Originally posted by: utzoo!decvax!ucbvax!sf-lovers
Posted: Sat Nov 27 22:32:55 1982
Received: Wed Dec 1 05:16:19 1982
>From SFL@SRI-CSL Sat Nov 27 22:13:55 1982
Reply-To: SF-LOVERS at SRI-CSL
SF-LOVERS Digest Sunday, 28 Nov 1982 Volume 6 : Issue 90
Books - Wolfe's "The Book of the New Sun", Harrison's "The Stainless
Steel Rat", mushroom planet books
Misc - Media of science fiction
Movies - The Last Unicorn, 2001 movie sequel?, "the other" in TESB,
Star Trek inconsistencies
T.V. - various shows
Date: 27 Nov 1982 (Saturday) 1857-EDT
From: KENNEA at Wharton-10 (Richard Kenneally)
Subject: Book of the New Sun
Actually, the third book, Sword of the Lictor is out in paper-
back at Encore books in Philadelphia. I bought it yesterday and it
deserves its reviews. Also, the third book in the Jack L. Chalker
Warden Diamond series is out in paperback. I haven't read these and
would like to hear some opinions.
Date: 26 Nov 82 12:57:30 EST (Fri)
From: Khron The Elder
Subject: The Stainless Steel Rat
About 6 months ago, I heard rumors that Paramount or some such were
going to make a movie of The Stainless Steel Rat or had already
started. I haven't heard anything since. Anybody else know anything
about this? I think I read it somewhere, though the magazine's
respectability was probably questionable.
Date: 25 November 1982 17:51 mst
From: Lippard at M.PCO.LISD.HIS (James J. Lippard)
Subject: Stainless Steel Rat for President
Reply-to: Lippard%PCO-Multics at MIT-MULTICS
It is available in paperback, published by Bantam. I note that the
publication date is December 1982, I just picked it up at my local
Walden bookstore, there were several copies.
Date: 27 Nov 1982 (Saturday) 1755-EDT
From: SPEAR at Wharton-10 (Daniel Spear)
Subject: Media of science fiction
The majority of the science fiction discussed in sf-lovers has
been in 3 major media -- books, movies, and tv (with some recent,
arguably weak, efforts in music) (and a little radio). I would like
to see a discussion focusing on the relative advantages of these
media, including why one would choose one over another, what is most
effective for what sorts of things, etc. As I see it, there are 2
major types of sf as regards its medium: science fiction in the medium
it was intended, and sci fi adapted from another medium. The latter
includes many things, such as books and movies coming from the Star
Trek tv series, movies from books, or even tv and books arising from
radio (HhG). I believe it is generally considered that the original
is better than its copies, in most cases. Why is this? Is it because
the copy doesn't show enough imagination? Or is it because the
original concept, as it was formulated, was particularly suited for
the original medium? Should there be more people writing sf
particularly for certain areas such as movies?
These are some of the questions in this area that I would like
to see addressed. Any interest out there?
Date: 27 Nov 1982 15:22-EST
From: James.Muller at CMU-CS-GANDALF at CMU-CS-A
Subject: topics of discussion
In answer to a question a few weeks, the things that got me started on
sf were Heinlein's "childrens" books, which everyone seems to think
are perfectly good reading for adults. I asked my librarian what would
be some good science fiction to read, and she pointed me to Heinlein
(this is 5th grade). I seem to remember immediately taking out
``Rocket Ship Galileo'', ``Space Cadet'', and ``Time for the Stars''
the first week, and eventually all the others, and then some of the
"adult" Heinlein that my library had -- such pornography as ``Time
enough for Love'' and ``Stranger in a Strange Land'' (incidentally
there is a rock song based on this book, but I only heard it once
about 5 years ago, and don't remember anything about it.)
Here's a question that I'd like to see discussed: What is the "best"
episode of Star Trek? (Movies don't count.) Why? I mention this
because WPXI just aired my favorite 2 hours ago.
My vote: ``Mirror, Mirror''.
Except for the initial incident which set up the episode, (an ion
storm sent Kirk, Scott, McCoy, and Uhura into a parellel universe
while they were beaming up) everything seemed fairly real. No blasts
equivelent to 90 photon torpedos were absorbed by the Enterprise
shields, no alien creatures burned "NO KILL I" into the ground.
None of this kneejerk extra killing went on. True, some of them killed
each other, but killing an officer would undoubtedly been unsafe for a
security guard on the ISS Enterprised. When Sulu and his three
security guards threatened to do away with the good guys, Kirk's women
(Marlena?) killed the guards and left Sulu alive, but then they were
holding phasers and he just had a knife. Notably, none were killed
during the first ten minutes of the show.
More to the point, all the characters seemed to act in a very
reasonable way. Notably, Captain Kirk's was angered with the mercenary
from Chechov's(sp) guard who saved betrayed Checkov to save Kirk and
then expected a promotion with Kirk. Kirk also took risks to avoid
killing the Halkans, spared Checkov, and fought to convince the evil
Spock that the Empire was wrong. Spock's actions all seems perfectly
logical in light of his environment. He still seemed to have that
Vulcan curiousity too. I thought it said a lot for McCoy that he was
willing to risk not getting back to the real universe in order to save
the evil Spock.
The clincher: Spock looks really neat with a beard.
