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Tom

An Old Friend
ANSIBLE 211
FEBRUARY 2005

From DAVE LANGFORD, 94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU.
http://ansible.co.uk. Fax 0705 080 1534. ISSN 0265-9816 (print) 1740-942X
(online). Available for SAE or the secrets of the fluxus quo.

[NET NOTE. See http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/Ansible/a211.html for the nice
HTML version. Mailing list subscribe/unsubscribe information appears
below -- please don't send such requests to my own e-mail address. DRL]


MANY-FAUCETED. What song the Sirens sang, or what name Achilles assumed
when he hid himself among women, are puzzling questions -- but less
tantalizing to sf fans than the lost ending of that trans-Thoggian
classic `The Eye of Argon'. Now, according to a letter in _The New York
Review of SF_ (January 2005), a complete copy of the relevant 1970
fanzine has been unearthed in the Jack Williamson SF Library at Eastern
New Mexico University! JWSFL collection administrator Gene Bundy reports
that the long-missing Page 49 begins: `With a sloshing plop the thing
fell to the ground, evaporating in a thick scarlet cloud until it
reatained its original size.' You will hear more of this.


### THE DORBOTT OF VACUO ###

DOUGLAS ADAMS is officially a heavenly body. The lump of space debris
which had been provisionally named 2001 DA42 -- conveniently
encapsulating his death date, his initials, and his Ultimate Answer --
was confirmed in January as Asteroid Douglasadams. [JS]

ARTHUR C. CLARKE enjoyed the dubious accolade of a mention on the
Pop***** gossip site in January: `Famous Sri Lanka resident Arthur C.
Clarke has survived the terrible floods. He was found in the sea clinging
on to a buoy ...' [KN] What can this possibly mean?

MAXIM JAKUBOWSKI has bad news for London fans, conveyed by Roger
Robinson: `The building containing the triple bookshop (Murder One,
Heartlines, New Worlds) will be demolished soon. So the shop is moving.
The new premises will be on 2 floors of a building just across the street
[Charing Cross Road] from the present location.' To fit the smaller
space, `they will be closing down New Worlds (the SF section). This will
happen at about the end of March, and the winding down process has
already started.' A closing sale is under way. Andy Richards of Cold
Tonnage Books confirms: `Yes, the real shame is that the sf section as
a whole is closing. My second-hand section is just a part of it.'

STAN LEE, co-creator of Spider-Man, was awarded 10% of Marvel Comics'
profits from the spinoff films by a US district court on 19 January. His
lawyer gloated: `It could be tens of millions of dollars. That's no
exaggeration.' Of course Marvel plans to appeal. [BB]

JIM MINZ left Tor Books on 21 January, and moved into a new editorial
post at Del Rey Books on the 31st.

JEFF VANDERMEER wants to make our flesh creep with tales of `how
dangerous it is to live in the colonies. I was minding my own business
January 1st on a nature trail way out in the boonies and this wild pig
attacked me without provocation. I was able to take (admittedly) blurry
photos because it began to charge at me from so far away I wasn't quite
sure what it was doing until it was closer. I then dropped my camera and
prepared to defend myself with walking stick and small pen knife, but
luckily the beast stepped aside at the last second and went off into the
forest making a dreadful banshee sound.' From the photographs it's hard
to tell whether the approaching blob is a wild boar or -- more in keeping
with Jeff's predilections -- an enraged freshwater squid.


### CONTRAGESTION ###

4-6 Feb [] CONSTRUCTION 4 (Interaction staff weekend). Moat House Hotel,
Congress Rd, SECC, Glasgow. Free to anyone interested.

14 Feb [] READING AT BORDERS, Oxford St, London. Top floor, 6:30pm. With
Pat Cadigan, Graham Joyce, and Roz Kaveney.

19 Feb [] PICOCON 22, Imperial College Union, London. Admission Pounds7;
students Pounds5, ICSF members Pounds2. Contact ICSF, Beit Quad, Prince
Consort Rd, London, SW7 2BB.

