MT VOID 10/25/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 17, Whole Number 2090

MT VOID 10/25/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 17, Whole Number 2090

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society 10/25/19 -- Vol. 38, No. 17, Whole Number 2090

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

Changes to the Delivery of the MT VOID (announcement by Evelyn C. Leeper):

The MT VOID is (primarily) delivered via Yahoo Groups, and Yahoo Groups is changing. This will not affect the vast majority of you.

If you get the MT VOID as regular email every Friday morning (Eastern Time), nothing should change. However, there will be no back issues stored at Yahoo Groups any more. If you had been using those, you can find back issues at or

If you read the MT VOID on Usenet, or get it through the N3F fanzine distribution, or read it on any of the fannish history sites, nothing will change.

If, on the other hand, you read it on the Yahoo Groups web site using their interface, or get it as a Daily Digest, those options are going away in December. KEEP READING!

If you get a Daily Digest, I will reset you to Individual Emails around Thanksgiving. If you are set to "No Emails", then I will *NOT* change that unless you ask me to (or you can change it yourself if you now how). I will leave your email address on the mailing list as a placeholder unless you specifically ask me to remove it entirely.

(I am assuming that Yahoo Groups will not be changing these settings, but it is certainly possible that since there is really only one option going forward, they may just change everyone to Individual Emails. If you start getting emails you do not want, you can delete yourself from the list or ask me to do it for you.) [-ecl]

Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films, Lectures, etc. (NJ):

November 14, 2019: THE LAST MIMZY and "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" 
	by Lewis Padgett, Middletown Public Library, 5:30PM
November 21, 2019: THE SLEEPER AWAKES by H. G. Wells (1910), 
	Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
January 23, 2020: TBD from Europe/Latin America/Canada, 
	Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
March 26, 2020: TBD by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Old Bridge Public 
	Library, 7PM
May 28, 2020: TBD from Europe/Latin America/Canada, 
	Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
July 23, 2020: CLIPPER OF THE CLOUDS by Jules Verne (a.k.a. 
	published by Ace in 1961 in an omnibus titled MASTER OF THE 
	WORLD, which is the title of the sequel), Old Bridge Public 
	Library, 7PM
September 24, 2020: TBD from Europe/Latin America/Canada, 
	Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM
November 19, 2020: Rudyard Kipling:
    "A Matter of Fact" (1892)
    "The Ship That Found Herself" (1895)
    ".007" (1897)
    "Wireless" (1902)
    "With the Night Mail [Aerial Board of Control 1]" (1905)
    "As Easy as A.B.C. [Aerial Board of Control 2]" (1912)
    "In the Same Boat" (1911)
	Old Bridge Public Library, 7PM

Northern New Jersey events are listed at:

My Picks for Turner Classic Movies for November (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

Back when I was in my teens I had a particular interest in spy films and war films. Some of the ones I had particular interest in were films like THE GREAT ESCAPE or BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. Maybe A BRIDGE TOO FAR or THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN OR OPERATION CROSSBOW. These were films that likely would have big ensemble casts of good British actors. They did not need to have the word "BRIDGE" in the title, but it didn't hurt. As background to the film, next week I will discuss the the V-1 and V-2. The film stars Sophia Loren, George Peppard, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Richard Johnson, Tom Courtenay, Jeremy Kemp, Anthony Quayle, Lilli Palmer, Paul Henreid, and Helmut Dantine.



PETER WATTS IS AN ANGRY SENTIENT TUMOR {{REVENGE FANTASIES AND ESSAYS}} by Peter Watts (copyright 2019, Tachyon Publications, ISBN: Print: 978-1-61696-319-4; Digital: 978-1-61696-320-0) (book review by Joe Karpierz):

I was describing this book to a friend of mine a little while ago. I said that John Scalzi writes serious blog posts, and he writes funny blog posts. He skewers people, he gets angry, he comments on current events, politics, things going on in the areas of science fiction and fantasy. And then he puts a bunch of them into a book which probably sells like crazy (I don't know for sure, given that I haven't bought any of those books nor have I bothered to dig into their sales figures). He *knows* those books will sell, and he's happy to have that happen. And he writes something to his blog, "Whatever", almost every day. And when he doesn't get something written, he apologizes, usually by sending a picture of a cat, a sunset, or his family.

Then there's Peter Watts. He writes blog posts and essays like he writes fiction: dark, depressing, angry, complicated. He doesn't write every day, nor does he intend to. He writes about his cats, which he adores, but sometimes he doesn't have pleasant things to write about his cats, like the time one of them died. Watts doesn't shoot for friendly. Watts shoots for the truth (not saying Scalzi doesn't, because he sure does) even in the name of his blog: No Moods, Ads or Cutesy F****ng Icons. (He doesn't actually censor the name of his blog; I'm doing that because I've had reviews rejected by that big company named after a river because I had the f-word in it. I figure I might as well get ahead of the game.)

I've written about Watts' books BLINDSIGHT, ECHOPRAXIA, novella "Freeze Frame Revolution", and his collection of short fiction, Beyond the Rift. It's no secret that I like his fiction because of the subject matter, the mood, the tone, and just the angryness of it. It's intelligent fiction. It makes you think, and it certainly doesn't leave you with a happy feeling. That's just who he is and what he writes.

