Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society

03/12/21 -- Vol. 39, No. 37, Whole Number 2162

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Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, * *

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Mini Reviews, Part 9 (APOCALYPSE '45, THIS IS NOT A MOVIE,

DESERT ONE) (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper)

Space News (comments by Gregory Frederick)

More Space News

This Week's Reading (ENEMY MINE) (book and film comments

by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Mini Reviews, Part 9 (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper)

Here is the ninth batch of mini-reviews, three documentaries about


APOCALYPSE '45:  This documentary looks like it uses colorized

newsreel footage, but it is actually restored color footage.

(There probably was some overlap between this film and the

television series "World War II in Color".)  It is a look from the

beginning of the Pacific War to the end.  Among other things, the

film examines the motives of the people dropping bombs on

civilians: are the victims evil because of what their government

was doing or had them do?  The largest segment of the film is saved

for Okinawa, although Hiroshima was also covered at length.

Released 08/14/20; not yet available on streaming.  Rating: high +2

(-4 to +4)


(his inspiration to become a journalist), journalist Robert Fisk

says, "This is not a movie," meaning journalists don't always help

get the bad guys.  Fisk believes that news must be seen before

being believed, and he does not believe it is required to give

equal time to each side.  His expressed preference is to give time

to the victims (though perhaps the coverage of 9/11 shown does not

follow this policy.  A large section of the film is spent on the

massacre at the infamous Sabra and Shatila Refugee Camp.  Released

09/09/20; available on Amazon Prime streaming.  Rating: high +2

(-4 to -4)

DESERT ONE: This tells of the major event of the Carter presidency,

the Iran hostage crisis.  The film uses comic-book style

illustrations to recount the events.  Elsewhere it has a fairly

standard documentary style, and at times the incidents are genuinely

moving.  Released 08/21/20; available on Amazon Prime and on DVD

from Netflix.  Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4)



TOPIC: Space News (comments by Gregory Frederick)

The latest SpaceX test (SN10) worked; except that the rocket

exploded a few minutes after it did land successfully. They have

more work ahead but they are making progress.  The video linked

below shows that only three of the crush-able landing legs deployed

and the rocket was still coming down too fast. The large landing

impact force probably caused fuel lines and/or a fuel tank to break

causing the explosion and fire.

Video at *Ï9mdMI1qxMÏ9mdMI1qxM*.

Also, I recently watched DESTINATION MOON (I have not seen it in

years) and as I watched it, I was reminded that their Luna rocket-

ship was using a similar propulsive landing method as Space X will

use on the Moon with their Lunar Starship.  I realize that almost

all 1950's Sci-Fi film rockets landed this way (except for WHEN

WORLDS COLLIDE, CONQUEST OF SPACE and probably some others) but it

just is so interesting that 1950's Sci-Fi films seemed to have the

right idea about landing large rockets on the Moon.  [-gf]

Mark replies:

I'm convinced.  Here's my two bucks.  [-mrl]

Greg responds:

I read where George Pal and Walter Lantz were friends and so Lantz

would then his character to Pal's film.  [-gf]

Mark observes:

That seems to be just what happened.

And don't forget Pal worked Puppetoons into The TIME MACHINE.  He

was loyal to his friends.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: More Space News

CNN reports, "For [Octavia Butler's] pioneering work in the world

of sci-fi, NASA named the site on Mars where the Perseverance rover

touched down "Octavia E. Butler Landing."

"Her guiding principle, 'When using science, do so accurately,' is

what the science team at NASA is all about.  Her work continues to

inspire today's scientists and engineers across the globe--all in

the name of a bolder, more equitable future for all," said Thomas

Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission

Directorate, in a statement.  [-CNN/NASA]


TOPIC: This Week's Reading (book and film comments by Evelyn

C. Leeper)

Our discussion group for March did the novella "Enemy Mine" by

Barry B. Longyear and the film ENEMY MINE.  (We did not cover the

novelization by David Gerrold and Longyear.)  The novella was

written in 1979 and seems rather cliched now.  The original

attitudes of Davidge and Jeriba seem to be patterned after

attitudes from the Vietnam War, and everything seems just too

convenient, plotwise.  (For starters, they seem very similar

biologically, and learn each other's languages much more quickly

than two totally different species with two totally different

speech organs.)

I found it revealing that the Black actor plays the alien--it might

have been more interesting the other way around, but it *was* 1985.

The Earthman tries to kill the Drac, but later the Drac saves the

Earthman, so the Drac is in some sense the peacemaker.

The movie uses meteorites instead of waves, probably for budget

reasons as well as dramatic effect.  The movie also has weird

creatures, but no snakes.

I found the Pepsi product placement a hundred years in the future

unconvincing.  (In the novelization, it's Coca-Cola; in the novel

it doesn't exist.)

In addition to the echoes of the Vietnam War, there is a comment on

the repreoductive rights debate: "With you humans, birth is a

matter of choice, but with us Drax, birth just happens."  [-ecl]


                     Mark Leeper

* *

          I used to look at [my dog] Smokey and think,

          'If you were a little smarter you could tell me

          what you were thinking,' and he'd look at me like

          he was saying, 'If you were a little smarter,

          I wouldn't have to.'

                                          --Fred Jungclaus