MT VOID 05/17/13 -- Vol. 31, No. 46, Whole Number 1754

MT VOID 05/17/13 -- Vol. 31, No. 46, Whole Number 1754

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
05/17/13 -- Vol. 31, No. 46, Whole Number 1754

Table of Contents

      Adam: Mark Leeper, Eve: Evelyn Leeper, Back issues at All material is copyrighted by author unless otherwise noted. All comments sent will be assumed authorized for inclusion unless otherwise noted. To subscribe, send mail to To unsubscribe, send mail to

Book Title (comments by Mark R. Leeper):



You Read It First in the MT VOID (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

After I wrote on cicada cycles of prime number year intervals, the New Yorker Magazine decided to pass the information on to their readers who do not get the MT VOID.

All the most prestigious periodicals get their ideas from the MT VOID.


The Cost of a Broken Hip (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):

A couple of months ago, I broke my hip. Mark and I kept a blog about it and there have been a few recent updates to it. In particular, we have added a spreadsheet of the various charges from the hospital, doctors, etc., included "list price", Aetna-negotiated price, and what our share of that was. Go to (near the end, 05/08/13) to see it.

(Note: This is with Mark's retiree insurance in NJ.)


Ray Harryhausen, My Tribute to the Giant Who Gave Life to Miniatures (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

When I was a teenager I loved fantasy films and idolized the great filmmakers. At the top of the pantheon was Ray Harryhausen. Harryhausen was the master of stop motion photography and stop motion was the most versatile technique to bring believable fantasy images to the screen.

The 1940s (the decade before my birth) was a time when imaginative films were in large part costume fantasies like SINBAD, THE SAILOR (1947). With a few halting exceptions the techniques for cinematic creativity were makeup and costumes. If you wanted visual imagination you usually had to go to animated films like the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. Sometime around 1958 I went to a Saturday matinee and saw a very different sort of Sinbad film. There on the screen was not a drawing of a monster but something that looked three-dimensional. It had live people interacting with creatures on the screen. The film was, of course, THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD. But Harryhausen was doing on the screen what no other filmmaker was doing. Who was this Ray Harryhausen?

Harryhausen had been one of three men, close friends since teens, who worked in the field of fantasy all their lives. One was Harryhausen, one was Ray Bradbury, and the third was Forest J. Ackerman. Ackerman had founded the Los Angeles Science Fiction League and Harryhausen and Bradbury were members.

In 1953 Harryhausen came to prominence in special effects with his model animation bringing to life THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS. Previously to then he had worked with his hero and mentor, Willis O'Brien, who had attracted Harryhausen to effects with O'Brien's work on KING KONG. The two had worked together on MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, but BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS was the first feature film on which Harryhausen had worked solo. From that point and for twenty-four years Harryhausen was the most important name in fantasy special effects on the screen. In those years while there were many special effects technicians in the film industries around the world, only Ray Harryhausen became so much of a brand name and probably only he deserved it so much. Forry Ackerman who later edited FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine undoubtedly played a part in making Harryhausen an internationally known name.

In the next few years he created effects for IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955), THE ANIMAL WORLD (1956), EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956), and 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957).

1958 brought Harryhausen's first work in color and his first undeniable classic film THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD. It featured two cyclopes, a dragon, a sword-fighting skeleton, and a human/snake chimera. The screen had not seen so special a special effects fantasy extravaganza since KING KONG twenty-five years earlier. It was for this film that Harryhausen dubbed his stop-motion animation process Dynamation (later super-Dynamation).

His next film was THE THREE WORLDS OF GULLIVER (1960), plagued by a disappointing script. MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961), while not one of his first ranked films, was still a fine effort.

In my opinion his subsequent film was his very best work. JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) did for Greek myth what THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD did for the Arabian Nights. He created a bronze giant and winged harpies, and did some extremely sophisticated work to animate a many-headed hydra. But his personal favorite effect was a fight with a troop of skeletons armed with shield and sword.

