Originally posted by: utzoo!decvax!ucbvax!sf-lovers
Posted: Thu Dec 30 01:23:50 1982
Received: Fri Dec 31 02:27:02 1982
>From SFL@SRI-CSL Wed Dec 29 22:56:23 1982
Reply-To: SF-LOVERS at SRI-CSL
SF-LOVERS Digest Thursday, 30 Dec 1982 Volume 6 : Issue 119
Misc - Harper's article
Books - book wanted, Asimov's FOUNDATION'S EDGE
Movies - Dune, SW/TESB/ROTJ
Date: 29 December 1982 08:36 est
From: SSteinberg.SoftArts at MIT-MULTICS
Subject: Harper's article.
I have my own theories about who likes what KIND of SF flavored
literature and why but I should point out that Harper's is into
presenting this kind of article. A two part cover story titled "Panic
Among the Philistines" points out the general bankruptcy and
alienation of modern authors of MAINSTREAM fiction. A lot of John
Updike fans were really upset but I couldn't help agreeing.
Another article expounded the view that environmentalists are all
spoiled upper middle class brats who are trying to keep the working
class in line by limiting the exploitation of natural resources.
Since I fit right in this pocket I was rather offended.
This iconoclastic approach has been rather prominent ever since
Harper's managed to squeak past its last cash crunch and apparently
has kept the magazine solvent.
One approach might be to treat Harper's as a magazine of Speculative
Fiction (or just plain speculation) in which authors try changing or
extrapolating accepted wisdom. Modern literature is not particularly
good, rather it is awful. The environmental movement is a
neo-feudalistic force. If you toss in a grain of salt the slander is
often a lot easier to take.
Date: 29 Dec 1982 11:43:06-EST
From: csin!cjh at CCA-UNIX
Subject: book wanted
I am wondering whether anyone else has heard of a book I read 20
years ago. I recall the title being MR. MURGATROYD, the title
character being a gnomish type who blows out of a London fog to lead
an American boy (whose father is attached to the embassy) on an
assortment of adventures relating to both traditional fantasies and
English mythology (one of the reappearing characters is a variant of
the Green Man).
Does anyone else remember this? Has anyone seen a copy for sale
Date: 18 Dec 82 18:23:05-PST (Sat)
From: harpo!floyd!cmcl2!philabs!sdcsvax!sdchema!donn at Ucb-C70
Subject: Speculation about FOUNDATION sequels (possible spoiler)
*** WARNING *** This discussion is not intended to be deep enough to
merit a full SPOILER WARNING but if you are easily annoyed by spoilage
you should skip over this...
Isaac Asimov didn't exactly tie up all the loose ends in FOUNDATION'S
EDGE; in fact he left the way wide open for yet another FOUNDATION
book. One of the interesting things about FOUNDATION'S EDGE is the
way in which earlier Asimov books are tied into the story-line. Three
things in particular are recalled but not developed in detail,
suggesting possible deeper treatments in future works:
o The Robots
o The Earthmen
o The Eternals
I assume that everyone is familiar with at least some of the classic
robot stories: I, ROBOT; THE REST OF THE ROBOTS; THE CAVES OF STEEL;
THE NAKED SUN. I understand from Asimov's remarks in IASFM that he is
working on a new robot novel; perhaps this will fill in some of the
necessary connections with the "Galactic Empire" universe of
FOUNDATION. THE BOOK OF FLIGHT (mentioned obliquely in EDGE as a
source of legends about Earth) apparently describes a resolution of
the problem which is presented in THE CAVES OF STEEL and THE NAKED
SUN: the men of Earth overcome their agoraphobia but not their fear of
robots, and they start a new wave of settlement (`the Flight') which
bypasses the robot worlds and leads to the development of the Empire.
Of course we do meet a robot in EDGE, but it raises as many questions
as it resolves...
The Eternals and the Earthmen are less well known than the Robots.
Earthmen in Galactic Empire times are the subject of Asimov's very
first novel, PEBBLE IN THE SKY. I went back and re-read this book
recently to see how it might reflect on plot developments in
FOUNDATION V. A number of important things from PEBBLE are mentioned
There really is a planet called Earth in the Sirius Sector and
it really is considered to be the original home of humanity.
