MT VOID 12/13/13 -- Vol. 32, No. 24, Whole Number 1784

MT VOID 12/13/13 -- Vol. 32, No. 24, Whole Number 1784

@@@@@ @   @ @@@@@    @     @ @@@@@@@   @       @  @@@@@ @@@@@ @@@
  @   @   @ @        @ @ @ @    @       @     @   @   @   @   @  @
  @   @@@@@ @@@@     @  @  @    @        @   @    @   @   @   @   @
  @   @   @ @        @     @    @         @ @     @   @   @   @  @
  @   @   @ @@@@@    @     @    @          @      @@@@@ @@@@@ @@@

Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
12/13/13 -- Vol. 32, No. 24, Whole Number 1784

Table of Contents

      Co-Editor: Mark Leeper, Co-Editor: 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

Free Collection by Hugo Nominee Saladin Ahmed:

Saladin Ahmed's new collection ENGRAVED ON THE EYE is available in eight different electronic formats (including plaintext download) at .

Ahmed's novel THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON was a Hugo finalist last year.

Star Trek Holiday Song:

Andre Kuzniarek sends in the following:

You might get a kick out of this if you haven't seen it already, and surely the MT-VOID readers would like it:

It is however the lead-in for an "ad" for a game, sort of a bait and switch, but not offensively so. Kind of a clever marketing ploy actually, and pretty successful with 1.5 million views. [-ak]

Congress's Eerie Lack of Silence on the Subject of Astrobiology (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

Congress just held a remarkable two-hour hearing on aliens:

I guess the idea was as long as they did not have anything important to do they might as well have some entertainment. [-mrl]

There's something out there. Something not ... us. (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

I notice that some company has bought and is squatting on the web domain .

Also there is a rock band who have taken them name M.T. VOID:

I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

(In case you did not get it, the title of this item is a quote from THE ABYSS.)


Solution to Last Week's Mathematics Puzzle (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

Last week Dale Skran gave us the problem below.

Compute the number of ordered pairs of positive integers (m,n) that solve

                          2m + 6n = 2006

We received correct solutions from Lee Beaumont, Steve Milton, Pete Rubinstein, and Keith F. Lynch.

Most of the above used a spreadsheet and let the machine find ordered pairs.  That sort of takes the fun out.

Here is my solution:

First I just simplify things a bit and change some variable to ones easier to work with.

2m + 6n = 2006

Well each side has a factor of 2, so we can change it to

m + 3n = 1003


(m+n) + 2n = 1003 = 2 + 13*77

That 13 will be a problem, so lets pull all the 13s together with a variable, p

2n = 2 + 13p

for some integer p.

Let's group the 2s.  If we divide by 2 we get p as a remainder

2q = p

for some integer q.

We have shown:

    2q = p

    2n = 2 + 13p

    m + 3n = 1003

So if you know q, you know p.  If you know p, you know n.  If you know n you know m.

Let's start with q = 0.

q = 0, so p = 0, so 2n = 2 + 13*0, so n=1,

So m + 3*1 = 1003, so m = 1000.

So (m,n) = (1000,1).  That is your first solution.

Let's let q = 1

q = 1, so p = 2, so 2n = 2 + 13*2, so n = 14, so m + 3*14 = 1003,

so m = 961

then (961,14) is the next solution.

If we let q=2 we get (922,27)

If we let q=3 we get (883,40)

Note with each step the m decreases by 39 and the n increases by 13.  It makes sense then that the (m,n) pairs if graphed would all lie in a straight line evenly spaced.  You can only keep doing it while the 'm' is positive and it loses 39 each iteration.

So the legal m values are 1000 - 39*0, 1000 - 39*1, ... 1000 - 39*25.  The last value is equal to 25 so you cannot subtract another 39.

I did that without help of spreadsheet but the following table I used my palmtop for:

        q        p        m        n
           0        0     1000        1
           1        2      961       14
           2        4      922       27
           3        6      883       40
           4        8      844       53
           5       10      805       66
           6       12      766       79
           7       14      727       92
           8       16      688      105
           9       18      649      118
          10       20      610      131
          11       22      571      144
          12       24      532      157
          13       26      493      170
          14       28      454      183
          15       30      415      196
          16       32      376      209
          17       34      337      222
          18       36      298      235
          19       38      259      248
          20       40      220      261
          21       42      181      274
          22       44      142      287
          23       46      103      300
          24       48       64      313
          25       50       25      326

Note all four columns are each arithmetic progressions.

