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Ansible® 424, November 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, Eyes of Rhynn, Hands of Kwll or conjunctions of the million spheres.

The Rituals of Infinity

The Inklings Group’s plan to save the Lamb and Flag in Oxford – one of the original Inklings’ regular pubs, closed by coronavirus in 2021 (see Ansible 412) – has succeeded. It reopened on 7 October. (BBC, October)

Brian Stableford dismayed me with a news release: ‘Following an illness Brian Stableford spent two months in hospital with kidney failure. Since release is unable to read, write or walk (or type). Not yet dead but might as well be. RIP.’ (Email, 19 October) A later and more cheery message notes that he has very good carers. Hoping for better news....

Borys Sydiuk of Kyiv expressed his dismay that ‘Wordcon-2023’s GoH Sergei Lukianenko celebrates the Russian missile attack on Ukraine and hails the murder of Ukrainian civilians. / The Russian young-adult SF author Sergei Lukianenko says in his post that all Ukrainians are fascists and should be murdered. After the mass attack of Russian terrorists on Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure on October 10, he made a post hailing the destruction of power plants, heat suppliers, and other civilian infrastructure: “Finally, I wish it would be so in February, deliberately and ruthlessly, fascist scum should go to hell,” meaning all Ukrainians.’ (Facebook, 12 October) Even Western members of the Chengdu Worldcon committee prefer not to comment on their guest’s fulminations. Of the remaining guests, Liu Cixin of China has publicly supported Chinese mass internment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang while Canada’s Robert Sawyer seems blithely unconcerned about sharing a platform with the other two.

Cecilia Tan was sceptical about email from ‘E C Publishing LLC’ offering to ‘introduce your book to literary agents, booksellers, and major traditional publishing companies’ (false assumptions being that Tan has no agent and is self-published), and announced this scepticism on Twitter. A mere eight months later came a stroppy text message, from the EC Legal Team: ‘You have between 24 and 48 hours to delete your post; otherwise legal action will be taken.’ Tan’s query ‘Is it normal for a “legal team” to threaten via text?’ was met with a chorus of negatives (Twitter, 28 October). Writer Beware looked at EC in a post on ‘Junk Book Marketing’ (April 2022). For $499 they’ll put two books on a shelf: exposure!


4-6 Nov • Armadacon 2022, Future Inns, Plymouth. £35 reg; £30 concessions. More at

11-14 Nov • Camp SFW, Vauxhall Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth. Tickets £120. See

11-13 Nov • Novacon 51, Palace Hotel, Buxton. £51 reg; couples (wait for it) £102; under-17s £12; under-13s free. Day rates £15 Friday; £25 Saturday; £20 Sunday. No sales at the door. See

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

19-20 Nov • Steampunks in Space, National Space Centre, Leicester. £16.95; child/concessions £13.95. See

27 Nov • Stars of Time (media), Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare. 10am-4:30pm. £9; under-12s, OAP and disabled £5; under-4s free. Family of 2+2 children £22; 2+3 £24. See

3 Dec • Dragonmeet (gaming), Novotel Hammersmith, London. 9am-11pm. Ticket prices awaited at

3-4 Dec • For the Love of Sci-Fi (media), BEC Arena, Stretford, Manchester. £41.25; under-10s £13.20. More at

3-4 Dec • When It Changed: Women in SF/F Since 1972 (online conference). £45 reg; £30 concessions; day rates £30 and £20. See the 2 September post at

25-26 Feb 2023 • Surrey Steampunk Convivial, Stoneleigh, Epsom. See

7-10 Apr 2023 • Conversation (Eastercon), Hilton Metropole, Birmingham NEC. Now £80 reg; £45 concessions; £40 supp/online only. Under-18s still £20 and under-13s £5. See

22-23 Apr 2023 • Sci-Fi Scarborough (multimedia), The Spa, Scarborough. Details are awaited at

10-12 May 2023 • GIFcon 2022 (Glasgow University online conference), ‘Boundaries and Margins’. See

26-28 May 2023 • Satellite 8, Crowne Plaza, Glasgow. £70 reg; under-25s £60; under-18s £20; under-12s £5; under-5s £2. These rates may rise on 1 December. See