It was radioactive, either to begin with or eventually, and
this grew worse till the planet died. There was indeed a
mind-enhancing invention that came to nothing. All this is
considered history on the home planet of my ancestors. [p. 204,
PEBBLE takes place in the Year of the Galactic Era 827, back at the
beginning of the Empire's long history. Earth is a backwater planet
whose only distinction is that its surface is radioactive. The
archaeologist Bel Arvardan suspects that Earth is the original planet
of the human race and pays a visit to the planet to test his theory.
Unfortunately for him, Earth is a rebellious place which is held in
check only by an Imperial garrison, and the semi-secret Society of
Ancients is continually plotting vengeance on the oppressing
Galactics. Arvardan stumbles into an ugly scheme by the Ancients to
wipe out all other life in the Galaxy (I guess the Galaxy just isn't
Krikkit) and spends the book being alternately arrogant and humbled.
But that's not all--
Joseph Schwartz is a retired Chicago tailor who goes for a walk on a
pleasant morning in June of 1949 and never comes home. As a result of
a mysterious laboratory accident at the Institute for Nuclear Research
across town, he is thrown thousands of years into the future. The
farmer who eventually takes him in is annoyed by Schwartz's inability
to speak the language and is afraid to be caught out by the
ever-vigilant Society of Ancients for hoarding an elderly
father-in-law (everyone is supposed to submit to euthanasia at the age
of 60), so Schwartz is disposed of by being forced to act as a guinea
pig for a new mind-enhancing device, the Synapsifier. Schwartz
develops mental abilities equivalent to those of Stor Gendibal in EDGE
and his intelligence triples. The Ancients find out about Schwartz
and attempt to eliminate him, believing him to be an agent of the
PEBBLE isn't bad for a first novel. But Asimov never explains what
happens to Schwartz after the events in the book, nor what becomes of
the Synapsifier. In EDGE we never learn the reason why all references
to Earth have been deleted from the Imperial library on Trantor: you
don't suppose that the Synapsifier and perhaps even Joe Schwartz are
still around somewhere after thousands of years? Golan Trevize is
planning on visiting Earth, however... maybe we will find out in
The Eternals are described in THE END OF ETERNITY. A rather different
account is made of them in EDGE than what I remember of the original
book, though. Unfortunately my copy of ETERNITY was the victim of a
garage sale while I was an undergraduate so I can't make a direct
comparison; is anyone on the net willing to review this one?
There's all kinds of useful fuel for speculation about FOUNDATION V...
Does anyone remember whether THE STARS LIKE DUST or THE CURRENTS OF
SPACE have any interesting material?
Donn Seeley UCSD Chemistry Dept. RRCF ucbvax!sdcsvax!sdchema!donn
(619) 452-4017 sdamos!donn@nprdc
Date: 22 Dec 82 8:36:38-PST (Wed)
From: decvax!microsof!fluke!vax1.witters at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: News about the Dune Movie
Yeah, I've been reading about the Dune movie for about three years in
the newspaper. Frankly, I'm beginning to doubt if it will ever be
made. The last thing I read said it was being made by the same guy
who made the recent Flash Gordon movie and King Kong (Dino DeLaurentus
(sp?)). Supposedly, filming has already begun in Tunisia. The movie
rights to the book have passed through three or four people.
Considering the quality of the movies Dino has made before, I don't
think Dune will be anything to look forward to.
I don't give a damn if you sign your name or
Date: 21 Dec 82 7:50:12-PST (Tue)
From: harpo!ihnp4!ixn5c!inuxc!burton at Ucb-C70
Subject: News about the Dune Movie
Last night on 'Entertainment Tonight', they announced that the lead
singer for the Police, Sting, will be in the upcoming movie Dune. I
don't remember if they said anything about the lead role, but what
amazed me most is the word 'upcoming'; has anyone out there heard
anything else about this movie? Whose making it? When will it be
scheduled for release? Any other rumors?
