Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
06/08/07 -- Vol. 25, No. 49, Whole Number 1444

 El Presidente: Mark Leeper,
 The Power Behind El Pres: Evelyn Leeper,
All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.
All comments sent will be assumed authorized for inclusion
unless otherwise noted.

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        Pacific Northwest Logs
        Science Fiction Book Club Update (comments
	        by Evelyn C. Leeper)
        FRANKENSTEIN (1910) (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        Land of the Lost??? (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        Subculture (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        SH20--The Seeds of Destruction (Part 1) (comments
	        by Mark R. Leeper)
	        CARAVAN) (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        The Future, AWAY FROM HER, Poetic Writing, and H. G. Wells
	        (letter of comment by John Purcell)
        This Week's Reading (Hugo Goofs) (book comments
	        by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Pacific Northwest Logs

The logs for our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest may be found
at http://www.geocities/evelynleeper/seattle.htm and


TOPIC: Science Fiction Book Club Update (comments by Evelyn
C. Leeper)

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY reports, "After news of major cuts at Bookspan,
three people have been named to new editorial positions.  ...
Rome Quezada, arriving from William Morrow, where he was an
associate editor, has been named editor of the Science Fiction
Book Club, replacing Ellen Asher, who retired after 30 years with
the company."

So it appears that the SFBC will continue, though for how long or
in what form remains to be seen.  [-ecl]


TOPIC: FRANKENSTEIN (1910) (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

People interested in the history of the horror film will be
interested to know that the Edison Company 1910 version of
FRANKENSTEIN with Charles Ogle as the monster is viewable at:

This is a film long thought to be lost.  It was rediscovered
several years ago, but has kept from the public for a long time.
A version showed up on the Internet briefly a few years back and
I was able to review the film.

This is a much clearer transfer.  It lasts twelve minutes and
forty seconds.  Thanks go to Dan Kimmel for pointing this link
out.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: Land of the Lost??? (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

I admit that I have seen only the first episode of LOST, but I
know a lot of science fiction fans who seem to like it.  One
thing that has struck me about the premise is that it reminds me
a lot of a children's television show of the 1970s that seems to
have a similar premise.  That show was about a father and two
children who find themselves in a strange land that has very
strange properties.  The sort of thing was that they would climb
a mountain to see what was in the distance and what they would
see was an identical mountain with them at the top.  My guess is
that LOST is much like an adult version of LAND OF THE LOST.  But
I have not seen enough of either program to make that statement
confidently.  Is there anyone out there who has seen both
programs and can comment?  [-mrl]


TOPIC: Subculture (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

I have been reading a little about the fascinating subculture of
street artists.  I guess when you get to know them you just can't
help being drawn by them. [-mrl]


TOPIC: SH20--The Seeds of Destruction (Part 1) (comments by Mark
R. Leeper)

I frequently claim that I have what I call "Luck of Leeper."  At
one point I said that this was just very bad luck.  And I really
have had some amazing runs of chance events going against me.
They are sort of in the nature of vacations ruined because when I
visited Spain it had the worst rains and flooding in fifty years.
More recently I have been saying that Luck of Leeper is worse
than one would expect on small things and much better than one
would expect on the big things.  The big things include on my
first date finding someone whose interests are so close to mine
that I did not have to look any further.  I had no breaking up,
no broken hearts, not even an old girlfriend I can complain
about.  Bingo!  Right the first time.

Of late I have been thinking that there is another very important
thing that I just lucked into.  The shank of my life was lived in
the second half of the 20th Century.  I used to think that I was
born earlier than I would have liked and that there is a great
future like in the best sense of the science fiction I read.  Of
late I have been thinking that the second half of the 20th century
(I call it SH20, pronounced "S-H-2-O") may well prove to be a sort
of high point for humanity.  Conditions for living got
considerably better in the 20th century, particularly the second
half.  But the improvements in so many areas could not last
because what made the good times good actually brought about their
end.  The "Golden Age" bore the seeds of its own destruction.  In
one area after another the second half of the 20th Century was the
best time.  Maybe people who have lived at many eras in history
think of their own time as the best.  But I would like to look at
some of the many fields in which I think the time from the 1950s
to the year 2000 were the best time.