This all fits into Number Theory and Diophantine Equations.

<> [-mrl]

FROZEN (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: You might not notice it, but FROZEN has a more complex and interesting plot than most Disney animation films do. The chief conflict is between two sister princesses who love each other even as they do conflict. The real villains in this tale are not people but Elsa's (super-)power to freeze with a touch and her indecision as to how to use the power. Younger sister Anna searches for Elsa to have her remove the curse of year-round cold winter weather from their kingdom. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

A few animated Disney Studio films grab the public's interest and can be the basis of merchandising and being adapted into live musicals on Broadway. Notably there was BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and THE LION KING. At first brush FROZEN could well be headed for Broadway with at least a few good songs. Some of the songs definitely have a Broadway feel.

Nominally at least, Disney Studios is back supposedly basing films on Hans Christian Anderson stories, though there is little of the original story left. There is a lot going on in FROZEN but at the front is the sister relationship. Elsa and her younger sister Anna (voiced as adults by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell) are princesses of the northerly kingdom of Arendelle. As a child Elsa discovers to her horror that she has a Midas-like touch, but what she touches turns to ice. She wears gloves to avoid touching anything directly. To keep her powers a secret and to avoid accidents, Elsa hides away in her room and refuses to see anyone including her sister, a behavior that breaks Anna's heart. So it goes for several years. Meanwhile Elsa has to decide is she proud of her powers or frightened. Are the powers good or bad? Should she hide her powers or show the world who she is?

Three years pass. The king and queen are dead and Elsa is to be crowned the new queen of Arendelle. And if that were not exciting enough for Anna, who still loves her sister, she meets handsome Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) and with love at first sight the two decide on the spot to marry.

But things are going just too well to last. Elsa, now queen of Arendelle, refuses to let Anna marry a man she barely knows. In the ensuing disagreement Elsa accidentally lets loose her freezing powers. The kingdom is horrified and during the chaos that follows Elsa accidentally dooms the kingdom to the curse of eternal winter. She flees to the North Mountain. There she finds how to use her powers to build for herself an ice palace. Soon after Anna sets out to find her sister and to get the curse lifted. On the way Ana picks up a traveling companion, Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), a burly ice cutter, and his comical reindeer sidekick Sven. And if one

comical sidekick is not enough there is also the snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) who longs to be a warm-weather snowman. Kristoff brings in another complication. How does Anna feel about Kristoff, given that she is still in love with Prince Hans?

I cannot remember a Disney musical about two sisters before this. Sister relationships are unusual in general. And almost as a tradition in the first song the main character tells why she or he is unhappy. ("There must be more than this provincial life" or "I just can't wait to be king."). This film's first song after some native chanting asks the question "Do you want to build a snowman?" It seems to have escaped that device, but between the lines the song is about how Anna misses her sister.

The days of shoddy animation are gone, at least at Disney. This film is straight Disney animation, not Pixar, but the images feel three-dimensional and particularly in the song sequences it really has the effect that the image really is singing. I am not sound expert enough to explain it, perhaps there is a slight echo, but one feels more that the song is performed on a stage in a way it did not in, say, SLEEPING BEAUTY. Considering it is a Disney musical, it may well come from a stage soon.

There are some things not very logical that the script asks us to go with. Anna knows her sister can create ice with her touch, but she has no reason to believe her sister can remove ice and turn the winter of Arendelle back into summer. It is just we have to accept the magic I suppose, but Elsa can avoid touching things and turning them to ice by wearing gloves. What stops her gloves and her clothing from freezing? And my pet peeve, with the notable exceptions of the films NEVER CRY WOLF and THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN, wolves are always ravening menaces in Disney films. Real wolves are rarely a direct threat to humans. Real-world wolves seem to think/know that attacking humans entails more risk than reward.

The film somewhat loses some of its interest in the second half as fewer new ideas are introduced to the mix. Part of the problem is that this film needed Olaf the snowman about as much as STAR WARS needed Jar Jar Binks, and for much the same reason.

FROZEN is just about as intelligent as Disney musicals get. Both Elsa and Anna are well-developed characters and story has some nice complexities. This film is much more than children's entertainment, though it is that too. I rate FROZEN a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


ENOUGH SAID (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

[Spoiler Alert: Below I discuss the premise of the film, which is not revealed until somewhat into the film.]

