Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
06/26/15 -- Vol. 33, No. 52, Whole Number 1864

Co-Editor: Mark Leeper,
Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper,
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        Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
                Lectures, etc. (NJ)
        Texas et al Trip Log
        My Picks for Turner Classic Movies for July (comments
                by Mark R. Leeper)
        INSIDE OUT (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        JURASSIC WORLD (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        BIG GAME (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        The Six Million Dollar Man (letter of comment by Kevin R)
        Pluto and New Horizons (comment by Gregory Frederick)
        This Week's Reading (ALPHABETICAL) (book comments
                by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
Lectures, etc. (NJ)

July 9: no meeting, Middletown (NJ) Public Library
July 23: "Universe" by Robert A. Heinlein and "Vintage Season" by
        Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore (both in SCIENCE FICTION HALL
        OF FAME VOLUME 2A), Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 7PM
        and "Vintage Season" by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore,
        Middletown (NJ) Public Library, 5:30PM

Speculative Fiction Lectures (subject to change):

July 7: Leanna Renee Hieber, topic TBA, Old Bridge (NJ) Public
        Library, 12N
August: no lecture
September 12: Carlotta Holton, Applying Local Myths & History into
        Speculative Fiction, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 12N
October 3: Ellen Datlow, The State of Horror Fiction, Old Bridge
        (NJ) Public Library, 12N
November 7: Jennifer Walkup, Finding Your Voice in YA Speculative
        Fiction, Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library, 12N
December: no lecture

Northern New Jersey events are listed at:


TOPIC: Texas et al Trip Log

Evelyn's trip log of Mark and Evelyn's 2013 road trip to Texas and
back is available at
This was in conjunction with the Worldcon in San Antonio; that
convention report is available at

The log includes an account of their visit to Robert E. Howard's
home in Cross Plains.


TOPIC: My Picks for Turner Classic Movies for July (comments by
Mark R. Leeper)

It is time for my highlights of the upcoming month on Turner
Classic Movies.  I will remind people I am totally un-associated
with TCM.  If asked, the Turner Corporation will disavow any
knowledge of my existence or writing.  This is just as good an
excuse as any to write about film and to have something to write
about.  Comments are always welcome.  In fact, other people's
suggestions for films worth seeing on TCM would be more than
welcome.  All times given are for East Coast US time.  Come to
think of it, I don't know anyone who reads this column who does not
live in the Eastern Time Zone.

I do not think that I ever discussed the film PEEPING TOM (1960) in
the "My Picks" column.  It is an unusual horror film produced by
Michael Powell.  Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger formed a
film production company in Britain during World War II and in the
post-war years.  They named their production company The Archers
and produced an impressive list of films which included THE LIFE
RED SHOES (1948).  It seemed they could do little wrong.  That was
until Powell tried his hand at producing and directing a
psychological horror film, PEEPING TOM (1960).  (Pressburger was
officially uninvolved on this one.)  This was around the time that
if Hammer Films showed some blood on Dr. Frankenstein's jacket
audience members would be really grossed out.  This was a film
about an emotionally scarred young man with a hobby of killing
women and filming their dying facial expressions in close-up.  The
film was roundly detested by a public who was completely unprepared
for such a graphic and suggestive exercise in horror.  That was
really the end of The Archers.  Powell produced only a handful of
films after that.  Pressburger continued working but usually under
a false name, Richard Imrie.  (I do not know for sure that he was
hiding his professional relationship with Powell.  But that would
have been difficult at this point.)  PEEPING TOM is not seen very
much.  Certainly, it has nowhere near the popularity of Hitchcock's
PSYCHO, made that same year.  But it has achieved a great deal of
respect from film critics today who are not quite so squeamish.
That is not to say it does not still spellbind the viewer and
produce a guilty feel of voyeurism.  [Wednesday, July 22, 2:30 AM]

