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Ansible® 432, July 2023

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, or instructive tales of the Arthurian and Ad-Atomic Ages.

The Black Knight Hath My Heart

Martin Amis was posthumously knighted for services to literature (backdated to 18 May) in the King’s Birthday honours. Also knighted was Ben Okri, while Ian McEwan was exalted as a Companion of Honour.

Chadwick Boseman of Black Panther renown is to receive a posthumous Hollyword Walk of Fame star in 2024. [F770]

John-Henri Holmberg was honoured for life achievement by the European SF Society as a European Grandmaster. (ESFS, June)

Demetrious Polychron’s mindboggling effrontery in suing Amazon and the Tolkien estate for ‘plagiarizing’ his unauthorized Tolkien fan fiction (see A430) – for which permission was explicitly refused – has been rewarded with a Tolkien Trust lawsuit against DP for having chosen to ‘write, publish, market and sell a blatantly infringing derivative sequel to the Tolkien Trilogy entitled The Fellowship of the King (the “Infringing Work”). In addition to clearly mimicking the title of the first book in the Tolkien Trilogy, the Infringing Work constitutes a blatant, wide-ranging and comprehensive misappropriation of Professor Tolkien’s creative opus.’ (The Radar, 2 June) The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.

Adam Roberts confided: ‘My favourite bit of Lanark was when Alasdair Gray fell into the chasm and we all thought he was dead but then he came back & was all “I am Alasdair the White and I come back to you at the turning of the tide” in a Glasgow accent.’ (Twitter, 28 June)

Manon Steffan Ros received the 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal (fiction category) for her YA sf novel The Blue Book of Nebo, whose Welsh version Llyfr Glas Nebo won the 2016 National Eisteddfod’s top fiction award (see A374). The Medal had never before been awarded to a translated work; Ros herself made the translation. (Guardian, 21 June) [GM]

Jeff VanderMeer offers a new service to fellow inmates of Florida: ‘For a reasonable fee I will, as a native plants expert, come to your yard and instal the bushes and understory trees that serve as effective deterrents to orcas. [...] I guarantee you will see no orcas in your backyard after you pay me to plant these bushes.’ (Twitter, 20 June)


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

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

9 Jul • Aintree Comicon (multimedia), Aintree Racecourse. 9am-4pm. Tickets £9 (£11 early entry) from

14-16 Jul • Fantasy Forest (cosplay), Sudely Castle, Cheltenham. £44.95 reg plus booking fee; other rates at

28-31 Jul • Continuum (RPG), John Foster Hall, Manor Road, Leicester University, Oadby. See

30 Jul • Paperback & Pulp Book Fair, Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, Coram St, London WC1N 1HT. 9:30am-3pm. £3 admission. Combined with the Bloomsbury Ephemera Fair: see

5 Aug • Small Press Day, all UK. See

5-6 Aug • Surrey Steampunk Convivial, Stoneleigh, Epsom. See

24-28 Aug • Frightfest (film), Cineworld, Leicester Square, London. Tickets on sale from 15 July at

27 Oct - 25 Feb 2024 • Fantasy: Realms of Imagination (exhibition), British Library, London. Details and dedicated web page to follow.

29 Mar - 1 Apr 2024 • Levitation (Eastercon), Telford International Centre. £115 reg (rising on 1 July); £50 concessions; £35 supporting; all memberships include virtual access. See

11-12 May 2024 • Portsmouth Comic Con, Guildhall, Portsmouth. Early bird tickets £33; more at

18-19 May 2024 • HorrorCon UK, Magna Science Adventure Centre, Sheffield. Ticket sales to follow at

8-9 Jun 2024 • EM-Con (media), Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham. Ticket sales to follow at

18-21 Apr 2025 • Reconnect, Hilton Lanyon Place Hotel and ICC, Belfast. £60 reg, rising to £70 on 3 July; £45 under-18s and concessions; £25 supporting membership only. See

26-29 Jun 2025 • Archipelacon 2 (Eurocon), Mariehamn, Åland, Finland. GoH Jeff & Ann VanderMeer, Mats Strandberg, Emmi Itäranta. €40 reg; under-26s €20; under-12s €5. See

