Our last award is one that’s been given since 2010; it’s our Lifetime Achievement Award. It goes to a living individual for work in producing, contributing to, and supporting fanzines over an extended period. The recipient is selected by a committee that includes, this year, Johan Anglemark, Sandra Bond, Claire Brialey, Bruce Gillespie, Rob Jackson, Robert Lichtman, John Purcell, and Pat Virzi. Previous honorees are John Bangsund, Elinor Busby, Bruce Gillespie, Earl Kemp, Robert Lichtman, Ray Nelson, Paul Skelton, Shelby Vick, Peter Weston, Ted White, and Art Widner.
When I share the least fragment of this person’s extensive contributions to fanzines, science fiction, and fan culture, you’ll know immediately who I am talking about. But let’s pretend we don’t. He discovered science fiction at an early age in Wales (how green was his Soylent), and found fandom at the Oxford University SF Group. His early activities included publishing Drilkjis with Kevin Smith, and the solo personalzine Twll-Ddu (Welsh for "Black Hole"). A few years later he started a newszine cleverly called Ansible (an anagram, as he has told us many times, of "lesbian" – and nicked from Le Guin). Drilkjis lasted six years and Twll-Ddu seven, but Ansible continues to this day, having just seen its 404th issue. It’s given us so much, including "Thog’s Masterclass" in bad writing.
He also published personal zines, apazines, fan fund promotional zines for TAFF and GUFF, and one-offs like The Transatlantic Hearing Aid, a report of his TAFF trip to North America. He even pubbed the daily convention newsletter for two Eastercons.
But he didn’t restrict this writing to his own publications. Our honoree contributed to many fanzines, blessing them with ironic, witty, sympathetic and penetrating convention reports, book reviews, travelogues, memoirs, and essays on miscellaneous topics. Our subject collected many of these pieces into such books as (most recently) Beachcombing.
He has won a remarkable number of Hugo Awards, most of them for his Fanwriting and for Ansible as best Fanzine or Semi-Prozine. He has also won the Nova Award, presented by Novacon for fanzine production and activity. He has been made a Fan Guest of Honor many times, starting as early as 1977.
He maintains an unofficial website for the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, which collects materials relating to the fund, and which promotes it. He operates Ansible Editions, which produces free ebooks of fan history, including out-of-print Fan Fund trip reports, Harry Warner’s Fan Histories, collections from fanzines, and much more (donations to TAFF are encouraged). He also produces both ebook and print editions of material by John Sladek, Algis Budrys, Rob Hansen, and others, which can be bought through Lulu.
I should note that this overachiever has also written well-regarded science fiction, horror, and non-fiction; has written many book review columns in a number of different venues; and written and edited hundreds of thousands of words for the Encyclopedias of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Before his writing and editing took over his life, he was a nuclear scientist and a computer consultant.
David Langford, as I’m sure you’ve known since I mentioned Wales and Oxford, is the newest recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award.