Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society

07/23/21 -- Vol. 40, No. 4, Whole Number 2181

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Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, * *

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Bond Songs (Part 1) (DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE,

GOLDFINGER) (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

Labels and Alphabetizing (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

Mini-Reviews, Series, and Psychohistory (letter of comment

by John Hertz)

SUPERNOVA ERA, the Ata Boys, and Sea Level Rise

(letters of comment by Kevin R, Scott Dorsey,

Keith F. Lynch, and Peter Trei)

STAR TREK and the Venus Drug (letters of comment

by Gary McGath, Dorothy J. Heydt, Tim Merrigan)


(book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)



GOLDFINGER) (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

Back when I was newly-retired an old friend from my college days

and I were discussing James Bond films and I mentioned that somehow

the viewing public never noticed how weak so many of the Bond title

sequences.  They were really sappy and not up to the quality of

other aspects of the productions.

One of the disadvantages of not having children is that you

cheat yourself of having a second childhood, at least as far as

entertainment goes.  Well, for small children it would not do you

much good anyway.  Who wants to watch Barney with their very young

children?  Not many, I admit.  But when the children start getting

older you take them to see the Disney animated films.  And you tell

people you are just going to watch the kids, but after a few

minutes it is "Daddy, I wanna go home."  "Sh-sh-sh-sh, Daddy's

watching the movie.  Wow, look at that dragon the witch turned

into!  That is SO COOL!"

But not having children Evelyn and I missed all that.  I think we

also carelessly passed up having mid-life crises, which we really

were entitled to even without children.  In my case it was because

I have always been mathematical and knew years in advance about

when mid-life would likely be.  It did not catch me unawares and so

we didn't suddenly feel we had to act like 20-year-olds.  Or

perhaps we have been acting like 20-year-olds all along (minus the

beer and the hang-gliding, of course).  But I do admit that with

the advent of DVD players we have been revisiting the adventures of

my teenage hero, James Bond.  When I finally acquired YOU ONLY LIVE

TWICE, I finally realized it should really be YOU LIVE ONLY TWICE.

But that is an example of what has been happening.  I expect to be

drawn into these films and I can see why I liked them, but I also

see flaws I missed when I first saw them.

One of the things I am looking at is the song lyrics.  To

the best of my knowledge nobody really has done an appraisal of the

songs of the James Bond films.  I might as well do it, albeit

superficially.  I used to love the Bond songs.  I would sing them

to myself when I was mowing the lawn.  Now I look at them and see

how silly they were.

Take the title song from FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.  (I will take the

songs in order but will skip over DR. NO.  It did not really have

a title song.  For the title music it used the wordless James Bond

theme and a calypso version of "Three Blind Mice.") The lyric of

the second Bond film goes:

From Russia with love I fly to you,

Much wiser since my goodbye to you.

I've traveled the world to learn,

I must return from Russia with love.

I've seen places, faces and smiled for a moment,

But oh, you haunted me so.

Still my tongue-tied young pride,

Would not let my love for you show

In case you'd say no.

To Russia I flew but there and then,

I suddenly knew you'd care again.

My running around is through,

I fly to you from Russia with love.

First of all it loses points because it has nothing whatsoever to

do with the plot of the film.  This guy singing is no James Bond.

Barney Fife is a bit closer.  It is a song written by someone

returning from Russia to his previous girlfriend.  He has been a

world traveler but all it has taught him is that he should return

to his girlfriend.  But it must be returning from the right place.

It won't work if he is returning from someplace like a dull Belgium

or Denmark.  Warm countries are right out.  Apparently his girl

wants to be returned to from Russia.  Why, we never find out.  Now

the plot thickens.  He has been traveling around since they split

up, but he keeps remembering her and wishing he had been more

romantic with her.  He really did love her but the fear that she

would reject him so unhinged his fragile little mind that he could

not speak up.  This guy's not ready to cross a street much less

journey around the world.  Well then he took a plane to Russia.

Here he is sightseeing and in the middle he has a sartorial

experience.  Something like, "The Kremlin, onion domes, the snow

and ice, fur hats, borscht.  Hey wait.  OF COURSE she'll love me

again."  Now there is an air of mystery added.  Apparently she

loved him at one time and stopped.  Why?  We never know.  But that

is why he is afraid to say that he loves her in case she rejects

him a second time after once loving him.  Now this wimp suddenly

knows that he can make her love him again because he is returning

from *just the right country.*  This guy is too diffident to be any

sort of lover.  My advice?  Lose him.  And I hope he remembers to

bring her one of those little nested dolls.

I mean after I listened to what this guy was really saying in his

love song I find myself shaken and not stirred.

