Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
09/27/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 13, Whole Number 2086

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 October (comments
                by Mark R. Leeper)
        THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION edited by Hannu Rajaniemi
                and Jacob Weisman (book review by Joe Karpierz)
        Classical Music (letter of comment by Keith F. Lynch,
                Paul Dormer, and Fred Lerner)
        Retro Hugos, "The Man Who Sold the Moon", and TYPEE
                (letter of comment by Taras Wolansky)
        Kasha and AUGGIE (letter of comment by John Purcell)
                RUSSIA, AND POLAND) (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


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

        by Shirley Jackson, Middletown Public Library, 5:30PM
        (**note date change**!)
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: CLIPPER OF THE CLOUDS by Jules Verne (a.k.a.
        published by Ace in 1961 in an omnibus titled MASTER OF THE
        WORLD, which is the title of the sequel), Old Bridge Public
        Library, 7PM
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 October (comments by
Mark R. Leeper)

Well, it is almost October, my favorite month on TCM.  Anywhere else
the TCM programming lineup for October would be spectacular.  But
more each year most of the films are familiar or common.  As with
other years I suggest you look over the lineup and you will know
which films are not familiar.  Look for the films you have never
seen before.  This year only one of my recommendations is Halloween

I don't know why it took me so long to see NIGHT AND THE CITY.  I
had seen most of the best-known films done in the style of Film
Noir, but never got around to seeing this one.  If you have any
interest in noir-ish films, this is one of the best.  Richard
Widmark plays London low-life Harry Fabian who will do nothing
unless he stands to profit from it.  He can have a charismatic
style, but is willing to cheat anyone, friend, enemy, whatever, to
realize his ridiculous moneymaking schemes.  He never gives any
thought to whom he is hurting, including his own wife.  By chance
he runs into a classic-style wrestler and immediately he knows how
to exploit him.

But what makes this film work so well is whom Widmark hurts.  Jules
Dassin directs the film.  The film turns on just a request to open
a window, and that scene is heartbreaking.  The film was
beautifully shot by one Mutz Green Baum.  The noir elements are
enjoyable but the plot makes this a classic.  Mutz effectively uses
Dutch corners to create an effective noir mood.  This is my choice
for best of the month.


Back in 1971 when Hammer Films ruled the international roost of the
horror film Tigon Films, a very small me-too production company,
was making some quality history/horror films.  They made
following it they make BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW a.k.a. SATAN'S SKIN.

In the 1600s a farmer plowing his field overturns something seeming
alien, a piece of Satan's skin.  It can corrupt those people
around, particularly students at the local church-school.  This
pits the possessed students against religious authorities.  Giving
orders to the rebellious teens is the beautiful Angel.  A friend of
mine who was a student of history was very impressed that this film
had a strong period flavor of its 17th century setting.  Originally
this was to be an omnibus film but the stories blended into each
other so that it now is a single story.


Trick or Treat!



and Jacob Weisman (copyright 2019, Tachyon Publications, ISBN:
Print: 978-1-61696-291-3; Digital: 978-1-61696-292-0, ASIN
B07RJ19XGH) (book review by Joe Karpierz)

Depending on whom you talk to, short form science fiction is either
dead or thriving.  Those who espouse the theory that it is dead
must be basing their opinion on the fact that the print magazine
appears to be dying, or at least hanging by a thread.  Circulation
figures for the big three--ASIMOV'S, ANALOG, and FANTASY AND
SCIENCE FICTION--are either dropping annually or staying level.
However, there is a huge online presence for short fiction.  I
won't list all the online magazines here, mostly because there are
way too many to do so.  And a lot of the fiction is free.  There
are more sources for short science fiction than there have ever
been, more stories than there have ever been, and more writers than
there have ever been.  And I'd guess many readers who follow short
fiction might not even know who some of those writers are.
THE NEW VOICES OF SCIENCE FICTION, edited by Hannu Rajaniemi and
Jacob Weisman--both highly respected people in the field--contains
a treasure trove of short fiction published in roughly the last
five years.  Among the stories in this book you will find award
finalists and winners.  These writers are just making their impact
felt in the field, and every one of these stories is a gem.

