Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society

04/10/20 -- Vol. 38, No. 41, Whole Number 2114

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Hugo, Retro Hugo, Lodestar, and Astounding Awards Finalists

Interpreting Science (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by H. P. Lovecraft (audiobook

review by Joe Karpierz)

Day of the Animals (letters of comment by Ash Marie

and Peter Trei)

Dogs and Cats (letter of comment by Dorothy J. Heydt)




TRUE HISTORY) (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Hugo, Retro Hugo, Lodestar, and Astounding Awards Finalists

The lists of Hugo, Retro Hugo, Lodestar, and Astounding Award

Finalists are at the end of this issue.


TOPIC: Interpreting Science (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

A friend sent me a quote from pundit Ben Shapiro.:

"One thing is certain: Things cannot continue as they have been.

Americans are not going to stay home for months on end, and they

certainly will not do so on the basis of ever-evolving models,

especially as statistics roll in that look like the lower-end model

estimates in terms of death and the upper-end estimates in terms of

economic damage.  We need transparency and honesty from our

scientific experts--we need to know what they know, what they

don't, and when they hope to know what they don't.  We're grown-

ups, and we're willing to follow their advice.  But they need to

start answering serious questions, or they will fall prey to the

same lack of institutional faith to which all other American

institutions seem deeply prone."<*">"><**-


I think he is saying that there is a solution to our problem out

there and it is a failing of the medical community to not find it.

I keep asking myself, what if a cure takes years to find or if we

never find one?

I think that the US public is coming into this crisis with too many

people thinking you can interpret the science however it is

convenient to interpret it.  Too many people did that with climate

change.  Now they are saying that with the virus.  They think we

can demand the problem to go away.  I am frustrated with the slow

progress on the problem, but it may come down to a genuine

existential threat.  Blaming the people who are working on the

problem could well be totally useless and only making things worse.

It is like being in a traffic jam and trying to fix the problem by

honking your horn.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS by H. P. Lovecraft (copyright

1936, 2013 Blackstone Audio, narrated by Edward Herrmann)

(audiobook review by Joe Karpierz)

Since I was young, I've been interested in Gothic horror.  Like

many people my age, I would run home from school every day to catch

the latest episode of Gothic horror soap opera Dark Shadows.  That

show is what hooked me on that particular sub-genre. However, once

Dark Shadows was cancelled, for some reason I lost interest.  I had

the vague notion in the back of my mind that I like ghost stories,

vampires, monsters, and psychological terror.  I was never

interested in the graphic, bloody, splatterpunk type of story.

Atmospheric stories were the ones I liked; I immensely enjoyed the

movie THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, with all of the scary stuff

happening just off-screen.

Somewhere between Dark Shadows and Blair Witch I finally heard of

H. P. Lovecraft.  I expect that it was in college, when I first

started playing Dungeons and Dragons; our dungeon master was

referring to some entity called Cthulhu.  I was curious, but never

enough to pick up anything by Lovecraft.  At either the Toronto or

Denver Worldcon I finally gave in to my curiosity and bought a copy

of the massive Lovecraft story collection Necronomicon (a

reference, of course, to a famous book within his mythology).

Seeing that I had a copy in my hands at the dealer and waiting to

pay for it, writer Charles Stross pointed at it and said something

like "now THAT is going to warp your mind".

I never got around to reading it.

Sometime within the last year I was able to get an inexpensive copy

of an audiobook of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.  Looking for

something short to listen to before this year's Hugo finalists were

announced (which will be happening 3 days after I write this), I

decided to give it a listen (Side note--good thing I did.  I was

most of the way through it when the shelter in place order came

from the governor of Illinois because of COVID-19 and I stopped

commuting to work, which is when I listened to audiobooks).

I have mixed feelings about it.

Most folks steeped in genre tradition know the story.  It is of an

expedition to the Antarctic, where the narrator and his companion

discover a lost city of an ancient civilization that came to Earth

long ago--not long after the time the Moon was formed--and the

horrors that surround that civilization.  They discover the

civilization after an advance scouting party went mysteriously

silent.  When the narrator and his companion came to investigate,

they discovered the remains of most of the advance party as well as

the remains of some strange creatures.  Via aeroplane, they

traverse a mountain range higher than any other known to man, and

discover the civilization of the Elder Things, and the horrors that

they encountered.

The narrator and his companion uncover the story by reading

carvings and hieroglyphs, which tells of the coming of the Old Ones

and their created slaves, the shoggoths.  This all happened tens of

millions of years in the past.  The eventually flee in terror, and

see what they believe as a shoggoth.  The narrator is documenting

all of this in the hopes of persuading a much more well-documented

expedition from even attempting to go to the Antarctic.

