Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
12/22/17 -- Vol. 36, No. 25, Whole Number 1994

Co-Editor: Mark Leeper,
Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper,
All material is the opinion of the author and is copyrighted by the
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        Take the Plunge
        The Opposition (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        Mini Reviews, Part 1 (MOLLY'S GAME, IN THE FADE, FREE STATE
                OF JONES, and INFILTRATOR) (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin (book review
                by Gwendolyn Karpierz)
        THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin (audio book
                review by Joe Karpierz)
        ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY by Neil deGrasse Tyson
                (book review by Gregory Frederick)
        INGRID GOES WEST (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        UNAMERICAN STRUGGLE (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        TESTAMENT OF YOUTH (letter of comment by Fred Lerner and
                Peter Rubinstein)
        This Week's Reading (FINDERS KEEPERS) (book comments         
                by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Correction

The correction to last week's MT VOID was to restore the initial
paragraph of my "This Week's Reading column, which was accidentally
omitted.  Since that said what the book was that I was discussing
(TESTAMENT OF YOUTH by Vera Brittain), it was not a minor error,
which is why we sent out a corrected version.

Thanks to Fred Lerner for catching it and reporting it.  [-ecl]


TOPIC: Take the Plunge

This is rather exciting.  To bad it is only a simulation.  Dive
into the red spot:


TOPIC: The Opposition (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

We saw a sign for the Christian Motorcycle Association.  What do
they call themselves, Heaven's Devils?  [-mrl]


TOPIC: Mini Reviews, Part 1 (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

It is that time of year again when I vote on awards for films.
This is one very nice perq of my hobby of writing film reviews and
being a member of the Online Film Critic Society.  Filmmakers and
publicists *want* me to see their films in the hopes that they will
be considered for awards.  So I get to see new films either on-line
or I get disks.  I have not yet worked out if the makers of films
like SAUSAGE PARTY and DESPICABLE ME 3 really expect the critics to
fall in love with their films.  But at least they offer me a chance
to see their output and there always will be a few really good

I cannot write my usual format for every film I see, but I can
write brief reviews. I do not know where these films will play.
These films may play in local theaters or in Manhattan art houses.
But I can let people know what to look for on Amazon Prime and/or

I will start with the most enjoyable film of the year, at least for
me.  Two of the reviews are really left over from last year.  Both
are available from sites like Netflix.  Each film below is rated on
my -4 to +4 scale.

This film is based on a true story.  Molly Bloom wanted to be an
Olympic skier and came very close to making it before she had an
accident, was washed out, and had to give up making it to the
Olympics.  By chance she ended up inheriting the job of organizing
the most exclusive weekly poker game in the world.  This task
brought her some small fame and some major fortune in (honest)
tips.  MOLLY'S GAME is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin who
MEN.  He also did much of the writing for "The West Wing".  I will
be honest that sports films are not my thing, and poker films are
not my thing either.  I started this film thinking it was not for
me.  It took five minutes or so before I became fascinated by this
film and this character.  Jessica Chastain is enchanting as Bloom
and Idris Elba is her lawyer.  When the two talk they are really
convincing as being very, very smart.  Much of the film revolves
around the fact that Molly has very high scruples.  The FBI did not
believe that, but I do. This film was a lot of enjoyment and it may
well be the most fun I will have at the movies this year.  This is
a major role for Chastain and I suspect that from now on she will
be thought of as a glamorous actress.  Rating: +3

This is a film very much in the style of BBC plays though it is
predominately in German.  The script is timely and provocative.
The film is co-written and directed by Fatih Akin.  Life in Germany
is good for Katja Sekerci (Diane Kruger).  She has a husband, a
son, a nice home, and a source for marijuana.  The latter she uses
in moderation.  Then in an instant a terrorist attack takes away her
husband.  The film is divided in three chapters.  The first is the
crime and its effect on the devastated Katja; the second chapter is
a courtroom drama as the case goes to trial; the third chapter is
the results of the trial.  The script leaves room for some serious
drama and some action.  It does not have the sort of overly
satisfying American film ending.  Kruger won the Best Actress award
at Cannes and was Germany's Official Academy Award Entry in the
Best Foreign Language Film category. Rating: high +1

