• MT VOID, 04/29/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 44, Whole Number 2221

    From evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Wed May 4 07:43:16 2022
    Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
    04/29/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 44, Whole Number 2221

    Co-Editor: Mark Leeper, mleeper@optonline.net
    Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, eleeper@optonline.net
    Sending Address: evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com
    All material is the opinion of the author and is copyrighted by the
    author unless otherwise noted.
    All comments sent or posted will be assumed authorized for
    inclusion unless otherwise noted.

    To subscribe or unsubscribe, send mail to eleeper@optonline.net
    The latest issue is at <http://www.leepers.us/mtvoid/latest.htm>.
    An index with links to the issues of the MT VOID since 1986 is at <http://leepers.us/mtvoid/back_issues.htm>.

    Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
    Lectures, etc. (NJ)
    My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in May (comments
    by Mark R. Leeper)
    Jackie Chan Vs Buster Keaton Vs Harold Lloyd (pointer
    by Greg Frederick)
    by Mark R. Leeper and Evelyn C. Leeper)
    Mini Reviews by Evelyn, Part 4 (TURN BACK THE CLOCK (1933),
    AS THE WORLD TURNS (1937/2019)) (film reviews
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)
    and LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (letter of comment
    by Heath Row)
    (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


    TOPIC: Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
    Lectures, etc. (NJ)

    Meetings are still fluctuating between in-person and Zoom. The
    best way to get the latest information is to be on the mailing
    lists for them.

    May 5, 2022 (MTPL), 5:30PM, in-person: S1M0NE (2002) [SIMONE] &
    novel "Remake" (1995) by Connie Willis <https://onlinereadfreenovel.com/connie-willis/41753-remake.html>
    (reprinted in Willis: "Terra Incognita" &
    "Futures Imperfect")
    May 26, 2022 (OBPL), 7:00PM, ZOOM: THE DREAMING JEWELS
    by Theodore Sturgeon


    TOPIC: My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in May (comments by Mark
    R. Leeper)

    It is hard to imagine a film with a less distinct title than is MY
    NAME IS JULIA ROSS. The name Julia Ross is one not likely to be
    remembered by anyone. This title was a good deal more familiar in
    its own time. The story appeared in magazine form, in a radio
    play, and in a motion picture. In this strange mystery everybody
    seems to insist the main character's name was something else; in
    the mansion where Ross finds herself she is told she is someone
    else with a name she does recognize. Her only connection to the
    name she remembers is her insistence that her name was really Julia
    Ross. This is a what-is-going-on sort of mystery. One can see
    ideas that would later also show up in NORTH BY NORTHWEST in this

    [MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945), May 22, 1:00AM]

    Evelyn notes:

    While the science fiction and fantasy films are thin on the ground
    in May, there is Turner's usual Memorial Day marathon of war films,
    running from the evening of Thursday, May 26, through Tuesday, May

    Alas, this precludes them doing a Christopher Lee centenary
    celebration on May 27, the 100th anniversary of Lee's birth. In
    fact, they have *no* Christopher Lee movies in May. Through the
    magic of home video, however, you can construct your own. Note:
    Lee's favorite movie was THE WICKER MAN (1973), so be sure to
    include that.



    TOPIC: Jackie Chan Vs Buster Keaton Vs Harold Lloyd (pointer by
    Greg Frederick)

    Greg Frederick writes:

    Cool action and stunt filled video... I often wondered why Jackie
    Chan's stunts seemed to be comical, well now I know why.




    R. Leeper and Evelyn C. Leeper)

    FIDDLER'S JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN, directed by Daniel Raim, and
    written by Daniel Raim and Michael Sragow, is more than a
    "making-of" documentary. The people involved with making the film
    talk not just about making the film, but their own backgrounds and
    emotions, and how they affected their work. The documentary covers
    backers' initial skepticism about the stage play, and the film, and
    then covers the making of the film from multiple points of view.

    NOTE: See the movie before the documentary; it will not work as
    well the other way around. (On the other hand, it is probably
    unlikely that there will be many people who haven't seen the
    original film who would watch this.)

    The film FIDDLER ON THE ROOF enhance the stage play with
    photographic views of the various lifestyles in Anatevka,
    beautifully brought to the screen by Norman Jewison. As one would
    expect, this documentary is illustrated by numerous clips that are
    familiar from the film,

    It is worth noting that Jewison, his name notwithstanding, is not
    Jewish. In fact, he tells the story of growing up in Toronto with
    the other children in his school thinking he was Jewish. The
    various ramifications of that led him to a life of supporting
    social justice, so it is not surprising that one of his other
    Academy Award nominations was for IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT.
    (Another was for MOONSTRUCK, a film with many similarities to

    Jewison had directed musical variety shows on television, a
    background that served him well while directing FIDDLER ON THE
    ROOF. He talks about the various people considered for Tevye
    (including some surprises). As it tells the story of each character
    being cast one feels like cheering for that casting. This is the
    story of Tevye the Milkman and his five daughters, but the only
    ones interviewed are the three oldest daughters, and the stories of
    their casting and experiences are interleaved, which does tend to
    make them less individualized.