2 Jul 2023 • Tolkien Society Seminar, Leeds Hilton and online. Free. See

31 Aug - 2 Sep 2023 • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), St Anne’s, Oxford. This is the fiftieth Oxonmoot. Membership rates and online booking awaited at

15-17 Sep 2023 • Fantasycon 2023, Jury’s Inn Hotel, Broad St, Birmingham. Now £81.50 reg; students £76; under-16s £41 (BFS members £10 less); under-4s free. See

23-24 Sep 2023 • Nor-Con (media), Norfolk Showground Arena. Ticket sales awaited at

31 May - 2 Jun 2024 • FunCon One, Palace Hotel, Buxton. Still £55 for early-bird membership, rising to £60 on 1 December. See

Rumblings. London First Thursdays. The Bishop’s Finger pub is now booked to the end of 2023; the extra Christmas 2022 meeting is on 15 December. [RR]
The 32nd UK Filk Con, planned for February 2023, will not be held: hotel lost and no replacement found, while costs seem likely to become prohibitive.
Octocon 2023 is taking memberships – adults €60 – at; dates and venue (presumably Dublin) are awaited.

Infinitely Improbable

As Others Cite Harry Potter. ‘Being Tory Leader is like being Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher: every idiot fancies a go, nobody lasts long, and there’s a good chance you’ll bump into Voldemort’s soul.’ (Russ Jones, Twitter, 20 October)

Awards. Arthur C. Clarke: Deep Wheel Orcadia by Harry Josephine Giles.
Booker Prize: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka, a supernatural novel.
Ditmar (Australia) best novel: The Bridge by J.S. Breukelaar.
Kitschies: NOVEL The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. DEBUT Temporary by Hilary Leichter. COVER ART Julia Lloyd for The Seep by Chana Porter. SPECIAL Comma Press for anthology series.
Shirley Jackson: NOVEL My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones. NOVELLA Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn. NOVELETTE ‘We, the Girls Who Did Not Make It’ by E.A. Petricone (Nightmare 2/21). SHORT ‘You’ll Understand When You’re a Mom Someday’ by Isabel J. Kim (khoréo 8/21). COLLECTION Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons by Keith Rosson. ANTHOLOGY (tie) Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology ed. Eric J. Guignard; Unfettered Hexes ed. dave ring. SPECIAL Ellen Datlow for When Things Get Dark. [TM]
Ursula K. Le Guin Prize (inaugural): The House of Rust by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber.

The Clarke Award’s Twitter feed enjoyed a power gloat next day: ‘How it started: Yesterday Deep Wheel Orcadia was somewhere like 281,000 in Amazon book rankings. / How it's going: Right now it’s in the Top 500 and crushing it in the poetry bestsellers!’ (27 October)

Publishers and Sinners. Penguin Random House’s merger with Simon & Schuster has been blocked by a US federal court as likely ‘substantially to lessen competition’. (Publishers Weekly, 31 October) [AIP]

As Others See Us. ‘Stories of the supernatural have been supplanted by “science fiction.” Though the talent of H.G. Wells did in that genre nearly everything worth undertaking, a flood of “scientific” and “futuristic” fantasies continues to deluge America. With few exceptions, these writings are banal and meaningless.’ (Russell Kirk, ‘A Cautionary Note on the Ghostly Tale’ in The Surly Sullen Bell, 1962) [LP]

