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Ansible® 433, August 2023

From David Langford, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Logo: Dan Steffan. Cartoon: Brad W. Foster. Available for SAE, or verified sightings of the widgeon westward winging.

The Wounded Wombats Wail

Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay filed a class-action suit in a San Francisco federal court against OpenAI, on the ground that the company’s ChatGPT bot had ‘ingested’ their work from online pirate sites in defiance of copyright law and could thus regurgitate ‘very accurate summaries’. Much depends on whether any actual financial loss to the authors can be proved and (here the story quotes fandom’s own IP professor Lilian Edwards) ‘whether courts view the use of copyright material in this way as “fair use” or as simple unauthorized copying.’ (Guardian, 5 July)

Octavia Butler is remembered in Lake Forest Park, WA, where a section of 37th Avenue NE that includes her 1999-2006 home has been renamed Octavia Butler Avenue. (Publishers Weekly, 30 July) [AIP]

Peter Crowther and John Douglas are this year’s World Fantasy Award Lifetime Achievement winners. [PC] Congratulations!

S.B. Divya declined Hugo nominations for her novelette ‘Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold’ and as a member of the Escape Pod semiprozine editorial team, citing China’s cruel treatment of the Uyghur people and the much-criticized presence of Sergei Lukyanenko – a vocal supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine – on the Chengdu guest of honour list. [F770]

Kate Greenaway’s name has been dropped from the long-established Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration, which with minimal consultation became The Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration for reasons of ‘branding expediency’. ‘The name of an accomplished woman, whose work is directly relevant to the award, has been removed and replaced with that of a male industrialist and a sponsoring corporation.’ There is a petition to reverse this ‘insensitive’ decision at [PDW]

Michael Moorcock and Will Murray entered the First Fandom Hall of Fame; so, posthumously, did Ken Kelly and Conrad H. Ruppert.

Patrick Troughton (1920-1987) has a memorial blue plaque at Mill Hill School, where he was a pupil; this was organized by the Doctor Who Appreciation Society and unveiled in July. (Doctor Who News, 17 July)


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

11-13 Aug • TFnation (Transformers), Birmingham NEC. Day rates only; e.g. Saturday is £45 or £80 for early access. See

16-20 Aug • Stars of Time (comics), Tropicana, Weston-super-Mare. £10 reg; under-12s, OAP and disabled £6; under-4s free. Family of 2+2 children £25; 2+3 £27. See

24-28 Aug • Frightfest (film), Cineworld, Leicester Square, London. Festival and day passes quickly sold out in mid-July; some single-film tickets at £14.50 (plus fees) may remain. See

25-28 Aug • Asylum-XII (steampunk), The Lawns and other Lincoln venues. £45 reg: sales and day rates at

31 Aug - 3 Sep • Oxonmoot (Tolkien Society), St Anne’s, Oxford. 50th Oxonmoot. Virtual membership free; the college venue is full with a long waiting list. See

2 Sep • Whooverville 14 (Doctor Who), QUAD Centre, Derby. Tickets £55; concessions £38; under-12s £10; registration open at

21 Oct • October Country (Ray Bradbury), QUAD, Derby. Noon-8pm. £30 reg. Details at

29 Oct • Hallocon, Leasowe Castle Hotel, Wirral. 11am-5pm. £9; under-16s £7; under-10s £5. See

18 Nov • Cymera Writers’ Conference, Edinburgh and online. Register your interest at

29 Mar - 1 Apr 2024 • Levitation (Eastercon), Telford International Centre. Now £125 reg; £50 concessions; £35 supporting; day (Saturday or Sunday only) £50. See

SOLD OUT 2-5 Aug 2024 • Discworld Convention, Birmingham NEC Hilton. £100 reg; £60 concessions; £30 supp; under-12s free. Sales opened 11 July, sold out by 17 July. Waiting list at .