A good example is antibiotics.  I was born into the Age of
Antibiotics.  Tuberculosis appeared to have largely been
defeated.  Polio was on its way out.  For a while it seemed that
these diseases were a thing of the past.  But while the treatment
for Tuberculosis killed off almost all of the disease, it left
behind the drug resistant strains and a big vulnerable population
for them to attack.  It looks like TB is coming back.  It was
just in the news that a tubercular patient with a drug-resistant
strain was allowed to fly across the United States.  Antibiotics
tend to be only temporary solutions.  By killing off organisms
susceptible to their killing power they leave behind organisms
that are immune.  Antibiotics effectively breed for strains of
bacteria that are resistant to them.  A given antibiotic's
efficacy is then limited in time.  It gives a window of time that
is a respite from the organisms it kills.  During SH20 we used
antibiotics fairly freely--as many as we could find as soon as we
found them.  Some are nearing the end of the time of their
efficacy.  The old enemy diseases they fought are coming back.

Polio may be coming back for a different reason--a political
reason.  In parts of the world it is becoming a religious
rallying cry that polio vaccination is a plot by the dastardly
Americans.  There are very prevalent conspiracy theories that
polio vaccination is the weapon in a plot to make Muslims
sterile.  The faithful are refusing to be inoculated.  Places
like Pakistan are becoming breeding grounds for polio because the
conspiracy theories manipulate the faithful.  So polio also may
be making a comeback after having been kept at bay during SH20.

Let us look at economics.  It was during that half century that
the lot of the average worker was the best in history.  In World
War II when there was a freeze on worker salaries.  Corporations
still competed for the best employees of the limited pool that
was available.  What could they offer besides salary?  They could
offer security.  This was when the benefits package became a
major part of the compensation.  Corporations would take care of
their own.  And corporations that did not give good benefits
packages could not compete for employees.  But in the years that
followed medical care both got better and more expensive--a lot
more expensive.  Doctors could raise their rates without too much
opposition.  There was little sales resistance from most
employees because the corporation was picking up the tab.
Eventually the price ballooned to the point that corporations
were taking a heavy hit.  They had to withdraw the umbrella of
employee support.  It looks like most workers are going to be on
their own to provide for themselves.  With medical and drug
prices very inflated suddenly the American worker is less secure,
not more.

Next week I look at how SH20 may have been the calm before the
storm of environmental changes.  [-mrl]


CARAVAN) (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Five Gypsy musical bands cross America in a documentary
and a different sort of concert film.  Featuring many kinds of
Gypsy music from India, Macedonia, Spain, and Romania, this film
tells of the lives of the players, their family, and a little of
the history of the Roma people.  Featured on the tour is famous
singer/songwriter Esma Redzepova.  The Roma are seen through the
camera eye of cinematographer Albert Maysles whose work includes
GIMME SHELTER and GREY GARDENS. Jasmaine Dellal directs.  Rating:
low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

In 2006 five Roma (Gypsy) bands put together one concert show and
took it on tour across the United States.  Jasmaine Dellal
documents the tour on and off stage as well as showing the
Gypsies in their home countries.  The bands were Maharaja from
Rajasthan, India; Antonio El Pipa and his flamenco ensemble from
Spain; Esma Redzepova from Macedonia; Fanfare Ciocarlia from
Romania; and Taraf De H douks also from Romania.  One premise of
the film is that all Gypsy music has influenced music of their
individual countries and that all Gypsy music is one.  The former
assertion is probably easier to believe than the latter.  The
differences in the styles of music are more obvious than the
similarities.  Indian Gypsy music sounds a lot like classical
Indian music.  The Spanish Gypsy music is flamenco.  Romanian
Gypsies make music sounding most like what one thinks of as the
Gypsy flare, with lots of strings.  And Esma's Macedonian music
is a powerful lament.  It is four different styles that may not
obviously have the unity that the players claim, but each is
interesting in its own way.  They have contributed to the music
of their individual countries, but the influence seems to have
gone both ways.  In some ways even the players are as strange to
each other as they are to us.  In one sequence a European Gypsy
tries Indian Gypsy food and finds it too spicy.  Even the bread
is spicy.

