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09/30/22 -- Vol. 41, No. 14, Whole Number 2243
Table of Contents
Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films, Lectures, etc. (NJ):
Meetings are still fluctuating between in-person and Zoom. The best way to get the latest information is to be on the mailing lists for them.
October 6, 2022 (MTPL), 5:30PM: BETWEEN TIME AND TIMBUKTU (1972): Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. https://tinyurl.com/borrow-Timbuktu November 3 (MTPL), 5:30PM: NOSFERATU (1922) & DRACULA by Bram Stoker November 17, 2022 (OBPL), 7:00PM: NEPTUNE'S BROOD by Charles Stross (note this is the *third* Thursday because of Thanksgiving) December 1, 2022 (MTPL), 5:30PM: THE QUATERMASS CONCLUSION (1979): Nigel Kneale January 5, 2023 (MTPL), 5:30PM: "To Serve Man" by Damon Knight and "Twilight Zone" episode thereof
My Picks for Turner Classic Movies for October (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
We are coming upon another October. (At least you possibly are. I am starting this writing a few months in advance and still may get to it done too late. Leonard Bernstein said that all one needs to excel is to be given a good project and just not quite enough to do it. You are looking at an essay administered to be written intentionally later than it ought to have been. Wish me luck.)
And as is usual we are coming into a month of Turner Classic Movies that feature horror films suitable for October and Halloween. But I'm going to pick something not traditionally associated with October and Halloween. That is THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, a French film. This is a modern tragedy. All of it is in French and is sung. It is a little unfamiliar, seeing a modern operetta done with such a modern setting. Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) meets and falls in love with Guy, an auto mechanic. Their love affair is strong but brief and powerful. For a while they enjoy each other. Then Guy is called for military duty in Algiers. Genevieve cannot wait for Guy. Genevieve marries and therein lies the tragedy of the story.
[THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, October 13. 12:00 PM]
And for the more traditionally minded, Evelyn provides the following list of science fiction, fantasy, and horror films running on TCM in October:
SATURDAY, October 1 1:45 PM Gulliver's Travels (1939) 10:45 PM Forbidden Planet (1956) MONDAY, October 3 2:00 AM Kwaidan (1965) 6:00 AM Les visiteurs du soir (1942) 8:45 AM Carnival of Sinners (1943) 10:15 AM Angel on My Shoulder (1946) 12:15 PM Sylvia and the Phantom (1946) 2:15 PM The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) 4:15 PM All That Money Can Buy (1941) 6:15 PM Blithe Spirit (1945) TUESDAY, October 4 12:15 AM The Devil's Own (1966) 2:00 AM The Haunting (1963) WEDNESDAY, October 5 2:00 AM Hausu (1977) 3:45 PM Fingers at the Window (1942) THURSDAY, October 6 10:30 PM Gaslight (1940) SATURDAY, October 8 2:30 AM The Velvet Vampire (1971) 4:00 AM The Hunger (1983) 8:09 AM The King Without a Crown (1937) 9:30 AM The Devil's Noose (1935) 6:15 PM The Omega Man (1971) 10:00 PM Westworld (1973) MONDAY, October 10 2:45 AM Village of the Damned (1960) 4:15 AM Children of the Damned (1964) 6:00 AM Five Million Years to Earth (1968) 7:45 AM Battle Beneath the Earth (1967) 9:15 AM The Time Machine (1960) 11:15 AM War Of The Planets (1965) 1:00 PM The Wild, Wild Planet (1965) 2:45 PM The Green Slime (1969) 4:30 PM The Illustrated Man (1969) 6:30 PM Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968) TUESDAY, October 11 3:15 AM The Brood (1979) 5:00 AM Night of the Living Dead (1968) WEDNESDAY, October 12 8:00 PM Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) THURSDAY, October 