18-21 Apr 2025 • Reconnect, Hilton Lanyon Place Hotel and ICC, Belfast. Now £70 reg; £40 under-18s and concessions; £25 supporting membership only. See

Rumblings. UK Filk Con 2024: possibly 2-4 February at the Palace Hotel, Buxton. Fans can register interest at
Worldcon 2024: the Glasgow committee announced that AI-generated images will be banned in the art show and discouraged in the dealers’ room. (28 July)
Worldcon 2026: the LA bid’s website shows committee members though not as yet a specific venue – see

Infinitely Improbable

In Typo Veritas. US insurance agency sign in Lovecraftian mode: ‘WE’LL SCARE YOU WITH OUR INSANE RATS’. (Twitter, 22 July) [HT]

Hugo Finalists. Selected categories from a very long list: NOVEL The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia; The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi; Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree; Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir; Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher; The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal.
SERIES Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky; The Founders Trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett; The Locked Tomb by Tamsyn Muir; October Daye by Seanan McGuire; Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch; The Scholomance by Naomi Novik.
RELATED WORK Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road by Kyle Buchanan; Buffalito World Outreach Project by Lawrence M. Schoen; Chinese Science Fiction, An Oral History, Volume 1 by Yang Feng; ‘The Ghost of Workshops Past’ by S.L. Huang; Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir by Wil Wheaton; Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes by Rob Wilkins.
DRAMATIC – LONG Avatar: The Way of Water; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; Everything Everywhere All at Once; Nope; Severance (Season 1); Turning Red.
DRAMATIC – SHORT Andor: ‘One Way Out’; Andor: ‘Rix Road’; The Expanse: ‘Babylon’s Ashes’; For All Mankind: ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’; She-Hulk: Attorney at Law: ‘Whose Show is This?’; Stranger Things: ‘Chapter Four: Dear Billy’.
LODESTAR (YA novel) Akata Woman (The Nsibidi Scripts) by Nnedi Okorafor; Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn; Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders; The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik; In the Serpent’s Wake by Rachel Hartman; Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente.
• Full bilingual list at the Worldcon site: 1,847 valid nomination ballots were received, all but four of them cast online. Hugo voting opened on 10 July and continues to 1 October.

Science Corner. An update from the Guardian website: ‘This article was corrected on 24 July 2023. The number of atoms in the sun is 10 to the power of 57, not 1057 as previously stated.’ (Twitter, 24 July)

