Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
06/29/18 -- Vol. 36, No. 52, Whole Number 2021

Co-Editor: Mark Leeper,
Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper,
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        Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
                Lectures, etc. (NJ)
        My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in July (comments
                by Mark R. Leeper)
        PROVENANCE by Ann Leckie (audiobook review by Joe Karpierz)
        APOCALYPSE NYX by Kameron Hurley (book review
                by Joe Karpierz)
        Quidditch (letter of comment by Gwendolyn Karpierz)
        Tim Merrigan, Retro-Hugos, Fanart, Word Usage,
                and Robert A. Heinlein (letter of comment
                by John Hertz)
        Giant Hogweed (letters of comment by Andre Kuzniarek,
                Peter Trei, Paul Dormer, and Kevin R)
        Wonder Woman (letters of comment by Peter Trei, Kevin R,
                Gary McGath, and Tim Merrigan)
        This Week's Reading (THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV and IN THE
                DEVIL'S GARDEN) (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


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

July 12: WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005, Spielberg) and THE MARTIAN WAR:
                AS REPORTED BY MR. H.G. WELLS by Gabriel Mesta
                (Kevin J. Anderson), Middletown Public Library, 5:30 PM
July 26: "Fire Watch" by Connie Willis, Old Bridge (NJ) Public
        Library, 7PM
September 27: Nebula winners for short fiction:
        Novella: ALL SYSTEMS RED, Martha Wells ( Publishing)
        Novelette: "A Human Stain", Kelly Robson ( 1/4/17)
        Short Story: "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian
                Experience(TM)",         Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex 8/17)
                , Old Bridge (NJ) Public

Northern New Jersey events are listed at:


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

I usually try to find films to recommend for this column that are
little known and obscure.  This month I will try to pick films that
should not be completely obscure, but ones that the reader may not
have ever taken the effort to see.  Even the biggest film fan will
have a few good films but which are not around often enough.  They
I feel like talking about some films I particularly like and most
of my readers may feel the same.

This month there are three films that may not be unfamiliar, but I
strongly recommend that any you have not seen you take the

12 ANGRY MEN (1957)

THE APARTMENT is a comedy-drama about a young businessman (Jack
Lemmon) who works at a giant and soulless Manhattan corporation.
Lemmon is raising fast though the ranks.  His secret (literally) is
that all the executives are philandering husbands who look for
places to have their trysts and Lemmon is a bachelor who lives
alone.  By lending out his door key to the executives who rate him
he boosts his rank in the company.  Then he discovers that the
woman the execs are handing around is the elevator operator
(Shirley MacLaine) whom he cares for.  Director Billy Wilder
creates characters and dialog to love.  And Wilder is at the top of
his game with this film.  [Saturday, July 15, 3:15 PM]

Sidney Lumet was just at the start of his career when he directed
the first film version of 12 ANGRY MEN (1957).  He had just
previously directed the TV version of the same play. The plot of
the film may sound a little trite, but the film is solidly
engrossing.  With the exception of the first and last scene the
film takes place entirely in one small jury room.  A Chicano
teenager is on trial for his life for having knifed his father.  A
court appointed lawyer had tried to defend the boy, but in the face
of overwhelming evidence a guilty verdict seems inevitable.  Eleven
jurors are ready to vote guilty.  One juror (Henry Fonda) sees the
final verdict is to be chosen by him and wants to convince the
others that there is still a reasonable doubt the boy is guilty.
As the arguing goes around the table the jurors tell us as much
about themselves as of the crime.  The film is as much about how
people make decisions and how personal prejudices cloud reasoning.
Almost everything in the film suggests "low budget" but the cast is
made of several great actors of the 1960s.  [Saturday, July 7, 6:15

NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) was the first film that Charles
Laughton would direct.  And it was the last film Laughton would
direct.  Most film fans know that this is the first and only film
Laughton was to direct.  There must be a story there because
Laughton did a beautiful job of directing with a terrific, poetic
style.  If you see it look for the beautiful image of Shelley
Winter, strangled and sitting in a topless car at the bottom of a
river.  Look for Robert Mitchum with the letters L O V E tattooed
on the knuckles of one hand and the and letters H A T E on the
other.  Film fans with recognize Laughton as Quasimodo from the
SOULS.  [Monday, July 9, 10:00 PM]