Harryhausen was often imitated, but never duplicated. There were films made to try to do what Harryhausen did, films like JACK THE GIANT KILLER (1962). That was a very obvious attempt to copy what Harryhausen had done in THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, borrowing director Nathan Juran, hero Kerwin Mathews, villain Torin Thatcher, and a host of stop motion animators including Jim Danforth, Wah Chang, and Gene Warren--each of whom were inspired by Ray Harryhausen. The film just proved that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

The years that followed brought FIRST MEN IN THE MOON (1964), ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966), THE VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969), and THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1974).

1977 was the telling year for Harryhausen's technique. SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER was in Detroit released the same weekend as STAR WARS--a film radically different that made extensive use of digital image creation. Harryhausen's best techniques suffered by comparison to the new computer technology, though a little stop motion was included in the film as a tribute to Harryhausen. The new approaches were just too powerful for stop-motion photography to effectively compete. Harryhausen put his all into a second Greek mythology film no doubt inspired by his JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. The film was CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981). But Super-Dynamation was no match for the rapidly evolving computer image technologies. CLASH OF THE TITANS proved to be Harryhausen's last feature-length film.

When one thinks of stop-motion photography to create special effects on thinks of Ray Harryhausen and his mentor Willis O'Brien. For decades it was the premier technique of representing fantasy on the screen and it still gives screen images a three dimensional palpability and a sort of hyper-realism.

Ray Harryhausen passed away May 8, 2013. He was a man who made his imagination his life and who shared that imagination with the world. His contributions and the man himself will be and are fondly remembered and sorely missed. [-mrl]

BLACKOUT by Mira Grant (copyright 2012, Orbit, $9.99, 659pp, ISBN 978-0-316-08107-8) (book review by Joe Karpierz):

Mira Grant's (a.k.a. Seanan McGuire's) BLACKOUT is the final book in the "Newsflesh" trilogy, which started with the Hugo-nominated FEED two years ago, and continued with the Hugo-nominated DEADLINE last year. So, all three books in the series have been nominated for the Hugo. Will this be the year for Grant to take home the Best Novel Hugo? It's quite possible.

So, the story so far: We are approaching the mid-21st century. Back in 2014 or so, two man-made viruses, one to cure cancer, one to cure the common cold, are accidentally combined in the atmosphere to create the Kellis-Amberlee virus. In any creature over 40 pounds that dies, the virus causes that creature to "amplify" and turn into a zombie. Everybody has the virus in them, thus making any living, walking creature that's large enough a walking zombie-bomb waiting to explode. The world is in lockdown, living in fear. Blood tests are taken everywhere to prove that a person is not "infected" (which is really the wrong word anyway, since everyone is already infected). Large portions of North America have been abandoned to the zombies; others are tightly protected against them. The overall story arc, however, is not about the zombies themselves, but how they affect the world around them: normal lives, politics, etc.

So, we enter book three. Georgia Mason, killed earlier, is alive again, but not as a zombie. Nope she's a clone, created by the CDC in an effort to influence her brother, Shaun Mason, into doing what they want him to do. The entire novel is told from the viewpoint of both characters, a chapter at a time. The characters spend a good portion of the novel apart. We spend time with Georgia in the CDC facility in Seattle (as we eventually find out) as she finds out who and what she is, and what her purpose in life is now that she has awakened as a clone. Shaun and the rest of the After the End Times staff (the gang of bloggers that the Mason's lead) are working with Doctor Abbey on her zombie research. She sends them to Florida to get samples of the mosquitoes that carry the virus and arrived in the U.S. from Cuba not long ago (remember, mosquitoes are too small to carry the virus and transmit it--yet, they are doing just that). Things turn into a mess when Shaun and Rebecca (one of the After the End Times bloggers) meet with Shaun's parents, only to nearly get captured by the CDC. They escape and get up to Seattle, where they eventually meet up with Georgia--which of course causes quite a stir within the team (and which I'm not going to tell you much more about due to the risk of spoiling any more of the book than I already have)--and they head back east to find out all about the conspiracy (what, you didn't think there was one? Come on, the government is involved, of COURSE there's a conspiracy) at the highest levels of the U.S. government and figure out what they're going to do about it.

