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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society 04/05/19 -- Vol. 37, No. 40, Whole Number 2061
Table of Contents
Hugo and Retro Hugo Finbalists Annouinced:
The lists of these can be found at the end of this issue, after Evelyn's book column, but before the signature and quotation.
Pig Cereal (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
So I am entering my local Wal-Mart and by the door they have their special sale items. They have boxes of cereal that for one reason or another they have a type of cereal I have never heard of before. Perhaps it is the pig on the label on the box. The food adventurers at the Post cereal company are apparently trying out a new kind of cereal. These are the people who created Post Grape Nuts. How creative. Most of us were unaware that grapes had nuts. (Okay, I know what you are thinking. Wipe that smile off your face.) This is serious. Post Grape Nuts is what you get when you make a hard brick of wheat, barley, and corn. Then you put the brick in an industrial pulverizer and grind it down to the consistency of road gravel or buckshot. Then you eat it with milk and sugar.
Now that sounds relatively normal. The full story is not so normal. In any case they wanted a new cereal to celebrate National Cereal Day. Did you know there was a National Cereal Day? If you look for it in Google you will find nifty stories like this one:
"Kix cereal issued its atomic-energy inspired Lone Ranger ring in 1947. The ring actually contained trace amounts of radioactive polonium which glowed. Sadly, the material inside the rings had a short shelf life and none in existence work today.
I actually had one of those rings. I wonder if I should talk to a lawyer.
Anyway. This year the Post cereal company plans to introduce a new kind of cereal to be released to the public Thursday, March 7. Actually I beat the rush and bought a package of the cereal on March 6 from a Wal-Mart branch that apparently jumped the gun. (Sad but true.)
What is the table flavor that you have been so sadly missing? Now don't everybody answer at once. We are talking about maple and donuts. You can now get both flavors in a single cereal. But that's not all, friends. That's not all. The flavor you have really been craving in your breakfast cereal is ... bacon. Yes Post now has a cereal to give you the flavors of Maple, Bacon, and Donuts in Post Maple Bacon Donuts. Look for it in the cereal aisle with the pig on the box. And I would be really interested if someone finds any other food in your grocery that has a pig on the label.
Now I know there are some skeptics in the crowd. Some of you don't believe me. See for yourself:
Post has another such cereal, Post Chicken and Waffles.
Now if you will excuse me, I am feeling a little nauseated. [-mrl]
BOOK OF MONSTERS (film review by Mark R. Leeper):
CAPSULE: Lots of monsters and action but not much in the way of ideas. Sophie, an innocent girl on the eve of her 18th birthday, lets her friends stage a wild party in her house. Soon there are strangers crashing the party. And if that were not bad enough, not all of the strangers are of the human persuasion. There are lots of monsters and action but not much in the way of ideas. It develops that Sophie is not just any girl and she may have a mission. Lots of horror effects can be used to spice up a scary movie, but they cannot sustain it. BOOK OF MONSTERS has a lot of gory action, but it has few original plot twists or ideas. Directed by: Stewart Sparke; written by: Paul Butler. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
There is nothing wrong with a horror film being like an amusement park ride. But it cannot be much of a film without some original ideas somewhere. BOOK OF MONSTERS is little more than a series of scenes without much thought or motivation. Sophie (played by Lyndsey Craine) is celebrating her 18th birthday and is inheriting from her mother--dead ten years--a thick and ancient looking book that is sort of a field book of supernatural monsters with useful notes, such as how to kill such a beast. Sophie has been obsessed by the book but questioned it could do much good for her until on her birthday eve she invites her friends over for a party. And those friends invite other friends without permission. And somewhere along the line some real monsters turn up for their own ends. Every monster woman in the cast seems intent on showing off a big grin of sharp-looking teeth. The monsters knock down just a little too easily.
The film never identifies where it is taking place, but it looks and sounds like some sort of English suburbia. The monster design is creative, but frequently the creatures are hard to make out visually and suffer from the rapid-fire editing. Still they are images that can be effective. The story could do with a little more complexity.
BOOK OF MONSTERS packs scads of gory action, but it has few original plot twists or ideas. The creature design is sometimes scary but too often it is hard to make out detail on the monster and the film is ready to be forgotten when the end credits roll. The creature design is sometimes scary but too often hard to make out. Actually, this film has the feeling of a pilot for a series much like that of BUFFY in which Sophie and her friends would continue to fight supernatural invaders. I rate the film a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.
The film is already on disk and streaming.
