Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
06/12/15 -- Vol. 33, No. 50, Whole Number 1862

Co-Editor: Mark Leeper,
Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper,
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        BRAINSTORM Quiz Answer (question by Steve Milton; answers
                by Steve Milton, Peter Rubinstein, Jim Susky,
                and Peter Trei)
        High Intensity (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        THE JAYHAWKERS! (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        Unstuck in Time (and Notice of Upcoming Major Anniversaries)
                (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
        SLOW BULLETS by Alastair Reynolds (book review
                by Joe Karpierz)
        THE GLASS BEAD GAME (letter of comment by John Hertz)
        Keurig Coffee Makers (letters of comment by Gary McGath,
                Peter Trei, Philip Chee, Jette Goldie, Jay E. Morris,
                Keith F. Lynch, Tim Bateman, and Kevin R)
        Review of the MT VOID (review by Guy Lillian)
        This Week's Reading (NUMBERS RULE) (book comments
                by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: BRAINSTORM Quiz Answer (question by Steve Milton; answers by
Steve Milton, Peter Rubinstein, Jim Susky, and Peter Trei)

Last week, Steve Milton asked:

Here's a puzzle: name another movie [other than BRAINSTORM] where
the untimely death of an actor required padding the movie with
filler (and no, it is not THE CROW).  [-smm]

The answer Steve was looking for was TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, but
Peter Rubinstein had another:

I'm not sure his death was all that untimely, as he was 73, but
Bela Lugosi died during filming PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, requiring
additional footage from Ed Wood's wife's chiropractor as a stand-
in.  [-pr]

Jim Susky writes:

The "last" Pink Panther movie* came to mind but Wikipedia put the
lie to that--saying that Sellers died two years after its release.

(*and what was Steve Martin thinking?--"take the money and run"??)

I was stumped for a bit but recall (presuming the film ED WOOD was
accurate) that Bela Lugosi died while making PLAN NINE FROM OUTER

This may not be your answer - considering that the whole film is
"filler"--but there it is.  [-js]

And Peter Trei writes:

The genre example which springs to mind is of course PLAN 9 FROM
OUTER SPACE, when Bela Lugosi died.

But the problem is common enough for TvTropes to have a page for

Three that stand out:
GLADIATOR: Oliver Reed
YELLOWBEARD: Marty Feldman

It's more of a problem for series, whether TV or film.  Many
examples found at the above link.  [-pt]

Mark says:

Actually we never set up a protocol of how to handle a problem or
question in a letter of comment.  If I were the de facto judge I
would say that I would need some more evidence than that an actor
died during the making of the film.  I kind of doubt that there
were new pages of script added to GLADIATOR to make up screen time
because of Oliver Reed's absence.  And it makes a difference if the
changes were made for the purpose of having enough screen time or
of adding patches so that the story still works.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: High Intensity (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

I see Medicare now covers what they call "High Intensity Behavioral
Counseling."  I think that is what my parents used to call a crack
in the mouth.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: THE JAYHAWKERS! (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

I used to tell people that I considered the 1959 film THE
JAYHAWKERS! to be one of the best Westerns.  Nobody else ever
seemed to have heard of it.  Sadly, the film is almost forgotten.
It recently came out on Blu-Ray and I wanted to say something about
why this film deserves to be noticed.

There is a certain Joseph Conrad influence on the film that centers
on a political reformer inspired by Napoleon who wants to carve out
a country from the bloody pre-Civil-War chaos that was the
territory of Kansas torn over the issue of slavery.  Luke Darcy
(played by Jeff Chandler) has set himself up as the charismatic
demagogue eith big plans.  But initially the film focuses on Cam
Bleeker (played by Fess Parker).  Bleeker has escaped from the
territorial prison of Kansas to find his wife and the man who he
has heard had seduced her.  He finds his farm has been purchased
from the territory by an immigrant French woman (Nicole Maurey) who
lives there with her two children.

