Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
07/26/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 4, Whole Number 2077

Co-Editor: Mark Leeper,
Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper,
All material is the opinion of the author and is copyrighted by the
author unless otherwise noted.
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        "American Masters: Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin" on PBS
        Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
                Lectures, etc. (NJ)
        My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in August (comments
                by Mark R. Leeper)
        CREATING WOODSTOCK (letters of comment by Paul Dormer
                and Dorothy J. Heydt)
        This Week's Reading ("The Man Who Sold the Moon" and
                EARLY RISER) (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: "American Masters: Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin" on PBS

"American Masters: Worlds of Ursula K. LeGuin" will be on PBS
Friday, August 2, at 9PM.  (Well, it will be on WNET in NY/NJ, but
I assume a major program like this will be running on all major PBS
stations.  [-ecl]


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

August 8, 2019: FIRST MEN IN THE MOON (1964) & THE FIRST MEN IN
        THE MOON by H. G. Wells, Middletown Public Library, 5:30PM
September 26, 2019: LAGOON by Nnedi Okorafor, Old Bridge Public
        Library, 7PM
November 21, 2019: THE SLEEPER AWAKES by H. G. Wells (1910),
        Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
January 23, 2020: TBD from Europe/Latin America/Canada,
        Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
March 26, 2020: TBD by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Old Bridge Public
        Library, 7PM
May 28, 2020: TBD from Europe/Latin America/Canada,
        Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
July 23, 2020: TBD by Jules Verne
September 24, 2020: TBD from Europe/Latin America/Canada,
        Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
November 19, 2020: Rudyard Kipling:
     "A Matter of Fact" (1892)
     "The Ship That Found Herself" (1895)
     ".007" (1897)
     "Wireless" (1902)
     "With the Night Mail [Aerial Board of Control 1]" (1905)
     "As Easy as A.B.C. [Aerial Board of Control 2]" (1912)
     "In the Same Boat" (1911)
        Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM

Northern New Jersey events are listed at:


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

It has been years since I have seen THE MORTAL STORM (1940), and I
think I saw it only once, but it was a jaw-dropper.  It is a story
set in a village in Germany.  Fascism comes to the village and
suddenly things are just not so pleasant any longer.  When Nazism
gets power it turns good friends into mortal enemies.  Perhaps the
strangest aspect of the film is the casting.

Now to tell the story the film needed familiar actors, many with
likeable screen personas, who ad to play Nazis and those characters
had to play their roles as despicable.  This includes Robert Young
(of TV's FATHER KNOWS BEST) and Dan Daily as a Nazi Hitler Youth
bully.  And there are a host of others from the positive side of
the tracks, like Frank Morgan (of THE WIZARD OF OZ).  The cast must
have better than a dozen or more familiar actors.

It is really strange to see someone you have always seen cast in
roles like the fri3ndly old postman spouting Fascist rhetoric.  The
film is a warning of what the world could expect from the fascist
dictators who were just about then coming to power and who would be
responsible for millions of deaths in the years to shortly come.

The German Ambassador to the United States asked Louis B. Mayer to
"think twice" before releasing this movie. Meyer did and then
released it anyway.  Germany banned importing any MGM films while
the Third Reich was in power.

The trailers were produced trying to NOT tell the ticket buyer what
it was about.  What was it about?  It was about life in a happy
little Germanic country and how things change when the Nazis come
to power.

These days the film has become a real rarity.  TCM has not shown
the film since 2004.

Oh, I should mention that the film stars Jimmy Stewart and Margaret
Sullivan.  Also featured are Robert Stack, Maria Ouspenskaya, and
Ward Bond.


Again Evelyn sends along films of interest:

6     Tuesday
11:00 PM  Cabin in the Sky (1943)

7     Wednesday
8:00 PM Harvey (1950)

8     Thursday
11:15 PM  Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951)

13     Tuesday
6:30 PM  Quatermass Xperiment, The (1956)

14     Wednesday
4:00 AM  Heaven Only Knows (1947)
6:00 AM  Night Visitor, The (1971)
7:45 AM  Lost Horizon (1972)

18     Sunday

19     Monday
8:00 PM  Great Buster: A Celebration, The (2018)

20     Tuesday
12:00 PM  Enchanted Cottage, The (1945)

22     Thursday
8:00 PM  Freaks (1932)

23     Friday
2:00 AM  Island of Lost Souls (1932)
3:30 AM  Phantom of Paris, The (1931)



TOPIC: CREATING WOODSTOCK (letters of comment by Paul Dormer and
Dorothy J. Heydt)

In response to Mark's review of CREATING WOODSTOCK in the 07/19/19
issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:

[Mark writes,] "I have to give a full disclosure here.  I have
never been a fan of rock music.  In 1969 as well as now I would
have preferred music by Puccini."  [-mrl]

I've often said that I gave up listening to pop music in 1968 as it
was so terrible then.  In practice, this was actually because for
Christmas that year, my parents bought me a pocket radio that
received the BBC classical channel better than any other and I got
hooked on that.

