Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
08/09/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 6, Whole Number 2079

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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        Claims (comments by Mark R. Leeper)
        ODE TO JOY (film review by Mark R. Leeper)
        THE MUMMY and Imhotep (letter of comment by Dorothy J. Heydt,
                Gary McGath, and Sam Long)
        DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (letter of comment by Paul Dormer)
        Correction on Linguistics Article (letter of comment
                by Paul Dormer)
        This Week's Reading (AHAB'S RETURN) (book comments
                by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Claims (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

My, don't we live in a very empowering world where you can do vey
mush as much as much as you want if you have money enough.  Great
strides have been made in the science of getting what you want
whether you deserve it or not.

Every morning I can find in my email inbox just scads of pieces of
email intended to convince me that I have to act now to get some
huge fund.  And I should not tell anyone.  But one will get a
"good" ploy (for some evil meaning of good) and very soon they are
all saying that this is my fourth and last chance to contact you.
Each had started their mail the same way.  They are 38 years old
and dying of cancer.  They want the reader to distribute their
estate of 32 million dollars.  If I do not contact them now or even
wait until I finish that cup of tea I will be too late.  Three days
later almost all of the incoming spam-mail will be using the
"already contacted you..." ploy.  I guess there is no effective
copyright for Internet scammers.

And there is also a thriving sub-science of deceptive phrasing so
that everybody will think you said one thing when you have said one
thing and you have actually said something different.  Say you go
to a PuckerBurger and you see that sign that says, "Every
PuckerBurger is made with 100% pure Angus beef."  That sounds
pretty good, doesn't it?  You have mental images of a big juicy
piece of ground Angus sizzling away on an outdoor grill.  So what
is the truth?  Did I say the PuckerBurger was made *OF* 100% pure
Angus?  No, I did not, sir.  I said made *WITH* 100% pure Angus?
Suppose if after eating in a real restaurant the chef had a bit of
real Angus stuck in his teeth.  And somehow that bitsy-bit ended in
a burger.  Then there in the burger is a very tiny bit of pure
Angus.  So the PuckerBurger was made with 100% pure Angus.  So the
sign told the truth.  The burger had been made with 100% pure
Angus.  It was just not much of it.

I have seen more and more films that say at the beginning "Inspired
by a true story."  Who is to say what the authors' inspiration was?
Perhaps seeing a cockroach run across his floor got the writer
thinking about the life of Monet.  The statement can never be
disproved.  You cannot prove what was or was not the inspiration.
I think the gentle science telling lies is going to be with us a
long time.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: ODE TO JOY (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: The strange medical condition portrayed in the film is a
real thing.  Charlie has cataplexy, one form of narcolepsy, which
drops Charlie into a seizure as a reaction to any strong emotion,
especially that of joy.  Charlie has long suffered from cataplexy.
His friends and family know how to take care of Charlie whenever
his neurological condition suddenly knocks him unconscious.  And
Charlie knows that though he envies his friends who can enjoy their
friends and family he can never enjoy normal relationships with
them.  Directed by: Jason Winer; Written by: Max Werner.  Rating:
+2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

I have to admit that I have always found the titling of Beethoven's
Ninth Symphony just a bit puzzling.  Why would we need an "Ode to
Joy"?  I would have thought that joy was the one commodity that
just about everyone would be in favor of.  We all love joy.  We may
get it from a wide variety of different means and sources, but what
good is life if not for the getting of joy?  It is this right is
even in the United States Declaration of Independence.  We only
write odes to things of controversial value, notably something like
a Grecian Urn.  But in the film ODE TO JOY, we meet a man who
paradoxically does not get joy from joy and love.  Charlie suffers
from a form of narcolepsy that makes him sleep when he feels happy.

Charlie is a little nebbish librarian who suffers from cataplexy.
He works in the Brooklyn public library.  Charlie has worked out a
number of clever tricks to depress himself when he needs to in an
emergency. People who know Charlie like him, but there are not many
of these friends.  One day a couple arguing over their personal
relationship and who are breaking up wander into the library for a
place to argue.  The woman is stunning dark-haired woman and
Charlie would like to meet her.  But he dares not start on a path
that will lead him to constant seizures.

Charlie's cataplexy forces him to avoid getting joy from his own
joy and love.  He has cataplexy.  This is a subject matter that
creates some unique writing problems for the writer, Max Werner.
Market forces require that it will be more or less necessary for
Werner to put a happy ending on this film.  This would require the
lead character to be in a happy situation, a situation that gives
him a certain amount of joy.  But the rules of this universe do not
allow Charlie to experience joy.  So how is Werner going to have a
happy ending?  Or will he forgo the customary happy ending? Charley
is played by Martin Freeman, which makes him one of the few British
actors of his age who was not in Harry Potter.  He did, however,
play Watson in SHERLOCK.

