• MT VOID, 09/23/22 -- Vol. 41, No. 13, Whole Number 2242

    From evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Sun Sep 25 06:09:27 2022
    THE MT VOID
    09/23/22 -- Vol. 41, No. 13, Whole Number 2242

    Co-Editor: Mark Leeper, mleeper@optonline.net
    Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, eleeper@optonline.net
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    Topics:

    Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
    CYPHER (2002) (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
    This Week's Reading (diverse authors) (book comments
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    ===================================================================

    TOPIC: Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    On 26 September 1983, Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov probably
    averted nuclear war. Shortly after the Soviet military had shot
    down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, the Soviet nuclear early-warning
    system reported that a missile had been launched from the United
    States. As Wikipedia describes it, "Petrov judged the reports to
    be a false alarm, and his decision to disobey orders, against
    Soviet military protocol, is credited with having prevented an
    erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its
    NATO allies that could have resulted in a large-scale nuclear war."

    So on Monday, raise a glass to Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov.

    [See also Vasily Aleksandrovich Arkhipov and the Cuban Missile
    Crisis.]

    [-ecl]

    ===================================================================

    TOPIC: CYPHER (2002) (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    [In honor of CYPHER's 20th anniversary on October 1, here is a
    revision of Mark's 2002 review of that film.]

    Vincenzo Natali's follow-up to the 1996 CUBE is in nearly all ways
    a science fiction outing superior to his previous film. Brian
    King's screenplay make this a fast paced science fiction adventure
    very much of the style of Philip K. Dick. Jeremy Northam is a total
    nebbish who gets to lead a double (and then triple) life in the
    shady world of industrial espionage. He is hired to go to business presentations that are so dull they put the participants to sleep.
    Then he finds out what is *really* going on. Also starring is Lucy
    Liu in a role that might have been better without a martial artist.
    This is a surprisingly deft film with a pace that just keeps
    building as the film progresses.

    Many science fiction films of the last few years are based on the
    writings of Philip K. Dick. Somehow his paranoid view of the
    nature of reality, and how it can be completely different than it
    is perceived is an idea that appeals to filmgoers. CYPHER is not a
    film that is based on any Dick story, but Brian King's script
    captures Dick paranoid atmosphere perhaps better than any other
    film ever has. Morgan Sullivan (played by Jeremy Northam) is a
    nerdish sort dominated by his overbearing wife. But the job he is
    taking is anything but nerdish. DigiCorp and Sunways are among the
    two most powerful corporations in the world. They are vicious
    rivals. DigiCorp has hired him to spy on Sunways. His job is to
    not be very noticeable. He is to attend conferences under the
    false name Jack Thursby and during the conference to turn on a
    recorder disguised as a pen. Sullivan is fascinated by his new
    world of codes and skullduggery and allows himself to be pulled
    into the strange labyrinth of industrial espionage and the cold war
    of the two giant corporations. Almost immediately the boring
    conferences get more interesting when he starts seeing an Asian
    woman (Lucy Liu) who may also be playing the same game.

    Though films with a similar plot have been made, I found this one
    genuinely exciting, and to me it has the feel of a science fiction
    novel. While some of the ideas now familiar, standard paranoiac
    fantasies, I think the execution is great, creating genuine
    excitement. This is a lot for a seven-million-dollar production to
    do. The film has little homages to films like NORTH BY NORTHWEST,
    SECONDS, and THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.

    There are some interesting visual tricks. The film begins almost
    black and white as Sullivan is unsure of himself in the shadowy
    world of industrial espionage. As his character develops and
    becomes more sure of himself the colors fill in more and more
    vivid. Sullivan's very world has changed. Jeremy Northam
    traverses the path from nerdish to superman with impressive grace.
    Only Lucy Liu seems a little out of place in a role that really did
    not need her martial arts skills, but could have used an actress
    that fitted in better with the story. Director Vincenzo Natali
    (CUBE, NOTHING, and SPLICE) has a sure hand and could be a major
    talent.

    This film is actually much better than Natali's higher profile
    films CUBE and SPLICE. I rate it a +3 on the -4 to +4 scale or
    9/10.

    Film Credits: <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0284978/>

    What others are saying: <http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/cypher/>

    CYPHER plays occasionally on cable and it available from NetFlix.

    [-mrl]

    ===================================================================

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

    When I started reading science fiction in high school and college,
    I read the classic authors of the time: Asimov. Clarke, Heinlein,
    and later Hal Clement and Robert Silverberg, and (in a retro
    moment) Olaf Stapledon. Time passed, and my "go-to" authors became
    authors such Kim Stanley Robinson and Connie Willis. (Along the
    way Jorge Luis Borges became a permanent fixture.)

    Then I went through a phase of focusing on less well-known authors:
    Jeffrey E. Barlough and Christopher Priest for novels, and Bao Shu,
    Ted Chiang, Rhys Hughes, and Ken Liu for short fiction. (Okay, Ted
    Chiang is not exactly obscure, nor is Ken Liu.)

    And now? My "go-to" authors of today are Becky Chambers, Sylvia
    Garcia-Moreno, and Martha Wells.

