MT VOID 04/04/14 -- Vol. 32, No. 40, Whole Number 1800

MT VOID 04/04/14 -- Vol. 32, No. 40, Whole Number 1800

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
04/04/14 -- Vol. 32, No. 40, Whole Number 1800

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 or posted will be assumed authorized for inclusion unless otherwise noted. To subscribe, send mail to To unsubscribe, send mail to

ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

Back when I was a young teen in 1964 I lived in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and I would go into Springfield to see the newly released science fiction films. One Saturday morning I was making plans to go in and see the then-new film playing at the Paramount. My mother asked me what I was going to see. "ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS." My mother gave a derisive laugh. "You're kidding," she said. "It's not about Robinson Crusoe. It is about someone similarly cast away who has to survive on Mars." She did not respond. I never looked at the title as being so ridiculous. It was clear to me from the beginning that this was not a sequel to the Daniel Defoe book. I knew what the title meant and thought it was just obstinacy of people to note the ambiguity and choose to interpret this as further adventures of Robinson Crusoe in space. But apparently the film was frequently the butt of jokes because the title could be so easily misinterpreted. This is a film that very roughly follows the plotting of ROBINSON CRUSOE, but the main character is a castaway astronaut struggling to survive on Mars.

The plot is very much like that of the Defoe film. Commander Christopher Draper (played by Paul Mantee) and Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West) are two American astronauts on Mars Gravity Probe 1, orbiting Mars. A near collision with an unexpected meteor causes them to use up their fuel. They find they have to escape down to the planet in life pods. They come down separately and the film goes to the point of view of Draper. From there the film just follows Draper's attempts to stay alive.

When science fiction fans hear the name Byron Haskin, director of ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS, they are most likely to associate it with George Pal's 1953 film THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. For that film Haskin acted as director. That was his first film directing for Pal productions. He would go on to direct THE NAKED JUNGLE (1954), THE CONQUEST OF SPACE (1955), and THE POWER (1968). He came to Pal having directed films before, going back to the last years of silent film. But he also had long experience with cinematography since 1922 and visual effects going back to 1925. THE WAR OF THE WORLDS was his first science fiction film, but it would not be his last.

Besides Haskin's cooperation with Pal he directed the lamentable FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON in 1958 and in 1964 he directed ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS. Nominally this film was not to have any connection with Pal, but in the second half of the film we see the alien slavers improbably wearing the same or similar space suits to those the Earth astronauts wore in Pal's DESTINATION MOON (1950). The alien spacecraft, which zipped around in non-inertial jumps that would have made jelly of anything human-like inside, were clearly inspired by the manta-ray-shaped war machines in THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Hal Pereira served as art director on both films and several people worked on the art of both films. It is reasonable to assume that there was a fair amount of artistic cross- pollination between the two films in addition to the films having the same director. Wikipedia goes so far as to claim "the same blueprints were used" for the models of each alien craft.

The production was underfunded, according to the participants. The film was at one time intended to be a major cinematic event and was expected to have a road show tour. Instead when it got a release that was only on the level of a B-picture. It played as the bottom half of a double feature with LAW OF THE LAWLESS (1964), a second- string Western. The movie was filmed in Death Valley, the setting mostly for inexpensive Westerns. Aside from the expense of making Death Valley habitable for the cast and crew--and reportedly there was little enough of that--the film required only simple and rudimentary special effect so Paramount was able to get a science fiction man in space story at what was probably a very reasonable budget. Rather than do model work to show the spaceships, they seem to be just use flat drawn images. The viewer is not given time to look at the images to be sure as they flash by too fast to really see.

The film does have a sort of nostalgic feel for what the filmmakers did not know was inaccurate. This was well before electronics transformed so much. We see mechanical devices for a clock rather than electronic implementations. And pieces of equipment are marked with labeling tape.

It is interesting to see Adam West as the secondary lead as another astronaut, Dan McReady. This was two years before West would become associated with the role of Batman on television. He would, however, already be familiar with young audiences as the comic book hero type Captain Q in Nestles Quik TV ads, a role that was very much a stepping-stone to his being cast as Batman. West may have been a bad choice since he has a certain screen presence that allow him to steal all his scenes with Mantee until he disappears early in the plot.

