Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society

01/31/20 -- Vol. 38, No. 31, Whole Number 2104

Co-Editor: Mark Leeper, * *

Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, * *

Sending Address: *

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.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, send mail to *

The latest issue is at **.

An index with links to the issues of the MT VOID since 1986 is at



       COLOR OUT OF SPACE Correction

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

      My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in February (comments

by Mark R. Leeper)

      COLOR OUT OF SPACE (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

      SEVEN SURRENDERS by Ada Palmer (book review by Joe Karpierz)

      This Week's Reading (MEN AND DINOSAURS) (book comments

by Evelyn C. Leeper)



Yet another correction: Mark's review of COLOR OUT OF SPACE was

accidentally left out of last week's issue.  It is in this week's


I cannot blame this one on the mailing options transition.  This

was totally my mistake. :-(  [-ecl]


TOPIC: Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,

Lectures, etc. (NJ)

February 13, 2020: THE HANDMAID'S TALE (1990) & novel by Margaret

Atwood (1985), Middletown Public Library, 5:30PM


March 12, 2020: THE QUIET EARTH (1985) & novel by Craig Harrison

(1981), Middletown Public Library, 5:30PM


March 26, 2020: THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT by Edgar Rice Burroughs,

Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM


May 28, 2020: THE DARK FOREST by Cixin Liu, 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,

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 February (comments by

Mark R. Leeper)

Back in the 1930s and 1940s one popular sub-genre of film was the

drama of true science discovery.  Yes, science fiction was fun but

I admired scientists who were actually changing the world and who

were likely to be making the world a better place.  My heroes were

not sports figures but people uncovering the secrets of nature. I

loved films about the discovery of radium and of penicillin.  And,

of course there was the Manhattan Project studying the nature of

the atom and all the things that could be done once the atom was

split.  And there were the Curies unknowingly irradiating


Sadly the science film has largely disappeared.  In the last year

or so we have not seen many science discovery films.  The most I

have see in the last year or two have been have been THE IMITATION


This year we have the highly fictionalized THE AERONAUTS about a

flight by balloon to record breaking altitudes.  It is based very

loosely on a real flight to 36,000 feet.  TCM offers two such


THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR  (1936) tells of the 19th century

microbiologist who faced the scorn of the medical community trying

to show that there are tiny animals in dirty water that could be

very dangerous to humans and animals.  Pasteur (played by the great

Paul Muni) argued for physicians to boil heir instruments between

usages.   Milk sold to the public has to be boiled now to kill off

tiny organisms.

[THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR, Wednesday, February 5, 10:15 AM (ET)]

And for more about 19th century medical scientists who were

persecuted there is DR. EHRLICH'S MAGIC BULLET (1940).  About the

scientist who used poison to combat syphilis at a time when is was

not socially acceptable to speak the name of the disease.

[DR. EHRLICH'S MAGIC BULLET, Wednesday, February 19, 09:15 AM (ET)]



TOPIC: COLOR OUT OF SPACE (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This is the latest film adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's

horror story tells of a meteor strike in the Massachusetts back

woods. Toward the beginning director Stanley sets his story in a

pleasant natural setting.  As the story progresses and nature

corrupts or gets corrupted.  The herbage becomes harder to

understand and to visually parse. The meteor goes missing and the

woods and everything in it becomes corrupted and sinister.

Nicholas Cage stars.  Animals deform and the food form the

livestock becomes poisonous.  Directed by: Richard Stanley; written

by: Scarlett Amaris; story by: H. P. Lovecraft.  Rating: high +1

(-4 to +4) or 6/10.

This film is the latest adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's horror

story of a meteor strike in the Massachusetts back woods.  In one

of Lovecraft's more popular stories a meteorite brings to Earth the

color of a frequency of light never previously seen on Earth.  The

meteor goes missing and the woods and everything around it becomes

corrupted and evil.  We see eggs on the farm grow double yokes, one

yellow and one black.  Animals deform and the food from them

becomes toxic.  Everything seen on this planet becomes corrupted.

It is in the nature of the story that it has a slow start.  The

meteorite crashes during one of the most spectacular electrical

storms on film, albeit created with special effects.  It turns the

sky to many colors, some of which are likely unnamed even outside

of the film.  The poison of the meteorite takes a while to spread.

And then the trouble starts.

I rate COLOR OUT OF SPACE a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.

Release date: January 24 2020

Film Credits:


What others are saying:




TOPIC: SEVEN SURRENDERS by Ada Palmer (copyright 2017, Tor, $17.99,

384pp, Trade Paperback, ISBN 978-0-7653-7803-3) (book review by Joe


Back in 2017, Ada Palmer won the Astounding Award (previously the

John W. Campbell Award) for best new writer on the strength of her

first novel, TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING, the first novel in the four-

book "Terra Ignota" series.  LIGHTNING was a powerful story with

outstanding and highly interesting world building, presenting a

setting and situation that I've never seen before.   Influenced by

both science fiction and history, in retrospect I believe the novel

could have won a Hugo for Best Novel in just about any other recent

year within memory.  It was a finalist in 2017, but the competition

it was up against was stiff.  Any one of the six deserved to win

the award, and finishing behind Jemisin's OBELISK GATE is nothing

to be ashamed of.

