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Ansible 42, March 1985

Cartoon: Alexis Gilliland

PLEASE NOTE that this old Ansible is a bit of history. Addresses may have changed (the editor's postal address hasn't, but ignore old e-mail addresses), prices and agents' credits are invalid, etc. • Dave Langford, 1993.

ANSIBLE 42 is the ultimate answer to ... well, it must have been a pretty bloody stupid question. Other such questions are: who edits it? (Dave Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK). What is it? (A: a tasteful SF newsletter bringing you the latest edifying information from SFWA etc. B: a loathsome and far too infrequent scandal-sheet wallowing in all manner of moral decay. C: Hold Over Funds.) How can its unfortunate addicts get their almost regular fix of 5 more issues? (A: £2 cash/cheque/money order to ANSIBLE at the editorial address. B: Girobank transfer to a/c 24 475 4403. C: $3.50 US to Mary & Bill Burns, 23 Kensington Ct, Hempstead, NY 11550, USA. D: $4A to Irwin Hirsh – our NEW AUSSIE AGENT – 279 Domain Rd, S. Yarra, Vic 3141, changing in April to 2/416 Dandenong Rd, North Caulfield, Vic 3161, Australia. E: Don't know.) Who did the cartoons? (A: Alexis Gilliland. B: A very clever Alexis Gilliland parodist.) And the mailing labels? (A: Keith Freeman. B: But really Keith Freeman's tame computer. C: But really the long-suffering tax-payer via long-suffering educational budgets....) And the collation? (A: William T. Goodall and Alison Haston last issue. B: Dunno who this issue. C: You mean like a cold collation?) What does LASTISH 43 mean? (A: Your subscription runs out next issue. B: At least it didn't say SUB DUE, meaning you ran out THIS issue. C: It says *****? Boy, you really are in trouble. Better not to ask.) Why is this issue so late, then? (A: No award. B: Conservative. C: March 1985. D: Don't know. E: Hazel's Language Lesson was contributed by famous Nigel E. Richardson.) Can I phone you on 0734 665804? (A: No. B: Pardon?) What's happened to the typeface this issue? (A: Rampant technophilia. B: Laziness. C: A new Apricot PC. D: Chris Priest. E: Pangolin Systems Ltd. F: Most of the above.) Why? (A: Why not?)

Having mastered his new word processor to the extent of a 12,000 word short called 'The Ament', Chris deliriously reports: "The Glamour has sold film rights to Lawrence Schiller, who produced and directed The Executioner's Song, and who is currently making Peter The Great. When asked for his reaction to the news, Mr Priest said, 'I'm over the parrot, John'... 'The Ament' is appearing in a book called The Seven Deadly Sins (Severn House, May). The sin I was encouraged to write about was Anger. I requested Random Violence, but this was not on the list. I was disappointed to be reminded that Sloth is a deadly sin, since I have always seen great virtue in this. (PS: The writer who wrote about Sloth was late delivering...) I'm currently in negotiation with Channel 4 over a one-hour television play." (CP)

"I been misquoted – the McCaffrey item [in A39?] was not my imagination or mad ravings – but FACTS from an interview in an Irish paper. Print instant correction, Ansible, or I'll get Harlan's lawyer to SUE you!" (HH)

– well, it would have been if I'd published in December. Jaded, youth-worn Michael Ashley reports: "Hanging around a street corner in Balham jeering at passers-by, I was deemed by a passing Market Researcher to be a member of the general public and given a free ticket to a preview of Morons From Outer Space, 1985 release. I went. It's a comedy about some aliens who crashland on the M1, the comedy stemming from the fact that the aliens are utterly non-alien. (Sample humour: hanging in the cockpit of their spaceship are two furry dice.) I stayed an hour before walking out so I don't know much of the plot. During this hour I laughed 3 times (one good joke: guy in space helmet clearly going to sneeze and looks desperate. Finally can't hold it, sneezes violently. Result: space helmet splattered with green gob). The audience wetted themselves uncontrollably at every joke, so it's probably a safe bet to take your drippy girl/boyfriend on a Friday night if there's nothing else on. Interesting to note that the makers wouldn't dare make jokes about race or sex for fear of getting their Arts Council Grant cut off, yet still wring a few jokes from the mentally ill. Laugh? Well, some people did..." (MA)