Okay, look. This book is nearly impossible to review without giving away some of the important story points. And to tie this back to something I said in my previous review of John Scalzi's THE HUMAN DIVISION, notice my use of the word story in that last sentence. I can't go more than a sentence or two without giving away story elements because the whole thing is story. I probably went several paragraphs in my review of 2312 without giving anything away because there was no story there. There is story here. It's big, it's fast, it's fun, and it's wild. It's a heckuva ride, and while there may have been a thing or two that was obvious and that you could see coming, it was still fun and fast paced.

I've only read these three books by Seanan McGuire, but I know that she's popular and has a big fan base. And with good reason: she's a terrific writer who tells compelling, fast moving stories that are fun to get involved with. And like Scalzi and Sawyer (to bring back more of a theme from my last review), she writes commercial, popular fiction. It works, and it's good. This book is good. This book is fun.

This book has a shot at winning the Hugo. Well, yes, you say, it's one of the five nominees, of course it has a shot at winning the Hugo. No, I mean, really, I think it just might beat out the other four nominees to win the rocket. I really do. It's that good. In my opinion. [-jak]

[Hope I haven't jinxed it.]

FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT: CUDDLING UP TO BIOTECH'S BRAVE NEW BEASTS by Emily Anthes (book review by Dale L. Skran, Jr.):

FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT, a new popular science book by Emily Anthes, walks a line between enthusiasm for subversive new technologies and raising ethical issues. I found Anthes' approach refreshing. She balances Luddites like Leon Kass and Bill McKibbin with enthusiastic scientists, animal lovers, and entrepreneurs, while taking on the task of splitting the ethical Gordian Knot herself. Since virtually no one except Peter Singer equates human life with animal life, Anthes can take a penetrating look at all of the promised wonders of the biotech century in the context of applying them to animals. This seems to allow for a more cool-headed approach than is typically found when the technologies in question apply to humans.

The first chapter, "Go Fish," describes one of the more widespread usages of genetic engineering--the creation of fish that glow in the dark in different colors. It turns out that this application raises few issues since the pet fish can't exist in the wild. Attempts to use genetic engineering to increase salmon yields have been successful technically but remain stuck in regulatory limbo. Anthes writes clearly with a good balance between explaining the technology and telling the tale of a particular scientist or entrepreneur.

"Got Milk?" reviews the relatively successful "pharming" efforts, where genetically modified animals produce medicine for human consumption. Notable examples are ATryan, an anticoagulant produced by modified goats, approved for human use in Europe in 2006 and in the UA in 2009. Somewhat oddly, attempts to use modified goats to produce milk possessing the key immune system boosting compounds of human milk have yet to be approved. While waiting for US approval, the creators of the goats are establishing a second herd in Brazil, which has been more welcoming. Of course, the most massive application of genetic engineering in animals is the production of specialized strains of mice and rats for various test purposes.

This chapter also covers so-called "chimeras" or mixes of human and animal genes. An interesting 2009 experiment inserted the FOXP2 gene (thought to be associated with human powers of speech) in mice, which changed the way they squeaked. There are some clear examples of chimeras that are ethical failures. The so-called "Beltsville pig" received the gene for human growth hormone, and the result was a leaner pig that requires fewer calories to bulk up, but that also suffered mightily from a host of problems ranging from bulging eyes to diabetes. As Anthes suggests, the creation of such pigs is wrong not because genetic engineering is evil, but because of the suffering endured by the pigs. It should be noted that the engineered goats mentioned above are indistinguishable from normal goats. The basic technology of genetic engineering has advanced since the 80s, with techniques like "zinc finger nucleases" allowing a new gene to be inserted in a specific spot rather than at random. Such techniques will allow for faster progress and hopefully fewer side effects.

Chapter Three--"Double Trouble"--focuses on cloning of animals. It turns out that cloning has a long way to go before anyone produces a "clone army." Since clones are produced using donor eggs, the clone has the mitochondrial DNA of the egg donor, and not the original organism. Further, the first cloned cat had a different color fur from the original due to a phenomenon known as "X inactivation." Finally, although some clones are healthy, some aren't, and the exact reason is not clear, but probably has to do with genetic damage. It also turns out that for a variety of subtle reasons it is much harder to clone dogs than cats. The net of all this is that efforts to base a business on the idea cloning dead pets have failed.

