• MT VOID, 02/11/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 33, Whole Number 2210

    From evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Sun Feb 13 06:24:38 2022
    THE MT VOID
    Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
    02/11/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 33, Whole Number 2210

    Co-Editor: Mark Leeper, mleeper@optonline.net
    Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, eleeper@optonline.net
    Sending Address: evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com
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    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>.

    Topics:
    Locus Magazine 2021 Recommended Reading List
    Mini Reviews, Part 9 (AILEY, MLK/FBI, ROADRUNNER)
    (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper
    and Evelyn C. Leeper)
    COMFORT ME WITH APPLES by Catherynne M. Valente
    (book review by Joe Karpierz)
    PASSING (film review by Mark R. Leeper
    and Evelyn C. Leeper)
    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (film comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
    Star Trek Economics (letter of comment by R. Looney,
    Kip Williams, and Jim Susky
    Movies, Books, Bible Translations, and the MT VOID
    (letter of comment by Guy Lillian III)
    This Week's Reading (THE TIME MACHINE) (book comments
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)

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

    TOPIC: Locus Magazine 2021 Recommended Reading List

    The list is at <https://locusmag.com/2022/02/2021-recommended-reading-list/?s=02>.

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

    TOPIC: Mini Reviews, Part 9 (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper and
    Evelyn C. Leeper)

    Here is the ninth batch of mini-reviews, more biographies.

    AILEY: AILEY is, not surprisingly, a documentary about Alvin Ailey,
    but also a documentary about creating a dance that celebrated his
    life. The biography part begins with his birth in Texas during the
    Depression. There are a lot of period photographs and footage,
    with turn out to be somewhat misleading. We see film of a woman
    with two children carrying another when Ailey talks in a voice-over
    interview about being "glued to his mother's hip." But late we
    find out that Ailey was an only child, so the film is just stock
    footage; this puts all the older footage in question. The Alvin
    Ailey American Dance Theater began with no money and one bus for
    everyone. Eating on the road was a problem--this was before there
    was fast food--and the multi-racial troupe had problems finding
    hotels where they could all stay. (This is, of course, similar to
    the situation in THE GREEN BOOK.) Ailey's dances were modern
    dance, but also very political (e.g., "Masekela Language", about
    both South African apartheid and Fred Hampton, and his most famous
    piece, "Revelations", about Black liberation). My problem is that
    I find it difficult to relate to dance, but clearly this is worth
    seeing for those who have an easier time of it.

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

    Film Credits:
    <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13622084/reference>

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

    MLK/FBI: In the 1950s and 1960s was a (usually) quiet war between
    Martin Luther King, Jr. and J. Edgar Hoover. Some of the most
    interesting pieces in MLK/FBI are taken from the mass media of the
    time. For example, King is seen being interviewed by people like
    Merv Griffin. At the same time, Hoover appeared in propaganda
    pieces with names like "Espionage Target--You!" to stir up
    paranoia. This seems to cover mostly familiar material, at least
    for older viewers. It does have some newly declassified material,
    but the focus is more on the legality and morality of what the FBI
    and other agencies were doing rather than the bare facts.

    Released theatrically 01/15/21; available on various streaming
    services. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10.

    Film Credits:
    <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12801356/reference>

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

    ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN: This seems to be the
    year for documentaries about celebrity chefs, although Bourdain is
    also known as a world traveler and author. It is interesting that
    this film should be released at the same time as WOLFGANG.
    However, Bourdain has a natural feeling for the obnoxious and while
    we can compare the two, Bourdain's manner defeats his style.

    Bourdain became famous with his memoir, KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. Then
    someone suggested "A Cook's Tour", but as a television show rather
    than just a book. Bourdain's ideas of travel up to this point was
    from books and movies, not actual travel. When he started
    traveling, he was very introverted and had difficulty engaging with
    other people. He seems to have undergone a change when he found
    himself in Lebanon during the civil war there. His show also
    changed, and became more about eating weird food.

    Bourdain was apparently always difficult to work with. Towards the
    end of his career (and life) he brought in Asia Argento as director
    in Hong Kong and also started a personal relationship with her.
    After this, his attitude changed and he started doing things like
    insisting on retakes of (often) heart-breaking documentary scenes
    with directions as to how the people should deliver their
    (supposedly unscripted) lines. He also fired his long-time
    cameraman in a dispute between the cameraman and Argento.