But for the style of the music and the performers this is not an
unusual sort of concert film.  We follow the performers from city
to city and, of course, see the performances.  We see them on-
stage; we see them back-stage preparing.  The camera follows them
as they sightsee and we see them in the lands of their origin.
There are discussions of the prejudice against Gypsies that may
be somewhat undercut by the sold-out performances in every city
they visit.  GYPSY CARAVAN celebrates the music that is the soul
of the Roma people.  The camera returns repeatedly to two major
figures in Gypsy music.  One is the Romanian Nicolae Neascu, the
founder of the band Taraf De H douks (literally Band of
Brigands).  He is their maestro, a man of eighty who always wears
a hat in public in the style of the Eastern European Gypsies.  He
is taciturn and with a hollow frown that speaks of missing teeth.
But he is a different man when he is playing vibrant music on his
violin.  He has modified the violin to have one loose string that
he uses effectively for special music effects.

The diva of the show is the Macedonian Esma Redzepova, almost the
exact opposite of Neascu.  Where he is thin and angular in a
modest jacket and hat, she is fleshy and dresses in traditional
costumes of bright red.  She talks of a past of forty years of
singing and of unofficial title as "Queen of the Gypsies."  She
and her husband could not have children so adopted 47, some of
whom play in her band.  Her band has played over 150 concerts,
but the most impressive musical instrument in the band is her
voice singing songs that are joyful or songs that are laments.

Along the road there is time for some fun sightseeing.  They pose
for pictures near Niagara Falls.  And the film shows us something
of how the musicians live in each of their homelands.  There is a
bit of drama when there is a tragic turn toward the end of the
tour.  One instantly recognizable celebrity (who chooses to have
his name omitted from publicity for the film) talks of his time
spent living with the Taraf De H douks band in making previous
films and of the situation of Gypsies.

For those who like a melange of music with an international
flare, GYPSY CARAVAN is a pleasure.  I rate it a low +2 on the -4
to +4 scale or 7/10.

In the interviews one Gypsy complains that Gypsies are always
portrayed as bad in films.  No specific film is mentioned.  I
question the truth of the assertion.  In films I have seen
Gypsies can be portrayed as exotic and frequently as a people
wielding supernatural powers or prey to supernatural curses.  I
would be curious to know what films have presented them as being
unjust or dishonest.  I do not deny that there is a great deal of
prejudice against them in the real world.  But I am curious what
films they think reflect that prejudice.

Film Credits:



TOPIC: The Future, AWAY FROM HER, Poetic Writing, and H. G. Wells
(letter of comment by John Purcell)

In response to various articles in the 06/01/07 issue of the MT
VOID, John Purcell writes:

Your musings about seeing into the future are quite lucid, but I
really can't see where you are going with this argument.

[I am not sure I was going anywhere specifically, other than to
say the way it is dramatized in film is not the way I think it
would be in the real world.  -mrl]

Actually, all punning aside, seeing into the future is an
intriguing concept, but I really don't think it is
scientifically, or even metaphysically, possible. To me, it falls
under the realm of the paranormal--deja vu', as they say--along
with mediums and other fakirs of that ilk. I am a healthy skeptic
of this sort of behavior; until I see it or experience it myself,
I cannot believe in its existence.

[I think that it leads to paradoxes that make it seem unlikely
that it is possible.  I don't think it is possible to send
information backward in time. -mrl]

Personally, I think seeing into the future--or time-traveling
into the future--cannot be done because it is impossible based on
the principles of probability.

[Sorry, if you had said "time-traveling into the past" I would
have agreed with you.  You would be carrying information into the
past, which is probably impossible.  Travel into the future at
rates greater than 1 sec/sec is an accomplished fact, though only
modestly.  Supposedly when the astronauts went to the moon they
also moved some small fraction of a second into the future.  I
remember news stories that mentioned that fact.  Every time you
accelerate you travel a little bit into the future.  That is
really what the "Twin Paradox" is all about.  Forward time travel
is just speeding up time, and Relativity Theory tells you how to
do that.  -mrl]

Unless, as you argue, there is only one possible projected time-
line, it is unlikely to "see" forward along such a time-line. The
future has always been fascinating to SF fans and writers because
of all the "possibilities" that exist; this explains why SF  also
uses the term "speculative fiction" alongside "science fiction."
These stories are fictional speculations about what might become,
as opposed to history, which is what has been.  Big distinction.
This is why I don't believe in "seeing into the future" as a sub-
genre of science fiction; it is more fantasy to me.