I know this story is considered by many to be quintessential

Lovecraft.  I was ... unimpressed.  I found some of the things

deduced by the narrator somewhat unbelievable--I had no idea how he

came to certain conclusions.  And it was not frightening to say the

least.  Maybe I'm old and jaded, but then again I find the audio

narration of Bram Stoker's Dracula more terrifying than this, and

it was written in a much earlier time frame.  Will I consume more

Lovecraft?  Oh, probably.  I'll just be coming at it from a

different perspective than I did this time.

Edward Herrmann, the narrator, did well enough.  Given that this

was a first person account, he didn't have to perform multiple

voices.  He did his best to give great weight and atmosphere to the

story, and I think he did fine, and in my opinion he did the best

he could with the material he had to work with.

I've been gravitating to shorter fiction these days, as I've gotten

tired of the long format novels.  Maybe it's time to pick up

Necronomicon and getter a better taste of Lovecraft's fiction.



TOPIC: Day of the Animals (letters of comment by Ash Marie and

Peter Trei)

In response to Mark's comments on hippos in the 04/03/20 issue of

the MT VOID, Ash Marie writes:

This list of plagues made my morning.  Notably:

Two months after the terrifying sentence "hippos have become an

invasive species," we get this second, unparalleled headline<*">"><**-


"Pablo Escobar's 'cocaine hippos' may benefit Colombia's


It includes such jewels as describing hippos as "difficult to catch

and dangerous to confront" (well, yes, notoriously); this really

indescribable quote:

"Shurin says the hippos in Colombia should still be removed or

contained and their effects on the native biodiversity are still

unknown.  'Like other plagues recently in the news, they can be

controlled more cheaply, effectively and humanely early on when

they're rare, rather than later when they're everywhere,' he says."

...and asking, perhaps rhetorically, what effect thousands of

hippos in the next twenty years would have on the landscape of


My roommate has suggested relocating them to Florida and pitting

them against the unstoppable python menace.  Truly a joyful Friday

morning in this house.  [-am]

In response to Mark's comments on animals in general in that issue,

Peter Trei writes:

There's also the 2015 TV series 'Zoo', which has exactly this trope--

animals all over the world start attacking humans. Somehow, this was

spun out to three seasons.

[And regarding hippos specifically:]

This was the topic of a recent Science Friday segment on NPR.



There's debate over getting rid of them, with some scientists

pointing out that they are filling an ecological niche left vacant

when hunters from Asia at the end of the last Ice Age exterminated

the native megafauna.  [-pt]


TOPIC: Dogs and Cats (letter of comment by Dorothy J. Heydt)

In response to John Purcell's comments on dogs and cats in the

04/03/20 issue of the MT VOID, Dorothy J. Heydt writes:

There are many, many examples of dogs and cats being best buddies

(and napmates) on


and its parent site,


It reminds me of a passage in, I think, C. S. Lewis's THE FOUR

LOVES where somebody says, "You'd be surprised how often dogs and

cats get along together," and the other guy says, "Yeah, but I bet

the dog never admits it to the other dogs."

"Done deal now.  Take care of yourselves during the current

apocalypse--collect the whole series!--and remember the words of

that great Canadian philosopher, Red Green, "We're all in this

together.  I'm pulling for ya."  [-jp]

I'll go along with that.  [-djh]


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

[Comments on the Hugo Award, Retro Hugo Award, and other award

finalists will appear next week.]

I find myself without a complete review this week.  This doesn't

mean I am not reading; it means I'm in the middle of a lot of

books.  I'm reading Boccaccio's DECAMERON along with the "Classical

Stuff You Should Know" podcast, but at a story a day, it will be

over three months before I am finished.

I have already said something about John Brockman's WHAT TO THINK

ABOUT MACHINES THAT THINK, but I'm still reading that at only a

couple of articles a day.

The same process is true of Michael Dirda's BOUND TO PLEASE, a

collection of dozens of essays and book reviews of classics,

biographies, and historical non-fiction.  One cannot just plow

through a book like this.

Other books I have finished but have little to comment on.

Thomas Nagel's WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? covers many of the basic

questions of philosophy (e.g., how do you know anything?), but at a

fairly elementary level.

I read David Brin's FOUNDATION'S TRIUMPH, but find I have nothing

to say about it.

Dave Hutchinson's EUROPE IN AUTUMN is the first book of a

tetralogy, and what I think is the central premise of the series is

not even revealed until the last quarter of the book.

