Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society

05/15/20 -- Vol. 38, No. 46, Whole Number 2119

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Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, * *

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Cow and Bull (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

Scary Movies and Television Shows (letters of comment

by Guy Lillian and Tom Russell)

Retro Hugo Finalists--The Other Categories (comments

by John Hertz)

Polenta and Eggs (letters of comment by Fred Lerner

and Sherry Glotzer)

This Week's Reading (Retro Hugo Award dramatic presentation

finalists) (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Cow and Bull (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

As a writer and the main force behind a major international news

publication, the MT VOID, I believe it is very important to present

all sides of an issue.  I am not the kind of person that you have

to dislocate my jaw if I am not presenting your point of view.  No,

sir, never again.  A viewpoint has been presented to me and I want

to pass it on and be rid of it.  I recently argued against the

eating of beef on the grounds (no pun intended) that a cow/bull is

a reasonably intelligent animal that makes friends with others of

its own kind.  You should not be fooled by the fact that it spends

all day eating the same grass it makes doo-doo in; we are not here

to argue matters of taste.

The argument has been put to me that my attitude is unfair to

cattle.  (Yeah! Can you believe it?)  The argument is that cattle

are bred to be eaten and look at all the cattle I would be denying

life to if I don't eat them ground up in tiny little pieces on a

bun.  This argument traces back philosophically to one of the more

common and hence weirder views of the universe.  That is that the

universe is a giant amusement park with one ride called The Life.

Souls, in this case cow souls, stand in a long line waiting to ride

The Life.  In some parts of the East the belief is that when a cow

soul gets off it says, "Wow! Let's go on that one again!"  In our

part of the world we believe that if you rode the ride following

the rules and sat quietly and enjoyed the ride, when you get off

you go and get cotton candy.  If, however, you stood up in your

seat and screamed and waved your arms when you weren't really

scared, then when you get off you throw up for all eternity.

Now if no cow soul ever gets off the ride, then the poor cow souls

waiting in line never get a chance to ride.  Now what my learned

correspondent is suggesting is that we alleviate the problem by

building an artificial brick wall on the ride where the car rams

into it, killing the passenger.  This frees up the car to return

for the next passenger and gives us something we can scrape off the

wall, put on a bun, and eat.  And this is supposed to be a kindness

to the cow souls waiting in line.  I trust the fallacy in that

argument is now abundantly clear.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: Retro Hugo Finalists--The Other Categories (comments by John


John Hertz writes:

In the Retro-Hugos, I keep nominating Alex Raymond for Best Pro

Artist.  This year he might even be thought more deserving than

some of the finalists (Bergey, Brundage, Dolgow, Fox, Orban,

Timmins).  However, at least he appears on the ballot under Best

Graphic Story or Comic for two achievements with FLASH GORDON.

The Best Fanwriter ballot of Leiber, Morojo, Rosenblum, Speer,

Tucker, Warner happens to be exactly the list of candidates at

**.  Indeed they are all

worthy.  However--just to mention one additional name--what about

Bill Watson, whose DIABLERIE is worthily on the Best Fan Ballot?

"Best Fanartist" was dropped again, presumably for not drawing

enough nominations.  However, to go no further than than fanzine

images at the candidates page, what about Ron Clynem Lora

Crozetti, Ava Lee, Maliano, Frank Robinson, Alva Rogers, Jack

Weidenbeck?  That's two more than the five an eligible nominator

could have listed, just to give choices.

What, indeed?  [-jh]


TOPIC: Scary Movies and Television Shows (letters of comment by Guy

Lillian and Tom Russell)

In response to Mark's comments on television shows that frightened

him as a child in the 05/01/20 issue of the MT VOID, Guy Lillian


How right you are about the TV shows that freaked us out as kids.

I turned off the "Captain Midnight" "Electrified Man" episode just

before the title menace met the little girl on roller skates--what

happened?  who remembers?--and the "face on the wall" eppy of "One

Step Beyond" sent me shrieking from the room at 10, and still

freaked me when I looked it up at 69.  Worst was the classic

"Twilight Zone" starring Rod Taylor, "And When the Sky was Opened",

which blew me away when I saw its first run.  Poor Ms. Argo was

babysitting me and had to spend an hour calming me down.  Now that

show is one of my favorites.

And what about that Birmingham kids' show that scared me so much

when I was 4?  It opened with a spooky head caroming around the


to that noise.  I moved on to Willie the Worm and Winky Dink.


Mark replies:

You have a good memory.  But I still get a chill from the stain on

the wall story from "One Step Beyond".  And I would say my scariest

"Twilight Zone" episode would be the doppelganger at the bus

station. [-mrl]

Tom Russell writes:

I was 10 years old in 1953 when I saw HOUSE OF WAX.  Couldn't sleep

for three nights.  Couldn't keep my dinner down.

What made it scary was that innocent people became victims of (to

me) unimaginable horror.