This is a 2016 film based on a true story.  However, director and
co-writer Gary Ross rather freely does his basing on the books THE
Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer.  Matthew McConaughey plays Newton
Knight who during the US Civil War deserts from the Confederate
army and establishes Jones County as a sanctuary for escaped slaves
and poor farmers.  Together they hold the land against the
Confederacy with captured munitions.  This is a story that really
needed more of an epic production.  Rating: low +2

This is really a film from 2016. It is not at all what it appears
to be, that is one more action film padded out with gunfights and
maybe a little sex.  So what is it?  It is the true story of Robert
Mazur (played by Bryan Cranston).  It has a lot of tension, but it
is not from gunfights to pad the story out. There are no gunfights
in the film.  It is really a character study of Mazur worming his
way into the Medellin Drug Cartel from his start in the guise of a
money launderer.  This is a good suspense film.  Rating: high +2



TOPIC: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: As we left the "Star Wars" story two years and two
chapters ago, Rey has found the missing Luke Skywalker.  But
Skywalker now lives and looks like a monk.  He refuses to bring Rey
into the Jedi order.  Meanwhile the First Order is preparing an
insidious attack against the Rebellion.  The Jedi have not gone out

of the universe yet, but the story structure of a beginning, a
middle, and an end has.  Rian Johnson writes and directs.  Rating:
+2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

It is early December, the new standard release time for a new "Star
Wars" film.  Last year it was STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE and the year
before it was STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.  Back when the major
series would release in December it would be a chapter of an
existing book like from the "Harry Potter" or Tolkein "Middle
Earth" series.  The viewer had some guarantee that the film was
based on a book that had an ending.  We were assured that the story
had an end coming in a year or two.  But now "Star Wars" films were
never based on a book.  The "Star Wars" series is "sustainable" in
the worst sense of "sustainable."  As long as the writers keep on
writing the series may never come to an end.  We may be seeing a
high-tech "General Hospital".  Certainly this latest chapter has a
lot of soap-opera-style plot twists to keep the viewer coming back.
The writers love leaving misleading clues to what is going to
happen and then something else happens instead.  Little in the film
is highly predictable.  Speaking of the writing, I think people
were disappointed when Disney got ownership of the series.  "Star
Wars" films would be coming from the people who made films like THE
LION KING.  But I am not hearing a lot of complaints that the
writing has suffered since the ownership has changed.  The writing
now is better appreciated than that of the prequel trilogy.

A few days after seeing the film I think the most common complaint
I have heard about STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is that the film is
just too big.  It is more than 150 minutes long.  It has too many
plot twists and too much fighting and too many characters.  If you
want to claim the acting is bad there are scenes with fairly good
acting.  But if you say the acting is good you can pick out scenes
that are not.  The script has a large number of stories developed
and many of them get twists.  Battle scenes are no longer one X-
wing being chased by two enemy TIE fighters down a trench.
Instead, the film shows the viewer one huge tapestry of fighting
with action in six or seven parts of the screen.  The excitement
comes from a sort of sensory overload.  And it is more than just
two or three battle set pieces.  There is a lot of loud and action-
filled fighting.

You know your fantasy may be getting a little florid when--as in
Russian novels--characters have two different names.  Ben Solo is
also Kylo Ren and Adam Driver plays him.  I have not seen a lot of
Driver and have liked him in previous films, but he certainly has
an unusual acting style.  He bears watching.  And much more
experienced but always bearing watching is Laura Dern as Vice
Admiral Holdo.  Mark Hamill has a fair amount of screen time but
gives a performance that is only adequate.  In addition to Luke
Skywalker, he plays a character named Dobbu Scay in the casino
scene.  I guess I did not notice.  Carrie Fisher plays an aging
Princess Leia Organa for the last time.

If you are going to another galaxy you might as well pick a
beautiful place to visit.  The cinematography and the art direction
are as usual first rate.

One more thing is worth noting.  Until now the series has been
about a conflict that is essentially a feud within a single family.
That is just a bit claustrophobic.  At least the new film is trying
to broaden the character base.  That means the most interesting
people are no longer related to Darth Vader.  I rate STAR WARS: THE
LAST JEDI a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:



TOPIC: THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin (copyright
1969, Penguin Group, $9.99, 304pp, ISBN 978-0-441-00731-8) (excerpt
from the Duel Fish Codices: a book review by Gwendolyn Karpierz)

I will start with this: THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is very good.