The titles of the film could have been given a very modernist look with an art deco font for the opening titles. Instead it seems that Haskin was going for more of a classical look. The font that was chosen for the titles looks like it came from the 19th century. When the film was released it was claimed that Byron Haskin had taken great pains to make sure the film was scientifically accurate. The science of this film deserves a column all by itself, so that will be the subject of my column next week.

Incidentally Paul Mantee died just four months before the writing of this article, November 7, 2013. [-mrl]

THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH (1959) (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: From the heady, early days of Hammer Films' most successful period comes this now rarely seen horror film. It is a remake of THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET (1945), in which Anton Diffring has found a way to never die, but only at the expense of the living. Made very much in the mold that elsewhere was doing wonders for Hammer Films. You do not need to be a fan of Hammer Films to like this movie, but it certainly helps. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10

In the late 1950s the Hammer Films production studio had recently had great success with films like CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957), DRACULA (1958), THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1958), THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959), and THE MUMMY (1959). The formula was 1) have Jimmy Sangster write the screenplay, 2) have Terence Fisher direct, 3) have the film star a) Peter Cushing and b) Christopher Lee, and 4) give the whole affair a Gothic atmosphere and flavor. With the exceptions that Lee was not in THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN and Sangster did not write THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES they stuck close to that formula. One film is missing from this list, THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH, made just prior to THE MUMMY. (The lead role was given to Peter Cushing, but he backed out just shortly before the film was scheduled to start.)

Hammer had chosen to remake a film that was not a horror classic. It was more a remake of a gentle fantasy, THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET (1945), based on a play of that title by Barre Lyndon. When Cushing backed out of the film he was replaced by Anton Diffring, whose sharp Germanic features made him a natural as a screen villain. But the rest of the classic team, Lee, Sangster, and Fisher and atmosphere were all there.

The story involved a brilliant doctor who had found a way to extend his life greatly. It required materials that could be taken only from a living human subject and that operation was always fatal. This became a fairly common plot for horror films of the 1950s and 1960s: YEUX SANS VISAGE, ATOM AGE VAMPIRE, THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE, and several others. Later the plot would be brought back to life once again for THE NIGHT STRANGLER, the second TV-movie about Carl Kolchak.

Barre Lyndon's name may be unfamiliar to many fans of fantastic films. He scripted an odd assortment of films, in addition this play this movie was based on he also wrote the screenplay for THE LODGER, HANGOVER SQUARE, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, CONQUEST OF SPACE, three episodes of "Thriller", three horror episodes of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", and the terrific little horror film DARK INTRUDER. He was involved in many genres of fantasy film.

It would be a weak criticism to say that the film was not that good compared to the other films Hammer was making at the time. But the film had definite problems of its own. Perhaps because it came from a stage play the film is talky and little slow and set bound. These are problems that other Hammer films of this time avoided.

The year is 1890 and sculptor Georges Bonnet (Anton Diffring) is much admired by Paris high society. What his friends do not know is that he had had plenty of time to hone his skills. Though he appears to be a man in his prime, he is really 104 years old. It seems that he had discovered a formula to keep himself young. His body does not age as long as he periodically has a secret elixir and has an operation that together stop his aging process. Sadly the process requires the acquiring of certain glands from a living donor, and the taking of these glands is immediately fatal. From there the film follows a very predictable course.

Certain touches are added to the story that are never explained. Bonnet is in the habit of murdering his best models after he sculpts them. Perhaps they are involuntary organ donors, but the few lines that could have been added to the dialog to explain this are just not there. Also Bonnet has hands that burn normal flesh. The scene showing this to us is there, but also never explained. The corrosive hands are especially strange since Bonnet has romantic designs on his model Janine (Hazel Court) and the burning touch could be a definite obstacle.

This is one of the rare films in which Christopher Lee plays the romantic lead. And as good an actor as he is he seems a little stiff and dignified to play the role with any softness. Hazel Court is not a whole lot more human. Director Fisher is unable to romanticize the couple. Between Lee and Court there seems to be not enough warmth to melt a Hershey Bar.

This was not a film that called for a lot of visual effects. Only during Bonnet's states of decomposition is there anything much out of the ordinary to see. While he is decomposing, Diffring has caps over his eyes and bags under them. They give him a sort of Droopy Dog look. A little better is a whole-head makeup to make him look like an old man, but it is too obviously a mask, particularly around the eyes.