    John Williams was the musical director of the film, a fact not
    known by many. He is better-known for such little films as STAR
    WARS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, etc., etc. (Williams is
    considered the most popular film composer of all time.)

    Other people involved in, or affecting, the production who are
    interviewed or discussed include production designer Robert Boyle,
    violinist Itzak Stern, Roman Vishniak, and Marc Chagall.

    The Anatevka village they produced for the film seems almost
    overdone in its atmosphere of the Russian Jewish life of the time
    in which the film is set (1905 and the few years following).

    In places this "making if" documentary is as touching as the film
    itself. It is mentioned that the filming location, Yugoslavia, is
    no more, just as Anatevka is no more. What isn't mentioned
    (because the film was made too soon) is that this "Russian" village
    of Anatevka is actually in what is now Ukraine, and references to
    the area around Anatevka, and Kyiv specifically, as being in
    Russia, are both outdated and topical, as are the scenes of the
    Anatevkans being attacked by Russian troops and being forced out of
    their homes as exiles.

    Released 04/29/21. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:



    TOPIC: Mini Reviews by Evelyn, Part 4 (film reviews by Evelyn
    C. Leeper)

    This month I'll review two films that ran on Turner Classic Movies,
    one a time travel fantasy, and one a story of a future war and a
    mad scientist.

    TURN BACK THE CLOCK (1933): This is a fantasy film that showed up
    on Turner Classic Movies in April during their Thursday movies
    about time. Most of these were familiar (e.g., THE TIME MACHINE),
    but this was unfamiliar. Also, the plot is familiar: Joe Gimlet
    (Lee Tracy) regrets the decisions he has made and wishes he could
    live his adult life over. And guess what? He is hit by a car,
    knocked unconscious, and wakes up back in 1914. The problem is
    that he is even more of an idiot than William Feathersmith (Albert
    Salmi) in the "Twilight Zone" episode "Of Late I Think of
    Cliffordville", or Paul Driscoll (Ana Andrews) in "No Time Like the
    Past". Not only does Gimlet keep telling people that he knows
    what's going to happen, but he cannot seem to remember that he is
    in his past, and also cannot remember things like the date of the
    Armistice (even though he was a soldier) or when the stock market
    crash happened. This may be because Tracey was primarily a comedy
    actor, and this film decided it needed to be a comedy. Most of the
    plot seems to be about how he chose the wrong woman to marry and
    keeps talking about that. I suppose it's amusing enough, but
    considering how much he presumably knows and tries to change, there
    is no real alternate history to speak of.

    Film Credits:

    AS THE EARTH TURNS (1937/2019): This one on Turner Classics Movies
    is a real curiosity: a silent film shot in 1937 but not released
    until 2019. Director Richard Lyford, who died in 1985, made
    several award-winning documentaries, but this very early attempt of
    his languished until clips appeared in a "trailer park" reel and
    people became interested. It's about a future war, and the best
    that can be said about it is that it is not totally inept. There
    are some weird "goofs" in the script. One scene takes place in
    Washington, D.C., at "the Equatorial Time Center of the United
    States", whatever that means. There is also a "tidal wave" in
    Great Salt Lake, which has no tides.

    The model work is painfully amateurish, and the staging overly
    dramatic, with acting very much at the overdone level common to
    silent films. The music (by Edward Hartman) was apparently added
    recently, but Hartman wrote in the style of silent films, keeping
    everything consistent. (This is unlike Giorgio Moroder for
    METROPOLIS or the Alloy Orchestra for various films.)

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying: <https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/as_the_earth_turns_2019>

    Both of these films may still be available on "Watch TCM" (or
    whatever it's called, or may show up in the future.



    TOPIC: THE EXTRACTIONIST by Kimberly Unger (Publication Date July
    12, 2022, Tachyon Publications, ISBN: 9781616963767) (book review
    by Joe Karpierz)

    When I reviewed NUCLEATION, the debut novel by Kimberly Unger, I
    said in part "The story has really just begun, and I'm interested
    in finding out what comes next, whether it's in the NUCLEATION
    universe or something else from Kimberly Unger. I believe she's a
    writer to watch." Unger's new novel, THE EXTRACTIONIST, has done
    nothing to change my mind about that assertion.