[We may have a different view of what science fiction is.  I
would say that looking at how things might be different if water
contracted rather than expanded as if freezes would qualify.  That
is a serious scientific question.  But it does not and cannot
happen.  I would still call that science fiction and not fantasy.
A good example of science fiction written about how universes
would be different with one modest change here or there is the
book EINSTEIN'S DREAMS by Alan Lightman
Each dream is a different world if the nature of time were
modified in some way. -mrl]

I am reminded of George Carlin's description of the concept of
Vuja de': that I feel like I have never been here before!

That film AWAY FROM HER sounds like the kind of science fiction
that I enjoy the most: people's reactions to being in some
technological/ medical/sociological/whatever situation(s) and
exploring the ramifications of it/them. I have heard of the story
"The Bear Came Over the Mountain" by Alice Munro, but never read
it. This movie sounds fascinating, and your quoted and
paraphrased lines from the movie are extraordinarily poetic and
evocative. Thank you for reviewing it; this is now down on my
"must rent" DVD list.

[Recognize that most people would not see this film and think
science fiction.  It just covers some changes in behavior as the
memory is lost in a way similar to how science fiction would.  It
is make one particular change in a person and seeing how the
personality changes.  It is a lot like what we were talking about
above. -mrl]

Speaking of poetic writing, Evelyn touches on some Russell Hoban
stories that likewise sound very evocative.  I am a sucker for
poetic writing, especially if it contains philosophical comments
that ring of underlying truth that requires a moment to digest
what has been said in the story.  I may have to check these books
out.  Evelyn's review reminded me why I enjoyed reading SOPHIE'S
WORLD [by Jostein Gaarder] and THE POISONWOOD BIBLE [by Barbara
Kingsolver].  Those books stayed with me for a long time after I
had finished reading them.

I like the later writings of H. G. Wells, too.  Have you ever
read THE CROQUET PLAYER?  It is a very bleak, slim volume that is
even more politically philosophical than much of his earlier
writings; if I remember correctly, it was published in 1942.  An
interesting story, one that I read about thirty years ago, so I
don't remember much about it other than it was very different
from the classic works produced during his 1895-1915 period.

[I was familiar only with the title, but the description on
Amazon ( makes it sound very
interesting.  My library system does not have a copy.  The text is
available (free but perhaps illegally) at  -mrl]

Thanks for sending this issue my way, and I hope you and Evelyn
have a great summer. Hopefully it won't be as miserably hot and
humid in New Jersey as it always gets down here in
SouthCentralEastern Texas.  [-jp]

[What is New Jersey like right now?  Here is how to find out.
Get a large dog.  Run his three times around the block.  Then
when he is exhausted and panting put your face right up to his
mouth.  That is what New Jersey is like right now.  However, it
does not smell that badly except for certain places on the
turnpike.  -mrl]


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

This is the first time in over twenty years that I am not voting
on the Hugos, so instead of reviewing the short fiction, I will
talk about some of the Hugo "goofs" over that time.  By "goofs",
I mean all the problems, intentional and accidental, that have
befallen the Hugo Awards in the last twenty years.  This is
undoubtedly not an exhaustive list, just the ones I know about.

ConFederation (1986): This is not so much a goof as a
philosophical issue.  Judy Lynn Del Rey was awarded the Hugo for
Best Professional Editor, but because it was awarded
posthumously, her husband Lester Del Rey refused it at the
ceremony.  This led to the policy of asking all nominees ahead of
time if they accepted the nomination.