This is a tough month to try to pick out the best film, but I will
Evelyn sends along listings for four small TCM film festivals in

6     Friday
6:15 AM  Green Slime, The (1969)
8:00 AM  Satellite in the Sky (1956)
9:30 AM  From The Earth To The Moon (1958)
11:30 AM  Forbidden Planet (1956)
1:15 PM  Countdown (1968)
3:15 PM  2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
6:00 PM  2010 (1984)

13     Friday
6:15 AM  Dead Men Walk (1943)
7:30 AM  Mysterious Doctor, The (1943)
8:30 AM  Disembodied, The (1957)
9:45 AM  Plague of the Zombies, The (1966)
11:30 AM  Devil's Own, The (1966)
1:15 PM  I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
2:30 PM  Black Magic (1949)
4:30 PM  Hypnotic Eye, The (1960)
6:00 PM  Two On A Guillotine (1965)

23     Monday
6:00 AM  Godzilla (1954)
7:45 AM  Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
9:15 AM  Bowery Boys Meet The Monsters, The (1954)
10:30 AM  Spook Chasers (1957)
11:45 AM  Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)
1:15 PM  Black Scorpion, The (1957)
2:45 PM  Beast From Haunted Cave (1959)
4:00 PM  Bucket of Blood, A (1959)
5:15 PM  House on Haunted Hill (1958)
6:45 PM  Killer Shrews, The (1959)

30     Monday (all Val Lewton)
6:00 AM  Mademoiselle Fifi (1944)
7:30 AM  Seventh Victim, The (1943)
8:45 AM  Ghost Ship, The (1943)
10:00 AM  Bedlam (1946)
11:30 AM  Isle of the Dead (1945)
1:00 PM  Leopard Man, The (1943)
2:15 PM  Please Believe Me (1950)
3:45 PM  Youth Runs Wild (1944)
5:00 PM  Cat People (1942)
6:30 PM  Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows (2007)



TOPIC: PROVENANCE by Ann Leckie (copyright 2017, Orbit, 448pp,
ASIN: B0753HV21Y, ISBN-10: 031638867X, ISBN-13: 978-0316388672,
narrated by Adjoa Andoh) (excerpt from the Duel Fish Codices: an
audiobook review by Joe Karpierz)

In PROVENANCE, Ann Leckie returns to the universe in which her
Imperial Radch trilogy was set.  ANCILLARY JUSTICE, ANCILLARY
SWORD, and ANCILLARY MERCY took the science fiction community by
storm, with ANCILLARY JUSTICE winning the Hugo for Best Novel of
2013 in 2014.  The other two novels were also Hugo finalists, but I
wasn't enamored of them, especially ANCILLARY MERCY.   PROVENANCE
is, I think, a much better book than ANCILLARY MERCY.  While in the
same universe as the trilogy, it is a much more refreshing story.
However, it doesn't match up to ANCILLARY JUSTICE.

PROVENANCE opens after Ingray has freed a prisoner in order to
retrieve the family vestiges.  Vestiges are antiquities of sorts
that are valuable to a family, and generally define what that
family is (I was more comfortable in thinking of them as souvenirs;
you know, things you keep to as a remembrance of an event.  It
worked better for me that way.).  She is trying to outshine her
brother, who currently has her mother's favor.  Ingray is trying to
win favor with her mother to allow her to take the family name in a
sort of dynastic passing of the torch.  Ingray returns home with
the prisoner, who is supposed to have stolen and hidden Ingray's
family vestiges, to find the planet in a bit of a mess and in the
middle of an escalating interstellar conflict.