CAPSULE: What starts as a light comedy goes on to a story that raises some serious issues of relationships. Eva is a divorced masseuse approaching middle age who finds a guy she hits it off with. She also has a divorced client becoming her best friend who likes to complain about her own ex-husband. Soon she discovers that her new boy friend and the ex-husband are one in the same. Now does she ignore the client or does she take the friends insight on the man she might get serious about? Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini star in a film written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4) or 8/10

Okay, let me ask you something. How much do you let reviewers like me influence your attitude about a film? Most people to a lesser or greater degree rely on the opinions of others. Some people make up their own minds ignoring other people's opinions, and some people want to take advantage of other people's experience. That is an issue very much at the center of ENOUGH SAID. It is about a woman who finds she has a special of information on a guy she might be serious about.

Single mother Eva (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) would like to remarry if she could ever find the right guy. And then perhaps she does. Albert (James Gandolfini) is not the most attractive guy and has a few bad habits. But he makes Eva laugh. Is he right for her or not? Eva is a masseuse by trade and meets and becomes good friends with a new client, Marianne (Catherine Keener). They have fun together and she likes to hear Marianne talk about her ex- husband and why the relationship became unbearable. Then Eva comes to realize that the ex-husband is her own Albert. Eva does not know if her relationship is right and decides she is getting valuable information about Albert from Marianne. Eva is not quite sure what she is being told is even reliable since on some details she disagrees. She does not tell Marianne or Albert, but really wants to learn about Albert from the inside information that Marianne gives her. Eva is fascinated with Albert's previous relationship and having found this peephole into the relationship she finds it hard to look away.

The script by director Nicole Holofcener is quietly funny and ironic as long as the situation allows it to be so. And rather than gags, the humor comes from the personalities. Holofcener centers the film on Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but demands little from her that she had not put into "Seinfeld" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine." She seems to have found her niche before she ever came to the public's attention and just plays that same person no matter what film she is in. On the other hand, James Gandolfini is certainly not playing a Tony Soprano here. He is a man of more sensitivity and with a better sense of humor. In this, his second- to-last film, he seems to be broadening out and finding a softer side to his character. It would have been interesting to see how he would have developed his acting skill in years to come. In a beard and mustache, however, he does not seem to have the same magnetic attraction he had as Tony Soprano. The film also features popular Australian actress Toni Collette, though she is somewhat under-used in this film. Holofcener brings the script into issues of privacy and of whether one can trust other people's judgments.

Also it is nice to see a story of relationships of people older than twenty-somethings. We do not get many of those these days. I rate ENOUGH SAID a high +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 8/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


WONG FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: The subject is the high rate of depression and suicide among Asian-American women. And that is about as far as this taped one-woman show goes. If it is a call to action it is really unclear what action is called for. The one-woman is Kristina Wong and she has performed this show several places in the United States. But the show is little more than a lament embedded in irrelevant material. There is no remedial action offered. Rating: 0 (-4 to +4) or 4/10

Asian-American women apparently have high rates of depression and even of suicide. That is paradoxical since they do have high education and income rates. Kristina Wong's stage play gets that across to the audience very quickly. What anyone can do about it is not part of her message. Some of her approach is getting her audience to make howling noises while she walks around wearing a bra outside her dress and throwing skeins of yarn at them. It is a novel approach, but not one that is especially likely to be fruitful. One would expect that Wong would be just bubbling over with information about the depression epidemic, but her presentation is short on facts and statistics.

At the beginning of the act she announces that she does not have depression, nor does her family, nor do her acquaintances. And, in addition she makes the point very clearly that what she says in the show is F*I*C*T*I*O*N. And she calls for everyone in the audience to repeat "F*I*C*T*I*O*N." When she shows little impressions of depressed women, we have been forewarned that this is all F*I*C*T*I*O*N. Well, I suppose UNCLE TOM'S CABIN was fiction also, but it is not nearly as effective as the fact that the author will stand behind.

It takes Wong a long time to get to her subject. We do learn something about story structure, but somehow it does not do a lot for her message. Her delivery is high-speed and breathless so she could be giving us a lot of information, but she is more likely to play with yarn on the stage than talk about the problem. She throws in some humor and much of that is shock vulgarity. She is more likely to be out in the audience petting an audience member's hair than she is to get to the point. There are little snatches of acting as she gives her impression of some depressed Asian women. She apparently has some information about who these people are that is flashed on a screen at the back of the stage, but on the video there is usually someone in the way so that the video viewer cannot read it. A lot of time is taken up with her singing off-key or giving her impression (in the style of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY) of a sexual climax that goes on and on.