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7260818/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/book_of_monsters
THE PUBLIC (film review by Mark R. Leeper):
CAPSULE: Emilio Estevez writes, directs, produces, and plays the main character in this story of homeless people in Cincinnati who want to avoid freezing on a record cold night. They shelter in a public library. The incident becomes a news story of national proportions. The film has a respectable cast including Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone Christian Slater, Jeffrey Wright, and Michael Kenneth Williams. It is a comedy/drama but the toward the end, the drama outweighs the comedy. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
Public libraries are created to serve the public. However, it is not always clear what policies would best serve the public's needs.
It is a record cold winter in downtown Cincinnati. Public shelters from the cold are filled up beyond capacity. The cold could likely be deadly for a troop of the homeless dwellers to risk hypothermia on the streets over night, so instead they turn the library into an ad hoc homeless shelter. This is certainly not what the city feels is the purpose for library facilities. These are the people the city neglects. These are the mentally ill, recently impoverished, and the disenfranchised. The troop of the homeless refuses to leave the building and go out into the possibly deadly cold. Their leader is an eloquent spokesman, Jackson (played by Michael Kenneth Williams).
Elsewhere we have people posturing for the center of attention for political grist from the incident.
THE PUBLIC initially seems like a comedy-drama with the accent on the drama. The humor comes mostly from the ignorant questions and requests that come from library users. In the second half the whimsical side of library work was mostly lost. Soon, however, the whimsy drains out and the incident becomes a media and political football. The film takes on the tone and follows the path of a DOG DAY AFTERNOON (1975) with the same sort of standoff.
Acting honors go to Michael Kenneth Williams as the leader of the homeless revolt. Actress Jena Malone seems like an old friend after she shared a lead role with Jodie Foster in CONTACT (1997). Also featured are Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater, and Jeffrey Wright.
I rate THE PUBLIC a low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10. (Watching the film, I asked myself whether the Cincinnati Public Library actually has that much open space. I looked it up in Google-images. I admit it. The place looks cavernous.)
Release date: April 5, 2019.
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3294746/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_public
THINGS TO COME (letter of comment by Paul Dormer):
In response to Mark's comments on THINGS TO COME in the 03/29/19 issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:
[Mark wrote,] "Most of the special effects are done with model work that still looks futuristic today. Most existing copies of the film have very poor sound quality and it is difficult to understand the actors, but TCM has a good copy. The musical score has become a classic piece of orchestral concept music." [-mrl]
It's not just the sound quality that makes it difficult to understand the actors. English accents have changed over the last eighty years and some of the dialogue sounds strange to modern ears. The little girl talking to her grandfather about life in the old days speaks with a refined upper-class accent that I don't think anyone would use today and sounds very funny to me.
I remember hearing a radio documentary about the music for THINGS TO COME some years ago. Wells insisted that Arthur Bliss wrote the music first and the film would be shot to accompany the music. This turned out to be impossible, but the music had been recorded. The concert suite had even already been performed before the film came out. For the montage showing the building of the modern world, there was a man whose job it was to go through the music and every time there was a jarring key change, he dub a loud cymbal clash to cover it. [-pd]
You can heare the score performed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHU-7KKNSis.
This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
As they say, "In spring, an old lady's fancy turns to book sales." (Or something like that--you know how the memory gets at my age.) Three weeks ago was the Bryn Mawr-Wellesley book sale. Two weeks ago was the East Brunswick Friends of the Library had their sale-- and a sad contrast it was. Bryn Mawr's books filled a gymnasium and three other large rooms; East Brunswick was six tables, each about twenty feet long and six rows of books wide. Much of the East Brunswick sale was library discards, yet the prices were no lower than for the books in much better condition at Bryn Mawr, and were often higher. (Two dollars for a library discard DVD is not really in line with current prices; the Middletown Library, for example, charges $1 for donated DVDs, but only 50 cents for library discards.) And while in past years they had Teaching Company and Modern Scholar courses, there were none of those.
In spite of this, we did manage to find a few things. We had had seven seasons of C.S.I.; we found three that filled in the gaps, giving us all of the first ten seasons. We also found the fifth season of "Game of Thrones"--perfect since we had had seasons one through four. (Luckily they were pricing by the season, not by the disc.) Add MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (with Marlon Brando), and a Broadway Theatre Archive of Eugene O'Neill's A TOUCH OF THE POET, and that was it. Yes, that's right--we got no books at the book sale.