In spite of all these problems with pet resurrection, other companies have been more successful with livestock cloning. There is no law against using clones to breed livestock, so it is quite possible that you have already eaten beef descended from a clone. Also, in 2012 the horse-racing world opened its door to cloned horses participating in races. These steps aside, it seems clear that the full impact of cloning in animals lies in the future, following the perfection of the process. Attempting to clone a human with current technology would be both unethical and unwise.

The next chapter, "Nine Lives," looks at using cloning to save animals on a course to extinction, or even to attempt to bring back a species that is already extinct. This chapter suffers a bit since it does not cover the full range of efforts at and technologies for species resurrection. "Sentient Sensors" discusses attempts to use implanted tracers in animals for research purposes; this chapter is not as interesting as the rest of the book. The same can be said for "Pin the Tail on the Dolphin," which focuses on animal prosthetics.

The final regular chapter, "Robo Revolution," starts with an interesting description of the CIA's early 60s efforts to use cyborg cats as spy devices, the main lesson of which is--don't use cats as tools--cooperation is uncatlike. From there we move on to a mad scientist's wonderland. Did you know that you can buy an inexpensive kit for making a cyborg roach? Or that a tiny light-emitting helmet can be used to control genetically modified mice? That someone patented the use of cyborg rats to string Christmas lights (along with search and rescue in ruined buildings)? Certainly the most amazing chapter of the entire book, "Robo Revolution," shows that we really are living in the 21st century.

FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT is a brisk, fun read well worth your time. It provides a broad survey of the application of biotechnology to animals, and a balanced discussion of the ethical issues involved. And to top it off, the jacket art, showing a cyborg cat contemplating a remote controlled rat, is fun to look at. [-dls]


After recently reading AMPED by Daniel Wilson, I noted that he had written a number of other books, and that one was a humorous review of futures past. I found it rather cheaply on Amazon and pretty soon I had inhaled it. As some of the reviews on Amazon complain, this is a hastily written book that seems to start with a mish-mash of Wikipedia articles on each topic and conclude with some witty words by Wilson. The book also suffers from a lack of exploration of the fundamental science behind each idea, often leaving the reader wondering whether the invention's full flowing is just around the corner or never likely to occur barring some amazing breakthrough. The "Jetpack" section is a good example of this problem.

JETPACK's strength is that it does cover most "traditional" SF ideas for future wonders. By "traditional" I mean the kind of things that appeared in SF during the period 1930-1960, i.e. pre-Cyberpunk, pre-Singularity SF. Wilson has grouped the inventions under five logical categories--"Advanced Transportation," "Future-tainment," "Superhuman Abilities," "The Home of the Future," and "Humans ... In Space."

JETPACK appeared in 2007, and already in 2013 many of the sections are considerably out of date. For example, the "Self-Steering Car" does a reasonable job of surveying 2007 car automation technologies. However, in the subsequent 6 years, robot cars have moved from research projects to a regulatory issue as Google seeks approval state-by-state for the sale and operation of its self-driving cars. Even 2013 standard cars have a wide variety of "intelligent" features such as front view collision alarms that signal the driver when the car is too close to an obstacle. "Space Vacation" also gives a decent tour of 2007 sub-orbital efforts, but as we sit in 2013 on the very cusp of the future, with Virgin Galactic testing Space Ship Two, XCOR assembling the Lynx, SpaceX testing the reusable Grasshopper and flying the Dragon routinely to the ISS, it has been a full six years, even if progress may not have matched that of robotic cars.

The progress since Daniel wrote "Mind-Reading Device" has been nothing short of amazing. Hardly a day passes without some new wonder. Just recently there have been reports of dream-reading machines that can produce videos of your dreams. They are tested by waking the subject up and asking him or her what they are dreaming about. The images are fuzzy, but the technology basically works. "Invisible Camouflage," deals only with adaptive technology. Since 2007 real invisibility shields that operate on various wavelengths of light and rely on meta-materials have moved from fantasy to lab-table demos that can conceal a small item from one side. Personally, I find the idea that invisibility is a major research area to be almost beyond belief, but here we are!