Bleeker is captured by the law, but instead of being returned to
prison he is taken to meet with the territorial Governor.  The
Governor offers Bleeker his freedom if he will kill the charismatic
demagogue Luke Darcy (Jeff Chandler), leader of the anti-slavery
terrorist Jayhawkers.  Darcy is the man who stole Bleeker's wife,
the man Bleeker escaped prison to kill.

When Bleeker meets Darcy he finds himself drawn into Darcy's
ambitions to win over the people of what was then "Bleeding Kansas"
and to turn their territory into the idyllic "Republic of Kansas".
Bleeker is fascinated by Darcy's philosophy and his covert plans to
take the territory for his own and run it like a utopia.  This
might be a good time to note that though there was a terrorist
group called Jayhawkers raising hell in Kansas at this time, the
group in the film is entirely fictional.  The filmmakers used only
the name.

The film was made in the 1950s, when the memory of World War II was
still fresh in the public's mind.  In that war there was more than
one dictator who offered the people a better country in return for
their loyalty.  Darcy leads the abolitionist Jayhawkers.  He would
disguise his men as pro-slavery Missouri Red Legs, tear up a town,
and then return as Jayhawkers promising protection and the dream of
a better future.

Luke Darcy is subtle and complex with his own sense of honor.  He
wants to make an ideal future for a lot of people is willing to
turn a blind eye to who is harmed on his way to that dream.  He is
a cultured and well-spoken man, perhaps the most cultured man in
Kansas.  While he drinks wine, Bleeker will only drink whiskey.
(In real life Parker owned a winery.)  Darcy has a large library of
political and military philosophy and often repeats the lessons he
has learned.  His one exception to his high image is that he is a
womanizer.  His only fear seems to be that he will be hanged as a
public spectacle, the fate of Darcy's brother.

Fess Parker's Bleeker is earnest.  He is a man of many secrets but
few he can keep long.  At the time, Parker was a popular television
star as Walt Disney's Davy Crockett.  Actually, he got his lucky
break being given a very small part in THEM! and overpowering the
role.  Walt Disney saw him in THEM! and saw that Parker looked good
in front of a camera.

Jeff Chandler (real name Ira Grossel) was a popular teen heartthrob
of the 1950s.  Probably he got an unexpected boost in his career
for his prematurely gray and distinguished-looking head of hair.

It would be easy to say that the Production Code would have made it
hard to tell this story on the screen.  It is, after all, about two
men in a very close relationship that is totally platonic.  The two
men just respect and like each other.  In fact, the Code probably
made it easier to tell such a story in the 1950s than it would be
now.  The Production Code forced a sort of innocence on film.  We
were expected to take at face value that the two men liked and
respected each other and that was as far as their relationship had
to go.  If a viewer chose to interpret their relationship as
including a sexual attraction, that could be ascribed to a "dirty
mind."  Today it is almost a responsibility to explain their
relationship.  Perhaps our current freedom of expression is not an
entirely unalloyed good.

Loyal Griggs's camera captures the broad stretches of Kansas.  But
a major part of the atmosphere of the film was contributed by a
musical score by Jerome Moross.  Moross is best known for his score
for THE BIG COUNTRY, considered one of the best American Western
scores.  His score for THE JAYHAWKERS! is memorable, particularly
since the score for the popular television western WAGON TRAIN was
written by Moross based on his score for THE JAYHAWKERS!  [-mrl]


TOPIC: Unstuck in Time (and Notice of Upcoming Major Anniversaries)
(comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

I have come unstuck in time.  In fact, excessively so.

ROMAN EMPIRE by Edward Gibbon.  In that, currently I am somewhere
around the early 7th century.  I am also re-listening to Mike
Duncan's "History of Rome" podcast.  In that, currently I am in the
early 4th century.

I am also listening to Mike Duncan's current podcast on the French
Revolution, where I am in 1794.  But because the 200th anniversary
of Waterloo is coming up on June 18, I am also watching the
"Napoleon" mini-series and documentaries about Napoleon, so I am
also in 1815.

