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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society 12/02/16 -- Vol. 35, No. 23, Whole Number 1939
Table of Contents
Big Sale on GSP (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
Many of you live in New Jersey since that is where this club was founded. Even if you are not from New Jersey you can take part in a bargain. The Garden State Parkway is running a very special sale this month. For December only, if you drive from Newark to Paramus on the Garden State Parkway you can save two-thirds on your Parkway tolls. Just show your receipts from all the steps along way and you will get an automatic refund of two-thirds of your tolls. This is your big chance to drive from Newark to Paramus and save money at the same time. These sale prices are not limited to New Jersey residents. The offer is being made to anyone across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Drive from Newark to Paramus at bargain prices. Drive from Newark to Paramus today.
(Sorry; this special rate does not apply Paramus to Newark.)
Illustration (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
As noted in the 10/26/12 issue of the MT VOID, I have been told that to be a true fanzine, one must have illustrations and layout. Since we would not want to accidentally disqualify ourselves as a fanzine, here's an illustration of Cthulhu, credited to "Spurious Logik (Sir)" on alt.horror.cthulhu:
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One Who Didn't Walk Away (comments by Mark R. Leeper):
I recently heard a discussion of Ursula K. LeGuin's story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." This story was published in NEW DIMENSIONS 3 in 1974 and it won the Best Short Story Hugo for the year.
THE FOLLOWING MAY HAVE SPOILER CONTENT
THE FOLLOWING MAY HAVE SPOILER CONTENT
The concept is that there is a city of sheer delight, a vision of utopia. Everything is beautiful and wonderful in Omelas. Life is a constant ecstasy. It turns out everybody lives in constant joy... everybody but one.
As some sort of unstated conservation law there is one child kept in pain, darkness, and misery. All the spin and misery for the entire city is collected and focused and then inflicted on one very unfortunate child hidden away under the city where he lives out a life in agony.
He soaks up all the misery of the city. All the adult citizens of Omelas know of the child's misery. Most are shocked and disgusted that the city has such a victim who takes away their pain and suffering of the people of the city and soon learn to just not think about it.
But there are just a few who realize that the child is taking on all the pain of the city. They remember it and they quietly walk away rather than take part in the exploitation of the one boy. People who see the child have different reactions.
"At times one of the adolescent girls or boys who go to see the child does not go home to weep or rage, does not, in fact, go home at all. Sometimes also a man or woman much older falls silent for a day or two, and then leaves home... Each alone, they go west or north, towards the mountains. They go on. They leave Omelas, they walk ahead into the darkness, and they do not come back. The place they go towards is a place even less imaginable to most of us than the city of happiness. I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas."
This story was written (very nicely) in 1973 during the Vietnam War while boys like me (but not me) were drafted and forced to fight in what history now judges as a mistaken war. Many were killed and many of those died in great pain. It was like Omelas but it was many people who died painfully, not just one child. And the payoff to this country was less than the people of Omelas got. Somehow LeGuin stayed ensconced in Oregon and never walked away.
I am not saying that LeGuin was any worse than anyone else. There were a lot of people who if asked would have said very good things about the people who had been chosen to fight, some to have very painful fates. I have nothing against LeGuin. I would just hope she realizes that in the metaphor of the story she would have been one of the ones who stayed put and did not walk away. She should have been one who was especially aware that she was one who did not walk away. And I guess I am another.
Side note: Omelas has a special tie to LeGuin's Oregon. She saw the letters reversed on a road sign that read "Salem Oregon." I wonder if that is a clue to where Omelas is. I was thinking about the story while watching a realistic war film. (A WAR/KRIGEN, written and directed by Tobias Lindholm.) [-mrl]
Presidents as Authors (letter of comment by Kevin R):
In response to Evelyn's comments on Presidents as authors in the 11/25/16 issue of the MT VOID, Kevin R writes:
The NY Times' Arthur Krock served as a private "editor" for WHY ENGLAND SLEPT and found the book a publisher. Krock also plumped for JFK's Pulitzer Prize for "Ted Sorenson's book," PROFILES IN COURAGE. Old Joe Kennedy had him on the pad for decades.
This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):
LIVING WITH A DEAD LANGUAGE by Ann Patty (ISBN 978-1-101-98022-4) recounts Patty's experience returning to college after a career as a book editor for the sole purpose of learning Latin.
When I was in college, I took three years of Greek and was sorry I had no time for Latin. So when I retired, I had this idea of teaching myself Latin. Somehow this never happened, and reading this has convinced me it never will: the ablative absolute, perfect passive participle, gerundive, active and passive periphrastics, the dative of advantage and disadvantage, the dative of the possessor, the dative of purpose, the dative of reference, the dative of agent with the passive periphrastic, ... It is clear (to me, anyway) that trying to do this on my own would be hopeless. And while Patty had a college nearby that offered Latin that she could audit, the same is not true here.
However, the most interesting part was actually just a brief aside. Patty describes a "Living Latin weekend" (run by Paideia), where for two days people spoke nothing but Latin from 9AM to 5PM. Patty writes (at the bottom of page 203), "I imagined it would be something like a science-fiction convention, with all the eccentric enthusiasts enjoying one another's company." Well, that was an interesting comment, I thought, and figured that was it, but I turn the page and Patty continues, "Over the past two years, I've become more and more aware of the similarities between classicists and science-fiction enthusiasts; in truth, classicists seemed like a kind of subset of the science-fiction world." At least three of her fellow students were science-fiction fans, and she concludes, "As David Hartwell, the top science-fiction editor of my era, once explained, "The reason for all the conventions is because science fiction attracts people who don't fit in anywhere, so they like to imagine their own worlds. They can choose their own reality and find others equally passionate about it, and the only requirement for entry is enthusiasm.' Wasn't that a fairly accurate description of Latinists?"
SOME KIND OF HERO: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF THE JAMES BOND FILMS by Matthew Field and Jay Chowdhury (ISBN 978-0-750-96421-0) is thick (700 pages), and full of all sorts of details about the films (each film gets a chapter, plus there are a few transitional chapters). It even has an index (though titles starting with "The " are alphabetized under "The" and "Sherriff J. W. Pepper" is alphabetized under "S" and not under "P"). So die-hard Bond fans will undoubtedly find it fascinating.
However, it has its flaws. The main one seems to be that while it is full of information and anecdotes, it is light on context, or on the cultural and sociological aspects of the films. There is a passing mention on how the filmmakers were apparently uneasy about having an African-American villain (Yaphet Kotto) in LIVE AND LET DIE and excluded Kotto from the publicity for the film. But one would expect more about that in the chapter. Similarly, there is nothing about casting Joseph Wiseman (a Caucasian) as Dr. No (a Chinese), and only a passing mention of Bond's "conversion" of Pussy Galore in GOLDFINGER.
I suppose it is not fair to complain that a book with so much in it already did not add more, but it seems to me that the social attitudes portrayed in the films are an important part of their history and should not just be ignored. Still, for fans looking for a lot of detail about the series, this is probably the most complete volume yet. [-ecl]
Mark Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Quote of the Week: Every man's dream is to be able to sink into the arms of a woman without also falling into her hands. --Jerry LewisTweet
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