"When I came into fandom it was quite a good joke for the Liverpool Group to claim John Campbell as a member, but it's been a good few years since then. In the interim I've grown to dislike being called by the forename, so I've had my solicitor rid me of it once and for all." (RC)


"Douglas Adams roared through Washington recently, pausing to catch his breath and hawk the Hitchhiker computer game and The Meaning Of Liff to some 500 glazed and scruffy students at the U of Maryland. He revealed that, yes, there will be at least one more Hitcher novel but insisted that there will not be any Hitchhiker's toilet paper. Adams also reported that the long-awaited movie was still in progress, and mentioned a peculiar occupational hazard which only afflicts writers in his tax bracket: 'I had problems with the script, so the producers put my proposal on the shelf and made another movie you might have heard of – Ghostbusters. So now every time I step into the producer's office, I have to dodge large piles of cash.' Would that we all had Mr Adams's problems.

"Dune had its world premiere in Washington (3 Dec), and all the world, or at least all of fandom, was there. Your correspondent fulfilled his fantasies of being Tom Wolfe by showing up in a white tuxedo. The stars were present, including Dino de Laurentiis, director David Lynch, vacuously handsome lead Kyle McLachlan, surprisingly aged Francesca Annis, and of course such vastly more important people as Ted White, whose tuxedo was surprisingly clean, and the renowned Avedon Carol, who wore a dress for the second time in recorded history. 'I know things about you,' she said to me before slinking back into the shadows.

"Frank Herbert subsequently proved his rank of Sci Fi megastar by being invited to a White House state dinner, where he told any illiterate hack who would hear him that 'There's a lot of metaphor in my book.' Producer Rafaella de Laurentiis was more effusive: 'Dune is the story of a charismatic leader. Ronald Reagan is a charismatic leader.' Oh. What will Joseph Nicholas say?

"Arthur C. Clarke, perhaps wondering if Herbert would rise above megastar status to become (gasp!) a Dean of SF, rushed about giving 5,271,009 interviews about 2010: The Sequel. In an interview he maintained that he was far more than a well paid Del Rey hack: 'People ask me, do you work for NASA? And I tell them, of course not, NASA works for me.'

"Tom Disch is making a video of 'Pyramids for Minnesota'. The producer is... my brother-in-law, Steve Meyer. Sci-fi lives!" (Martin Morse Wooster)

Monthly BSFA pub meetings developed a hiccup when the formerly hospitable King of Diamonds pub announced without prior warning that the society was to be banned for filthy practices, such as mentioning CND. Mighty organizer Judith Hanna issued a "shocked" press release, spurring City Limits mag to interview the KoD landlord: "It's not political," he wailed, "they don't spend enough. And they have things from Greenpeace and Save the Seals which isn't science fiction." Like listening to the old Norwich lot saying "It's not right, you drink and have fun, which isn't SF..." Judith's replacement venue is the Troopers Arms, Flood St (convenient for Sloane Square but nowhere else): check first on 01-821-8627.

Congrats to Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden, whose simple majority victory is detailed in the attached thingy from UK administrator Rob "Full of beans" Hansen. P&TNH's flyer Taffluvia reports a US kitty of $4417.82 (gosh), mentions that they'll be here from 29 March to 14/21 April, and offers an "open, publicly accountable forum" for discussion of TAFF – possibly alluding to a current US "open forum" which soothed British fears about That Midwestern Campaign (A41) by censoring all references to it in the letters published. (Interesting to see that the divisive campaign defeated itself: horrified reactions swelled voting to a record level.) I gather there'll be a meeting at Yorcon at which all views on TAFF may be aired... And now a titbit for those who persevered through the boring parts: TAFF wars having fostered Avedon's and Rob's romance (those who noted their extremely occasional and exhausted appearance at Albacon II may find other words springing to mind), Carol/Hansen nuptials are definitely scheduled! Avedon's early hopes of getting married in some noted fannish home, with D. West officiating, has fortunately been scuppered by British law...

