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Ansible® 421, August 2022

From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Ulrika O’Brien. Available for SAE, words of Guru, a share of glory or the cosmic expense account.

Not This August

Ron Goulart (1933-2022) was remembered in the latest San Diego Comic-Con souvenir book, where his full-page obituary is dominated by a large photo of – still happily with us – Joe Haldeman. [SE]

Joanne Harris tweeted: ‘I’m so honoured to have been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature today….’ (Twitter, 12 July) One familiar name in the lesser list of Honorary Fellows for 2022 was Julian May, who however is not our Julian May. (

George R.R. Martin appears in an Onion spoof slideshow, ‘Famous Authors Describe Their Biggest Rejections’, where the unreliable quote beneath his photo is: ‘I have two completed Game of Thrones manuscripts on my computer, but I can’t convince anyone to take them.’ Ansible also liked R.L. Stine’s ‘Nobody would publish my 40,000-page Goosebumps manifesto, so I had to break it down into 235 smaller books.’ [JG]

John Scalzi tweeted BEHOLD MY FEARFUL POWER in response to a claim that ‘The entirety of the whole culture war nonsense that plagues America today can be traced back to one article that John Scalzi wrote ...’ (Twitter, 29 July) I’m not sure whether it was a definite or an indefinite article.

Betsy Wollheim and Sheila Gilbert, co-publishers at DAW Books (founded by Don Wollheim in 1971), announced the sale of the company – with all current staff retained – to the Beijing-based Astra Publishing House, formerly Thinkingdom Ltd. (Clarkesworld via Twitter, 13 July)


Until 18 Sep • In the Black Fantastic (Afrofuturist art), South Bank, London. 11am-7pm Wed-Sat, 10am-6pm Sun. See

5-8 Aug • Continuum (RPG), John Foster Hall, Manor Road, Leicester University, Oadby. £175 with single room (self-catering only); day pass £15; more rates at, ‘Other Stuff’.

CANCELLED. 5-7 Aug • TitanCon, Belfast. Cancellation first announced on Facebook, 27 May; memberships to be refunded. See

6-7 Aug • Surrey Steampunk Convivial, Epsom. £20 plus booking fee. See

12-14 Aug • TFnation (Transformers), Birmingham NEC. Day rates only; e.g. Saturday is £45 or £80 for early access. See

SOLD OUT. 19-22 Aug • Discworld Convention, Hilton Metropole, Birmingham NEC. £85 reg, £60 concessions. Waiting list at

23-28 Aug • Outdoor Cinema, Barbican, London. Includes sf and fantasy. See

25-29 Aug • Frightfest (film), Leicester Square, London. £200 full festival; day passes and single-film rates at

26-29 Aug • The Asylum (steampunk), Lincoln. Weekend tickets £48 (child £24); for day rates see

1-5 Sep • Chicon 8 (80th Worldcon), Chicago, IL, USA. $240 reg; other rates at Note that Hugo voting closes on 11 August.

1-4 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), St Anne’s, Oxford. £100 reg (members £90); child £50 (members £45); online £50 (members £40). See

3 Sep • Whooverville 13 (Doctor Who), QUAD Centre, Derby, DE1 3AS. Tickets £55; concessions £38; under-12s £10; online booking at

16-19 Sep • Fantasycon 2022, Radisson Red, Heathrow. Smaller replacement for former 17-19 September event. £65 reg (BFS members £55). See

1-22 Nov • Writing Science-Fiction (online course by Alex Davis), 6:30-8:30pm each Tuesday plus one-to-one session. £55. See

26-27 Nov • Other Worlds writing weekend, Nottingham Writers’ Studio, Hockley, Nottingham. New dates: postponed from 16-17 July. £62.50 or £35/day plus booking fees. See

7-10 Apr 2023 • Conversation (Eastercon), Hilton Metropole, Birmingham NEC – venue revealed in July. £70 reg; £40 concessions; £35 supp or online only. Rates will rise soon. See

8 Jul 2023 • Edge-Lit 9, QUAD, Market Place, Derby. £35 reg. See

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Invoke Us. ‘I do hope you’re enjoying the triennial Conservative party leadership contest, which has frequently resembled tipping-out time at Arkham Asylum. Various insane claims have been made [...] and the UK remains very much in search of a costumed vigilante to rescue it. ‘ (Marina Hyde, Guardian, 15 July)