I wasn't expecting much from this book sale, so I was not greatly disappointed. We still go because some years I find great stuff (last year I found a facsimile edition of Frida Kahlo's self- illustrated diary), but other years there's nothing.
And rounding out the season (for us, anyway) was the Cherry Hill Friends of the Library sale. Yes, this is kind of far from us, but we usually have a few other places we want to go in that area, so we save them up for the spring sale date. And Cherry Hill has about three times as much as East Brunswick.
We did better here than at East Brunswick in that we found actual books: a dictionary of Spanish slang, an encyclopedia of gangster movies, and a really thick anthology of "The Best American Short Stories of the Century" selected by John Updike, and a few more books--and each only a dollar. (Okay, we also got some DVDs: THE LAST STATION, PYGMALION, and four "Miss Marple" movies. But they are literarily connected, so that's all right.)
We also sold a bunch of books to a bookstore near Cherry Hill, so we actually decreased our volume of books, which is our spring book goal these days. And this even though we bought five history books at the bookstore. [-ecl]
The finalists for the 2019 Hugo Awards, Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer are:
Best Novel - The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor) - Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager) - Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris) - Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga) - Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan) - Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga) Best Novella - Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com publishing) - Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing) - Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com publishing) - The Black God's Drums, by P. Djeli Clark (Tor.com publishing) - Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson (Tor.com publishing) - The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency) Best Novelette - "If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again," by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018) - "The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections," by Tina Connolly (Tor.com, 11 July 2018) - "Nine Last Days on Planet Earth," by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com, 19 September 2018) - The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com publishing) - "The Thing About Ghost Stories," by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018) - "When We Were Starless," by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018) Best Short Story - "The Court Magician," by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018) - "The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society," by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018) - "The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington," by P. Djeli Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018) - "STET," by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018) - "The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat," by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine 23, July-August 2018) - "A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies," by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018) Best Series - The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older (Tor.com publishing) - The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (most recently Tor.com publishing/Orbit) - Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris) - The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (most recently DAW) - The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (most recently Subterranean Press) - Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager) Best Related Work - Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works - Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books) - The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts), written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube) - An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000, by Jo Walton (Tor) - www.mexicanxinitiative.com: The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio) - Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books) Best Graphic Story - Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivela, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios) - Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by Andre Lima Araujo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel) - Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics) - On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second) - Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics) - Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics) Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form - Annihilation - Avengers: Infinity War - Black Panther - A Quiet Place - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form - The Expanse: "Abaddon's Gate" - Doctor Who: "Demons of the Punjab" - Dirty Computer - The Good Place: "Janet(s)" - The Good Place: "Jeremy Bearimy" - Doctor Who: "Rosa" Best Editor, Short Form - Neil Clarke - Gardner Dozois - Lee Harris - Julia Rios - Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas - E. Catherine Tobler Best Editor, Long Form - Sheila E. Gilbert - Anne Lesley Groell - Beth Meacham - Diana Pho - Gillian Redfearn - Navah Wolfe Best Professional Artist - Galen Dara - Jaime Jones - Victo Ngai - John Picacio - Yuko Shimizu - Charles Vess Best Semiprozine - Beneath Ceaseless Skies - Fireside Magazine - FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction - Shimmer - Strange Horizons - Uncanny Magazine Best Fanzine - Galactic Journey - Journey Planet - Lady Business - nerds of a feather, flock together - Quick Sip Reviews - Rocket Stack Rank Best Fancast - Be the Serpent - The Coode Street Podcast - Fangirl Happy Hour - Galactic Suburbia - Our Opinions Are Correct - The Skiffy and Fanty Show Best Fan Writer - Foz Meadows - James Davis Nicoll - Charles Payseur - Elsa Sjunneson-Henry - Alasdair Stuart - Bogi Takacs Best Fan Artist - Sara Felix - Grace P. Fong - Meg Frank - Ariela Housman - Likhain (Mia Sereno) - Spring Schoenhuth Best Art Book Under the WSFS Constitution every Worldcon has the right to add one category to the Hugo Awards for that year only. Dublin 2019 has chosen to use this right to create an award for an art book. - The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz) - Daydreamer's Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon, by Julie Dillon (self-published) - Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer (Ten Speed Press) - Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, ed. John Fleskes (Flesk Publications) - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - The Art of the Movie, by Ramin Zahed (Titan Books) - Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, ed. Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library) There are two other Awards administered by Worldcon 76 that are not Hugo Awards: Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book - The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform / Gollancz) - Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children's Books) - The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown / Hot Key Books) - Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray) - The Invasion, by Peadar O'Guilin (David Fickling Books / Scholastic) - Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House / Penguin Teen) John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer - Katherine Arden* - S.A. Chakraborty* - R.F. Kuang - Jeannette Ng* - Vina Jie-Min Prasad* - Rivers Solomon* *Finalist in their 2nd year of eligibility
Retro Hugo Finalists:
The finalists for the 1944 Retrospective Hugo Awards are:
Best Novel - Conjure Wife, by Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Unknown Worlds, April 1943) - Earth's Last Citadel, by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner (Argosy, April 1943) - Gather, Darkness! by Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Astounding Science- Fiction, May-July 1943) - Das Glasperlenspiel [The Glass Bead Game], by Hermann Hesse (Fretz & Wasmuth) - Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis (John Lane, The Bodley Head) - The Weapon Makers, by A.E. van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, February-April 1943) Best Novella - "Attitude," by Hal Clement (Astounding Science-Fiction, September 1943) - "Clash by Night," by Lawrence O'Donnell (Henry Kuttner & C.L. Moore) (Astounding Science-Fiction, March 1943) - "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," by H.P. Lovecraft, (Beyond the Wall of Sleep, Arkham House) - The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Reynal & Hitchcock) - The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons, by Mary Norton (Hyperion Press) - "We Print the Truth," by Anthony Boucher (Astounding Science- Fiction, December 1943) Best Novelette - "Citadel of Lost Ships," by Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories, March 1943) - "The Halfling," by Leigh Brackett (Astonishing Stories, February 1943) - "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," by Lewis Padgett (C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction, February 1943) - "The Proud Robot," by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction, February 1943) - "Symbiotica," by Eric Frank Russell (Astounding Science-Fiction, October 1943) - "Thieves' House," by Fritz Leiber, Jr (Unknown Worlds, February 1943) Best Short Story - "Death Sentence," by Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction, November 1943) - "Doorway into Time," by C.L. Moore (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, September 1943) - "Exile," by Edmond Hamilton (Super Science Stories, May 1943) - "King of the Gray Spaces" ("R is for Rocket"), by Ray Bradbury (Famous Fantastic Mysteries, December 1943) - "Q.U.R.," by H.H. Holmes (Anthony Boucher) (Astounding Science-Fiction, March 1943) - "Yours Truly - Jack the Ripper," by Robert Bloch (Weird Tales, July 1943) Best Graphic Story - Buck Rogers: Martians Invade Jupiter, by Philip Nowlan and Dick Calkins (National Newspaper Service) - Flash Gordon: Fiery Desert of Mongo, by Alex Raymond (King Features Syndicate) - Garth, by Steve Dowling (Daily Mirror) - Plastic Man #1: The Game of Death, by Jack Cole (Vital Publications) - Le Secret de la Licorne [The Secret of the Unicorn], by Herge (Le Soir) - Wonder Woman #5: Battle for Womanhood, written by William Moulton Marsden, art by Harry G. Peter (DC Comics) Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form - Batman - Cabin in the Sky - A Guy Named Joe - Heaven Can Wait - Munchhausen, - Phantom of the Opera Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form - The Ape Man - Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - "Der Fuehrer's Face" - I Walked With a Zombie - The Seventh Victim -"Super-Rabbit" Best Editor, Short Form - John W. Campbell - Oscar J. Friend - Mary Gnaedinger - Dorothy McIlwraith - Raymond A. Palmer - Donald A. Wollheim Best Professional Artist - Hannes Bok - Margaret Brundage - Virgil Finlay - Antoine de Saint-Exupery - J. Allen St. John - William Timmins Best Fanzine - Fantasy News, editor William S. Sykora - Futurian War Digest, editor J. Michael Rosenblum - The Phantagraph, editor Donald A. Wollheim - Voice of the Imagi-Nation, editors Jack Erman (Forrest J Ackerman) & Morojo (Myrtle Douglas) - YHOS, editor Art Widner - Le Zombie, editor Wilson "Bob" Tucker Best Fan Writer - Forrest J. Ackerman - Morojo (Myrtle Douglas) - Jack Speer - Wilson "Bob" Tucker - Art Widner - Donald A. Wollheim Per WSFS rules, categories in which there were insufficient nominations to justify the category were dropped. The Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer are not Hugo Awards, and therefore no retrospective versions of them were included on the nominating ballot.
Mark Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Quote of the Week: I don't think anyone should write their autobiography until after they're dead. --Samuel GoldwynTweet
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