Ansible® 418, May 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: Ulrika O’Brien. Available for SAE or the Chaos Engineers’ navigational charts of the Second Ether.
RECLAMATION. The 2022 UK Eastercon reportedly went well despite several problems with the understaffed Heathrow hotel and its dodgy IT systems (a long walk to one’s room to find the keycard didn’t work was a common complaint). Nevertheless huge enthusiasm was expressed, and people seemed to be having fun even from my own worm’s-eye viewpoint of daily newsletters (online at reclamation2022.co.uk/newsletter), social media and Discord text channels only: the latter provided some cognitive dissonance as pointed questions to convention bid committees showed up in the voting channel but I never saw the answers. For Eastercon 2023, the Conversation (venue TBA) bid won over Persistence (Birmingham NEC Hilton) by 148 votes to 98 with 16 abstentions; Levitation in Telford was unopposed for 2024; see events list below for details of both.
• A highly technical yet also funny panel on Peeing In Space was much applauded.
• BSFA Awards: NOVEL Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky. FOR YOUNGER READERS Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. SHORTER Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard. NON-FICTION Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction ed. Francesca T. Barbini. ARTWORK Glasgow Green Woman by Iain Clark.
• Doc Weir Award (unsung heroes): James Shields. [MJL]
• The membership count was 797, with 659 physically present. [JS] Some fans had to self-isolate in their rooms following positive Covid tests, or came down with it afterwards. Post-con positives were listed on Discord until 22 April, when the count hit 74; dozens more reports followed. A certain Twitter handle changed to ‘Alison Scott (Plague! Unclean!)’.
The Face of the Fly
Charles de Lint has stepped down as a Chicon 8 guest of honour, apparently because of his wife’s prolonged illness. (File 770, 4 April)
Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki triumphantly tweeted about being the first African-born Black writer to reach the final Hugo ballot – twice, for best novelette and best editor (short form). (7 April)
Fred Hoyle was remembered in an Inquisitor crossword based on his cheering observation that ‘Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards.’ (i newspaper, 2 April)
Mary Robinette Kowal’s remarks as an Eastercon GoH included: ‘We are always twenty years away from Mars.’ (Proclamation 3, 16 April)
Bob Madle asks us all to keep an eye out for his copies of the very rare fanzine Science Fiction (#1-#5, 1932-1933) ed. Jerry Siegel, with #3 containing the first appearance of Superman – stolen from his collection (by a visitor to his home?) at some time before March 2020. [CP]
Liz Williams was one of many who underwent the Generation Starship Experience of hotel check-in at Reclamation, enjoying much suspense from her 11am arrival to getting a room at 10pm. (Facebook, 15 April) The hotel apologized with a 25% discount/refund of all Friday-night room fees. In the great fan tradition of running jokes into the ground, the spoof issue of the daily newsletter proposed a new SI unit, the check-in queue or cq: ‘One cq is approximately 17 miles or 12.65 hours.’
7-8 May • Portsmouth Comic Con, Guildhall, Portsmouth. £25 adult weekend ticket; various other rates at portsmouthcomiccon.com.
19-22 May • Sci-Fi London (film festival), Picturehouse, Stratford, London. See sci-fi-london.com.
21-22 May • HorrorCon UK, Magna, Sheffield. £45 reg; £55 early admission (10am rather than 11am). Day rates at horrorconuk.com.
23 May • Tolkien Lecture, Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College, Oxford. Speaker: Rebecca F. Kuang. 6pm. See tolkienlecture.org.
26-29 May • ChillerCon UK (horror), Grand and Royal Hotels, Scarborough. £130 reg; HWA members £120. See chillercon-uk.com.
26 May • Vampire Horde, Whitby Abbey. English Heritage hopes to break the 2011 record of 1,039 vampire impersonators gathered together – ideally with 1,897 participants to mark the year of Dracula. The dress code is tough: a 2013 West Sussex attempt failed because too many of the caped and fanged wore ‘non-regulation shoes’. (Guardian, 20 April)
27-29 May • Satellite 7, Crowne Plaza, Glasgow. £70 reg (£80 at door); under-25s £60; under-18s £20; under-12s £5; under-5s £2. Advance registration closes 20 May. Day rates at seven.satellitex.org.uk.