    Some people are taking his philosophical pronouncements as profound
    but he barely seems able to apply them to himself, and they often
    do not seem to say anything of any value in any case. For example,
    he sees some profundity in how he confronted his heroin addiction.
    Hey, Anthony, you might have been better off not taking the heroin
    in the first place. His capacity for self-indulgence was immense.
    Criticism that has been made is that the Bourdain voice-overs are
    not always Bourdain, but rather AI-generated voice-overs (of
    Bourdain's actual words) using real Bourdain clips as input. A
    more serious criticism might be that the dramatic conclusion
    (involving a friend defacing a Bourdain mural) was completely
    staged. The friend had jokingly suggested that Bourdain would not
    approve of all the murals with his picture, and the filmmakers
    asked him (six months later) if he would agree to deface a mural
    specially commissioned by them for that purpose. That this might
    suggest to people that defacing other people's public artwork is a
    good idea apparently never occurred to any of them.

    Released theatrically 07/16/21; available on various streaming
    services. Rating: 0 (-4 to +4), or 4/10.

    Film Credits:
    <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14512538/reference>

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

    [-mrl/ecl]

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

    TOPIC: COMFORT ME WITH APPLES by Catherynne M. Valente (copyright
    2021, tordotcom, $17.99, hardcover, 103pp, ISBN 978-1-250-81621-4)
    (book review by Joe Karpierz)

    "Comfort Me With Applies", the latest novella from Catherynne
    M. Valente, is a slow burn, a book that creeped me out at times, and
    by the end had me thinking "well, THAT was an interesting twist
    that I didn't see coming'.

    The story takes place entirely in a housing development called
    Arcadia Gardens, and follows the story of Sophia who just recently
    moved in with her husband. She thinks Arcadia Gardens is perfect,
    she thinks her house is perfect, she thinks her husband is perfect,
    and she thinks her marriage is perfect. Arcadia Gardens is a
    typical development, with a set of Home Owners Association rules
    that are slowly revealed throughout the book in short, separate
    chapters. The HOA rules are part of the slow burn mentioned
    previously. The more of the rules we learn, the less we want to
    live there. But that's all okay as far as Sophia is concerned
    because her husband, no matter how much he is gone on business,
    always comes back to her and is always faithful to her. In fact,
    Sophia believes she was made for him.

    Still, there are strange things going on in Arcadia Gardens and in
    her house. The house is too big for her, and not in the way we
    typically mean. Everything is just too tall. It's as if it were
    made for giants. Then Sophia starts finding things in her bedroom
    and kitchen that are sinister. This, combined with a visit with
    her neighbors as well as a gala night planned especially for her,
    makes her realize that things just aren't as perfect as they seem.
    And it all comes to a head when she meets a mysterious stranger in
    a location in the Gardens she doesn't recognize, a stranger who
    tells her the truth of what's going on.

    "Comfort Me With Apples" is a good, fast read. Not that I read it
    in one sitting; I never read anything in one sitting. But most
    people should be able to devour it quickly. I found it interesting
    and engaging and found myself really wanting to know what was going
    on. It's not often that I can't see where a book is going, but
    this is one of them. The story could be one that polarizes
    readers, and maybe that's the best kind. There's nothing like
    (well okay there probably is, but let's just go with it, okay)
    sitting up late at night with a friend and a favorite beverage
    discussing a book that the two of you have a different viewpoint
    on. I enjoyed this book, and I hope you do too. [-jak]

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

    TOPIC: PASSING (film review by Mark R. Leeper and Evelyn C. Leeper)

    In PASSING, two old friends meet; both are African-American, but
    Irene (Reenie, played by Tessa Thompson) is married to an African-
    American man and living in Harlem as an African-American. Clare
    (played by Ruth Negga) is married to a white man and "passing" as
    white--even her husband John, a vocal racist, does not know the
    truth. When John meets Reenie in the company of his wife, he
    obviously thinks Reenie is white. (This in spite of Reenie's skin
    color and facial structure, which would seem to have given him some
    pause. To the audience of the film, Reenie looks like an African-
    American passing as white.)

    The film has crisp black and white photography like something out
    of classic "Life" magazines. Is this a bit of a pun, an attempt to
    evoke 1929, a way to make it easier to use lighting and/or make-up
    to emphasize or conceal race, or a bit of all of them? The
    director also uses camera angles, such as when Irene and Clare are
    climbing some stairs the director has them look down in the center
    of a spiral moving inwards, paralleling both their confinements
    imposed on them by a racist society.