Noreascon III (1989): This seems to be the beginning of the "Hugo
goofs".  There were doubtless problems before this, but I was
unaware of them, and I suspect that a lot were never revealed.
But as there was more and more openness in the nomination and
voting process, it was inevitable that problems would become more

In the announcement of the nominees, the committee said that the
novel THE GUARDSMAN by P. J. Beese and Todd Hamilton had enough
nominations to make the ballot, as did Hamilton for Professional
Artist.  However, irregularities in the nominating ballots led to
their exclusion.  These irregularities, as it turned out,
included the nominating ballots coming from all new members, and
accompanied by sequentially number money orders from a post
office in Brooklyn.  (Indeed, the phrase "sequentially number
money orders from a post office in Brooklyn" has become a fannish
catch-phrase.)  In addition, when several of the "nominators"
were contacted, they knew nothing about their memberships or
nomination forms.  Beese and Hamilton were never implicated, and
eventually totally exonerated when the details became known.

(The full press release from Noreascon III can be found at and; it
is in two parts.)

Chicon V (1991): A misinterpretation of the 5% rule led the Hugo
Administrator to produce an initial Hugo ballot where many of the
categories had only the top three nominees, rather than the top
five.  Although the claim was made that this was never released
by the committee, LOCUS managed to print this partial list,
because LOCUS was being used to validate word counts, etc.  (The
5% rule says that a nominee must be nominated on at least 5% of
the ballots with nominations in that category.  It was misread as
saying that a nominee needed to get 5% of the nominations made.)

MagiCon (1992): MagiCon managed to miss any problems in the
nomination process, but made up for it big time when they
announced the wrong winner for the Best Fanzine category!  The
explanation never quite made sense: the claim was that the wrong
name was put in the envelope, because cards were printed up for
all the names.  At least the award was engraved correctly, and
George Laskowski managed to acquit himself gracefully when he was
told to go up and accept "his" award until they could correct it.

Conadian (1994): The WSFS Constitution permits the Hugo
Administrator to move a story from one fiction category to
another if the difference from the destination category is within
the lesser of 5000 words or 20% of the destination category's
word limits.  Generally, this is not done, but this year, the
Administrator moved several stories in order to put stories with
more nominations on the ballot.  For example, if there were seven
novellas with more than 20 nominations each, but the novelette
category had only three with more than 20 nominations, moving two
novellas to the novelette category might seem reasonable.
However, the result was that short stories were competing with
novelettes, and novelettes with novellas, and the longer pieces
in the categories had an advantage of considerably more space to
work in.  And so the people who had their short stories nominated
felt that competing with a novelette was not fair.  The rule
remains, but Hugo Administrators are considerably more cautious
about wholesale movement of stories.  (For example, in 2003 Neil
Gaiman's "Coraline" might arguably have been moved to the novel
category, but it was left in the novella category, where its word
count technically put it. Rob Sawyer, who won the Hugo for novel
that year, thanked the Hugo administrators for declaring
"Coraline" as a novella.  As he put it, "I was never so thrilled
by a word-count statistic in my life.")

Chicon 2000: Again, they managed the nomination process well, but
the ceremony was fraught with problems.  The program had several
misspellings, the nominees could not sit with their partners, and
all the winners' names were flashed on the scene ahead of time
when someone hit the "thumbnails" button on the slide show

Torcon III (2003): The story "A Gift of Verse" by John L. Flynn
appeared on the initial ballot.  However, several people raised
the objection that this story was actually published two years
earlier.  There was much debate back and forth, with Flynn
saying that although it was in a book with an earlier copyright
(2000), it had not really been for sale until 2002.  However, it
was then revealed that it had received several nominations in
2001 (though not quite enough to make the ballot).  This seemed
to convince the committee that it had in fact been available two
years earlier and so was not eligible, and it was dropped from
the ballot, and replaced by "Lambing Season" by Molly Gloss.

Nippon 2007: The details are still not totally revealed, but
apparently a computer problem caused a mistake in the Dramatic
Presentation (Long Form), and the initial ballot included PIRATES
In fact, it was only spirited discussion on a fannish mailing
list of the omission of PAN'S LABYRINTH that led the Hugo
Administrator to recheck the ballots by hand and realize the
error.  (It is to her credit that she actually bothered to do
this, and to make sure the correction went out as soon and as
widely as possible.)

Well, I'm sure I've missed some, but these are the major ones I
remember.  [-ecl]


	                                   Mark Leeper

	    Always question the why; don't be satisfied
	    with only knowing the how.
	                                   -- Catherine Pulsifer