Awards. Arthur C. Clarke shortlist: Deep Wheel Orcadia by Harry Josephine Giles; Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro; A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine; A River Called Time by Courttia Newland; Wergen: The Alien Love War by Mercurio D. Rivera; Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley. Award ceremony on 26 October at the Science Museum.
Mythopoeic: ADULT LITERATURE Or What You Will by Jo Walton. CHILDREN’S Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee. SCHOLARSHIP: INKLINGS Tolkien’s Modern Reading by Holly Ordway. SCHOLARSHIP: OTHER The Modern Myths by Philip Ball.
Premios Kelvin for best translation into Spanish: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, translated by Antonio Padilla Esteban. [F770]
Prometheus (libertarian): Rich Man’s Sky by Wil McCarthy. HALL OF FAME Citizen of the Galaxy (1957) by Robert A. Heinlein.

As Others See D&D. Russell Moore’s view of what’s wrong with the USA today is so last century: ‘Fantasy role-playing is hurting America / How the cult of imagined heroism is bringing down our nation’s institutions’. ( headline and subhead, 21 July)

R.I.P. Mary Alice (1941-2022), US actress who was The Oracle in The Matrix Revolutions (2003) and videogame spinoffs, died on 27 July aged 80. [LP]
Rebecca Balding (1948-2022), US actress in The Boogens (1981) and genre tv series including Charmed (1998-2006), died on 18 July aged 73. [LP]
Jered Barclay (1930-2022), US actor with many genre credits from War of the Satellites (1958) to Howling VI: The Freaks (1991) – including voice work for Smurfs (1982-1989) and Transformers (1986-1987) – died on 23 July aged 91. [AIP]
Taurean Blacque (1940-2022), US actor in Beyond Death’s Door (1979) and DeepStar Six (1989), died on 21 July aged 82. [LP]
Peter Brook (1925-2022), noted UK director whose films include Lord of the Flies (1963, which he also scripted), died on 2 July aged 97.
James Caan (1940-2022), US actor in Countdown (1967), Rollerball (1975), Alien Nation (1988) and Sicilian Vampire (2015), died on 6 July aged 82. [SG]
Pat Carroll (1927-2022), US actress who voiced Ursula in The Little Mermaid (1989) and many spinoffs, died on 30 July aged 95. [MMW]
Bernard Cribbins (1928-2022), long-time UK actor whose genre credits include The Mouse on the Moon (1963), Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966), Jackanory (narrator, 1966-1995), The Wombles (narrator, 1973-1975), James and the Giant Peach (1976), The Water Babies (1978) and several Doctor Who stories (2007-2010), died on 28 July aged 93. [LW]
Tony Dow (1945-2022), US actor in The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space (1995) and others, who directed multiple episodes of genre tv series including Swamp Thing (1990-1993), Harry and the Hendersons (1991-1992) and Babylon 5 (1997-1998), died on 27 July aged 77. [LP]
Al Evans (1946-2022), US creator of the 1980s Apple III and Mac sf videogame Cap’n Magneto (released 2020 as freeware), died on 19 July aged 76. [LP]
Bruno Falcon (1964-2022), US breakdancer who acted in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) and choreographed Thumbelina (1994), died on 2 July aged 58. [LP]
Eric Flint (1947-2022), prolific and popular US author whose first novel was Mother of Demons (1997) and whose 1632 (2000) launched Baen’s now immense alternate-history ‘Assiti Shards/1632’ shared-world sequence – with many contributors and collaborators, and the spinoff magazine Grantville Gazette – died on 17 July aged 75. He received a special Sidewise Award for alternate history in 2018. [RJS]
Herbert W. Franke (1927-2022), Austrian-born German author whose first sf books were the collection Der grüne Komet (The Green Comet, 1960) and the novel Das Gedankennetz (1961, trans 1974 as The Mind Net), died on 16 July aged 95. A multiple Deutscher SF and Kurd Lasswitz award winner, he was honoured as ESFS Grand Master in 2016. [F770]
Geoffrey H. Goodwin (1971-2022), US author of genre stories for Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and elsewhere since 2002, died on 15 June aged 50. [PDF]
Alan Grant (1949-2022), UK comics writer best known for co-writing Judge Dredd, Robo-Hunter and Strontium Dog for 2000 AD, died on 20 July aged 73. He also wrote for DC (Batman), Marvel and Dark Horse. [MC]
Alexander Gritsenko (1980-2022), Russian writer, journalist and theatre director who co-wrote the sf novel Mustankery (2017) as by Nick Odintsov, died on 8 July. [AM]
Mona Hammond (1931-2022), Jamaica-born UK actress in 10,000 BC (2008) and genre tv series, died on 4 July aged 91. [SJ]
R.C. Harvey (1937-2022), US cartoonist and author of many books on comics and cartooning, a Comics Journal columnist since 1976, died on 31 May aged 85. [F770]
