MT VOID 09/16/16 -- Vol. 35, No. 12, Whole Number 1928

MT VOID 09/16/16 -- Vol. 35, No. 12, Whole Number 1928

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society 09/16/16 -- Vol. 35, No. 12, Whole Number 1928

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

Early Flying Saucer/UFO Books Covers:

The "Paris Review" has an article (with illustrations) of early book covers for flying saucer and UFO books:

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (1959) (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

Prior to 1950, science fiction was a rarity in film. There was pulpish science fiction such as in the serials and DR. CYCLOPS. And there was THINGS TO COME (1936), which in spite of some very imaginative visuals was a little talky and didactic. Then in the ten years from 1950 to 1959 science fiction had a modest blossoming. Once the silver screen discovered there could be fun science fiction the film genre went in several different directions. The decade was capped with 20th Century Fox's JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. In some ways this was an answer to Walt Disney's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (1954). Both films were based on novels by Jules Verne and both starred James Mason. The earlier film had Mason be a rather insular and brooding character without a whole lot of personal appeal. In the later film Mason would not be somber and brooding but cantankerous and vocal. His Lindenbrook is irascible and outspoken. And in spite of his childish ways, he holds viewer interest more by his actions rather than his mystery as Mason's Nemo did. 20,000 LEAGUES was claustrophobic while JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH tells its story on a much wider backdrop.

It is 1880 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the local university's geology professor, Oliver Lindenbrook (played by James Mason), has just been knighted. Part of his class's congratulatory prize is a piece of volcanic rock, purchased by Alec McKuen (Pat Boone). Lindenbrook finds the rock mysteriously heavy for what should be a light piece of lava. Lindenbrook guesses that there is actually inside the rock something much heavier than what the outside shell is made of. He determines to slowly melt off the surrounding lava but a furnace explosion saves him the time and effort. Inside he finds a plum bob with a message on it. The message was written by geologist Arne Saknussemm and tells how to reach the center of the Earth. And thus the adventure begins.

The screenplay by Walther Reisch and Charles Bracket and directed by Henry Levin is never less than entertaining. Though certain changes were made from the story, but then there are precedents in editions of the book. Verne's characters' names vary greatly from one edition and translation to another. The professor was called Lidenbrock or Hardwigg in different editions. In this film he is Lindenbrook. The nephew (in the book the young character is the professor's nephew) was called Alec for the film (in the book he is Harry, Henry, or Axel). For some love interest the film introduced two female characters. Carla Goetabaug is played by Arlene Dahl and goes on the expedition, much to Oliver Lindenbrook's annoyance. Also, Jenny, Lindenbrook's niece, loves Alec and stays topide and worries. She seems almost extraneous to the plot but is played by Diane Baker at the height of Baker's attractiveness.

The production values are top-notch here, making this a beautiful film to watch. This was, I believe, the last feature film actually filmed in Carlsbad Caverns. That is not entirely coincidence. The film crew apparently did some damage shooting there and the people who maintain the caverns have never again given permission to film there. The only actively bad visual effect is the obvious model work of the sacrificial dish rising in the volcanic chimney. Leo Tover filmed the movie spectacularly, considering some of the tight spaces he had to film in. Most of the special effects were quite nicely composed. For the dimetrodons, live lizards were used with fins glued on. That is a cruel technique that is now outlawed. But it was never used so effectively as it was in JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. One clever shot is a point of view shot from inside a lizard's mouth.

The score written for the film is one of Bernard Herrmann's finest. Pat Boone was a popular singer and four songs were written for him, though luckily the producers thought better of the idea and Boone was limited to two songs--the two based on poems by Robert Burns so they had some claim to authenticity. Two songs ended on the cutting room floor though confusingly they do show up in the credits. The songs "The Faithful Heart" and "Twice as Tall" were written by popular lyricist Sammy Cahn, known for "Three Coins in the Fountain" and "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow." Until relatively recently Pat Boone's two missing songs were not available to the public (as far as I am aware). But the CD of the soundtrack includes them. Bits of their melodies show up in Herrmann's score.