This story (in unusual form) first appeared in very different form)
as a chapter of the THIS AMERICAN LIFE podcast, "I've Fallen In
Love and I Can't Get Up."  Below I provide a link for the episode,
which told the story of Matt Frerking on whom this film's Charlie
is very, *very* loosely based.  I rate ODE TO JOY a +2 (-4 to +4)
or 7/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:



TOPIC: THE MUMMY and Imhotep (letter of comment by Dorothy
J. Heydt, Gary McGath, and Sam Long)

[This all relates to a discussion I could have had with a young
horror film fan.  -mrl]

In response to Mark's comments on THE MUMMY in the 08/02/19 issue
of the MT VOID, Dorothy J. Heydt writes:

Mark wrote, "The first Mummy movie was made in 1932.  That makes it
a good deal older than your mother.  The movie was called THE
MUMMY.' It starred Boris Karloff who at the time was famous for
having made some scary movies."  [-mrl]

And revealed himself to be capable of portraying himself as a
romantic lover more expertly than anyone save maybe Valentino.  And
nobody seems to have noticed.  [-djh]

But Gary McGath writes:

Juanita Coulson noticed, as her song "The Mummy Shuffle" shows.

Dorothy responds:

Well, good for her.  I have never heard it, and a quickish google
does not reveal any sites with the lyrics.  Which is
understandable, if she wishes to preserve copyright.  But shucks.

Evelyn adds:

"The Mummy Shuffle" was nominated for a Pegasus Award for "Best
Love Song" in 1991.  The song was included on the filk CD for the
2002 Windycon.

Mark found the lyrics on

     Way back in the thirties, when I was young and green,
     Each weekday seemed so endless, my impatience oh so keen.
     And then, oh boy! came Saturday; I rushed to see the matinee,
     The cowboys, the cops, and -- make my day -- those monsters on
         the screen.
     Yes, they were really thrilling, no other could compare,
     From Frankie's shambling nightmare to the guy who grew wolf
     But the one who stole my heart and soul (what a role to end all
         roles) --
     The guy in rags from top to toe, the answer to my prayer.

     Oh, Kharis, Kharis --
     That meanderin', molderin' pile of bandages puts me in a whirl!
     Kharis, oh, Kharis --
     I sure hanker to be his Princess Ananka; I wanna be his girl!

Let me note here that in THE MUMMY Karloff played Imhotep, while
Kharis was the Mummy in the four sequels (THE MUMMY'S HAND, THE
by Tom Tyler in the first and Lon Chaney, Jr., in the other three.
So technically "The Mummy Shuffle" is not about Karloff at all.

In response to Mark's comments on Imhotep in the 08/02/19 issue of
the MT VOID, Sam Long writes:

Regarding the item about THE MUMMY, I'm told that Imhotep was the
first person known to have expressed an opinion; hence the
abbreviation IMHO.  [-sl]

Mark responds:

In My Humble Opinion That's Extremely Possible.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (letter of comment by Paul Dormer)

In response to Evelyn's review of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE in the
08/02/19 issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:

I remember a few years ago I was at a party and Colin Greenland was
there and he was saying that he'd just re-read the book and he'd
realised that although it's supposedly set in London, Stevenson
didn't know London very well and basically set it all in Edinburgh
with the names changed.  I have since re-read it myself, but I
can't say I recognised Edinburgh, but it didn't feel like Victorian
London either as you'd find in Dickens, say.  [-pd]


TOPIC: Correction on Linguistics Article (letter of comment by Paul

In response to Evelyn's correction on the linguistics article in
the 08/02/19 issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:

Evelyn wrote, "I was under the impression that the entire web site
was by Geoffrey Pullum, based on the Home page, but apparently I
mis-read it.  The site (and quote) are Lynne Murphy's."  [-ecl]

And I see how you might have thought that.

Currently, the first entry on the home page is a review of a book.
The book is by Pullum, but the review is by Murphy.

And once again, I recommend Murphy's book THE PRODIGAL TONGUE about
the friction between British English and American English.  [-pd]


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

AHAB'S RETURN: OR, THE LAST VOYAGE by Jeffrey Ford (ISBN 978-0-06-
267900-0) has the premise that not only Ishmael, but also Ahab (and
one other) survived the sinking of the Pequod.  All three end up in
New York City.  There is a lot of atmosphere of the 1850s New York,
especially the Five Points area, and of the condition of African-
Americans in that time and place, and of the sensationalist
newspapers, and so on.  There is also a level of the fantastic in
the story.  There is perhaps less than one might want about Ahab
himself, who seems more a framework for the story than an active

Not surprisingly, AHAB'S RETURN is not up to the level of MOBY-
DICK; who could expect it to be?  But it actually depends very
little on MOBY-DICK.  The three "continuing characters" could be
from any whaling voyage--and it's not even clear you need a whaling
voyage.  On the other hand, it is worth reading in its own right.


                                           Mark Leeper

           Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the
           only books I have in my library are books that other
           folk have lent me.
                                           --Anatole France