Well, let's move on to GOLDFINGER.  A piece of this lyric goes:

Golden words he will pour in your ear,

But his lies can't disguise what you fear,

For a golden girl knows when he's kissed her,

It's the kiss of death from Mister Goldfinger.

Pretty girl beware of this heart of gold

This heart is cold.

This song was clearly "written to spec" by someone who had not seen

the film.  It tries to be about the character in the film, but

misses by a mile.  I mean the words describe Goldfinger sweet-

talking a lady.  I tell you that Gert Frobe really looks like one

hell of a lover, doesn't he?  So here he is whispering sweet

nothings into some lady's ear.  But he isn't fooling her.  Why not?

Because she has already been painted gold and is dying of skin

suffocation.  I cannot say much for his tastes.  At this point no

amount of sweet-kissy-face is going to win her, no matter how cute

Frobe/Goldfinger is.  Well, leave us face it.  She had to be after

his money from the beginning.

So, those were the title songs from the early days of the Bond

films, when they were still deciding just what to do with the

character and the series.  They were creating the Bond formula,

songs and all.  Next time I will talk about what the filmmakers did

from that point on.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: Labels and Alphabetizing (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

Last week I complained about DVD packaging, and this week I am

going to complain about DVD labeling.  It's the same complaint I

mentioned about PROJECT HAIL MARY a few weeks ago.  Two DVDs we


WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS.  But in both cases, the company decided

to put the leading words in much smaller type, so the spines (and

in some cases the fronts) read "MARGARET THATCHER" and "RED FERN


Okay, I know that in some sense this is common.  Gibbon's work is


everyone calls it just "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire".


WEALTH OF NATIONS, but everyone calls it "The Wealth of Nations".



NEVER MEANT TO PUBLISH ON ANY ACCOUNT) is better known as just

plain old "David Copperfield".

But while one might apply this to THE RISE AND FALL OF MARGARET

THATCHER, WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS is *not* known as "Red Fern

Grows"; that doesn't even make sense as a title.  And it is

annoying when one goes to organize one's DVDs (or books)

alphabetically, and even more so when two people are organizing

DVDs (or books) alphabetically, because one person will shelve THE

RISE AND FALL OF MARGARET THATCHER under "R" and the other will

look for it under "M".

And don't even get me started on "Dr." versus "Doctor", or numbers.



TOPIC: Mini-Reviews, Series, and Psychohistory (letter of comment

by John Hertz)

In response to Mark's reviews in the 05/07/21 issue of the MT VOID,

John Hertz writes:

Mark's Mini-Review #15 titles ([issue] 2170) could be read

together.  "Black Bear, I'm thinking of ending things, she dies


In response to Evelyn's comments on series in the same issue, John


Seems to me that series fail ([issue] 2170), not at any particular

length, but when authors keep writing after they cease creating.

Frank Baum wrote fourteen Oz books.  Patrick O'Brien wrote twenty

Aubrey & Maturin books.  Isaac Asimov should not have written a

fourth Foundation book--on another tentacle, THE END OF ETERNITY

(1955) came after SECOND FOUNDATION (1953) and may be his best, and

I like "gold" (1991)--which he might have called APOLOGIA PRO VITA

SUA except the allusion to Cardinal Newman's book might have

confused people who rejoiced that Asimov was an atheist but

couldn't follow his jokes.

And in response to the quote in the 06/11/21 issue of the MT VOID,

John Hertz writes:

No sooner do I comment about Asimov's Foundation books than I find

you quoting Astolphe-Louis-Leonor, Narquis de Custine ([issue]

2175), "The circumstances of human society are too complicated."

Of course he lived several millennia before Hari Seldon.  [-jh


TOPIC: SUPERNOVA ERA, the Ata Boys, and Sea Level Rise (letters of

comment by Kevin R, Scott Dorsey, Keith F. Lynch, and Peter Trei)

In response to Evelyn's review of SUPERNOVA ERA in the 07/16/21

issue of the MT VOID, Kevin R writes:

There was a recent documentary on the Ata boys:



Trailers embedded there:



CBS-TV did a feature on this, which, if the ad on FACE THE NATION

was accurate, will re-air on 60 MINUTES tonight.



In the notes at the bottom of this page are links to older stories,

some from Australian TV.


[Evelyn wrote,] "Another error is having New York City and Shanghai

flooded like Venice, but action going on in and around the White

House, which sits on the District of Columbia flood plain and would

also be submerged.  Both of these are probably because the original

copy editing was done in China, and so these were not caught


Did they get KAMANDI comics in China?





Scott Dorsey writes:

Fred Pohl's take on this in STARBURST involves a lot of sandbags

and much of the government moving to a Holiday Inn in Roslyn as I

recall.  [-sd]

Keith F. Lynch replies:

Rosslyn is just as low-lying as DC.  (I used to live in Rosslyn.)