Bell Labs, Indy
Date: 21 Dec 82 20:49:51-PST (Tue)
From: harpo!eagle!mhuxt!mhuxa!mhuxh!mhuxm!pyuxjj!rlr at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: News about the Dune Movie
Earlier this year, I saw an article purporting that the award- winning
(?) David Lynch, of "The Elephant Man" and (more ... uh, importantly)
"Eraserhead" fame, would be directing the "Dune" movie. Please note
that his previous works are totally black & white, with that deep dark
industrial quality. I cannot confirm if he is still involved with the
film, or indeed if he ever was.
Date: 13 Dec 82 10:37:43-PST (Mon)
From: teklabs!tektronix!rich at Ucb-C70
Subject: Light Sabers
What's with all this "where does he get his LS" stuff? Surely, in a
society that can produce blasters and Death Stars, making a simple
light saber can be no trick. Granted, they "are rare." Big deal.
Swords are not all that common in a society that uses M16s in battle,
so why are we debating that Darth can't have a LS if Luke has his
Note the color of the light, also. OB1's and Luke's have this
really "pure" blue-white color, while DV's is a very evil dirty red.
Does this imply that the light saber is a mirror of the soul, or
simply that DV's was made at a different time or place than the
Date: 20 Dec 82 14:24:01-PST (Mon)
From: decvax!utzoo!laura at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: SW-IV & -V
I went and saw SW4 and SW5 again too. LUCAS is UNFAIR to
WOOKIES and WOMEN!! There are no female fighter-pilots, or Jedi, or
officers of the Empire or even (as far as we know) storm troopers.
The rebels had one female communications officer in TESB, though. In
the triumphant procession at the end of SW Chewie, Han, and Luke march
up in front of the rebel assembly ... but only Han and Luke receive
medals. Drat! Is it against the Chewie's religion to wear anything
besides that silver ammo-belt? (which may not even be an ammo belt?).
Oh I forgot -- you get one shot of what is probably shoes on Chewie in
I have finally discovered why I *much prefer* SW to TESB
(contrary to popular opinion). In SW the characters are often
impetuous and conceited, but in TESB, even with time to think they act
Consider. Luke is in a cave with an abomknable snowman, miles
and miles away from the base, and night is falling. What would you
do? Start *walking* home? or kill the snow beast (or drive him away)
with your light saber, and stay sheltered in the warm cave until
morning? I know what *I* would do....
Han has survived a night outdoors on Hoth-moon. Now he wants
to go out and check on the robot-droid-probe. Does he take a
spacecraft which have now been fixed to work under cold conditions?
As far as we know, he and Chewie walk -- though they may have taken
Tauntauns. Why? Couldnt Chewie fit into a spacefighter? Are
robot-droid-probes sensitive to electronic equipment?
Doesnt Darth Vader know that you never put all your prisoners
together so they can comfort each other, regain morale, and plan how
to escape? He knew about solitary confinement in SW -- why has he
forgotten in TESB?
Questions: Luke draws his saber first every time he faces
Vader, incl- uding in the cave. Anybody know whether Vader or OB1
draws first in their great battle? I forgot to look. How does R2D2
go down stairs? Why does Luke throw the food stick which he wont let
Yoda eat into the swamp? What does the princess do her hair with
after days of torture while in Solitary confinement?
Date: 18 Dec 82 17:43:56-PST (Sat)
From: hplabs!hao!seismo!rocheste!lee at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: Luke"s mechanical hand
I hereby predict that Luke's mechanical hand will kill Vader
when Luke is frozen into in action by lines "I am your father"
or some other distraction. (shades of Amber)
Date: 19 Dec 82 16:16:30-PST (Sun)
From: harpo!ihnp4!larry at Ucb-C70
Subject: Luke Strikes First?
In an earlier article, somebdy thought that in both "major"
battles between Luke and Darth, that Luke started the attack. This is
wrong. In the cave, Luke ignites his lightsaber first, but only holds
in in front of him -Darth makes the first lunge. HOWEVER in the
carbon freezing chamber, Luke definitely does make the first move.
The "restarts" of this fight have: Darth with light saber drawn, but
instead "throws" things at Luke; and Darth almost surprising Luke with
the 1st blow.