People seem to like to know when TCM will be running little sub-
festivals of genre films.  A whole morning or afternoon will be
booked for some particular type of horror or science fiction film.
TCM offers at least two of these small series of genre films in
July.  The second Thursday of this month we will get alien invaders
coming to our planet.  All but one of the films are 1950s films.
The 1950s films are all made in glorious black and white like most
1950s science fiction films.  In these stories various invaders
come to Earth for various purposes.  Most come for power or to rule
our world for imperialistic gain.  It is not clear why they want
old Planet Earth in their empire.  Some want to run the planet.  Or
some just want a dry dock to make spaceship repairs.  One of the
films has a militant pacifist from space telling us be nice and
don't fight or we get a planet-wide spanking.

Thursday 7/9 and Friday 7/10: Invaders of Earth
   1:00 AM MAN FROM PLANET X, THE (1951)


The other series is about apes.  There will be the first two
"Planet of the Apes" films which make a story all by themselves.
In fact, if you have never seen the films (really???) you might
think there really is nowhere for the story to go for another
sequel.  Ah, but 20th Century Fox found a way.  Then we have the
three ape films made by Willis O'Brien for RKO.  In any case these
are the films.

Tuesday 7/14: Apes
   9:15 AM PLANET OF THE APES (1968)
   1:00 PM KING KONG (1933)
   3:00 PM SON OF KONG (1933)
   4:15 PM MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949)

Best film of the month????  How about 12 ANGRY MEN (1957)?
[Sunday, July 26, 6:15 PM]



TOPIC: INSIDE OUT (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This is probably Pixar's best film.  And that's going
some.  But here they take on the daunting task of visualizing many
of the key aspects of human psychology.  Rather than distracting
from the plot, the science is a part of the story as the film
graphically illustrates human psychology.  Yet INSIDE OUT has all
the plot and (nearly) all the character appeal we have come to
expect of Pixar.  The main character is very homesick after having
been transplanted to a new city.  With a Woody-Allen-like
visualization we see what is going on in her head and many aspects
of human psychology.  If you get tired of the ideas whizzing around
you, you can just sit back and enjoy it as a pretty good Pixar
animated comedy, both fun and intellectually challenging.  The
writing and directing team of Peter Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen
have turned out a winner.  Rating: +3 on the -4 to +4 scale or 9/10

In 1966 the film FANTASTIC VOYAGE took its audience on an
incredible ride into the human body.  In 1982 there was TRON, which
was set in a world inspired by the internal workings of a computer.
Now we have INSIDE OUT.  It features a journey into a world based
on the psychology and workings of the human mind.

Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) has had a sort of idyllic existence
in the only place she has ever lived, Minnesota.  She has an ideal
childhood.  But then Riley reacts when her father has to move his
family to San Francisco for his business.  There is nothing about
this new city that Riley likes.  She desperately wants to return to
Minnesota.  Inside her mind there is a parallel world called the
Headquarters and presided over by her emotions.  The emotions are
more or less anthropomorphic and are representations of Riley's
feelings.  There is Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith),
Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
These emotions control Riley and her actions.  They are the
guardians of Riley's memories, represented by bowling-ball-sized
spheres.  So how does that work, having tangible images of abstract
ideas?  Well, for example there is a basket of blocks labeled
"facts" and another of opinions.  The baskets get knocked over
leaving a pile of facts and opinions on the floor.  The person who
spilled them tries to sort them, but is assured that most people
cannot tell the difference anyway.

A viewer with knowledge of psychology will appreciate the
metaphorical characters and locations.  You may already know what
distinguishes core memories from other memories, but you can still
see what they are.  And if the viewer is a child (or just tired of
decoding the metaphorical meanings of the plot), he can always turn
off his mind and just watch the animated comedy.  This film's
target audience has the breadth of that of Lewis Carroll's stories.

