Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society

09/25/20 -- Vol. 39, No. 13, Whole Number 2138

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



Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,

Lectures, etc. (NJ)

My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in October (comments

by Mark R. Leeper)

MACHINE by Elizabeth Bear (book review by Joe Karpierz)

Gender-Reveal Update (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

Tarzan Movies (letter of comment by Kip Williams)

Monsters (letter of comment by Dorothy J. Heydt)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946) (letters of comment

by Gary McGath and Paul Dormer)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946) and Translation (letters

of comment by Paul Dormer, Tim Merrigan,

Scott Dorsey, Dorothy J. Heydt, Steve Coltrin,

and John Halpenny)

This Week's Reading (THE HAUNTING OF H. G. WELLS and


by Evelyn C. Leeper)


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

Lectures, etc. (NJ)

Needless to say, everything here is tentative.  The Old Bridge

group did hold a socially distanced meeting at one of the

members' homes on July 23 to discuss ROBUR THE CONQUEROR,

and a Zoom meeting on September 24 for THE DARK FOREST.

All Middletown meetings cancelled/postponed until further notice

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


TOPIC: My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in October (comments

by Mark R. Leeper)

THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) is imprinted on our

cultural psychology perhaps only surpassed by King Kong and

Godzilla.  The creature himself is an icon more recognizable than

any number of screen monsters that have appeared in the two-thirds

of a century intervening.  The science of the script is laughably

problematic, but does not seem much of a flaw. What is remembered

is a short sequence with Julie Adams swimming on the surface while

unknown to her the creature is swimming a symmetric dance.  This is

certainly one of the most fondly remembered of the science fiction

films of the 1950s.  It probably is not for the script, which

frankly is flawed, but some the visual images work well in the

film.  Still the film is a classic.

[A full retrospective on this ran in last week's MT VOID.]

[CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, Monday, October 12 @ 2;00 PM]

Also, every Monday evening in October TCM is running a Peter

Cushing festival:

October 5:

 8:00 PM  Cash on Demand (1961)

 9:30 PM  End of the Affair, The (1955)

11:30 PM  Time Without Pity (1957)

 1:15 AM  John Paul Jones (1959)

 3:30 AM  Hamlet (1948)

October 12:

 8:00 PM  Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960)

 9:30 PM  Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965)

11:00 PM  Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966)

12:30 AM  She (1965)

 2:30 AM  Violent Playground (1958)

 4:30 AM  In Saigon: Some May Live (1967)

October 19:

 8:00 PM  Hound of the Baskervilles, The (1959)

 9:30 PM  Horror of Dracula (1958)

11:15 PM  Mummy, The (1959)

 1:00 AM  Curse of Frankenstein, The (1957)

 2:45 AM  Frankenstein Created Woman (1967)

 4:30 AM  Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed! (1970)

October 26:

 8:00 PM  Nothing But the Night (1972)

 9:45 PM  Madhouse (1974)

11:30 PM  From Beyond the Grave (1973)

 1:30 AM  Scream and Scream Again (1970)

 4:45 AM  Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)


TOPIC: MACHINE by Elizabeth Bear (copyright 2020, Gallery Books,

$15.99, hardcover, ISBN: 9781534403017) (book review by Joe


MACHINE is the second book in the White Space series, the first

being 2019's ANCESTRAL NIGHT.  I will confess to not having read

ANCESTRAL NIGHT, but it is sitting in my to-be-read

pile/stack/list/whatever.  The good news is that the reader need

not have read the first book to enjoy and understand MACHINE.

While there are references to the first book (I am given to

understand), and a few people and things from that book appear in

MACHINE, knowing the intricate details of those things--and people-

-is not necessary to the enjoyment of this book.

Doctor Brooklynn Jens is a rescue specialist.  If there are

entities that are in trouble, she will not hesitate to jump out an

open airlock of a spaceship to help those in need.  And, in fact,

that's how MACHINE starts off.  The ship Jens is assigned to is

responding to a distress signal.  When Sally--Jens' ship--arrives

at the signal they discover that the signal is emanating from a

ship that is docked (or attached to, take your pick) to an ancient

generation starship that departed Earth hundreds of years earlier,

from the time before humans joined an interstellar civilization

called the Synarche and before they were able to overcome all the

sorts of things our civilization was afflicted with.  The process

is called "rightminding", and just the name makes be a bit

squeamish, although those who are rightminded are certainly more

civilized than those who aren't.  It's quite the complicated issue,

and one that still has me thinking about being rightminded.  While

it may be for humanity's own good, it is somewhat frightening that

our future selves would possibly allow themselves to have their

minds meddled with in the name of better behavior.