Three of the stories in the collection were the stars of the 2018
Hugo ballot.  "The Secret Life of Bots" by Suzanne Palmer won the
Hugo for Best Novelette, while "A Series of Steaks" by Vina Jie-Min
Prasad was a runner up in the same category that year.  Meanwhile,
Rebecca Roanhorse, whose 2018 novel TRAIL OF LIGHTNING was a
finalist for the Best Novel Hugo this year, won the  Hugo for Best
Short Story in 2018 for "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian
ExperienceTM".  "The Secret Life of Bots" was good the first time
when I was reading for the Hugos, but it was much better the second
time around.  "A Series of Steaks" was just as sly the second time
around as it was the first.  "Welcome to Your Authentic Indian
ExperienceTM" did not disappoint upon a second reading as well.

The rest of the stories are outstanding in their own right.
"Openness", by Alexander Weinstein is a tale of trying to make a
relationship work in a time when you know everything about your
partner--and they know everything about you.  Jameie Wahls'
"Utopia, LOL?" is a tale of AIs, virtual reality, and the future of
mankind.  It's an amusing and lighthearted story that has a nice

A story that I had read in another collection, "Mother Tongues", by
S. Qiouyi Lu, is a sad tale of what a mother will do for her child
when she wants the best for her.  A really tough ending.  Rich
Larson, who is as prolific a short story writer as any and who won
the Dell Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and
Fantasy Writing (that's mouthful) in 2014, gives us "Ice", a story
of sibling rivalry on, what else, an ice planet.  It's been hard to
avoid Larson, so I've read quite a few of his stories and I have
never been disappointed.

One of my absolute favorites in the book is "Our Lady of the Open
Road" by Sarah Pinsker.  I love music, and I love going to
concerts, and I'm old school. This story hit all my buttons.  It
tells the tale of a band of aging rockers who continue to tour and
play live shows in the face of modern virtual reality
entertainment.  The band does what it does for the love of music,
the love of the road, and their version of integrity.  This story
is barely science fictional, but it doesn't need the genre
trappings to make it an emotionally touching story.  Much like
Larson, I never met a Sarah Pinsker story I didn't like.

Another terrific story is E. Lily Yu's "The Doing and Undoing of
Jacob E. Mwangi", about a gamer who believes that he can be the
best of the best in his world until he finds out that he can do so
much more by leaving his life behind and joining the makers and
doers.  It's a wonderful tale.  Another engaging story is "Toppers"
by Jason Sanford.  It tells the tale of people trying to survive in
a post-apocalyptic New York City, and the strange things that live
in the strange mist that engulfs the metropolis.  It's good stuff.

The book has many stories that deal with parenting and parent/child
relationships.  A good one is "The Need for Air" by Lettie Prell.
It's the story of a mother and son trying to adapt to living in a
virtual reality environment, but the son just isn't ready for that.
A different take on child rearing is Amman Sabet's "Tender Loving
Plastics", in which children are raised by AIs.  "The Shape of My
Name" by Nino Cipri is a story about a strained family relationship
using time travel as a way to try to make things work.  Quite

Another particular favorite is Amal El-Mohtar's "Madeleine", a
disturbing tale about a woman voluntarily taking part in a  medical
trial.  She encounters all sorts of side-effects, including what
appears to be time travel and hallucinations.  The tale takes a
creepy turn at the end.  I love it.

The list goes on.  "One Hour, Every Seven Years" by Alice Sola Kim,
"Robo-Liopleurodon!" by Darcie Little Badger, "Calved" by Sam
J. Miller, "In the Sharing Place" by David Erik Nelson, "Strange
Waters" by Samantha Mills and "A Study in Oils" by Kelly Robson
would all be worthy of inclusion in a Year's Best Anthology for
whatever year they were originally published.  Then again, this is
a sort of "Best of" anthology, so in a sense they are already
included in one of those types of volumes.