We can leave it there; go ahead, go home, skip the rest of this.
THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is very good and you should add it to
your to-read list.

Okay, now this: I'm not sure I liked it.

Except that's not right.  I don't read books I don't like.  If it
hasn't caught my interest in the first 50-100 pages, I abandon it;
life's too short to reading boring or terrible books.  But I felt
.... compelled to finish THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS.

So say rather ... It made me uneasy.

THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is told primarily
from the point-of-view of Genly Ai, who is essentially a human as
we know them.  He is acting as Envoy to the planet Winter (called
Gethen by its inhabitants), which is populated by a race of
androgynous ambisexuals, which is to say, they exist in a
hermaphroditic state until they enter kemmer, their phase of sexual
potency, at which point they can choose either male or female.  Now
it is important to know that these Gethenians are *also human*.
They're just a divergent race of humans with very unusual

That's not really what it's about, though.

It seems like it would be, doesn't it?  But this book isn't a
treatise on the extremely polarizing discussion of gender.  That's
just a feature of the world.

And what a world.  Le Guin has gone far beyond the level of world-
building that I could even begin to comprehend.  She clearly knows
everything--from tricks and ticks of the languages, to how the
people evolved both culturally and physically to acclimatize to
their Ice Age of a planet, to different folk tales from the
different countries.  Admittedly, some of this world-building does
occasionally, at least in the first half, get in the way of the
plot and characters.  Le Guin is so intent on feeding her readers
the details of the world, as if trying to prove she knows what
she's doing--which she certainly succeeds in doing--that it creates
a distance between the readers and the story.

Furthermore, the beginning of the book is often about the political
climates of the two countries (Karhide and Orgoreyn), which is just
never my favorite plotline.  It's not a flaw in the book; it's
personal preference, but it's definitely one of the things I didn't
appreciate in the beginning.

There's something uneasy, too, and hopeless, about watching two
countries that have no word for war hurtling almost inevitably
toward it.  There are moments, though, where we catch glimpses of
the characters as more ... *vulnerable*, and that's one of the
reasons I wanted to keep reading.

There's a turning point, though, in which THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS
becomes a much more human story.


"They were without shame and without desire, like the angels.  But
it is not human to be without shame and without desire."


To be a great writer, you have to understand something about
humanity.  Something deep and inextricable from the human
condition.  Not only that, you have to be able to express it to
other people, to say something that is understood but not
necessarily acknowledged.

Le Guin understands something about being human.


"It is a terrible thing, this kindness that human beings do not
lose.  Terrible, because when we are finally naked in the dark and
cold, it is all we have.  We who are so rich, so full of strength,
we end up with that small change.  We have nothing else to give."


This comes at the point for me which began to change my uneasy
opinion of the book.  After this, it went from being about the
political intrigue of an alien on a strange world of eternal winter
to being a story of what it means to be human.  To be human
together, despite differences and misunderstandings.  To accept
those things and still become friends.

Of course, THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS isn't just about that either.
It's about a lot of things.  It is about political climate and
manipulations, to a small extent.  It's a bit about aliens, and
culture shock.  It is about gender, to a very small extent (and,
without getting into a fight about the extremely polarizing subject
of gender, I do wish it hadn't characterized all "female" traits as
worthy of disdain).  It explores the clash between order and
passion, between dull refinedness and chaotic freedom.  It doesn't
villainize either of these, but rather, I think, the lack of
cohabitation between the two.  It watches two peoples learn about
war.  It's about humanity and friendship and alliance, between
people and countries and planets.  It's about strength, and hope.

I guess that means there's something for everyone.