23 Feb [] BSFA OPEN MEETING, The Star pub, West Halkin Mews, London, SW1.
6pm onward. With Jon Courtenay Grimwood.

4 Mar [] BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY open night, Devereux pub, East St, off
the Strand, London. 6.30pm onwards. All welcome.

4-6 Mar [] MECON 8, Park Avenue Hotel, Holywood Rd, Belfast. GoH Ian
McDonald. Pounds20/Euro30 reg; Pounds22 at the door. Contact 17
Meadowbank Place, Belfast, BT9 7FE, N. Ireland.

5-6 Mar [] MICROCON, Exeter University campus. Guests TBA.

25-28 Mar [] PARAGON2 (Eastercon), Hanover International Hotel, Hinckley,
Leics. Pounds45 reg, Pounds20 supp, Pounds22.50 junior (12-16), Pounds5
child (5-11), infants free. _At-door rates apply from 21 March:_ Pounds75
full, Pounds35 jr, others as before. Day: Fri or Mon Pounds15, Pounds7.50
jr; Sat or Sun Pounds35, Pounds20 jr. Contact 4 Burnside Ave, Sheffield,
S8 9FR. Phone 0114 281 0674.

16 Apr [] BSFA/SF FOUNDATION free event, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square,
London, WC1. 10:30am-5pm. Including both thrilling AGMs! GoH: BSFA-
sponsored, Ian McDonald; SFF-sponsored TBA.

11 May [] CLARKE AWARD CEREMONY, English Heritage Lecture Theatre,
London. By invitation. See below for 2005 shortlist.

13-19 Aug [] MILFORD (UK) SF WRITERS' CONFERENCE, Trigonos, Snowdonia.
Published authors only (1 pro story). Contact Liz Williams (Secretary),
Top Flat, 8 Bedford St, Kemp Town, Brighton, BN2 1AN.

30 Sept - 2 Oct [] FANTASYCON 2005, Quality Hotel, Walsall. GoH Simon
Clark, Mark Chadbourn, more TBC. Pounds40 reg to 30 Jun 05, then
Pounds50; BFS members Pounds35, then Pounds45. Day rate Pounds20. Contact
(with SAE) Beech House, Chapel Lane, Moulton, Cheshire, CW9 8DQ.


### INFINITELY IMPROBABLE ###

AS SOME OF US SEE US. A generally positive article by Suzanne Ryan
(_Boston Globe_, 14 Jan) about the new _Battlestar Galactica_ ended by
quoting a fan's all too familiar weasel words: `I thought the mini-series
was fantastic,' he said. `It was incredibly written. The characters were
really fully developed. It wasn't traditional science fiction.' [CM]

ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD shortlist for 2004 novels: Ian McDonald, _River
of Gods_; China Mieville, _Iron Council_; David Mitchell, _Cloud Atlas_;
Richard Morgan, _Market Forces_; Audrey Niffenegger, _The Time Traveler's
Wife_; Neal Stephenson, _The System of the World_. Prize this year:
Pounds2005.

THE DEMOLISHED NURSE. Tony Keen on the 3 Feb London pub meeting: `The
Florence Nightingale was closed tonight, due to imminent demolition. So
we shan't be going back there again. Emergency fall back (the Jubilee)
was used tonight, but at Pat McMurray's instigation the London Circle
will return in March to the Silver Cross in Whitehall!'

BSFA AWARD shortlists for 2004 work: NOVEL Alastair Reynolds, _Century
Rain_; Kim Stanley Robinson, _Forty Signs of Rain_; Susanna Clarke,
_Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell_; Ken MacLeod, _Newton's Wake_; Ian
McDonald, _River of Gods_; Jon Courtenay Grimwood, _Stamping
Butterflies_. (Six novels are listed owing to a tie for fifth place.)
SHORT Vandana Singh, `Delhi' (_So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial
Visions of the Future_); Stephen Baxter, _Mayflower II_; Jon Courtenay
Grimwood, `Point of No Return' (_New Scientist_, Xmas/New Year); Kelly
Link, `The Faery Handbag' (_The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight
Realm_); Howard Waldrop, `The Wolf-man of Alcatraz' (_SCI FICTION_).
ARTWORK Sebastiao Salgado, Iguana photograph (_Guardian_); Eric
Cabanis, Millau Bridge photograph (_Guardian_); Stephan Martiniere,
_Newton's Wake_ cover (Tor); _The Algebraist_ cover (Orbit); Edward
Miller, _The Year of Our War_ cover (Gollancz).
The nonfiction category is still in limbo.