    So my current reading that I would recommend (without long or even
    short reviews) includes Ted Chiang's "Op-Ed from the Future--It's
    2059 and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning" (<https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/opinion/ted-chiang-future- genetic-engineering.html>), Ken Liu's "Timekeeper's Symphony" (<https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/liu_09_22/>), Becky Chambers's
    RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW, and Sylvia Garcia-Moreno's THE DAUGHTER
    OF DOCTOR MOREAU. [-ecl]

    ===================================================================

    Mark Leeper
    mleeper@optonline.net


    Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit
    family in another city.
    --George Burns

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  • From Dorothy J Heydt@21:1/5 to eleeper@optonline.net on Sun Sep 25 20:02:46 2022
    In article <bc16f9de-2cf9-4091-b297-f006b2161711n@googlegroups.com>, eleeper@optonline.net <evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com> wrote:
    THE MT VOID
    09/23/22 -- Vol. 41, No. 13, Whole Number 2242
    And now? My "go-to" authors of today are Becky Chambers, Sylvia >Garcia-Moreno, and Martha Wells.

    (Hal Heydt)
    I've read Chambers and was--frankly--not impressed. In one of
    her books she badly broke any willing suspension of disbelief.

    She has a habitable satellite of a gas giant planet. No problem
    there. She has the rotation of the satellite phase-locked to the
    planet. Again, not a problem. She also has the satelite
    rotation phase-locked to the local sun. *Big* problem.

    The satellite is clearly reasonably close to the gas giant, but
    the only way to have the satellite rotation phase-locked to
    *both* planet and sun would be for it to be at either the L4 or
    L5 points. That is 60 degrees away from the gas giant in the
    orbit. That would be radically incosistent with other
    descriptions.

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  • From Gary McGath@21:1/5 to eleeper@optonline.net on Mon Sep 26 06:51:52 2022
    On 9/25/22 9:09 AM, eleeper@optonline.net wrote:

    TOPIC: Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    On 26 September 1983, Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov probably
    averted nuclear war. Shortly after the Soviet military had shot
    down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, the Soviet nuclear early-warning
    system reported that a missile had been launched from the United
    States. As Wikipedia describes it, "Petrov judged the reports to
    be a false alarm, and his decision to disobey orders, against
    Soviet military protocol, is credited with having prevented an
    erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its
    NATO allies that could have resulted in a large-scale nuclear war."

    So on Monday, raise a glass to Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov.

    http://www.mcgath.com/songs/StanislavPetrov.pdf


    --
    Gary McGath http://www.mcgath.com

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  • From Jay E. Morris@21:1/5 to eleeper@optonline.net on Mon Sep 26 19:26:12 2022
    On 9/25/2022 8:09 AM, eleeper@optonline.net wrote:
    CYPHER plays occasionally on cable and it available from NetFlix.

    This must be an un-revised part of the 2002 review. It's not currently
    on Netflix that I can find.

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  • From Paul Dormer@21:1/5 to Morris on Tue Sep 27 12:14:00 2022
    In article <tgtfv5$3rmgd$1@dont-email.me>, morrisj@epsilon3.comcon (Jay E. Morris) wrote:


    This must be an un-revised part of the 2002 review. It's not
    currently on Netflix that I can find.

    But it does appear to be on Amazon Prime, at least in the UK.

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  • From Jay E. Morris@21:1/5 to Paul Dormer on Tue Sep 27 15:41:09 2022
    On 9/27/2022 6:14 AM, Paul Dormer wrote:
    In article <tgtfv5$3rmgd$1@dont-email.me>, morrisj@epsilon3.comcon (Jay E. Morris) wrote:


    This must be an un-revised part of the 2002 review. It's not
    currently on Netflix that I can find.

    But it does appear to be on Amazon Prime, at least in the UK.

    There is one on Prime US but it is dated 2005, Everything is identical
    to the IMDB listing so I"m assuming Prime did a typo.

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  • From Tim Merrigan@21:1/5 to Dormer on Tue Sep 27 13:33:01 2022
    On Tue, 27 Sep 2022 12:14 +0100 (BST), prd@pauldormer.cix.co.uk (Paul
    Dormer) wrote:

    In article <tgtfv5$3rmgd$1@dont-email.me>, morrisj@epsilon3.comcon (Jay E. >Morris) wrote:


    This must be an un-revised part of the 2002 review. It's not
    currently on Netflix that I can find.

    But it does appear to be on Amazon Prime, at least in the UK.

    It available on Amazon Prime here (L.A.), too, for $2.99, rent.
    --

    Qualified immunity = virtual impunity.

    Tim Merrigan

    --
    This email has been checked for viruses by AVG antivirus software.
    www.avg.com

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  • From Paul Dormer@21:1/5 to Tim Merrigan on Wed Sep 28 11:22:00 2022
    In article <p3n6jh9asolu28do9pkm6kn6hjt5bhvjac@4ax.com>, tppm@ca.rr.com
    (Tim Merrigan) wrote:


    It available on Amazon Prime here (L.A.), too, for $2.99, rent.

    Only 99p to rent, here, and 4.99 to buy.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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  • From Paul Dormer@21:1/5 to Morris on Wed Sep 28 11:22:00 2022
    In article <tgvn54$4tc2$1@dont-email.me>, morrisj@epsilon3.comcon (Jay E. Morris) wrote:


    There is one on Prime US but it is dated 2005, Everything is
    identical to the IMDB listing so I"m assuming Prime did a typo.

    Yeah, that was my thought.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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