Rumblings. Middle-earth Festival: the event traditionally held at Sarehole Mill, Birmingham, will return in September at a new venue yet to be announced.
Worldcon 2025. The bid for Seattle, Washington, USA (13-17 August 2025) is the sole contender: see

Infinitely Improbable

The Boris from Another World. ‘Like a monster released from enclosure in an iceberg as it is thawed by a warm weather front, Johnson arrived in Westminster to wreak havoc ...’ (Guardian, 19 June) [JH]

Blurbismo. Michael Cunningham on The Glow (2023) by Jessie Gaynor: ‘Jane Austen on steroids.’ ( [GF]

Awards. Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist: Venomous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman; The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard; Plutoshine by Lucy Kissick; The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier, translated by Adriana Hunter; The Coral Bones by E.J. Swift; Metronome by Tom Watson.
Kitschies: NOVEL The Last Blade Priest by Will Wiles. DEBUT Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield. COVER ART Klara Smith for Paper Crusade by Michelle Penn. SPECIAL Bisha K. Ali for her work as head writer for Ms. Marvel.
Lambda (LBGTQ) winners of genre interest: SPECULATIVE The Wicked and the Willing by Lianyu Tan. BISEXUAL Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste. STUDIES Keeping It Unreal: Black Queer Fantasy and Superhero Comics by Darieck Scott. [F770]
Locus: SF NOVEL The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi. FANTASY Babel by R.F. Kuang. HORROR What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher. YA Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders. DEBUT The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler. NOVELLA A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers. NOVELETTE ‘If You Find Yourself Speaking to God, Address God with the Informal You’ by John Chu (Uncanny 7/22). SHORT ‘Rabbit Test’ by Samantha Mills (Uncanny 11/22). ANTHOLOGY Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction ed. Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Zelda Knight. COLLECTION Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller. MAGAZINE PUBLISHER Tor. EDITOR Ellen Datlow. ARTIST Charles Vess. NON-FICTION Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes by Rob Wilkins. ILLUSTRATED Chivalry by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Colleen Doran. SPECIAL Carl Brandon Society.
SF and Fantasy Hall of Fame (Seattle Museum of Pop Culture): 2023 additions are N.K. Jemisin, John Carpenter, the Dune franchise and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Stoker (horror) novel winners: NOVEL The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias. DEBUT Beulah by Christi Nogle. YA The Triangle by Robert P. Ottone. CHILDREN’S They Stole Our Hearts by Daniel Kraus. LONG The Wehrwolf by Alma Katsu. SHORT ‘Fracture’ by Mercedes M. Yardley (Mother: Tales of Love and Terror). COLLECTION Breakable Things by Cassandra Khaw. ANTHOLOGY Screams from the Dark ed. Ellen Datlow. NONFICTION Writing in the Dark by Tim Waggoner. SHORT NONFICTION ‘I Don't Read Horror (& Other Weird Tales)’ by Lee Murray (Interstellar Flight Magazine 24/10/22). GRAPHIC NOVEL Kolchak: The Night Stalker: 50th Anniversary ed. James Aquilone. SCREENPLAY (tie) Stranger Things: ‘The Hellfire Club’ and The Duffer Brothers. POETRY COLLECTION Crime Scene by Cynthia Pelayo. [F770]

The Discworld Emporium at 41 Wincanton High Street is up for sale with a suggested price of £395,000. (Twitter, 12 June) [Update: the Emporium itself has moved to Guild House, Station Road, Wincanton, Somerset, BA9 9FE.]

In Typo Veritas. ‘We are looking for an euthanistic and self motivated individual’. (NHS England apprenticeship ad in Bristol) [PE]

