• MT VOID, 12/30/22 -- Vol. 41, No. 27, Whole Number 2256

    From evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Sun Jan 1 07:25:37 2023
    12/30/22 -- Vol. 41, No. 27, Whole Number 2256

    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>.

    Problems Sending Last Week's MT VOID (comments
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)
    Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
    Lectures, etc. (NJ)
    Mark's Picks for Turner Classic Movies in January
    (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
    "Radium Age" Science Fiction (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
    CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY (letter of comment by Gary McGath)
    This Week's Reading (THE BOOK OF NOTHING) (book comments
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)


    TOPIC: Problems Sending Last Week's MT VOID (comments by Evelyn
    C. Leeper)

    Last week, Yahoo decided to reject all the addresses on yahoo.com,
    as well as those on aol.com, verizon.net, ameritech.net, att.net,
    cs.com, outlook.com, and sfsnnj.com (which I'm guessing go through
    yahoo.com as a gateway).

    Strangely, we didn't get bounces on mail we sent out about the
    problem. I suspect that means that something *in* the MT VOID is
    the problem, but I don't know what. We eventually sent PDF version
    to those subscribers affected, and those were not rejected.

    You can always pick the MT VOID up up as HTML from my web page <http://leepers.us/mtvoid/latest.htm> or <http://leepers.us/mtvoid/VOIDmmdd.htm>, where "mmdd" is the month
    and date. (If we see massive failures, we will try to get that up

    Anyone who wants to switch to PDF, please let us know. [-ecl]


    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.

    January 5, 2023 (MTPL), 5:30PM: "To Serve Man" by Damon Knight and
    "Twilight Zone" episode thereof
    Jan 5 TO SERVE MAN (1962): by Damon Knight
    Feb 2 ALPHAVILLE (1965) & "You'd Be Surprised"(a.k.a. "Don't Be
    Surprised") by Peter Cheyney (not SF)


    TOPIC: Mark's Picks for Turner Classic Movies in January (comments
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    If you want a nice, amiable, and really enjoyable comedy try
    DESIGNING WOMAN (1957). This was a film that one of the major
    studios launched to be played on national TV. But then the film
    was seemingly forgotten, Which is why it had to be introduced to
    me twice.

    At the time it was made there had been several popular comedies
    with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. This film was probably
    written with them in mind, but the script was shot with Gregory
    Peck, and it suffered none at all by the substitution. Grace Kelly
    was originally cast as the female lead, but she had given up her
    acting career to marry the Prince of Monaco. She probably would
    have been a little too demure in the role anyway. Peck plays a
    newspaper sportswriter doing an expose on organized crime
    infiltrating the fight racket. Off in Florida to cover a golf
    tournament, he meets a fashion designer who is as different from
    him as seems possible. Yet opposites attract. Bacall becomes
    suspicious and obsessed with a woman out of Peck's past, but what
    she really should be concerned about are the gangsters ready to
    kill her husband. Adding to the confusion is Maxie Stultz, a
    punch-drunk prizefighter given to Peck as a bodyguard. Vincent
    Minelli directed the script by George Wells, who won an Academy
    Award for Best Screenplay. (It has lines like "Maxie Stultz sleeps
    with his eyes open"--well, you have to see it in the film to
    appreciate it.) If you see it, give my regards to Maxie Stultz.

    [DESIGNING WOMAN, Sunday, January 15, 2:30PM]



    TOPIC: "Radium Age" Science Fiction (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    "Our modern world can sometimes appear like a story out of science fiction—and yet the triumphs and failures we experience in current
    days were, surprisingly, oftentimes foretold by thinkers of the
    past. The MIT Press’s new Radium Age series, under the guidance of
    editor Joshua Glenn, seeks to resurface these prescient stories by
    reissuing notable proto-science fiction from the underappreciated
    era between 1900 and 1935."


    Michael Dirda, book reviewer for the Washington Post, and unabashed
    science fiction fan, has reviewed four of these at:







    TOPIC: CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY (letter of comment by Gary McGath)

    In response to Mark and Evelyn's review of CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY
    in the 12/23/22 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath writes:

    [re comments on the use of modern language in the film]

    All I've seen of CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY is the trailer, so I can't
    comment knowledgeably on it, but I think modernized grammar is
    entirely acceptable and often preferable in portraying the Middle
    Ages. Getting it right is hard and is apt to confuse people. If
    the setting is before 1066, the Anglo-Saxon people spoke then is
    effectively a foreign language. "Translating" the dialogue into
    modern English avoids a lot of problems.

    Avoiding modern word imagery is more important when trying to
    immerse the reader or viewer. A character in the trailer talks
    about a pox "going around." This feels like a modern way of
    thinking about a disease. Immersion seems to be the last thing the
    creators had in mind, so the anachronism may have been intentional.
    A serious treatment might talk about a pox "descending on" or
    "sweeping through" the area. [-gmg]

    Evelyn notes:

    The film takes place in 1290, so the language would be Middle
    English. [-ecl]


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

    My first complaint about THE BOOK OF NOTHING: VACUUMS, VOIDS, AND
    D. Barrow (Pantheon, ISBN 978-0-375-42099-3) is that *someone*
    decided to use a font that used "I" (the capital letter "I") to
    represent the digit "1" ("one"). Maybe they have secret crush on
    Roman numerals, but back in the day, when there were typewriters
    without a "1" digit in the top row, everyone used "l" (a lower-case
    "L") instead. (And we used "single-quote--backspace--period" for
    an exclamation point.)

    And well before the current grammatical dispute about pronouns,
    Barrow manages to make a complete hash of *all* the rules. In
    discussing LifeSaver candy, Barrow writes, "Nobody seems to notice
    that they are buying a toroidal confection that contains a good
    chunk of empty space, but then he wouldn't." Traditionally,
    "nobody" is considered singular, so the "they" is theoretically
    incorrect. Later, Barrow switches to "he", changing from a
    genderless "plural" to a gendered singular pronoun. Clearly,
    Barrow wants to have his cake and eat it too. (And the rule about
    "nobody" being singular is part of a rule that says "no one",
    "everybody", and "everyone" being singular. But no one would say,
    "Everybody was at the party and he had a good time.")

    I realize that neither of these address the substance of the book.
    Barrow begins with the concept of zero--or rather, the two concepts
    of zero. Zero served both as a place-holder in positional
    numerical notation, and as the result of such arithmetical
    operations as "3 minus 3". Barrow progresses to how zero implies
    infinity, and then moves on to the idea of nothing as a vacuum in
    space (not outer space, necessarily, but any section of space
    containing nothing).

    At times philosophical, at times mathematical, at times scientific,
    it eventually got too abstruse for me to follow, but I would still
    recommend it. [-ecl]


    Mark Leeper

    Would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads
    your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of
    broken-down patois which is something like the way a
    Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive,
    God damn it, I split it so it will stay split.
    --Raymond Chandler
    (to Edward Weeks)

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