R.I.P. Jeff Barnaby, Canadian film-maker who wrote and directed the zombie movie Blood Quantum (2019), died on 13 October aged 46. [SJ]
Jules Bass (1935-2022), US producer, director and composer with many genre credits from The New Adventures of Pinocchio (1960) via The Hobbit (1977) and The Last Unicorn (1982) to Thundercats (1985, 2011, 2020), died on 25 October aged 87. [PDF]
Robert Brown (1926-2022), US actor in The Flame Barrier (1958), Tower of London (1962) and Primus (1971-1972), died on 19 September aged 95. [LP]
Michael Callan (1935-2022), US actor in Frasier, the Sensuous Lion (1973), Dark Dreams (1993), Leprechaun 3 (1995) and genre tv series including Superboy (1989-1992), died on 10 October aged 86. [LP/O]
Robbie Coltrane (1950–2022), popular Scots comedian and actor known for much more than playing Hagrid in all the Harry Potter films (2001-2011), died on 14 October aged 72. Further genre credits include Krull (1983), Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988), Slipstream (1989), GoldenEye (1995), Gooby (2009), and The Gruffalo (2009).
Albert E. Cowdrey (1933-2022), US author active since 1968 whose 2001 story ‘Queen for a Day’ won a World Fantasy Award and whose sf novel is Crux (2004), died on 21 August aged 88. [GVG]
Ned Dameron (1943-2022), US sf/fantasy artist active from the 1970s who created many covers for Donald M. Grant and Underwood-Miller plus other publishers, died on 20 October aged 79. [SJ]
Mike Davis (1946-2022), US urban theorist and author whose books for children include Land of the Lost Mammoths: A Science Adventure (2004), died on 25 October aged 76. [AIP]
Drew Ford, writer of the graphic novel Steam (2020) and founder of It’s Alive Press – devoted to republishing out-of-print comics – died on 1 October. [LP]
Leslie Jordan (1955-2022), US actor in Undead or Alive (2007), American Horror Story (2013-2019) and The Last Sharknado (2018), died on 24 October aged 67. [AIP]
Kim Jung-gi (1975–2022), South Korean illustrator and comics artist, died on 3 October aged 47. [PDF]
Douglas Kirkland (1934-2022), Canadian still photographer who worked on many genre films from Fahrenheit 451 (1966) and 2001 (1968) to Fantastic Four (2005), died on 2 October aged 88. [SJ]
Wolfgang Kohlhaase (1931-2022), German film director and screenwriter with a script co-credit for the Stanisław Lem-based Der schweigende Stern (The Silent Star aka First Spaceship on Venus, 1960), died on 5 October aged 91. [AM]
Michael Kopsa (1956-2022), Canadian actor in Mobile Suit Gundam (1979 English dub plus spinoffs), Fantastic Four (2005), Watchmen (2009), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and others, died on 23 October aged 66. [PDF/LP]
Feliks W. Kres (Witold Chmielecki, 1966-2022), award-winning Polish fantasy writer active since 1991, whose novels include the ‘Book of the Whole’ sequence, died on 13 October aged 56. [AM]
Günter Lamprecht (1930-2022), German actor with a genre credit for Welt am Draht (World on a Wire, 1973), died on 4 October aged 92. [AIP]
Dame Angela Lansbury (1925-2022), UK-born actress best known for Murder, She Wrote, whose genre credits include The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), The Company of Wolves (1984), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and The Grinch (2018), died on 11 October aged 96. [LP]
Gene Levy, US producer of Hysterical (1982) and Waterworld (1995), died on 15 October. [SJ]
Loretta Lynn (1932-2022), noted US country music singer with soundtrack credits for genre tv series, games, and films including The New Mutants (2020) and Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021), died on 4 October aged 90. [PDF/LP]
Tom Maddox (1945-2022), US cyberpunk author with a 1985 debut in Omni, whose sf novel was Halo (1991), died on 18 October. [PDF]
Robert (Bob) Madle (1920-2022), US fan and book dealer active since the mid-1930s – the last surviving member of First Fandom – died on 8 October aged 102. [CP] He was at the first Worldcon in 1939, won TAFF in 1957 (publishing his trip report as A Fake Fan in London) and was fan guest of honour at the 1977 Worldcon.
Andrey Martyanov (1973-2022), Russian sf/fantasy writer whose 60 novels include 32 (pseudonymous) about Conan the Barbarian, died on 30 October aged 49. [AM]
Ron Masak (1936-2022), US actor in Laserblast (1978), The Aliens Are Coming (1980), Angels on Tap (2018) and others, died on 20 October aged 86. [SJ]
Jill Pinkwater (1941-2022), US author and illustrator whose drawings appeared in many children’s chapbooks and picture books by her husband Daniel Pinkwater, died on 4 October aged 81. [PDF]
Jan Rabson (1954-2022), US voice actor in Akira (1988), Toy Story (1995 plus sequels) and many more, died on 14 October aged 68. [SJ]
Larry Rew (1947-2022), UK actor whose films include The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009), died on 5 August aged 75. [AIP]
Delia Rossi (1980-2022), Russian author of 20 romantic fantasy novels, died on 14 October. [AM]
Eileen Ryan (1927-2022), US actress in Eight Legged Freaks (2002) and Feast (2005), died on 9 October aged 94. [LP]
Peter Siragusa (1955-2022), US voice actor in Dinosaur (2000) and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), died on 11 October aged 67.
Austin Stoker (1930-2022), Trinidad-born actor in Horror High (1973), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), Time Walker (1982) and genre tv series, died on 7 October aged 92. [PDF]
Judy Tenuta (1949-2022), US actress in Monsters on Main Street (2014), Scales: Mermaids are Rea[l] (2017) and There’s No Such Thing as Vampires (2020), died on 6 October aged 72. [LP]
Dennis Virkler (1941-2022), US film editor with many genre credits from The Picture of Dorian Gray (1973) via Independence Day (1983) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) to The Wolfman (2010), died on 15 September aged 80. [SJ]
Jeff Weiss (1940-2022), US actor in Mr Destiny (1990), died on 18 September aged 82. [PDF]
Ted White (1926-2022), US actor and stuntman (not the fan, author and editor) behind Jason’s mask in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), died on 14 October aged 96. Other films include Escape from New York (1981) and Starman (1984). [SJ]
Ian Whittaker (1928-2022), UK actor in Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) and Frankenstein Unbound (1990) – also a set decorator for Alien (1979) – died on 16 October aged 94.
Jay Wilburn, US horror and YA fantasy author whose first book was The Dragonfly and the Siren (2013) with T. Fox Dunham, was reported in October as having died. [PDF]
Ralf Wolter (1926-2022), German actor with genre credits for Dracula Blows His Cool (1979) and the tasteful Killer Condom (1996), died on 14 October aged 95. [SJ]