Instant movie review from Avedon: "Great camera work, fine cast, terrific sets – actors underutilized. I had to look away from the screen during the scene with the Baron. And when I did I saw the rest of the audience looking away from the screen. The beginning drags: as Ted White put it, 'They followed the book – to a fault.' I think they could have omitted a lot of that expository sand. But the food at the reception was great." (AC) Biggest laughs at the UK press preview were at the inadequately prefigured line "Your water will mingle with ours" and, in the scene alluded to above, "It is a pleasure to prick your boils, my lord." I admired the way that subtle Voice training became a vocal kung-fu rapidly taught to recruits (shout at rocks and make them shatter, etc), while the long-term ecological stuff was neatly sidestepped by having God signal the goodies' victory by laying on a miraculous rainstorm. Gawd. (DRL)

R.I. Barycz adds: "It's almost Dune from the Baron's point of view, that's where the director's sympathies lay, not with them dumb Atreides and their mewling brats. Insufferably noble the lot of them, whereas the Baron floats around being wicked and enjoying himself hugely despite suffering from a fashionable case of AIDS (or acne) and overindulgence in the good things of life, like wet male flower arrangers in clingy cheesecloth. Puts his nephews quite in the shade he does – well, one of them can only bully dwarfs and the other's so shy he takes a bath in his wingèd jockstrap..." (RIB)

JUSTIN ACKROYD, GPO Box 2708X, Melbourne, Vic 3001, Australia • WILLIAM & JANE BAINS, c/o 100 Galley Lane, Arkley, Barnet, Herts, EN5 4AL • CATHY BALL, 1812 Vine, Norman, OK 73069, USA • PETER COHEN, c/o Broadside, Admiral's Walk, London, NW3 6RS • RAMSEY CAMPBELL, 31 Penkett Rd, Wallasey, L45 7QF • JONATHAN COLECLOUGH, 13 Queens Cottages, Reading, RG1 4BE • LILIAN EDWARDS, 72 Gordon Rd, Finchley, London, N.3 • WILLIAM T. GOODALL & ALISON HASTON, oh god I've lost the new address, can someone help? • ALUN HARRIES, 42 Stelvio Pk Dr, Newport, Gwent, NP9 3EJ (nay, stare not so, it's the postcode that's changed) • MELVYN HUNTLEY, 23 Borley Rd, Creekmoor, Poole, Dorset, BH17 7DT • PHIL JAMES, 57 Icknield Close, Ickleford, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 3TE • RUSSELL PARKER, 2/37 Elizabeth St, Toowong, Queensland 4066, Australia • JOAN PATERSON, see Tibs • MIKE & DEB ROHAN, 46 Vesper La, Leeds, LS5 3NR • JOYCE SCRIVNER, 3212-C Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA • MATT SILLARS, 2 High St, Nairn, IV12 4BJ • AL SIROIS, 72 Hubinger St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA • KEVIN & DIANA SMITH, 33 Derbyshire Rd, Sale, Cheshire, M33 3FD (another postcode change) • PETER SMITH, 262 Rochford Gdns, Slough, Berks, SL2 5XW • HELEN STARKEY (again!), 91 Mexfield Road, Putney, London, SW.15 • DAN STEFFAN has moved: dunno where • CHARLES STROSS, 22 Pk Ave, Leeds, LS8 2JH (non-COA: "ignore spurious address in Cassandra") • SUE THOMASON, Merioneth Press, Unit 4, Marian Mawr Industrial Estate, Dollgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 • TIBS, see Joan Paterson (oh, all right, 59 Brookfields, Cambridge, CB1 3NZ) •

Awestruck Brian Earl Brown reports that "El Ron's group is running a contest over various radio stations, with the prize a bit part in the movie Battlefield Earth. Some people will do anything to get into pictures..." Kev Smith had "a shock when looking for a nice quiet read of an accountancy magazine": Accountancy Age (7 Feb) ran a vast photo of Battlefield clutched by smirking Trev D'Cruz (who started Quadrant Books chiefly to publish the thing)...