Along the way Kristen tells us autobiographical anecdotes about how she wanted to be one of a lucky few who would get some free psychological therapy and how she treated it like she was trying out for the part of a very depressed woman. She wanted to be sure that she got the therapy and not someone with less acting skill. Then she recounts how useless the therapy really was to her. But she considers Asian-American female depression her subject and warns others away from her awards and grant money. I think if I were a depressed Asian-American woman this show would only make me more so. Publicity for this film seems to indicate that Kristina Wong's show has been very successful on the stage. Perhaps it really needs the immediacy of live theater.

Wong claims to have a solution to all this depression, but just before she is going to give it she is interrupted and cannot finish her message. Kristina Wong in this film gives Asian American depressed females one more thing to be depressed about. The problem is real, but this stage show about the problem is not. I rate the film WONG FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST a frustrated 0 on the -4 to +4 scale or 4/10. The film was released on DVD and VOD on November 26, 2013.

Film Credits:


TO WONDER (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

They say that Terence Malick is running a contest. After seeing the film you can tell him what you think it is about. Whoever comes the closest wins. Malick seems to like the handheld camera not carefully aimed. It was an effect I first saw in TREE OF LIFE, but that film had enough information to put together most of a story. Here one cannot tell if the plot has developed or if we have gone into a flashback. In the end I for one was unsure what the plot was or what it all meant. The story is told in Paris and Oklahoma. Two lovers, played by Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko seem to meet in France but come to Oklahoma to live. They break up and find other partners but eventually come back together. Javier Bardem plays a Catholic priest with the actor's trademark, a bad haircut. Rating: 0 on the -4 to +4 scale or 4/10 [-mrl]

GOOD OL' FREDA (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

Fans of the Beatles will recognize the names John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Most will remember Brian Epstein. Freda Kelly people are much less likely to remember. Freda was an avid fan of the Beatles when they were a little known group playing at The Cavern. She hung around them and when they grew successful enough to need a secretary she was hired. She was there to see the band become well known, then famous, then world famous. Each of the Beatles considered her a close friend. This film is her inside look at the Beatles from their very early days until the band dissolved. She became the Fan Secretary. The film is full of Beatles music and Freda's anecdotes. Many were about the popularity of the Beatles that kept surprising even her. Answering their fan mail was much more than a full time job. Freda tells her story fifty years after she first worked for the Beatles, while she has been a secretary all that time. Apparently she can old a job longer than the Beatles can. The film is a bit nostalgic of nostalgic fun for those old enough to remember the 60s. One observation: Freda never seems to have benefitted financially for her work with the fabulously successful rock group. Though she worked very hard for the group they do not appear to ever having given her very much of the money they must have been taking in. Rating: low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10. One problem is a week after seeing the film you will not be able to get Beatles music out of your head. Rating: 1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10 [-mrl]

A TEACHER (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

[Spoiler warning]
A young attractive high school English teacher, Diana (played by Lindsay Burdge) has an affair with one of her students Eric (Will Brittain). Once she realizes what she has done and the possible consequences paranoia, jealousy, and fear of losing her job set in. Her strange behavior proves to be her own worst enemy. This is basically a very simple (too simple) morality tale. Even though the film is only 75 minutes some of the scenes simply drag. One can almost feel the editor struggling to make this long enough to be a feature film. We have extended scenes of Diana driving and driving which just seem to pad out the film. Even the sex scenes go long and drag. They are tastefully shot in near dark. Hannah Fidell writes and directs. Rating: low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10 [-mrl]

SALT SUGAR FAT: HOW THE FOOD GIANTS HOOKED US by Michael Moss (book review by Tom Russell):

I picked up this book in the Nashville, Tennessee airport bookstore. I haven't read but half of it so far but would like to recommend it: SALT SUGAR FAT: HOW THE FOOD GIANTS HOOKED US by Michael Moss.

This is not science fiction, but might be of interest as the topic of food shows up often in your MT VOID.