1959 was a year of lackluster films from Fox. But Fox found JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH was a notable exception. They made some effort in the following years to have a science fiction adventure for the summer. In 1960 it was a remake of THE LOST WORLD for Irwin Allen. But Fox's best summer science fiction adventure film was JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH until it was displaced by STAR WARS.

There. I have gotten most of the praise of this film done. Next week I will go into some of the problems of the film. [-mrl]

Ellen Datlow (summary of presentation by Evelyn C. Leeper):

On September 10, Ellen Datlow spoke at the Old Bridge (NJ) Public Library as a guest of the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers. This was the twelfth year in a row that Datlow has spoken for them, and right after she won the Hugo for Best Editor (Short-Form) at Worldcon last month in Kansas City.

Datlow said that she would make a few remarks, but that the session would be mostly questions and answers. She started by saying that OMNI would be returning in December, both in print and on-line. (A couple of small trial issues have already been published.) She mentioned some recent anthologies she edited, including CHILDREN OF LOVECRAFT, and said that because she has been editing mostly horror, it was hard to get authors to send her science fiction for something like OMNI.

Speaking of CHILDREN OF LOVECRAFT, I asked why there seemed to be a sudden resurgence in H. P. Lovecraft-inspired fiction. Datlow said that Lovecraft had always been somewhat popular, but got a big boost from the Chaosium role-playing game "Call of Cthulhu" in the 1960s, and again from S. T. Joshi's academic work on Lovecraft in the 1990s and later. However, she agreed there seemed to be a boom, with at least ten original Lovecraft-inspired anthologies last year alone, as well as Matt Ruff's novel LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, Jonathan L. Howard's CARTER & LOVECRAFT, Victor LaValle's THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM, and probably a lot more. Her explanation was, "[Lovecraft] is the Cosmic Horror guy--the go-to guy [for cosmic horror]." Someone thought it was because of the possibility of film adaptations, but Datlow said that no one who knows anything about the film industry would write anything just because it might be picked up for a film. As someone noted, if Guillermo del Toro has been trying to get IN THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS going for years, new Lovecraft fiction hasn't much of a chance.

Asked about the best markets for horror stories, Datlow said BLACK STATIC was the best, but most of the others are inconsistent. She reminded authors not to ignore non-horror specific markets such as ANALOG, ASIMOV'S, and F&SF. There are also intermittent markets; Liz Hand will be editing an issue of CONJUNCTIONS about aliens, for example.

For getting your work reviewed, your publisher should have a list, but a few places to remember are LOCUS, FANGORIA, RUE MORGUE, BOOKGASM, MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW and KIRKUS.

Asked about over-used tropes (as I believe she is every year), Datlow said a typically British one is the dysfunctional couple that goes to a bad spot and bad things happen to them. She said that she has to empathize with at least one character to continue reading a story or (especially) a novel; "I hate reading about total losers." Interesting psychopaths are okay, but not boring ones.

Datlow talked a bit about the new Tor line of novellas. It has been more successful than they expected--they had originally intended to make it print-on-demand, but the initial sales made regular publishing more profitable. One of their big successes was BINTI, by Nnedi Okorafor, which won the Hugo for Best Novella this year. However, its success comes with a price (for readers: because the initial outlay for on-line novellas is higher than for print (even if print eventually generates more payout for the author), the print novella program means there will be far fewer (if any) novellas on

Why are most anthologies themed anthologies? Because non-themed anthologies don't sell. Datlow has done one or two using Kickstarter, but she feels that Kickstarter should be a one-time thing, not something one uses for every project. Another, more on- going, platform is Patreon, with its automatically recurring payments. N. K. Jemisin is using this for short stories, but Datlow's concern is that sending your new stories to 3000 people who signed up on Patreon kills your market (except as reprints). On the other hand, if you are getting (say) $3000 for each story, that may be better than what you could do in more traditional markets. On the gripping hand, your Patreon distribution is not putting your name in front of a wider audience.

