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Ansible 26, June 1982

PLEASE NOTE that this old Ansible is a bit of history. Addresses may have changed (the editor's postal address can be seen in process of doing so), prices and agents' credits are invalid, etc. • This issue was produced in my BWP or Before-Word-Processors era and lovingly rekeyed for the archives by Elizabeth Willey ... to whom many thanks! • Dave Langford, 1995.


ANSIBLE 26 (June 1982) comes from Dave Langford, 22 Northumberland Ave, Reading, Berks RG2 7PW; A27 will come from the address at top right [94 London Road, Reading, Berks, RG1 5AU], to be occupied in late June and already valid for non-urgent mail. Subs still £1 for 5 issues UK, 4 elsewhere, $US equivalent to Burns, 48 Lou Ave, Kings Park, NY, NY 11754 USA. Ritual thanks to Stu Shiffman (art), John Harvey (e-stencils) and Keith Freeman (mailing labels with menacing SUB DUE or ****** annotations – take heed). 1-6-82.


After A25 I was Public Enemy #1. Malcolm Edwards ticked me off for Ian Watson's letter, the quotation of his private correspondence in which he'd vetoed verbally (deaf twit fails in comprehension again): 'Ian was quoting out of context one paragraph from a lengthy correspondence; he knew perfectly well that the hypothesis he threw such a fit of moral indignation over had no validity; I have not used my position at Gollancz to exert any kind of pressure on him, and could not even if I should want to (which I don't).... The only reason for the correspondence (asking Ian to contribute to Interzone) is that I like the daft bugger's stories.' Malcolm and Rob Holdstock resented the 'Piss Off Eurocon' joke caption to their deeply serious Eastercon '84 bid; says Rob, 'I wholeheartedly support the bid to get the European convention to England in 1984.... It is the combination of Eastercon and Eurocon that we believe to be unworkable, ill-conceived, and doomed to fall well short of success.' John Brunner was miffed by the journalistic shorthand 'John Brunner's Eurocon', which should read 'The Eurocon Bid Planned By A Committee Of More Than 20 People Of Whom John Brunner Is But One'. (Short nickname needed, folks.) Apologies to all those wronged in my selfless quest for truth and smut.

ONCE AGAIN, THE HUGE AND KNOBBLIES (ETC)....

The Ansible Poll, most influential of them all, is delayed because not enough of you have voted. This is my punishment either for hubris or for not mentioning last issue that A Poll Vote Extends Your Ansible Subscription. New deadline 25 June 1982. Please vote on the form from A25 or a separate sheet, based on fanwork in the year up to the day after Easter 1982. Categories are (up to 5 votes, ranked): fanzine, fanwriter, fanartist; (up to 3 nominations) single issue, article/column, cover art, Worst Thing. Only British work is eligible; Ansible isn't. Stop laughing, Ashley!

TAFF: flyer enclosed where weight permits. Voting summary: Rog Peyton 63, Kev Smith 80, HOF 15, Brian Burgess 1. There were also 6 'no preference' votes and (correction to flyer, which only gives the 4 British ones) 8 invalid ballots – 173 ballots all told. Kevin wins and will attend the Chicago Worldcon this summer. He has already taken over as TAFF's European administrator: I've passed the final kitty of £1220.97p to him, which includes a welcome £50 donation from Channelcon. Nominations now open for the 1983 trip!