AS OTHERS SEE US. An uplifting view of sf from the musician Moby,
interviewed in _Q_ magazine (March 2005): `The perfect marriage is one
where the man enjoys watching _Sex and the City_ and the woman loves
science fiction. Find me a couple who are like that, and I guarantee you
they'll be happy.' [GS] Too bad, of course, if it's the other way around.

PUBLISHERS AND SINNERS. Possibly the most astonishing novel ever written,
_Atlanta Nights_ by `Travis Tea' was created to test -- preferably to
destruction -- PublishAmerica's claim to be a serious `traditional
publisher' with old-fashioned trappings like editorial standards. James
D. Macdonald explains: `Thirty authors answered the call by banging out
a chapter or two over a long weekend. They were each given a brief
outline and a few character notes. They then wrote their chapters --
without knowing what might be in other chapters, whether their chapter
was first, last, or somewhere else in the narrative, what time of year
it was, or much of anything else. Any accidental literary competence was
rapidly blue-penciled into oblivion. The result varied from unreadable
to incoherent. The manuscript was submitted to PublishAmerica by a
volunteer. PublishAmerica bought the book.' Alas, on counsel's advice the
hoax had to be revealed before signing a contract which guaranteed that
the book was written solely by the figurehead author -- whereupon PA
seized the opportunity to back out. Instead it's been published by
Lulu.com, with profits going to the SFWA emergency medical fund.

R.I.P. _Bruce Cassiday_ (1920-2005), US author and historian of sf and
crime fiction, died on 12 January. He wrote the novelization _Flash
Gordon: The War of the Cybernauts_ (1975, as by Carson Bingham) and
edited _Modern Mystery, Fantasy, and Science Fiction Writers_ (1993).
[RiB]
_Walter Ernsting_ (1920-2005), German author, editor and translator
who as Clark Darlton co-founded the mighty Perry Rhodan shared world
franchise, died on 15 January aged 84. His career began in the 1950s,
when he edited and wrote for Germany's _Utopia-Magazin_, launched in
1955; he had become known as the grand old man of German sf. [ARW/PY]
_(Diane Gail) Kelly Goldberg_, US author who published horror
fiction as by d.g.k. goldberg, died on 14 January. [SFWA]
_Jack Kine_ (1921-2005), special effects pioneer who co-founded the
BBC Visual Effects Department in 1954, died on 14 January; he was 83.
With Bernard Wilkie he worked on the 1954 BBC production of _1984_ and
created memorable monsters for _Quatermass II_ (1955) and _Quatermass and
the Pit_ (1958-9), before moving on to the greater horrors of _Tomorrow's
World_ and _Blue Peter_.
_Gerald Pollinger_, UK literary agent who represented many sf
authors during his more than 50 years with the Laurence Pollinger agency,
died on 5 January. He was 79. [JB]
_Patsy Rowlands_ (1934-2005), UK actress who was best known for
comedy but had genre TV roles in _Raven_ (1977) and Nigel Kneale's
_Kinvig_ (1981), died on 22 January aged 71. She also appeared in _Danger
Man_, _The Avengers_ and _Out of the Unknown_. [ChM]
_Sven Christer Swahn_ (1933-2005), major Swedish sf author, critic,
and translator of nearly 200 books, died on 15 January aged 71. [WJ]

IN TYPO VERITAS. `... her public hair is as black as night, the starkest
possible contrast to the fiery crimson hair higher up.' (Robert
Silverberg, _Roma Eterna_, 2003). [TK]