R.I.P. Alan Arkin (1934-2023), US actor in The Last Unicorn (1982), Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Rocketeer (1991), Gattaca (1997), Dumbo (2019) and others, died on 29 June aged 89. [LP] He also published some genre fiction.
Toni Liechtenstein Bogolub (1954-2023), US fan and con-goer active in Chicago fandom, died on 3 July. [SHS]
Ion Doru Brana (1943-2023), Romanian translator of Harlan Ellison, Philip José Farmer, Frank Herbert (Dune and sequels), George R.R. Martin and Cordwainer Smith, died on 9 May aged 80. [CL]
Jerome Coopersmith (1925-2023), US screenwriter with genre credits for Johnny Jupiter (1953-1954), ’Twas the Night Before Christmas (1974) and The Sins of Dorian Gray (1983), died on 21 July aged 97. [AIP]
Manny Coto (1961-2023), Cuban-born US screenwriter, producer and director whose credits include Star Kid (1997, as writer and director), Odyssey 5 (2002-2003, creator and writer) and Star Trek: Enterprise (2003-2005, showrunner and writer), died on 9 July aged 62. (
Margia Dean (1922-2023), US actress in Superman and the Mole-Men (1951), Mesa of Lost Women (1953) and The Quatermass Xperiment (1964), died on 23 June aged 101. [LP]
Gareth Floyd (1940-2023), UK illustrator of children’s books (including fantasy), whose drawings regularly illustrated story readings on the BBC’s Jackanory, died in July aged 82. [AIP]
Randy Fullmer (1950-2023), US Disney animator, producer of The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) and Chicken Little (2005), with visual effects credits for Lifeforce (1985), She-Ra (1985-1987), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and others, died on 10 July aged 73. [AIP]
Daniel Goldberg, Canadian-born producer whose films include Space Jam (1996) and Evolution (2001), died on 12 July aged 74. [AIP]
Bo Goldman (1932-2023), Oscar-winning US screenwriter whose genre films are Meet Joe Black (1998) and King Kong (2016, a fan film using his 1975 screenplay for Universal’s legally blocked The Legend of King Kong), died on 25 July aged 90. [F770]
Lelia Goldoni (1936-2023), Italian-US actress in The Spell (1977), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1995), The Devil Inside (2012) and others, died on 22 July aged 86. [AIP]
Russell H. Greenan (1925-2023), US author best known for the unreliably fantasticated It Happened in Boston? (1968), died on 22 July aged 97.
Lech Jęczmyk (1936-2023), noted Polish editor of numerous sf anthologies and translator of Ballard, Dick, Le Guin and Vonnegut among many others, died on 17 July aged 87. [JC]
Clifford Johns, US author active since 2006, whose first novel was Walking Shadow (2012), died on 23 June. [JC]
David K.M. Klaus (1955-2023), long-time US fan – especially of Star Trek – and regular contributor of Ansible news items since 2004, died on 27 July aged 67. [F770]
Alexei Kuznetsov (1941-2023), Russian director of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1968) and voice actor in the animated sf Alice’s Birthday (2009), who also dubbed fantasy videogames, died on 5 July. [AM]
Robert Lieberman (1947-2023), US director of Fire in the Sky (1993) and episodes of genre tv series including The Dead Zone (2002), died on 1 July aged 75. [LP]
Ralph Lundsten (1936-2023), Swedish electronic composer strongly inspired by sf – with composition titles including ‘Alpha Ralpha Boulevard’ and ‘The Dream Master’ – died on 5 July aged 86. [J-HH]
Juliette Mayniel (1936-2023), French actress who co-starred in Les yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face, 1960), died on 21 July aged 87. [SJ]
Charles E. Noad, a mainstay of the UK Tolkien Society who proofread most of the posthumous Tolkien volumes, was found dead on 13 July. [F770]
Patrick Lucien Price, US game designer and editor who worked on D&D revisions at TSR from 1980 and in 1986 replaced George Scithers as editor of Amazing Stories, reportedly died in July. [PDF]
Christian Quadflieg (1945-2023), Swedish-born German actor whose credits include Star Maidens (1976), died on 16 July aged 78.
Allan Scott (1952-2023), UK author who began publishing sf in the OUSFG zine Sfinx in 1970 and whose first novel was The Ice King (1986, US title Burial Rites) with Michael Scott Rohan – published as by Michael Scot – died on 17 July aged 70. Another old friend and long-time member of the Pieria writers’ group gone. He is survived by his wife Rosemary Muntus, to whom all sympathy.
Sergey Seryogin (1967-2023), Russian animator who directed the children’s sf film Alice’s Birthday (2009) and the fantasy series Tayna Sukharevoy bashni (The Mystery of Sukharev Tower, 2010-2013; 2015), died on 14 July aged 56. [AM]
Inga Swenson (1932-2023), US actress in Earth II (1971) and Bay Cove[n] (1987), died on 23 July aged 90. [SJ]
Gregg Trend, US fan and artist active in various APAs, who edited issues of the Wayne Third Foundation fanzine Seldon’s Plan, died on 16 July. [SB]
Lawrence Turman (1926-2023), US producer whose films include Caveman (1981), The Thing (1982) and Short Circuit (1986 plus sequel), died on 1 July aged 96. [AIP]
Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr (1946-2023), US comics historian active in 1970s fandom, who republished much rare artwork in his Vadeboncoeur Collection of ImageS and Black & White ImageS series, died on 7 July aged 76. [AIP]
Sydney J. Van Scyoc (Sydney Joyce Brown, 1939-2023), US author active in sf magazines from the early 1960s – her first of many novels was Saltflower (1971) – died on 17 June aged 83. [L]
Jimmy Weldon (1923-2023), US actor in The Phantom Planet (1961), Super Friends (voice 1978-1983), Americathon (1979) and others, died on 6 July aged 99. [LP]

Full Marx for Ambition. On the television series I’m a Virgo: ‘Boots Riley’s show about a 13ft teen is so boundlessly, brilliantly radical it could not just kill off the superhero genre – but help bring down the entire capitalist system’. (Guardian, 10 July)

More Awards. Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award: Josephine Saxton. [RHo]
Prometheus (libertarian): Dave Freer, Cloud-Castles.
Scribe (media tie) novel winners: SPECULATIVE Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: The High Country by John Jackson Miller. GRAPHIC Kolchak: The Night Stalker. YA/MIDDLE GRADE Squirrel Girl: Universe by Tristan Palmgren. [L]
Sam Moskowitz Archive Award: John L. Coker III.
Shirley Jackson (suspense etc) novel winners, a tie: The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesias and Where I End by Sophie White.
Wales Book of the Year: overall winner was the fantasy-tinged Drift by Caryl Lewis. [L]