Some "other" thoughts: The Star Wars flicks are fantasy and
basically follow a generic good-guys vs. pirates "swashbuckler". The
movies are (for the most part) aimed at the "young" (pre-teen to early
teen) audience. Based on this, OB-1 can NOT have lied and Darth MUST
have lied -- Darth is NOT Luke's dad. (I'll bend somewhat that Darth
maybe a clone, but I doubt it) Also based on these ideas, I doubt that
Leia will have ANYBODIES baby (to be the "other").
With the whole Star Wars being a triology of triolgies, what
are the 1st and 3rd tri's about?? Well, I recall an interview with
Lucas somewhat after SW4-ANH is a big hit. In it he spoke of the next
flick (SW5-TESB), but more important, he mentions that the original
idea for episode 4 was supposed to play of the 'droids more! It
wasn't until the "studio empire" told him that he had to punch up the
human parts (or no flick) that Luke (and the others) became major
characters. Now since Lucas can call all the shots, I'll bet that the
overall 9 movies are about Artoo and Seepio. (clever the way Lucas
pick their model-numbers so that they "sound" like names! --[[ OB-1??
One more thought on "the other" -- who or whatever it may be
-- it doesn't HAVE to be Jedi. Remember, Yoda tells Luke that the
future is "difficult to tell... clouded by emotions". I suspect that
there really won't be any new characters (not major ones at least),
but that the "other" hope will be Leia's love for Luke. Luke is
obviously taken in by her from the first time Artoo projects her
image. Poor confused Leia in episode's 4 & 5 has been balancing
between Luke and Han. In RotJ, I think she'll realy pick one --Luke.
Han will really turn out to be "Mr SOLO" --and not want to settle
down. (that or else some other beauty will turn his head)
Date: 20 Dec 82 9:55:37-PST (Mon)
From: decvax!utzoo!utcsrgv!perelgut at Ucb-C70
Subject: SW-IV & -V
Well, you people convinced me to go back and see episodes IV and V
again. Some interesting things have been missed or mis-stated.
1) Darth Vader kills lots of people. He starts by picking up
commander of Leia's ship (the opening scenes) by the neck
shaking him until he is dead. Not particularly nice. He
kills lots of people by using the Force to strangle them.
2) OB-1 is definately called OB-1. It seems that the future
slurred the 1 to sound more like Wan, but the more cultured
types (such as old Ben himself) speak clearly enough.
3) Nobody mentionned that Luke's uncle's name was Owen (O-1).
also says this fairly clearly at least twice.
4) When Ben says Vader murdered Luke's father, I got the
was speaking in a metaphysical sense. Vader (the dark
out over Skywalker (the better side). Thus Vader
5) There is some resemblence between the emperor and Ben but
credits list them as different actors.
6) Leia is a little slut who obviously wants Luke, Han, and
7) Luke's light saber is very likely gone, although he could
the Force to call it back to him.
Here is some wild speculation. I am not at all convinced that Luke
will be an all around good-guy for the next movie. Although it goes
against shlock American film-making practices, Luke could very well
become a baddie. I wouldn't be surprised to see Vader/Skywalker and
Luke take on the Emperor and then take over the Galaxy. Perhaps Vader
might even die in the encounter. But the "other" will win out in the
One more thought before I go. Did anyone else notice that none of
the good guys ever got hit by the laser blasts. At least not
seriously. However, R2D2 stood in the line of fire more often without
suffering any real damages. It (he?) only got caught a couple of time
and usually it was "fortuitous happenstance" since it advanced R2D2
toward his current goals. R2D2 also circumvented every security
system set up and talked freely with all other computers. If all R2
units had that capability the Galaxy would be controlled by 'droids,
or unscrupulous 'droid owners.
--- Stephen Perelgut ---
Date: 21 Dec 82 8:03:58-PST (Tue)
From: harpo!ihnp4!larry at Ucb-C70
Subject: Darth vs OB-1
I watch episode 4 last nite. Some interesting points from the
Darth vs OB-1 light saber battle. First OB-1 seems to almost
"stumble" upon Darth. Darth is standing there blocking the way with
his light saber ignited, OB-1 turns his on (in one of the best effects
parts of the movie) --then OB-1 makes the first lunge!! As the fight
goes on, it becomes obvious that OB-1 is manuvering the fight to
distract the other guards so the Luke, Liea, & Han can escape. OB-1's
final words still haunt me tho-- "You can't win Darth. Even if you
strike me down, I'll become more powerful than you can ever imagine"
So far, all the transcended OB-1 has done is whisper into Luke's ear.