Oh, and I was listening to "The History of Byzantium" but have
stopped.  There it was the early 8th century.  The "History of
Philosophy Without Any Gaps" is somewhere in the Middle Ages.  But
because the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta is June 15, I am
also watching "The Devil's Crown" (late 12th and early 13th

So I find myself bouncing around among the early 4th century, the
early 7th century, the early 8th century, the late 12th and early
13th centuries, the Middle Ages, 1794, and 1815.  And I don't even
have a time machine|

As if that is not enough, in "The History of Rome" I am coming up
on the period in the Roman Empire when the emperors lost all
originality on names and so we have Constantinus I and II,
Constantine I through XI, Constans I and II, and Constantius I
through III.  (It might almost be easier if they all had exactly
the same name, like the Henrys and Edwards of England, and the
Louises of France.  That's more than one "Louis", not more than one

In any case, mark your calendars:

June 15: 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta
June 18: 200th anniversary of Waterloo



TOPIC: SLOW BULLETS by Alastair Reynolds (copyright 2015, Tachyon
Publications, $14.95 trade paperback, $9.99 e-book, 192pp, ISBN
978-1-61696193-0) (excerpt from the Duel Fish Codices: a book
review by Joe Karpierz)

Alastair Reynolds is one of my favorite authors today.  He writes
the kind of science fiction I like--galaxy spanning space operas,
weird and strange characters, grand in scope and scale.  Really,
the sense of wonder kind of stuff that I grew up with and so
desperately crave in my reading today.  He's one of several British
writers doing this kind of stuff today, the others being Peter
F. Hamilton, Stephen Baxter, and the dearly departed Iain M. Banks.
I first discovered Reynolds at Torcon in 2003 (good grief, was it
THAT long ago?) when I saw the book covers for the Revelation Space
series and decided I wanted to read them.  They are complex, dark
novels full of all the wonderful things that drew me into the field
when I was a kid.  I read the four books in the Revelation Space
series, then stopped.  I have no idea why.

Then SLOW BULLETS came along.  The book is labeled a "short novel",
but it's really a novella, and the form suits the story very well.
SLOW BULLETS is a fast paced, action packed read, which at this
point in the year was something that I desperately needed as I had
a large (well, for me, anyway) number of books to get through
before I started my Hugo reading, and this was one book that has
been high on my want-to-read list since I heard about it at Loncon
last year.

Scur is a soldier who was conscripted into the military against her
will.  There has been an interplanetary war going on, but a cease-
fire has been declared.  Scur is captured by Orvin, a war criminal
from the other side, who tortures her and inserts a modified slow
bullet into her, which is supposed to travel through her body and
eventually kill her.  Scur vows that not only will this not happen,
but that she will track her tormentor down and exact her revenge.
She grabs a surgical instrument and begins to cut herself open to
remove the slow bullet....

... only to wake up on a damaged and disabled space ship, the
Caprice, orbiting a planet.  She encounters a crew member, Prad,
and makes an uneasy truce with him.  Together, as the remaining
people on the ship--comprising crew members, civilians and ordinary
military, and soldiers who had "committed acts against the laws of
war", called Dregs.  The ship was headed for a planet called
Tottori, where the passengers were to be processed.  The ship was
damaged en route, and all the people on board are waking up from
hibernation as the ship begins to repair itself and get back to
working order.  However, something has gone wrong, seriously wrong-
-doesn't it always, in stories like this?--and Prad doesn't know
where or when they are.  As the people wake up there is conflict
and fighting.  Scur and Prad manage to calm every one down, impose
a semblance of order, and put a structure of, for lack of a better
term, government in place.  While addressing the assembled masses,
Scur notices a disturbing thing.  Orvin is on board.

SLOW BULLETS is a story on multiple levels.  First and foremost, it
is an adventure in a space ship about people who have nothing in
common coming together to arrive at a common goal and survive their
plight.  Second, it is Scur's story in the context of the
adventure.  It is clear that the story is being told in the form of
a sort of diary, so that Scur, or the people coming after her, can
remember what happened here.  Third, it is a study of a small,
enclosed society dealing with unforeseen problems and issues that
will be with them for the rest of their lives.  Oh, it's also a
story of revenge, but that's almost not important here in the long
run, as the revenge is just a part of the overall story of how the
passengers deal with their plight.