And to clarify, "pop music" appears to mean something slightly
different in British English to what it does in American English.
See Lynne Murphy's explanation in this post:


Evelyn writes:

Since the discussion "pop music" is buried in the middle of a long
page, I'll quote what Geoffrey Pullum says here:

One last musical note, which came up in a conversation with friends
recently, is that pop music has a much broader application in BrE
than in AmE. In my American high school and (AmE) college/(BrE)
university, it was deeply uncool to like 'pop' music, one had to
like (orig. AmE) rock or (orig. AmE) R&B or, later, (orig. AmE)
indie music. (Or jazz or classical, but not pop!) But many of the
British acts that we thought were cool would have been defined (or
would have defined themselves) as pop in Britain. A key difference
may be the fact that the British charts don't categori{s/z}e music
in such strict ways. Whereas the American Billboard magazine
publishes a load of genre charts each week (giving rise to the AmE
phrase crossover artist for someone who charts* in more than one
genre), the UK Singles Chart is not genre-specific and did not
start having genre-specific versions until the 1990s.

Googling the phrase "I'm just a pop star", we find it attributed to
David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and Bjork--but in my American days I
would not have described either of them in that way (especially not
Pink Floyd). I would have limited its use to Britney Spears and 'N
Sync or whatever the (orig. AmE) tweenies were listening to at the
time. I had thought that the uncoolness of pop was what made Pop
Idol into American Idol when it moved across the Atlantic--but
Wikipedia tells me it was legal restrictions instead. Younger
Americans can tell us if pop has redeemed itself in recent years
(comments, please!).  [-gp]

And Dorothy J. Heydt writes:

Heh.  I had a similar experience, somewhat earlier.  I can't pin
down the year exactly, but 1954 or maybe 55, or whenever
rock'n'roll replaced the rather harmless, silly, innocent songs of
"Your Hit Parade".  This was also the time when, having moved to
Kettleman City, where my father was teaching sixth grade and making
more money than ever in his life (because the place was such an
armpit of society that the school *had* to pay big bucks to attract
any teachers at all)--and 33-1/3rmp LP records had just come in,
and my mother bought a phonograph and started subscribing to
Record-of-the-Month or something, and that's when I got into
classical music.  [-djh]


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

Our movie and book discussion group watched DESTINATION MOON in
honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, and read "The Man Who
Sold the Moon" by Robert A. Heinlein.  This story was not the basis
of the movie--that was Heinlein's ROCKET SHIP GALILEO.  Heinlein
also co-wrote the screenplay.  The story, like a lot of Heinlein's
work of that period, is annoying--the main character has a dream of
going to the moon, yes, but he is still basically a greedy
capitalist.  Just as one example, he claims to have a load of
first-day covers that have been postmarked on the moon, when in
actual fact they never went to the moon at all.  That he is
cheating all his customers does not seem to bother him.  Whether
the perpetrators of the Apollo 15 postal covers incident (see
Wikipedia) were inspired by this story or not is unclear, but at
least they actually took the covers to the moon.  One gets the
impression that Heinlein thinks Harriman is the hero of the story,
but if so, he's definitely a flawed hero.

("The Man Who Sold the Moon" is a novella that is the featured
story in the collection of the same title [ISBN 978-0-671-57863-

EARLY RISER by Jasper Fforde (ISBN 978-0-670-02503-9) is not in any
of Fforde's current series, but certainly looks like he's thinking
of starting another one.  It is set in an alternate world in which
winters are much more severe, and the vast majority of people have
to hibernate through them.  (At least this is true in Wales, and
one presumes everywhere, or people could migrate instead of
hibernate.)  Not everyone survives--one has to build up huge
reserves of fat--and there's a mysterious drug that helps people
get through by suppressing energy-consuming dreams.

It may be because I am most familiar with Fforde through his
"Thursday Net" series, in which the first-person narrator is a
woman, but in spite of a few of what seemed to me (admittedly
ambiguous) indications that the first-person narrator here is a
man, I could not help but think of "Charlie" as female.  And
Eleanor Ingbretson found at least one very subtle hint that Charlie
was female.  The ambiguity must have been intentional, because many
reviewers have said they looked for gender clues and found none.
Other reviewers have used gender-specific pronouns in describing
Charlie but, ironically, do not agree on which ones to use.  (In
this sense, EARLY RISER reminded me of Martha Wells's "Murderbot"

To my mind, Fforde has never achieved the heights that his first
novel, THE EYRE AFFAIR, did.  His sequels to that were just not as
fresh, and his other series never appealed to me.  EARLY RISER is
not as good as THE EYRE AFFAIR, but it is enjoyable and witty
enough that I didn't feel I had wasted my time, and I might even
pick up a sequel if one appears, if only to find out if Charlie's
sex gets more specifically defined.  [-ecl]


                                           Mark Leeper

           The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
                                           --Bertrand Russell