So, what started out as one story actually turns into another
story.  This is not unusual in any genre, let alone science
fiction. And it works here too.  The story gets complicated, and if
you're not paying attention--as I sometimes was not while listening
to the audio book--you can miss what's actually going on and how
Leckie gets from that opening scene to the end of the story.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I think this story didn't
need to be set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch trilogy.
Yes, it's a wonderfully written, intriguing, and complex story.  As
I've said, there's a lot going on, but I can imagine that Leckie
could have pulled this out of the Radch universe and it would have
worked just as well. It would have been a little more work, surely,
to set up a new universe for this story to be set in, but other
authors do just that all the time without missing a beat.  I
obviously cannot speak for why Leckie set it where she did, but I
would have liked to see her use her creativity again to come up
with a new setting.

I made an earlier remark about not paying attention to the book.  I
cannot attribute that to the narration of Adjoa Andoh. She was a
wonder reader for this book, changing voices seamlessly (I don't
know anything about audio book production, but it seems to me that
Andoh must have read the various parts separately and then the
producers spliced (oh, THERE'S an old term for you) it all together
to make the book.).  No, I think that at times I lost interest in
what was going on in the narrative, which is odd because I did say
it is a good story.  I don't know if that says anything about me or
about the story itself.

If you're a fan of Ann Leckie and her work, you'll certainly enjoy
this.  Had I come upon this book without have read the previous
trilogy, I think I would have enjoyed this as well.  I did enjoy it
anyway, just not as much as some other things I've read recently.
Still, I'd recommend giving it a try.  Odds are you'll enjoy it.


TOPIC: APOCALYPSE NYX by Kameron Hurley (copyright 2018, Tachyon
Publications, 228pp, ASIN: B0778PVLMM, print ISBN 978-1-61696-294-
4, Digital ISBN 978-1-61696-295-1) (book review by Joe Karpierz)

Kameron Hurley is yet another one of those authors that I've read
and heard a lot about.  She has a regular column that appears in
"Locus" magazine, where she writes about, well, just about
anything.  Up until now, her Locus columns are the only items of
hers that I've read.  I wasn't quite sure where to break in with
reading her fiction; THE STARS ARE LEGION is her most recent novel
and highly thought of in the field, so I've thought about starting
there.  The "Bel Dame Apocrypha"--a trilogy consisting of GOD'S
WAR, INFIDEL, and RAPTURE, didn't seem like it was for me.  Now
that I've read APOCALYPSE NYX, however, it may be time to at the
very least add GOD'S WAR to my to-be-read list.

Apocalypse Nyx is a collection of five novellas in the Bel Dame
Apocrypha universe.  Nyx--full name Nyxnissa so Dasheem--is the
titular character of the stories.  She is a bounty hunter, a former
Bel Dame, a sort of government assassin.  Now Nyx and her team take
jobs for money.  She typically retrieves items, but sometimes she
ends up solving problems.  But just about all the time, the job is
nasty, dirty, and bloody.  And so is she.

The setting for the stories is a planet engulfed in what seems to
be a never-ending war.  The place is so dystopic it you'd find a
picture of it next to the word dystopia in the dictionary.  Or
maybe you'd find a picture of it in an article that is trying to
define apocalyptic.  This place is mean and, well, weird.  Bugs
that seem to be everywhere and do everything, from power modes of
transportation, to heal injuries under direction of magicians
(mysterious people who demonstrate unusual powers in an otherwise
(somewhat) rational world), to act as all sorts of weapons.  There
are shape shifters too.  Nyx's band of misfits includes these and a
couple of others, a young communications technician as well as
someone who should probably be thought of as a sharp shooter.

Nyx is a dubious character at best.  Her methods are, well, less
than savory.  She is violent and angry.  She is trying to survive
in the world, while at the same time trying to make it a better
place.  She gets involved in straightforward retrieval jobs, as
well as morally questionable tasks, and manages to get involved in
the middle of a dispute between members of a powerful family.
She's just trying to do the best she can in a world that is out to
get everybody.  She has a nasty reputation, and, as I gather from
these stories, the reputation is well deserved.