IDOLS OF THE MARKETPLACE. _Nature_ has revived its `Futures' series of
short-short sf stories as a back-page feature, beginning with Ian Stewart
on 3 February. Kindly editor Henry Gee would prefer not to receive
unsolicited submissions, but query letters may be addressed to him at
_Nature_, The Macmillan Building, 4-6 Crinan Street, London, N1 9XW.
_Inferno!_ (1997-2005), the Games Workshop magazine which provided
one of the few professional UK outlets for short genre fiction, is
ceasing publication with its January/February issue. Contributors have
included Barrington J. Bayley and Brian Stableford. [PS-P]

HAZEL'S LANGUAGE LESSONS: INUKTITUT (Canadian Arctic): _puijilittatuq_,
he does not know which way to turn because of the many seals he has seen
come to the ice surface. (BBC) [MC]

INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL DEPT. Waterstone's contrived much negative publicity
for itself on 5 January, when the Princes Street branch in Edinburgh
sacked its most enthusiastic promoter of sf, Joe Gordon -- for the `gross
misconduct' of occasional disrespectful remarks in his weblog. Joe writes
gloomily: `11 years of service, all the author events I have organized
and run, the reviews, writing for Waterstone's publications, appearing
on the radio or TV to discuss books on their behalf, all count for
nothing apparently ...' Some see this as a free speech issue, others as
a transparent pretext for getting rid of an employee disliked by the
recently appointed store manager. (Interestingly, the previous manager
knew about the offending weblog and didn't mind at all.) Much press
coverage followed: BBC News, _The Guardian_, _The Register_, _The Times_,
and even that ultimate journal of record Charlie Stross's Diary.

OUTRAGED LETTERS. _Pierre De Jaeger:_ `Just read interview with Ballard
in French paper _Liberation_, where he explains how science-fiction died
when Armstrong walked on the moon (many other bitter old fart absurdities
in the interview).' [17 Jan]
_Simo_ gloats: `I was surprised to read a report in _Screen
International_ that my screenplay of Richard Marsh's _The Beetle_ was "in
advanced development" at the modern day incarnation of Hammer Films.
Almost as surprised, it turns out, as the CEO of Hammer, who has
expressed his liking for the script but has not yet optioned it. It seems
that some staffer on the trade paper, reporting Hammer's latest co-
production deal, got somewhat confused about the facts. Film journalists,
eh? Who would trust them?'

THOG'S CRITICAL MASTERCLASS. _Lord of the Rings_ plot summary: `The
plucky hobbits cross treacherous mountains to stop the evil Lord Sarumon
obtaining the ring he needs for world domination.' (_Independent_, 29
January)
`... Brian Aldiss' _Methuselah's Children_ ...' (Terry Pratchett,
_Once More* With Footnotes_, 2004)

REAL LIT'RY AWARDS. _The US National Book Critics Circle_ awards
shortlist of five titles includes two of genre interest, David Mitchell's
_Cloud Atlas_ and Philip Roth's _The Plot Against America_. [PL, 24 Jan]
_Lambda Awards_ (gay, lesbian, etc) sf/fantasy/horror nominees:
Michael Jensen, _Firelands_; Greg Herren, ed., _Shadow of the Night:
Queer Tales of the Uncanny and Unusual_; Jim Grimsley, _The Ordinary_;
Jean Stewart, _The Wizard of Isis_; Nicola Griffith, _With Her Body_.

MEDICAL REPORT. _Jack Chalker_, though out of danger, remains
`unresponsive' in hospital.
_Dave Locke_, having refused heart surgery for the time being,
returned home on 10 January. He's said to be in good shape; an
angioplasty should eventually follow. [BB]
_Harry Turner_ has been recovering in hospital after a stroke. [RoB]
_Roger Levy_ (writes Keith Brooke, following the _A210_ stabbing
report) is `back at home now and making good progress. He's already
received many good wishes messages, which he appreciates greatly. Anyone
wishing to contact Roger may do so via his editor, Simon Spanton, at
Orion Books.'

OSCARS. Numerous sf/fantasy items are scattered through the 2005
nominations, far too tiresome to list in full. The Best Animated Feature
shortlist comprises _The Incredibles_, _Shark Tale_, and _Shrek 2_.