To be entertaining of such a wide audience is no small feat.  One
can readily tell that the script was a labor of love, a fun comedy
that if it has a fault, it is that the viewer cannot keep up with
the fast-paced film.  And as is so rare these days, the situation
of the characters runs a full gamut of emotions.  This was an
extremely ambitious production and it pays off well.

Pixar's most recent films, going back to CARS 2, have been
disappointments.  As of INSIDE OUT they are back in true form.  In
fact, this film is more intelligent than they ever have been in the
past.  This is the kind of film you almost need to get on video.
You will want to back it up and see interesting touches again and
again.  There will always be more so see.  And my guess is that you
will see more every time you see the film you will notice a lot you
have not noticed before.  I rate INSIDE OUT a +3 on the -4 to +4
scale or 9/10.  As is the custom with Pixar films INSIDE OUT is
paired with a short animated film, in this case "Lava", in which
two volcanoes fall in love.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:



TOPIC: JURASSIC WORLD (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This is our fourth outing with the world Steven Spielberg
created with JURASSIC PARK.  As with the first film the defense
measures for the restored park are pitted against Nature and we all
know who will win. Sadly, the dinosaurs are much more interesting
than the people are.  The hero of the film seems to be chosen for
his age and not his acting ability.  The film is full of re-used
dinosaurs and re-used plot.  But most of us can always enjoy
watching the dinosaurs.  Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

There is a minor spoiler after the review with a posted warning.

The "Jurassic Park" franchise has some built-in limitations for the
filmmakers trying to draft follow-up stories.  You can go only so
far in showing dinosaurs and people in grave situations, trapped
and easy prey for bigger and bigger dinosaurs.  The first film had
people in a jeep in a tree.  The second film upped it having a van
hanging over an abyss.  The third film had a Tyrannosaurus facing
the even bigger fiercer Spinosaurus.  Now, much of the audience had
not heard of a Spinosaurus, but it was explained to us well (and
accurately) that a Spinoaurus really is scarier than a
Tyrannosaurus.  Now we come to the fourth in the series and there
is nothing the writers can pull out of the real Mesozoic to be
still bigger and badder.  At least there is nothing the ticket
buyer might recognize.  Instead we will have the science patch
together bits of DNA to create something nasty enough to outfight
anything in any of the other films.  This fictional thing is called
an "Indominus" and it looks a lot like a Tyrannosaurus with bigger
arms and small boney studs of armor on its back.  At times it is
hard to tell if we are looking at a Tyrannosaurus or an Idominus.
That must save some effort for the CGI staff that provided the

It is twenty-two years since the release of the original JURASSIC
PARK and in the film we find ourselves twenty-two years after the
events of JURASSIC PARK.  The dangerous park is now open and
running.  It has become part zoo and part amusement park.  The real
dinosaur attractions were a huge success with its first-time
visitors, but it suffered from lack of repeat business.  The public
wants to see something new and really scary in prehistoric reptile
form.  The park's owners have an idea how to really scare people.
They call on science to use genetic surgery to create something
bigger and stronger than any currently known dinosaur.  It is
called the "Indominus."  Once again, two young people related to a
major executive of the park come visiting.  In this case it is two
nephews of the Recreation Manager, Claire (played by Bryce Dallas
Howard).  The boys are Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick
Robinson).  But the real hero of the tale is raptor wrangler and
general dinosaur behavior expert Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), only a
little older than the park himself.  Owen Grady is a far cry from
Sam Neill as Alan Grant.  Pratt is young, handsome, and rides
motorcycles, appealing to the teen demographic.  One problem with
the plot is the whole idea of creating a newer and more deadly
dinosaur that never lived.  There are plenty of interesting
dinosaurs and contemporary non-dinosaur reptiles for them to need
to invent new ones.

To make a long story short Indominus executes a clever escape from
its enclosure and runs free into a nearby forest.  Meanwhile, off
on their own are Gray and Zach who are exploring the forest in a
motor vehicle that looks like a hamster globe.  They are blissfully
unaware that there is an evacuation of the island called because of
the escaped Indominus.  And of course someone has to go out and
find them.  This is the same basic plot of JURASSIC PARK.