28-29 May 2022 • EM-Con (media), Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham. Weekend tickets £30 (£40 early entry); day rates at www.em-con.co.uk.
28-29 May • Lawless (UK comics), Hilton Doubletree, Bristol. Tickets £63; day rate £31.75. See new website: lawlesscomiccon.co.uk
HYBRID. 3-5 Jun • Cymera SF Festival 2022, Edinburgh and online. £80 in person; £50 digital. See www.cymerafestival.co.uk.
CANCELLED. 25 Jun • Orion@40, Southend. See www.orionat40.com.
15-17 Jul • Lavecon (gaming), Kents Hill Park, Milton Keynes: new dates and venue. Tickets awaited at www.hwsevents.co.uk/shop-1.
5-7 Aug • TitanCon, Hilton Hotel, Belfast. Now £40 reg; £45 from 1 July and at the door. More at titancon.com.
1-5 Sep • Chicon 8 (80th Worldcon), Chicago, IL, USA. Now $230 reg; first Worldcon $130; under-25s $100; under-18s $70; under-14s $50; under-10s free; $50 supporting. Hotel booking now open. See chicon.org.
29 Oct • BristolCon, Hilton DoubleTree Hotel, Bristol. GoH Liz Williams, Stark Holborn. £30 reg; £15 under-18s and concessions; under-14s free; £10 supp. Registration at www.bristolcon.org.
3-4 Dec • For the Love of Sci-Fi (media), BEC Arena, Stretford, Manchester. £41.25; under-10s £13.20. More at fortheloveofsci-fi.com.
18 Mar 2023 • Bedford Who Charity Con (Doctor Who), King’s House, Ampthill Road, Bedford, MK42 9AZ. 10am-5:30pm. Tickets available ‘soon’ from bedfordwhocharitycon.co.uk.
7-10 Apr 2023 • Conversation (Eastercon) , venue to be announced. GoH Zen Cho, Niall Harrison, Jennell Jaquays, Kari Sperring, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ursula Vernon (T. Kingfisher). £70 reg; £40 concessions; £35 supporting or online only. These rates will be held until after the location is revealed. See conversation2023.org.uk.
29 Mar - 1 Apr 2024 • Levitation (Eastercon), Telford International Centre. GoH Jackie Burns, Genevieve Cogman, Michelle Sagara, Tade Thompson. £95 reg (rising to £115 ‘after Satellite’, so not before 30 May); £50 concessions; £35 supporting. See eastercon2024.co.uk.
Rumblings. Eurocon Bids announced at LuxCon (Luxembourg, April): 2025 Åland, Finland; 2026 Berlin, Germany; 2028 Zagreb, Croatia. The 2024 event will be in Rotterdam, The Netherlands: see erasmuscon.nl.
As Others See Us. Christian Lorentzen reviews Emily St John Mandel and the entire sf genre she rode in on: ‘A book like Sea of Tranquility is a sign of a genre’s exhaustion.’ (Financial Times, 13 April) [AB]
More Awards. ESFS European Grandmaster: Claude Peiffer (Luxembourg).
• HWA Life Achievement: Jo Fletcher, Nancy Holder, Koji Suzuki. [SJ]
• Philip K. Dick Award: Dead Space by Kali Wallace.
Publishers and Sinners. Charles Platt had nine ebooks on sale at Orion/Gollancz’s SF Gateway, but rights were reverted in 2021: ‘I resold the books to a new publisher, which put its Kindle editions online this year. / The new publisher has now received notification from Amazon/Kindle accusing it of piracy. In fact, ALL of the new publisher’s titles (not just mine) were delisted. The new publisher will not receive any more royalties. The new publisher will never be allowed to use Kindle services ever again. / I checked and, of course, Orion had failed to remove my titles from their web site, even though they reverted the rights. Presumably Kindle runs some kind of bot check on ebook availability in a commendable effort to crack down on piracy. Unfortunately at this point Orion are the ones guilty of piracy, as a result of their incompetence.’ (Email, 21 April) The SF Gateway ebook listings have since vanished.