AS OTHERS SEE SOME OF US. `Very much the Moonies of television cults,
_Doctor Who_ is second only to _Star Trek_ in its ability to attract
sociopaths, hobbyists, theorists, collectors, role-playing gamers,
fanatics and, frankly, experts. There is little this encyclopaedia can
put forward which has not already been the subject of a keynote address
at some high-priced, stale-smelling conference in Leicester, called
something like SADCON or TOTALCON.' (Richard Lewis, _The Encyclopaedia
of Children's Cult TV_, 2002)

C.O.A. _Tom Feller_, PO Box 140937, Nashville, TN 37214, USA.

MEDIA MORIBUNDITY. The 98th and last _Star Trek: Enterprise_ episode airs
in the USA on 13 May. For the first time since 1986, the _Trek_ franchise
will have neither a movie nor a tv show in the pipeline. [SG]

HEARTTHROBS. Sapphire Awards (for sf romance) novel shortlist: Kathleen
Nance, _Day of Fire_; Charlaine Harris, _Dead to the World_; Robin D.
Owens, _Heart Duel_; Angela Knight, _Jane's Warlord_; Patricia Briggs,
_Raven's Shadow_; Susan Grant, _The Scarlet Empress_.

THE DEAD PAST. _Twenty Years Ago:_ `... when, in 1985, pollsters asked
1500 Americans to name a famous Japanese person, Godzilla came third (or
second, if you don't count Bruce Lee, who wasn't Japanese; Hirohito came
top).' (_London Review of Books_, 3 Feb 05)

RANDOM FANDOM. _Michael Harker_ offers one non-smoking _Ansible_ reader
a free single bed in Glasgow city centre for Interaction. Over-25s from
overseas preferred. Contact michael.harker1 at virgin.net.
_Colin McGregor_ brags that he smuggled a Torcon 3 report into
_Linux Journal_ (February 2005), in the guise of an article about running
that event's Linux-based convention internet lounge.

GHASTLY SOCIAL BLUNDERS DEPT. _Ansible_ 210: Quentin Blake is a
Commander, not Companion, of (the Order of) the British Empire.
_Helen Spiral_ feels that Steve Green's rant about Adam Mars-Jones
and his attitude to sf on _A Good Read_ (BBC Radio 4) misnamed the actual
culprit Andrew Collins, even though AM-J `has previous form for the
offence on at least one BBC review programme'. Steve: `Possible, I guess
... Whichever, it's an attitude prevalent at Radio 4, typified by Mark
Lawson's kneejerk dismissal of anything fantastical (such as scheduling
his holidays to avoid having to review the _Lord of the Rings_ trilogy).'

THE NAKED LUNCH. John Ordover, the former Pocket Books _Star Trek_ novel
editor who now runs Phobos, is interestingly exposed in _Time Out New
York_ for 6-12 January -- which reveals, complete with nude group photo,
his spare-time activity of running Clothing Optional Dinners for NYC
naturists. `The unofficial motto of the COD is "No Hot Soup".' It must
be healthier than all those frowsty sf conventions....

THOG'S MASTERCLASS. _Understatement Dept (or, Hot Soup at COD)._ `Kassad
was aware of the pain as a great sound beyond hearing, a huge, incessant
foghorn of pain, as if thousands of untrained fingers were falling on
thousands of keys playing a massive pipe organ of pain.' (Dan Simmons,
_The Fall of Hyperion_, 1990) [DL]
_Magical Physics Dept (or, the Bounceless Bounce)._ `Satellites
watched the residue of gas and energized particles strike the surface and
rebound. There was no heat or momentum transfer.' (Peter F. Hamilton,
_Pandora's Star_, 2004) [DC]
_Solid Geometry Dept._ `The capsule was a truncated cylinder,
perhaps four meters in diameter at the base and three at the top ...'
(Charles Stross, _Singularity Sky_, 2003) [LC]


### GEEKS' CORNER ###

PAYPAL DONATION. Support _Ansible_ and keep the editor happy! Or just
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http://ansible.co.uk/paypal.html
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ftp://ftp.dcs.gla.ac.uk/pub/SF-Archives/Ansible/Ansible.[number]
_Ansible_ Links: http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/Ansible/ansilink.html
Dave Langford: http://ansible.co.uk/