    This is, I believe, the first film about "passing" that is not
    written and directed entirely by white Americans. It is based on a
    work by an African-American writer (the book by Nella Larsen), and
    the writer/director Rebecca Hall has English, Dutch, and African-
    American origin. The three best-known films on this topic before
    this were IMITATION OF LIFE (1934 and 1959) and PINKY (1949).

    Released on Netflix 11/10/21. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4), or 7/10.

    Film Credits:
    <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8893974/reference>

    What others are saying:
    <https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/passing_2021>

    [-mrl/ecl]

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

    TOPIC: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (film comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    Watching LAWRENCE OF ARABIA again, a couple of things struck me.

    In the film's narrative, Lawrence survives all sorts of dangers in
    Arabia, then is killed (in a motorcycle accident) when he returns
    to England. In England, Lawrence drives through a construction
    zone with all sorts of warning signs posted and has no problems,
    but then is killed further down the road in a perfectly safe area.
    Was the latter true, or just made up to make a parallel to the
    bigger story?

    Also, Lawrence claims that probably no one in the Arab Bureau knows
    that the Arabs have attacked Medina (because it is reported only in
    the Arabic newspapers), but in the next scene we see Dryden holding
    an Arabic newspaper and talking General Murray about it. Clearly
    Lawrence has a somewhat incorrect opinion of the Arab Bureau.
    [-ecl]

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

    TOPIC: Star Trek Economics (letter of comment by R. Looney,
    Kip Williams, and Jim Susky)

    In response to various comments on Star Trek economics in the
    01/28/22 and 02/04/22 issues of the MT VOID, R. Looney writes:

    Enjoyed your post-scarcity Trekonomics discussion, and shared it
    with my brother, who's a more intense fan than I. Talk of
    replicators reminds me of Damon Knight's A FOR ANYTHING and its
    Gismo. Had to point out that my brother corrected your second
    mention of Noonian ("Of course, we didn't spend the 1990s fighting
    Kahn Noonian Soong")--that's actually a different Noonian, Kahn
    Noonian Singh (aka Ricardo Montalban), not Data's creator. But I'm
    guessing your inbox is now overflowing with messages about this,
    from pedantic Trekkers.

    More interesting to me is comparing biblical translations,
    specifically in Ecclesiastes. I was raised a Methodist and issued
    a Revised Standard Bible. Its second verse of this book matches
    the King James: "Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of
    vanities; all is vanity." I find the New International Version
    strange, the one-word change altering the meaning significantly:
    "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly
    meaningless! Everything is meaningless" which is more of a Buddhist
    notion IMO, and doesn't address the human urge for adornment and
    narcissistic mirror-gazing the way the former does, and I'm
    surprised I see no other reactions and objections like mine, to the
    NIV (or at least its Ecclesiastes). [-rl]

    Kip Williams writes:

    The Star Trek universe lost lots of cred for me with the Quatloos
    bit. The Triskelion gamesters are wagering, and it goes something
    like this:

    A: I will wager twenty quatloos on the champion!
    B: I will wager a million billion quatloos on the challenger!
    A: Jeez, Larry! Get a grip! You always do this. Nobody's going to
    take us seriously!

    The net effect, for me, was of someone winging it with no thought
    of making sense, and it pulled me right out of the story back in
    the day. [-kw]

    Jim Susky writes:

    Having seen 98% of the 1996-68 series, about half of "Next
    Generation" and at most 1/3 of "Enterprise", my sample is limited
    and I may not be part of his audience, but I can't help but think
    that the likes of Manu Saadia (as recounted by the redoubtable Dale
    Skran) give too much credit to the world (various worlds) of Star
    Trek.

    Given the multiplicity of writers, producers, and showrunners, one
    should hardly expect coherency. When you add the pervasive demands
    of network television along with "Standards and Practices" nannies,
    it's no suprise that little in Trek addresses the concerns of
    grownups and their vices.

    I invite the better informed to "correct the record" which follows:

    Did anything in Trek come even close to the ultimate addiction
    (excepting the possession and excerise of unchecked power)? That
    is, direct stimulation of cranial pleasure centers (as the Tasp in
    Ringworld Engineers.) The portrayal of Louis Wu as a "wirehead"
    suggests that this stomps holodeck addiction as a means of
    disconnection.

    What about drug use via "derms" (see Gibson's Spawl
    novels)--already in current use?

    What about *any* drug use--(excepting, of course, various
    "liquors")?

    As for economics, I credit Skran for correctly characterizing the
    Ferengi as (at best) unsavory and not as "capitalists".