The Weakest Link. Q: ‘Which children’s author was named after the explorer Roald Amundsen?’ A: ‘Enid Blyton.’ (ITV, The Chase)
Q: ‘In the films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, which Boris played Frankenstein’s monster?’ A: ‘Boris Johnson.’ (BBC1, The Tournament) [PE]

Random Fandom. Corflu 39 Awards: Geri Sullivan for life achievement and Claire Brialey as past president of fwa (now, echoing the recent SFWA name change, ‘fan writers association’ rather than ‘fan writers of America’). Corflu also published Jiant Shoulders, a fanthology of FAAn life achievement award winners downloadable from
Maureen Kincaid Speller’s funeral ceremony on 20 October had a surprise visitor, a local cat that for some while sat near the coffin surveying the audience. The consensus was that Maureen would have liked that. [PK]


As Others Ponder Us. ‘It’s not hyperbole to say that sci-fi, fantasy, and horror remain chained in the dungeon of the literary meritocracy. But why? Why is speculative fiction considered inferior or unequal?’ (Kurt Fawver, ‘The Inevitability and Impossibility of Escapism in Speculative Fiction’, Academia Letters, April 2021) [IN]

Dark Net. Study of SF Encyclopedia web traffic reveals that somewhere out there is a bot that visits the entry for The Grateful Dead every five minutes, day and night, world without end. Why?

The Dead Past. 70 Years Ago, Roger Dard hailed Australia’s new Minister for Customs: ‘Operation Fantast [Ken Slater’s fanzine] has been banned, and as O.F.’s Australian representative I was raided by the police, on Customs orders, and subjected to a thorough interrogation. Genial, lovable Senator O’Sullivan meanwhile is joyously banning books which were never banned before in our history [...]. Alice in Wonderland, Campbell’s Who Goes There?, and all of A. Merritt’s books have already had the axe fall on them. We expect Grimm’s Fairy Tales to go at any time. / So you see, if any of you oppressed fans over there in the UK wanna know the joys of living in a really free country, why, just come to Australia.’ (Post War: Science Fantasy News letters supplement, Winter 1952)
40 Years Ago, the magazine climate was happier: ‘Interzone is now being guaranteed against loss, to the tune of £2000 promised by the Arts Council (in this present financial year)....’ (Ansible 30, November 1982)

