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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
Club Notice - 04/25/97 -- Vol. 15, No. 43
Table of Contents
MT Chair/Librarian: Mark Leeper MT 3E-433 908-957-5619 email@example.com HO Chair: John Jetzt MT 2E-530 908-957-5087 firstname.lastname@example.org HO Librarian: Nick Sauer HO 4F-427 908-949-7076 email@example.com Distinguished Heinlein Apologist: Rob Mitchell MT 2D-536 908-957-6330 firstname.lastname@example.org Factotum: Evelyn Leeper MT 3E-433 908-957-2070 email@example.com Backissues available at http://www.mt.lucent.com/~ecl/MTVOID/backissues.html or http://sf.www.lysator.liu.se/sf_archive/sf-texts/MT_Void/. All material copyright by author unless otherwise noted.
URL of the week:
http://www.io.com/~lsc2/hugo/hugonom1.html. List of Hugo nominees for 1997; links will gradually be added to any on-line versions of nominated works. [-ecl]
I would like to start a Web page for club members (if you got this in the mail, you're one) with links to their Web pages, either internal or external. If you would like to be listed, send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) the URL. [-ecl]
Nebula Award Winners:
The 1997 Hugo Nominations (429 ballots) follow:
Best Novel (356 ballots) BLUE MARS by Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperCollins Voyager; Bantam Spectra) HOLY FIRE by Bruce Sterling (Orion; Bantam Spectra) MEMORY by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen) REMNANT POPULATION by Elizabeth Moon (Baen) STARPLEX by Robert J. Sawyer (Ace) Best Novella (209 ballots) "Abandon in Place" by Jerry Oltion (F&SF 12/96) "Blood of The Dragon" by George R. R. Martin (Asimov's 7/96) "The Cost to Be Wise" by Maureen F. McHugh (STARLIGHT 1) "Gas Fish" by Mary Rosenblum (Asimov's 2/96) "Immersion" by Gregory Benford (SF Age 3/96) "Time Travelers Never Die" by Jack McDevitt (Asimov's 5/96) Best Novelette (221 ballots) "Age of Aquarius" by William Barton (Asimov's 5/96) "Beauty and the Opera or the Phantom Beast" by Suzy McKee Charnas (Asimov's 3/96) [Typeset note: accent over "e" in "Opera"] "Bicycle Repairman" by Bruce Sterling (INTERSECTIONS; Asimov's 10/96) "The Land of Nod" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's 6/96) "Mountain Ways" by Ursula K. Le Guin (Asimov's 8/96) Best Short Story (254 ballots) "The Dead" by Michael Swanwick (STARLIGHT 1) "Decency" by Robert Reed (Asimov's 6/96) "Gone" by John Crowley (F&SF 9/96) "The Soul Selects Her Own Society . . ." by Connie Willis (Asimov's 4/96; WAR OF THE WORLDS: GLOBAL DISPATCHES) "Un-Birthday Boy" by James White (Analog 2/96) Best Non-Fiction Book (163 ballots) THE FACES OF FANTASY by Patti Perret (Tor) LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE by John Clute (Serconia Press) SILENCE OF THE LANGFORD by Dave Langford (NESFA Press) TIME & CHANCE by L. Sprague de Camp (Grant) THE TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND by Diana Wynne Jones (Gollancz/Vista) Best Dramatic Presentation (283 ballots) INDEPENDENCE DAY (Centropolis Film Productions/20th Century Fox Film) Directed by Roland Emmerich, Written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, Produced by Dean Devlin MARS ATTACKS! (Warner Bros.) Directed by Tim Burton, Written by Jonathan Gems, Produced by Tim Burton and Larry Franco BABYLON 5 "Severed Dreams" (Warner Bros.) Directed by David J. Eagle, Written by J. Michael Straczynski, Produced by John Copeland STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (Paramount Pictures) Directed by Jonathan Frakes, Story by Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga & Rick Berman, Screenplay by Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga, Produced by Rick Berman STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE "Trials and Tribble-ations" (Paramount Pictures) Directed by Jonathan West, Written by Ronald D. Moore & Rene Echevarria,Story by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler & Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Executive Producers Ira Steven Behr & Rick Berman BABYLON 5 "War without End" and "Z'Ha'Dum" were nominated but J. Michael Straczynski declined. Best Editor (248 ballots) Gardner Dozois (Asimov's) Scott Edelman (SF Age) Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor) Kristine Kathryn Rusch (F&SF) Stanley Schmidt (Analog) Best Professional Artist (226 ballots) Thomas Canty David Cherry Bob Eggleton Don Maitz Michael Whelan Best Semiprozine (223 ballots) INTERZONE edited by David Pringle LOCUS edited by Charles N. Brown NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION edited by Kathryn Cramer, Tad Dembinski, Ariel Hameon, David G. Hartwell and Kevin Maroney [Typeset note: accent over "e" in "Hameon"] SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE edited by Andrew I. Porter SPECULATIONS edited by Kent Brewster Best Fanzine (224 ballots) "Ansible" edited by