Mike Moir sends the final ballot. NOVEL: Empire Of The Sun (Ballard), Nights At The Circus (Carter), Neuromancer (Gibson), Mythago Wood (Holdstock), The Glamour (Priest). SHORT: 'The Object of the Attack' (Ballard), 'Unmistakably the Finest' (Bradfield), 'Spiral Winds' (Kilworth), 'The Unconquered Country' (Ryman), 'The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule' (Shepard). MEDIA: The Company Of Wolves, Dune, Nineteen Eighty Four, Star Trek III, The Transmigration Of Timothy Archer (as played at Mexicon). ARTIST: Jim Burns, Peter Jones, Ian Miller, Bruce Pennington, Tim White.

...was reportedly the modest headline surmounting Oxford Star coverage when "well known sex author Brian Aldiss" protested plans (A41: now scrapped?) to tax books and magazines at 15%. Will this revelation boost sales of the filthy Helliconia Winter? Or of his lewd essay collection The Pale Shadow Of Science, being produced by Jerry Kaufman for Westercon (120pp hc, 500 copies, $10.75 post free from JK, 4326 Winslow Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103)... Brian's buddy Ian Watson is also big news, with his council election campaign against Lord Hesketh (Con): "Extremely miniature headline in the Towcester & Brackley Post: SPACEMAN WILL TAKE ON LORD H." (IW)

The final Nebula ballot for 1984 work has the following cosmic items (all British stuff having been mercifully eliminated in earlier stages)... NOVEL: Frontera (Shiner), The Integral Trees (Niven), Job (Heinlein) The Man Who Melted (Dann), Neuromancer (Gibson – favourite, with 50% more nominations than no.2), The Wild Shore (KS Robinson). NOVELLA: 'The Greening of Bed-Stuy' (Pohl), 'Narrow Death' (Swanwick), 'Press Enter ' (Varley), 'A Traveler's Tale' (Shepard), 'Trinity' (Kress), 'Young Dr Eszterhazy' (Davidson). NOVELETTE: 'Bad Medicine' (Dann), 'Bloodchild' (Butler), 'The Lucky Strike' (KS Robinson), 'The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule' (Shepard), 'St Theresa of the Aliens' (Kelly), 'Trojan Horse' (Swanwick). SHORT: 'The Aliens Who Knew, I Mean, Everything' (Effinger), 'A Cabin on the Coast' (Wolfe), 'The Eichmann Variations' (Zebrowski), 'Morning Child' (Dozois), 'Salvador' (Shepard), 'Sunken Gardens' (Sterling).


Kath Mitchell & Leroy Kettle announce a side effect of their fanac, called Jennifer, as of 16 Feb. Lisanne Norman writes: "Stuart and I now have a little boy. He was born on 11 Feb and he's called Kai – as in King Arthur's foster brother." (Can't imagine why I expected him to be named John.) Coral & Rob Jackson's Xmas card bore the cryptic PS "No.2 expected in July", possibly a reference to Inca. Clare Coney's & Peter Nicholls's first tiny collaboration has a tentative October publication date. IPC, it's shyly whispered, may be gravid with plans for a new SF magazine, and the Norwegian Nova (no relation to British or Swedish mags) is launched this spring – Cato Sture, Plantv. 10, N-9020 Tromsdalen, Norway.