Nebula Awards: These were presented on 24 April, though with genial ineptitude the SFWA released details to Publishers' Weekly beforehand, and they were printed there days before the presentation.... NOVEL: The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe. NOVELLA: 'The Saturn Game' by Poul Anderson. NOVELETTE: 'The Quickening' by Michael Bishop. SHORT STORY: 'The Bone Flute' by Lisa Tuttle ... wait a minute. What about that stuff in A25 about Lisa's withdrawal? Over to her: 'When you last heard from me, I'd written to withdraw my short story from consideration for a Nebula, in protest at the way the thing is run, and in the hope that my protest might move the Nebula Committee to institute a few simple rules (like, either making sure that all items up for consideration are sent around to all the voters; or else disqualifying works which are campaigned for by either the authors or the editors) which would make the whole Nebula system less of a farce. Hardly had my letter gone off to SFWA (in the person of Frank Catalano) than I got a phone call from him informing me – more than 3 weeks before the official announcements – that my short story had won. I told him I'd withdrawn it, and therefore would have to refuse the award. He passed this problem along to others in the SFWA hierarchy, and soon I got a phone call from Charles Grant. I explained my position; he told me that I'd still won the award, which was already made up with my name on it. I said, too bad, I was still refusing it ... finally he said he wasn't sure what would be done at the Nebula banquet, except that it would not be given to anyone else. I said I thought they should either announce no award – and then explain that the winner had withdrawn the story before knowing it had won – or they could go into detail as to why I had withdrawn the story and refused the award, and either use my name or not as they chose. Basically, I felt that since I wasn't going to be at the Banquet to make a speech, it was up to them how they handled it – but I definitely wanted my reasons for refusing known ... as, after all, that was the whole point. Charlie said (I remember this very clearly) "Don't worry, your reasons will be made known." ... Two days ago [i.e. on 29 April] I got a telegram from John Douglas of Pocket Books congratulating me on having won the Nebula – "letter and award to follow". I phoned him in New York and learnt that he had accepted the Nebula for me.... Not a word had been said about my refusal, never mind the reasons for it.' (Lisa Tuttle) The dynamic response of SFWA to Lisa and her complaints consists of a letter in Locus from Vice-President Marta Randall, who by use of the axiom 'Everything not forbidden is compulsory' deduces from the Nebula rules that it was impossible and wicked for Lisa to withdraw her story in the first place. Ansible's editor is unable to comment: although in his third year of SFWA membership, he has not yet been privileged to receive a copy of the Nebula rules (or the 1981 membership directory, etc etc). Meanwhile George Florance-Guthridge, who started all this with his Nebula campaign, has published a letter in Locus which publically answers purported queries from numerous fans about the wonderfulness of his Nebula- (and now Hugo-) nominated short story. Thinks: 'Dear Locus, Millions of fans have written asking when my novel The Space Eater will be published by Arrow (so they can avoid the bookshops). I would like to tell them all that the date is 21 June....'

The Hugo Nominations have also been released, with a nice sense of social grading: thus Locus gets detailed statistics, Ansible gets a plain list of finalists, and British fanwriters first hear of their nominations from File 770. 648 ballots received; final ballot deadline 15 July; voting spread for each category in brackets; only four finalists in some categories owing to a new rule demanding that an item must receive 5% of the nominations in its category in order to make the final ballot. Read and weep –

NOVEL (53-139) Downbelow Station, C. J. Cherryh; Little, Big, John Crowley; The Many-Colored Land, Julian May; Project Pope, Clifford Simak; The Claw of the Conciliator, Gene Wolfe.

NOVELLA (58-96) 'The Saturn Game', Poul Anderson; 'In The Western Tradition', Phyllis Eisenstein; 'Emergence', David R. Palmer; 'Blue Champagne', John Varley; 'True Names', Vernor Vinge; 'With Thimbles, With Forks and Hope', Kate Wilhelm.

NOVELETTE (39-74) 'The Quickening', Michael Bishop; 'The Thermals of August', Edward Bryant; 'The Fire When It Comes', Parke Godwin; 'Guardians', George R. R. Martin; 'Unicorn Variations', Roger Zelazny.

SHORT (42-87) 'The Quiet', George Florance-Guthridge; 'Absent Thee from Felicity Awhile', Somtow Sucharitkul; 'The Pusher', John Varley; 'The Woman the Unicorn Loved', Gene Wolfe.

NONFICTION (22-80) Anatomy of Wonder 2nd ed, ed Neil Barron; After Man, Dougal Dixon; Danse Macabre, Stephen King; The Grand Tour, Ron Miller & William Hartman; The Art of Leo & Diane Dillon ed. (why?) Byron Preiss.

PRO EDITOR (96-240) Terry Carr, Edward Ferman, David Hartwell, Stanley Schmidt, George Scithers.

PRO ARTIST (47-168) Vincent DiFate, Carl Lundgren, Don Maitz, Rowena Morrill, Michael Whelan.

DRAMATIC (68-242) Dragonslayer, Excalibur, Outland, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Time Bandits. (Superman II would have made the final ballot but was declared ineligible since it had been shown in 1980 – correct decision, say I.)

FANZINE (70-159) File 770, Locus, SF Chronicle, SFR.

FANWRITER (30-57) Dick Geis, Mike Glyer, Arthur Hlavaty, Dave Langford.

FANARTIST (32-62) Alexis Gilliland, Joan Hanke-Woods, Victoria Poyser, William Rotsler, Stu Shiffman. (Note that it's easier to get a professional nonfiction nomination than to compete in the fan categories. Odd.)