So did I like THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS?  Whoops, it turns out I
really did.  [-gmk]


TOPIC: THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K. Le Guin (copyright
1969 Ace Science Fiction, 2016 Recorded Books, narrated by George
Guidall, 9 hours 39 minutes, ASIN B01N1WTLS7) (excerpt from the
Duel Fish Codices: an audio book review by Joe Karpierz)

As with Gene Wolfe, Ursula K. Le Guin is one of those writers whose
works I was not ready to read earlier in life.  I tried reading
thirty years ago; I struggled with both, giving up on both of the
novels before I got too far into them.  The writing style was not
for me, nor was the subject matter.  I'm fairly certain that's
because I was coming from a background of reading more traditional
science fiction, basically space opera and hard science fiction.
These books were different.  They were more literary, both in style
and content.  THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS was considered a game
changer in its time.  Published in 1969, it won both the Hugo and
Nebula for Best Novel in 1970. It was one of the first feminist
science fiction novels.  I was not ready to read either it or THE

Then, like so many other audiobooks that I've listened to, THE LEFT
HAND OF DARKNESS became a daily Audible special a while back.  I
thought that maybe, just maybe, I could finally read (or listen to)
the book and get something out of it.  Still, it languished in my
library as I was still not sure I wanted to give it a try.  Of
course, I finally did.  And yes, I was ready for it.

THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is a novel in Le Guin's Hainish sequence
of stories.  It follows the story of a man named Genly Ai, a
representative of the Ekumen sent to the planet of Gethen as an
emissary whose task is to convince the people of Gethen to join the
Ekumen, which is a union of more than 80 worlds.  Ai has the
ability to "mindspeak", which apparently the residents of Gethen
have as well, but have lost the ability to do so.  Gethenians are
ambisexual; 24 days out of 26 they are essentially androgynous,
while during the other two they are said to be "in kemmer".  While
in kemmer, Gethenians become either male or female.  The concept of
androgyny was new to science fiction at the time, and Le Guin used
the Gethenian ambisexuality to describe a world without war, a
world where society is responsible for raising children, a world
whose culture is built around the concept that sex and gender are
fluid rather than fixed.

The story is familiar to long time readers of science fiction.  Ai
lands in Karhide--with his starship remaining in the solar system
and it's crew in a state of suspended animation--and spends two
years attempting to convince the people of Karhide to join the
Ekumen.  He befriends the prime minister, Estraven, who seems to
believe in Ai's cause and tries to counsel the king, Argaven, to
join the Ekumen.  Estraven is accused of treason and banished from
Karhide.  Ai has an audience with Argaven, who rejects the proposal
to join the Ekumen.  Ai then decides to travel through Karhide
during the summer, as the weather has warmed, the snow has melted,
and the rest of Karhide is accessible.  He eventually ends up in
Orgoreyn, where the ruling people there seem open to the proposal,
but eventually Ai is imprisoned and almost dies.  Estraven rescues
Ai, and, now that winter has returned, the two of them travel
across the frigid land and across a vast ice sheet back to Karhide
in the belief that Argaven will concede to the proposal.

As I read that last paragraph I realized that while it is a high
level overview of the story of Ai (and Estraven), it fails to do
justice to the story that Le Guin is really trying to tell here.
THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS is a story of loyalty and betrayal, of a
society where gender does not play the same role in society as it
does in ours.  Indeed, Ai is labeled a pervert, as he is stuck in
one gender; he is a freak.  The novel also explores the differences
in communication between the societies: the mindspeak of the Terran
native Ai, the concept of shifgrethor of the Gethenian natives, and
the inability of one to understand how the other works.  These
differences, among many others, make Ai's mission difficult, but
the mission of convincing the natives of Gethen to join the Ekumen
is really secondary to what the novel is trying to do.  The mission
is a vehicle to get the story rolling, and while the mission itself
is eventually accomplished, the real story is the exploration of
different societies which work by different rules, primarily, it
seems, based on their sexuality.  The gulf between them seems
insurmountable at first, but through persistence, loyalty, and a
bit of love, I think, the union of Gethen and the Ekumen is

The narrator of the book, George Guidall, seemed out of place to me
at first, but after awhile he did grow on me and he eventually felt
right for the story.  I believe that the fact that the residents of
Gethen sort of defaulted to male (as far as Le Guin depicted them)
made it easier for Guidall as he didn't have to portray female
characters.  I've tried to envision him doing so, and I've come up
empty.  Still, it now feels like no one else should have read the
novel, so maybe he did work after all.

