• MT VOID, 04/01/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 40, Whole Number 2217

    From evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Sun Apr 3 07:34:46 2022
    Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
    04/01/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 40, Whole Number 2217

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    Mini Reviews, Part 12 (MANDIBLES, FIRST DATE, DRIVE MY CAR)
    (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper
    and Evelyn C. Leeper)
    Topical Films (letter of comment by Evelyn C. Leeper)
    DANGEROUS VISIONS edited by Harlan Ellison (book review
    by Joe Karpierz)
    This Week's Reading (collecting short stories)
    (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


    TOPIC: Mini Reviews, Part 12 (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper and
    Evelyn C. Leeper)

    Here is the twelfth batch of mini-reviews, with movies featuring
    cars in some fashion.

    MANDIBLES (MANDIBULES): In MANDIBLES, two minor criminals find a
    giant fly the size of a cocker spaniel in the trunk of a stolen car
    and decide to train it to help them steal things (a la Oliver
    Twist). The characters are as inept as those in a Coen Brothers
    film, and the plot is also as strange. It also looks like the
    filmmakers got many of their ideas from the 1958 version of THE
    FLY. The film is in French, but with well-done subtitles which
    are readable on all backgrounds.

    Released theatrically 07/23/21; available on various streaming
    services. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:

    FIRST DATE: The title is "FIRST DATE" and it is a first date that
    none of the characters will ever forget. It starts as a mildly
    vulgar comedy, but you cannot make a funny comedy with just people
    you detest, and the tone changes to really downbeat and violent as
    the film goes on. This is a film that has a Quentin Tarrantino
    vibe. It also has a retro Southern California font for opening
    credits, which makes it look like it will be lighter than it is.

    Released theatrically 07/02/21; available on various streaming
    services. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:

    DRIVE MY CAR (DORAIBU MAI KA): This is a very slow-moving film
    about a experimental theatrical director who has been recently
    widowed. He is currently doing a multilingual version of "Uncle
    Vanya", with cast members delivering lines in Chinese, Mandarin,
    English, and Korean Sign Language. There are lines from "Uncle
    Vanya" and other familiar plays worked into the plot. There are
    also tensions among the cast members when they are not acting, as
    well as between the director and the cast, and the director and his
    driver, all of which take a long time to be explained. The film is
    in Japanese, and the subtitles are often useless because they blend
    into the background.

    Released theatrically 11/24/21. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4), or

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:



    TOPIC: DANGEROUS VISIONS edited by Harlan Ellison (copyright 1967,
    Doubleday Science Fiction, Book Club Edition, 544pp) (book review
    by Joe Karpierz)

    Many of you who read my reviews may be asking yourself, "You mean
    he hasn't read DANGEROUS VISIONS before?". Surely he has, and this
    review is of a re-read of the book. I assure you that's not the
    case. DANGEROUS VISIONS is fifty-five years old and I have never
    read before now. This would also imply that I've not read AGAIN,
    DANGEROUS VISIONS, and that is also true. So why now, fifty-five
    years after its original publication (and granted, just a couple of
    years before I became interested in reading science fiction), would
    I pick up this well known and famous anthology? As readers may
    know, J. Michael Straczynski, he of BABYLON 5 fame (among other
    things) and the executor of Harlan Ellison's estate, has decided to
    put together and publish the one book that Harlan could not: THE
    LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS. I decided that since I respect and like
    Straczynski's work, and I knew he would put together a great
    anthology, I would read the first two Dangerous Visions books in
    advance of the release of the final book. A discussion about
    *that* book coming together is for another day and another writing.

    Most of you have probably read DANGEROUS VISIONS and are familiar
    with the idea for the book and the stories within it. To
    summarize, the field of science fiction was changing, and in the
    eyes of many--Ellison and Michael Moorcock just to name two--the
    change was needed. It was time to break away from the old type of
    stories, to tell new ones that would break long-standing taboos in
    the field. Indeed, this book helped usher in the New Wave of
    science fiction. It contained stories that were outside the
    mainstream of science fiction, with topics and subject matter that
    was avant garde at the time. Contributing authors were both new
    and established. Veterans Theodore Sturgeon, Poul Anderson, Damon
    Knight and Robert Silverberg (among others) are here, along with
    relative newcomers to short fiction, such as Samuel R. Delany (and
    we all know the stellar career he had).

    There are thirty-three stories here, and in addition to the authors
    I've already listed, I'll mention Philip Jose Farmer, Philip K.
    Dick, Larry Niven, Frederik Pohl, Larry Niven, Carol Emshwiller,
    and R. A. Lafferty. Some of the authors in the book I read for the
    first time when I read this book; others are familiar names.