    Eliza McKay is an Extractionist. She didn't necessarily start out
    as an Extractionist. She messed around in a dangerous way with
    nanotechnology that put her in a bad way with the law. Her
    licenses for that kind of work were revoked, and now she is working
    to get back her licenses and respectability by taking contracts to
    go into the Swim (think cyberspace) where people upload into
    digital persona for various reasons and get them out when they're
    stuck in there. She's really good at it. She has a high-powered
    computer system wired into her brain, and the combination of that
    computer system and her programming and virtual reality skills make
    her a highly desired Extractionist.

    She takes a government job to go into the Swim and find the digital
    persona of Mike Miyamoto, an operative who is investigating a
    criminal case. The goal is to preserve the evidence that he has
    found there. The problem is that he has found something so
    disturbing that the persona doesn't want to come out of the Swim.
    With McKay's employers - yes, the government, but the explanation
    is not as straightforward as you might think, and that's not so
    surprising given the nature of the story - not being the only ones
    trying to retrieve Mike's persona, McKay must race against time and
    her opponents in an effort to get Mike's persona out of the Swim.
    When McKay is actively attacked by a malicious program in the Swim
    during one attempt to find Mike - a program dubbed the Beast - it
    becomes obvious that there is more going on here than she bargained

    McKay runs into what seems like non-stop attacks that are designed
    from preventing her from achieving her goal. In addition to
    attacks by the Beast in the Swim, there are hired thugs who break
    into her home in an effort to hack into her cybernetic implants,
    and she is injured in an accident when her self-driving vehicle
    goes on the fritz-- something that never happens in her world (but
    we're still worried about here in our day). What she discovers
    throughout the course of the novel is a massive, complex coverup
    involving a big corporation and the government.

    Unger has woven an action-packed tale that is a spy thriller with
    believable science, technology, and situations that keep the reader
    engaged. At one point in my life I wrote software for a living,
    but I can only dream of being able to write the code that McKay
    does in the novel or that Unger does in real life. In order to
    make this story work the Swim and the interactions with it must be
    believable, and while maybe some of the concepts are beyond our
    abilities right now, I never felt as if what McKay was doing was
    not achievable. Maybe not in the near future, sure, but somewhere
    along the line it could happen. Combine that with a fast paced and
    complex tale of corporate and governmental intrigue, Unger has
    given the world another winner.

    I said at the top that Unger is a writer to watch. With what I
    feel are two winning novels under her belt, she's not only a writer
    to watch but a writer that will be contributing great stories to
    the science fiction field for a very long time to come. [-jak]


    comment by Heath Row)

    In response to the 02/11/22, 02/18/22, and 03/04/22 issues of the
    MT VOID, Heath Row writes:

    I recently received MT Void #2210, 2211, and 2213 via the National
    Fantasy Fan Federation franking service. N3F president George
    Phillies often distributes copies of the fanzine, and it's a
    welcome occasional presence in my inbox. Thank you for publishing
    so consistently--weekly!--and for reviewing and recommending so
    many interesting books and movies.

    In #2210, Joe Karpierz's review of Catherynne M. Valente's COMFORT
    ME WITH APPLES was intriguing enough that I've added it to my
    reading list. $18 feels a bit dear for a 100-page hardcover, and
    the book costs $11 as an ebook, but perhaps the library has it
    available. The description reminded me a little bit of the novels
    of Paul Tremblay (THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD), Shari Lapena
    (THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR), and Liz Nugent (LYING IN WAIT). Grocery
    store book rack thrillers, basically, or any book with a title
    including "next door" or "across the street." Good stuff.

    Evelyn's comments on the recent book discussion group selection, H.
    G. Wells's THE TIME MACHINE made me yearn for a regular book group.
    I've dialed into a library SF discussion group across the
    country--and read its selected title twice--but I could use
    something more frequent with people I know otherwise through fandom
    or locally. Maybe that's something I can explore through LASFS or
    the N3F. I've been enjoying the short fiction of Wells recently
    and highly recommend "The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes," "The
    Crystal Egg," "The New Accelerator," "The Star," "The Magic Shop,"
    "A Vision of Judgment," and "The Queer Story of Brownlow's
    Newspaper," as well as the 2001 television miniseries THE INFINITE
    WORLDS OF H. G. WELLS, of which I've only watched one episode.
    I'll watch another.