Here are a few interesting things I learned from the book:

- The creator of Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper is one Howard Moskowitz, a man who grew up on kosher food, graduated as a mathematician, and went on to become the top consultant to the food industry. He uses statistical methods to determine the "bliss point" combination of ingredients in processed foods.

- Tobacco companies own Nabisco, General Foods, and Kraft. Nestle owns Jenny Craig. There never was a "Betty Crocker." Food companies contribute financial support and consulting to school Home Economics programs.

- By extracting fructose from grapes and pears rather than using sweeteners from corn syrup or other sources, food companies can put "Made with real fruit!" on their product labels. Lab-created cherry flavoring is used, but pictures of real cherries are put on the label. This is allowed by the FDA.

There is a lot of turnover in the executive ranks in the food industry. Michael Moss has interviewed many who played key roles in the development and marketing of products designed to maximize the food companies' profits. His book goes back to the introduction of Sugar Frosted Flakes, and before, but is as up-to-date as Michael Bloomberg's war against mega-sized sodas.

One disappointment: Moss does not include the story of how the man from the North Pole got his red-and-white suit (and became a Coca Cola drinker).

Caution: if you like Oreos, don't read this book. [-tlr]

Mark adds:

Last February NPR ran a story on this book. I remember for several days I looked at the content of these three items in what I ate and it was an uncomfortable feeling. The NPR story is at [-mrl]

Jewish Food (letter of comment by Paul Dormer):

In response to comments on Jewish food by Wendy in the 11/29/13 issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:

I didn't know tongue was considered Jewish food. Used to have it regularly growing up in the UK and I still buy it occasionally from my local supermarket. A nice tongue and Branston pickle sandwich. [-pd]

Mark comments:

Well, I think at least some Jews think of tongue as a Jewish dish. It is just about the most tender meat. I grew up with it and never questioned its Jewishness. The following article lists some Jewish foods and includes and also some Jewish foods I had never heard of. P'tcha????


The Green Hornet (letter of comment by A. Joseph Ross):

In response to Mark's comments on the 1938 Retro Hugos in the 11/15/13 issue of the MT VOID, Joe Ross writes:

I was looking at your reviews online, and I found an error in your description of the Green Hornet. Britt Reed's valet, Kato, was, as you say, originally Japanese. But he was converted into Filipino, not Korean, on the radio show. He was only said to be Korean on a couple of later movie serials.


Mark replies:

Right you are. I stand corrected. Snopes explains the whole complex story.


Sons and Daughters (letter of comment by Steve Milton):

In response to Evelyn's comments on the king's decree to increase the proportion of men in the kingdom that women might have as many daughters as they want, but must stop having children as soon as they had a son in the 12/06/13 issue of the MT VOID), Steve Milton writes:

The idea doesn't work because stopping at first son mean there can't be any daughters born into the family. It can be proved more formally, but I am not going to bother. The fact that it doesn't work assumes that all fathers have an equal chance of producing boys or girls. If there are a significant number of fathers that are more likely to produce boys, then the idea would have an effect since the son-favoring fathers would be stopped at one son. [-smm]

Evelyn responds:

The complete explanation goes like this:

Assume that all women in the kingdom have their children at the same time, say, on the first of the year. Then in year 1, half the children will be boys and half girls. In year 2, only those mothers who had a girl will have children, and half those will be boys and half girls. And so on, with the number of mothers having children being halved each year. The proportion of boys to girls will still be 1:1. [-ecl]

Mark responds:

I think we can make it easier. Every birth adds on average one- half boy and one-half girl to the population. On average you will have about as many boys as girls. Evelyn's is the traditional explanation, but I think mine is convincing and simpler. [-mrl]

Elements (letter of comment by Kip Williams):

In response to Jim Susky's challenge to name the elements in the 11/22/13 issue of the MT VOID, Kip Williams writes:

It belatedly occurs to me to write and brag that I can name (by my reckoning) 102 elements, for the simple reason that I taught myself the Tom Lehrer song. As it's a bit out of date now, I update the final couplet to say:

"These are the only ones we knew of when this song was written, And they say they've got some new ones, but the damn things wouldn't fit in."

(Pronouncing 'writ in' just so, to set up the injured rhyme following.)

I learned it while still in high school or shortly thereafter, starting and stopping and rewinding a cassette tape so I could type them all on the typewriter I had back then. Since then, I've gained access to the real words and substituted the names of actual elements for some of the phonetic garbles I set down on that Underwood (Standard No. 5).

