge one a very hard stare.
Until 8 Jan 2023 • Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature (exhibition), V&A, London. £14; children free. See tinyurl.com/2p89r2vf.
HYBRID. 5 Mar • Angela Carter: A Radical Prescience? (symposium), University of Chichester. 8:45am-5:40pm. £40; £30 online only; £20 students/staff. See www.sussexfolktalecentre.org/events/.
5 Mar • Picocon, Blackett Lecture Theatre, Imperial College, London. 10am-6pm. £6; ICSF members £4. Attendance limited to 100; evidence of negative Covid test required. Tickets from www.imperialcollegeunion.org/activities/a-to-z/science-fiction-and-fantasy.
POSTPONED TO MAY. 10-13 Mar • ChillerCon UK (horror): see below.
10-12 Mar • Frightfest (film), Glasgow Film Theatre. Weekend passes £75, linked from www.frightfest.co.uk/filmsandevents.html.
FULL UP. 11-13 Mar • MinamiCon (anime), Novotel Hotel, Southampton. £60 reg. See www.minamicon.org.uk. ‘Registration is now full.’
1 Apr - 28 Aug • Superheroes, Orphans & Origins (exhibition), Foundling Museum, London. £10.50 admission; £8.25 concessions. See foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/superheroes-orphans-origins/.
ONLINE. 9-10 Apr • Conpulsion (games); physical event postponed to April 2023. See conpulsion.org for the smaller 2022 presence online.
15-18 Apr • Reclamation (Eastercon), Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre, Heathrow. £70 reg; £40 concessions; accompanied under-18s £25; under-5s free; £35 supporting. See reclamation2022.co.uk. Everyone attending in person must be fully vaccinated unless medically exempt or in a group that cannot be vaccinated. (31 January announcement) Rail travel problems are expected, with five of the seven mainline UK operators planning vast repairs and upgrades during the Easter bank holiday.
ONLINE. 27 Apr-6 Jun • Writing Science Fiction (teaching course) with Adam Roberts. £210 reg. Details at www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/course/writing-science-fiction/.
26-29 May • ChillerCon UK (horror), Grand and Royal Hotels, Scarborough. £130 reg; HWA members £120. March memberships and hotel bookings carried over unless otherwise requested: see chillercon-uk.com.
1-5 Sep • Chicon 8 (80th Worldcon), Chicago, IL, USA. $210 reg; first Worldcon $110; under-25s $90; under-18s $70; under 14s $50; accompanied under-10s free; $50 supporting. Rates valid to 30 April. Hugo nominations close on 15 March. See chicon.org.
HYBRID. 1-4 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), St Anne’s, Oxford. £100 reg; £50 online; members £10 less; a further £10 ‘early bird discount’ to 31 May. See www.tolkiensociety.org/events/oxonmoot-2022.
6-9 Oct • Grimmfest (film), Odeon Great Northern, Manchester. ‘Early bird’ tickets gone; now £110 plus booking fee. See grimmfest.com.
20-23 Oct • Celluloid Screams (horror film festival), Showroom Cinema, Sheffield. Ticket prices awaited at celluloidscreams.co.uk.
11-13 Nov • Novacon 51, Palace Hotel, Buxton – venue now confirmed. £51 reg; under-17s £12; under-13s free. See novacon.uk.
12-13 Nov • Comic Con, Harrogate Convention Centre. Part of the 7-13 November Thought Bubble comics festival. £30 weekend; £19/day; under-12s, over-65s and carers free. See thoughtbubblefestival.com.
Rumblings. London Paperback and Pulp Fair: there will be a 2022 event, ‘but don't ask me where or when yet!’ (Facebook, 7 February) • London First Thursday, Bishop’s Finger pub, 3 March: an exciting clash between the planned physical gathering and a confirmed Tube strike.
Science Masterclass. From a profile of the rapper RZA: ‘He reaches for an analogy from particle physics to sum up the current condition of rap. The positive mass of the proton, he explains, is much bigger than the negative mass of the electron. Similarly, hip-hop’s positivity exceeds the present turn to what he construes as negativity.’ (Profile by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times, 19 February) [MMW]
Awards. Crawford (fantasy debut): Midnight Doorways: Fables from Pakistan by Usman T. Malik. [F770]
• Gaughan (emergent artist): not awarded this year.
