From David Langford@21:1/5 to All on Wed Mar 1 17:12:45 2023
From DAVID LANGFORD, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU, UK. Website news.ansible.uk. ISSN 0265-9816 (print); 1740-942X (e). Available for SAE
or the secret of the evil elephants with their black backs.
GREGORY BENFORD suffered a severe stroke on 22 December, as reported by his brother Jim in February. After several weeks in hospital he was transferred
to rehabilitation; further progress reports are awaited and many fingers
are crossed in hope of a full recovery. [F770]
MR BLOBBY, that icon of 1990s tv, was critically transfigured in _The New Statesman_: 'A later Blobby, Paul Denson, pointed out to _Vice_ that "when you're in the suit you are essentially blind". The temptation then to read Blobby as a Nineties incarnation of Milton's sightless and raging Samson Agonistes is hard to resist.' (Stuart Maconie, _NS_, 2 February) [PE]
NEIL CLARKE of _Clarkesworld_ magazine posted a bar chart showing the
recent sharp increase in 'the number of people we've had to ban over
plagiarism and machine-written spam submissions': lowish from 2020 to
Autumn 2022, then around 50 in December, over 100 in January and nearly 350
by mid-February. '38% of our February submissions are spammy.' (Neil-clarke.com, 15 February) Submissions were closed on 20 February when
the month's count passed 500 with over 50 more per day. Extensive media coverage of this story may have brought some small compensation in the form
of publicity.... (_Guardian_, 21 February) Other magazines reporting the
same problem include _Asimov's_ and _F&SF_.
ROALD DAHL was in the news after an agreement between his estate and Puffin
to bowdlerize his children's books even more. No one can now be described
as fat, and so on. Perhaps the weirdest edit had the book-loving heroine of _Matilda_ reading more 'acceptable' authors, with Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling becoming Jane Austen and John Steinbeck, though in the same list
Ernest Hemingway mysteriously survived. Literary figures took sides --
'absurd censorship', said Salman Rushdie, while unworldly Philip Pullman suggested that these reliable cash cows should be quietly let go out of
print -- and the mass media had a great deal of fun being outraged, or otherwise. (BBC, _Daily Mail_, _Guardian_, _Independent_, Radio 4,
_Telegraph_, etc. etc.) The eventual lucrative compromise is that Puffin
will publish both 'classic' and revised versions of the sacred texts.
OGHENECHOVWE DONALD EKPEKI flew into Los Angeles for the NAACP Image Awards ceremony but was detained incommunicado for three days and then sent back
to Nigeria in spite of his two-year US visa. Though the rules reportedly require a six-month gap between visits, Ekpeki angrily insists there's more
to it than that: 'I'll just say it's way worse than anyone says or thinks'. (_File 770_, 25, 26, 27 February; Twitter)
### CONVICTISM ###
10-12 Mar  FRIGHTFEST (film), Glasgow. Weekend pass GBP75; for individual tickets see frightfest.co.uk/filmsandevents.html.
10-12 Mar  MINAMICON (anime), Novotel Hotel, Southampton. GBP65 reg.
Further details at www.minamicon.org.uk.
11 Mar  PICOCON 40, Imperial College, London. GoH: various. Tickets GBP10 (students GBP9, ICSF members GBP6) from tinyurl.com/3x9hfzj7. For other
details see www.union.ic.ac.uk/scc/icsf/picocon/.
14 Mar  DESIGNING DYSTOPIA (comics panel) with Brian Bolland and Dave Gibbons, Century Club, Soho, London. 6:30pm for 7pm. Tickets GBP12. For
details see acuriousinvitation.com/designingdystopia.html.
16-19 Mar  CAMP SFW, Vauxhall Holiday Park, Great Yarmouth. 3-day pass GBP130; 2-day GBP99; more options at www.scifiweekender.com.
18 Mar  BEDFORD WHO CHARITY CON (_Doctor Who_), King's House, Ampthill
Road, Bedford, MK42 9AZ. 10am-5:30pm.GBP49.50; concessions/under-18s GBP25; under-15s GBP15. See bedfordwhocharitycon.co.uk.