So, have I grown up as a reader?  Was I able to read--or listen to-
-THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and not be daunted by it?  I think so.
I also understand why the novel garnered all the acclaim it did
more than 45 years ago.  I didn't recognize it as a groundbreaking
book, but that's because I didn't read it back in 1969, when it was
indeed groundbreaking.  I do believe that the book holds up today,
48 years after its initial publications.  It truly is a
masterpiece.  And will I read more Le Guin?  There's bunch of Le

Guin on my book shelves waiting to be read.  And I think I'm ready.


(book review by Gregory Frederick)

Well-known scientist, author, and TV and radio host Neil deGrasse
Tyson is the author of this compact and very interesting book
covering our current knowledge in the field of astrophysics.
Topics covered in this book include the CMB (cosmic microwave
background), dark energy, dark matter and many more subjects of
fascination for scientists and the casual reader as well.  The CMB
is the cooling remnant of the brilliant glow that was once the hot
big bang.  It is one piece of evidence of this universe-creating
event.  The CMB has been mapped by orbiting spacecraft.  Dark
matter, which makes up a large percent of the matter in the entire
universe was first discovered as far back as the 1930s.  Fritz
Zwicky, an astrophysicist, found that galaxies in the Coma Cluster
were moving at a higher velocity than could be account for by the
observable mass in this cluster.  A greater gravitation force will
cause galaxies to move at a faster speed and this is created by a
larger concentration of mass.  But not enough observable mass was
seen in this cluster so the assumption was that some type of unseen
Dark matter was causing this added gravitational force.  Dark
energy is the mysterious pressure that acts against cosmic gravity
and is accelerating the current expansion of the universe.  If you
do not have a lot of time to read about astrophysics but want to
learn more about this subject then this enjoyable, short, and
concise book is for you.   [-gf]


TOPIC: INGRID GOES WEST (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Ingrid is very good at using social media but very bad at
keeping friends.  Most of the Internet applications she uses were
intended for what she uses them for.  Ingrid decides on a clever
but insidious campaign to make herself an Instagram celebrity at
the expense of current web celebrity Taylor.  Nominally this is a
comedy but somehow the comedy of the story comes out very dark.
Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

Ingrid Thorburn (played by Aubrey Plaza, who also co-produced the
film) has severe psychological problems.  She has anger issues and
for which she is receiving therapy.  But her stunts have lost her
any friends she once had.  After she ruins a former friend's
wedding she decides that she must move away and start the social
process over again.  Los Angeles seems inviting, and she picks out
an Internet celebrity whom she wants to make her friend.  Ingrid
has one thing going for her.  She knows how to use the social
media, and how to manipulate people with the information she can
glean so easily from stalking on social media.  The star she picks
out is Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen).  Taylor has no idea how
vulnerable she is to Ingrid's snooping and creative deceptions.
Ingrid moves into Taylor's neighborhood and then is ready to

The film is directed by Matt Spicer, who co-wrote the screenplay
with David Branson Smith.  While the film is initially comedy as
well as drama, as the film progresses the comedy (of which there
never was a lot) diminishes and the tone goes darker and darker.
Ingrid has the power to think fast and manipulates people with
reality-bending stories and scams.  She can think of what effect
she wants and knows just the right lie to get the effect she wants.
The subject of how to lie on the Internet to get results seems very
opportune.  But Plaza can at the same time show a very vulnerable
side to Ingrid.

Plaza has a long list of credits going back to 2006 and it shows in
her performance.  When she is spinning plots in this film you feel
that there really is a mind behind her actions.  Elizabeth Olsen
seems simpler than Plaza and seems a little bit vulnerable, which
is just what the story calls for.  While the message of the film is
about how vulnerable people are on social media, Ingrid comes off
as a little brighter than most Internet predators.