R.I.P. Michael A. Banks (Alan Gould, 1951-2023), US fan active in the Cincinnati Fantasy Group and author whose work includes Understanding Science Fiction (1982) and the novel The Odysseus Solution (1986) with Dean R. Lambe, died on 19 June aged 72. [LZ]
Peter Belli (1943-2023), Danish actor in Truly Human (2001) and Koko-di Koko-da (2019), died on 8 June aged 79.
Sheldon Bergstrom (1971-2023), Canadian actor in The Incredible Elephant (2001), A.R.C.H.I.E. (2016 plus sequel), SuperGrid (2018) and others, died on 18 June aged 51.
Sergio Calderón (1945-2023), Mexican actor in Men in Black (1997) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), died on 31 May aged 77. [AIP]
Nicolas Coster (1933-2023), UK actor in The Deep Ones (2020), The Last Exorcist (2020) and genre tv series, died on 26 June aged 89. [AIP]
Patricia Dainton (1930-2023), UK actress in Castle in the Air (1952) and The House in Marsh Road (1960), died on 31 May aged 93. [SG]
Frederic Forrest (1936-2023), US actor in It Lives Again (1978) and Return (1985), died on 23 June agd 86. [SJ]
Sue Freestone, UK publisher formerly with Heinemann, Hutchinson and Quercus, whose authors included Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry and Robert Harris, died on 5 June aged 78. [AIP]
Vladimir Golovanov (1939-2023), Russian screenwriter for the children’s fantasy film Polyot v Stranu Chudovishch (Flight to Monsterland, 1987) and children’s animated sf series Neznayka na Lune (Dunno in the Moon, 1997-1999), died on 5 June. [AM]
Robert Gottlieb (1931-2023), US editor at Simon & Schuster, Knopf and The New Yorker, whose authors included Ray Bradbury, Anthony Burgess, Michael Crichton and Doris Lessing, died on 14 June aged 92. [GVG]
Iain Johnstone (1943-2023), UK creator of tv documentaries including The Making of ‘Superman: The Movie’ (1980, with two follow-ups about sequels) and Waging the War of the Worlds: From H.G. Wells to Steven Spielberg (2005), died on 4 May aged 80. [SF²C]
Evan Jones (1927-2023), Jamaican poet/playwright with screenwriter credits for The Damned (1962), Modesty Blaise (1966) and Ghost in the Noonday Sun (1974), died on 18 April aged 95. [AIP]
Grant McCormick (1955-2023), Kentucky fan and former publisher of FOSFAX, died on 19 June. [F770]
Ian McGinty (1985-2023), US comics writer/artist whose credits include the comic book of Bravest Warriors (16 issues 2014-2015), died on 10 June aged 38.
Brian Mooney, UK author who was a charter member of the British Fantasy Society and published many supernatural/horror stories in magazines and anthologies – also the Cthulhu Mythos chapbook The Guardian at the Gates (1977) – died on 11 June aged 83. [SJ]
Noreen Nash (1924-2023), US actress in Aladdin and His Lamp (1942) and Phantom from Space (1953), died on 6 June aged 99. [LP]
Barry Newman (1930-2023), US actor in Deadline (1982) and G-Men from Hell (2000), died on 11 May aged 92. [LP]
Michael Norell (1937-2023), US actor and screenwriter for Doomsday Rock aka Cosmic Shock (1997), died on 12 May aged 85. [LP]
Lew Palter (1928-2023), US actor in genre tv series including The Flying Nun (6 episodes 1967-1970) and two Alien Nation tv films (1994, 1997), died on 21 May aged 94. [LP]
Allison Phillips (née Williams, 1928-2023), long-time Philadelphia fan and con-goer who like her father and husband was a president of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, died on 2 June aged 94. [LZ]
Joshua Quagmire (Richard Glen Lester II, 1952-2023), US underground and mainstream comics creator best known for the furry-superheroine pastiche Cutey Bunny (since 1982), died circa 28 May aged 71. [TW]
George Riddle (1937-2023), US actor in The Superagent (2009) and The Innkeepers (2011), died on 2 June aged 86. [LP]
John Romita Sr. (1930-2023), US comics artist who joined Marvel in 1965, drew Daredevil and The Amazing Spider-Man and co-created The Punisher and Wolverine, died on 12 June aged 93. [LP]
Julian Sands (1958-2023), UK actor in Warlock (1989 plus sequel), Arachnophobia (1990), Naked Lunch (1991), Tale of a Vampire (1992), The Turn of the Screw (1992) and others, was found dead on 24 June, having gone missing during a mid-January US mountain hike; he was 65.
Hans Sidén (1935-2023), Swedish fan and journalist active 1954-circa 2009, whose one sf novel was the juvenile Cyberspace Surfin’ (1998 with Per-Erik Winberg), died on 24 June aged 87. [J-HH]
Nicky Singer (1956-2023), UK author whose novels include such young-adult sf as The Innocent’s Story (2005) and GemX (2006), died on 17 June aged 66. [L]
Dean Smith (1932-2023), US actor/stuntman in Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), The Birds (1963), Westworld (1973) and Christine (1983), died on 24 June aged 91. [LP]
Angela Thorne (1939-2023), India-born UK actress in Haunted: Poor Girl (1974), The Rocking Horse Winner (1977), The BFG (1989, voicing the Queen) and others, died on 16 June aged 84. [SJ]
Rajnar Vajra (David Rajnar Vajra-Loeb, 1947-2023), US author who began publishing sf in 1997 – mostly for Analog, including the components of his fixup novel Doctor Alien (2022) – died on 16 May aged 75. [SHS]
Angel Wagenstein (1922-2023), Bulgarian author who scripted the East German sf film Eolomea (1972), died on 29 June aged 100. [AM]
Paxton Whitehead (1937-2023), UK actor in Child of Darkness, Child of Light (1991), 12:01 (1993), My Boyfriend’s Back (1993), RocketMan (1997) and others, died on 16 June aged 85. [SJ]
Treat Williams (1951-2023), US actor in Dead Heat (1988), The Phantom (1996), Deep Rising (1998), Age of Dinosaurs (2013) and others, died on 12 June aged 71. [LP]
Nick Wood (1961-2023), Zambia-born South African author active since 1999, whose novel Azanian Bridges (2016) was shortlisted for several awards, died unexpectedly in June; he was 62. [GR]
Edward ‘Ed Zed’ Zdrojewski (1954-2023), US fan whose fanzines were Benton Harbor Rat-Weasel and Intergalactic Animal Husbandry, died on 4 May aged 68. [LZ]