• Skylark (NESFA): Mary Robinette Kowal.
Sounds Familiar. ‘Herpes genitalis and the philosopher’s stance’, a learned paper by Dr Kilian Dunphy (BMJ Journal of Medical Ethics, 2014).
BSFA Awards finalists: NOVEL A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine; Blackthorn Winter by Liz Williams; Purgatory Mount by Adam Roberts; Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky; Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley; Green Man’s Challenge by Juliet E. McKenna.
• FOR YOUNGER READERS The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis; A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger; Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao; Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko; The Empty Orchestra by Elizabeth Priest; Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep by Philip Reeve.
• SHORTER FICTION ‘Fireheart Tiger’ by Aliette de Bodard (Tor.com); ‘Light Chaser’ by Peter F. Hamilton & Gareth L. Powell (Tor.com) ‘O2 Arena’ by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, (Galaxy Edge); ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by Fiona Moore (Abyss & Apex)
• NON-FICTION Cyberpunk Culture and Psychology: Seeing Through the Mirrorshades by Anna McFarlane, Routledge; Diverse Futures: Science Fiction and Authors of Color by Joy Sanchez-Taylor; The Anthropocene Unconscious: Climate Catastrophe Culture by Mark Bould; Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction ed. Francesca T. Barbini; Octothorpe Podcast by John Coxon, Alison Scott and Liz Batty; Science Fiction and the Pathways out of the COVID Crisis by Val Nolan.
• ARTWORK Cover of Eugen Bacon’s Danged Black Thing by Peter Lo / Kara Walker; Cover of Eugen Bacon’s Saving Shadows by Elena Betti; Cover of Suyi Davies Okungbowa’s Son of the Storm by Dan dos Santos / Lauren Panepinto; Cover of Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki’s (as editor) The Year's Best African Speculative Fiction by Maria Spada; Glasgow Green Woman by Iain Clark for Glasgow2024.
As Others Remember Us. About the James Joyce papers recently donated to Reading University: ‘Other documents in the collection include several letters to Joyce from Beckett and other writers including Brave New World author HG Wells ...’ (theJournal.ie, 2 February) [VS]
R.I.P. Brian Augustyn, US comics editor with DC 1987-1996 (working on Flash, Justice League, Wonder Woman and others), and writer of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (2013), died on the 29/30 January weekend aged 67. [PDF]
• Anne D. Bernstein (1961-2022), US animation writer whose credits include Monster High: New Ghoul at School (2010), died on 8 February aged 60. [PDF]
• Stewart Bevan (1948-2022), UK actor in Doctor Who: ‘The Green Death’ (1973), died on 21 February aged 73. [SS]
• Robert Blalack (1948-2022), Oscar- and Emmy-winning US visual effects artist with genre credits from Star Wars (1977) via Altered States (1980), Wolfen (1981) and Cat People (1982) to Robocop (1987) and Freejack (1992), died on 2 February aged 73. [AIP]
• David S. Brenner, Oscar-winning film editor with many genre credits including Independence Day (1996), 2012 (2009), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Justice League (2017) and the coming Avatar 2, died on 17 February aged 59. [SJ]
• Ashley Bryan (1923-2022), US children’s author and illustrator whose books include such folk retellings as The Ox of the Wonderful Horns and Other African Folktales (1971), died on 4 February aged 98. [PDF]
• Rustica Carpio (1930-2022), Filipina actress whose genre credits include 100 Days to Heaven (2011), Ang panday 2 (2011), and Aryana (2012-2013), died on 2 February aged 91. [PDF]
• Chor Yuen (1934-2022), Hong Kong film director, writer and actor whose credits include Haunted Tales (1980), The Enchantress (1983) and The Seventh Curse (1986), died on 21 February aged 87. [PDF]
• Veronica Carlson (1944-2022), UK actress best known for such Hammer films as Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), died on 27 February aged 77. Later credits include The Ghoul (1975) and House of the Gorgon (2019). [SJ]
• George Crumb (1929-2022), US composer with music credits for The Exorcist (1973) and For the End of Time (2009), died on 6 February aged 92. [LP]
• Tom Dupree (1949-2022), US fan in various APAs, short-story author, and editor at Bantam Spectra 1992-1997 whose remit included sf, Star Wars novels and (as co-editor) Full Spectrum 5, died on 7 February aged 72. [F770] Later he was Executive Editor at HarperCollins.