Still, deep down underneath that facade, there appears to be a
decent person just dying to get out.  If she were your manager at
work, you'd quit in a heartbeat.  She is mean and heartless, and on
the outside doesn't seem to care about the people in her employ.
The job may come first--after all, the money is the most important
thing when you're trying to survive in this world--but the people
that help you complete that job are important.  On the surface, she
doesn't care about her team.  She constantly threatens them with
bodily harm or expulsion from the team.  But when the team is in
danger, she just can't bring herself to follow through on her
threats.  It seems to me that she was damaged during her life as a
Bel Dame, but doesn't want to admit it.  Rather, she goes through
life projecting a bravado that seems to be hiding something deep

As I said, there are five stories in this collection.  The first
two are my favorites; "The Body Project" and "The Heart is Eaten
Last" are more than a bit violent and brutal, but like all the
other stories in this collection ("Soulbound", "Crossroads at
Jannah", and "Paint It Red") there are morals to be told and
lessons to be learned, both by Nyx *and* the reader. Each one will
have you walking away thinking that you didn't see that coming.

Even though this book is being released in the summer, this is not
light summer reading--unless you like your beach reading with a
healthy dose of blood, violence, and snarky dialogue.  If you do,
then this book is for you.  [-jak]


TOPIC: Quidditch (letter of comment by Gwendolyn Karpierz)

In response to Evelyn's comments on Quidditch in the 06/22/18 issue
of the MT VOID, Gwendolyn Karpierz writes:

Re: Quidditch--people make this complaint about the snitch an awful
lot, and while I don't disagree, I've always gotten the idea that
most of the Quidditch we see is played by teenagers, and thus is
not really at a level the sport is meant to be played, so scores
rarely get high enough for there to be much debate over whether
catching the snitch is a win or not.  Playing at the professional
level is a whole different game.  The one professional match we
see, it's indicated that Viktor Krum knew the other team (Ireland)
was so good that his team would never catch up, no matter how long
the game went on, so rather than seeing his team lose by several
hundred embarrassing points in long drawn out agony, he wanted to
exert at least a little power and take it into his own hands--but
it was a close defeat that way.  In a match with less discrepancy
between teams, the snitch's catch makes a lot more difference.

There's also an indication that, at least at Hogwarts and quite
probably in the professional Cup, the number of points you have at
the end of the match determines where you fall in the lineup for
the final results.  In one of the books, Harry had it pounded into
his head that if he caught the snitch and won the match, but won it
by less than 50 (I think? That might not be the right number),
they'd win the match but not the Cup.  The number of points the
snitch contributes thus could make the difference between first and
second place in relation to the other teams.

I'm by no means arguing that the snitch is a perfect invention or
that JKR couldn't have done it better, but I justify it to myself
with the knowledge that, watching four teams of teenagers, we never
really got to see it at its full potential.  [-gmk]


TOPIC: Tim Merrigan, Retro-Hugos, Fanart, Word Usage, and Robert A.
Heinlein (letter of comment by John Hertz)

In response to various comments in past issues of the MT VOID, John
Hertz writes:

I'm glad to see comments from Tim Merrigan [on squid, 03/23/18].
He had a long valorous run as Official Collator of APA-L for which
I and others are grateful.

In MT VOID 2009 (v. 36 n. 40, 6 Apr) E says there were no
fanartists in 1942, the year we're considering for Retro-Hugos.
Fortunately for us all this is untrue.  Unfortunately for the
Retro-Hugos too few people seem to have noticed.  The category
appeared on the nominating ballot, but not the voting ballot,
presumably because not enough nominations were received; we'll know
when the analysis is published: meanwhile the electronic may study

I took the FANAC scans--for which I and others are grateful--or
should be--into account when nominating; anyway I had no trouble
(other than the usual difficulty of pondering) naming my full five
(N.B. under the current rules we may each nominate five, from all
which the administrators compile six finalists--or possibly more in
case of ties).

We've failed that fine fanart.  But we can still admire it.  Among
the greatnesses of history is that it can be revisited.

This seems a good place to say again that I favor "fanart" and
"fanwriting".  A girlfriend or boyfriend is not merely a girl or a
boy who is a friend.