The Weakest Link. Bradley Walsh: ‘Which author wrote her first book while living on benefits and her seventh in a five-star hotel?’ Contestant: ‘Jane Austen.’ (ITV, The Chase) [PE]

As Others Rarely See Us. After the unexpected subheading Far from being the preserve of weirdos, fandoms offer a model of community and wellbeing, we read: ‘These dynamics of hope and transformation are hardly ever discussed in the public conversation about fans, yet they are a common thread, whether your interest is celebrities or classic literature, sci-fi or medieval history. Most fans are on a search for meaning, and they are prepared to give a great deal of themselves to find it. To be a fan means many things, but at its heart it is an act of love.’ (Michael Bond on ‘why you should embrace your inner fan’, Guardian, 22 May) [BA]

In Typo Veritas II. ‘Totally imperturbable, he disdained a helmet and jauntily sported a manacle in his left eye.’ (Walter Lord, The Miracle of Dunkirk, 2012 ebook edition) [MG]

Random Fandom. The 2023 Hugo Ballot is imminent, according to the Chengdu Worldcon committee. (Facebook, 22 June)
Noticed on Twitter: ‘The opposite of formaldehyde is casualdejekyll.’

Magazine Scene. 1632 & Beyond is a new magazine devoted to Eric Flint’s 1632 universe, replacing The Grantville Gazette, which ceased after his death last year. See [F770]
• At TTA Press, Black Static 82/83 is reportedly with the printers and should be out soon.
• No MYY Press status report as yet for Interzone 295; issue 294 was dated January 2023 and reached me in mid-February.
Dark Matter magazine is closing with its 18th issue, dated November/December 2023. [L]

The Dead Past. 80 Years Ago, sf author John Gloag wrote to a fanzine: ‘I occasionally see volumes of what I believe are called Science Fiction, and although some of them are abominably written many of them show great power of imagination; indeed this form of writing may almost be regarded as a form of contemporary folklore.’ (Futurian War Digest, July 1943)
70 Years Ago, on 18 July 1953, the BBC aired part one of The Quatermass Experiment. Nigel Kneale ‘recalled writing the last two episodes during transmission: “So nobody really knew what the end was – even the production team.”’ (The Oldie, July)
40 Years Ago, the TLS discussed Japanese comics’ sound-effect conventions, and Heinlein came to mind: ‘“When a penis suddenly stands erect the accepted sound is biin.” When biin is found, can spung be far behind?’ (Ansible 34, July 1983)
30 Years Ago, Piers Anthony explained his admiration for George Bernard Shaw: ‘As an outspoken vegetarian writer of greater competence than the critics claim, I relate well to him....’ (Ansible 72, July 1993)

Fanfundery. TAFF: Many thanks to FANAC for their bounty of $200 to the fund, rewarding the paper publication of Kevin Smith’s 1982 trip report Nothing ( and Anna Raftery’s 2016 report Cuttlefish and Cake ( Ted White’s collected Amazing and Fantastic editorials are now out as ebooks as well as paperbacks, with all proceeds still going to TAFF: see In the pipeline from ace fan historian Rob Hansen is another in-depth convention study, 1965: The Second British Worldcon – again a free ebook, currently being proofread.