Speaking of anthologies, Datlow said, "Anyone can be an anthologist." This led someone to mishear (and misinterpret) this as "anyone can be an editor," and asked how one would go about doing that. Datlow clarified that she had said anyone can be an "anthologist" (not an editor), but not that everyone should be. [-ecl]

QUANTUM NIGHT by Robert J. Sawyer (copyright 2016, Ace, $27.00, 351pp, ISBN 978-0-425-25683-1) (excerpt from the Duel Fish Codices: a book review by Joe Karpierz):

QUANTUM NIGHT is Robert J. Sawyer's 23rd science fiction novel. Throughout all those novels and all those years, Sawyer has explored any number of far ranging ideas, sometimes a good number of them in one book (some of his novels have so many different ideas in play it's sometimes tough to keep up with them all, let alone figure out how they all play into the particular story he is telling). One of his favorite topics to explore is the nature of consciousness, and Sawyer returns to that subject in a novel that reminds the reader of some of those earlier idea filled novels. From the idea a person can't be convicted of a crime because that may just be his (or her) nature, to the saying that a person's "lights are on, but no one is home" being a central theme to the book, Sawyer has the reader's head spinning from the opening pages. And it takes the thought that "you can't change human nature" and turns it completely on its ear.

Jim Marchuk has developed a technique for identifying the psychopaths in our midst. There are other techniques, but his appears to not only support the others but is 100% objective and accurate. Marchuk is called to appear as an expert witness in a murder trial; the defense claims that because the accused was "made that way"--that is, a psychopath--he cannot be found guilty of the crime (this is an idea that is not new, and appears here as a result of the mammoth amount of research that Sawyer has done for this novel. His method has determined that the defendant is indeed a psychopath; that is not in question. What started out as a cross-examination of the method turns into a cross-examination of Marchuk, the end result being that he has not only lost six months out of his life, but during that six months (he finds out later) he has done some pretty gruesome acts.

Not long after his day in court, Marchuk is contacted by an old girlfriend he had during that dark six-month interval. Kayla is a quantum physicist. She and a colleague have discovered that the consciousness is quantum in nature, and that there are three states of consciousness: the philosopher's zombie or p-zed (the state where the lights are on and no one is home), the psychopath, and what the novel ends up calling the cwcs (quicks)--conscious with conscience. Each of the three is a actually a quantum state that is an indicator of a quantum entanglement in the brain (it's at this point that I think I'd better stop trying to explain the science here and let you read the novel for yourself, and after you do that take a good hard look at all the non-fiction reading that Sawyer has laid out at the end of the book, and although it might not be a bad idea to explain what a p-zed is, I don't want to take up half the review doing an info dump) and it turns out that an outside force can induce the brain to change quantum states.

However, there are several questions that are central to the story: why did Marchuk lose those six months, why is Kayla's brother in a coma, and why is there an increasing amount of violence occurring all over the world that appears to be somewhat unstoppable? The answers to the first two questions are handled relatively easily and in a straightforward fashion. The third one is a tad more difficult to come to grips with, and the solution is one that will change the makeup of the entirety of humanity.

QUANTUM NIGHT is certainly a story of ideas, but it is more than that. It's a story of how those ideas influence the people in the story, and how it makes them think of their own as well as all of humanity's morality. These are real people, and although they are facing very earth shattering concepts and ideas that will change the way they think of each other and the rest of the human race, they react in what I feel are very realistic ways to a crisis that threatens to take down a good portion of civilization.

It's probably reasonable to talk about how the science is presented in QUANTUM NIGHT. This is the third book I've read in the last several months which contains a great deal of complex science to make the story work. The first was Kim Stanley Robinson's AURORA, and the second was Neal Stephenson's SEVENEVES. The first two novels have long stretches of infodumps--pages upon pages upon pages of infodumps. Robinson goes into gory detail telling the reader exactly why a generational starship will not work. Stephenson loves teaching his readers about orbital mechanics. Sawyer, on the other hand, weaves the science into the story so that while you're vaguely aware that you're getting a lecture in quantum mechanics (for example), it's not boring and tedious. It's part of the natural conversation of the story, and the characters react to it in realistic ways. As much as I love a good infodump, I really got tired of the orbital mechanics in SEVENEVES; my eyes were rolling so much I felt they would spin out of my head. And while it could be argued that Sawyer treads dangerously close to the "As you know, Bob" method of the infodump, I don't think he ever crosses that line. The conversations between the characters in which the science is explained to the reader is believable and interesting.