We Are Everywhere. Dealing with a US ‘sovereign citizen’ using his own made-up nation’s international driving licence, insurance and passport, a Michigan District Court judge cited both ‘Jabberwocky’ and the Lewis Padgett sf story ‘Mimsy Were the Borogoves’ as analogies for the general meaninglessness of it all. (Rec.arts.sf.written, 1 July) [AL]

Random Fandom. Brand X vs The X-Men: ‘Prof. Charles Xavier is filing a lawsuit against Elon Musk amidst Twitter’s rebranding to “X”.’ (@HailEternal, 23 July) [JG]
The Chengdu Worldcon had a glitch in early July when their ‘set up/testing process’ published a non-final version of the Hugo ballot on the website. This was hastily withdrawn, with requests to fan sites to remove posts copying the contents of this list; not everyone complied. The real ballot that appeared on 7 July was not in fact hugely different.
The Unofficial Hugo Book Club blog sternly advises us all: ‘I have to encourage everyone not to evaluate the fanzines fairly or maturely. / Reasonable and considered choices will unfairly privilege competent and sensible candidates for awards.’ (Twitter, 8 July)

Magazine Scene. Authors have reported worryingly slow response from the venerable F&SF: Aimee Ogden expressed public disappointment at still having no contract for stories accepted in March and June 2022 (Twitter, 18 July). Publisher Gordon Van Gelder acknowledged there are problems, partly because ‘F&SF has overcommitted on acceptances, and is very overstocked’. A catch-up is hoped, though with an ominous hint that the current magazine policy of payment on acceptance and issue of contract may change to payment on publication. (Writer Beware, 25 July)
Heavy Metal (founded 1977) will not after all be relaunched this month by Massive Publishing, which funded and distributed the April 2023 issue but has since cancelled the deal. (Bleeding Cool, 17 July) [RHa/PS-P]

The Dead Past. 30 Years Ago: ‘Pat Cadigan, voice of moderation, supplies another soundbite: “Nobody tells me I can’t puke on a few fans if I want to!”’ (Ansible 73, August 1993)
10 Years Ago: ‘There was much Schadenfreude at the news that a UK artist who made a papier-mache sculpture from comics found in a skip (including a first edition of The Avengers) had transformed their value from £20,000-£50,000 to Not Very Much At All. (BBC)’ (Ansible 313, August 2013)

Award Shortlists, novels only. British Fantasy: HOLDSTOCK (fantasy) The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller; Cast Long Shadows by Cat Hellisen; Glitterati by Oliver K. Langmead; The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri; Path of War by David Green; The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez. DERLETH (horror) Full Immersion by Gemma Amor; The Hollows by Daniel Church; Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey; Miracle Growth by Tim Mendees; Sundial by Catriona Ward. See for the rest.
World Fantasy: Saint Death’s Daughter by C.S.E. Cooney; Spear by Nicola Griffith; The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings; Babel by R.F. Kuang; Siren Queen by Nghi Vo. For the other WFA categories see

Fanfundery. TransAtlantic Fan Fund: Sandra Bond muses, ‘To be a TAFF delegate is to submit yourself to becoming the subject of a monstrous game of pass-the-parcel; you make a journey, the music stops, and each of your hosts tears off a layer of your mental integument, like the alien machine in Sheckley’s “Hands Off”; until your trip concludes and you are sent home, snivelling and naked-raw, and expected to pick up the fragmented routine of your life as though the gaudy maelstrom of the last several weeks had never been. / Is this why so many TAFF winners gafiate straight afterwards?’
• The latest free ebook on the TAFF site is 1965: The Second UK Worldcon compiled by Rob Hansen, a detailed study of the 1965 London Worldcon. Featuring fannish intrigue, drama Hugo melodrama and a Dalek! 61,500 words, with a simultaneous paperback edition (all proceeds to TAFF). See

Thog’s Masterclass. Osteology Dept. ‘There was a human bone in the kingpin’s body. A paternal bone.’ (Glen Cook, Whispering Nickel Idols, 2005) [BA]
The Purple Prose of Cairo. ‘The sun was dying, and its blood spattered the sky as it crept into its sepulcher behind the hills.’ (Robert Bloch, ‘The Cloak’, May 1939 Unknown) [LP]
Dept of Logical Consequences. ‘Jornadesh’s mood at this encounter with Nemesis was quite indescribable, and no description has survived it.’ (Tanith Lee, Death’s Master, 1979) [BA]
Beyond Relativity. ‘Subjectively, however, the knowledge that their life-support vessel had a length of minus nine hundred metres and its total weight subtracted from infinity bred a deep and curious dread.’ (Colin Kapp, The Survival Game, 1976)
True Romance Dept. ‘The female form had filled about forty per cent of Horatio’s waking thoughts ever since his thirteenth birthday, when puberty had hit him with all the force of an intercity shuttle.’ (Andrew Roberts, The Aachen Memorandum, 1995) [NW]
Features of Light and Darkness. ‘As the captain looked up, the hooded desk lamp threw his face into ridges of darkness and craggy highlights.’ (Poul Anderson. The High Crusade, 1960) [CW]
Bayonet Dept. ‘He now has to wed her, at the sharp end of a shotgun.’ (E.L. James, The Missus, 2023) [KJC]