There is more to the story, but it is hard to care because the
characters are not well drawn.  There is almost too much in the
film but not enough sense of wonder.

While the dinosaurs are interesting to see, what is really missing
from this film is moments of awe.  Seeing the park is little better
than visiting MarineWorld.  In JURASSIC PARK we had that terrific
scene when Alan Grant and Ellie Satler see the Brachiosaurus walk
out of the forest and sit up to get at the high branches.  There is
just nothing comparably breath-taking in this film.

To re-enforce the connections to JURASSIC PARK there is one
character in this film that was in the original.  Dr. Henry Wu (BD
Wong), was just a lab geneticist in the original film now runs the
biology lab.  He was in neither of the intermediate films.

There are films you want to just wash over you and others you want
to think about.  I do not have to tell you which kind is JURASSIC
WORLD.  This is a turn your mind off and go with it sort of film.
It will pay off in seeing real-looking.  For fans of dinosaurs this
film has both pain and pleasure.  The realistic dinosaurs are the
pleasure.  I rate JURASSIC WORLD a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or

Film Credits:

What others are saying:

Spoiler... Spoiler... Spoiler... Spoiler... Spoiler...

It is getting tiresome in films to have the deadly goings result
from the military's thirst for new weapons.

The film says that since Indominus has some Raptor DNA that they
would have some rapport.  Cats have 90% of homologous genes with
humans, but we do not naturally have any natural bond.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: BIG GAME (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: Hunting Terrorists With Bow And Arrow: A thirteen-year old
Lapland boy is sent into a forest to prove that he can find meat
for his people.  Instead he has to fight off heavily armed
terrorists and safeguard the President of the United States, who
was shot down over the same forest.  Jalmari Helander co-writes and
directs.  Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

Every actor who plays action heroes must have made at least two
films much like this one with minor variations. Bad men with guns
have some nefarious plan.  Just by accident some poor innocent whom
nobody would think of as a hero just by chance gets pulled into
fighting against the baddies.  Through skill and luck he is able to
thwart the baddies at every step.  In the end it is he alone who
foiled the plot.

This time the heroic character is the youngest I can remember in
the hero role, and the film may be aimed at a younger audience.
There is no sex even referred to.  In fact, I don't remember seeing
any women in the film at all.  The hero is Oskari (played Onni
Tommila) who is just precisely thirteen years old.  The film takes
place in Finnish Lapland where Oskari's people have a custom for
boys growing into manhood.  On his thirteenth birthday the elders
of the community take a boy out hunting.  He must make a big kill
on his own since his people must hunt meat to live.  There is no
place for a man who cannot bring home meat.  Oskari fails initially
and things look bad for him.  He is not able to kill at his first
attempt, so his father sends him into the forest to hunt and find
his way home.  And just that same day the President of the United
States (Samuel L. Jackson--interesting casting choice) is flying
over Oskari's forest on his way to a conference in Helsinki.
Somebody shoots a surface-to-air missile at Air Force One and the
plane is badly damaged.  The President's aides put him into an
escape pod.  Oskari witnesses the crash of Air Force One and later
finds the pod on the ground and lets the President out.  That is
why we have a thirteen-year-old proving himself by taking down bad
men chasing and trying to kill the President.  If this plot seems a
little familiar to you ... well, it does to me too.

Within the confines of this familiar plot structure,
writer/director Jalmari Helander makes his characters engaging
enough.  There seem to be an excess of familiar actors following
the action at the U.S. Command Center or whatever.  We have Victor
Garber, Felicity Huffman, Jim Broadbent, and Ray Stevenson.  Their
presence is a tipoff that all of the action will not be in Lapland.