The "Ray Gun" rounds up 2007 research well, but here in 2013 the US Navy just deployed the first laser-equipped ship to the Persian Gulf. The laser gun is intended to be used against drones and small boats. I've seen a video of a drone shoot-down, and it looks just like those old SF illustrations--except the laser beam is invisible! In "Moon Colony" Daniels relied to a large extent on NASA press releases describing the Constellation "return to the moon" program. Daniels could not have known that Constellation would be canceled and replaced with the Space Launch System (SLS), which was then re-targeted toward asteroid and Martian missions. We are now starting to see private efforts to return to the moon, but whatever happens Daniel's projection will not become the real future.

JETPACK is a fun, quick read, and I recommend it to fans to retro-technology. However, there is little danger of Daniels replacing Arthur C. Clarke as a great futurist. PROFILES OF THE FUTURES is and remains the best futurist book ever written, in my humble opinion. [-dls]


CAPSULE: DECEPTIVE PRACTICE tells the story of the mysterious Ricky Jay, at age seven already a professional stage magician. Today he is an expert in all things arcane, but particularly sleight of hand and anything to do with feats of playing cards or dice. He frequently cameos in films by David Mamet and Paul Thomas Anderson. DECEPTIVE PRACTICE is simply Ricky Jay telling his story--apparently for once with a minimum of deception--and illustrated with photographs and footage of some of the great stage magicians of Ricky Jay's time. One almost expects that Jay would be performing some sort of trick on the viewer, though none is apparent. But if we got it, it would not be a deception. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

What is he doing there? Frequently you see Ricky Jay in films, but he does not look like an actor. Jay looks just a bit scruffy and squalid. He had a cameo as a mentor to two great magicians in THE PRESTIGE. He was a high stakes poker player in David Mamet's HOUSE OF GAMES. His films generally seem to have something to do with stage magic or grifters or fooling people in one way or another or perhaps just the arcane. When he speaks he gives the impression he is not an actor but someone drafted off of the street. He seems to be just being himself.

Who is he? His name is Richard Jay Potash, though he goes under the stage name Ricky Jay. Put a deck of cards in his hands and it will gracefully flow like it was a ballet dancer. Ask him for the jack of spades and he will cut the deck and there it is. Or perhaps he will just flick the deck and the jack will jump out on its own. He may be the world's greatest expert on sleight of hand. Writing on the history of the circus and of stage magic and of spiritualism is a sideline, but he has written a lot of books on the mysterious. His specialty is illusionism and conjuring, but he has great knowledge in seemingly any field of the arcane. DECEPTIVE PRACTICE: THE MYSTERIES AND MENTORS OF RICKY JAY is a documentary telling the life and fascinations of a most mysterious and hypnotic man.

The format of the film about his career is Ricky Jay telling his own story with occasional narration from Dick Cavett. Along the way he tells of the magicians he has met and many whom he learned from. These are nearly forgotten stage magicians, absolutely wonderful illusionists. They taught Ricky Jay the art and artifice of illusion and in return they are here getting a short reprieve from the oblivion of the forgotten. We get to see on film stage magicians with mysterious names like Slydini and Cardini. Later mentors included Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. Many of these magicians show up in archive footage.

Jay, now in his mid-sixties, grew up in Brooklyn in a middle-class Jewish family. Early on he came under the influence of his grandfather, an amateur magician. At age six, when most kids are mastering the multiplication tables, he already had performed a full magic act on television. Though his parents did not understand his passion for magic, Jay knew that would be his life's fascination. His grandfather introduced him to great stage magicians who were his grandfather's and soon his own personal friends.

But the stage magicians he met were not his closest friends. That honor was reserved for decks of playing cards. He even named one of his magic acts "Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants." He can easily spend an entire day doing nothing but manipulating cards and watching himself in a three-way mirror, getting his moves just perfect. There are infinite possibilities for him in a simple deck of cards. He sees possibilities with cards that nobody else would have thought of. He wrote a book called CARDS AS WEAPONS declaring that a deck of cards can actually be used for self-defense. I had seen the book and thought it was a joke, but in the course of DECEPTIVE PRACTICE he from a few feet away throws a playing card about a quarter inch into the green hide of a watermelon. Can he really do that or is it some sort of a trick? Probably nobody will ever know.