Oh, one more thing. If you start walking down the street or sitting in your car at a stop-light looking at people and wondering if they're psychopaths, p-zeds, or quicks, Sawyer has done his job. He's making you think about the world around you in different ways. And that's what good science fiction--like QUANTUM NIGHT--does. [-jak]

SULLY (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: With one six-minute flight Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, went from being a respected but obscure airline pilot to being a national hero who saved 155 lives after a plane crash. So why is he still having nightmares, and why would the NTSB be having hearings to determine if the cause of the crash was "pilot error"? Why does Sully hate to be labeled a hero? While at one time this story would have been about a pilot using his flight skills to save the passengers and crew aboard the plane, the modern story is as much about what is human vs. the computer. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 left LaGuardia Airport. Flying the craft was Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, pilot, and Jeffery Skiles, co-pilot. Less than three minutes into the flight the plane flew into a flock of Canada geese. Both the engines on the Airbus A320 were disabled. Sully had to make some very fast decisions. He decided it was much too dangerous to land in LaGuardia or nearby Teterboro Airport with no thrust from either engine. His rather unorthodox idea is to attempt a water landing in the Hudson River. Weeks later Sully is torn with self-doubt as to whether his decision was the right one or whether the passengers and crew, some 155 people, would have faced less risk had he tried a more conventional emergency landing.

In director Clint Eastwood's and screenwriter Todd Komarnicki's narrative, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has run computer simulations of the flight and has found either airport landing would have posed less danger to the lives on board the plane. While the media has portrayed Sully as a hero who saved the life of everybody on flight 1549, Sully is suffering from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder. Meanwhile, his family is pestered by reporters and just about everybody else. It is in this frame of mind that Sully has to defend his actions to the NTSB and its damning computer simulations.

Tom Hanks plays Sully as a man with serious self-doubt. But the viewer has few misgivings. Like Jimmy Stewart and Morgan Freeman Tom Hanks is an actor we immediately associated with the good guys. Having Hanks in the role immediately assuages any doubt that we might have that Sully might have endangered his passengers. Hanks is Mr. Integrity. Supporting Hanks is Aaron Eckhart as Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot and loyal friend of Sully. Laura Linney plays Lorraine Sullenberger, Sully's wife, who has little to do here but worry about her husband and provide him some moral support.

A story about a six-minute flight is hard to adapt into a film script. Should the film have all its action about the middle of the film and then the rest filled with talk? Todd Komarnicki's screenplay, directed by Clint Eastwood, solves the pacing problem by starting the film just as the plane hits the geese, but at that time it gives a short and incomplete telling of the events of that day. From there the point of view jumps around in time, mostly taking place during the later investigation by the NTSB. Eastwood gives us only two quick scenes from Sully's past. It is not enough to tell us much about him so it fails to broaden our understanding of the character. Instead and to add more visual excitement there are at least two fantasy sequences in which Sully imagines what a disaster his decision might all two easily have been. Each ends with a spectacular explosion.

The film SULLY is a tribute to a hero who does not wear a spandex costume or have a license to kill. He is a flesh and blood human with nonetheless tremendous skill. a man who knew what he had to do to save lives. If there is any lingering doubt that he is a real person, we see and hear him during the closing credits of the film. I rate Clint Eastwood's screen adaptation of his autobiography a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: In the kindest conspiracy of rich people we have seen in films for a long time, the members of the exclusive Verdi Club music appreciation society do not tell their leader, the eponymous Florence Foster Jenkins, that her singing is deplorably bad. Florence goes through life with her husband and her music accompanist protecting here from the painful truth. The script by Nicholas Martin, directed by Stephen Frears, is uneven. At times it is quite funny, but more of the time it seems aimless. While the lead couple are less interesting than we would want, the film is perked up by the presence of Simon Helberg as a piano accompanist with an extremely expressive face. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

Love means never having to say, "You have a terrible singing voice." At least that is true in upper class New York of 1944. The leaders of the upper crust belong to the very patrician Verdi Club, a sort of music appreciation society. The center of the club are Florence Foster Jenkins (played by Meryl Streep) and her husband St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant). These are about the nicest wealthy people we have seen in films for a while. At the same time they are all conspirators. They all appreciate fine music, and Florence often sings for them. The conspiracy, led by Bayfield, is that they all share the secret that Florence is an absolutely terrible singer. And they all conspire to keep the secret from Florence. Nobody can let on to Florence that her singing is painful to hear. And everybody wants to make sure that nobody reveals to Florence just how bad her singing really is. Guests who laugh at Florence's singing are immediately ostracized and banished.