25 Mar  EAST OF ENGLAND COMIC CON AND GAMING FESTIVAL, East of England
Arena, Peterborough. 10am-4:30pm. Tickets from GBP13.75 (inc fee). See www.facebook.com/events/732634787956163/.
31 Mar - 2 Apr  CORFLU 40, The Malone Hotel, Belfast. _Now GBP70 / Euro80
/ $60 reg_; same rates at the door; further details at corflu.org.
7-10 Apr  CONVERSATION (Eastercon), Hilton Metropole near the Birmingham
NEC. _Now GBP90 reg_; GBP45 concessions; GBP40 supporting or online- only membership; under-18s GBP20; under-13s GBP5. More information at conversation2023.org.uk.
7-10 Apr  _STAR WARS_ CELEBRATION, ExCel, London. 4-day tickets sold out;
day passes GBP65 plus fees. See www.starwarscelebration.com
14-16 Apr  CONPULSION (games), Teviot Row House, Edinburgh. Tickets
GBP15; GBP8 for Saturday or Sunday only; see conpulsion.org.
6-7 May  PORTSMOUTH COMIC CON, Guildhall, Portsmouth. Weekend tickets GBP26.50, _rising on 1 April_. See portsmouthcomiccon.com.
2-4 Jun  CYMERA SF FESTIVAL 2023, Edinburgh and online. Early-bird
weekend passes are now on sale at GBP70 or GBP40 digital-only, _rising on 2 April to GBP80 and GBP50_. See www.cymerafestival.co.uk.
3-10 Jun  SCI-FI LONDON (film festival), main venue Picturehouse,
Stratford, London, E15 1BX. See sci-fi-london.com.
6-8 Oct  GRIMMFEST (film), Odeon Great Northern, Manchester. Full pass
for all screenings and events GBP79.50 at grimmfest.com.
7-8 Oct  OCTOCON, Gibson Hotel, Dublin, and online. Euro60 reg;
concessions Euro40; YA or supp Euro20. Registration open at octocon.com.
11-12 Nov  COMIC CON, Harrogate Convention Centre. Part of the November 'Thought Bubble' comics festival. GBP30 weekend; GBP21/day; under-12s,
over-65s and carers free. See thoughtbubblefestival.com.
19 Nov  EDINBURGH COMIC ART FAIR, Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh. Free. See www.cymerafestival.co.uk -- scroll down.
RUMBLINGS. _Eastercon 2025:_ the Belfast bid (see _A422_) has launched,
using the Hilton Lanyon Place and Belfast International Conference Centre
(ICC) with the support of Visit Belfast. There will be a presentation at Eastercon this year. Queries to email@example.com.
_Hugo Voting:_ following February emails to Chengdu Worldcon members, nominations are now open -- closing at the end of April, with the final
ballot to be released by the end of May and voting to the end of August.
The login page is at en.chengduworldcon.com/hugo-awards/#/index.
### INFINITELY IMPROBABLE ###
WE ARE EVERYWHERE. 'The partridge claw reaches up from its sauce blanket
like the Statue of Liberty's arm at the end of Planet of the Apes.'
(Restaurant review by Giles Coren, _Times_ magazine, 19 January) [PE]
AWARDS. _Crawford_ (fantasy debut): _The Spear Cuts Through Water_ by Simon Jimenez.
_Compton Crook_ (genre debut) shortlist: _Obsidian_ by Sarah J. Daley; _The Ballad of Perilous Graves_ by Alex Jennings; _The Bone Orchard_ by
Sara Mueller; _Bluebird_ by Ciel Pierlot; _Daughter of the Moon Goddess_ by
Sue Lynn Tan; _The Genesis of Misery_ by Neon Yang. [L]
_Jack Gaughan_ (emerging artist): Martina Fackova.
_Skylark:_ no award.