Award Shortlists. Booker (International): the only finalist with fantastic themes is Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung. [F770]
• Hugo Finalists in selected categories: NOVEL A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine; The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers; Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki; A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark; Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir; She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. SERIES The Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee; The Kingston Cycle by C.L. Polk; Merchant Princes by Charles Stross; Terra Ignota by Ada Palmer; Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire; The World of the White Rat by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon). RELATED WORK Being Seen by Elsa Sjunneson; The Complete Debarkle by Camestros Felapton; Dangerous Visions and New Worlds edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre; ‘How Twitter can ruin a life’ by Emily St. James (Vox, 6/21); Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders; True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee by Abraham Riesman. DRAMATIC (LONG) Dune, Encanto, The Green Knight, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Space Sweepers, WandaVision. LODESTAR (YA, not a Hugo): Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer; Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao; The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik; Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko; A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger; Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders. For the full list of 114 finalists see chicon.org/home/whats-happening/hugo-awards/. (Though deafly unable to appreciate podcasts, I was pleased to see the UK Octothorpe in Best Fancast.)
• Prometheus (libertarian): Between Home and Ruin by Karl K. Gallagher; Seize What’s Held Dear by Karl K. Gallagher; Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro; Rich Man’s Sky by Wil McCarthy; Should We Stay Or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver.
As Others ... Elon Musk complains: ‘Can they please just make sci-fi/fantasy at least *mostly* about sci-fi/fantasy?’ (Twitter, 20 April)
R.I.P. Rae Allen (1926-2022), US actress whose films included Damn Yankees (1958) and Stargate (1994), died on 6 April aged 95. [AIP]
• Christine Ashby, Australian fan since 1969 who won DUFF in 1976 and was treasurer of Aussiecon and Aussiecon Two (the 1975 and 1985 Worldcons), died on 29 March aged 70. [MO]
• James Bama (1926-2022), US artist best known for realistic Western subjects, who painted 62 noted covers for Bantam’s Doc Savage paperbacks, died on 24 April aged 95. [PDF]
• June Brown (1927-2022), UK Eastenders actress also in Doctor Who (‘The Time Warrior’ 1973-1974) and Gormenghast (2000), died on 3 April aged 95.
• Sonny Caldinez (1932-2022), Trinidad-born actor in several Doctor Who serials (1967-1974), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and The Fifth Element (1997), died on 12 April aged 89. [SS]
• Ann Davies (1934-2022), UK actress in Doctor Who: ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ (1964), died on 26 April aged 87. [SS]
• Valerio Evangelisti, Italian fantasy, sf, horror and historical author who won the Urania Prize, Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire and Prix Tour Eiffel, died on 18 April aged 69. [SJ]
• Ralf Alex Fichtner (1952-2022), German artist and cartoonist who created covers and interiors for several sf publications, died on 6 April aged 69. [PDF]
• Christopher Finch (1939-2022), UK artist and author associated with New Worlds 1967-1968, whose pop-culture books include Of Muppets and Men (1981) and other Jim Henson studies, died on 1 April aged 82. [DP]
• Renée Glynne (1926-2022), UK script and continuity supervisor for Four Sided Triangle (1953), Spaceways (1953), The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) and many more, died on 6 April aged 95. [SJ]
• Gilbert Gottfried (1955-2022), US comedian and voice actor in Aladdin (1992 plus sequels and spinoffs), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014-2016) and others, died on 12 April aged 67. He appeared in Dr Dolittle (1998) and the last three Sharknado films (2016-2018). [LP]
• Rio Hackford (1970-2022), US actor in Stay Alive (2006), Jonah Hex (2010) and The Mandalorian (2019), died on 14 April aged 51. [SJ]
• Estelle Harris (1928-2022), US actress in Addams Family Reunion (1998) and Toy Story 2/3/4 (1999-2019), died on 2 April aged 93. [SJ]
• Kathryn Hays (1933-2022), US actress in Ladybug Ladybug (1963) and episodes of various genre tv series, died on 25 March aged 88. [LP]
• Michel Henricot (1936-2022), French artist whose fantastic/surreal work appeared in Omni 1979-1992, died in February aged 85. [PDF]
• Alan J. Hruska (1933-2022), US author, lawyer and filmmaker whose sf novel was Borrowed Time (1984), died on 29 March aged 88. [AIP]