Hammer completists should certainly give THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH a look. Otherwise the film is undistinguished. I rate it a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


TOO SANE FOR THIS WORLD (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: Director William Davenport introduces us to twelve autistic but high-functioning adults. He profiles the world of these people who have the condition and has them talk about themselves: who they are, the challenges they face, and how the condition affects their families and co-workers. We are introduced to a culture of the autistic: a culture we may not have known existed. The film has a by-the-numbers documentary style and presents its information in a straightforward manner. TOO SANE FOR THIS WORLD is the first film in a projected three-film series. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

Most people know that there is a brain development condition called autism. But ask them whether it is a mental condition, a developmental condition, or an illness, and few will know. Director William Davenport demonstrates this to us by asking passersby on the street. He then gives us the product of extensive interviews with twelve high-functioning adults on the autism spectrum. Few people whom autism has not personally touched really have much of a grasp on what it is and how it affects the people who have it and the people who know them. Until recently one heard about autistic children, but rarely about adults. Many people learned about autism first by seeing the film TEMPLE GRANDIN. Temple Grandin herself introduces TOO SANE FOR THIS WORLD to give us a perspective on the comments of twelve autistic adults.

What is autism? Autism and autism spectrum disorder constitute a set of complex disorders of brain development. No two people handle this condition the same way. Generally people who know about autism know that many people are autistic but still are "high-functioning." Davenport introduces us to a diverse set of autistic people and lets them talk about themselves and their relation to the people in their lives, and what they want the public to know.

Among the interviewees is Greg Yates. As a boy Greg was always more excited by science and electronics than in meeting people and being socially active. Years later Greg's wife read a book about an autistic French scientist/artist who had a personality much like Greg's. It was Greg's wife who first suggested to Greg that he might be autistic. He found that indeed he had the symptoms of a form of autism, Asperger syndrome, and realized that he himself was autistic. Like Greg, there are many people who are autistic and just never realized that they fall into the spectrum.

Frequently the interviewees just knew that there was something different about themselves but never associated their behavior with autism. Typically they may not know how to interpret other people's facial expressions. These people go through life feeling that they just do not fit in. Many feel they are marginalized and discriminated against. They have to decide if they want to act like the "neurotypical" (non-autistic) people around them or to accept their differences. They must decide if they want to try to fit in or are they happy as they are? As they discuss their backgrounds these common themes come out.

One by one we meet the twelve subjects of this film and find out about their past, their insights into their condition, the way they have been treated by others, etc. There are many commonalities in their past. Autistic children tend to be bullied by other children. Bullies recognize that the autistic children are different and somehow feel that these odd children do not belong in the community or are easy marks.

The film spends much of its time profiling Robyn Steward who had been a close friend of the director. They each had collaborated on the other's work. Robyn is a fast talking artist and musician who often writes about her experiences.

Twelve subjects in all give a composite picture of the situation for the autistic adult fitting into society. The film is short, just over an hour, but it opens up to the world a subculture to which few people have given much thought. I rate TOO SANE FOR THIS WORLD a +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10. It will be released on DVD on April 8 and will be On Demand for Amazon Instant, Hulu, and Cinema Libre on May 8.

Film Credits:


Numbers of Things (letters of comment by Neil Ostrove and Peter Rubinstein):

In response to Mark's comments on the numbers of things in the 03/28/14 issue of the MT VOID, Neil Ostrove writes:

Thanks. I had tried to punt that by using "binary fraction representations" rather than numbers but I did slip in the first paragraph. Note that the "equal" numbers map to distinct elements of the powerset. The "number" of such dual representation numbers is countable (as they are all rational) so they do not affect the cardinality of binary fraction representations. [-no]

Mark replies:

I admit what I brought up was a little niggling. You were giving the idea of the proof. I have to say that dealing with levels of infinity stretches the mind like good science fiction does. I find that interest in mathematics seems to correlate with being a science fiction fan. [-mrl]

And Peter Rubinstein asks:

[You said,] "This is because some numbers have two different decimal expressions. .1000... is the same number as .0111..."

