Ansible [publication]

Tagged: Publication | Fan

Fanzine (1979-1987 and 1991-current), the first sequence being 50 issues, UK quarto, 4-10pp, edited from Reading, Berkshire, UK, by David Langford.Ansible is a Newszine, a fanzine that carries news on sf and Fandom. It replaced the earlier UK newszine Checkpoint and was initially stencil-duplicated; most first-series issues have both offset-lithographed and duplicated pages. Ansible's news items were given sparkle by Langford's witty delivery. In its early days it appeared roughly monthly, but in the later 1980s gaps between its issues grew ever longer, as did the wordage; there were long guest articles by Christopher Evans, Patrick Parrinder, Charles Platt, Terry Pratchett and others. In 19...

Alan Parsons Project

Tagged: Music

UK prog-rock band founded by Alan Parsons (1948-    ) and Eric Woolfson (1945-2009). Parsons worked as a record producer, and remains best-known today as the sound engineer of Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon (1974); there is, indeed, an inescapably sub-Floyd feel to most of the work released by his own band. Each of the ten Alan Parsons Project albums develops a single "concept", often science-fictional, through a number of songs. The group's first release Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976) turned four Edgar Allan Poe short stories (and two of his poems) into rock songs, with varying degrees of success. I Robot (1977) takes its title, but little else, from Isaac Asimov's collec...

Eno, Brian

Tagged: Music | People

(1948-    ) Influential UK musician, associated with the invention of minimalist "ambient" musical styles. Much of his work is instrumental, and identifying it as sf is an unsure business, although there is a spacious and material "otherworldliness" about the best of Eno's ambient compositions that are certainly evocative in the same way that some sf is evocative. Another Green World (1973) perhaps filters perceptions of the Earth through an imaginary other planet. Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks (1983) was written to accompany a documentary about the NASA moon landings, and the music expertly evokes the mood of slow, serene, weightless space travel (several of the pieces were co-compose...

Unobtainium

Tagged: Theme

The pseudo-Element or alloy unobtainium – sometime spelt unobtanium – is a traditional, half-serious joke of physics and engineering dating from the mid-twentieth century: it denotes an ideal material from which frictionless bearings, massless levers and other desirable but unfeasible experimental components might be made. It was first formally defined in the US Air Force Air University's Interim Glossary, Aero-Space Terms (1958) by Woodford Heflin, as "A substance having the exact high test properties required for a piece of hardware or other item of use, but not obtainable whether because it theoretically cannot exist or because technology is insufficiently advanced to produce it." Related...

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