But Omni UK went the way of all flesh before reaching the Second Trial Issue promised for 29 Nov: commissioned contributions would be paid for, reported editor Jon Chambers from the deathbed, but no one's seen any actual money... Alexis Gilliland slipped on ice and broke his leg (17 Jan) but hopes to transcend his plastered state (8 Mar) and perhaps visit Britain (late June)... Waldemar Kumming suffered a bad heart attack in late 1984, but is recovering well. William & Jane Bains's baby daughter Catriona died last year, her condition from birth having been such that this was in the nature of a merciful release. Francois Truffaut, director of Fahrenheit 451 etc and featuring in Close Encounters, died last October. R.I. Barycz writes: "Obit Sam Peckinpah, well known for flix treating the human body as what it actually is, viz. a soft bag of flesh filled with red fluid under high pressure that leaks in spectacular and messy fashion when perforated by bullets, knives, etc. Thanks to his pioneering work, if you now have a flick in which the hero in a white shirt is hit at close range in the chest with a .45 he does not just go 'ow' and fall stainlessly forward. Wot has this to do with skiffy? Nothing, save that according to Variety Peckinpah rewrote (without credit) Invasion Of The Body Snatchers – the original, not the feeble remake – and also appeared in it in a cameo. He wanted to make Something Wicked This Way Comes but it came to nothing." (RIB)


Yorcon III, 5-8 Apr, Dragonara & Queens Hotels, Leeds: 36th Eastercon, GoH Greg Benford, FGoH Linda Pickersgill. £10 att to 45 Harold Mt, Leeds, LS6 1PW (£12 at door); last minute queries 12 Fearnville Tce, Leeds, LS8 3DU. Low registrations suggest there's still time to book: PR3 announces cheap rail fares (Persil tickets are cheaper still) and beer (75p for Dragonara fizz, less for real stuff in Queens).

Parcon 85, 26-28 Apr, Pardubice, Czechoslovakia. Info: Anhaltova 41/987, 169 00 Prague 6, Czech.

Gocon III, 3-5 May, Gothenburg, Sweden. Info: Bjorcksgatan 36 B, S-416 52 Goteborg, Sweden. £7 approx.

Sol III, 3-6 May, Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool: 19th official UK Trekcon, GoH Mark Lennard, Lisa Tuttle, James White. Info: 39 Dersingham Ave, Manor Park, London, E12 5QF.

Italcon XI, 23-26 May, Fanano, Italy. Info: Via San Pietro 5, I-16035 Rapallo, Italy. Brian Aldiss announces that this will be preceded by the WORLD SF ANNUAL MEETING, 21-22 May. WSF liaison: Patrizia Thiella, Corso Italia 32, I-21047 Saronno, VA. Italy.

Lazlar Lyricon, 25-27 May, Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham: Hitchercon. £16.50 (blimey) to 10 Bourne Parade, Bourne Rd, Bexley, Kent, DA5 1LQ.

Coloniacon, 15-16 Jun, Koln, Germany. Info: Reiher Weg 1, D-5000 Koln 30, West Germany.

Nasacon 6, 6-7 Jul, Stockholm, Sweden. Info: Maskinistgatan 9 ob, S-117 47 Stockholm, Sweden. £4 approx.

Albacon 85, 19-22 Jul, Central Hotel, Glasgow: Glasgow's 10th con, GoH Harlan Ellison, Anne McCaffrey. £8 att to 20 Hillingdon Gdns, Cardonald, Glasgow, G52 2TP. "We really and truly honestly do have Ellison and McCaffrey for Albacon 85... both have confirmed in writing... Albacon 84 has finally been wound up and the following donations made: Shaw Fund £50, Head Appeal £200." (O. Dalgliesh)

Beccon 85, 26-28 Jul, Basildon, Essex: GoH Richard Cowper. Info: 191 The Heights. Northolt, Middlesex, UB5 4BU. Waiting list for hotel (full up); day memberships OK.

Barcon 85, 9-11 Aug, Berlin. Info: INCOS e.v. Goltzstr. 35, D-1000 Berlin 30, Germany.

Swecon, 15-18 Aug, Stockholm: GoH Lisa Tuttle, Chris Priest. Address: as Nasacon. "Continental Hotel, central Stockholm. Room prices ca. £45 for a double (and that is considered cheap here); memberships ca. £14 (but the committee usually want interesting foreigners to be special guest stars etc, which means free or half-price membership). One PR in English, two in Swedish." (A. Engholm)

Camcon, 13-15 Sept, New Hall Coll, Cambridge. £7 att, rooms £16.10/person/night. C/o N. Taylor, Perspective Design Ltd, Top Floor, 9 Pembroke St, Cambridge, CB2 3QY.