Don't you mean .0999... ? [-pr]

Mark responds:

I should have used the word "binary" not "decimal". I believe in this example the person I was responding to had been working in binary. You hear people refer to the fractional part as "the decimal" even when they are working in binary. I have never heard the fractional part called "the binary," but that is what it is. [-mrl]

Ealing Comedies (letter of comment by Kevin Robinson):

In response to Mark's comments on the Ealing comedies in his article on Turner Classic Movies in the 03/28/14 issue of the MT VOID, Kevin Robinson writes:

Don't forget the wonderful PASSPORT TO PIMLICO:

I love Ealing comedies. [-kr]

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

DIMENSION OF MIRACLES by Robert Sheckley (no ISBN, available in DIMENSIONS OF SHECKLEY, ISBN 978-1-8867-7829-0) was this month's discussion book. A summary (to give my comments context) with comments follows:

Part I: The Departure from Earth

Chapter 1: Tom Carmody is a schlub who suddenly has a being materialize in his apartment and tell him he has just won the Intergalactic Sweepstakes. (When this book was written in 1968, the only sweepstakes anyone had ever heard of was the Irish Sweepstakes, so is it coincidence that the initial trumpet music to announce the messenger is replaced by a "skirling of bagpipes", as if that is the only way Carmody could relate to it?) Carmody is transported to the Galactic Center to claim his price.

Chapter 2: The architecture here is "Neo-Cyclopean" (an allusion to Lovecraft?) and based on the rectangle, which it turns out the Messenger invented. Carmody is delivered to the Office of the Sweepstakes.

Chapter 3: Or at least he is after he is accidently sent to the Office of Petty Crime, with which it has been combined. As soon as he finishes the paperwork and claims his prize, though, Karmod (for whom the prize *was* intended) shows up.

Chapter 4: The Computer explains that since a perfect machine would be impossible and immoral, he must spontaneously create errors. (This reminds me of the rug-weavers who always put some mistake or imperfection in their rugs to avoid challenging the perfection of God. It is also similar to the rule (or perhaps just custom or tradition) that someone who is converting to Judaism, but has not completed the process, must break each Sabbath at least once until the conversion is complete.) The Computer convinces Karmod to renounce his claim.

Part II: Where Is Earth?

Chapter 5: Now Carmody wants to go home. But because he comes from a backward, primitive planet (which up until now did not even know about interstellar travel), he does not know Earth's coordinates (where, when, and which). The coordinates the Messenger used are useless, because Earth has moved considerably in the interim. (This is usually just ignored in teleportation and interstellar travel stories.)

Chapter 6: So they take him to Lursis, planet of Melichrone, and the Prize (which appears to be sentient and talkative, explains that Carmody needs to get help from Melichrone. After giving Carmody a couple of cryptic warnings, the Prize vanishes.

Chapter 7: Melichrone turns out to be God (or perhaps just a god, though one with all the characteristics of God). But now he is bored because, as he says, "I am doubtless as vain as the next God; but the endless fulsome praise finally bored me to distraction. Why in God's name should a God be praised if he is only performing his Godly function? You might as well praise an ant for doing his blind antly duties." So Melichrone wants Carmody to explain what his function should be.

Chapter 8: Carmody tells Melichrone that he has to find within himself "an indwelling functionalism which will have reference to an exterior reality," even though he tells Melichrone, "you yourself are reality and therefore cannot posit yourself exterior to reality." He elaborates on this well enough to convince Melichrone to help him.

Chapter 9: Melichrone explains the Law of Predation to Carmody, and then sends him to Maudsley for help.

Chapter 10: The Prize takes a break to turn into a cauldron in order to eat some orithi, which he says are like giant mushrooms, delicious poached in their own juices, and oh, by the way, they are also very good poets. There is some discussion of how everyone has a somewhat solipsistic view of alien races, never thinking of them needing food, rest, exercise, bowel movements, and so on, but more as "solid all through and bowelless." The Prize tells Carmody to "be sure to get [Maudsley's] his attention and impress him with your humanity--and then Maudsley shows up and Carmody fails at both.

Chapter 11: Maudsley berates his assistents on the poor job they have done constructing the planet they are all on, mostly because of their extravagance in materials. This reminds me of parts of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe", where Slartibartfast talks about the "little fiddly bits" that are the Norwegian fjords. Carmody finally gets his attention.

Chapter 12: Maudsley relates his invention of science, which sounds less like science and more like gobbledygook (especially the part about entropy).