Gregory Itzin (1948-2022), US actor in Teen Wolf (1985), Hi Honey – I'm Dead (1991) and Evolution (2001), died on 8 July aged 74. [SJ]
Brian Jackson (1931-2022), UK actor in Quatermass and the Pit (1959), Gorgo (1961), Shadowchaser (1992) and various genre tv series, died on 2 July aged 91. [AIP]
Sid Jacobson (1929-2022), long-time US comics writer/editor who co-created Casper the Friendly Ghost in 1952 for Harvey Comics (where he wrote for several titles including Flash Gordon), died on 23 July aged 92. [PDF]
Samanda b Jeudé (1952-2022), US fan who was an early advocate for disabled access at conventions and founded Electrical Eggs for this purpose in 1986, died on 3 July aged 69. [WF] She received the 1992 Big Heart Award.
L.Q. Jones (1927-2022), US actor in A Boy and His Dog (1975, which he also produced and directed), The Beast Within (1982), Timerider (1982) and others, died on 9 July aged 94. [GVG]
Alan Kubatiyev (1952-2022), Russian sf writer who received eight genre awards for short fiction and nonfiction died on 4 July. [AM]
Robert Lichtman (1942-2022), long-time US fan active since the late 1950s, winner of many FAAn awards – several for his best known fanzine Trap Door (34 issues 1983-2018) – died on 6 July aged 79. [CP] Robert was the 1989 TAFF winner, a stalwart of FAPA and other apas, and a good friend who was endlessly helpful with research for TAFF’s fanhistorical ebooks.
James Lovelock (1919-2022), UK scientist and environmentalist best known for the Gaia hypothesis in Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979) – inspirational for many sf authors – died on 26 July, his 103rd birthday. His sf novel is The Greening of Mars (1984) with Michael Allaby.
Pat McCallum, US comics editor who co-founded the magazine Wizard: The Guide to Comics in 1991 and worked for DC 2011-2019, died in July.
Ni Kuang (1935-2022), Chinese author of 300+ sf and wuxia novels – the sf including the long Wisely/Wesley series, 1963-2004 – and 400+ film scripts, died on 3 July aged 87. [SF²C]
Nichelle Nichols (1932-2022), US actress unforgettably and inspirationally famous as Uhura in the original Star Trek (1966-1969) and very many spinoffs, died on 30 July aged 89. [O] Other credits range from Tarzan (1966 tv) to Sharknado 5 (2017) and the coming Renegades: Ominara.
Monty Norman (1928-2022), UK composer of the original James Bond theme for Dr No (1962), died on 11 July aged 94; other soundtrack credits include The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960) and The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961). [SJ]
Jang-Sung Rak alias Dubu, Korean manga artist best known for the webtoon adaptation of Chu-Gong’s online novel Solo Leveling, died on 23 July. [PDF]
Mickey Rooney Jr. (1945-2022), US musician and actor in The Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1957, as a ‘Mouseketeer’) and Beyond the Bermuda Triangle (1975), died on 16 July aged 77. [LP]
Yôko Shimada (1953-2022), Japanese actress in Kamen Rider (1971) and Undiscovered Tomb (2002), died on 25 July aged 69.
Tony Sirico (1942-2022), US actor in Innocent Blood (1992) and A Muppets Christmas (2008), died on 8 July aged 79. [LP]
Paul Sorvino (1939-2022), US actor whose films include The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Oh, God! (1977), The Rocketeer (1991), Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008), The Devil’s Carnival (2012) and the coming My Jurassic Place, died on 25 July aged 83. [AIP]
Sergey Sosnovskiy (1955-2022), Russian actor in the comedy series Central Russia’s Vampires (2021), died on 3 July aged 67. [AM]
Larry Storch (1923-2022), US actor in The Monitors (1969), Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1969-1972 plus spinoffs), The Ghost Busters (1975), Without Warning (1980) and The Flight of Dragons (1982), died on 8 July aged 99. [AIP]
Kazuki Takahashi (1961-2022), Japanese writer/artist whose manga Yu-Gi-Oh! (1996-2004) spawned a vast franchise of anime, videogame and trading card game adaptations, was found drowned on 6 July, wearing snorkelling kit; he was 60.
Joe Turkel (1927-2022), US actor in Village of the Giants (1965), The Shining (1980) and Blade Runner (1982), died on 27 June aged 94. [LP]
Lenny von Dohlen (1958–2022), US actor in Electric Dreams (1984), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and World’s End (2010), died on 5 July aged 63. [PDF]
David Warner (1941-2022), UK actor whose many genre credits include Time After Time (1979), Time Bandits (1981), Tron (1982), The Man with Two Brains (1983), Wild Palms (1993), Planet of the Apes (2001), Hogfather (2006), Doctor Who (‘Dreamland’, 2009) and Star Trek films, died on 24 July aged 80.
Patrick Watson (1929-2022), Canadian broadcaster, director and author whose sf novel is Alter Ego (1978), died on 4 July aged 92. [JC]