    Your comments on SEVERANCE in #2211 were my first indication that
    the show is science fiction! I thought it was just another sad
    workplace drama or satire. Didn't even know it was set in Bell
    Labs Holmdel, which is an attraction in and of itself. I'll have
    to reassess and consider watching. I'm surprised Cathode Ray
    hasn't mentioned the show in his N3F TV column on SF, fantasy, and
    horror programs, "Rabid Ears."

    I applaud Mark's enjoyment of NIGHTMARE ALLEY. After watching the
    recent movie, I read the novel--which is a doozy. If you haven't
    read it, it's even sharper and more bleak than the film. William
    Lindsay Gresham sure could write. We also watched the original
    movie, which is more solidly noir than the new film, but the ending
    was a bit of a disappointment. Not at all what we expected, and
    while almost as bleak a turnabout at the end--returning to the
    beginning in a different way--it's not at all true to the book.
    Still, all versions are highly recommended, especially the novel.

    Even though Isaac Asimov's END OF ETERNITY might not have held up
    well over the years, I haven't read it yet, so I'm curious about
    the time patrol and "basic state." Having just read Robert A.
    Heinlein's THE DOOR INTO SUMMER and watched a recent film
    adaptation, time travel has its appeal in recent days. But I can
    understand books not aging well. For example, I never really read
    Tom Swift books when I was younger, but I recently turned to the
    first installment, TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR-CYCLE to see what all
    the fuss was about. I'm sure later editions smoothed out the
    racist portrayals, but holy crow, the first edition was
    enlightening in its inappropriate representations. There's a new
    "Tom Swift Inventors' Academy" series that I'm sure is much more
    vanilla and inoffensive.

    And from #2213, we also enjoyed LAST NIGHT IN SOHO. I am
    resonating strongly with your taste, which is a good indicator that
    future reviews and recommendations will bode well.

    See you next week! [-hr]


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

    REVOLUTION by Mike Duncan (Public Affairs Books, ISBN
    978-1-5417-3033-5) is somehow vaguely dissatisfying to me, and I
    think it is because it is neither fish nor fowl.

    When I worked at Bell Labs, my department head insisted that the
    tex of formal memoranda, reports, etc., should not use
    contractions, an he also objected to words such as "amongst". (And
    did not understand the correct use of "comprise", but that's a
    whole other story.) Duncan is writing a "serious" book, but every
    once in a while throws in informal usage such as "screwed up" or
    "face plant", and also throws in the occasional sentence fragment.
    These would be fine in a podcast, but I find them stumbling blocks
    in reading this book. I understand that Duncan is normally writing
    for his podcasts, where they would be fine, but I have to wonder
    where Public Affairs Books' editor was.

    That aside, the book is certainly well-researched and thorough
    (Duncan moved to Paris for three years to be able to access all the
    sources there). There is a bit more foreshadowing than I would
    have chosen (e.g., "he hoped something something, but it was not to
    be" sort of thing), but that may be just my taste. (For that
    matter, perhaps my other objections are as well.) I'm not sure I
    got much more out of this than I did from the "Revolutions"
    podcasts, but for those not listening to them, it certainly covers
    the territory.

    Another book connected to Mike Duncan's podcasts and books is
    (Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-199-73976-9) by Richard
    Alston. This could serve as a follow-on to Duncan's THE STORM
    (Public Affairs Books, ISBN isbn). However, while Alston's book
    may be one of the best covering the period of the first century
    B.C.E. through the early first century C.E., there are a lot of
    books covering this period. (There are also a lot of movies and
    television shows, but don't trust any of those for accuracy. Only
    HBO's ROME comes close on the historical figures, but the two main
    characters are totally fictional.) Duncan's book is the only one I
    know of that covers how the Republic got to a state leading to the
    end of the Republic.

    One paragraph definitely struck me as topical:

    Earlier in the trip, [Auguste] Levasseur met some hard-core
    Jacksonian partisans in the Pennsylvania militia who threatened to
    take up arms if their man lost. After Adams won, he ran into them
    again. "Well," Levasseur said, "the great question is decided, and
    in a manner contrary to your hopes, what do you intend to do? How
    soon do you lay siege to the capital?" They laughed. "You
    recollect our threats," one said, "we went in truth to great
    lengths, but our opponents disregarded it and acted properly. Now
    that it is settled all we have to do is obey. We will support
    Adams as zealously as if he were our candidate, but at the same
    time shall keep a close watch on his administration and according
    as it is good or bad we will defend or attack it. Four years is
    soon past, and the consequences of a bad election are easily

    How times have changed! :-( [-ecl]


    Mark Leeper

    The major advances in civilization are processes that
    all but wreck the societies in which they occur.
    --A. N. Whitehead

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)