Lucian of Samosata's TRUE HISTORY was recommended in the Dirda book

above, but I found it not very engaging.  It's sort of Homer's

"Odyssey" crossed with Swift's GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, but not up to

either.  [-ecl]


TOPIC: Hugo, Retro Hugo, Lodestar, and Astounding Awards Finalists

Finalists for the Hugo, Retro Hugo, Lodestar, and Astounding Awards.

Hugo Awards

Best Novel

    The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders

    The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow

    The Light Brigade, Kameron Hurley

    A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine

    Middlegame, Seanan McGuire

    Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

Best Novella

    To Be Taught, If Fortunate, Becky Chambers

    "Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom", Ted Chiang (Exhalation)

    The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djeli Clark

    This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar &

Max Gladstone (Saga)

    In an Absent Dream, Seanan McGuire

    The Deep, Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs,

William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes

Best Novelette

    "For He Can Creep", Siobhan Carroll ( 7/10/19)

    "Omphalos", Ted Chiang (Exhalation)

    "Away with the Wolves", Sarah Gailey (Uncanny 9-10/19)

    "Emergency Skin", N.K. Jemisin (Forward)

    "The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye", Sarah Pinsker

(Uncanny 7-8/19)

    "The Archronology of Love", Caroline M. Yoachim

(Lightspeed 4/19)

Best Short Story

    "Do Not Look Back, My Lion", Alix E. Harrow

(Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/31/19)

    "As the Last I May Know", S.L. Huang ( 10/23/19)

    "And Now His Lordship Is Laughing", Shiv Ramdas

(Strange Horizons 9/9/19)

    "Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the

Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island", Nibedita Sen

(Nightmare 5/19)

    "Blood Is Another Word for Hunger", Rivers Solomon

( 7/24/19)

    "A Catalog of Storms", Fran Wilde (Uncanny 1-2/19)

Best Series

    Winternight, Katherine Arden

    The Expanse, James S.A. Corey

    Luna, Ian McDonald

    InCryptid, Seanan McGuire

    Planetfall, Emma Newman

    Wormwood, Tade Thompson

Best Related Work

    Joanna Russ, Gwyneth Jones

    The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein,

Farah Mendlesohn

    "2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech",

Jeannette Ng

    The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and

the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, Mallory O'Meara

    Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood,

J. Michael Straczynski

    Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

Best Graphic Story or Comic

    Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, Kieron Gillen,

illustrated by Stephanie Hans (Image)

    The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: Okay, Kieron Gillen,

illustrated by Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson

(Image Comics)

    Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, Marjorie Liu,

illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)

    LaGuardia, Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Tana Ford,

colours by James Devlin (Berger Books/Dark Horse)

    Paper Girls, Volume 6, Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated

by Cliff Chiang & Matt Wilson (Image)

    Mooncakes, Wendy Xu & Suzanne Walker (Oni Press;

Lion Forge)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

    Avengers: Endgame

    Captain Marvel

    Good Omens

    Russian Doll, Season One

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker


Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

    Doctor Who: "Resolution"

    The Expanse: "Cibola Burn"

    The Good Place: "The Answer"

    The Mandalorian: "Redemption"

    Watchmen: "A God Walks into Abar"

    Watchmen: "This Extraordinary Being"

Best Editor, Short Form

    Neil Clarke

    Ellen Datlow

    C.C. Finlay

    Jonathan Strahan

    Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

    Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

    Sheila Gilbert

    Brit Hvide

    Diana M. Pho

    Devi Pillai

    Miriam Weinberg

    Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

    Tommy Arnold

    Rovina Cai

    Galen Dara

    John Picacio

    Yuko Shimizu

    Alyssa Winans

Best Semiprozine

    Beneath Ceaseless Skies

    Escape Pod



    Strange Horizons


Best Fanzine

    The Book Smugglers

    Galactic Journey

    Journey Planet

    nerds of a feather, flock together

    Quick Sip Reviews

    The Rec Center

Best Fancast

    Be the Serpent

    The Coode Street Podcast

    Galactic Suburbia

    Our Opinions Are Correct

    Claire Rousseau's YouTube channel

    The Skiffy and Fanty Show

Best Fan Writer

    Cora Buhlert

    James Davis Nicoll

    Alasdair Stuart

    Bogi Takacs

    Paul Weimer

    Adam Whitehead

Best Fan Artist

    Iain Clark

    Sara Felix

    Grace P. Fong

    Meg Frank

    Ariela Housman

    Elise Matthesen

Lodestar for Best Young Adult Book (Not a Hugo)

    The Wicked King, Holly Black

    Deeplight, Frances Hardinge

    Minor Mage, T. Kingfisher

    Catfishing on CatNet, Naomi Kritzer

    Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee

    Riverland, Fran Wilde

Astounding Award for Best New Writer (Not a Hugo)