In any event, Jens and her team enter the generation ship first, as

that one is friendly to oxygen breathers while the other is not.

What they find is that the entire crew is in cryogenic sleep

containers, while their creepy caretaker, Helen (whose full name is

a take off on Helen O'Loy), is somewhat confused and scary.  The

job is to get the crew of the generation ship *and* Helen on to the

rescue ship and then somehow get the crew of the second ship taken

back to the medical station Core General as well.

And that is probably the most straightforward piece of this

entirely enthralling space opera.  It turns out that Core General

itself is the victim of sabotage, and Jens' assignment has changed

from dealing with the survivors on the generation ship to finding

out exactly what is going on at Core General.  The weird thing is

that several of Jens' colleagues and superiors are aware of what's

going on, but there's nothing they can do about it.  And they're

the ones that have assigned Jens the job of finding out what's

going on.

While it's clear to many long time readers of SF and space opera

that MACHINE owes a lot to James White's Sector General stories,

Bear also credits C. J. Cherryh as an inspiration in writing this

novel.  That inspiration shows as well.

MACHINE is a highly entertaining space opera that has, in Bear's

own words, a Rube-Goldbergian plot.  Just when the reader thinks

they have figured out what's going on, Bear sends the story off in

yet another direction that keeps that reader entertained until the

very end.  There have been a lot of space operas that have been

written recently, all attempting in their own way to update the

subgenre to make it relevant to the 21st century.  Bear has done a

terrific job in doing just that.  MACHINE is highly recommended.

Now I guess I'd better go read ANCESTRAL NIGHT.  [-jak]


TOPIC: Gender-Reveal Update (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

G. Willow Wilson said that 10,000 acres were burned because of a

gender-reveal party.  The number is now 21,000 and there has been

one fatality.  (A previous gender-reveal party had the first

fatality, so this makes two.)  There has also been at least one

plane crash.  [-ecl]


TOPIC: Tarzan Movies (letter of comment by Kip Williams)

I have a definite favorite in the series: TARZAN'S NEW YORK

ADVENTURE (1942) gives us the Ape Man in the Big Apple, climbing

around in the concrete jungle, mostly wearing a business suit. And

I'm pretty sure other stuff happens as well. There's a circus

involved. I'm glad I have a recording of it that I can

(theoretically) find and watch, since we don't have cable any more.

Other than that, I have preferences. The ones where he fights Nazis

are always good, and TARZAN AND HIS MATE will always be watchable

for me, for a reason I probably need not mention.  [-kw]


TOPIC: Monsters (letter of comment by Dorothy J. Heydt)

In response to Mark's comments on the Creature from the Black

Lagoon in the 09/18/20 issue of the MT VOID, Dorothy J. Heydt


[Mark writes,] "They are really pushing convergent evolution

particularly making the creature attracted to Kay.  Consider how

many more people know what the creature looks like and how few can

picture the Martians from WAR OF THE WORLDS."  [-mrl]

Oh.  I remember that Martian vividly, although one sees it only

for a few seconds.  It's one of those etched-onto-the-retina

images.  YMMV.  Note, if you can remember it, that the Martian is

terrified of either the humans or their flashlight ... I'll have

to get out the DVD and watch it again.  [-djh]

[Mark writes,] "Does the writer think he himself could be attracted

to a female gorilla, no matter how cute?  [-mrl]

John Collier wrote a novel called HIS MONKEY WIFE.  Although (mind,

I haven't read it) the bride appears to be a chimp, not a gorilla.


Evelyn adds:

"Rachel in Love" by Pat Murphy.  [-ecl]


TOPIC: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946) (letters of comment by Gary

McGath, Paul Dormer, and Keith F. Lynch)

In response to Evelyn's comments on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946) in

the 09/18/20 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath writes:

I love that movie.

[Re Running the film backwards]  Clever.  The trick of running the

film backwards is also used in the silent version of THE TEN

COMMANDMENTS for the parting of the Red Sea.

[Re this being a lookist film]  Is it?  Belle regards the Beast as

hideous, even if that isn't well conveyed, and learns to see beyond


The ending felt like a letdown to me.  The special effects

overwhelm the characters.

[On the Beast lapping up water]  I think the idea is that he's

beastly in psychology as well as appearance.  [-gmg]

Paul Dormer writes:

I haven't seen that film for years, but I did watch Cocteau's

ORPHEE again last year.  (I'd just been to see the Philip Glass

opera and I wanted to see it again.)

Another simple special effect in that.  Someone puts their hand

into a mirror.  It was actually a bath of mercury and the image was

rotated so it looked like a vertical mirror.

At least the person was wearing gloves when they did that.  Even in

the Sixties we were handling mercury with bare hands in school

chemistry lessons.