• Lani Forbes (1987-2022), US author of a YA fantasy trilogy opening with The Seventh Sun (2020), died on 3 February aged 35. [AIP]
• Uschi Gatward (1972-2021), UK author of the collection English Magic (2021), died on 30 December aged 49. [AIP]
• Donald Gee (1937-2022), UK actor in Doctor Who (‘The Space Pirates’ 1969; ‘The Monster of Peladon’ 1974) and 1990 (1977), died on 14 January aged 84. [SS]
• Angélica Gorodischer (1928-2022), Argentine author of fiction in many genres including sf and fantasy – her Kalpa Imperial (1983-1984) was translated by Ursula K. Le Guin – died on 5 February aged 93.
• Jon M. Harvey, UK small-press publisher whose magazine was Balthus (1971-1972) and whose weird fiction anthologies for Spectre Press began with Cthulhu: Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1976), died on 22 February. [JE]
• Joseph Horovitz (1926-2022), Austrian-born composer who scored the 1961 Horrortorio homage to Hammer films – with further music credits including Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963), The Little Mermaid (1974) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1976) – died on 9 February aged 95. [AIP]
• Harold R. Johnson (1954-2022), Canadian Cree author whose novels include the speculative Corvus (2015) and The Björkan Sagas (2021), died on 9 February aged 68. [L]
• Anna Karen (1936-2022), South African-born actress with a rare genre credit for Stainless Steel and the Star Spies (1981), died in a house fire on 22 February; she was 85.
• Mel Keefer (1926-2022), highly prolific US comics, newspaper strip and animation artist whose sf work included Filmation cartoons from Batman/Superman Hour (1968) to He-Man (1985) – also 1960s Marvel Super-Heroes shows – died on 11 February aged 95. [PDF]
• Sally Kellerman (1937-2022), US actress in Brewster McCloud (1970), Lost Horizon (1973), The Mouse and His Child (1977) and various genre tv series, died on 24 February aged 84. [MMW]
• Ian Kennedy (1932-2022), legendary UK comics artist active since the 1940s with D.C. Thomson (especially the war comic Commando) and also as a freelance from 1954, in later life drawing sf strips including Dan Dare for the 1980s Eagle relaunch and Judge Dredd for 2000 AD, died on 7 February aged 89. [PDF]
• Henry Lincoln (1930-2022), UK actor and writer best known for scripting 1960s Doctor Who series – ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ (1967), ‘The Web of Fear’ (1968) and ‘The Dominators’ (1968 as Norman Ashby) – died on 24 February aged 92. [SS]
• Late report: Brian Lombard (1940-2021), South African fan active from the 1970s – he founded the short-lived APA Africapa circa 1973 – died on 16 August 2021; he was 81. [NS]
• Melvin Maron (1931-2022), US film distributor who brought martial-arts and monster B-movies to US audiences – Monster Zero (1965), Night of the Big Heat (1967), Godzilla’s Revenge (1969), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) and more – died on 13 January aged 90. [SS]
• Melissa Mead (1967-2022), US author of much short fantasy since 1999 and the novel Between Worlds (2005), died on 15 February aged 54. [GVG]
• Faren Miller (1950-2022), US author on the staff of Locus 1981-2000 (and regular reviewer there to 2012), whose novel is The Illusionists (1991), died on 15 February aged 71. [L]
• Moses J. Moseley (1990-2022), US actor in The Walking Dead (2012-2015) and Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies (2017), died in January aged 31. [PDF]
• Jan Pieńkowski (1936-2022), Polish-born illustrator of children’s books – including several fantasies by Joan Aiken – and creator of the pop-up Haunted House (1979, a Kate Greenaway Medal winner), died on 19 February aged 85. [PDF]