Doesn't sound very powerful to me. I suspect OB-1 to have a bigger
roll in RotJ.
Date: 19 Dec 82 17:02:20-PST (Sun)
From: harpo!floyd!cmcl2!philabs!sdcsvax!sdchema!pha at Ucb-C70
Subject: Lukes hand
I checked up on the book of TESB, and discovered that no one
could have recovered Luke's hand; it was a gas planet!
Date: 18 Dec 82 18:29:13-PST (Sat)
From: harpo!npoiv!alice!sjb at Ucb-C70
Subject: Light Sabers
I think the fact that Darth's saber is red and Luke's and Ben's are
blue/white is a VERY strong hint that the sabers ARE powered by the
force. Hell, just because there's an on button doesn't mean it's not
powered by the force. After all, if it was powered by the force and
there were no button, it would be on ALL THE TIME! Now, I don't know
about you, but I sure down want that thing on and bouncing up and down
while I running (or even walking)! Nice way to amputate your own leg.
What does this all mean? If the light saber is powered by the force,
then Han sure has the force with him, leading to Han as the other.
Date: 20 Dec 82 13:46:50-PST (Mon)
From: harpo!ihnp4!ihuxr!lew at Ucb-C70
Subject: Dark Father
When my four year old son had just seen "The Empire Strikes Back" (his
first movie,) I asked him what he liked best in it. He pulled his
pacifier out of his mouth and intoned "Daarrrrth Vaaaaderrrr". For my
part, I thought Vader's revelation to Luke provided the only genuine
drama in either movie. I can only hope that Lucas doesn't fumble this
opportunity away with some facile contrivance.
Date: 29 Dec 1982 12:45:50-EST
From: David.Smith at CMU-CS-IUS at CMU-CS-A
Subject: Star wars minutiae & coming episodes
This stuff about stormtroopers' armor and lightsabers makes me think
you all take SW too seriously. When I first saw SW4, I thought it was
a lot of fun, but a poor movie full of stock lines and settings. (And
I am not a frequent movie-goer.) On later reflection, however, I
figured that Lucas was intentionally parodying westerns &c. Consider
how C3PO and R2D2 shuffled and rolled (respectively) slowly across the
corridor to get to the life pods, while storm troopers filled the air
with blaster bullets. Intentionally implausible. Then there are
spaceships maneuvering in space like airplanes, and on and on. If the
armor seems ineffective, it is because they are the bad guys.
The speculations on the other trilogies prompted me to get out my copy
of Time magazine for May 19, 1980 -- the one with Darth Vader on the
cover. From a box:
... The remaining movies, fore and aft, have not yet been laid
in detail, but Lucas has the framework, a kind of history of
happened in that galaxy long ago and far away. A preview:
For years the universe was governed by a republic, which was
by the order of Jedi Knights... But eventually the citizens
republic "didn't care enough to elect competent officials,"
the historian, and so their government collapsed. A sorcerer,
counterpart of Yoda, blocked all opposition and declared
The emperor subverts Darth Vader to his side, and together he
Vader betray the other Knights, nearly all of whom are killed
trap. Ben Kenobi escapes, and after a fierce struggle he does
injury to Vader that forever after Vader must wear a mask and
noisy life-support system. The fall of the republic and the
the empire will form the first of Lucas' three trilogies.
The second trilogy ... centers on Luke Skywalker, who will be
a child in Episode 3. The "Empire" continues the Skywalker
... [RotJ] will end it, with either Luke or Darth Vader
from their final bout. The last three episodes involve the
of the republic.
Only two of the main characters will appear in all nine films,
they are the robots, Artoo Detoo and Threepio. Says Lucas:
effect, the story will be told through their eyes."
Date: Wednesday, 29 December 1982 19:51-EST
From: Vince Fuller
Subject: detection of good and evil in the Force
Date: 20 Dec 82 14:08:15 EST (Mon)
From: Rene Steiner
To: SF-LOVERS at MIT-MC
Re: detection of good and evil in the Force
Ah, but Good CAN be detected - Darth Vader detected Obi-wan on the
Death Star ("I feel a presence in the force, someone I have not
detected since...." not an exact quote, but you get the idea.)