    I thank him for "taking one for the team" and suspect that he (or
    an actual economist) would better succeed with richly
    characterizing current economic worlds and future Trek Worlds.
    [-js]

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

    TOPIC: Movies, Books, Bible Translations, and the MT VOID (letter
    of comment by Guy Lillian III)

    In response to the MT VOID in general and various specific comments
    in the 01/28/22 issue of the MT VOID, Guy Lillian writes in ZINE
    DUMP #54:

    Only the latest e-zine from Evelyn and Mark; there's more out by
    now. Over the weeks the Leepers and their contributors review and
    review and review. Along with such regular contributors as Gary
    McGath riding their lettercols, they provide witty and perceptive
    opinions, up-to-date, popular and obscure: movies (the Japanese
    DOOR INTO SUMMER, animated CRYPTOZOO, Arthurian films, 1938's
    Yiddish gem THE DYBBUK), books (THE ECONOMICS OF STAR
    TREK--huh?--PROJECT HAIL MARY, LEVIATHAN FALLS), both (that great
    science fiction classic, BILLY BUDD--portrayed by William Shatner
    in an early TV version). They even hit on the differing
    translations of the Bible (the KJV or the Revised Standard; I
    shrink from the so-called New English). [-gl]

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

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

    Our science fiction discussion group chose THE TIME MACHINE by H.
    G. Wells (available in more editions than you could shake a stick
    at). This is obviously not the first time I have read this, but I
    can still notice new things in it.

    The Time Traveler (from hence forth to be known as TTT) says he was
    in the future for eight days, then later talks about a fruit being
    "in season all the time [he] was there." Unlike the Mariphasa
    Lupina Lumina, most fruits stay in season more than eight days.

    The future is not totally idyllic: TTT says when he arrived, "A
    pitiless hail was hissing round me..."

    One runs across the question, "What if in this interval the race
    had lost its manliness and had developed into something inhuman,
    unsympathetic, and overwhelmingly powerful?" These characteristics
    re-appear in the Martians in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.

    Wells has TTT initially see the world of the future as the triumph
    of communism. (Reminder: THE TIME MACHINE was written in 1895, a
    full decade before even the 1905 Russian Revolution, and over two
    decades before the 1917 Revolution.) And one result is the
    blurring of boundaries: "... or the strength of a man and the
    softness of a woman, the institution of the family, and the
    differentiation of occupations are mere militant necessities of an
    age of physical force..." Also, "strength is the outcome of need;
    security sets a premium on feebleness." The TTT points out the
    benefits of selective breeding in plants and animals, and assumes
    that selective breeding has been used on humans--which of course is
    true, though not in the way TTT thinks, and not with the "happy"
    results he at first perceives.

    Eventually he discovers the truth and also concludes that the Eloi
    are not even human any more. Speaking of Weena, he says, "She
    always seemed to me, I fancy, more human than she was, perhaps
    because he affection was so human." This is how some people talk
    about their dogs. And of the Morlocks he says, "... it was
    impossible, somehow, to feel any humanity in the things."

    Our group spent a lot of time discussing why Wells included the
    sequence with the crabs and whether they liked it. One person
    mentioned that another discussion group he was in read THE TIME
    MACHINE in conjunction with "Homefaring" by Robert Silverberg an
    "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot. [-ecl]

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

    Mark Leeper
    mleeper@optonline.net


    Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have
    to do it himself.
    --A. H. Weiler

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  • From Gary McGath@21:1/5 to eleeper@optonline.net on Sun Feb 13 18:24:27 2022
    On 2/13/22 9:24 AM, eleeper@optonline.net wrote:
    As for economics, I credit Skran for correctly characterizing the
    Ferengi as (at best) unsavory and not as "capitalists".

    The Ferengi are a running joke. Any trading culture knows that
    reputation is highly important. They might grossly cheat people, but
    they work hard to keep the appearance of honesty. The Ferengi don't even
    try. They literally have a book on how to cheat people.

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

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  • From Gary McGath@21:1/5 to Scott Dorsey on Sun Feb 13 19:51:30 2022
    On 2/13/22 7:37 PM, Scott Dorsey wrote:
    Gary McGath <garym@REMOVEmcgathREMOVE.com> wrote:
    The Ferengi are a running joke. Any trading culture knows that
    reputation is highly important. They might grossly cheat people, but
    they work hard to keep the appearance of honesty. The Ferengi don't even
    try. They literally have a book on how to cheat people.

    You've never bought a car from a dealer, have you?
    --scott

    They try hard to appear honest.