The Weakest Link. Ben Shephard: ‘Solar wind is a term for a stream of particles emanating from which large celestial object in our solar system?’ Contestant: ‘The Moon.’ (ITV, Tipping Point) [PE]

Magazine Scene. Sci-Fi Magazine, official organ of the SyFy channel, has ceased publication with the Summer 2022 issue (Vol 28 #2). [GRM]

As Others ... A speechwriter for the 1980 US Libertarian Party campaign explained the choice of corporate lawyer Edward Clark as presidential candidate: ‘to try to run somebody who looked like an actual politician, a normal person, not your typical Star Trek convention wannabe like most party members were.’ (New York Times, 18 May 2014). [MMW] Some attitudes never change: a July Private Eye crossword clue went ‘Brenda [the Eye nickname for HM the Queen] squeezed by new heart-throb, like a Trekkie (7)’, leading inexorably to the answer NERDISH. (15 July)

The Dead Past. 40 Years Ago, ‘Brain of Britain (radio) lately featured strange questions – eg about “Reindeers of the Lost Ark” – and strange answers also. “Billion Year Spree. New Maps of Hell. What do these books have in common?” “Er ... Drug addiction.”’ (Ansible 28, August 1982)

More Award Shortlists. Booker longlist works of genre interest: Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo; Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer; Treacle Walker by Alan Garner; The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka. Karen Joy Fowler also appears, with a historical novel. [F770]
British Fantasy novel categories: FANTASY (Holdstock) The Black Coast by Mike Brooks; The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri; She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan; Sistersong by Lucy Holland; This is Our Undoing by Lorraine Wilson; The Unbroken by C.L. Clark. HORROR (Derleth) The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig; A Broken Darkness by Premee Mohamed; A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson; The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward; My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones; Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw. Full list at
Ursula K. Le Guin (inaugural award for book-length fiction): A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger; The House of Rust by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber; Appleseed by Matt Bell; Summer in the City of Roses, by Michelle Ruiz Keil; How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu; The Employees by Olga Ravn, translated by Martin Aitken; Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky; The Past Is Red by Catherynne M. Valente; After the Dragons, by Cynthia Zhang.
Sidewise (alternate history): SHORT ‘Hitchcock’s Titanic’ by Matt Kresal (Tales from Alternate Earths III); ‘Gunpowder Treason’ by Alan Smale (Ibid); ‘Billie the Kid’ by Rick Wilber (Asimov’s 9/21). LONG Civilizations by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor; Broadway Revival by Laura Frankos; The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield; The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley.
World Fantasy novels: Black Water Sister by Zen Cho; A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark; The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros; The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri; The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward. For all 43 nominees in eight categories see

King Kong has returned to Birmingham after 50 years. On 22 July, vaguely in honour of the Commonwealth Games, they unveiled a 23-foot version of the long mourned 18-foot ape statue that was a popular landmark in 1972 and achieved the ultimate skiffy accolade of appearing on the front cover of Peter Weston’s fanzine Speculation. (i, 23 July)