BIG GAME is a likable but not really memorable action film.  The
film seems to throw in a few too many incredible stunts.  In one
scene Oskari makes a jump between two--let's call them "things" so
not to spoil the plot. It is clear his hands are too low to make it
and then in the next shot he has made it.  That is cheating a
little bit.  Even more so there is a scene involving a falling
refrigerator, inexplicably found on a high rocky mountain that
pushes way beyond suspension of disbelief.  The film uses some
familiar visual touches like action scenes being shot in slow
motion.  And while Helander was up there in the stone mountains he
gets s some very scenic photography.  Some of the Finnish scenery
rivals that of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Director Helander has given us some very familiar touches from
other films, but at least he gives us a good time doing it.  I rate
BIG GAME a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:



TOPIC: The Six Million Dollar Man (letter of comment by Kevin R)

In response to Mark's comments on the Six Million Dollar Man in the
06/19/15 issue of the MT VOID, Kevin R writes:

The 1973 $6m Man would be $32,135,810.81 according to this
inflation calculator:

Now, prices do drop for consumer electronics and other tech, once
we move from prototype to first iteration to popular units and
finally generic knockoffs.  I expect a 2015 Steve Austin would have
feature creep, and as much prototype in him as the older version,
so $6B Man will be at the same place on the cost curve.  This is
government military procurement.  F-22 fighters were going for $150
millioan per before that line was shut down.

I could totally see OSP planning to spend $32 M and winding up in
the $6B territory.

"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real
money." --attributed to Sen Everett Dirkson, (R-Illinois)  [-kr]

Kevin later amends:


That "billion here" quote didn't originate w/Sen Ev.

See: or


Evelyn further notes:

In its Dirksen entry, Wikipedia says:


"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real

Although often quoted, it seems Dirksen never actually said this.
The Dirksen Congressional Research Center made an extensive search
when fully 25% of enquiries to them were about the quotation.  They
could find Dirksen did say "a billion here, a billion there", and
things close to that, but not the "pretty soon you're talking real
money" part.  They had one gentleman report to them he had asked
Dirksen about it on an airflight and received the reply: "Oh, I
never said that.  A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I
thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it."



TOPIC: Pluto and New Horizons (comment by Gregory Frederick)

NASA's New Horizons' spacecraft will fly by Pluto and its five
moons around July 14th.  I am sure the news media will cover at
least some of this event.  Humans have never seen the surface of
Pluto before.  It should have some interesting data and photos
coming back from this mission.  New Horizons is about 4.6 billion
miles from Earth.  This spacecraft was launched back in 2006 and is
the fastest spacecraft ever launched by humans so far.  [-gf]


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

ALPHABETICAL by Michael Rosen (ISBN 978-1-848-54888-6) covers each
letter of the alphabet--the history of its various forms, its
pronunciation, which letters it can combine with (e.g., you can
have "cl", but not "cj"), and so on, along with a longer discussion
of a topic about the alphabet which starts with that letter (e.g.,
"C Is for Ciphers").

My two favorite topics were "D Is for Disappeared Letters" and "Z
Is for Zipcodes" (which covers alphabetical order as well).
There are seven letters that have disappeared from Anglo-Saxon as
it became English:
- thorn (looks like a lower-case 'p', is pronounced "th", is
retained in Icelandic, the HTML is þ)
- wynn (looks like a flag, is pronounced "w", HTML is ƿ,
displayed as ƿ)
- yogh (looks like '3', is pronounced as a hard, gutteral "ch",
the HTML is ȝ, displayed as ȝ)
- ash (ae ligature, is pronounced "ee", is retained in several
Scandinavian languages, the HTML is æ)
- eth (looks like a 'D' with a slash, is pronounced "th", is
retained in Icelandic and Faroese, the HTML is ð)
- insular g (looks like a combination of '3' and lower-case delta,
pronunciation varies, is retained in Gaelic, the HTML is
- ethel (oe ligature, is pronounced "ee", the HTML is œ)

