Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
10/25/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 17, Whole Number 2090

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.
All comments sent or posted will be assumed authorized for
inclusion unless otherwise noted.

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        Changes to the Delivery of the MT VOID (announcement
                by Evelyn C. Leeper)
        Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
                Lectures, etc. (NJ)
        My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in November (comments
                by Mark R. Leeper)
                AND ESSAYS}}, by Peter Watts (book review
                by Joe Karpierz)
        Spam Mail (letter of comment by Dale Spiers)
        This Week's Reading (TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE)
                (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Changes to the Delivery of the MT VOID (announcement by
Evelyn C. Leeper)

The MT VOID is (primarily) delivered via Yahoo Groups, and Yahoo
Groups is changing.  This will not affect the vast majority of you.

If you get the MT VOID as regular email every Friday morning
(Eastern Time), nothing should change.  However, there will be no
back issues stored at Yahoo Groups any more.  If you had been using
those, you can find back issues at or

If you read the MT VOID on Usenet, or get it through the N3F
fanzine distribution, or read it on any of the fannish history
sites, nothing will change.

If, on the other hand, you read it on the Yahoo Groups web site
using their interface, or get it as a Daily Digest, those options
are going away in December.  KEEP READING!

If you get a Daily Digest, I will reset you to Individual Emails
around Thanksgiving.  If you are set to "No Emails", then I will
*NOT* change that unless you ask me to (or you can change it
yourself if you now how).  I will leave your email address on the
mailing list as a placeholder unless you specifically ask me to
remove it entirely.

(I am assuming that Yahoo Groups will not be changing these
settings, but it is certainly possible that since there is really
only one option going forward, they may just change everyone to
Individual Emails.  If you start getting emails you do not want,
you can delete yourself from the list or ask me to do it for you.)


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

November 14, 2019: THE LAST MIMZY and "Mimsy Were the Borogroves"
        by Lewis Padgett, Middletown Public Library, 5:30PM
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 November (comments by
Mark R. Leeper)

Back when I was in my teens I had a particular interest in spy
films and war films.  Some of the ones I had particular interest in
CROSSBOW.  These were films that likely would have big ensemble
casts of good British actors.  They did not need to have the word
"BRIDGE" in the title, but it didn't hurt.  As background to the
film, next week I will discuss the the V-1 and V-2.  The film stars
Sophia Loren, George Peppard, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Richard
Johnson, Tom Courtenay, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Lilli Palmer,
Paul Henreid, and Helmut Dantine.




AND ESSAYS}} by Peter Watts (copyright 2019, Tachyon Publications,
ISBN: Print: 978-1-61696-319-4; Digital: 978-1-61696-320-0) (book
review by Joe Karpierz)

I was describing this book to a friend of mine a little while ago.
I said that John Scalzi writes serious blog posts, and he writes
funny blog posts.  He skewers people, he gets angry, he comments on
current events, politics, things going on in the areas of science
fiction and fantasy.  And then he puts a bunch of them into a book
which probably sells like crazy (I don't know for sure, given that
I haven't bought any of those books nor have I bothered to dig into
their sales figures).  He *knows* those books will sell, and he's
happy to have that happen.  And he writes something to his blog,
"Whatever", almost every day.  And when he doesn't get something
written, he apologizes, usually by sending a picture of a cat, a
sunset, or his family.

Then there's Peter Watts.  He writes blog posts and essays like he
writes fiction:  dark, depressing, angry, complicated. He doesn't
write every day, nor does he intend to.  He writes about his cats,
which he adores, but sometimes he doesn't have pleasant things to
write about his cats, like the time one of them died.  Watts
doesn't shoot for friendly.  Watts shoots for the truth (not saying
Scalzi doesn't, because he sure does) even in the name of his blog:
No Moods, Ads or Cutesy F****ng Icons.  (He doesn't actually censor
the name of his blog; I'm doing that because I've had reviews
rejected by that big company named after a river because I had the
f-word in it.  I figure I might as well get ahead of the game.)

I've written about Watts' books BLINDSIGHT, ECHOPRAXIA, novella
"Freeze Frame Revolution", and his collection of short fiction,
Beyond the Rift.  It's no secret that I like his fiction because of
the subject matter, the mood, the tone, and just the angryness of
it.  It's intelligent fiction.  It makes you think, and it
certainly doesn't leave you with a happy feeling.  That's just who
he is and what he writes.

To no one's surprise, this collection of essays and blog posts are
the exact same thing.  But there's an underlying feeling to the
pieces presented in the book that Watts cares.  He cares about the
planet, he cares about humanity, he cares about everything.  He
gets angry at things precisely because he cares so much.  And it
really does show.

There are a lot of essays in this book, so I won't summarize them,
or even point out most of them.  I will, however, point the reader
to two blog posts about his interaction with a teacher who lives
and works in an area of the country, which is, I will try to put
delicately, does not have an open mind about things. The teacher
wanted to teach BLINDSIGHT to the class, but a department head was
not allowing it because of the 73 f-bombs in the book.  Yes, there
are 73 f-bombs in the book, and I'm guessing that the number was
calculated because, well, Watts and the teacher modified the book
to take the offending word out. But it gets worse from there. I
don't want to spoil the rest for you, other than to say that the
perpetrators of the censorship give school administrators a really
bad name.