JOHN W CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER: David Brin, Alexis Gilliland, Robert Stallman (dec'd), Michael Swanwick, Paul O. Williams. (Not a Hugo, remember.)

Australian 'Ditmar' Awards 1982 – Winners include AUSTRALASIAN NOVEL The Man Who Loved Morlocks, David Lake; INTERNATIONAL SF/FANTASY The Affirmation Chris Priest; VARIOUS FAN AWARDS Marc Ortlieb. (Thyme)

DUFF (Australia – > US): Peter Toluzzi goes to Chicon.


CHANNELCON: 33rd BRITISH EASTERCON
JUDITH HANNA

So what are British conventions like? After random testing of a sample of one – Channelcon – the answer seems to be not exactly like Australian conventions, but pretty similar. The similarities lie in the people – different faces, variant names, funny accents, but otherwise disconcertingly familiar in behavior, interests, and expressions (we too speak basic Python, Goon, Trekkie-bashing, hate-Heinlein and computer-bore) – and in the standard convention structure of programme items interspersed with standing around chatting (or vice versa) followed until very late by parties. Since the most important ingredients are a programme to criticize and the people you grumble about it with, I felt immediately at home and enjoyed it all thoroughly. As the people were all new to me I paid more attention to them than to the programme, and spent more time urging numerous generous souls to 'buy a badge for Melbourne in '85' [1] than in the traditional running-down of events. With 800+ attendees (compared to a likely 300-odd at an Australian national con) Channelcon should have felt frightfully huge, but didn't, perhaps because of the function space available to spread through – foyer, bar, con hall, bar, fanroom, bar, bookroom, not to mention art and video shows tucked away underground – or perhaps because, once a few faces are recognized in any room, one simply overlooks clumps of anonymous bods while homing in on acquaintances. It was easy enough to adapt to such peculiarly British customs as the divisions of the programme into serious stuff in the main hall, silly fannish stuff in the fanroom and bars, or the fact that one's not considered properly dressed with out a glass (however small [2]) of alcohol in one's hand: I doubt the average British fan would adapt as easily to the absence of bars from Australian cons. [3]

So much for the gestalt; what of the actual events which distinguished Channelcon from any other – or at least that part of them included in my random sampling? What to drag out first from the mush of memory? The high-toned serious stuff, discussions of SF as literature: the 'Writers and Critics' panel dominated by Roz Kaveney's measured erudition, Josephine Saxton's shaking intensity and Angela Carter's understated mischief while Kev Smith and Joseph Nicholas, mere males, struggled to slip in the occasional word; John Sladek's GoH speech asserting that reality is a mere intellectual construct – clever, but flawed by his failure to acknowledge either the inescapable impact of raw sensory input or how much intellectualization must conform to the conditions imposed by physical environment; Angela Carter's GoH speech exulting in the disreputability and freedom she found in the genristic ghetto of SF where people actually read for enjoyment rather than with morbid snobbery. The fannishly silly segments: Joyce Scrivner and I, instead of providing profound sociological insights into Australian and US fandoms, gossiping about what Joseph did on his GUFF trip while Joyce was on her DUFF trip [4], now and then taking breath to allow Pascal Thomas (representing Europe) to talk about French fandom; the Fan Turn Challenge competition, based on all the silly TV games you never wanted to know about [5], in which the Scots and the Surrey Limpwrists showed themselves as silly as each other and sillier than the Gannets and Brummies; the TAFF duel where Kev Smith and Rog Peyton competed to read a book, sell a book and then sell each other; Joseph and Chris Priest encouraging enthusiasm for GUFF by telling horror stories of how their planes nearly crashed on the way back from Australia. Against disappointing opposition, Joseph carried off the SF Mastermind title (now I have to believe him when he says he's really clever). At the BoSFA AGM, Ken Eadie gave an exemplary display of fuckwitted obduracy, insisting on a technicality – against the manifest will of the meeting – that though unwilling to work in co-operation with the rest of the BSFA Council he had the right to remain Business Manager. [6] At the other business meeting, Albacon II triumphed over Metrocon. [7] Before the banquet we counted the BSFA award votes, Priest and Wolfe neck-and-neck in the novel section, but the local boy's The Affirmation lost by a narrow margin to Wolfe's Shadow of the Torturer; Rob Holdstock's 'Mythago Wood' took the short story award; the other winners were Time Bandits (media) and Bruce Pennington (artist). Events I missed but got told all about several times: the abortive 'This Is Your Life' inflicted on Bob Shaw [8], and Nick Lowe's 'Black Wine of Thentis' lecture, which has given rise to a new critical standard to be incorporated into the Inferno armoury – the 'Thentis rating' of the amount of coffee or booze pointlessly consumed within its pages, a rating in inverse correlation with literary merit: Oath of Fealty, for instance, scores phenomenally high on Thentis content.