SEVEN SURRENDERS continues the story started in TOO LIKE THE

LIGHTNING.  It is told by Mycroft Canner, and covers the two days

that follow the first book.  After reading the novel, it's hard to

believe that all the events that happen took place over just two

days.  It could be argued that there is *too* much going on in this

book; there probably is.  But one of the things that keeps me

reading the "Terra Ignota" books is the fact that I have not seen

any world building like this before, nor have I seen the kind of

story that Palmer is telling.  Yes, it's difficult reading at

times, but it's well worth the effort.

Our cast of characters is the same, but there's much more going on

with them than we knew from the first book.  We know what Mycroft

Canner's crimes were, but now we find out *why* he committed them,

and just how brutal they were.  We know that the seven Hives

essentially govern the planet, but in SEVEN SURRENDERS we find out

more about just how far they are willing to go to preserve the

peace that has lasted for 250 years.  We learn about a god from

another universe, and how he is here to save the planet.

As was with TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING, the story is complex and

involved, and we see that there is much more going on than meets

the eye.  Yes, there's a 250 year period of peace, but is war

inevitable?  And if so, is it better to have war sooner rather than

later because the longer we wait, the less knowledge there will be

about war and how to wage it, thus it will be more brutal with more

casualties?  There are conspiracies within conspiracies, and

characters with powers that we can't imagine.

And I, for one, have no idea where it's headed and no way of being

able to figure it out.

No book is perfect, and this one is no exception.  It is not an

easy read, and while that is not a flaw in and of itself, it may

turn away a lot of readers.  While the characters are rich and have

fascinating backgrounds, they really aren't characters that we can

identify with.  None of them are really likeable at all, and it's

not likely that a typical reader will be able to identify with any

one of them, especially if that's what turns particular readers on

to a book.

And yet, it's fascinating, in part because I don't know where it's

going and I've never seen a world like it before now.   Palmer has

piqued my interest, and as arduous a reading process as these books

are, I suspect I will be reading book three, THE WILL TO BATTLE,

sooner rather than later.  [-jak]


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

MEN AND DINOSAURS by Edwin H. Colbert (Dutton, 1968, no ISBN) is of

course about the men (and they were almost entirely men) who

studied dinosaurs from the early beginnings of paleontology to the

(then-)present.  But rather than give a summary of the book--this

is a classic work by a renown author--I am going to focus on two

minor bits.

The first is the phrase "two types of dinosaurian pelves."  Only a

few days before reading this phrase, I listened to an episode of

John McWhorter's "Lexicon Valley" podcast titled "Does 'Processes'

Rhyme with 'Knees'?" in which he talked about how in Latin, words

ending in 'is' were made plural by changing the 'is' to 'es'.  This

persists in English in a few words, but McWhorter claimed that most

words had lost this pluralization, and just added 'es' instead.

However, when McWhorter listed examples of 'is' words that just

added 'es', he included a lot that I would pluralize by changing

the 'is' to 'es', including 'axis', 'oasis', and 'diagnosis',  I

noted in an email that I would also include 'prognosis',

'analysis', 'emphasis', and 'exegesis'.

But not in my wildest dreams would I have included 'pelvis' as one

that is still pluralized the Latin way, into 'pelves'.

[Note: I wrote to McWhorter re this, and he gave me a shout-out on

the next episode of "Lexicon Valley": "Verbs on the Move".  Go to

about 34 minutes in for the section talking about plurals.]

And no, this does not mean that the plural of 'Elvis' is 'Elves'.

The other thing I want to focus on is Franz Aron Nopcsa von Felso-

Szilvas.  Early on in his account Nopcsa's life, Colbert writes how

Nopcsa was "living the life of a baronial lord, going from one

Hungarian estate to another, with peasants owing low before him as

he drove by.  His was on such occasions the life of a semiroyal

person in a sort of dreamland out of an operetta.  And this life

seemed in part to be sufficient for Nopcsa never married."  In

1968, this *might* be a reasonable conclusion.  Nowadays, one comes

up with a different conclusion, and indeed a few pages later,

Colbert writes about Nopcsa's male secretary, "Bajazid, the

secretary who lived with Nopcsa for many years, was more than a

secretary; he was a lover..  Indeed, Nopcsa maintained two Albanian

homosexual boyfriends, who participated in his strange and unreal


In writing about Nopcsa, Colbert also displays a definite

condescension towards Albania.  For example, he writes, "... this

colorful, backward land and its primitive people cast a lifelong

spell over Nopcsa."  Later Colbert describes Albania as "that

picturesque and backward corner of the Balkan world."  [-ecl]


                     Mark Leeper

* *

          Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence

          that you are wonderful.

                                          --Ann Landers