Also along for the ride are several magicians and associates who know Jay professionally and as friends interviewed to tell what they knew or thought of Jay, David Mamet among them.

Ricky Jay's compulsion is not to be merely the best stage conjurer. He very likely long ago achieved that. He wants his agility to be perfect, and any imperfections he still has are not likely to be noticed by the likes of me and you. DECEPTIVE PRACTICE is a fascinating study of one man's mania to attain perfection. And only he can judge how far he is from that goal. Ricky Jay right now has the compulsive desire to be better than his fiercest competitor, Ricky Jay of ten minutes ago. I rate DECEPTIVE PRACTICE: THE MYSTERIES AND MENTORS OF RICKY JAY a low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


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

THE CASEBOOK OF VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN by Peter Ackroyd (ISBN 978-0-307-47377-6) is a "re-imagination" of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. One way it is a re-imagination is that Mary Shelley, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron, and John Polidori are all characters in THE CASEBOOK OF VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN. (There is also a character named Jack Keat. I don't *think* this is supposed to be John Keats, but I cannot be sure.) Given that the historical facts about the real characters are not entirely consistent with incorporating them into the story as Mary Shelley told it, Ackroyd has to some extent given himself an almost impossible task, but he does pull it off (although the complete explanation is more something to be inferred than explicitly explained).

There is a lot more politics in THE CASEBOOK OF VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN than there was in Shelley's work, but part of this is that Ackroyd is writing with hindsight from almost two centuries later. The biggest problem, though, is that through most of the book the reader is wondering why Ackroyd wrote it, and it is not until the end that it all comes together.

MURDER ON THE LEVIATHAN by Boris Akunin (ISBN 0-8129-6879-4) is an interesting mystery novel, in that it is apparently in a series featuring Erast Fandorin, and billed as "A Fandorin mystery", but the main character is not Fandorin. It is as if someone wrote a Sherlock Holmes novel where Lestrade was the main character and Holmes appeared only in a secondary role. Akunin's solution is ingenious, but not absolutely original. (I won't say more, since any explanation might be a spoiler.) This is not a great novel, but it's a reasonable way to pass the time.

Normally in the spring, I write about the annual book sales. But things this year did not go as planned. I broke my hip the day before the grand opening of the new Cranbury Bookworm, the week before the Bryn Mawr book sale, and two weeks before the East Brunswick Friends of the Library book sale. It turned out I also missed the $5-a-box Cranbury Bookworm close-out sale *and* the "we-have-to-get-the-books-out" Cranbury Bookworm give-away day. I can only conclude someone (or Someone) is trying to tell me something. (Clearly, if I had been able to get to the give-away day, we would have left with the car absolutely full of books, mostly science fiction.) My two consolations are 1) Mark went to the $5-a-box sale and picked up lots of odds and ends to keep me entertained in the nursing home, and 2) barring future problems, I will be able to get to the annual Old Bridge Friends of the Library sale the end of this month.

(The Bryn Mawr sale was incredibly inconvenient this year anyway, being on the first day of Passover. And from what I heard, the East Brunswick sale was not all that great.)

I did manage to get to the new Cranbury Bookworm a week ago, though. I must say that its new location, alas, is a pale shadow of its former self, and where one would leave the old Bookworm with a bag of books, from the new Bookworm one is more likely to find only one or two. The good news is that they consider this an interim location until they can find something larger in Cranbury. Currently, they are occupying a space approximately equal to the space in the SF/mystery/childrens room and the history room in the former location (or between one-tenth and one-sixth the size). They apparently have put a lot of inventory into storage in anticipation of a larger space. The SF section is still fairly large, but no longer double-shelved, and the second half is hard to find--it is around the back of the first half, but it is not obvious that you can get there. The recently acquired trade paperbacks are effectively in the same location--right at the front door where whenever anyone comes in, the door hits you in the tush. It's good to see them maintaining their traditions. :-) [-ecl]

                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

          You can improve your talent, but your talent 
          is a given, a mysterious constant.  You must 
          make it the best of its kind.
                                          --Gore Vidal

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