Milford Writers' Conference [UK], 22-28 Sept, Compton Hotel, Milford-on-Sea, Hants. Info: Lisa Tuttle, me.

Eurocon 85, 1-6 Oct, Riga, USSR. No further data.

Beneluxcon 85, 26-27 Oct, Hotel Nieuw Minerva, Leiden, Netherlands. GoH Annemarie van Ewyck. Info: Postbus 1189, 8200 BD Lelystad, Netherlands.

Novacon 15, 1-3 Nov, De Vere Hotel, Coventry: GoH Dave Langford, James White. (Gosh!) £7 att to 86 Bearwood Farm Rd, Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B72 1AG.

Cymrucon 85, 1-3 Nov *groan*, Centre Hotel, Cardiff. Bossperson Neil Burgess mutters of skipping '86 and shifting to a less crowded time of year in '87. Info: none yet.

Mexicon 2, 7-9 Feb 86, said to be in the Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham: £9 att to 24a Beech Rd, London, N.11.

Ballcon, 3-6 Jul 86, Zagreb: thus Krsto Mazuranic's name and hoped date for Eurocon 86. FGoH Roelof Goudriaan. GoH uncertain ("expected VIPs: Moebius, Giger, Brothers Strugatski, Dumarest..."). Info: c/o SFera, Ivanicgradska 41a, 4100 Zagreb, Yugoslavia.

Confederation, 28 Aug - 1 Sept 86, is the 44th Worldcon, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. GoH Ray Bradbury, Terry Carr, toastmaker Bob Shaw. I'm mysteriously short of info on the increased 1985 fees, as is UK agent Colin Fine (205 Coldham's Lane, Cambridge, CB1 3HY): ask him for the latest.

WORLDCON BIDS: Britain In 87 has published a PR Zero dated Dec 84 (coff coff). Presupporters approaching 700: rush your £1 or $2 to 28 Duckett Rd, London, N4 1BN, whence a fiver will also bring you a white/grey/red/blue/yellow bid t-shirt with Jim Barker design (state small, med, large, enormous). USA: $10 to Marty Cantor, 11565 Archwood St, N. Hollywood, CA 91606. Phoenix (AZ) remains technically in the running for 1987 but has ceased to campaign for the Worldcon. 1988: New Orleans is bidding; for Yugoslavia, Krsto Mazuranic says "RSN there's going to be issued a statement on whether the Bid will resume its active life and speed ahead towards victory; or whether it will regroup for 1990; or whether it's dead and haunting the culprit for its demise." 1990 will be impossibly tough for non-US bids: LA-Con has published a breakdown of its $194,000 surplus, of which a full $20,000 is reserved for 1990 bidding. (Other big chunks: $65K to reimburse con workers and speakers, $10K to aircondition Los Angeles SF Soc HQ; $10K to bail out ConStellation, $3K to TAFF, DUFF & GUFF [six $500 chunks, payable on production of completed trip report], $2K to Aussiecon, $65K uncommitted, etc.) 1992: New York committee in formation. (F770)

Cartoon: Alexis Gilliland

"GARNETT: a lone hero desperately battling for survival in a stark, chilling world where any friend may be a traitor and every precarious moment of life may be the last..." [And that's just his letterhead: DRL.] "You know this idea about the BBC showing adverts – as usual, I'm ahead of my time. They are advertising my latest publication every week. It's called The Pickwick Papers, which ties in with the tv serial on Sundays. Can't really call it a novelization, as it's only around 18,000 words. Maybe a noveletization. It's based on an old book by some other bloke, but at 900 pages who would buy the original? And my version is packed with stills from the serial." (DG)

"Lucasfilm talking with Disney World about setting up a Lucasworld at EPCOT by 1988. Somehow I don't think there'll be any more SW films. Lucas is taking the short money: the Ewok movie, Lucasworld and now two animated features for the Ewoks and R2D2 and C3PO... Leonard Nimoy has got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame... Paul Maslansky who made Police Academy is to make Asimov's Pirates Of The Asteroids with Zoran 'I made Superman fly' Peristic for the SFX. £8M budget ($ rather – ah, the bliss of parity)...