• Ivan Reitman (1946-2022), Slovakia-born Canadian producer/director whose credits include the Cronenberg Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977), Heavy Metal (1981), Ghostbusters (1984, plus sequel), Mummies Alive! (1997) and others, died on 12 February aged 75. [LP]
• Andy Remic (1971-2022), UK author whose sf debut was the SPIRAL trilogy opening with Spiral (2003), and who went on to publish galactic space opera, fantasy, military sf and more, died on 26 February; he was 50. [JE]
• Alfred Sole (1943-2022), US production designer for Halloweentown (1998, plus sequel), Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999) and Moonlight (2007-2008), died on 14 February aged 78. [AIP]
• Kira Soshinskaya (1933-2022), Russian artist and translator, wife of popular sf author Kir Bulychov, died on February 17. She illustrated more than 50 books including many genre titles, and translated novels by John Christopher, Amanda Hemingway, Garth Nix, Christopher Stasheff and Leonard Wibberley. [AM]
• Russell Starke, Australian tv horror host for Friday Suspense Theatre (1975) and Friday Night Thriller (1978), died in February aged 82. [SS]
• Richard Dean Starr (1968-2022), US author of stories about such franchise characters as The Green Hornet, Kolchak the Night Stalker, The Phantom and Zorro (he edited the authorized Tales of Zorro, 2008), died on 4 February aged 53. [JG]
• Richard L. Tierney (1936-2022), US Lovecraft scholar who wrote Cthulhoid, Gnostic and heroic fantasy (including novels about Robert E. Howard’s Bran Mak Morn and Red Sonja), died on 1 February aged 85. [LB]
• Douglas Trumbull (1942-2022), US filmmaker and visual effects pioneer whose effects credits include 2001 (1968), The Andromeda Strain (1971), Silent Running (1972, which he also directed), Close Encounters (1977), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and Blade Runner (1982), died on 7 February aged 79. [PH]
• Tom Veitch (1941-2022), US comics writer who with Cam Kennedy created all-new Star Wars comics for George Lucas in the 1990s and also worked on DC’s Animal Man, died on 18 February aged 80. [PDF]
• Beryl Vertue (1931-2022), UK producer whose credits include Tommy (1975) and Jekyll (2007), died on 12 February aged 90. [AIP]
• Monica Vitti (1931-2022), Italian actress in The Flying Saucer (1964) and Modesty Blaise (1966), died on 2 February aged 90. [AIP]
What Others Learn From SF. Context: a scholarship essay on how to set up a Mars colony with Earth’s last 100 survivors. ‘Some students had a sci-fi bent, mandating things like a male-female ratio of one to ninety-nine in order to ensure genetic diversity.’ (Heather Won Tesoriero, The Class: A Life-Changing Teacher ... [long subtitle cut], 2016) [PL]
Random Fandom. FAAN Awards: the voting deadline has now been extended from 25 February to 11 March. Results will be announced via a Zoom gathering on 20 March, whose sign-up details should soon be revealed at efanzines.com/TIR/ and/or corflu.org.
The Dead Past. 80 Years Ago, the already threatened (see A415) UK magazine Tales of Wonder died the death of a thousand paper cuts owing to wartime ‘Paper Control’ restrictions. (Futurian War Digest 18, March 1942)
• 50 Years Ago there was news from Bree: ‘The [Tolkien] Society has about 90 members out of 200 known Tolkien fans in Britain. / The Secretary, Belladonna, mentioned in her report the 80th birthday present she sent on behalf of the Society to Prof. Tolkien: a jar of tobacco, which was apparently very well received.’ (Checkpoint 16, March 1972)
Fanfundery. Another free TAFF ebook: The Harrison Saga contains the spoof world-saving adventures of Sir William Makepeace Harrison, hero of the British Empire, recorded from 1957 to 1975 by ‘Harry Hurstmonceaux O.B.E. and Cyril Faversham M.M.’ in Beloved Is Our Destiny (‘... a lovely bit of satire.’ – Michael Moorcock) and further ripping yarns now at last compiled by Rob Hansen. See taff.org.uk/ebooks.php?x=WMH.