Dave Langford "File 770" edited by Mike Glyer "Mimosa" edited by Dick & Nicki Lynch "Nova Express" edited by Lawrence Person "Tangent" edited by Dave Truesdale Best Fan Writer (202 ballots) Sharon Farber Mike Glyer Andy Hooper Dave Langford Evelyn C. Leeper Best Fan Artist (177 ballots) Ian Gunn Joe Mayhew Peggy Ranson William Rotsler Sherlock Brad Foster and Teddy Harvia declined their nominations. John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo) (156 ballots) (Award for the best new science fiction writer of 1995 or 1996, sponsored by Dell Magazines) Michael A. Burstein (second year of eligiblity) Raphael Carter (first year of eligiblity) Richard Garfinkle (first year of eligiblity) Katya Reimann (first year of eligiblity) Sharon Shinn (second year of eligiblity)
It is with some sadness that I note the passing of Tomoyuki Tanaka. The vast majority of good Japanese films that I have seen have come from Toho Studios. Of these, the vast majority were produced by Tanaka. Among the films produced by Tanaka was YOJIMBO (1961) which introduced the grubby but unbeatable swordsman Sanjuro. YOJIMBO was remade in Italy as A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, a film that made a star out of Clint Eastwood. Eastwood's Man With No Name was just a Western version of the character created in YOJIMBO. Tanaka produced many of the best Samurai films directed by Akira Kurosawa including my personal favorite Samurai film, KAGEMUSHA (1980).
Also as far as I have been able to tell Tanaka produced every Toho science fiction film. I cannot honestly tell you I think that most of Toho's science fiction output was really good films or good science fiction, but they were a heck of a lot of fun. Included were films like THE MYSTERIANS (1957) and BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (1959). But it would be understating the situation to say that the centerpiece of Toho's science fiction films was Godzilla (or Gojira, as he was known in Japan). I cannot defend the Godzilla series. After the first film it went into a series of mediocre sequels that quickly devolved into the most juvenile silliness. Even Toho realized that they had driven the series into the ground (or perhaps more appropriately into the sea). They got the idea to start over making sequels starting with a direct sequel to the original film, GODZILLA 1985 (1984) unfortunately with an opportunity to remake their series they quickly returned to all the same mistakes they made the first time around, pitting Godzilla against ridiculous monsters, most just more elaborate versions of monsters they had already created. Eventually they decided to kill off Godzilla in GODZILLA VS. DESTROYAH (1995) and no longer make monster movies.
Tanaka's kaiju films (the name given to the monster film genre) were fun but little for him to be proud of, with one major exception. The very first film, GOJIRA (1954) really is a great film. Much of the impact was destroyed when the film was re-edited by Joseph E. Levine with scenes added starring Raymond Burr, to make the film GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS (1956). GOJIRA is just about as intelligent and as bleak as any science fiction film that has ever been made. It had really two inspirations. One was the American film THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS (1953), the other was a real-life disaster. A fishing boat, the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon #5) drifted too near to Bikini atoll where the Americans had recently tested the Hydrogen Bomb. Not knowing that anything was wrong the crew returned home, sold their fish, then slowly started dying of radiation poisoning. Radioactive fish from the boat sickened many others. The Japanese had recently lost a war their leaders told them they could not lose. The conclusion of that war saw two inhuman weapons used against Japanese cities. Life was very hard in Japan as their economy struggled to rebuild. Now they went through the indignity of having a foreign power occupy their country and what was worse, they saw that power as being responsible for once again visiting radioactive death on their country. In quiet rage the story of Gojira was told in which something radioactive--but much larger and more lively than a dead fish--came to the shores of Japan. This huge beast was what the Americans were visiting on Japan now. Like from the bomb at the end of the war, Japan trembled not knowing where the walking atomic disaster would strike next. In the story a scientist has the secret for destroying the beast, but he knows that using the weapon will mean making it available to people who might use the weapon against humans. Japanese scientists has the scruples to be certain their discoveries are not used against humans, unlike their American counterparts. Eventually a means is found to use the new weapon but at the same time keep it secret.