As Others See Others. Hilary Mantel’s recent death led to a reminder that sf isn’t the only genre regarded as needing uplift: ‘Mantel’s trilogy, which earned her two Booker Prizes, reimagined historical fiction as high literature.’ (New York Times news quiz, 30 September) [RM]

Fanfundery. TAFF. Nominations are open (closing on 4 December) for a westbound race from Europe to Pemmi-con, the NASFiC or North American SF Convention in Winnipeg, Canada, July 2023. Voting runs from 9 December to 11 April. Official release at
Free Ebooks. Current projects include TAWF Times Two, a joint volume of Walt and Madeleine Willis’s reports on their Tenth Anniversary Willis Fund trip to the 1962 Worldcon. Coming soon at

Thog’s Masterclass. Erotica Dept, or All Thumbs. ‘“Christian Grey put his thumb in my mouth. And then the other one. And then two more. “Wider,” he said as he put in one more. “I bet you’ve never had this many thumbs in your mouth.” I hadn’t.’ (E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey, 2011) [Alas, Rose Fox tells me this is a fake quote. Thog grovels.]
Something to Watch Over Me. ‘Under this sneeringly vigilant sky, Clements and Robertson stood bewildered.’ (Russell Kirk, ‘Skyberia’, Queen’s Quarterly, 1952) [LP]
The Art of Understatement, or Cheese at Suppertime. ‘Shrieking, slithering, torrential shadows of red viscous madness chasing one another through endless, ensanguined corridors of purple fulgurous sky ... formless phantasms and kaleidoscopic mutations of a ghoulish, remembered scene; forests of monstrous overnourished oaks with serpent roots twisting and sucking unnameable juices from an earth verminous with millions of cannibal devils; mound-like tentacles groping from underground nuclei of polypous perversion ... insane lightning over malignant ivied walls and demon arcades choked with fungous vegetation ...’ (H.P. Lovecraft, ‘The Lurking Fear’, 1923)

Geeks’ Corner

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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.

Virtual Meetings.
• 17 November 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.’

Back from the Grave. As indicated by new posts since 31 October, Patrick Nielsen Hayden is working to restore his and Teresa’s long-dysfunctional blog Making Light from its limbo of broken links and failed CSS:

Editorial. Madeleine Willis’s TAWF trip report (see ‘Fanfundery’ above) was serialized in Bruce Pelz’s APAzine The SpeleoBem, 1963-1966. It’s just possible that a last instalment appeared in SpeleoBem 35 in 1967 – an issue missing from the archive. If anyone has access to this and can check the contents, Rob Hansen and I would be very grateful.

All Change. The Fantasycon website at, which never got around to linking to Fantasycon 2023 (see ‘Congeries’ events list above), is apparently being abandoned; its home page now tells visitors to go to Where we learn, even on the site’s Fantasycon page, that ‘There are no upcoming events at this time.’

Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• 2023 TAFF race announced
• BSFA Awards longlist nomination (members only)
• Paul Kincaid on Maureen Kincaid Speller

Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 184, November 2002. Eyeballs in the Sky. ‘“Seigneur, I have invented forty new dishes for to-night's banquet,” Francois said pathetically, his eyes creeping out until they hung on the rims of their sockets like desperate people wavering on the edges of precipices.’ (George Viereck & Paul Eldridge, Salome the Wandering Jewess, 1930)
Neat Tricks Dept. ‘They don't kill any of them but the women are – how you say – mutilated. Same way. And beheaded.’ (Charlee Jacob, ‘Bonerider’, in Decadence ed. Monica J. O'Rourke, 2002) • ‘Mark pulled Anna’s blue bikini top off her shoulders and slid them down to her waist.’ (Nicholas Kaufmann, ‘V.I.P. Room’, ibid)

Ansible® 424 © David Langford, 2022. Thanks to Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Steve Jones, Paul Kincaid, Richard Mason, Todd Mason, Andrey Meshavkin, Ian Nichols, Omega, Lawrence Person, Curt Phillips, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Roger Robinson, Karen Schaffer, Gordon van Gelder, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 November 2022