The title comes from the device that is implanted into every
soldier that really isn't a bullet.  It is a small, computer like
device that carries information about the soldier.  This is an
interesting concept that in the context of a full novel would be
explored more fully, and I do wish there was more time for it.  The
soldiers are also driven by The Book, which is contains the creed
by which they live (at least it seems that way to me).  While not
expressly stated, The Book can be thought of as any of the
religious texts society is familiar with in modern times, whether
it be the Bible, the Koran, or any other.  It is something that is
very important to them and in fact is important to the storyline of
the novella.

As I previously stated, the book is a fast-paced, action-packed
read, but it is also tightly written with no filler whatsoever.
The fact that it takes place almost entirely within a spaceship
contributes to that, I think--well, that, and the fact that it is
novella length.  It's certainly a much easier and accessible read
than other books I've read by Reynolds, and yet it seems to fit
nicely into the rest of Reynolds' work.  If you're into space
opera, and are interested in trying Alastair Reynolds, this would
be a good place to start.  It will ease you in to his work.  For
those of you who are fans of Reynolds, you won't want to miss this.
It's a terrific story, and should be on many awards short lists
next year.  Enjoy.  [-jak]


TOPIC: THE GLASS BEAD GAME (letter of comment by John Hertz)

In response to Evelyn's comment on THE GLASS BEAD GAME in the
05/08/15 issue of the MT VOID, John Hertz writes:

Glad as I am to see attention given to Hesse's masterwork THE GLASS
BEAD GAME (1943; sometimes printed in English as MAGISTER LUDI,
Latin, "master of the game", being a role to which the protagonist
is promoted), I must join those who point out that Castalia was a
nymph Apollo turned into a fountain at Delphi consecrated to the
Muses; listening to or drinking her waters inspired one with
poetry; they were also used to clean the Delphian temples; no doubt
Hesse's classics-conscious Order of the Game thus made her their
eponym and he expected us to know it.

This great novel was one of the Classics of S-F we discussed at
LoneStarCon 3,
still available as I write); an 800-word note by me, originally in
Art Widner's fanzine YHOS--"Your Humble Obedient Servant"--is in my
second collection DANCING AND JOKING and reprinted to be timely for
LSC3 in THE DRINK TANK 352, pp. 3-4  [-jh]


TOPIC: Keurig Coffee Makers (letters of comment by Gary McGath,
Peter Trei, Philip Chee, Jette Goldie, Jay E. Morris, Keith
F. Lynch, Tim Bateman, and Kevin R)

In response to Mark's comments on Keurig coffee makers in the
06/05/15 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath writes:

DRM for coffee.  Surely one of the dumbest business ideas ever.

Peter Trei notes:

It's also used for printer cartridges:  [-pt]

Philip Chee adds:

What baffles me is that the consequences were wholly predictable.
Did they check their brains in at the door or what?

Google Google Thank You Google [quotes from various articles]:

- Meanwhile, executives are making strategic changes aimed at
boosting demand for the 2.0 system while also paving the way for
smoother product introductions in the future.  Those strategies
include lowering brewer inventories and redesigning the packaging
on the 2.0 brewer to better communicate its benefits.

- Since November, Keurig Green Mountain Inc.'s stock price dropped
from $152 down to $86 a share at the end of May--more than 40

- 'Some of this was due to consumer confusion around pod
compatibility, which we've mentioned in the past,' said Kelley
about  Keurig's failure to meet Wall Street expectations.

- Most consumers weren't confused at all.  They quickly figured out
Keurig was attempting to do with its brewers what printer companies
had done with their printers: Sell the hardware at a
reasonable price, and then sell consumers high-priced ink
cartridges that the printer  required.  ....  Kelley blames the
backlash on a "small percentage" of  "passionate" users who want to
have some flexibility with their coffee choices.  If Keurig
officials believe that is the only reason, it's an indication they
still don't get it.