Because of the re-editing to make GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS, and because of the series that followed it, the film GOJIRA has never gotten the recognition it deserved as one of the best and most important Asian films ever made. It was Tanaka's project and Tanaka was rewarded with a popular series of films, but never with the respect he deserved for this one fine film. [-mrl]
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper):
(WARNING: This film is structured so that it is nearly impossible to discuss the themes of the film without revealing aspects of the plot that are left as plot twists. I will spoil nothing that is not spoiled by the trailer for the film.)
Capsule: A pair of 20-something buddies who co-author a comic book are split over one's interest in a gay woman. Kevin Smith takes what could have been rather trivial and self- important material handles it with a light touch, making a film that is both engagingly serious and genuinely funny. Fans of Kevin Smith will not be surprised that the film is also at times fairly raunchy. The frank and often sexual dialog is realistic, but will be a turnoff to some. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4)
New York Critics: 9 positive, 3 negative, 3 mixed
CHASING AMY is the third film form writer/director Kevin Smith and is set in his native central New Jersey. While his first two were nearly purely comedies, this time around he mixes in some serious themes with his raunchy brand of comedy. It is about how fallible is the procedure of finding the right relationship and how delicate that relationship can be once it is found. Holden McNeil (played by Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) are two Red Bank, New Jersey comic artists who create the popular comic book BLUNTMAN AND CHRONIC. At a comic convention in New York a friend introduces them to Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams). Alyssa is cute, bright, and funny and Holden immediately feels they have a mutual attraction and are perfect for each other. It even turns out she comes from Middletown, a neighboring town to his. He tells the incredulous Banky that he and Alyssa "shared a moment." Anxious to share more than just a moment he goes to a club where his friend tells him he can find Alyssa only to discover in an embarrassing moment that Alyssa is a lesbian. In spite of knowing that his relationship cannot become mutually romantic, he continues his friendship with Alyssa, hoping to somehow convince her somehow to be interested in him. He hopes to win her in spite of her orientation. The story becomes an odd sort of a love triangle with Banky afraid of losing the friendship, now also a professional relationship, he has had since childhood with Holden. Banky finds Holden's love is even starting to affect their professional relationship. The other vertex of the triangle is the free-thinking Alyssa with her own history. In the end, Kevin's story has returned to a theme he covered, albeit more lightly, in CLERKS.
All three of the main characters are veterans of other roles in MALLRATS and of course writer/director Kevin Smith has played the wise Silent Bob in all three of his films. Ben Affleck as Holden is a bit confused by it all and at the same time nicely witty. There may be a bit of Albert Brooks in his role and of Jason Lee's Banky. But the actor who shines the most is Joey Lauren Adams who does a terrific job going through a wide gamut of emotions and always comes up genuine. Smith has a good ear for dialogue and the words seem to come out very naturally from the actors' mouths. The one problem that perhaps could have been better handled in a higher budget production is that they do not enunciate so that their dialogue is distinct.
Kevin Smith has a sense of humor to match better-known comic filmmakers like Woody Allen and Albert Brooks. He fills his script with some hilarious send-ups of popular films. Early on the film he give us a militant African-American appraisal of STAR WARS that is as funny as anything I have seen in a film in the last twelve months. Later he has a terrific send-up of a familiar scene from JAWS. And at the same time Smith treads the boundary near political incorrectness by implying that sexual orientation is really a matter of choice. Alyssa's has logical reasons for being lesbian rather than having her orientation come from an internal compulsion. It seems like a small thing, but it is a fairly radical departure from what we have seen before in films.
CHASING AMY is well-acted and directed and proves to be a very moving and personal film. After the critical misfire of MALLRATS, it looks like Kevin Smith is back on target. I give it a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale. [-mrl]
Mark Leeper MT 3E-433 908-957-5619 email@example.com
The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. -- H. L. Mencken