Bayfield suspects that eventually it will get back to his wife just how awkward her singing voice really is, but the script by Nicholas Martin gives Bayfield reason to hold off that time as far as possible. Bayfield's marriage to Florence has more secrets than just his wife's problem. Florence has medical problems and Bayfield has a girlfriend he does not want his wife to find out about. But the big secret in the film is Florence's level of talent and at times the secrets build on themselves and the story has a touch of Oscar Wilde humor. Some of the set-ups end in disappointment. There is a bit of a mystery surrounding a briefcase. We wait to find out the solution of the mystery, but when we get it, it just rates an, "Oh. Okay."

Streep is very good in the title role, but the script fails to make her someone I would want to know more about. Jenkins is just a vain woman who has had something of a hard time and now has to be protected from her friends' true opinion of her. Streep also does her own singing, bad and good. Hugh Grant is really just playing an older version of a character he has played too many times, a role not very demanding of him. The surprise for me was Simon Helberg, playing Cosmé McMoon. I see that he is a regular on "The Big Bang Theory" and has used that experience to hone his comic skills. His face is a sort of Greek chorus all by itself, commenting on the action of the story.

The truth is that we come out of the film respecting how much the two main characters love each other, but their characters have not been enough filled out for us to be very touched by their love. They are nice people and you wish them well, but there is no chemistry between them, little sense of humor, and not very much empathy value. I rate FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS a low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

[Note: I looked up Christian McKay, who played the hostile reviewer, and thought he looked a lot like Orson Welles. If I were making a film with Welles as a character I would cast him in the role. Looking his filmography I see that his first feature film role was in the film ME AND ORSON WELLES (2008) playing ... who else? ... Orson Welles.]

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


THE PEOPLE GARDEN (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: Somewhere in this 83-minute mystery story there is a mediocre 20-minute film struggling to get out. A 20-something woman goes to Japan to find her missing rock star boyfriend and then to break up with him. The search leads her to a possibly supernatural Japanese forest where her boy friend was making a music video, but has disappeared from the shooting location without word. The film raises many questions, answers few, and none to the viewer's satisfaction. Nadia Litz writes and directs. Rating: -1 (-4 to +4) or 3/10

Sweetpea (played by Dree Hemingway) is a rock fan who has had a relationship with rock star Jamie (François Arnaud). We see them dance together once. Once. Supposedly they had some sort of relationship, but now Sweetpea is tired of the rock star. She has flown to Japan where Jamie is making a music video. Sweetpea has come thousands of miles to break off her liaison with Jamie. But Jamie has disappeared from the set without telling anyone. Incidentally the video-makers are shooting in the famous and mysterious Aokigahara Forest, known as the Suicide Forest, where many Japanese have committed suicide.

Writer/director Nadia Litz was expecting that the suspense would pull the viewer into the story. But we are given little reason to have concern for the fate of Jamie or even of Sweetpea. The characters seem flat. We see Sweetpea dancing with Jamie and are told just that she had a relationship with him but that she is chasing to Japan to break up with him. Sweetpea searches the forest and finds where the music video was being filmed. Jamie had been there that morning but had disappeared. One would think that the production people would welcome Sweetpea coming and looking for Jamie, but Sweetpea is just met with (never-explained) hostility.

The film is 83 minutes long and there would have been plenty of time for Litz to develop Sweetpea, but instead she lazily fills out a feature length with long takes that have limited motion and in which nothing happens. A good editor would have cut this film down to less than half its current length.

At times Litz seems to try experimenting with the style. She throws in an overhead shot. I believe toward the beginning of there is a piece where it looks like she is experimenting with the number of frames per second. None of this is explained or seems to amount to much.

Litz seems to be taking advantage of the current interest in the Aokigahara Suicide Forest. While Sweetpea tries to be serious in her concern for Jamie, it is hard to take seriously any character named "Sweetpea." Sweetpea is played by the very serious Dree Hemingway, the daughter of Mariel Hemingway and the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway.