Rajaniemi and Weisman have done an outstanding job compiling some
of the best short science fiction by up and coming (although I
would argue that if you've won the Hugo you're past that point) new
writers.  In a collection like this, I usually find one or two that
aren't to my taste.  Not this time.  To me, every one is a winner.
The future of short form science fiction is in good hands.  [-jak]


TOPIC: Classical Music (letters of comment by Keith F. Lynch, Paul
Dormer, and Fred Lerner)

In response to comments on classical music in the 09/20/19 issue of
the MT VOID, Keith F. Lynch writes:

[Evelyn wrote], "Keith adds: Columbia was, prior to The Revolution,
King's College, and founded by Anglicans, so having a song that
mirrors a CofE hymn isn't odd.  [-kfl]"

That was Kevrob, not me.

[Evelyn wrote], "And in response to Gary, Keith writes: Now listen
to "Himno de la Agrupacion de Commandos".  [-kfl]"

That was me, though I wish I could blame someone else for
misspelling the Spanish word "Comandos."  [-kfl]

Evelyn writes:

The part of "On, Wisconsin" that sounds like the theme from THE
BATTLE OF THE BULGE is the two bars (eight notes) at 0:07 on  [-ecl]

Paul Dormer writes:

[Mark writes,] "He did use the Panzerlied theme, but that is not
the part that sounds like "On Wisconsin".  I do not have a good way
to point out specific parts of the music."  [-mrl]

Well, here's one way.  I've ripped the first track of the disc and
loaded it to google:

This is called Prelude and appears to be the music for the opening

I went back and read the programme notes in the booklet that
accompanied the CD and they are quiet detailed.  The prelude
contains the four main themes of the music.

It starts with the Action motif.  Then, at about 30 seconds, you
hear the Panzerlied on the tuba.  This is followed by Guffy's Tank
Theme (which is described as a sort of hoe-down) at 1' 05".
Finally, after a development section, you hear the Victory Theme at
1' 50".

I can't say any of those sound like On Wisconsin to me, so it's
possible you're thinking of a later theme.  There is nearly 80
minutes of music on the CD.

Finally, the programme book contains musical examples of all the
main themes.  You might be able to spot the theme you are talking
about here:


Keith writes:

"Panzerleid", "On Wisconsin", and the prelude to THE BATTLE OF THE
BULGE movie can all be easily found on YouTube.  (Along with lots
of other random stuff, including every national anthem, children's
alphabet songs for every major foreign alphabet except Chinese, and
(new today) a cartoon version of the 1325 War of the Bucket.)

The prelude is a medley, which includes "Panzerleid".  [-kfl]

Fred Lerner writes:

It used to be (and perhaps still is) the custom of the Brattle
Theater in Harvard Square to show CASABLANCA during exam week. When
the Germans singing "Die Wacht am Rhein" were outshouted by "The
Marseillaise" a large cheer would be heard in the theater. I
suspect that it was not entirely an expression of solidarity with
the French.

Not only is the tune of "Stand Columbia", the Columbia University
alma mater, taken from a German-language original, but the words of
"Sans Souci", the Columbia College alma mater, are a direct
translation of an old German student drinking song whose tune it
also uses.  [-fl]


TOPIC: Retro Hugos, "The Man Who Sold the Moon", and TYPEE (letter
of comment by Taras Wolansky)

In response to Evelyn's comments on the Retro Hugos in the 05/31/19
and 06/07/19 issues of the MT VOID, Taras Wolansky writes:

A few months back, Evelyn wrote, "I recognize that applying 2019
standards to a 1943 story is unfair ... they often have the
additional problem ... of their being original then and trite now.
.... Are we supposed to vote as we feel in 2019, or as we think we
would have felt in 1944?"

I think the answer has to be the latter.  Otherwise we're like the
naive theatergoer who criticizes Shakespeare for using "too many

world literature, even if, were they submitted today, neither would
be considered publishable.

That's why, when I read a story in an anthology or a collection, I
always want to know when (and where) it was originally published.

Take C. L. Moore's jaw-droppingly prescient 1934 story, "The Bright
Illusion" (which got a rave review from H. P. Lovecraft).  At a
time when "computer" meant a woman with an adding machine, Moore
foresaw the problem of insufficient processing power to completely
render a virtual reality.

Should we disregard that astonishing achievement because--eighty-
five years later--this is something every child understands?

Now, if we were putting together an SF anthology, instead of voting
on a historical award, we might be right to ignore historical
context and importance.