"By now Holdstock will have phoned you at three in the morning with the news that he's doing the Penguin novelization of John Boorman's The Emerald Forest, which film is to have its premiere at Cannes this year and which Variety deems a scifantasy feature but which I recall as your everyday tale of a juvenile South American kidnapped by Amazon headhunters and brought up as one of themselves in something not a million miles from Tarzan. Said juvenile played by Boorman's own son: publicity pic of him squatting ferocious in warpaint, feathers, poison darts and Gucci loincloth rises unbidden in the memory..." (RIB)

Big Rob will now say a few words: "I worked really hard on that book, I spent months of my life making it a real novel, not just a novelization, a book with my very soul written deeply into it, and ten fucking American publishers bounced it sight unseen because they don't like Boorman... argh!" (RPH)


Cheap Truth Goes Silicon: the appalling Texan samizdat zine has expanded as "the world's first on-line SF fanzine... SMOF-BBS is accessible at 300 baud through modems anywhere on the planet. Plug in and call 512-UFO-SMOF." (512-836-7663 for those of us with all-figure dials.) Look, punks, the world's first on-line fanzine was and is Starlight SF on Micronet: Prestel page *600200, mailbox 733631000. Mine, all mine!

BBC Horror: the Beeb's decision to suspend Star Trek ("we said we'd rerun them all, but not when") and axe Dr Who ("too expensive") generated several billion responses in mere days to an electronic petition put on-line by sensuous Starlight media editor Barbara Conway.

Trials Of Windhaven is now announced by Corgi as "No.6 in this sexy historical saga with series sales now approaching 5 million." Hadn't realized George Martin & Lisa Tuttle had switched to this obvious pseudonym ("Marie de Jourlet")...

CRIES FOR HELP: Lisanne Norman wants volunteers for an undescribed Beccon costume piece – "we especially need anyone going who has a Motor Bike." (Or a goat.) 22 Wakefield Rd, Norwich, NR5 8JE. John Boardman (writes Ethel Lindsay), wants the UK edition of the "Trivial Pursuit" game and offers the US version in exchange (234 E 19th St, Brooklyn, NY 11226). Malcolm Hodkin "will forego major parts of his anatomy in easily negotiable currency to anyone who can provide him with Firesign Theatre recordings: 45c South St, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9QR". (Boring Voice Of Pub Landlord: "This isn't SF, get out of here.")

Yo-Ho-Ho: imagine Mike Rohan's surprise and delight at finding his "The Insect Tapes" reprinted in an Octopus collection imaginatively titled 2001: A Space Odyssey. Seems the initial publishers David & Charles resold the rights, pocketed the money and hoped Mike wouldn't notice.

Dunegate is the latest, thrillingly boring US fanfeud. Was it vile abuse of power when the Gillilands, marking a Washington SF Assoc membership list at the request (one hour's notice) of Those Who Distribute Free Dune Tickets, neglected several famously prestigious authors I've never heard of? Surveying irate flyers, ad hominem assaults and alternative "protest" WSFA meetings, Ansible has little hesitation in saying ZZZZZZ...

Official Michael Moorcock Society: $10/year US/Canada, $15 elsewhere, to A. Pool, 321 Kenilworth, Memphis, TN 38112, USA. Can British interest in MM be so sparse that it's not worth having an agent here?

Strange Egoboo: something called Rat 2080 has arrived, Serbo-Croat version of my first book, and I must say it looks just triffic; as Vincent Omniaveritas wrote to me, there's a quality in a good translation that you can never quite capture with the original. Meanwhile, trying to make me feel good, Cathy Ball writes: "I do enjoy Ansible. But then I enjoyed the Patchin Review." Um.

Space Opera: world premiere of Marriages Between Zones 3, 4 And 5, opera version, on 10/11 April, 8pm, Palace Theatre, Duke's Rd, WC.1 – bookings 01-387 0031. Sounds nearly as exciting as Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: The Movie...