So it went: a weekend of cheerful bedlam, 800 different congoing experiences loosely united by attendance at or avoidance of a common programme at a certain hotel once the site of a Worldcon. A sort of deja vu nostalgia for '79 seemed to permeate natives' perception of Channelcon as it went on around them. For myself, change a few of the details, like location, programme, names and faces, well almost all the details really, and it could have been an Australian con. As it was, it was just like being at home.


THE EDITOR GETS HIS OAR IN:

Can't resist adding a few footnotes to Judith's piece as follows –
[1] Joseph (address as in GUFF flyer) is UK rep for Melbourne's 1985 Worldcon bid. He notes that 'Sydney Cove in '88' flyers emanating from Oakland, California – albeit with an Australian return address – are 'definitely a hoax bid (the barely decipherable signature of 'Adam Selene' on the flyer gives as much away), but one could which do a lot of damage to the 1985 one if it isn't stomped on very firmly'.
[2] Judith's favorite glass to date is the 5cc beaker offered her in Reading.
[3] Too right, cobber.
[4] Several paragraphs omitted; A is a family magazine.
[5] Blame Jim Barker for this.
[6] Graham James at BSFA meeting: 'Since continuation of this internal strife can only harm the BSFA, will Mr Eadie not consider resigning – without prejudice to his re-election prospects – in the best interests of the organization?' Mr Eadie: 'NO!' Sound of thumbs-down from millions of BSFA members....
[7] Albacon 222 votes, Metrocon 199: I blame this shocking miscarriage of justice on – – – -.
[8] This, alas, was for me the low point of Channelcon. Con-worn Eve Harvey simply couldn't handle the witty, rapid-fire presentation demanded for 'Bob Shaw: This Is Your Life'; the result was interminable and (I fear) embarrassing. (DRL)


MAKING THE BEST OF IT: January-April Fanzines
Abi Frost

'Fanzines do need to appear frequently for the enthusiasm they can engender to become self-sustaining' – Malcolm Edwards, Tappen 3.

Give the man a coconut – so where was no.4? Frost's record as tipster lies all draggled in some Brighton gutter. Some people (such as Ounsley, Hansen, James and the magnificent Cretins) did their bit toward the return of frequent publishing; rather more did not. As to the revival of fanzine reviewing, I am having to do it all by myself. (Though West's biennial Denunciation of Everyone is promised soonest; Everyone includes me this time, he says. Andromache, je pense a vous....)

Channelcon did bring a fair number of new fanzines (at least ones new to me) and newish writers. Confronted by all these, one starts off on deep thoughts about the nature of editing and the impulses that drive people to this fanzine lark in the first place. Ansible, to the reader's undisguised relief, provides no space for deep-structural analysis, so here goes with the abridged version: –

One can always tell a crudzine because ... well, maybe not. Never mind, one can always tell them. Terry Hill's Microwave amazed me. Internal evidence suggests that it's based on the fanzines of pre-Fouler days; remind me never to tease Kettle or Pickersgill again. The cover is a rebus which does not take pronunciation into account; the inside is littered with jokes from those graffiti books. Hill intends, apparently, to start a column called 'Cunning Stunts'; I don't object to 'that kind of language' in fanzines, but a certain feminist theatre group might sniff a bit.... One of the true stigmata of the crudzine is its editor's assumption that he is the first person ever to have heard these jokes, or (perhaps) that they have some kind of ritualistic Ur-funniness. Another is the cheery bit by spouse about the editor's obsession with rocket-ships; yes, kids, there's one here too. Still, Microwave's faults seem to stem from utter naivete, a disease which tends to cure itself. The productions of what the ever-felicitous Leeds Mob call 'university shitheads' are far more culpable. Two of these are to hand....