To no one's surprise, this collection of essays and blog posts are the exact same thing. But there's an underlying feeling to the pieces presented in the book that Watts cares. He cares about the planet, he cares about humanity, he cares about everything. He gets angry at things precisely because he cares so much. And it really does show.

There are a lot of essays in this book, so I won't summarize them, or even point out most of them. I will, however, point the reader to two blog posts about his interaction with a teacher who lives and works in an area of the country, which is, I will try to put delicately, does not have an open mind about things. The teacher wanted to teach BLINDSIGHT to the class, but a department head was not allowing it because of the 73 f-bombs in the book. Yes, there are 73 f-bombs in the book, and I'm guessing that the number was calculated because, well, Watts and the teacher modified the book to take the offending word out. But it gets worse from there. I don't want to spoil the rest for you, other than to say that the perpetrators of the censorship give school administrators a really bad name.

To bring this back around to the beginning of this review, while Scalzi rightfully revels in the attention he gets for "Whatever" (and please don't get me wrong, I read "Whatever" every day and am a fan of Scalzi's; I'm just trying to make a comparison between Scalzi and Watts), the first line of the opening essay, which serves as an introduction to the book, is "By the bowels of Christ, man why?", his first words to Jacob Weisman, publisher at Tachyon. As in "Why do you think this is a good idea? Why do you think anyone will want to read this?" Watts doesn't think his blog posts over the years have that much of a shelf life. They might be interesting at the time, but then they go the way of all things. It's not only that he doesn't revel in the attention as Scalzi does--he doesn't think he deserves the attention in the first place.

Why do *I* think anyone will want to read Watt's blog posts? Because he's interesting, he's got great things to say, and he's a great writer. No matter what he thinks. [-jak]


This science book delves into the realm of Quantum Mechanics and the author who is a physicist describes his search for a better theory to explain Quantum Mechanics. According to the author there are two main groups pursuing this field of study. The first group assumes the original theory created in the 1920's by Niels Bohr and others is correct. The second group believes the theory to be incomplete. Einstein and the author are two of the scientists who are included in this second group and this second group call themselves realists. Part of the problem with the 1920's Quantum Mechanics theory is what is called the measurement problem. Questions arise about the quantum state of an election for example and when it collapses to a definite location instead of being everywhere at once before detection. Is it when the election meets the detector or when the signal is amplified or when we become conscious of the data? Pilot wave theory and collapse models are an improvement in the view of the author over the 1920's theory. But more work needs to be done. This book is interesting but some of the advanced thinking on new approaches to a better theory of Quantum Mechanics get beyond me to be honest. The author provides many new approaches and it can be difficult to completely understand. [-gf]

Spam Mail (letter of comment by Dale Spiers):

In response to Mark's comments on spam mail in the 10/18/19 issue of the MT VOID, Dale Spiers writes:

You must get a different class of spam than I do. Mine are for seven-digit scholarships awarded to me by the United Nations for my good works, plus numerous stern warnings that my email account will be closed unless I click on the link to upgrade.

I use several email addresses. I never get spam at Gmail. Google seems to have resolved to end the problem once and for all, and so they did. My Yahoo account gets two or three spams per month. My Microsoft account averages about 20 per day, mostly for hot women and fake Viagra.

Common spams I get are:

- Your purchase of $x,xxx has been charged to your credit card. If this is not correct, please click on the link.

- Your parcel could not be delivered because of incorrect address. Please click on the link to verify your address.

- Your court date is mm-dd. Please click on the link to view the summons. Failure to respond will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

The Nigerians don't seem to use Hotmail/Outlook much, as the few I get are via Yahoo.

Science fiction writers wrote about One World Computers controlling us but missed the idea of spam. They also missed the fact that no matter where you live in the year 2019, at least half of all pedestrians will be walking with bent heads, staring at a small black rectangle in their hands. [-ds]

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

TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE by Becky Chambers (ISBN 978-0-06-293601- 1) is an interesting merger of Golden Age science fiction and modern sensibilities. It is a story of interstellar exploration, told in four sections, one for each of the planets explored. There is an ice planet (Aecor), a lush planet (Mirabilis), an ocean planet (Opera), and a tidally-locked planet (Votum). These are pretty straightforward classic planetary exploration stories. The modern aspects include no faster-than-light travel (they travel in suspended animation), genetic engineering to enhance the explorers abilities to survive in the various environments, the diversity of the crew, and the situation on Earth, both before and during the trip.

Obviously, even without FTL travel, there is some hand-waving here: we don't have either the long sleep capability or the genetic engineering yet, so the story is placed at the start of the 22nd century. There is some concession to climate change and sea level rise, but it seems to be much delayed from what is currently predicted.

For those looking for science fiction like they used to write, but without the prejudices, biases, and (often) over-simplification of much of the fiction of that time, TO BE TAUGHT, IF FORTUNATE is an excellent choice. [-ecl]

                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

          The vain presumption of understanding everything can have 
          no other basis than never having understood anything.  
          For anyone who had ever experienced just once the perfect 
          understanding of one single thing, and had truly tasted 
          how knowledge is accomplished, would recognize that of 
          the infinity of other truths he understands nothing.
                                          --Galileo, 1630

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