Since then I have avoided all "horror" films.  [-tlr]

Mark replies:

Only two, but they were fun ones.  Your reaction to HOUSE OF WAX is

a good one.  Somehow I like to be horrified in the same way I like

very spicy mustard, very piquant hot sauce, and wasabi.  I guess

there is a little masochist to me.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: Polenta and Eggs (letters of comment by Fred Lerner and

Sherry Glotzer)

In response to Mark's comments on eggs in the 05/08/20 issue of

the MT VOID, Fred Lerner writes:

Have you tried polenta as a substrate for your hot sauces?  [-fl]

Mark replies:

I have had it when I traveled, but we have ever had it in the

house.  I have had tamales; I think that is much the same thing in

a different form.  [-mrl]

Sherry (Leeper) Glotzer writes:

Loved your essay on "Eggs My Way", Mark.  Your description of Mom's

reaction to your choice of condiments seems very familiar to me.  I

also had my problems with her culinary skills.  Lima bean soup

leaps to mind.  I was in sixth grade when she made the above item.

I had a great deal of trouble finishing it.  She made me sit at the

table alone until it was gone.  Some things are never forgotten.  I

can eat lima beans today, but not a whole bowl of that soup!

And I can remember your taste for the exotic started when you were

just a toddler.  You wanted mustard and jelly sandwiches.  It went

on from there...  [-slg]

Mark responds:

The lima bean incident is very familiar.  I still hate dry lima

beans.  Had you not eaten them they would have constituted an

inconvenience, and Mom did not take did not take well to

inconvenience.  I remember once had this shown to me.  Mom had

packed a lunch for a picnic.  While we were eating Mom asked how

did the chicken come out.  The coating was a bit soft and greasy.

I replied and said so.  Mom made a face filled with rage and said,

"Oh.  And I suppose you can do better."  I had completely missed

the point of her question.  [-mrl]


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

Once again, the "Decameron" podcast is lagging behind, so I have

no idea when the next column on that will appear.  This week I'll

discuss the finalists for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic

Presentation (Short Form).

THE CANTERVILLE GHOST: Based on the Oscar Wilde story, this suffers

from too much "thee" and "thou" and "yea" and heavy under-cranking

(which speeds up the action) in the first scene, and one wonders

how the Allies won the war if American soldiers were this wacky.

Then again, this is in keeping with other American comedies during

the war--the soldiers seem a cross between Abbott and Costello, and

the Marx Brothers.  (I suppose the idea is to downplay the fact

that these soldiers are supposed to go out and kill people, and

make them just like the friendly neighbor back home.)  Charles

Laughton is a bit over the top (but he always is) and Una O'Conner

is way over the top (but she always is).  And while the curse will

be lifted when a Canterville has to do something brave while

wearing the signet ring, no one thinks to give the ring to Margaret

O'Brien, who keeps doing brave things.  Still, it's more enjoyable

than something like THEY CAME TO A CITY or the many low-budget

horror films that came out in 1944.

THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE: RKO told Val Lewton that they wanted a

sequel to THE CAT PEOPLE, but they got this instead, a film about a

troubled child who lives in a fantasy world and is visited by the

ghost of her dead mother, Irena from THE CAT PEOPLE.  There is also

a subplot of an unbalanced neighbor and her unbalanced daughter.

Yes, I suppose it's a sort of sequel, but there is no plotline

overlap at all.  On the one hand, it is a very atmospheric and

well-thought-out movie; on the other, there is really little

fantasy of note.  (It is notable for being Robert Wise's first film

as a director.)

DONOVAN'S BRAIN: This is the two-part "Suspense" adaptation on the

CBS Radio Network, not the film THE LADY AND THE MONSTER, which was

also a 1944 production based on the Curt Siodmak novel DONOVAN'S

BRAIN.  Since I haven't read the novel, I cannot say whether it is

a faithful adaptation, but I will say that the listener having to

picture the apparatus (and the brain) rather than having it sown on

the screen is a definite plus, and an example of what Mark was

talking about a few issues ago--that radio is perhaps the best

common dramatic medium for horror.

HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN: By 1944 the Universal was resorting to

"Monster Rallies"--films which combined two or more of their

classic monsters in one film, and as a result could draw in people

who hoped to see monsters fighting each other.  This one had the

Frankenstein monster, Dracula, and the Wolf Man, but no such fights

ever developed; the various monsters do attack humans, but that is

nothing new.  (At least in the 1943 film FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE

WOLF MAN, there was a fight between the two title characters.)

Boris Karloff is also back as a draw, but not as the Frankenstein


THE INVISIBLE MAN'S REVENGE: This is yet another example of

Universal playing on movie-goers' memories of their earlier classic

films in order to get them to quick cheapies.  The main character

in this is named Robert Griffin, but has no connection to the

Griffin of the first film in the series, nor is he even the

scientist who develops the invisibility serum.  (Basically, by the

third film in any Universal series except the "Frankenstein"

series, all quality had been discarded in favor of the attempt to

make a quick buck.)

IT HAPPENED TOMORROW: This is somewhat similar to another 1944

film, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, in that it is similar to a "Twilight

Zone" episode--in this case, "Printer's Devil".  Larry Stevens is a

reporter who gets copies of the next day's newspapers, but when he

tries to act on the advance information, things don't turn out as

he hoped.  (No surprise there.)  There is also a romance, and a lot

of comedy, but altogether it is nothing special.






                     Mark Leeper

* *

          Until you walk a mile in another man's moccasins you

          can't imagine the smell.

                                          --Robert Byrne