Kevin notes:

1-S Roslyn is on Long Island, NY.  Only 91 feet/30 metres of

elevation in that village on Long Island Sound.   Neighboring

villages may have some hills up to 150 feet.  LI North Shore towns

tend to have bluffs ringing their harbors.

Keith answers:

I apologize.  I haven't read STARBURST since shortly after it was

published 39 years ago.  So when you mentioned the government

moving to Roslyn, I mistakenly assumed you were misspelling

Rosslyn, Virginia, which is just across the river from DC.  Iconic

photos that show the Lincoln Memorial in the foreground and the

Washington Monument and Capitol building behind it are all taken

from Rosslyn.  [-kfl]

Scott responds:

It was in fact Rossyln, VA.  And no, it's not very much higher

ground.  The Science Advisor points out that von Knefhausen's cell

is below water level and that he'll be drowned if the generator is

shut off, as I recall.  [-sd]

Keith also replies:

New York City and Shanghai are both on coasts.  DC is inland.  It

would be a simple matter to build a dam on the Potomac, downstream

of DC, with a built-in nuclear reactor dedicated to powering pumps

to keep the upstream Potomac's water level what it is today.  This

project probably wouldn't cost more than a few billion dollars, a

negligible increase to the federal budget.  [-kfl]

Evelyn responds:

However, the events in SUPERNOVA ERA take place in a time frame

that would not (IMHO) really allow for such a project.  [-ecl]

Peter Trei notes:

In reality, the government would have moved to The Greenbriar, in

WV, but its existence was not public until 1992, just a bit too

late.  [-pt]

And Scott responds:

Good point, although that may have been enemy territory by that

point.  The United States was a good bit less united by that time

in Pohl's world.  [-sd]


TOPIC: STAR TREK and the Venus Drug (letters of comment by Gary

McGath, Dorothy J. Heydt, Tim Merrigan)

In response to Evelyn's comments on STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES

in the 07/16/21 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath writes:

The Venus Drug fixed the women's hairdos.  I never understood how it

did that.  [-gmg]

Dorothy J. Heydt adds:

And gave them a new coat of makeup.  [-djh]

Tim Merrigan suggests:

It's secondary chemical mind control (of the men), through the

pheromones the women produce, along with a direct psychotropic

effect on the women taking it/to whom it's given, without their

knowledge, which boosts their self confidence.

The improved image of the women who have taken it, shown in the

show, is through the eyes, and minds, of the men effected by it.

It should improve the images of any women in the area, but improve

it more for the women who've taken it.  [-tm]


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

C. Leeper)

THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook, ISBN 978-0-

316-42204-8) is an alternate history of America where magic was/is

real, but was supposedly burned out along with (Old) Salem during

the witch trials.  But bits of it have survived, and now three

witch sisters are trying to use it for the suffragette movement, as

well as bring back as much magic into the world as they can.

On the whole the story was engaging, but many of the points it was

trying to make about attitudes, politics, and religion seemed

rather obvious.  Harrow also uses a common trick in alternate

histories--mapping names and people from our world to the

alternate.  So we have the Square Shirtwaist Factory fire, and

folklorists Charlotte Perrault, the Sisters Grimm, and Andrea Lang.

(It has only now occurred to me that having the "founder" (in some

sense) of Shangri-La named Father Perrault may have been intended

by James Hilton as a reference to Charles Perrault and a hint that

the story of LOST HORIZON and Shangri-La is really a modern fairy


It is not clear what the change point of our world was with the

alternate.  The destruction of Salem and a stronger reaction to

witchcraft would have changed subsequent United States history, but

its occurrence in 1693 could not change Charles Perrault into

Charlotte before the 1697 publication of their folktales.  One

could argue that the change was that magic was real, but there

seems to be little indication that this has a noticeable historic

impact in the alternate world.

[slight spoilers]

A more fundamental problem I have is the implication that

witchcraft is necessary in order to accomplish social change.

Assuming one does not believe witchcraft was used in our world's

social movements (e.g. the suffrage movement), this is clearly

false in our world.  One can argue, I suppose, that since it turns

out that the "anti-witchcraft" politicians are also using

witchcraft, its use by the reformers may be more necessary in the

alternate world.  But the message it sends is that working for

social change is futile without witchcraft, or prayer, or some

supernatural assistance.

I wouldn't stop this from my recommending the book, but it did

strike me as a unfortunate subtext.  [-ecl]


                     Mark Leeper

* *

          People do not believe that mathematics is simple,

          it is only because they do not realize how complicated

          life is.

                                          --John von Neumann