I disagree. What he said was "I feel a tremor in the Force, something
I have not felt since...". He felt the magnitude and character of
Obi-wan's mastery of the force, not its "goodness" or "evilness" (also
when trying to shoot down Luke: "the Force is strong in this one"). It
would seem that powerful users of the Force radiate and aura which
acts sort of as a "signature" for them.
Date: 15 Dec 82 18:32:41-PST (Wed)
From: decvax!utzoo!watmath!bstempleton at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: Food for thought...........TESB, the "other, etc.
I think the force is with Han Solo, too - although he's not the other.
I should point out however that Han did NOT hit Darth Vader in the
death star battle. He hit Vader's wingman, and that ship went out of
control and crashed into Vader's ship.
Date: 17 Dec 82 12:15:01-PST (Fri)
From: decvax!yale-com!brunix!jah at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: re: light saber
The light saber may well be the only weapon that can stop a well
trained jedi. Remember what happened when Darth was shot at close
range from a blaster? (make that "with a blaster") He simply catches
Date: 22 Dec 82 14:12:50-PST (Wed)
From: harpo!ihnp4!ihldt!tmh at Ucb-C70
Subject: re: Darth Vader in the cave
Saw TESB last night and watched the cave scene with some particular
interest. Could it be that the face inside the Vader helmet is
Vader's original face? (This would provide fuel to the clone theory.)
Date: 28 Dec 1982 1623-PST
From: Dolata at SUMEX-AIM
Subject: The FORCE, or bad editing?
I recently saw SW-ANH (IV) in a situation where we could examine the
film closely. In the fight between Darth Vader and Obiwan, Obiwan's
brown cloak starts to collapse 2 frames (at least) before Darth's
light sabre hits it!!!!! So, did Darth kill Obiwan, or was he gone
already? Or am I picking nits with the editor?
Date: 16 Dec 82 15:26:20-PST (Thu)
From: decvax!cwruecmp!ccc at Ucb-C70
Subject: Star Wars, Empire, RotJ, etc. :-)
>From: Clayton M. Elwell [...!decvax!cwruecmp!ccc]
"Previews, Plotlines, Spoilers, Inside Knowledge... A true Jedi craves
Date: 14 Dec 82 16:54:19-PST (Tue)
From: harpo!npoiv!hou5f!hou5d!hou5a!hou5e!jjm at Ucb-C70
Subject: The Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back
The Emperor in TESB was played by an English actor
named Clive Reville (sp?).
I have seen him in other movies, so this is not
a fake name.
Despite a previous news item, Alec Guiness is not dead.
(Anyone who saw the recent TV movie "Smiley's People"
BTL - Holmdel
Date: 17 Dec 82 11:43:12-PST (Fri)
From: menlo70!sytek!zehntel!tektronix!rich at Ucb-C70
Subject: DV not OTHER
Hmmm. If we assume OB1 to be a "good guy" and "DV" to be a "bad
guy" and knowing that there is "some good" even in bad guys, wouldn't
OB1 have been able to detect it? And so far, with the exception of
Yoda, OB1 is (was) the ranking Jedi (master of the force). If there
was good there, OB1 would not have attempted to kill DV. I suggest we
look elsewhere. Or better yet, wait for the real answer in May.
Date: 20 Dec 82 10:35:28-PST (Mon)
Subject: RotJ: Yet Another Speculation
Several months ago, on the PBS series "Nova", there was a program
on the uses of computers in the arts (mostly neat video stuff). One
of the segments was about work that was being done at LucasFilms. If
recollection serves, they had some nifty technique whereby the sound
of a musical instrument (a flute) was modulated into speaking patterns
by a human voice. A rather haunting demonstration film was included.
Now, why would LucasFilms be working on something like this?
Most Star Wars maniacs know that the Star Wars saga is purportedly
derived from "The Journal of the Whills". It is quite possible that
the flute-voice was created for the Whills, who would be seen or heard
for the first time in Revenge of the Jedi.
Remember, you heard it here first. Unless it's wrong.
End of SF-LOVERS Digest