Thog’s Masterclass. Light the Blue Touch-Paper. ‘His conversation was sounding like a one-sided view of a firecracker.’ (Isaac Asimov, ‘Breeds There a Man ...?’, June 1951 Astounding) [CG]
Double Entendre Redux. ‘Now that it was my ass, I was going to get to the bottom of it if I could.’ (Jack L. Chalker, The Moreau Factor, 2000) [BA]
Half Measures. ‘Four pairs of sandaled feet shuffled and stamped, four lungs pumped great hissing breaths, four pairs of eyes glared with fire no cooler than the pitiless sun.’ (Dariel R.A. Quiogue, ‘Ardax in Antillia’ in Die by the Sword, 2023, ed. D.M. Ritzlin) [CR]
Philosophy Dept: The Big Questions. ‘Was it possible to create oneself a kind of phantom Gombold from the void of onanistic satisfaction?’ (Joe Orton, Head to Toe, 1971) [BA]
Neat Tricks. ‘Morgan whirled defensively on his haunches.’ (Katherine Kurtz, Deryni Rising, 1970) [AR]
Dept of Pointed Looks. ‘The only noticeable things about him were an air of athletic hardness and a pair of blue eyes like swords.’ (E.C. Bentley, ‘The Inoffensive Captain’, March 1914 Strand Magazine) [BA]
Arthurian Bad Sex Dept, or Merlin Maketh Merry. ‘Then does my trouserful of wantonness make play with his eager jerking: a long night’s roaming across smooth soft plains, twin rounded hills, white slopes for wandering; and at last the choice warm, wet cavern whose ferny entrance awaits the stiff ram-headed serpent’s gentle entrance.’ (Nikolai Tolstoy, The Coming of the King, 1988) [AR]

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.

Group Theory.
• 20 July 2023, 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.’

Awards II. Nicola Griffith won the inaugural ADCI (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) Literary Prize for the Arthurian novel Spear. (Facebook, 30 June)

Editorial. As threatened last issue, I have indeed reissued my final collection of SFX magazine columns (plus other material), All Good Things: The Last SFX Visions, as an ebook – further expanded with a few extra pieces written since the 2017 NewCon Press/Steel Quill edition. Read all about it at

Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• Clarke Award submissions
• Clarke Award finalists
• ESFS Awards for 2023
• Flash Gordon and the Cruciverbal Inquisitor
• Shirley Jackson Awards finalists
• Sturgeon Award finalists

Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 192, July 2003. Eyeballs in the Sky. ‘His eyes crawled up the wall before him.’ (China Miéville, King Rat, 1998)
Dept of Regrettable Ambiguity. ‘Her dress was ragged at the hem, and too short as the clear air pulled her up tall, but her cheeks were flushed with excitement.’ (Joan Hunter Holly, The Green Planet, 1960)
Dept of Future Slang As It Used To Be. ‘“Back in the twentieth century,” he explained, “Bellman of the Rand Corporation predicted 2% of the work force would be able to produce all the country could consume by the year 2000 and ...” “Don't roach me funker,” she said. “And don't shirk off in your electro-steamer. This mopsy wants to poke.”’ (Mack Reynolds, Commune 2000 A.D., 1974)

Ansible® 432 © David Langford, 2023. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Gregory Feeley, Carl Glover, File 770, Mike Glyer, Steve Green, Joseph Holderness, John-Henri Holmberg, Steve Jones, Locus, Gatch Madeley, Andrey Meshavkin, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Adam Roberts, Christopher Rowe, Geoff Ryman, SF² Concatenation, Steven H Silver, Gordon Van Gelder, Taral Wayne, Leah Zeldes, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 31 June 2023