CONVENTION LONGLIST
Details at http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/Ansible/ansilink.html#cons
[] 2005
4-6 Feb 05 Construction 4 (Interaction staff meeting), Glasgow
11-13 Feb 05, SF Ball (media), Bournemouth
19 Feb 05, Picocon 22, London
25-27 Feb 05, Redemption (_B5/B7_), Hinckley, Leics
11-13 Mar 05, Mecon 8, Belfast
25-28 Mar 05, Paragon2 (Eastercon), Hinckley, Leics
29-31 Jul 05, Accio 2005 (H. Potter), Reading
29 Jul - 1 Aug 05, Precursor 2, Walsall
4-8 Aug 05, Interaction (Worldcon), Glasgow
11-15 Aug 05, The Ring Goes Ever On (Tolkien Soc), Aston U
12-14 Aug 05, Consternation (RPG), Cambridge
9-11 Sep 05, Reunion3 (media), Leicester
1-2 Oct 05, NewCon3, Northampton
11-13 Nov 05, Armadacon, Plymouth
11-13 Nov 05, Novacon, Walsall
[] 2006
12-13 Mar 06, P-Con III, Dublin
14-17 Apr 06, Concussion (Eastercon), Glasgow
18-20 Aug 06, Discworld Convention, Hinckley, Leics
23-27 Aug 06, L.A.con IV (Worldcon), Anaheim, California
[] 2007
30 Aug - 3 Sep 07, Nippon 2007 (Worldcon), Yokohama, Japan


### ENDNOTES ###

APPARITIONS. [] To 2 Apr 05: _His Dark Materials_ at the National
Theatre, dir Nicholas Hytner. Box office 020 7252 3000.
http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
[] 11 Feb: Birmingham SF Group, Britannia Hotel, New St, from 7.45pm.
With Brian Aldiss. Contact aunico[at]hotmail.com for more details.
[] 11 Mar: Birmingham SF Group as above. With David A. Hardy.
[] 8-30 Apr: THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS -- stage adaptation by Shaun
Prendergast, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich. Box office 01473 295 900.

WHO GOES THERE? Farah Mendlesohn wants to tease out the details of
your loathsome personal (reading) habits with her cunningly contrived
sf questionnaire.
http://sfquestions.blogspot.com/

_STEAM ENGINE TIME_, the fanzine of sf criticism, is being revived by
Bruce Gillespie and Bruce Gillespie and Janine Stinson, who `need to
hear from all paid subscribers so those subbers will be sure to
receive their paper copy of #4. Bruce can be reached at gandc at mira
dot net ... Janine at tropicsf at earthlink dot net.'

_TANGENT ONLINE_, the short fiction reviews magazine, has been
relaunched with a new look:
http://www.tangentonline.com/

POETRY CORNER. Among the preliminaries to the UK National Science Week
(March 2005), Terry Pratchett's 'Ode to Multiple Universes' was aired
by BBC Radio 4 on 14 January:
http://tinyurl.com/4eats

Ansible 211 Copyright (c) Dave Langford, 2005. Thanks to Barbara
Barrett, Ron Bennett, Richard Bleiler, Judy Blish, Bill Bowers, Len
Charlap, Mike Christie, Dave Clements, Steve Green, Wilf James, Tony
Keen, Duncan Lawie, Locus, Catherine Moore, Chris Moore, Kim Newman,
Publishers Lunch, Joyce Scrivner, Graham Sleight, Phil Stephensen-
Payne, Gordon Van Gelder, Arnold W. Winter, Pete Young, and Hero
Distributors: Rog Peyton (Birmingham), Janice Murray (North America),
SCIS, and Alan Stewart (Thyme/Australia).

4 Feb 05
--
David Langford | http://ansible.co.uk/
Latest book: =Different Kinds of Darkness= (collection, Cosmos, 2004
 

Tim

Creative Writer
Ansible has some interesting stuff on it for those who appreciate scifi novels, i'd lost it from my bookmarks after a format, but i've got it again now, thanks!
 
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