    Sam Hawke*

    R.F. Kuang*

    Jenn Lyons

    Nibedita Sen*

    Tasha Suri*

    Emily Tesh

*Second year of eligibility

1945 Retro Hugo Awards

Best Novel

    "Shadow Over Mars", Leigh Brackett (Startling Stories Fall '44)

    Land of Terror, Edgar Rice Burroughs

    The Golden Fleece, Robert Graves

    "The Winged Man", E. Mayne Hull & A.E. Van Vogt

(Astounding Science Fiction 5-6/44)

    The Wind on the Moon, Eric Linklater

    Sirius, Olaf Stapledon

Best Novella

    "The Jewel of Bas", Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories Spring '44)

    "A God Named Kroo", Henry Kuttner

(Thrilling Wonder Stories Winter '44)

    "Trog", Murray Leinster (Astounding Science Fiction 6/44)

    "Intruders from the Stars", Ross Rocklynne

(Amazing Stories 1/44)

    "Killdozer!", Theodore Sturgeon

(Astounding Science Fiction 11/44)

    "The Changeling", A.E. van Vogt

(Astounding Science Fiction 4/44)

Best Novelette

    "The Big and the Little", Isaac Asimov (Astounding 8/44)

    "Arena", Fredric Brown (Astounding 6/44)

    "No Woman Born", C.L. Moore (Astounding 12/44)

    "The Children's Hour", Lawrence O'Donnell (C.L. Moore &

Henry Kuttner) (Astounding 3/44)

    "When the Bough Breaks", Lewis Padgett (C.L. Moore &

Henry Kuttner) (Astounding 11/44)

    "City", Clifford D. Simak (Astounding 5/44)

Best Short Story

    "The Wedge", Isaac Asimov (Astounding 10/44)

    "I, Rocket", Ray Bradbury (Amazing Stories 5/44)

    "And the Gods Laughed", Fredric Brown (Planet Stories

Spring '44)

    "Desertion", Clifford D. Simak (Astounding 11/44)

    "Huddling Place", Clifford D. Simak (Astounding 7/44)

    "Far Centaurus", A.E. van Vogt (Astounding 1/44)

Best Series

    Pellucidar, Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Jules de Grandin, Seabury Quinn

    The Shadow, Maxwell Gibson (Walter B. Grant)

    Captain Future, Brett Sterling

    Doc Savage, Kenneth Robeson/Lester Dent

    Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and others

Best Related Work

    "The Science-Fiction Field", Leigh Brackett

(Writer's Digest 7/44)

    Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom, George Gamow

    "The Works of H.P. Lovecraft: Suggestions for a Critical

Appraisal", Fritz Leiber (The Acolyte Fall '44)

    Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere, Willy Ley

    Fancyclopedia, Jack Speer (Forrest J Ackerman)

    '42 To '44: A Contemporary Memoir Upon Human Behavior During

the Crisis of the World Revolution, H.G. Wells

Best Graphic Story or Comic

    Donald Duck: "The Mad Chemist", Carl Barks (Dell Comics)

    Buck Rogers: "Hollow Planetoid", Dick Calkins

(National Newspaper Service)

    Flash Gordon: "Battle for Tropica", Alex Raymond

(King Features Syndicate)

    Flash Gordon: "Triumph in Tropica", Alex Raymond

(Kings Features Syndicate)

    Superman: "The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk", Jerry Siegel &

Joe Shuster (DC)

    The Spirit: "For the Love of Clara Defoe", Manly Wade Wellman,

Lou Fine, and Don Komisarow

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

    The Canterville Ghost

    The Curse of the Cat People

    Donovan's Brain

    House of Frankenstein

    The Invisible Man's Revenge

    It Happened Tomorrow

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

    John W. Campbell, Jr.

    Oscar J. Friend

    Mary Gnaedinger

    Dorothy McIlwraith

    Raymond A. Palmer

    W. Scott Peacock

Best Professional Artist

    Earle Bergey

    Margaret Brundage

    Boris Dolgov

    Matt Fox

    Paul Orban

    William Timmins

Best Fanzine

    The Acolyte


    Futurian War Digest

    Shangri L'Affaires

    Voice of the Imagi-Nation

    Le Zombie

Best Fan Writer

    Fritz Leiber, Jr.

    Morojo (Myrtle R. Douglas)

    J. Michael Rosenblum

    Jack Speer

    Bob Tucker

    Harry Warner, Jr.


                     Mark Leeper

* *

          In the future, you're going to get computers as prizes

          in breakfast cereals.  You'll throw them out because

          your house will be littered with them.

                                          -- Robert Lucky