13 12:00 AM Angel on My Shoulder (1946) 2:00 AM Cabin in the Sky (1943) 4:00 AM The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) FRIDAY, October 14 6:00 AM Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1960) SATURDAY, October 15 2:00 AM Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) 4:30 AM Six Men Getting Sick (1966) 4:30 AM The Alphabet (1968) 4:30 AM The Grandmother (1970) 4:30 AM The Amputee, Version 1 (1974) 4:30 AM The Amputee, Version 2 (1974) 4:30 AM Premonitions Following an Evil Deed (1995) 8:00 AM Peace on Earth (1939) 8:10 AM The Man in the Barn (1937) 8:00 PM THX 1138 (1971) MONDAY, October 17 12:30 AM The Lodger (1927) 2:30 AM Yotsuya Kaidan, Part One (1949) 4:00 AM Yotsuya Kaidan, Part Two (1949) 9:30 AM Angels in the Outfield (1951) 11:45 PM The Masque of the Red Death (1964) TUESDAY, October 18 1:30 AM House of Wax (1953) 3:15 AM The Hypnotic Eye (1960) 4:45 AM Mad Love (1935) 6:00 AM The Beast with Five Fingers (1946) 8:00 PM Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) THURSDAY, October 20 6:00 AM The Thirteenth Chair (1929) 7:30 AM Freaks (1932) 8:45 AM Mark of the Vampire (1935) 10:00 AM The Devil-Doll (1936) 11:30 AM Miracles for Sale (1939) 1:00 PM The Leopard Man (1943) 2:15 PM Isle of the Dead (1945) 3:30 PM The Body Snatcher (1945) 5:00 PM The Ghost Ship (1943) 6:30 PM Martin Scorsese Presents, Val Lewton: The Man In The Shadows (2007) FRIDAY, October 21 3:30 AM The Boy with Green Hair (1948) SATURDAY, October 22 2:00 AM It's Alive (1974) 3:45 AM It Lives Again (1978) MONDAY, October 24 2:15 AM The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) 4:00 AM The Plumber (1979) 11:45 AM 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 6:00 PM Brainstorm (1983) TUESDAY, October 25 3:15 AM Carnival of Souls (1962) 4:45 AM Spider Baby (1964) 6:15 AM Freaks (1932) 9:00 AM Dracula--Prince of Darkness (1965) 10:45 AM The Face of Fu Manchu (1965) 12:30 PM Rasputin--The Mad Monk (1966) 4:00 PM Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) 5:45 PM The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) FRIDAY, October 28 4:15 AM The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) 8:00 PM Poltergeist (1982) SATURDAY, October 29 2:15 AM Alligator (1980) 4:00 AM Alligator II: The Mutation (1990) 6:00 AM Around the World Under the Sea (1965) 9:30 AM Fatal Fangs (1935) 11:30 AM One for the Book (1940) 12:00 PM Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) 6:15 PM House of Dark Shadows (1970) 8:00 PM Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) 9:45 PM Deadly Friend (1986) 11:30 PM Two Hearts in Wax Time (1935) SUNDAY, October 30 12:00 AM El Vampiro Negro (1953) 2:00 AM Matinee (1993) 4:00 AM Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 8:00 AM It! (1967) 10:00 AM El Vampiro Negro (1953) 12:00 PM Cat People (1942) 1:30 PM I Walked with a Zombie (1943) 2:45 PM The Seventh Victim (1943) 4:15 PM Return to Glennascaul (1953) 4:45 PM Eye of the Devil (1966) MONDAY, October 31 12:15 AM Haxan (1922) 2:15 AM Cronos (1993) 4:00 AM Eyes Without a Face (1959) 6:00 AM The Bat (1959) 9:00 AM Horror Hotel (1960) 10:30 AM The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) 1:30 PM The Mummy (1959) 3:00 PM The Devil's Bride (1968) 4:45 PM Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) 6:30 PM The Plague of the Zombies (1966) 8:00 PM Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 11:15 PM Frankenstein (1931) TUESDAY, November 1 12:30 AM The Invisible Man (1933)
KING CHARLES III (film review by Evelyn C. Leeper):
[My mini-reviews of the more obscure films from the Universal Studios horror cycle are on hold for now, as the screener reviews will likely occupy my time. But I couldn't *not* comment on this film.]
