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Further Ansible news fragments, today dedicated to the British publisher which one week after the absolutely final date (31 October 2001) for payment of my June royalties sent a circular about delays caused by changes to payment methods. The circular is dated December 1999.

Spooksafe. It's good to know that the British insurance firm Ultraviolet sells this cover against alien abduction, poltergeist attack, and becoming a werewolf or vampire. Most Spooksafe sales, for some reason, are to California. But it isn't easy money: a newspaper reports that they 'paid out 100,000 to a woman whose claim that evil spirits threw her over the banisters was apparently verified by experts.' (Independent on Sunday, 4 November)

Australian Jitters. When Ansible mentioned a bid to hold the 2007 World SF Convention in Melbourne, spies down under retorted that 2007 seems unfeasible owing to US support for that year's Japanese bid. Sydney in 2008 is fancied by a few locals but no one else. The latest word is Melbourne in 2009 or, more likely, 2011.

Bar Trek. UK TV listing: 'The crew of the Enterprise fall victim to a mysterious contaminant that causes them to behave in an inebriated manner.' I had some of that at a convention once.

Thog's Masterclass. 'The first smart rock overloaded the Phinon's shields and it collapsed to nothing but a smile of satisfaction on Rick's face.' (Jeffery D.Kooistra, Dykstra's War, 2000) 'This wasn't like him. But he had just vanquished an alien race single-handedly. It was natural he'd be different after that.' '"I'm going to remove the skull so I can watch what happens in the brain when I make you my mate," he said. "No one has ever determined if there is any actual physical response in the brain."' (both Rodman Philbrick & Lynn Harnett, Abduction, 1998) Thanks to Franz Rottensteiner for spotting these.


David Langford is a writer, editor, physicist, bon vivant, and software consultant. His monthly SF newsletter, Ansible, is the essential SF-insider sourcebook of wit and incongruity. He lives in Reading, England with his wife Hazel, 25,000 books, and a few dozen Hugo awards.

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