    This anthology was a big deal at the time, and in many ways set the
    tone and direction for the field for the field going forward. I
    decided to do a little bit of digging in the Science Fiction Awards
    Database to see the honors that stories contained in DANGEROUS
    VISIONS accumulated. The thing that should be noted is that back
    in 1968, the year after the book was published, there were only two
    major fiction awards presented: the Hugo and the Nebula. For the
    Hugos, stories gathered two winners ("Riders of the Purple Wage" by
    Philip Jose Farmer for Best Novella--tied with Anne McCaffrey's
    "Weyr Search) and "Gonna Roll the Bones" by Fritz Leiber for Best
    Novelette) and five total nominations (the aforementioned winners
    plus "Faith of Our Fathers" by Philip K. Dick in the Novelette
    category; and "Aye, and Gomorrah..." by Samuel R. Delany and "The
    Jigsaw Man" by Larry Niven in the Short Story category. For the
    Nebulas, there were two winners (the Leiber and the Delany), and
    two other nominations (the Farmer, and "If All Men Were Brothers,
    Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?", by Theodore Sturgeon in the
    Novella category).

    My favorite? By far, "Gonna Roll the Bones", by Fritz Leiber. And
    I really could see that Delany was going to be a force, if he
    wasn't already, with "Aye, and Gomorrah...". Honestly, I couldn't
    get into "Riders of the Purple Wage". But six different stories
    being at least nominated out of a total of thirty-three? That's
    just under 20% of the stories (if I did my math right) in the
    anthology and is absolutely amazing. Honestly, there are any
    number of other stories here that could have been nominated for one
    of the two awards, but as I look at the stories that did make the
    nominations list, well, there's no shame in losing out. And, as
    I've said before, with any anthology there are going to be some
    stories that make you scratch your head.

    I do understand why this anthology was a game changer for the
    field, something new and different at the time it was published.
    I'm fairly certain that if this book was published today, it would
    not garner the attention that it did back then, simply because the
    stories it contained back then influenced the short fiction that is
    being written today. What was a dangerous vision back then is
    simply another vision today. In that respect, the book did what it
    was intended to do, and the field is better for it. [-jak]


    TOPIC: Topical Films (letter of comment by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    In response to my comments on topical films in the 03/25/22 issue
    of the MT VOID, I want to add THE CONTENDER (2000). [-ecl]


    TOPIC: This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    I wrote a couple of months ago about DISCURSO E HISTORIA EN LA OBRA
    NARRATIVA DE JORGE LUIS BORGES by Nicholas Emelio Alvarez. To go
    with this I am also reading FICCIONES and EL ALEPH--or should I say
    "El Aleph"s? Because there are at least five variant editions
    (counting both Spanish and English):
    - A 1949 Spanish edition with thirteen stories
    - A 1952 Spanish edition with seventeen stories
    - A 1971 Spanish edition with eighteen stories
    - A (sort of) English edition [year unknown] titled THE ALEPH AND
    OTHER STORIES 1922-1969 (translated by Andrew Hurley) with various
    stories, but only some from EL ALEPH, and some from FICCIONES and
    - A 1970 English edition titled THE ALEPH AND OTHER STORIES
    1933-1969, but translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni

    Another English-language collection, LABYRINTHS, contains pieces
    from a variety of Spanish collections, and has translations by
    Donald Yates and James Irby. The only two comprehensive works of
    Borges's fiction are the Spanish OBRAS COMPLETAS (three volumes,
    plus a fourth of collaborations with other authors, which includes
    non-fiction and poetry as well), and the English COLLECTED
    FICTIONS, with translations by Andrew Hurley.

    All this makes collecting all of Borges's fiction difficult for an
    Anglophone. In Spanish, when the publishers assembled non-fiction
    pieces they had previously missed in the first two volumes, at
    least they did not re-issue a new, totally chronological set, but
    just added a third volume.

    All this will seem familiar to collectors of Mark Twain. Way back
    in the day (1957, I think), Bantam issued "The Complete Short
    Stories of Mark Twain". It wasn't. About the same time "The
    Autobiography of Mark Twain" (both edited by Charles Neider) was
    published. That was also inaccurate--Twain's true autobiography
    was just recently published in three thick volumes.

    There have been sets of Twain's writings, sets of a couple of dozen
    books, but even those are probably incomplete. [-ecl]


    Mark Leeper

    I feel more like when I woke up today than I do now.

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