- But overall, the DRM on the company's products will stay.  Kelley
argues that the issue has been one of consumer education, blaming
"consumer confusion around pod compatibility which we've mentioned
in the past".  Once consumers learn about the wide range of
licensed coffee available, Kelley says he is sure sales will pick

[Seriously?  -pc]

- Keurig's explanation was a model of what not to tell angry
consumers.  The company said the change was for the consumer's own

- "The My K-Cup accessory and other reusable filters are not
compatible with Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology," the company
explained  on Facebook, "because the brewer has no way of
determining what  beverage is being used or how much coffee is
being added, and  therefore cannot adjust to factors such as brew
strength and amount of  water, which could represent a safety


Peter responds:

Sadly, this is the state of corporate executive accountability and
responsibility in the US at this time.

The rule of thumb is 'never, ever admit you were in error'.  Always
shift the responsibility to someone else, in this case trying to
get people to believe 'our customers are too stupid to understand
that selling them coffee at $50/lb is a good thing for them.'

My current office has Keurigs all over the place, but does *not*
supply the pods.  So, with regret, I bring them in.  The $0.75 or
so per cup is half the cost of coffee from the cafeteria.

[This is the first place I've worked in twenty years which didn't
have free coffee--at RSA, they had Keurigs, but there was a wide
selection of free pods.]

Jette Goldie writes:

Even the generics are expensive and they're not easily recycled.
I'll be sticking to good old fashioned coffee making methods--
filter, percolator or coffee press.  [-jg]

Jay E. Morris writes:

This is not the first coffee pod machine to do this and it's
purpose is not DRM[*].  The Kraft Tassimo was introduced in France
in 2006 using what they call T-Disks.  The machine reads the bar
code and then it will change the water temperature, the amount of
water, and the brew time and strength.  Where Keurig screwed up was
not having some sort of bypass mechanism so that regular pods could
be used.  I don't believe the Tassimo does either but it was also
sold as a high-end machine.

The hack has been to cut off the top of a bar-coded pod and use it
on the generics.  I believe I also read that someone was selling

[*] Mainly.


Keith F. Lynch adds:

I'm pleased that consumers aren't total wimps.  It's understandable
that Keurig thought otherwise, given the marketing success of other
DRM schemes.  [-kfl]

To which Tim Bateman replies:

I am with you on this.  Terms and conditions apply with regard to
DRM, however, I suspect strongly.  [-tb]

But Kevin R writes:

Isn't this really a warranty issue?  It wouldn't be EULA, because
I'd assume you could read a copy of the user manual before buying,
but I could be wrong. DRM applies to copyrighted material.  It is
certainly DRM-like, though.

The company that supplies the "freedom clip" to help defeat the
lockout of non-standard K-cups is talking antitrust.  [-kr]

To which Tim replies:

Yes, having read your opinion I would say that they are attempting
to establish a monopoly rather than do something with IP rights.

The attempt appears to have had less degree of success than I
assume they were either hoping for or anticipating.  [-tb]

Evelyn adds:

Apparently the last quote from Philip was from before Keurig
announced in mid-May they would be bringing back the "My K-Cup" for
the Keurig 2.0.

To Peter: If it's not a 2.0, you can buy a refillable cup at lots
of places and use your own, considerably cheaper, coffee.

To Jette:  I assume by "generic" you mean "non-authorized" cups of
coffee.  If you buy the refillable cup ("My K-Cup" or generic
copies of it), then you do not have a recycling problem.  It
becomes the equivalent of the metal filter for cones.  [-ecl]


TOPIC: Review of the MT VOID (review by Guy Lillian)

In THE ZINE DUMP #34, Guy Lillian reviews the MT VOID thusly:

"MT Void Vol. 33 No. 28 (whole no. 1861)  /  Evelyn C. Leeper, / /
free subs through mtvoid-subscribe@yahoo.groups / The Leepers' e-
mail fanzine collects well-formed opinions and observations from
across the SF spectrum.  This week's edition is a good example of
the zine's breadth: a review of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, thoughts on the
old, tragically unfinished BRAINSTORM, even a review of SHARKNADO,
which is unwisely fielding a third installment.  (Like Venus on her
half-shell, SHARKNADO should remain pure.)  Coffee and Cambodia
(the Leepers drink the former and recently visited the latter) are
also on their docket.  I very foolishly deleted my store of
previous issues (an accident; I swear); if Mark or Evelyn voiced
opinions on the Hugo matter, I would like to see them anew."