It would be an extraordinary ballot that struck no one as sadly
omittive.  I Particularly wish this year's Retro-Hugo finalists had
included, outside the fan categories, Alex Raymond for Best Pro
Artist on the strength of FLASH GORDON, and Frank Belknap Long's
"To Follow Knowledge" for Best Novelette, that strange masterwork
by that strange master (see my note at (see my note at ).
P.S. (MT VOID 2011, v. 36 n. 42, 20 Apr)  "Oblivious" means "having
forgotten", not "blind to".  Why reach for a ten-dollar word--which
doesn't do what you want--with a penny one at hand--which does?

P.P.S. Your joke (same page) "Someone who jumps into taxis in New
York City very soon gets shot" supports "An armed society is a
polite society", which you didn't like in BEYOND THIS HORIZON (MT
VOID, v. 36 n. 43, 17 Apr)--where, incidentally, the author leaves
many signs he's satirizing the world he describes--which haters and
lovers of Heinlein both deem crimethinkful to suppose, as I've long
bemoaned.  [-jh]

Evelyn replies:

While the OED defines "oblivious" only as "having forgotten", every
modern dictionary I checked also has "blind to" (or more
specifically, "unaware of" or other synonyms) as a secondary (or
even primary meaning.  "Silly" used to mean happy or blessed;
anyone who persists in using it to convey this meaning will be
virtually universally misunderstood.

And I would definitely label "omittive" and "crimethinkful" as ten-
dollar words. :-)

As for the taxis, the joke was Mark's, the Heinlein observation
mine.  (The joke also referred to jumping into an already occupied
taxi, rather than a free one.)  [-ecl]


TOPIC: Giant Hogweed (letters of comment by Andre Kuzniarek, Peter
Trei, Paul Dormer, and Kevin R)

In response to Mark's comments on the giant hogweed in the 06/22/18
issue of the MT VOID, Andre Kuzniarek writes:

Regarding the Giant Hogweed invasion, here's the musical from
almost 50 years ago:

        (alternate remixed and illustrated)


Peter Trei writes:

It's an import from New Zealand, and has been endemic in Europe
and the US for the better part of a century.

The comparison to the triffid is long standing, and has even
reached genre fiction:

"Charlotte MacLeod, 1985: 'The Curse of the Giant Hogweed'"


And Paul Dormer adds:

As others have said, long been a problem in Europe.  I remember it
making the headlines in the UK back in the early seventies.  A guy I
worked with said his son had gone fishing and walked through the
plants, pushing the stems away with his bare arms.  Got nasty burns on
them the next day.  And I did hear that kids found the long hollow
stems idea for making pea shooters, and getting burnt lips, but that
may be apocryphal.  There was a conductor called Christopher Hogwood
who presented a programme on BBC radio at that time, and he once
reported seeing the misprint he'd been dreading, about dangerous
Hogwood.  [-pd]

Kevin R suggests:

There's your next SyFy network "classic."

"Giant Hogweed v Kudzilla!"



TOPIC: Wonder Woman (letters of comment by Peter Trei, Kevin R,
Gary McGath, and Tim Merrigan)

In response to Mark's comments on Wonder Woman in the 06/22/18
issue of the MT VOID, Peter Treiwrites:

WW was created by William Marston (also inventor of the polygraph)
and his wife during WW2, explicitly as a strong female role model.
I will coyly mentiond that Marston, his wife, and their lover had
an 'interesting' home life.

Wikipedia mentions that WW has an Achilles Heel--if her 'bracelets
of submission' are chained together by a man, she loses her
superstrength.  I'm hardly a comics maven, but I've *never* seen
this used.  [-pt]

Kevin R replies:

The "chain the bracelets" idea is from the Golden Age.  It was
eased out after the Comics Code was instituted.  They are reminder
of how Herakles tricked Hippolyta (Hippolyte) by romancing her.

If an Amazon's bracelets are removed she's not powerless, but
loses self-control, not unlike the "berserker rage" Lee and Kirby
would refer to in their Mighty Thor stories.