COURT CIRCULAR. Middle-earth Enterprises has once again put forth its power against the forces of darkness -- this time, a two-man rubbish clearance
outfit in Brighton that called itself 'The Lord of the Bins'. Both the name
and the company slogan 'One ring to remove it all' are frowned on by
m'learned friends as 'highly similar to the Lord of the Rings' and 'an infringement of our client's trademark rights'. (_Guardian_, 4 February)
Which will not be challenged in court because the bin men can't afford it.
SCIENTIFIC UNITS REDUX. 'A meteor around the size of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi
and weighing around the total weight of four baby elephants struck the
Earth near McAllen, Texas last Wednesday, NASA confirmed this week.' (Aaron Reich, , 21 February)
R.I.P. _Richard J. Anobile_ (1947-2023), US editor of the 1970s 'Film
Classics Library' photo-script books (_Frankenstein_, _Jekyll & Hyde_,
etc), 'Fotonovels' of the first two _Star Trek_ films and other genre photo-adaptations, died on 10 February aged 76. [SJ]
_Burt Bacharach_ (1928-2023), US composer with soundtrack credits for _Lost Horizon_ (1973) and _Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me_ (1999),
died on 8 February aged 94. [LP]
_Ted Bell_ (1946-2023), US author best known for thrillers, whose
'Nick McIver Time Adventure' diptych opening with _Nick of Time_ (2000) is
YA sf, died on 20 January aged 76. [AIP]
_Richard Belzer_ (1944-2023), US actor best known for police roles,
with genre credits for _The Puppet Masters_ (1994), _Species II_ (1998) and various tv series, died on 19 February aged 78. [MR]
_Igor Bereg_ (Igor Pidorenko, 1953-2023), Russian sf author active
since 1980 using both the Pidorenko and Bereg bylines, died on 21 February. [AM]
_Barbara Bosson_ (1939-2023), US actress in _Capricorn One_ (1977) and _The Last Starfighter_ (1984), died on 18 February aged 83. [LP]
_Ricou Browning_ (1930-2023), US actor in the title role (underwater scenes) of _Creature from the Black Lagoon_ (1954) and sequels, died on 27 February aged 93. [O]
_Melinda Dillon_ (1939-2023), US actress in _Close Encounters of the
Third Kind_ (1977), _Harry and the Hendersons_ (1987) and _Spontaneous Combustion_ (1989), died on 9 January aged 83. [GD]
_Cai Emmons_ (1951-2023), US author of the fantasy _Weather Woman_
(2018) and its sequel _Sinking Islands_ (2021), died on 2 January aged 71.
_Gerald Fried_ (1928-2023), US composer whose soundtrack credits
include _The Mouse that Roared_ (1966), _Soylent Green_ (1973),
_Transformers: Dark of the Moon_ (2011) and _Star Trek Into Darkness_
(2013), died on 17 February aged 95. [LP]
_Francois Hadji-Lazaro_ (1956-2023), French actor in _Cemetery Man_ (1994), _The City of Lost Children_ (1995) and _Brotherhood of the Wolf_ (2001), died on 25 February aged 66. [SJ]
_Hugh Hudson_ (1936-2023), UK producer/director of _Greystoke: The
Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes_ (1984), died on 10 February aged 86.
_Juraj Jakubisko_ (1938-2023), Czechoslovakia-born screenwriter and director with credits for _Frankenstein's Aunt_ (1987), _Pehavy Max a strasidla_ (1987) and _Bathory: Countess of Blood_ (2008), died on 24
February aged 84. [SJ]
_Anna Jane_ (Anna Kapranova, 1988-2023), bestselling Russian author of teen romance novels including the vampire fantasy _Net, detka, eto
fantastika_ (_No, Baby, It's Fantastic_, 2016) with Yekaterina Vasina, died
on 1 February. [AM]
_Charles Kimbrough_ (1936-2023), US actor in _The Hunchback of Notre
Dame_ (1996 plus sequel) and genre tv series, died on 11 January aged 86.