Films about the dangers inherent in social media are not exactly a
rarity these days.  This is a deceptively small and simple film,
but it has a good deal to say about what abuses are possible and
occurring in the social media.  It should make you uneasy in places
Stephen King cannot touch.  I rate INGRID GOES WEST a +2 on the -4
to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:



TOPIC: UNAMERICAN STRUGGLE (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This is a portrait of what the Alt-Right--the groups in
the United States with nationalist far-right ideologies--is and
what it is doing to our country especially over the last two years.
Inter-cultural bigotry is on the rise.  The film takes a (short)
look at each of several minorities.  It argues for the viewer and
all minorities to stand up against bigotry.  Ric Osuna wrote,
directed and appears in the film.  Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or

Through my life, from the 1950s, I have seen in the United States
an arc of generally greater acceptance of minority groups by the
majority.  In general things have gotten better.  But over the last
two years the trend has reversed.  To track this Ric Osuna has
written, directed, and appears in a film documenting the breaking
up of those inter-group bonds.  Osuna makes a case for the extent
of the problem and ties it to the right wing in general and to
Donald Trump in particular.  Osuna's effort is to show the return
of bigotry and places the responsibility for the return on the
influence of Donald Trump.

Osuna opens with interviewees saying how bigotry is returning, how
serious the problem is, and in specific the negative effect of
Donald Trump.  This part of the film is more or less a scattershot
look at incidents of the regression into acceptability of
intolerance of minorities.

Osuna goes from one cultural group to another.  He tells a little--
very little--of their place in the culture of this country and
generally shows the damage that Trump is encouraging.  Groups that
are feeling the sting of bigoted attacks include immigrants,
Latinos, Muslims, black people, women, and transgender people.

Finally the director returns with a message that Trump is not the
only person who can influence the behavior of people, even people
he has never met.  The public needs to stand up and work together
to reverse the changes that are happening to our country.

What we face is an ironic problem: we want to get people of all
different backgrounds, all different races, all different creeds,
all different mind sets, all different philosophies, all different
political viewpoints and get them all thinking the same way: that
they will accept and embraces everybody's differences.  But it is
gong to take a real effort to get this country to go back in the
right direction.

This film has a rating of 2.1/10 in the IMDB.  It has received only
eight votes of which seven are the lowest possible rating and one
is the highest.  It looks like the film is already under attack.
For my part I would rate the film a low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or

Release: Available on DVD and streaming on December 19.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:



TOPIC: TESTAMENT OF YOUTH (letters of comment by Fred Lerner and
Peter Rubinstein)

In response to Evelyn's comments on TESTAMENT OF YOUTH in the
12/15/17 issue of the MT VOID, Fred Lerner writes:

Does Brittain mention anything about shell shock in her book?

Evelyn responds:

Yes, though I don't think she used the term, and her official
nursing duties were primarily of those with wounds or physical
diseases.  She did see it in the hospitals as well as in soldiers
back in England in non-nursing situations.  [-ecl]

Peter Rubinstein writes:

Perhaps it's just because my mother was a journalist in New York,
and I heard it from her, but my impression was that Dorothy
Kilgallen was an influential columnist in the entertainment field.

Evelyn responds:

That could be.  I could also be conflating her with a different
famous game show regular.  [-ecl]


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

Craig Childs (ISBN 978-0-316-06642-6) is a book with an agenda.
Childs is using the phrase "finders keepers" ironically (or
possibly sarcastically).  Far from believing that people who have
found archaeological artifacts are entitled to them, he does not
believe anyone is entitled to them--they should remain in the
ground (or wherever they are).  Museums should not get them--they
are already overflowing with artifacts in storage rooms.  Even the
indigenous people (or whatever group is associated with them)
should not get them--he describes one tribe that is digging up
their artifacts and selling them to support the tribe.

Childs does somewhat grudgingly acknowledge that "salvage
archaeology" (removing artifacts that are discovered when a new
subway tunnel is dug, or the ground excavated for a new building,
for example) may be necessary.  When he asked a Phoenix area
developer how he felt about destroying a Hohokam burial ground
(which involved removing all the corpses and giving them to the
local tribes (who are not Hohokam, but claim descent from them),
the developer said, "Tell me a place you can dig in the valley
without hitting something Hohokam."

But in general Childs believes that what is in the ground should
stay in the ground.  If he thinks there is value in studying what
is found, he also believes it should be returned to where it was
found--exactly--in the same state in which it was found.  He
believes this even though he realizes that doing that leaves it
vulnerable to "pot diggers", but since he does not think putting
things in a museum is any better than putting them in a private
home, this does not change his mind.  [-ecl]


                                           Mark Leeper

           A book that is shut is but a block.
                                           --Thomas Fuller