• David M. Jones, visual effects artist whose credits include Star Wars (1977), Close Encounters (1977), Alien³ (1992) and Starship Troopers (1997), died on 8 April aged 74. [LP]
• Harold Livingston (1924-2022), US screenwriter for genre tv series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), died on 28 April aged 97. [LP]
• David McKee (1935-2022), UK children’s author whose work includes fantasy and sf – one title in his Mr Benn series is The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr Benn Spaceman (2015) – died on 6 April aged 87. [AIP]
• Patricia MacLachlan (1938-2022), Newbery Medal-winning US children’s author whose work included fantasy such as Waiting for the Magic (2011), died on 31 March aged 84. [JY]
• Natalya Markelova (1976-2022), Russian author of a fantasy trilogy and a standalone fantasy novel, died on April 22. [AM]
• Denis Meikle (1947-2022), UK genre film historian whose many books include The Ring Companion (2005) and A History of Horrors: The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer (2008), died in mid-April. [SS]
• Tullio Moneta (1937-2022), Italian actor in Steel Dawn (1987), Howling IV (1988) and Outlaw of Gor (1988), died on 31 March aged 84. [SS]
• Robert Morse (1931-2022), US actor with voice credits in The Stingiest Man in Town (1978) and Teen Titans Go! (2015-2021), died on 20 April aged 90. [MMW]
• Christopher Muncke (1942-2022), US actor in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), D.A.R.Y.L. (1985), Whoops Apocalypse (1986) and others, died on 6 April aged 79. [SJ]
• Jacques Perrin (1941-2022), French actor in Donkey Skin (1970) and Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001), died on 21 April aged 80. [SJ]
• Nehemiah Persoff (1919-2022), Jerusalem-born US actor in many genre tv series and An American Tail (1986, plus sequels), died on 5 April aged 102. [AIP]
• Vlasta Pospíšilová (1935-2022), Czech animator who worked on Jabberwocky (1971) and fairytale adaptations, died on 15 April aged 87. [PDF]
• Steve Redwood (1943-2022), expat UK author of two novels including Who Needs Cleopatra? (2005) and many shorts, reportedly committed suicide in Spain on 10 March. [IW]
• Klaus Schulze (1947-2022), German electronic music pioneer formerly with Tangerine Dream and the space-rock Ash Ra Tempel, died on 26 April aged 74.
• Edwin A. (Ted) Scribner (1943-2022), Australian fan in the Sydney Futurians, who with Edwina Harvey published the Ditmar-winning newsletter Australian SF Bullsheet 2002-2010, died on 30 March aged 78. [EH]
• Liz Sheridan (1929-2022), US actress in Jekyll and Hyde ... Together Again (1982), World War III (1982) and ALF (1986-1990), died on 15 April aged 93. [LP]
• Re Styles (1950-2022), actress in The Holy Mountain (1973, as Re Debris) and Sun Ra’s Space Is the Place (1974), died on 17 April aged 72. [AIP]
• Jan Swihart, actress starring in Teenagers Battle the Thing (1958, reworked as Curse of Bigfoot 1975), died in November 2021. [SS]
• Kenneth Tsang (1935-2022), Chinese actor in Die Another Day (2002) and Super Me (2019), died on 27 April aged 86. [LP]
• Alexandra Yakovleva (1957-2022), Russian actress in the Strugatsky-based musical Charodei (1982), died on 1 April aged 64. [AM]
• Barrie Youngfellow (1946-2022), US actress in Nightmare in Blood (1977) and Vampire (1979), died on 28 March aged 75. [SJ]
• Jimmy Wang Yu (1944-2022), Chinese-born martial artist, producer and actor in Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) and The Beheaded 1000 (1991), died on 5 April aged 78. [LP]
The Dead Past. 100 Years Ago, a novelist imagined the world of the future: ‘A great deal of power will be obtained from radium ...’ (W.L. George, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 7 May 1922) [PL]
• 80 Years Ago, a UK fan who drew and modelled futuristic stuff ‘enclosed a photo of a drawing of an “Atomic Power Plant” (sic) in a letter to U.S.A. only to have it returned by censor with a sternly worded admonition that photos of buildings, plants, and machinery were not allowed to be sent out of the country. Tell it to Campbell, somebody.’ (Futurian War Digest, May 1942)
• 40 Years Ago, Stu Shiffman explained the TAFF voting breakdown: ‘I allowed Dave Langford to come up with all these numbers because, after all, he’s a nuclear physicist and I’m not.’ (File 770 #32, May 1982)
Fake News! ‘James S.A. Corey’ (Daniel Abraham and Tyler Corey Franck) tweeted: ‘On[e] of the most weirdly persistent internet rumors is that we wrote any of @GRRMspeaking’s ice and fire books. We did not. Ty ran his company for a while, and @AbrahamHanover co-wrote a book with him and Gardner Dozois. But we have never worked on Ice and Fire novels.’ (Twitter, 22 April)
Fanfundery. TransAtlantic Fan Fund: voting closed at midnight on 19 April and the 2022 winner was very soon announced as Fia Karlsson of Sweden; other candidates were Anders Holmström, Mikołaj Kowalewski and Julie Faith McMurray. 237 valid votes were cast, the most since 2006. See taff.org.uk for official releases and the voting figures.