_Majliss Larson_ (Marjorie Nelson Perisho, 1939-2022), US author of
the _Star Trek_ novel _Pawns and Symbols_ (1985), died on 29 December aged
_Eugene Lee_ (1939-2023), US set designer whose Tony awards include
one for the stage version of _Wicked_ (2003), died on 6 February aged 83.
_Andrey Lyovkin_ (1954-2003), Latvian/Russian sf author and translator
of sf by Asimov, Davidson, Dick and Simak, died on 13 February. [AM]
_Leiji Matsumoto_ (Akira Matsumoto, 1938-2023), prolific and noted Japanese manga/anime creator whose work included the _Space Battleship
Yamato_ and _Galaxy Express 999_ series (first broadcast in 1974 and 1977 respectively), died on 13 February aged 85. [JonC]
_Burny Mattinson_ (1935-2023), long-time US Disney animator (usually uncredited) and writer with director credits for _The Great Mouse
Detective_ (1996) and _Mickey's Magical Christmas_ (2001) and story team credits for several major films, died on 27 February aged 87. [SJ]
_Lee Moder_, US comics artist who worked on DC and Marvel titles and
with writer Geoff Johns created the 1999 version of Stargirl (televised 2020-2022), died in mid-January aged 53. [AIP]
_Kevin O'Neal_ (1945-2023), US actor in _Village of the Giants_ (1965)
and genre tv series, died on 28 January aged 77. [AIP]
_Jansen Panettiere_ (1994-2023), US actor in _The Fog_ (2005),
_Robots_ (2005) and _The Last Day of Summer_ (2007), died on 19 February
_Leonard Pietraszak_ (1936-2023), Polish actor who starred in the cult comic-fantasy film _Kingsajz_ (1987), died on 1 February. [AM]
_Gordon Pinsent_ (1930-2023), US actor in _Colossus: The Forbin
Project_ (1970), _Blacula_ (1972) and genre tv series, died on 25 February
aged 92. [SJ]
_Paco Rabanne_ (1934-2023), Spanish fashion designer who created Jane Fonda's costumes for _Barbarella_ (1968), died on 3 February aged 88. [AIP]
_Aleksandr Remizov_, Russian comic artist who from 2003 contributed to
the sf/f magazine _Mir fantastiki_, died on 18 February aged 54. [AM]
_Mitsuo Senda_ (1940-2023), Japanese voice actor in _Sherlock Hound_ (1984), _Naruto_ (2006), _07-Ghost_ (2007) and other anime, died on 25
February aged 82.
_Yevgeny Shchepetnov_ (1961-2023), Russian author of 80+ sf/fantasy
novels since 2012, died on 14 February. [AM]
_Stella Stevens_ (1938-2023), US actress in _The Nutty Professor_
(1963), _The Manitou_ (1978), _The Terror Within II_ (1991), _Little
Devils: The Birth_ (1993) and others, died on 17 February aged 84. [SJ]
_David Sutherland OBE_ (1933-2023), UK comic artist best known for 60 years of _The Beano'_s__ 'The Bash Street Kids', whose sf/fantasy strips included 'The Great Flood of London' and 'Fred's Bed', died on 19 January
aged 89. [SH]
_'Trugoy the Dove'_ (David Jolicoeur, 1968-2023), US hip-hop artist
with soundtrack credits for _Joe's Apartment_ (1996), _Osmosis Jones_
(2001) and genre tv series, died on 12 February aged 54. [LP]
_Jeff Vlaming_, US screenwriter and producer whose credits include
_The X-Files_ (1995-1996), _Reaper_ (2007-2009), _Outcast_ (2016-2017) and other genre tv series, died on 30 January. [AIP]
_Raquel Welch_ (1940-2023), US actress in _Fantastic Voyage_ (1966),
_One Million Years BC_ (1966), _Bedazzled_ (1967) and genre tv series, died
on 15 February aged 82. [LP]
_Tom Whitlock_ (1954-2023), US composer whose soundtrack credits
include _Death Note_ (2017) and _Despicable Me 3_ (2017), died on 18
February aged 68. [LP]
_George P. Wilbur_ (1941-2023), US stuntman whose many genre credits include _Poltergeist_ (1982), _The Wrath of Khan_ (1982), _Nightmare on Elm Street 5_ (1989), _Total Recall_ (1990), _Mars Attacks!_ (1996) and
_Bedazzled_ (2000), died on 1 February aged 81. [SJ]
OUR NEW FUNGAL OVERLORDS. 'Other researchers have set slime mould loose on
tiny scale-models of Tokyo with food placed at the major hubs (in a single
day they reproduced the form of the subway system) and on maps of Ikea
(they found the exit, more efficiently than the scientists who set the
task).' (_London Review of Books_, May 2021)
RANDOM FANDOM. _FAAn Awards:_ a final reminder that voting for
fanzine-related work published in 2022 closes on 10 March. Read all about
it at efanzines.com/TIR/Incompleat2022.pdf.