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.
• 17 August 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.’

Magazine Scene II. Many thanks to Andy Cox for sending Black Static 82/83, which arrived in mid-July and which confirms on the contents page that this is – alas – ‘the final Black Static’. Happy retirement, Andy.
Fantasy Magazine will cease publication with the October 2023 issue, say editors Christie Yant and Arley Sorg in their August editorial. ‘Unfortunately Fantasy never reached a point of paying for itself, and with the Kindle Periodicals mess it’s just not sustainable.’

Editorial. Last issue was a pain to produce as far as the printed copies were concerned. The formerly reliable Big Inkjet Printer got terminally clogged and wouldn’t do black properly despite numerous self-cleans. Most pages were thus run off on the grotty old HP LaserJet which adds gratuitous bands of speckling. This is the first Ansible to be printed on a much newer LaserJet that to my amazement can be set to print one side, suck the paper back in, and at once print the other side. I’ve never before had a printer that could do that, and am nervously wondering what might go horribly wrong with technology barely (at least to me) distinguishable from magic.... [Later: it all worked!]

RIP II – Late and Last-Minute Reports. Betty Ann Cain Bruno (1931-2023), an uncredited Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz (1939), died on 30 July aged 91. [LP]
Dennis R. Caro (1944-2021), US author whose first novel was The Man in the Darksuit (1980), died on 2 November 2021 aged 76.
Herbert Crowder (1925-2022), US author of Ambush at Osirak (1988) and other technothrillers, died on 2 September 2022 aged 97. [DB]
Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens, 1952-2023), US comedian and actor whose genre credits include Flight of the Navigator (1986), Batman Returns (1992), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Tron: Uprising (2012-2013), died on 30 July aged 70. [LP]
Hitoshi Yoshioka (1960-2023), prolific Japanese author, several of whose sf/fantasy works were adapted as anime, died on 13 January aged 62. [JonC]

From the Symbol Formerly Known as Twitter. SFX magazine: “We’ve never seen anything like the upcoming Death Stranding movie, according to its producer.’ Adam Roberts: ‘Adam Roberts’s new novel will entirely supersede all previous fiction, putting War and Peace, Middlemarch and À La Recherche in the dustbin, according to its author.’ (27 July)

Some Links from the Ansible home page.
• Hugo finalists
• Shirley Jackson Awards winners
• Ursula K. Le Guin Prize finalists

Thog’s Golden Oldies from Ansible 193, August 2003. Relativity Dept. ‘London was a city of ghosts, some deader than others.’ (Mark Billingham, Scaredy Cat, 2002)
Dept of Sexy Cars for Sexy People. ‘He appreciated the fact that the woman who walked beside him was young and virile by her carriage.’ (Russell Thorndike, Dr. Syn Returns, 1935)
Dept of Unfortunate Juxtaposition. ‘And they had a wonderful sail on the dancing trimaran all the way around Acadia Park Island and back to a great clam dinner. That night in bed afterwards Loolie brought it up again.’ (James Tiptree Jr, ‘Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket’, 1972)

Ansible® 433 © David Langford, 2023. Thanks to Brian Ameringen, Sandra Bond, Dirk Broer, KJ Charles, Jonathan Clements, John Clute, Peter Coleborn, Paul Di Filippo, File 770, Janice Gelb, Rob Hansen, John-Henri Holmberg, Rich Horton, Cristian Lăzărescu, Locus, Andrew Love, Andrey Meshavkin, Lawrence Person, Andrew I. Porter, Private Eye, Steven H Silver, Phil Stephensen-Payne, Harry Turtledove, Nick Watkins, Charles Wingate, Peter D. Wrobel, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy and Alan Stewart (Australia). 1 August 2023