ABC-TV toned the bracelets weakness down, by replacing the
"bound by a man" bit to with "steal WW's belt/"magic girdle,"
which was what Herc was sent to do to her mother.  [-kr]

Gary McGath also responds:

MAD's parody in the Fifties did something which may have been an
allusion to that. The villain declared that it was physically
impossible for her to bounce bullets off her bracelets without
suffering damage and threatened to quit the story.  She gave up her
bracelets in deference to logic, and then he was able to beat her
up.  [-gmg]

Kevin answers:

Nivlem did worse to Woman Wonder in the final panel!

Elder! Kurtzman!  A fannish beanie copter hat!
Tim Merrigan replies to the original article:

"Wonder Woman was just not a science-fiction-based hero like
Superman.  What good is a superhero who does not feed my lust for
science fiction?"  [-mrl]

Interesting article, but I LOLed at this.  Got the fiction right,
the science, not so much.  Flies with no visible, or otherwise,
means of support (Wonder Woman has her invisible plane), capable of
moving (significantly) faster than a photon, capable of picking up
tall buildings, and other things bigger than himself, with no
damage to them, unless he wants them damaged (I call it his
structural integrity field), capable of projecting beams from his
eyes in at least low intensity x-ray (no one he looks at gets
radiation sickness, of course, that could be part of the structural
integrity field) and he's capable of focusing the back scatter, and
intense infra red, his powers come from the color of the star the
planet he's on orbits, etc.

At least they were up front with Wonder Woman, claiming that she's
a demigod, daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus.  As to her
accoutrements, I don't remember a shield, and those weren't
gauntlets, they were/are the cuffs of slave shackles.  Also you
didn't mention, though I did above, her invisible plane.  [-tm]

Peter notes:

Last year a movie was released about Marston, his wife, and their
girlfriend: "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women".  [-pt]

Kevin R replies:

The original, Siegel/Shuster version of Superman had a powerset and
explanation more on the order John Carter, Aarn Munro and/or Hugo
Danner.  "Power inflation" set in early as "The Man of Tomorrow"
had to top his earlier feats and those of such early competitors
that his lawyers couldn't scare into leaving the field or win
lawsuits against.  [Wonder Man, Master Man, et al.]  You want to
see magical science in early super-character stories?  Check out

WW doesn't pick up the shield, or sword until the 1986 reboot after
the "Crisis On Infinite Earths," courtesy of George Perez and Len
Wein.  They brought back a lot of the mythological elements, and
tweaked them a bit, referring to Ares and Hermes rather than Mars
and Mercury, as the Marston/Peter stories did in the 1940s, for

 has the first cover
with Diana up-armored to face a more dangerous than usual foe.

There have been many takes on the character in the past seven
decades.  [-kr]


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

I have written about synchronicity before and, okay, you are sick
of hearing about it, but this is too good to pass up.

The other day I was listening to the podcast "Classical Stuff You
Should Know", in particular, the episode about "The Grand
Inquisitor" segment of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV by Fyodor Dostoesky
(ISBN 978-0-140-44924-2).  Because the three podcasters are
teachers at a Christian academy, they delved into the theology
fairly deeply.  One claimed that the temptations offered to Jesus
by Satan were the ability to provide the necessities of life to his
followers, miracles to prove his claims, and the unity of
fellowship for the world.  A discussion of whether Christianity had
achieved this unity ensued, in which it was observed that though
there are a lot of Christians, they are divided into larger and
smaller denominations.  As an example, one cited the final split
between the Eastern and Western churches in 1054 over the correct
content and method of baking the Communion bread.  (I bet you did
not know that was the final straw!)

Then, not an hour later, I picked up IN THE DEVIL'S GARDEN: A
345-44016-7), a book about food taboos.  I was reading the chapter
on foods that supposedly generate anger (and hence were often
forbidden), and got to a section on cannibalism, when what should I
run into but a long explanation of the symbolism of Communion, and
an explanation of the dispute between the Eastern and Western
churches over the Communion bread?!  [-ecl]


                                           Mark Leeper

           An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile -- hoping it
           will eat him last.
                                           --Winston Churchill