I note:

A better email address would be (it goes to
both of us).

My web page has an index to the last year's worth of back issues; a
full list can be found at

My comments on the Hugo kerfuffle is in the 04/10/15 issue, at  Follow-ups (in
terms of ballot changes) were in subsequent issues.

Many years of back issues can be found at  [-ecl]


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

THE PRESENT by George G. Szpiro (ISBN 978-0-691-13994-4) covers all
(or most of, anyway) the various voting systems developed
throughout history.

Of Plato's comments on voting, Szpiro writes, "The description of
the exchange [in 'Laws'] as a conversation or dialogue--trialogue
would be more apt--is somewhat of an overstatement.  Plato reduces
Cleinas and Megillus to uttering 'of course,' 'that is very true,'
'by Zeus', and 'OK' from time to time.  (Well maybe not 'OK,' but
something like that.)"

Just such a pattern was also noted in the BBC's version of the
Sherlock Holmes story, "The Lion's Mane" (dramatization by Bert
       "You know, this is just like that damn stage play."
       "The similarities elude me."
       "Questions!  All I'm doing is asking an endless string of
     questions!  It's always you who gets the interesting
       "I thought you liked it that way."
       "'Amazing, Holmes!'  'That's incredible, Holmes!'  'It all
     seems so simple now you explain it, Holmes!'  Oh, I'm not sure
     I want to go down in history as a literary device to make you
     seem even cleverer than you are.  Not to mention lending
     credence to your dubious deductions.'"

The method that is currently used for Hugo voting (not nominating!)
is discussed and its major flaw pointed out.  Szpiro covers this in
what could be called Charles Dodgson's multistage voting, which
appears to be the same as the Hugo method.  Each voter ranks the
nominees.  Whichever gets the lowest number of first-place votes is
dropped, and its second-place votes distributed to the remaining
nominees.  Repeat until one nominee has a majority.  (Later, Szpiro
describes the more commonly recognized "single transferable vote"
method, which so far as I can tell is identical with Dodgson's

The problem is thus: Assume four candidates and eleven voters.  Two
voters list A first, and three each list B, C, and D.  The last
nine all list A as their second choice.  In specific, the rankings
A gets dropped in the first round, and B and C each get a vote from
those ballots.  Now it is B=4, C=4, and D=3.  D is dropped, and B
picks up one vote, while C picks up two, making C the winner.  But
8 of the 11 preferred A to C!  This can be summarized by saying
that if there is a candidate who is no one's first choice, but
everyone's second choice, they cannot win.

(Oh, and the system is susceptible to strategic voting, as proved
by the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem.  Consider it a partner to the
Arrow Impossibility Theorem in showing just how impossible life

There are also four chapters on the very current topic of the
apportionment of Representatives in the US House of Representatives
(and by extension, the Electoral College) which covers several
paradoxes without even touching on the recent question of whether
the apportionment should be on the basis of eligible voters,
citizens, or all persons (including resident aliens, etc.).  The
Fourteenth Amendment states, "Representatives shall be apportioned
among the several States according to their respective numbers,
counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding
Indians not taxed," which is, one admits, a bit ambiguous.

Rather, the paradoxes addressed by Szpiro (and various apportioning
bodies) are due to the fact that when you divide the population of
a state by 30,000 (or any reasonable number near that), one ends up
with fractional Representatives.  How to round these numbers to
integers is the difficulty: merely rounding up or down based on the
arithmetic mean favors bigger states.  Using the geometric mean
favors smaller; using the harmonic mean did not work either.  Even
if one came up with a "fair" system for the current population,
when new states were added, or the size of the House was increased,
or state populations increased at different rates, additional
paradoxes arose.  You might be able to stop the first two, but the
third, like the poor, will always be with us.  [-ecl]


                                           Mark Leeper

           Show me the books he loves and I shall know
           the man far better than through mortal friends.
                                           --S. Weir Mitchell