_Crossword Corner:_ 'Nice if conceits can be turned into a literary
genre (7, 7).' (_i_)
PUBLISHERS AND SINNERS. Twenty Terry Pratchett sf and fantasy stories
written under pseudonyms (mainly 'Patrick Kearns') for the _Western Daily Press_ in the 1970s and 1980s have come to light and will be collected in a book to appear later this year. (_Guardian_, 27 February)
OUTRAGED LETTERS. _Jerry Kaufman:_ 'Suzle and I laughed at your remarks
about _The Spanish Inquisition_ and "The Fannish Inquisition". [See
_A427_.] I don't think _Spaninq_ would be dropped from listings or
websites, but I can see being asked to retroactively change the name. In
case that happens, I've picked _Otherwise Astounding_.' (2 February)
THE DEAD PAST. _30 Years Ago_, a peep into _Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick_, volume 4: 'Tim Powers's introduction tells how PKD found he had the power to forgive sins: "How many people have you absolved?" "Well, none, Powers. Today I've decided I was mistaken, and yesterday you weren't home,
and when I called Jeter he got huffy and said he didn't want his sins forgiven.... So I just forgave my cats' sins."' (_Ansible_ 68, March 1993)
_20 Years Ago_, a perhaps unfortunate turn of phrase: 'Supernatural thriller writer Doug Clegg has been known as an innovator. In order to
bring attention to himself and try to bore a solid core of genre fans, he became one of the first ever to give an e-book away for free on the
Internet. (_PWDaily_)' (_Ansible_ 188, March 2003)
_10 Years Ago:_ 'Christopher Tolkien, not a man for talking to the
press, granted his first ever interview to _Le Monde_ last year; a
translation later appeared online. "They eviscerated [_The Lord of the
Rings_] by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25," he complained. "Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity
and absorbed into the absurdity of our time. The chasm between the beauty
and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me.
The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of
the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away." _Le Monde_ added: "Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to."' (_Ansible_ 308, March 2013)
FANFUNDERY. _European Fan Fund_ voting continues until 10 April; see fandomrover.com/2023/02/02/eff-race-begins/.
_TAFF_ voting continues to 11 April at taff.org.uk/vote.php. Further
free ebooks are _Colonial Excursion_ by Ron Bennett (1958 TAFF trip report)
and _The Harp in England_ by Walt Willis (reports on 1950s UK cons, plus
one in 1976). See all the ebooks at taff.org.uk/ebooks.php?all. Future TAFF projects include paperback collections of all Ted White's 1969-1979
editorials for _Amazing_ and _Fantastic_, with new introductions by Mike
Ashley and Ted respectively.