NME III comes from the Imperial College skiffysoc – the bunch Steve Higgins doesn't want to be associated with. One can see why. Sodd's Lore is produced by nine shitheads from various universities (two from Oxford, oh shame). Yer actual Imperial shithead types his fanzine on a computer thingy. This is triffically scientific, and adds the 'professional touch' – justified lines. One would ask if it were worth the total sacrifice of legibility, were there the slightest reason to believe the content was of any interest. Who really needs the history of Dr Who and Blake's 7, or 'scientific' (and leaden and sexist) jeux d'esprit, or very very short stories? (One is about people on a spaceship drowning in excrement. How appropriate – but even I know they freeze-dry the stuff.) Your Sodd is above fanfiction, but not above poetry. If I say anything about the poetry, they will no doubt say it's meant to be that bad. (I confess I don't understand these cultish jokes.) NME's ultimate function is to keep the club members of the streets, but Sodd's Lore has pretensions to being a real fanzine. An arrogant, patronizing fanzine, whose arrogance is the worse for being unmerited. Hill's error ('fans very isolated; won't have heard of this') is repeated on a grand scale. A boring plot-summary begins: 'Flaubert's Salambo ... remains almost unknown.' (It's been known to turn up as an A-level set book.) 'Look out, world, here we come!' screams every page; world turns languidly, sips laudanum, and snores.

Let's move on to those for whom there is hope. Christina Lake, in Music from a fire, manages a 22-page personalzine without wailing about the difficulties of writing once. Her material (media sf, whither sf?) is neither wildly original nor promising, but she can write, though she needs a bit of strict discipline from a decent editor – which as things are, she's unlikely to get. I think she should stop trying to contribute to an imaginary debate on the function of sf, and use the resources of her own mind more; articles on Radio Caroline and '12th-century fandom' suggest that these resources exist.

The junior members of established fan groups should have a better chance of editorial licking-into-shape. Down in Surrey, some are doing better than others. Phil Palmer is coming on fine; it's immediately obvious how much better his reviews in Nabu 12 read than TCOL did (though that was not bad at all). You may think it's time and chance, but I think it's Ian Maule. Martyn Taylor's progress is slower and steadier. In three issues RAA has gone from being perhaps the most boring fanzine ever to something pretty creditable. Taylor has now got off his chest all the deep psychological stuff about violence, and is having to cast his cold and serious eye on lighter matters; the combination makes for a pleasant irony. RAA is in the process of turning from personalzine to genzine, which I think should be encouraged; Taylor may well be the person to edit the more solid work of the newer writers. Another advantage of frequent publishing (RAA's three issues took about six months) is that editors learn quickly that way.

Roy Macinski's got a lot to learn, and is taking his time about it. According to the ritual apology, which is all he manages, Through the Lense (sic)[1] is the product of six months' agony and only half a fanzine anyway. Apart from this page of editorial whimpers, it contains Taylor at his most turgid (I freely admit that my inability to read long screeds about Russian sf films is my fault) and Eve Harvey on Angela Carter. Words do not often fail me, but quarto pages do, so I'll restrict myself to saying that I regard this article as an insult to Ms Carter, and suggesting that a long-established fanzine editor should have known better than to begin with a tedious paragraph about the banal circumstances of the article's commissioning. Why do people continually apologize for their work? If it warrants apology (and this certainly does) it shouldn't be put out in the first place....

Still, there's hope for the new chaps in Leeds. Not content with being our Greatest Living Fanwriter, Simon Ounsley is visibly learning how to edit. Both issues of Still It Moves have featured the work of fairly new writers (alongside cynical old hacks like West). Their contributions to the first seem to have been more promising in themselves, but Ounsley's subbing is improving – the apologetic note has vanished. I suspect he's only gradually shedding a nervousness with the surgeon's knife which derives from his own past as a rejected novelist. Slash 'em, kid and shut your ears to their howls. If Edwards can sub J.I.M. Stewart, you can take the 'yours truly's out of Helen Starkey.

Be that as it may, with any luck in a year's time we'll have four good genzines. Any takers on that one? (Abi Frost)

Boring Footnotes From Your Editor

I don't seem to have received the very wonderful Sodd, NME, or Music (outmoded member of a bygone fandom bewails his isolation to sound of faint violins): but here are some addresses:

Microwave – Terry Hill, 41 Western Rd, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 8NE (usual, 20p in stamps). Music from a Fire – Christina Lake, 2 Shepherds Green, Chislehurst, Kent, BR7 6PA. Nabu – Ian Maule, 5 Beaconsfield Rd, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3HY (usual). RAA – Martyn Taylor, 5 Kimpton Rd, Camberwell, London, SE5 7EA (usual, request, 'money'). [1] Through the Lens (not sic, but the spelling on the front cover should be credited to the very creative Jim Barker) – Roy Macinski, 2 Frogmill Cottages, Hurley, nr Maidenhead, Berks, SL6 5NH (usual, or 16½p in stamps). Still It Moves – Simon Ounsley; see COA dept. (Usual or hagiographical smut, etc.)