Actually, I think it was part of the plot.  A special pair of

gloves was needed in order to enter a mirror.  [-pd]

Keith F. Lynch demurs:

Metallic mercury isn't particularly dangerous.  One nurse attempted

suicide by injecting herself with about a kilo of it.  It didn't

hurt her at all.  It did make her x-rays look a lot more


You wouldn't want to sleep every night on a bed made of it, as a

few rich people did.  But the real danger is from methyl mercury.

One person died because she got a single drop of that stuff on the

outside of the latex gloves she was wearing.  [-kfl]


TOPIC: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946) and Translation (letters of

comment by Paul Dormer, Tim Merrigan, Scott Dorsey, Dorothy

J. Heydt, Keith F. Lynch, Kevin R, Steve Coltrin, and John


In response to Evelyn's comments on translation in BEAUTY AND THE

BEAST (1946) in the 09/18/20 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath


[Regarding the horse being told to go]  "Va ou je veux aller, Le

Magnifique. Va! Va! Va!"  (Accent mark omitted for the sake of

sticking to ASCII.)  [-gmg]

Paul Dormer writes:

I am reminded of a subtitling problem I saw in a French film shown

on the BBC, it must have been back in the Eighties.

It was a slightly surreal policier.  The detective finds a woman

standing over the corpse of her husband.  Instead of arresting her,

he spends the night with her.  The next morning, he's getting

dressed, she's still in bed.

"Did you sleep well?"" he asks, according to the subtitle.

I could hear the actual French of the reply:

"Oui.  Et vous, uh, tu?"

The subtitle was just something like, "Yes, and you?"  [-pd]

Tim Merrigan responds:

Considering that standard English doesn't use the informal, so most

people wouldn't understand the significance of "Yes, and you, uh,

thou," how would you have translated it?  [-tm]

Paul Dormer answers:

Yes, my point was that it was untranslatable and you have to bear

in mind when dealing with a translated text, you are not always

getting the full picture.

There's a rather fun book called IS THAT A FISH IN YOUR EAR? by

David Bellos on the joys and pitfalls of translation.  [-pd]

Evelyn adds:

I reviewed Bellos's book in the 01/20/2012 issue of the MT VOID,

with more comments in the 07/12/2019 issue; they are available at

**.  [-ecl]

Scott Dorsey replies:

It goes both ways.  I remember watching GO WEST--a Marx Brothers

film--with French subtitles.  Groucho asks a Native American if

he's the chief that goes from Chicago to Los Angeles in two days

(which is a joke about a train which would not translate well to a

European audience).  The subtitles replaced it with a completely

different joke altogether.

And then there is Jerry Lewis.  The guy who dubs Jerry Lewis into

French is actually funny and his jokes are much better than Lewis'

too.  [-sd]

Paul adds:

I have heard a report--possibly apocryphal--as told by an

Englishman watching the film Cross of Iron being shown in a Paris

cinema.  The film opens with an extended action sequence with no

dialogue.  Then a head peeps over a parapet and see a line or

armoured vehicles approaching.

"Tanks!" he cries.

The subtitle read, "Merci".  [-pd]

Dorothy J. Heydt suggests:

The closest thing we've had in English for several centuries now is

use of first name vs. last name.  Miss Manners gave the example of

a 19th-century gent saying to his beloved, "Miss Smith ... may I

call you Martha?"  It's the equivalent of the Spanish "vamos a

tutearnos," which I saw in my second-year Spanish text, in which

the two start using "tu" to one another *and* simultaneously start

using first names.

But switching from last to first name is going out rapidly, at

least in the US; everybody first-names everybody else, or so it

sounds to a casual ear.  [-djh]

Keith F. Lynch replies:

I agree.  "They call me Mr. Tibbs" in the 1967 movie, IN THE HEAT

OF THE NIGHT has aged badly.  To modern audiences, Mr. Tibbs sounds

very stuck up.  [0kfl]

Kevin R disagrees:

An African-American professional demanding a form of respect

normally only accorded to white folks from a white law enforcement


I'd say that would resonate, today.



Keith responds:

I know the context.  Do you really think there are any major movies

about wrongful accusations that I haven't watched?

But today, regardless of race, everyone would address everyone else

by their first name, and nobody would take offense at it.  On the

other hand, the cop's casual use of the N-word would get him fired,

unlike merely killing an innocent person or three.  [-kfl]

Kevin counters:

There are sure to be some reading the group who hadn't seen the

film, or read the book.

Having just spent the last 10 years doing customer care by phone,

and ~25 years before that in brick and  mortar retail, perhaps I

have different experiences and sensibilities.  I have interacted

with people who are fine with "hey, you!" all the way to folks who

are very bristly when they are not addressed with honorifics they

feel are their due.