ANOTHER SITE GONE. Ralan.com, the sf magazine market information resource founded on 5 December 1996, went dark this year: 'This website is now
closed. / To all who have sent in tips over the last 26 years & 57 days, my gracious thanks. Good luck to you all.' [BK]
REPO MAN REDUX. Ford has filed a patent 'for embedded vehicle systems that facilitate an automobile's repossession, including autonomously moving it
to a repossession agency.' (_The Register_, 28 February)
'UNVERIFIED.' UK author Sylvia Waugh -- born 1935, best known for her children's fantasies opening with _The Mennyms_ (1993) -- was reported in Wikipedia to have died on 6 March 2022; this claim was removed in February
2023 by an editor who could find no verification. [PW] Her son Peter Waugh
has since taken responsibility for the death report, but a close relative
is not regarded by Wikipedia as a reliable source.
THOG'S MASTERCLASS. _Eyeball-Fu Dept._ 'His eyes finally hit mine. Yusuf's eyebrows crowded together.' (Nathan Tavares, _A Fractured Infinity_, 2022)
_Malice of the Inanimate._ 'The air conditioning smacked me in the
face when I stepped inside.' (_Ibid_) [AR]
_Method Acting Dept._ 'Dr Kelter's forehead sprouted italics ...'
(Emil Petaja, _The Nets of Space_, 1969)
_Mysteries of Meteorology._ 'The brassy September blue overhead had
been obscured by invisible storm clouds.' (_Ibid_)
_Intangibles Inc._ 'Sygolin 37, the material we use to line genholes,
the artificial wormholes we use for interstellar travel, is synthesized
from purely theoretical models of substances found near the event horizons
of black holes.' (Jack Chalker, _Priam's Lens_, 1999) [BA]
_Dept of Penetrating Gaze._ 'Her eyes fixed to Shana like a pair of thumbtacks.' (Chuck Wendig, _Wayward_, 2022). [AR]
R.I.P. LATE REPORT. _Shirley Rousseau Murphy_ (1928-2022), US author known
for such YA fantasies as the 'Children of Ynell' sequence opening with _The Ring of Fire_ (1977), died on 23 September aged 94. [PW]
RUMBLINGS II. _Satellite 8_ has decided not to raise its membership rates
on 1 March as was threatened on the website, but to hold the current prices until 17 April. See ... https://eight.satellitex.org.uk/join
EDITORIAL. Since the Belfast Corflu is celebrating the glory days of Irish Fandom, two more Walt Willis ebooks are in the pipeline with hopes of
release before Corflu starts on 31 March: _The Harp Stateside_ (his 1952 US trip report) and _The Harp That Once or Twice_ (collecting the famous
fanzine columns published under that title). All thanks to our regular proofreaders Claire Brialey, Bill Burns, Pat Charnock and Rob Jackson, and
to fanhistory guru Rob Hansen for advice and support. Meanwhile at the _SF Encyclopedia_, the Picture Gallery count of cover scans has crept past
32,000. Meanwhile, your editor continues not to get enough sleep....
THOG'S GOLDEN OLDIES from _Ansible_ 188, March 2003. _Dept of Too Much Information._ 'The patron licked his fingers with saliva.' (Peter Senese
and Robert Geis, _Cloning Christ_, 2002)
_Eyeballs in the Sky._ 'His itinerant brown eyes darted onto the dim
city street outside.' (_Ibid_)
_Dept of Single Yet Amazingly Devastating Shots._ 'The Scorpion
smirked before sending a bullet into Francesco's forehead. Looking around
the blood and gut-spattered dining room, the killer ...' (_Ibid_)
_Religious Burdens Dept._ '"The Crusader vision of our equestrian
order is at the service of our faith" were words from Muhlor's investiture
into a centuries old order of Church knighthood that he carried with him everywhere.' (_Ibid_)
_Ansible_(R) 428 (C) David Langford, 2023. Thanks to Brian Ameringen,
Jonathan Clements, Gordon Davie, _File 770_, Steve Holland, Steve Jones, B. Krasnoff, _Locus_, Andrey Meshavkin, Omega, Lawrence Person, Andrew I.
Porter, _Private Eye_, Adam Roberts, Marcus Rowland, Steven H Silver, Paul Wendt, and as always our Hero Distributors: Durdles Books (Birmingham SF Group), SCIS/Prophecy, and Alan Stewart (Australia).