The fact that Simon in SIM adds a sensible word or two to the 'politics in fandom' logomachy reminds me that, while other fans have argued, I and Chris Morgan have been influencing the politics of the USA! Let me explain. Our book Facts & Fallacies: A Book of Definitive Mistakes & Misguided Predictions (out from Corgi this month – buy several) includes the following incidental quotation, attributed to Mike Curb (then president of MGM Records): 'Watergate is just an attack by the niggers and the Jews and the Commies on Nixon.' A constant succession of slavering Californian journalists have been ringing and/or writing to beg for details, context, etc – since Curb seems to be campaigning for the post of CA State Governor, and the American edition of F&F is causing a mild sensation. Ho ho. Californian readers are informed that we lifted the line from The Book of Rock Quotes – Jonathon Green, Omnibus Press, 1980, p.36.) Chris and I are uncertain of whether to topple the Argentine government next, or merely to take on the BSFA....

Next, a change from Ansible coverage of UK Milfords. (By the way, Roelof Goudriaan reports a Dutch Milford held 6-7 March 82: future contact address Augustalaan 15, 4615 Hm Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands.) Remember the DIY writers' meeting whose silly name has embarrassed members since being devised by A. Stephenson in 1973 ...?


THE PIERIA MOB GOES WEST AGAIN
Kevin Smith

Pieria 33 was held during the week of May 1-8 in Polzeath, Cornwall. That much is certain. What is not so certain is whether it came in two parts – one on Sunday 2 and one on Thursday 6 – or whether the Thursday meeting was really Pieria 34. It was held in a different place – 'Rock Pipit', New Polzeath, as opposed to 'Pentor', Polzeath – and had a different host and chairman – Dave Langford rather than Diana Reed – which in times past have been considered adequate reasons for differentiation of Pierias. It is also certain that it would annoy Andrew Stephenson more than twice as much to have missed to meetings and not just one; which was held by the assembled company to be even more reason to call the second meeting 'Pieria 34'.... The answer will not be known for certain until Mike Rohan, next host and chairman, sends out his invitations: will he call it 34 or 35?

People there included Judith Hanna, Dave Langford, Hazel Langford, Joseph Nicholas, Diana Reed, Deb Rohan, Mike Rohan, Allan Scott and Kevin Smith, and no one else. Nine of us in all, an appropriate number for Pieria – though I'm not convinced of the authenticity of muses of cookery and washing up.

Pieria 33 had only two stories. Dave's was about a computer driving a hack novelist nearly to suicide; it showed a remarkable grasp of the subject, and had already been sold to a computer hobby magazine. Judith's was a twisted fairy story in which the dragon came to a business arrangement with the king, and sprang from Judith's intense structuralist analysis of fairy tales carried out as post-graduate research. The rest of us, unable to compete, merely expounded upon what we'd started and would definitely complete that week. Dave had another story idea to work on, but Judith declined, preferring to play tourist, Deb and Hazel, wiser than the others, took no part at all in this writing.

At Rock Pipit, Dave worked on his promised second story, 5500 words completed four minutes before we assembled for Pieria 34 (as it might have been), and Joe dragged Judith in to help him with his plotting, the two of them inventing 'combat collaboration' in the process. Each day Allan walked across the beach to Pentor, where he and Mike independently invented combat collaboration whilst working on their joint novel. Allan's electric typewriter rattled and clattered and spewed out sheets of typescript at an alarming rate; Allan crossed out half the words he'd typed and passed them to Mike, who crossed out the other half. Discussions (hem hem) ensued, following which Allan retyped everything, and so on. Diana retreated to Pentor's furnished but chilly attic and shook the house with her tiny portable typewriter, on the pretext of writing a play. I sat in the warm kitchen, occasionally stoking the boiler fire, and scribbled impeccable first drafts with a very loud propelling pencil. After 2000 words of what I'd said I'd be working on I got blocked and bored, and started something else, which I didn't finish. So much for good intentions.

The critical sessions were compact (i.e. small) with only five people to express criticism, but pretty similar to other Pierias: lots of superbly cogent critical thought completely ruined by inarticulate delivery. We knew this was so because Allan had brought along a video camera, recorder and other paraphernalia to record the events of the week. 'Try to pretend I'm not here,' he said, and we tried – oh, how we tried! But in the playbacks we still stammered and stuttered our critical assessments.