My default has always been to start out with formal address, then

to use less formal forms if invited to.

I have worked in cube farms where all co-workers were on a first-

name basis, and I'd rack my brain sometimes trying to find out a

last name when I needed one.

In '67, Gillespie's use of that word might get him elected to the

state legislature. [-kr]

Paul Dormer responds to Dorothy:

I remember hearing recently a piece of comic verse the gist of

which was a conversation between Jerome K. Jerome and Ford Maddox

Ford about the problems they have with their names.  If some just

says "Jerome" are they being stand-offish or unnecessarily

informal.  [-pd]

Steve Coltrin suggests:

And as a second-order phenomenon there's full first name vs. brief

vs. diminutive.  (Viz. Russian, with full-first-name-and-patronymic

vs. three different forms of diminutive, one of which only entered

wide usage in the Nineties.)  [-sc]

John Halpenny relates:

I was in Texas some years ago with some older gentlemen who

addressed me as "you all" until they got to know me well enough to

just use "you".  [-jh]

Dorothy J. Heydt responds:

And there's the story of the Yorkshireman who said to his

underling, "Don't tha thou me afore I thous thee!"  [-djh]

Steve writes:

There's a scene in "Your Name." where one of the protagonists is

stumbling over what pronoun they should use for themselves during a

conversation.  The subtitles are something along the lines of "I

(wrong for X reason) ... I (wrong for Y reason) ... I".  No idea

how the English dub handled it--I won't watch dubs.  [-sc]

Dorothy asks:

What was the original language?  Japanese maybe?  (About which I

know not much, but I believe there are various honorific grades of

pronouns; does this include first-person singular?)

Steve answers:

'Twas.  Japanese has *oodles* of classifiers (they aren't pronouns)

for first and second person, encoding things such as absolute

social position, relative position between speaker and hearer, etc.

(None for third person.  For third, you use name, job, etc.  And

yes, there's a whole flotilla of honorific suffixes.)

(Also, Japanese doesn't really have grammatical number.  In a very

real sense, all Japanese nouns are mass nouns - you have to add a

suffix to turn one into a count noun before you can specify how

many there are.  And the suffix depends on (mostly) what shape the

thing is.  (This is still simpler than what Navajo does.))  [-sc]

Evelyn notes:

John McWhorter's "Lexicon Valley" podcast from 09/15/20 covers

similar topics--in particular, the use of different language (and

not just pronouns) depending on to whom you are speaking.  [-ecl]

[More at



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

THE HAUNTING OF H. G. WELLS by Robert Masello (47North, ISBN 978-1-

542-09378-1) is an odd mixture of historical fiction, romance, and

the supernatural.  Well, maybe to others it would not seem odd; I

realize there are lots of supernatural historical romance novels.

But it is not something of which I have read a lot.

The romance is the relationship between Wells and Rebecca West, as

well as his relationship with his wife Jane.(whose real name was

Amy Catherine, in case any of you TIME AFTER TIME fans was

wondering).  The historical part is World War I and the social

movements of the time.  And the supernatural ... well, that's a bit

trickier.  [SPOILERS]  Masello keeps throwing red herrings at us,

starting with the "Angels of Mons", a genuine story/urban legend of

a supernatural event during the war.  After pretty much dismissing

that, he hands us another possibility in the "ghouls" of the

battlefield.  And so on.  He does eventually get to genuine

supernatural happenings, but only after several "false starts."

You will either find this clever, or you will want to strangle him.

I found the historical aspects of far more interest than the

romance, and the supernatural aspects of interest only insofar as

they served the historical part.  Masello does have Arthur Machen

and Alistair Crowley as characters, along with Wells and West, and

Winston Churchill, but since one cannot tell how much of their

characters are fictionalized, there's always the possibility of the

unreliable narrator.  Well, okay, we *know* the main plot is

fiction.  But it is the sort of "enemy agent" plot that one can

accept in an historical fiction novel.

If you want a better World War I historical novel involving a

famous character and possible supernatural goings-on, read SHERLOCK

HOLMES: THE SPIRIT BOX by George Mann (Titan, ISBN 978-1-781-16002-

2).  Mann has written several books in the supernatural alternate

history of Newbury & Hobbes, and Newbury appears here as well.

Again, we have a German plot against England, this time more

centered on espionage, and the question of whether there is

anything supernatural going on runs throughout the book.  [-ecl]


                     Mark Leeper

* *

          The analysis of variance is not a mathematical theorem,

          but rather a convenient method of arranging the


                                          --Ronald Fisher