Thog’s Masterclass. UK Railway Terminology. ‘The first time Eliza Grey laid eyes on the baby was at dusk in a slow-moving boxcar on a rain-swept stretch of the line three miles west of Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk, England.’ (J.M. Miro, Ordinary Monsters, 2022) [PO]
Or All the Seas with Oysters. ‘In the history of the bicycle, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.’ (Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 23 May) [PE]
Doc Savage Battles Striking Similes and Magical Metaphors. ‘Soon he was hurrying along in a wild, devil-ridden way, as if on a carpet of sticky spider silk.’ ‘Doc read disquiet on his features as if it were written there in Braille.’ ‘A few hairs grew out of his chin like wheat.’ ‘Perspiration was appearing on Gahs’s head like droplets of nasal secretion.’ ‘Waves traveled across the sea toward the vessel like puffs of air moving under a soiled bedsheet.’ (Kenneth Robeson [Lester Dent with Will Murray], Flight Into Fear, 1993 [drafted 1952]) [BA]
Explosive Dept. ‘The abruptness of his erecting caused the snow to explode about him.’ (Ibid) [BA] ‘“I think these must be the first wild strawberries of Spring,” I said as her breasts burst into my eager hands.’ (Edison Marshall, The Viking, 1951) [MMW]

Geeks’ Corner

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Convention and Event Links
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PayPal Tip Jar Thingy. Donate to support Ansible, cover website costs and keep the editor happy! Or just buy his books.

The POD People. Genre Fiction: The Roaring Years, the collected essays and reviews of SF Encyclopedia founder Peter Nicholls, will be released very soon as a fat trade paperback and ebook with all proceeds going to the SFE. See for details, contents, plugs and a sample essay. Review copy requests to David Langford.
• The third Little TAFF Library ebook to be reissued in paperback (all proceeds to TAFF) is the scurrilous True Rat: The Beast of Leroy Kettle, by kind permission of Leroy. See

Jeff VanderMeer revealed another of his lovable eccentricities: ‘i just incubate the maggots, mosquitoes and bot flies in my own body and it’s quite eye opening the processes and sensations oh my ... anyways, not for everyone but if you want to become an ecosystem highly educational.’ (Facebook, 30 July) I suppose it makes a change from all those spores and hyphae.

R.I.P. – Late Reports. Paul Coker Jr. (1929-2022), US cartoonist and animator known for his work on Rankin/Bass holiday special films featuring Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny et al, and for illustrating Mad spoofs including Star Trek and Jurassic Park, died on 23 June aged 93. [AIP]
Akira Ishihama (1935-2022), Japanese actor whose credits include The Snow Woman (1986), Kamen Rider Black: Terrifying! The Phantom House of Devil Pass (1988) and the tokusatsu series Supernova Flashman (1986-1987) and Mobile Sheriff Jiban (1989-1990), died on 26 July aged 87. [SJ]
Stuart Woods (1938-2022), US thriller author whose Under the Lake (1987) has elements of supernatural horror, died on 22 July aged 84. [LP]
Ron Zimmerman, US comedian, tv producer, actor in The One (2001) and Marvel Comics writer (Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, others), died on 28 July. [PDF]

Virtual Meetings.
• 18 August 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.
• Chicon Fringe Programme
• Chicon WSFS business meeting agenda
• Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases
• Inaugural Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction
• Robert Lichtman (1944-2022)

Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 181, August 2002. Dept of True Romance, or Smoking In Bed. ‘Tita timidly touched the hard muscles on Pedro's arms and chest; lower down, she felt a red-hot coal that throbbed through his clothes.’ (Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate, 1992)
Dept of Athletics. ‘His stomach leaped with hunger.’ ‘Her eyebrows leaped at him.’ (Megan Lindholm, The Wizard of the Pigeons, 1986)
Purple Prose of Cairo Dept. ‘Yes. Unable to press her tongue against the word, Briony could only nod, and felt as she did so a sulky thrill of self-annihilating compliance spreading across her skin, ballooning outwards from it, darkening the room in throbs.’ (Ian McEwan, Atonement, 2001)

Ansible® 421 © David Langford, 2022. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Michael Carroll, John Clute, Paul Di Filippo, Scott Edelman, File 770, William Francis, Janice Gelb, Steve Green, Steve Jones, Andrey Meshavkin, George R. Morgan, Paul Oldroyd, Omega, Lawrence Person, Curt Phillips, Private Eye, Andrew I. Porter, Robert J. Sawyer, SF² Concatenation, Gordon van Gelder, Liz Williams, Martin Morse Wooster, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 August 2022