Deb, Mike and Allan all wanted to leave on Friday, so Dave and Hazel had to leave to, since although Dave was driving he was driving Allan's car. Joe and Judith moved to Pentor for Friday night, and the three of us departed next afternoon, leaving Diana to lock up.

I never know how to say goodbye after a week like that.

(Kevin Smith)


COA

ROB ALLEN c/o Martyn Taylor (see p.4) • JOHN FAIREY, 78 Somerset Rd, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 4NW • MIKE FORD, 45 Harold Mt, Leeds, LS6 1PW • NAVEED KHAN, 3 Holmes House Avenue, Winstanley, Wigan, WN3 6EA (late June) • PAUL OLDROYD, 46 Colwyn Road, Beeston, Leeds, LS11 6PY • SIMON OUNSLEY, 21 The Village St, Leeds, LS4 2PR • MICKY POLAND, 2 Sqn, 21 Signal Regt, BFPO 42 • DAVID PRINGLE, c/o 58 Cliveden Ct, London Rd, Brighton, E Sussex • JOYCE SCRIVNER, 2732 14th Ave South, Lower Minneapolis, MN 55404, USA • PHIL STEPHENSON-PAYNE, c/o 'Longmead', 15 Wilmerhatch Lane, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7EQ • MARTIN TUDOR, 845 Alum Rock Rd, Ward End, Birmingham, B8 2AG • and don't forget the one on the front cover, folks....

CONS

Yugoslavia In 1988? Another Worldcon bid: main address c/o SFera, Ivanicgradska 41a, 4100 ZAGREB, Yugoslavia; UK rep Gerry Webb, 67 Shakespeare Rd, Hanwell, London W.7 – £1 presupporting bid to him. Even if this proves a good bid (the flyer's amateurish, but I blame Gerry for that) it faces two huge tactical problems: first, the reluctance of Americans to let the Worldcon go so soon after the hoped victory of Australia for '85; second, the relative obscurity of Yugoslav fandom (the much more active and conspicuous Swedes got nowhere with their Worldcon bid).... Birmingham '85? Rumour whispers that the Brum Group contemplate an Eastercon bid – 'twenty years on' from Brumcon '65.... Economy/Shoestringcon 4 10-11 October 82 at Animal (sorry) The Elephant House, Hatfield Poly: £3 supp/£4 att, c/o 4 Ryders Ave, Colney Heath, nr Hatfield, St Albans, Herts.... Lexicon (28-31 May) never happened, we hear; the hotel refused to go ahead owing to lack of advance memberships.... Philadelphia '86 Worldcon: Lew Wolkoff (c/o them, PO Box 5814, Philadelphia, PA 19128, USA) is looking for a UK rep, a famous fan to sell memberships, run parties, &c. Volunteers? Colnecon has issued a PR/booking for which mentions no dates at all, so I'll just remind you it's on 26 June.... Albacon II (1-4 April '83) is, gnash gnash, the next Eastercon. Central Station Hotel, Glasgow; £3 supp/£7 att to 1 July, then £4/£8; rooms £12.50/person/night sngl, £10 dbl/twin, £9 triple (bathroom: add £2.50, but none in triples), inc VAT and full Eng.Break.; c/o 1/R Partickhill Rd, Glasgow, G11 5BY.... 1984: TEBPBACOMT20POWJBIBO (see p.1) has met with good response from the Brighton Metropole, whose manager likes fans and has offered to organize ultra-cheap overflows for the impoverished. The loyal opposition (Malcolm Edwards and his merry men, 'sympathy and/or support, but no money yet, please.') is unattributably rumoured to be investigating the brand-new Metropole up in Blackpool.... Novacon has never made anywhere near £1000; Novacon 11 will make £3-£400, writes P. Oldroyd, hurt by Kev Smith's estimated Novacon accounts in Drilkjis 6. ('Will make' = 'has made'.)