I used a similar technique to memorize some version of a Python sketch with an unfeasibly long composer name. I haven't yet seen a version that uses the exact same name I came up with, but it still impressed some people that I could cough up that name several times in a row, with an accent.

P.S.: Hello to the folks on Usenet. I'm not able to get my system to let me on any more, and it hasn't been enough of a hardship that I've taken the pains to overcome the reluctance to admit me, but it wasn't my intent to vanish without a word of explanation: word. [-kw]

Why I've Stopped Going to (Most) Conventions (letter of comment):

In response to Mark's comments on conventions in the 12/06/13 issue of the MT VOID, someone on a mailing list wrote:

Also, Mark's suggestion of doing a Worldcon on-line doesn't have any way of having an art show, or late-night, tired conversations with fellow-attendees. I also get a contact high off of associating with people, and seeing my many friends at conventions. [-anon]

Evelyn responds:

The art show--or at least a form of it--exists 24/7 on-line in various web pages. No, it's not the same as seeing the art in person, but it is much bigger.

I should have added that it is also the case that each year fewer and fewer people I want to get together with are at the conventions. Some die, some burn out, some have financial problems, some have family commitments, etc. So even the social aspect has declined. [-ecl]

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

BEOWULF (translated by Seamus Heaney) (ISBN 978-0-393-32097-8) is actually a bilingual edition, with Old English on the left-hand pages, and Heaney's translation on the right. This lets you notice some of the finer points of the translation. First, it maintains the alliteration of the original, with each line having a repeated initial consonant sound:

So, The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard those princes' heroic campaigns.

The first has a repeated "D" sound, the second "K", and the third "H". And in spite of the three Latin derivatives and one Greek in this verse, Heaney tends towards words of Old English origin rather than other languages. He seems to choose Latinate words only if there is no common Old English derivative. For example, the only Old English derivative equivalent of "prince" I can think of would be "lordling"--hardly a common term.

The bilingual text also lets you see just what the Old English words were for a lot of current English. (Because it is not interlinear, and the grammar necessarily involves some re- arrangement, one cannot always match up the words.) But you can tell that "princes" matches up with "aethelingas" and "king" with "cyninga".

Oh, and BEOWULF was written in Old English. Chaucer's works were written in *Middle* English. Shakespeare's were written in what is basically modern English.

Here are examples to clarify.


Hwæt we Gar-Dena in gear-dagum
þeod-cyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æthelingas ellen fremedon.


Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;


Hence! home, you idle creatures get you home:
Is this a holiday? what! know you not,
Being mechanical, you ought not walk
Upon a labouring day without the sign
Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?

This is not to say that the spelling in Shakespeare has not been regularized for 20th century readers. I was reading some of the "doubtful" Shakespeare plays in a book called THE SHAKESPEARE APOCRYPHA. These are taken directly from the various quartos, etc., and have not had the spelling regularized. So here are four lines from EDWARD III:

But heauen I call to recorde of my vowes:
It is not hate nor any priuat wronge,
But loue vnto my country and the right,
Prouokes my tongue, thus lauish in report.

Every edition of Shakespeare that I have seen for general use standardizes the spelling so that the last four lines, for example, would read:

But heaven I call to record of my vows:
It is not hate nor any private wrong,
But love unto my country and the right,
Provokes my tongue, thus lavish in report.

It is also interesting to see a lot of Tolkien's tropes in what may be their original setting. In the third section in particular (when Beowulf fights the dragon who has the hoard of treasure), we read:

The precious cup
had come to him from the hand of the finder,
the one who had started all this strife
and was now added as a thirteenth to their number.
They press-ganged and compelled this poor creature
to be their guide. Against his will
he led them to the earth-vault he alone knew, ...

Doesn't this sound a lot like Gollum ("finder", "poor creature") being forced to join the ring-bearer, who was one of a group of nine (rather than twelve) companions on the quest involving part of a dragon's hoard. (Though in BEOWULF it is a cup that is found, there are a *lot* of rings being given and described throughout.)

Oh, and on the back cover, the blurb begins, "Composed toward the end of the first millennium of our era, ..." My first reaction was, "What era is that?" Only because I knew when BEOWULF was composed was I able to figure out what it meant, but really, isn't that an odd way to express it? [-ecl]

                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

          Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot 
          little puppies.
                                          --Gene Hill

Go to our home page