Wednesday, April 20, 2022

LOC for MT Void #2210, 2211, and 2213

The following is a letter of comment sent to Evelyn and Mark Leeper, editors of MT Void commenting on issues #2210-2211, and 2213.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Leeper:

I recently received MT Void #2210, 2211, and 2213 via the

National Fantasy Fan Federation franking service. N3F

president George Phillies often distributes copies of the

fanzine, and it’s a welcome occasional presence in my

inbox. Thank you for publishing so consistently—weekly!—

and for reviewing and recommending so many interesting

books and movies.

In #2210, Joe Karpierz’s review of Catherynne M. Valente’s Comfort Me with Apples was intriguing enough that I’ve added it to my reading list. $18 feels a bit dear for a 100-page hardcover, and the book costs $11 as an ebook, but perhaps the library has it available. The description reminded me a little bit of the novels of Paul Tremblay (The Cabin at the End of the World), Shari Lapena (The Couple Next Door), and Liz Nugent (Lying in Wait). Grocery store book rack thrillers, basically, or any book with a title including “next door” or “across the street.” Good stuff.

Evelyn’s comments on the recent book discussion group selection, H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine made me yearn for a regular book group. I’ve dialed into a library sf discussion group across the country—and read its selected title twice—but I could use something more frequent with people I know otherwise through fandom or locally. Maybe that’s something I can explore through LASFS or the N3F. I’ve been enjoying the short fiction of Wells recently and highly recommend “The Remarkable Case of Davidson’s Eyes,” “The Crystal Egg,” “The New Accelerator,” “The Star,” “The Magic Shop,” “A Vision of Judgment,” and “The Queer Story of Brownlow’s Newspaper,” as well as the 2001 television miniseries The Infinite Worlds of H. G. Wells, of which I’ve only watched one episode. I’ll watch another.

Your comments on Severance in #2211 were my first indication that the show is science fiction! I thought it was just another sad workplace drama or satire. Didn’t even know it was set in Bell Labs Holmdel, which is an attraction in and of itself. I’ll have to reassess and consider watching. I’m surprised Cathode Ray hasn’t mentioned the show in his N3F TV column on sf, fantasy, and horror programs, “Rabid Ears.”

I applaud Mark’s enjoyment of Nightmare Alley. After watching the recent movie, I read the novel—which is a doozy. If you haven’t read it, it’s even sharper and more bleak than the film. William Lindsay Gresham sure could write. We also watched the original movie, which is more solidly noir than the new film, but the ending was a bit of a disappointment. Not at all what we expected, and while almost as bleak a turnabout at the end—returning to the beginning in a different way—it’s not at all true to the book. Still, all versions are highly recommended, especially the novel.

Even though Isaac Asimov’s End of Eternity might not have held up well over the years, I haven’t read it yet, so I’m curious about the time patrol and “basic state.” Having just read Robert A. Heinlein’s The Door into Summer and watched a recent film adaptation, time travel has its appeal in recent days. But I can understand books not aging well. For example, I never really read Tom Swift books when I was younger, but I recently turned to the first installment, Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle to see what all the fuss was about. I’m sure later editions smoothed out the racist portrayals, but holy crow, the first edition was enlightening in its inappropriate representations. There’s a new Tom Swift Inventors’ Academy series that I’m sure is much more vanilla and inoffensive.

And from #2213, we also enjoyed Last Night in Soho. I am resonating strongly with your taste, which is a good indicator that future reviews and recommendations will bode well.

See you next week!

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