New Year Scandal: which glamorous Harrow author was seen locked in, er, deep editorial discussion with which SF Chronicle reporter and BFS leading light at the Edwards/Atkinson New Year party? Shame on you, expecting us to answer that.

World War III Safe – Official! "We must get rid of the idea that such a war would destroy all life on Earth... the planet would recover very quickly... the southern hemisphere would not be involved and would not be damaged...." Thus Michael Allaby's 2040: Our World In The Future (Gollancz, March 85). Invited to comment on this dazzling presentation of current "nuclear winter" theories, hero Gollancz editor and CND stalwart Malcolm Edwards said, "Er um well, nothing to do with me, boss...."

Forrest J Ackerman offers $100 reward to the coiner of a suitable term to describe sleazy, exploitative pseudo-SF of a medioid nature (SFC). You may have thought one existed, but FJA desperately wants his own coinage "sci-fi" to be rehabilitated. Too late, mate....

GUFF, SEFF: races are under way and ballots are enclosed where postage permits. Cool, streetwise Eve Harvey and huggable John Jarrold are contending for a trip to Aussiecon; little-known Hans-Jurgen Mader and even littler-known Steve Green have sights set on Swecon 85....

Riots In Fife – Malcolm Hodkin reports. "Just recovering from a visit by Jim Barker and Ian Sorensen. They popped over to give the first, and by the sounds of it not the last, performance of a fannish pantomime they called 'Fandarella'. This was mainly an excuse to throw apple and pork pies into the faces of the St Andrews SF Society, but we showed 'em! By skilfully not telling them anything about it we were able to devastate our guests and the audience with our own brand of humour, turning a simple but weak ending into a simple and messy bloodbath. The Magnum 4.4 is, you know, the most powerful cap pistol in the world, and it shoots twelve shots so most punks are unlacing their shoes when you finally get around to popping the question: 'Well, punk. Did I shoot eleven, or was it twelve? Make my day, punk!' Yet more hapless proles were forced into obtaining Albacon memberships, whilst Barker tried to sell Siliclone to a bunch of not-even-neos. It could make you cry, or even support Contravention." (MH) I'm glad Fifeshire's a long way away....

Aussiecon: Jean Weber begs fanzines for display or sale at the 85 Worldcon fanroom. Rush all your old, cast-off Ansibles to GPO Box 2708X, Melbourne, Vic 3001.

Charles Platt Married: On 19th January 1985. In New York presumably. That's as much as he's telling....

Cartoon: Alexis Gilliland

Hazel's Language Lessons No.33:
[from Nigel E. Richardson]

berdirkane party given on occasion of wearing a new suit of clothes for the first time.
binêsk what remains of a tablet of soap when it is nearly used up.
kingexishkê self-propulsion along the ground on one's buttocks.


[ADDENDUM typed at bottom of Ansible Fan Poll ballot]

LAST BITSCon Calendar: addenda. Confederation sends current rates, to rise again in August: $25 supporting, $45 attending, $25 att if you voted in 1986 site selection at LA-Con. Worldcon bids not mentioned: Boston in 89, St Louis and Columbus-Cincinnati (i.e. a Cincinnati bid by Columbus fandom) in 88. Aussiecon PR3 contains a Phoenix in 87 bid – for, as promised, not the Worldcon but the North American substitute event (NASFiC) held when Worldcons come to e.g. Britain. Aussiecon membership 1365 as of Feb.... Patchin Review RIP: final issue of shit-stirring Plattzine to hand, offering subscribers a chance to convert subs to 'Ansible, an irreverant, amusing British monthly' [sic] – good old Charles, sarcastic to the last.... Support Yorcon Now, Dammit: 'Yorcon is pretty close to broke, already....' (Tom Shippey) Encyclopaedias Of Fantasy: both Maxim Jakubowski's and Peter Nicholls's delayed by US sale setbacks.... Furry Gloves, Woolly Hat left at our New Year party: owner please claim.... Credits to A. Stephenson (stencils) and C. Suslowicz (paper).... Hibbert/Connor Scandal: damn! no room.