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

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  • From Scott Dorsey@21:1/5 to garym@REMOVEmcgathREMOVE.com on Mon Feb 14 00:37:25 2022
    Gary McGath <garym@REMOVEmcgathREMOVE.com> wrote:
    The Ferengi are a running joke. Any trading culture knows that
    reputation is highly important. They might grossly cheat people, but
    they work hard to keep the appearance of honesty. The Ferengi don't even
    try. They literally have a book on how to cheat people.

    You've never bought a car from a dealer, have you?
    --scott
    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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  • From Jeff Urs@21:1/5 to eleeper@optonline.net on Mon Feb 14 03:28:49 2022
    eleeper@optonline.net <evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com> wrote:
    Our group spent a lot of time discussing why Wells included the
    sequence with the crabs and whether they liked it.

    Clearly, Wells was aware that everything eventually evolves into crabs.

    --
    Jeff

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  • From Scott Dorsey@21:1/5 to jeff.urs@gmail.com on Mon Feb 14 14:02:52 2022
    In article <suci9h$lce$1@dont-email.me>, Jeff Urs <jeff.urs@gmail.com> wrote: >eleeper@optonline.net <evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com> wrote:
    Our group spent a lot of time discussing why Wells included the
    sequence with the crabs and whether they liked it.

    Clearly, Wells was aware that everything eventually evolves into crabs.

    CLAMS -> PEOPLE -> CRABS
    --scott

    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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  • From Kevrob@21:1/5 to Scott Dorsey on Mon Feb 14 16:52:58 2022
    On Monday, February 14, 2022 at 9:02:52 AM UTC-5, Scott Dorsey wrote:
    In article <suci9h$lce$1...@dont-email.me>, Jeff Urs <jeff...@gmail.com> wrote:
    ele...@optonline.net <evelynchim...@gmail.com> wrote:
    Our group spent a lot of time discussing why Wells included the
    sequence with the crabs and whether they liked it.

    Clearly, Wells was aware that everything eventually evolves into crabs. CLAMS -> PEOPLE -> CRABS
    --scott

    Some crabs have been around a long time. I encountered this one a lot
    as a kid.

    https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Horseshoe-Crab

    --
    Kevin R

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  • From Scott Dorsey@21:1/5 to kevrob@my-deja.com on Tue Feb 15 01:04:24 2022
    Kevrob <kevrob@my-deja.com> wrote:
    On Monday, February 14, 2022 at 9:02:52 AM UTC-5, Scott Dorsey wrote:
    In article <suci9h$lce$1...@dont-email.me>, Jeff Urs <jeff...@gmail.com> wrote:
    ele...@optonline.net <evelynchim...@gmail.com> wrote:
    Our group spent a lot of time discussing why Wells included the
    sequence with the crabs and whether they liked it.

    Clearly, Wells was aware that everything eventually evolves into crabs.
    CLAMS -> PEOPLE -> CRABS

    Some crabs have been around a long time. I encountered this one a lot
    as a kid.

    https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Horseshoe-Crab

    Those are RANK IMPOSTORS! They are not actual crabs at all! They are just giant arthropod scabs taking jobs away from innocent crustaceans. Blue
    blood, indeed! Write your congressman today!
    --scott
    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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  • From Robert Woodward@21:1/5 to Scott Dorsey on Mon Feb 14 21:49:08 2022
    In article <sueu6o$h9n$1@panix2.panix.com>,
    kludge@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

    Kevrob <kevrob@my-deja.com> wrote:
    On Monday, February 14, 2022 at 9:02:52 AM UTC-5, Scott Dorsey wrote:
    In article <suci9h$lce$1...@dont-email.me>, Jeff Urs <jeff...@gmail.com> >> wrote:
    ele...@optonline.net <evelynchim...@gmail.com> wrote:
    Our group spent a lot of time discussing why Wells included the
    sequence with the crabs and whether they liked it.

    Clearly, Wells was aware that everything eventually evolves into crabs. >> CLAMS -> PEOPLE -> CRABS

    Some crabs have been around a long time. I encountered this one a lot
    as a kid.

    https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Invertebrates/Horses
    hoe-Crab

    Those are RANK IMPOSTORS! They are not actual crabs at all! They are just giant arthropod scabs taking jobs away from innocent crustaceans. Blue blood, indeed! Write your congressman today!

    What do you mean imposters! Horseshoe crabs have been around twice as
    long as so-called "true crabs" (who just a bunch of johnny come latelys)

    --
    "We have advanced to new and surprising levels of bafflement."
    Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan describes progress in _Komarr_. -----------------------------------------------------
    Robert Woodward robertaw@drizzle.com

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