Thog’s Masterclass. Along the Scenic Route. ‘... the unearthly beauty of their progress went deep into their souls, searing them with the prick of loveliness and evil fused into a blade of diabolical power.’ (Russell Rey [Denis Hughes], Valley of Terror, 1953) [BA]
• Earth-Wrecking Comet Impact Has Silver Lining. ‘The only good thing about Hammerfall, women’s lib was dead milliseconds after Hammerstrike....’ (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Lucifer’s Hammer, 1977)
• Grim Grin Dept. ‘Jonas Sown’s thin smile overspread his intelligent-looking features like a bloodless wound.’ (Doc Savage: The Frightened Fish by Kenneth Robeson [Will Murray], 1992) [BA]
• Dept of Crawling Things. ‘Art Bishop’s thick, white eyebrows edged across a furrowed brow.’ (Jeff Russell, Continuity, 2020) [RC] ‘Sun’s eyes flickered to betray him. They winked sideways, crawling over her white flesh, measuring, tasting, gauging clefts and indentations.’ (Frederik Pohl and Thomas T. Thomas, Mars Plus, 1994) [AR]
• Future Fashion Dept, or Mary Quant Goes to Mars: ‘Demeter wore a tube dress of sheer nylon the color of a raspberry Popsicle. It hung from her nipples to a mere four centimeters below her crotch.’ (Ibid) [AR]
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Cry Havoc. A number of Russian sf authors and fans have signed a declaration of support for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, whose citizens are described as ‘Bandits, armed with Nazi ideology’. The list of signatories is headed by Sergey Lukianenko, a 2023 Chengdu Worldcon guest of honour, which may influence some fans’ decisions about whether to attend that event. A response from Ukraine: ‘Ukrainian writers and fans appeal to you to ban these people who support the genocide of the Ukrainian people: please, don’t issue visas to them, don’t publish them, don’t invite them to cultural events. Keep your culture clear from this dirt.’ [SF²C]
• Letter and those who signed since posted at File 770:
Another Late Report. George Oleshevsky (1946-2021), US comics expert who was chief compiler of the Marvel Comics Index series, died on 12 December. [SS]
Editorial. Further TAFF Little Free Library ebooks are already in preparation. Next in line is The Incompleat Burbee Volume 2, expanding Terry Carr’s second selection of fanwriting by Charles Burbee (eventually published by Jeff Schalles in 1996) with further notable and funny pieces. In my copious free time I am also assembling the collected genre essays and reviews of SF Encylopedia founder Peter Nicholls, using his title for a planned (in the 1970s) but never completed history of sf: Infinity, Eternity, and the Pulp Magazines.
• 17 March 2022, evening: London Zoom meeting, third Thursday of each month. ‘Please share this with people who you know typically come to the Bishop’s Finger, but aren’t on Facebook.’
• 20 March 2022 (third Sunday of each month), afternoon/early evening: Sheffield SF and Fantasy Society online meeting using Zoom. For access details contact Fran Dowd, thesofa [at] gmail dot com.
Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• Bram Stoker Awards finalists
• Chesley Award winners 2021
• Locus Recommended Reading List for 2021
Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 176, March 2002. Dept of Temporal Science. ‘The remains gave off a strong earth smell. It suggested great age, century piled upon century in which this jumble of now articulated bones had lain forgotten in the volcanic silt of John Day Canyon. They had been ancient already when Christ reportedly spun fishes and loaves from thin air. Older still when Moses allegedly parted the Red Sea.’ (Kirk Mitchell, Ancient Ones, 2001)
• Dept of Splendid Simile. ‘'He sounded like a dead child discovering that eternity is some buzzing, languorous dream of Bath.’ (M. John Harrison, ‘Running Down’, 1975)
• Dept of Strange Endowments. ‘Her slender chest rose and fell gently and slowly with her sleeping inhalations, her small breasts and rather larger nipples outdenting the flimsy fabric of her ragged tunic ...’ (Fritz Leiber, The Knight and Knave of Swords, 1988)
Ansible® 416 © David Langford, 2022. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Leigh Blackmore, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Di Filippo, John Eggeling, File 770, Joe Gentile, Paul Heskett, Steve Jones, Locus, Pamela Love, Andrey Meshavkin, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Adam Roberts, SF² Concatenation, Nick Shears, Steven Smith, Vernon Speed, Gordon van Gelder, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 March 2022