Chapter 13: Maudsley describes his building of Earth for God, and then he and Carmody have a discussion of free will. The closing lines ("Why should I go to a place [any church] that a God would not enter?") sound like Groucho Marx's comment that he would not join any club that would have him as a member.

Chapter 14: Carmody tours an atom-making factory, but feels the way he does in a museum: it's impressive for about five minutes, but then it just gets repetitive and boring. Later he sees a forest being constructed and it in discovers two Earth people who have apparently come to rescue him, but talk like people out of a low- budget 1950s science-fiction movie.

Chapter 15: There is more 1950s-style dialogue, including a description of one character who ancestors all were irradiated. (Actually, Sheckley seems to make a slip here. Aelill Maddoxe (described as Maddox's great-grandfather) worked in a coal mine right next to rich uranium deposits until 1739. In 1801 Thomas Madoxxe was one of the two survivors of the strike of a radioactive meteorite on his ranch. Ernest Maddox (described as Maddox's grandfather) demonstrated an X-ray machine twice weekly for ten years in the 1930s. Ernest's son went to Japan and became a Zen monk living eight miles from the Hiroshima epicenter. Overlooking the extremely long time spans for the first two generational gaps (61 years and 120 years), it is not clear how Thomas fits between a great-grandfather and a grandfather. All this distracts Carmody for a while, but suddenly he realizes that what he has been seeing has been an illusion, e.g. "[He] saw that Aviva's lovely eyes were stylized and suggestive rather than functional--like the design of eyes on the wings of a moth." The description of the transformation that Carmody sees--from illusion to reality--makes it very easy to visualize. As Carmody is about to be eaten by the Predator, he loses consciousness ...

Chapter 16: ... and wakes up to discover that the Prize has gotten a doctor, who first goes through a discussion of medical ethics, which he admits is irrelevant to Carmody's condition, but hopes might help justify his high fees. He then describes what he plans to do to cure Carmody, which involves completely dissecting him into his constituent parts and then re-assembling him. At this point, Carmody screams, "No operation!" and the doctor observes that the verbal description of the operating procedure is often enough to cure the patient.

Chapter 17: After a long discussion of predators, and of eating and being eaten, Maudsley says he can send Carmody to Earth, but only the correct spatial coordinates ("Where"); the "When" and "Which" will still need to be addressed.

Part III: When Is Earth?

Chapter 18: Carmody and the Prize land in a swamp. The prize figures out which geologic eon, era, and period they are (Late Cretaceous) in by observing the flora and fauna. This fits in so perfectly with the last Teaching Company lecture we listened to (one which described the geologic time scale in "Major Transitions in Evolution") that it cannot be pure coincidence; there must be an intelligence behind it all. (That's a joke, folks.) Anyway, Sheckley has the Prize mention the brontosaurus. But what was originally dubbed a Brontosaurus was an Apatosaurus skeleton with a Camarasaurus head. The current status of the word "Brontosaurus" is somewhere being considered a synonym for Apatosaurus, and being just plain wrong. (Sheckley also writes it in lower-case, when technically it should be capitalized.) Just as the Prize finishes his determination of when they are, a Tyrannosaurus heads for them.

Chapter 19: It turns out the Tyrannosaurus can talk (English, presumably, though that makes even less sense than just talking), and wonders what they are. It talks about the various species it has met. Now, Tyrannosaurus was from the Late Cretaceous (75-66 MYA), as was Stutiomimus and Scolosaurus, but dimetrodons were from the Early Permian (295-272 MYA), so his meeting with a dimetrodon seems like another error. The Tyrannosaur (a juvenile named Emie) takes them to "Dinosaurville".

Chapter 20: Carmody has a difficult time answering the dinosaurs' questions about their role in the future, resorting to such ambiguities as "everybody likes a dinosaur" and that the dinosaurs are "doing every bit as well as could be expected." Then Borg (Emie's father) explains that the only other intelligent species on the planet, besides Tyrannosaurus, are the Hadrosaurs. But he goes on to say:

"They're lazy. Also sullen and surly. I know what I'm talking about: I've employed hadrosaurs as servants. They have no ambition, no drive, no stick-to-it-iveness. Half the time they don't know who hatched them, and they don't seem to care. They don't look you forthrightly in the eye when they speak to you. ... They [do] sing well. Some of our best entertainers are hadrosaurs. They also do well at heavy construction, if given supervision. Their appearance works against them, of course, that duckbilled look."