Other languages have disappeared letters as well, at least of a
sort.  In Spanish, for example, 'ch' and 'll' were letters in their
own right, recited in the alphabet and all, until 1994,
which the Real Academia de Espanol declared that they were now
simply sounds formed by placing two separate letters together.  The
'enya' (not the singer, but 'n' with a tilde over it) is still
around as its own letter (which is a bit ironic, since it was
derived from a double 'n' which had been "shortened" by writing one
'n' above the other.)  The 'c' with a cedilla was dropped earlier
from Spanish, but Catalan and Portuguese retain it.  (And
apparently 'rr' was considered a separate letter in the Americas,
but not in Spain.)

No one knows who invented alphabetical order (in the sense that
there was a specific order to the letters), but Zenodotus was the
first to use it in a library, in Ephesus in the third century
B.C.E.  (He also apparently invented the idea of putting the name
of the author, the title, and the subject of each scroll on a tag
on the end so you would not have to unroll it to find out what it
was.)  A couple of hundred years later, Marcus Terentius Varro
catalogued Rome's public library using alphabetical order.

A couple of millennia later Melvil Dewey came up with a new
cataloguing system.  Unless the rise of computers and search
engines, however, most people still needed to use alphabetical
order to navigate the card catalog that told you where to find the
particular book, author, or topic you were looking for.  (Not
always--I memorized early on that math was in the 510s, English
literature the 810s, and American literature the 820s.  But these
vague locations helped only in small libraries, or sparsely
populated topics.)  Only fiction--and to a lesser extent biography-
-was left untouched.  Even then, libraries started dividing fiction
into "Fiction", "Mysteries", "Science Fiction", and so on, making
the catalog necessary for those as well.  And the Library of
Congress classification system treats fiction and non-fiction

Now (as I noted) search engines have made knowing alphabetical order
largely unnecessary.  Still, if one wishes to organize physical
objects--books by author, canned goods by name, DVDs by movie
title--alphabetical order seems to be the clear winner (Bill
Higgins's "Chromatic Bookshelf" to the contrary notwithstanding).
One still has to deal with Ace doubles, whether it is "chick peas"
or "garbanzos" or "ceci beans", and those multi-movie DVD packs,
but that's a whole other issue.

A quirk Rosen addresses is the two lower-case forms of some
letters, in particular 'a' and 'g'.  He refers to these as "one-
storey" and "two-storey" versions.  The lower-case 'a' and 'g' we
learn to print (circles with a vertical line on the right side,
which in the case of 'g' is elongated below the line and provided
with a "hook") are "one-storey"; the ones we often see in print are
"two-storey." (The 'g' with its two ovals in particular derives
from the Garamond typeface.  The 'a' has the vertical line rising
above the circle and curving to form an "awning.")

My least favorite chapter might be "X" because he makes two glaring
mistakes in it.  He says that "x" is used for the vertical axis on
a graph.  That is just wrong; it is the horizontal axis, and where
are all the copy editors these days?  And he writes of the cross of
St. Andrew (which is X-shaped rather than upright), "You can also
make this use of 'X' with your arms and I'm fairly sure that I've
seen a terrified gravedigger keep Dracula at bay (as played by
Christopher Lee) with this 'hex sign'."  Wrong again--in none of
the seven films in which Christopher Lee played Dracula did this
happen.  For starters, Dracula does not hang around cemeteries all
that much.  He prefers his coffin to be above ground, where it is
easier to get in and out of.  In fact, I cannot remember ever
seeing Christopher Lee's Dracula in a graveyard.  [-ecl]


                                           Mark Leeper

           In a very real sense, people who read good
           literature have lived more than people who
           cannot or will not read. It is not true that
           we have only one life to live; if we can read,
           we can live as many more lives and as many
           kinds of lives as we wish.
                                           --S. I. Hayakawa