INFINITELY IMPROBABLE

Not The Least Bit True, Says Carl Sagan! So says the great man in an 'interview' sent by Ahrvid Engholm, who reports that he generously showed CS numerous rumour-crammed copies of Ansible. 'I have a MS 120 pages long, that Anne Druyan and I wrote together, the basis on which Simon & Schuster bought the novel.' Exit the great man, clutching Ansibles; and so (unless Ahrvid is hoaxing again) perish rumours of rampant plagiarism, 'unacceptable' synopses, zero participation by Sagan, etc – 'rumours that, because of their frequency and sources, I believe to be true,' persists Martin Norse Wooster.... Playmate of the Month in the June Playboy is a Hawaiian lady whose favorite authors are ERB, MZB, Moorcock, Tolkien, and John Norman – reports Maxim Jakubowski, who in NME says: 'This is the first time I've told anyone: I masturbated to Robert A. Heinlein!' He adds that Dave Britton of Savoy Books was jugged for 28 days on 24 May, for the fearful crime of publishing Charles Platt. (Oh, and Delany too.).... Ian Watson: 'I've been reliably told that Salman Rushdie, already equipped with a book in the bestseller list and his Booker Prize money, tried to turn down the Arts Council handout; but the Arts Council in its wisdom refused to let him.' (Gosh, just like the SFWA.) Ian reports at great length on an Alan Dorey cock-up whereby Gregory Feeley's interview with Jack Dann, submitted to Interzone, ended up in Alan's stopgap issue of Vector: Feeley: 'annoyed', Dann 'mad as hell.... wanted interview to coincide somewhat with publication of his The Man Who Melted', features ed. of Foundation (GF's second choice for submission) says tut-tut charitably.... Rochelle (And Of Course Alan) Dorey now has an offspring as of 2019 hrs 17-5-82: Amanda Shirley Anne Dorey, delivered after complications & a Caesarian. Rochelle is doing fine, says Graham James, who reports his resignation from the Interzone collective owing to 'editorial differences ... I have severed all connections' He's also giving up Matrix in October.... Status symbol among the publishing elite is to have read the new Asimov, says Roz Kaveney: 'Not only a Foundation novel, but also a robot novel, and an Eternity novel.' Silence greeted my repartee of 'Well I've read the new Heinlein and it's not as bad as TNOTB, only it's got this heroine who gets raped a lot and decides she quite likes it really, except when done by chaps with bad breath'.... Chris Priest, ashen-faced, confesses that poverty may drive him back to London from his Devon retreat.... Dick Commemoration: 7pm 9-6-82, City Lit, Stukeley St, WC2, admission free. Sf Evening with Stableford, Watson, Angela Carter: 23 June, Rm 109, Palmer Bldg, Reading U, 7.30pm, admission £1.... Clippings: 'Verdict: death from chronic alcoholism' was Edmund Cooper's epitaph at the inquest in April (Brighton Evening Argus); 'Somtow Sucharitkul, the Old Etonian chairman of the Thailand Composers Association' – yes, the same one – was plugged in the Grauniad for transcribing/arranging symphonies whistled (yes) by the strange US politician J.W. Middendorf II.... R.L. Fanthorpe's book on the 'mystery of Rennes-le-Chateau' has been flogged for a reported $50,000 advance to Newcastle (US), who 'have decided to call it The Holy Grail Revealed even though the grail is only mentioned in the last chapter – at their express wish, I believe' (Naveed Khan).... Jim Barker has sold his 'MacHinery' strip to IPC, retitled 'Bleep!' for use in a new kids' comic called Wow!.... Peter Nicholls is now editorial director of 'an imprint called Multimedia 2000', preparing books for 'future possibilities both good and bad ... early titles to include urban design, brain chemistry, warfare....' Hmmm, War in 2000? Fencon, 16 Oct, The University Centre, Cambridge: £3 to them at 27 Newmarket Rd, Cambridge, CB3 8EG. Organized by people like Nick Lowe.... George Scithers is indeed editor of the Gygax-owned Amazing, and is bringing most of his staff and all of his rejections slips from Asimov's (oh futility).... Ray Bradbury is writing a deep-space opera (real opera) about 'a great white comet that comes round once every 40 years and a space captain whose eyes were burned out by the comet.... I dedicated it to Herman Melville'.... Doc Weir Award not presented at Channelcon as a result of recent dissatisfaction; a BSFA working party is supposed to be working toward Electoral Reform.... Albacon II generously gave Metrocon presupporters full credit (equivalent to Albacon presupporters) for membership of Albacon: Metrocon funds remaining will thus go to Albacon.... Jane Doe Reports that the new John Jakes hardback bestseller (US) was ghosted by almost famous SF hack David Bischoff from Jakes's outline.... Pascal Thomas complains at being listed as Chicon's European agent after volunteering as French agent only (it is of course harder to send sterling to France than to the US).... Extro 3 out soon! Force your newsagent to order it (via Seymour Press Ltd)! I have copies of #1, 95p post free.


ANSIBLE TWENTY-SIX

22 Northumberland Avenue, Reading
Berkshire, RG2 7PW UK (to end June)
94 London Road, Reading, Berkshire,
RG1 5AU, UK (CoA thereafter)