And when he hears that the hadrosaurs are extinct in the future, his response is, "Perhaps it's best that way. Yes, I really think it's best."

Sheckley is not exactly subtle here.

Then someone from the Bureau of Internal Revenue shows up and insists Carmody accompany him. But Carmody recognizes him as the Predator again, and refuses to go.

Chapter 21: Carmody finds himself in the Galactic Placement Bureau, where he gets yet more advice. For example:

Then Carmody is sent off to Earth, or rather to an Earth. If it is not the right Earth, he just needs to ask to skip to the next one, and so on, until he finds his own. This sounds like the seven wishes in the film BEDAZZLED (at least in the 1967 version): Stanley Moon wishes for a particular scenario (e.g., he is a pop star) and George Spigot (the Devil) whisks him into it. If Stanley becomes dissatisfied with it, he just has to blow a raspberry and George whisks him out again, and Stanley can make a new wish.

Chapter 22: Carmody finds himself in a city that is a combination of many different architectural styles, with "an Italian piazza, a couple Greek-type statues, a row of Tudor houses, an old-style New York tenement, a California hot dog stand shaped like a tugboat, and God knows what else." (Also a Gay Nineties saloon and a Gothic cathedral.) This immediately reminded me of Thomas Cole's painting in the Toledo Museum, "The Architect's Dream"--except I think Cole intended the juxtaposition to be a good thing, while here (and frankly in the painting as well) it just seems jarring and garish.

Chapter 23: The city also has a voice and talks to Carmody and, just as the description of the hadrosaurs has a fairly obvious stereotypical origin, so does the city. Eventually Carmody "blows his raspberry."

Chapter 24: Carmody ends up in a fairly familiar-looking New York, but when he enters the subway, he realizes that it is really just the disguised mouth of the Predator and escapes just in time.

Chapter 25: Here Carmody finds himself in what I think of as "Advertworld"--everyone talks in advertising slogans and uses brand names whenever possible. DIMENSION OF MIRACLES was written in 1968. Frederik Pohl's THE SPACE MERCHANTS was written in 1952, and "The Midas Plague" in 1954, so it is not inconceivable that Sheckley was familiar with those two works. (Actually, I would say it was inconceivable that he was *not* familiar with them.) Hence his "Advertworld" probably drew on them for inspiration. (Conversely, though, Douglas Adams has said that he never read DIMENSION OF MIRACLES before he wrote the "Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe" series in the 1970s.) It also reminds me of THE TRUMAN SHOW, where everyone inserts commercials into their conversation because while they all know they are on television, Truman does no- -hence they cannot just cut to a commercial. (Television shows used to do this back in the beginning, e.g. Maxwell House was plugged in dialogue "The Goldbergs", "Mama", and "Father Knows Best". Later, product placement switched to relying primarily on merely being visibly present in a scene.)

Chapter 26: Carmody jumps to another Earth, but before we find out what this one is, he and the Prize have a discussion about the Prize's eating habits. The Prize claims that his principal diet is himself. Carmody tries to explain this violates some physical law of conservation but eventually gives up.

Chapter 27: The Prize's greeting of "How now, voyager?" at the beginning of the previous chapter was not accidental--on this Earth, Maplewood, New Jersey, is really a movie set as reality. Lana Turner is sipping a soda in a luncheonette (a nod to how she was "discovered" when she was drinking a Coke at the Top Hat Malt Shop), Clifton Webb is the high school principal, Burt Lancaster was the high school's most famous fullback, and so on. But Carmody does not realize there is anything odd about this until the Prize pointed out that their was symphonic music being played that was not coming from anywhere. So Carmody jumps again.

Part V: The Return to Earth

Chapter 28: Carmody finds himself on an Earth of war, commercialism, and bizarre pop art. He leaves, and then admits to the Prize that it had been his own Earth, but he did not want to stay there. "I have simply given up a longevity which I never possessed anyhow," he says. "I have turned away from the con game which the Gods run in their heavenly sideshow. I no longer care under which shell the pea of immortality might be found. I don't need it. I have my moment, which is quite enough."


                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

          Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing 
          to us our appearance only.
                                          --Samuel Butler

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