On German tolerance for nudity in the movie MUNCHHAUSEN, many years
ago I read about the woman who was West Germany's chief purveyor of
"adult toys".  She explained her sexual frankness on her "thorough
Nazi education".

In response to Evelyn's comments on "The Man Who Sold the Moon" in
the 07/26/19 issues of the MT VOID, Taras writes:

Evelyn on "The Man Who Sold the Moon": "The main character has a
dream of going to the moon, yes, but he is still basically a greedy
capitalist. ... he's definitely a flawed hero."  Personally, I
greatly esteem greedy capitalists:  their presence is what
distinguishes a rich country from a poor one.  However, as the
story makes clear, D. D. Harriman makes money to go to the Moon, he
does not go to the Moon to make money.

Of course, a "flawed hero" is a realistic hero.  Consider, for
example, what recently came out about Martin Luther King, Jr.  So
far at least, nobody is abolishing his holiday.

Richard Dengrove had a great couple of lines (this is from memory):

"As you get older, you discover that your heroes have feet of clay.

"Then you get still older, and discover that everyone has feet of

On the subject of feet of clay, let's grant that everyone alive
during the first half of the 20th century was a racist (at least as
the word is commonly used today); and this emphatically includes
the scientific community.   And the legal community, too:  for more
than 30 years, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was convinced that the real
motive behind the Roe v. Wade decision was to reduce population
growth in "undesirable" populations, though she later changed her

In response to Evelyn's comments on TYPEE in the 09/20/19 issues of
the MT VOID, Taras writes:

Finally:  Smithsonian magazine recently had an article about Herman
Melville and TYPEE that you might want to read.

On the subject of South Sea polyandry, the consensus seems to be
that this rare practice is correlated with female infanticide.
However, in the Himalayas, brothers--it's always brothers--marry
the same woman to avoid dividing their farm.

Thus, the Himalayan version of that famous musical would be, ONE
BRIDE FOR SEVEN BROTHERS.  Howard Keel brings home Jane Powell.
The End.  [-tw]


TOPIC: Kasha and AUGGIE (letter of comment by John Purcell)

In response to Mark's comments on kasha in the 09/13/19 and
09/20/19 issues of the MT VOID, John Purcell writes:

Before I get into doing a batch of online grading this morning, I
do have a couple comments on your latest issue.  Your ongoing tail-
-er, I mean, tale--of Kasha reminded me not only of the times when
dinner for us humans had a questionable smell, but one of our
friends here in town had a dog by that name.  She was actually a
very sweet dog, too, unlike the food that Evelyn scooped out and
nuked in the microwave.  Yes indeed, sometimes canned food does
have the look and smell of dog food, but once in a great while it
can surprise you by actually being good.  For the most part Valerie
and I don't do that very often anymore, and our noses--and
digestive systems--are grateful.

I will have to check the local movie theater listings for AUGGIE;
it sounds interesting, but the problem is that the title is
practically the same as the nickname of the Texas A&M University
football team, the Aggies.  In a rather odd coincidence the team
mascot is a dog: a sheltie named Reveille IX.  She is the ninth
mascot named thus to keep the name alive; the original Reveille was
a mutt that wandered into the Cadet barracks back in the 1930s
early one morning, and so received that most appropriate name.
Because this is the land of Aggie Tradition, the team mascot has
been a dog ever since, although they settled on shelties because it
is a rather handsome breed of dog.  Maybe they should be grateful
they never named the dog Kasha.  Then again, maybe they should
have: like that canned food, this year's football team smells.

Mark replies:

The name might have been inspired by TV cartoons: Augie Doggie and
Doggie Daddy.  [-mrl]


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

L. Stephens (ISBN 978-1-142-12313-0) is an earlier work by
Stephens, who is best know as an early traveler/explorer of Mayan
ruins in Central America and the Yucatan.  As I noted a couple of
weeks ago, it is often true that the more one knows about someone,
the less one likes or admires them.  It has certainly been true of
politicians, but the principle applies to all walks of life.