This is a film with an atmosphere somewhere between dream-like and lethargic atmosphere, but it needed a much stronger plot. I would rate it a -1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 3/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


Prius (letters of comment by John Jezl and Charles S. Harris):

In response to Evelyn's comments on the Toyota Prius in the 09/09/16 issue of the MT VOID, John Jezl writes:

In response to: Ten Things I Like about the Prius/Ten Things I Don't Like about the Prius

I have never replied to anything posted in MT VOID but, given that I picked up a new 2016 Prius last week after owning a 2006 Prius for ten years, I was compelled to on this one. I found your con list to be interesting and, for the most part, in line with my experience.

One caveat, my differences in experience may be due to model/package differences. Toyota now has three major variants of the Prius (Prius, Prius c and Prius v) and within the main Prius variant, six different "sub"-models ... and then option packages. I have the Prius Three w/ tech package.

[We have the Prius Two. -ecl]

1. The gas mileage means it is easy to forget to ever look at the gas gauge.

- YES! I very nearly did this with my first tank in my 2016.

3. There is no setting that has the headlights come on automatically when you start the car, but turn off when you turn off the car.

- That must differ based on package. Mine includes auto-headlights and auto-highbeams.

4. The glove compartment is smaller than the one in our old Corolla.

- Not only that, but my 2006 had an upper glove box (in addition to the lower one), a drawer below the center console, a small compartment below the radio perfect for registration and insurance cards, overhead sunglass compartment, and a good amount of storage under the rear floor. All gone. GONE! *sob*

5. It is a hatchback.

- But AMAZING cargo capacity because of it.

9. It has a 700-page manual, most of which covers features our model does not have.

- Which takes up way too much of the already greatly reduced storage.

10. You have to have the key very close to the driver's door (i.e., not the hatchback) to open the car.

Not being certain of your definition of very close, I've never had an issue with this. I keep it in my pocket. Works for the hatchback and passenger door. May be model/package dependent. Also having a mobile phone in the same pocket can block the signal. Perhaps you're encountering some of that.

I love my Prius, despite agreeing with most of your "con" list. However, I would replace 5 and 10 with:

5. At not quite 6' tall, the rear view mirror sits precisely in my line of sight of where a car would be sitting at a stop sign from the right. This creates a rather dicey blind spot.

10. Again, due to my apparently unreasonable height, I can't see the cool color HUD. At all.


And Charles Harris writes:

Why is no ashtray a problem? [-csh]

Evelyn replies:

Because sometimes we want to throw out a gum wrapper or ticket stub. [-ecl]

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

THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT by J. R. R. Tolkien, with annotations by Douglas A. Anderson (ISBN 978-0-618-13470-0) got very good reviews, and I generally like annotated editions of classics. However, the majority of the annotations for this are noting the differences between the 1937 and 1951 editions, which are usually minor changes in phrasing. A lot of the remainder are philological in nature, indicating the sources (Scandinavian, Old English, and so on) for many of the words and names. Very few seem to be about the actual content--the origins of the Ring, or the number of White Wizards in Middle Earth.

It does include an assortment of illustrations from various editions of THE HOBBIT, although many that were in color in them are rendered in black-and-white here. (There are a few color plates.)

And the layout of the annotations is less than ideal. As I have noted in comments on other annotated books, there are two ways of solving the "runaway annotation problem" (the annotation is so long it continues onto the next page) when doing annotations as a separate column in the margins (rather than as footnotes).

The first is to let the columns run independently of each other, which can result in (for example) the annotation for text on page 20 not appearing until page 23. The only rule here is that annotations do not start *before* the text they annotate. The second is to halt the text until the long annotation finishes, if necessary having two annotation columns and no text column on a page. This happens of necessity at the end of the chapter anyway, and is much easier to follow when one is reading, so I prefer this. However, THE ANNOTATED HOBBIT uses the first method.

If you're interested in textual minutiae, you might like this, but most readers will find the annotations of little use.. [-ecl]

                                          Mark Leeper
Quote of the Week:
          From the moment I picked your book up until the 
          moment I put it down I could not stop laughing.  
          Someday I hope to read it.          
                                          --Groucho Marx 
                                          (to Leo Rosten)

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