To bring this back around to the beginning of this review, while
Scalzi rightfully revels in the attention he gets for  "Whatever"
(and please don't get me wrong, I read "Whatever" every day and am
a fan of Scalzi's; I'm just trying to make a comparison between
Scalzi and Watts), the first line of the opening essay, which
serves as an introduction to the book, is  "By the bowels of
Christ, man why?", his first words to Jacob Weisman, publisher at
Tachyon.  As in "Why do you think this is a good idea?  Why do you
think anyone will want to read this?"  Watts doesn't think his blog
posts over the years have that much of a shelf life.  They might be
interesting at the time, but then they go the way of all things.
It's not only that he doesn't revel in the attention as Scalzi
does--he doesn't think he deserves the attention in the first

Why do *I* think anyone will want to read Watt's blog posts?
Because he's interesting, he's got great things to say, and he's a
great writer.  No matter what he thinks.  [-jak]


BEYOND THE QUANTUM) by Lee Smolin (book review by Gregory

This science book delves into the realm of Quantum Mechanics and
the author who is a physicist describes his search for a better
theory to explain Quantum Mechanics.  According to the author there
are two main groups pursuing this field of study.  The first group
assumes the original theory created in the 1920's by Niels Bohr and
others is correct.  The second group believes the theory to be
incomplete.  Einstein and the author are two of the scientists who
are included in this second group and this second group call
themselves realists.  Part of the problem with the 1920's Quantum
Mechanics theory is what is called the measurement problem.
Questions arise about the quantum state of an election for example
and when it collapses to a definite location instead of being
everywhere at once before detection.  Is it when the election meets
the detector or when the signal is amplified or when we become
conscious of the data? Pilot wave theory and collapse models are an
improvement in the view of the author over the 1920's theory.  But
more work needs to be done.  This book is interesting but some of
the advanced thinking on new approaches to a better theory of
Quantum Mechanics get beyond me to be honest.  The author provides
many new approaches and it can be difficult to completely
understand.  [-gf]


TOPIC: Spam Mail (letter of comment by Dale Spiers)

In response to Mark's comments on spam mail in the 10/18/19 issue
of the MT VOID, Dale Spiers writes:

You must get a different class of spam than I do.  Mine are for
seven-digit scholarships awarded to me by the United Nations for my
good works, plus numerous stern warnings that my email account will
be closed unless I click on the link to upgrade.

I use several email addresses.  I never get spam at Gmail.  Google
seems to have resolved to end the problem once and for all, and so
they did.  My Yahoo account gets two or three spams per month.  My
Microsoft account averages about 20 per day, mostly for hot women
and fake Viagra.

Common spams I get are:

- Your purchase of $x,xxx has been charged to your credit card.  If
this is not correct, please click on the link.

-  Your parcel could not be delivered because of incorrect address.
Please click on the link to verify your address.

- Your court date is mm-dd.  Please click on the link to view the
summons.  Failure to respond will result in a warrant being issued
for your arrest.

The Nigerians don't seem to use Hotmail/Outlook much, as the few I
get are via Yahoo.

Science fiction writers wrote about One World Computers controlling
us but missed the idea of spam.  They also missed the fact that no
matter where you live in the year 2019, at least half of all
pedestrians will be walking with bent heads, staring at a small
black rectangle in their hands.  [-ds]


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

TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE by Becky Chambers (ISBN 978-0-06-293601-
1) is an interesting merger of Golden Age science fiction and
modern sensibilities.  It is a story of interstellar exploration,
told in four sections, one for each of the planets explored.  There
is an ice planet (Aecor), a lush planet (Mirabilis), an ocean
planet (Opera), and a tidally-locked planet (Votum).  These are
pretty straightforward classic planetary exploration stories.  The
modern aspects include no faster-than-light travel (they travel in
suspended animation), genetic engineering to enhance the explorers
abilities to survive in the various environments, the diversity of
the crew, and the situation on Earth, both before and during the

Obviously, even without FTL travel, there is some hand-waving here:
we don't have either the long sleep capability or the genetic
engineering yet, so the story is placed at the start of the 22nd
century.  There is some concession to climate change and sea level
rise, but it seems to be much delayed from what is currently

For those looking for science fiction like they used to write, but
without the prejudices, biases, and (often) over-simplification of
much of the fiction of that time, TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE is an
excellent choice.  [-ecl]


                                           Mark Leeper

           The vain presumption of understanding everything can have
           no other basis than never having understood anything.
           For anyone who had ever experienced just once the perfect
           understanding of one single thing, and had truly tasted
           how knowledge is accomplished, would recognize that of
           the infinity of other truths he understands nothing.
                                           --Galileo, 1630