• Michael J. ‘Orange Mike’ Lowrey, the 2020 TAFF winner, was at last able to make his official trip in April, attending LuxCon and Reclamation among other European travels.
• TAFF Free Ebooks: Rob Hansen is now working on another fanhistorical epic, 1957: The First UK Worldcon, telling the story from how the bid began through detailed reportage of the convention itself to an aftermath that included a lawsuit.
• Reclamation fan-fund auctions and donations raised over £540 for TAFF and GUFF. [CB]
Thog’s Masterclass. Volcanic Quease Dept. ‘Ancient urges rolled down his spine to squirm in his belly and erupt unnervingly.’ (Megan Lindholm, The Wizard of the Pigeons, 1986) [BA]
• Eyeballs on the Run. ‘He came back towards Helen, his dark eyes running up and down her body.’ (Tony Ballantyne, Capacity, 2005) [BA]
• Neat Tricks. ‘Haddad lit a cigarette and threw his legs over an elegant wooden chair.’ (Ben Taub, ‘Shallow Graves’, 24 December 2018 New Yorker) [MMW]
• Man of Muscle Mystery. ‘He laid his hand on Fengriffen’s shoulder to restrain him, and that hand virtually leapt away, as Fengriffen’s trapezius muscles exploded along the line of his shoulders...’ (David Case, And Now the Screaming Starts..., 1970) [BA]
• Radiophonic Workshop Dept. ‘The scream came tumbling down the stairs, turning over and over as it fell headlong and came to a sudden crashing halt against my eardrums...’ (Ibid) [BA]
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Random Fandom. Mike Lowrey was scheduled to fly back to the USA on 30 April, but reported on the 29th that he’d tested positive for Covid-19 and must self-isolate for five more days in the UK. All sympathy....
Editorial. After each issue, at least one reader complains that their favourite convention or festival isn’t getting enough free publicity in Ansible. Because space is limited in the monthly newsletter (print edition still a single sheet of A4), it’s not feasible to run the full longlist always on view at news.ansible.uk. Events appear here when announced, when significant changes need to be reported, and when they’re getting close.
C.o.A. Moshe Feder is dropping the feder.name domain long used for his email, and asks correspondents to switch to Mosaic [at] gmail dot com.
• 15 May 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.
• 19 May 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.’
Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• 2022 TAFF winner, and newsletter with voting stats
• Eastercon newsletters
• ESFS Awards
• Hugo finalists – full list
Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 178, May 2002. Highbrow Dept. ‘Then he whistled softly and his eyebrows climbed towards the ceiling.’ (Arthur C. Clarke, The Sands of Mars, 1951)
• One-Eyed Trouser Snake Dept. ‘Poring over the curves of her breasts and hips, Patrick’s erection pulsed wildly.’ (Thomas Staab, Heart of Ice, Blood of Fire, 2000)
• Timeless. ‘He was not as old in appearance as his age might have made him appear.’ (Gordon R. Dickson, Soldier, Ask Not, 1967)
Ansible® 418 © David Langford, 2022. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Adam Bowie, Claire Brialey, Warwick Colvin Jr, Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Edwina Harvey, Steve Jones, Pamela Love, Michael J. Lowrey, Andrey Meshavkin, Lawrence Person, Curt Phillips, Andrew I. Porter, David Pringle, James Shields, Steven Smith, Ian Watson, Martin Morse Wooster, Jane Yolen, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia). Early release to avoid the UK bank holiday.... 29 April 2022