In the case of Stephens, while he is fairly positive towards the
(oft-maligned) indigenous people in his Mayan books, his inherent
sexism and racism--particularly anti-Semitism--comes out in

But he is not always consistent, or perhaps more charitably, he can
change his mind.  First she writes, "I could not believe that a
woman belonging to a Turk could be otherwise than unhappy."  But
then later he writes of women in Turkey, "... here the 'twig is so
bent' that they become as gentle, as docile, and as tractable as
any domestic animal.  I say again, there are many exceeding good
points about the Turks."  I do not think he is being sarcastic
here, but the result is to put women on the level of domestic

While he may say Turks have some good points, he also writes, "Time
was when the word of a Turk was sacred as a precept of the Koran;
now he can no more be relied upon than a Jew or a Christian."  At
least here he is an equal opportunity denigrator.

The voice of colonialism and white superiority comes through loud
and clear here: "The Turks are a sufficiently intelligent people,
and cannot help feeling the superiority of strangers.  Probably the
immediate effect may be to make them prone rather to catch the
faults and vices of Europeans, but afterward better things will
come; they will fall into our better ways, and perhaps, though
that is almost more than we dare hope for, they will embrace a
better religion."  (Although if he is complaining that the Turk has
sunk to the level of the Christian, that doesn't say much for the

His attitude toward slavery seems to be that it's bad, but if it's
only blacks who are enslaved, well, that's not as bad as if whites
are.  For example, "Bad, horrible as this traffic is under any
circumstances, to my habits and feelings it loses a shade of its
horrors when confined to blacks, but here whites and blacks were
exposed together in the same [slave] bazar."

And later, "Such is the force of education and habit, that I have
seen hundreds of black slaves without a sensation, but it struck
rudely upon me to see white men slaves to an American, and he one
whose father had been a soldier of the revolution, and had fought
to sustain the great principle that "all men are by nature free and

Stephens does have the character to recognize that he has been
misled in his upbringing, since he later writes, "I do not hesitate
to say that abroad, slavery stands as a blot upon her national
character.  There it will not admit of any palliation; it stands in
glaring contrast with the spirit of our free institutions; it
belies our words and our hearts; and the American who would be most
prompt to repel any calumny upon his country withers under this
reproach, and writhes with mortification when the taunt is hurled
at the otherwise stainless of the free republic.  I was forcibly
stuck with a parallel between the white serfs of the north of
Europe and African bondsman at home."

But still he makes a distinction between black and white: "...
before I went abroad I almost despised a white man whom I saw
engaged in a menial office.  I had outlived this feeling, but when
I saw a tall, strong, athletic white man kneel down and kiss my
foot, I could almost have spurned him from me."

And certainly he is ant-Semitic.  He claims (I am not sure with
what justification), "The slave-dealers were principally Jews, who
buy children when young, and if they have beauty train up the girls
in such accomplishments as may fascinate the Turks."  He describes
Jews as "dirty and disgusting."  And, again complains, "Many of the
postmasters along this road were Jews, and I am compelled to say
that they were always the greatest scoundrels we had to deal with,
and this is placing them on very high ground, for their inferiors
in rascality would be accounted masters in any other country."

(In fairness, he does attempt to give them an excuse: "Outward
degradation has worked inward upon their minds, confined to base
and sordid occupations, their thoughts and feelings are contracted
to their stations, and the despised have become despicable."  But
that is like saying, "Well, of course all [X] are criminals; that
is what society has made them.")

There is an irony to some of his writings about Jews. that they are
found in all countries, but "after Palestine, Poland is regarded as
their Land of Promise."  In 1726, Catholics condemned to death many
Lutherans in the town of Thorn, and Stephens writes, "This was the
last act of religious persecution in Poland."  This was not true of
the persecution of the Jews before the partition of Poland in 1795,
it was certainly not true of the part of Poland ruled by Russia
after the partition, and it became appallingly clear in the 20th
century that religious persecution had not ended in 1726.
(Stephens's statement was written in 1838.)

At the end, he writes of the reader: "... in return for his
kindness in accompanying me to the end, I promise that I will not
again burden him with my incidents of travel."  Then in 1841 he
and in 1843 INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL IN YUCATAN.  Promises, promises!


                                           Mark Leeper

           "Classic". A book which people praise and don't read.
                                           --Mark Twain,
                                             FOLLOWING THE EQUATOR