KING CHARLES III was a 2017 "Masterpiece Theatre" production of the sort that is near-future science fiction when it was made, but becomes alternate history fairly quickly. (Actually, pretty much all science fiction becomes or will become alternate history.)
Written primarily in Shakespearean iambic pentameter, this begins with King Charles III having to decide whether to carry out what ha been considered a purely ceremonial step of signing a bill (with which he disagrees) into law. This seems eerily parallel to the question of whether Vice-President Pence had anything but a ceremonial role in counting the electoral votes.
Prince William and the Princess of Cambridge and Cornwall are amenable to those trying to pressure the King, with the Duchess being a conniving Lady Macbeth and pushing William to force his father to change his mind. (The appearance of Lady Diana's ghost brings in echoes of HAMLET as well, and of course the whole play recalls Shakespeare's history plays.)
The drama doesn't try to whitewash Prince Harry's reputation, although it clearly has to leave out some of what gave him that reputation. His story, including having his female companion be Black, presages some of Prince Harry's real-life association with Meghan Markle, though with a different conclusion. [-ecl]
Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (letter of comment by Gary McGath):
In response to Evelyn's comments on Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov in the 09/23/22 issue of the MT VOID, Gary McGath writes:
Becky Chambers (letter of comment by Hal Heydt):
In response to Evelyn's comments on Becky Chambers in the 09/23/22 issue of the MT VOID, Hal Heydt writes:
I've read Chambers and was--frankly--not impressed. In one of her books she badly broke any willing suspension of disbelief.
She has a habitable satellite of a gas giant planet. No problem there. She has the rotation of the satellite phase-locked to the planet. Again, not a problem. She also has the satellite rotation phase-locked to the local sun. *Big* problem.
The satellite is clearly reasonably close to the gas giant, but the only way to have the satellite rotation phase-locked to *both* planet and sun would be for it to be at either the L4 or L5 points. That is 60 degrees away from the gas giant in the orbit. That would be radically inconsistent with other descriptions. [-hh]
CYPHER (letters of comment by Jay E. Morris, Paul Dormer, Tim Merrigan, and Jim Susky):
In response to Mark's review of CYPHER in the 09/23/22 issue of the MT VOID, Jay E. Morris writes:
[Mark writes,] "CYPHER plays occasionally on cable and it available from NetFlix."
This must be an un-revised part of the 2002 review. It's not currently on Netflix that I can find. [-jem]
Paul Dormer responds:
But it does appear to be on Amazon Prime, at least in the UK. [-pd]
Tim Merrigan adds:
It available on Amazon Prime here (L.A.), too, for $2.99, rent. [-tm]
Only 99p to rent, here, and #4.99 to buy. [-pd]
Jay also says:
There is one on Prime US but it is dated 2005. Everything is identical to the IMDB listing so I'm assuming Prime did a typo. [-jem]
And Paul agrees:
Yeah, that was my thought. [-pd]
And Jim Susky says:
Thanks for reprising your review - it looks really good! [-js]
This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
THE LAST WHITE MAN by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin Random House, ISBN 978-0-593-53881-4) begins, "One morning, Anders, a white man, woke up to find he had turned a deep and undeniable brown." That is so strongly a parallel to "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his be into a gigantic insect," that one cannot help but read the rest of THE LAST WHITE MAN as a racial version of THE METAMORPHOSIS, although obviously there is some of the film THE WATERMELON MAN as well.
Hamid goes further than those works, however, by having all the white people eventually change. (I don't think he ever addresses what happens with Asians or Native Americans.) He seems to want to have his cake and eat it too: while the black version of each person does not look like the white version, people seem to recognize them (or at least accept that they are who they say they are). I suppose that as a fable, THE LAST WHITE MAN does not have to follow strict rules of logic [*], but there does not seem to be much else there. Anders has some slight feeling of connectedness to the black janitor at his gym, but that never turns into much, and even the white supremacists who at first find they have new targets somewhat fizzle out. [*] Well, obviously, the unexplained change has no logic, so why should the rest of the story?
Mark Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Quote of the Week: Neither irony or sarcasm is argument. --Samuel ButlerTweet
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