The flaws I saw were that the evil Kirk was portrayed as being less
intelligent than the good Kirk, which seems unjustified; and the
Computer was handled in typical hokey manner. Well there's the heart
of the matter! How many Star Treks are there that you can only see two
What, me, verbose?
Date: 26 November 1982 20:37 mst
From: Lippard at M.PCO.LISD.HIS (James J. Lippard)
Subject: Mushroom Planet books
Reply-to: Lippard%PCO-Multics at MIT-MULTICS
The Mushroom Planet books were probably my first exposure to science
fiction as well. I remember checking them out from the school library
in 1972 or 1973. Does anyone know the titles of these books? The
author's name was Cameron, I think, I can't remember her first name.
I also seem to recall reading another book by the same author,
something about unicorns and a note hidden inside a Christmas tree
Date: 24 Nov 82 13:57:46-PST (Wed)
From: decvax!wivax!linus!genradbo!mitccc!cutter at Ucb-C70
Subject: Review: Last Unicorn
THE LAST UNICORN is a wonderful movie. Admittedly, I thought I
was in for the standard G-rated slop that those intellectual eunuchs
(sp?) in Hollywood put out. I was wrong.
First off, the screenplay was written by the author of the book
it's based on, The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. Therefore, it is
at *least* 90% accurate to the book. Second, the music is down to
minimum: there is only one disgustingly sweet, dripping with
sentimentality, totally useless love song, and that is kept short.
There are only two other songs, the credit music, and another that
floats in and out. Third, the animation is from all those wonderful
guys in Japan; the same folks who brought you SPACE CRUISER YAMATO
(aka StarBlazers), SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK, GALAXY EXPRESS 999,
etc, so watch for those huge eyes. It is quite good animation,
considering the movie was produced by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass,
who brought us such Saturday morning wonders as "Speed Buggy" and "The
Jackson Five" (remember that one??). And lastly, the cast. The voices
are done by some really good people, among them Angela Landsbury, Alan
Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Tammy Grimes, and (of course) what
animated would be complete without Paul Frees.
The plot (if you have never read the book) concerns a unicorn who
is obsessed with finding out if she is truly the last unicorn in the
world. It's not a very big plot, but it makes for an enjoyable movie
nevertheless. TJust the butterfly is worth seeing it ten times over.
-- Joe --
(p.s. ElfQuest animated: Fall, 1987/Spring, 1988 !!!!)
Date: Saturday, 27 November 1982 14:06-EST
From: RG.JMTURN at MIT-MC
Subject: In defense of The Last Unicorn
In issue 89, John Redford pans "The Last Unicorn" because it is not,
in his opinion, faithful to the book, and has less detail than a movie
like Star Wars.
Unfortunately, he overlooks a critical destinction between SW and TLU.
SW was a screenplay before it ever was a book. Lucas could tailor the
story to fit into a 90-120 minute medium. The Last Unicorn is a deep
and textured story, and there is no way it could be fit into a
commercial length. Therefore, Beagle did the only thing possible, he
trimmed down to the basic story.
In addition, SW is a live film. It's easy to make a live film gritty
and full of detail, you just add props. Animated films have to rely on
making the limited elements of a cel as good as possible. We're not
likely to see Disney quality animation until computer aided animation
becomes popular, the love Disney put into his work isn't
cost-effective anymore. But TLU comes closer than 90% of the other
crud released as "animation".
Finally, I think in some important ways, TLU is a better film than SW
or ET. Those movies have everything going for them. They have scripts
and plots developed specially for the medium. They have happy endings
and characters people can indentify with. And they have big budgets to
splurge on effects.
TLU had a locked in plot way too long for a movie, a bitter-sweet
ending which leaves several characters less than happy, and a budget
which couldn't be anything over a million or two.
It's easy (comparatively) to take a film with all the breaks and make
a hit, but to take a story which isn't really meant for the medium,
and make a releatively good film out of it takes much more. It usual
takes an act of love, and I think Beagle put out what Lucas and
Spielberg didn't have to.
It may take a powerful artistic vision to surpass a reader's
imagination, but it takes love and care to bring a book to the screen
with any success, and I intend to respect that effort by nominating
TLU for the Hugo (assuming nothing better comes along...)
Date: 27 November 1982 17:07-EST
From: Steven A. Swernofsky
Subject: The Last Unicorn (movie)
Last night I saw the movie "The Last Unicorn." It is animated feature
which portrays the quest of a Unicorn, a young magician, a helpful
girl, and ultimately, a heroic prince, to find the lost other
Unicorns. The movie is a beautiful expression of the legend and magic
which goes with good fantasy stories.
The movie draws its power from the telling of a tale which is sweet
and pretty, and evocative of a proper fantasy world. It builds
gradually, as a quest should, from the first doubting by the Unicorn
("Unicorns do not vanish. We may be killed if we leave our forests,
but we do not @i(vanish).") to an exciting resolution ("Not all the
magic in the world can save her now. That is what heros are for.")
The plot is uncomplicated, but still leaves room for challenge,
response, and doubt by the characters, and even comic relief.
I found the characters to be likeable and well-portrayed. I
especially liked Alan Arkin as the young-magician-seeking-wizardry.
(I must admit to a feeling of anomaly; after seeing "The Seven Percent
Solution" I now associate that voice permanently with the character of
To John Redford (VLSI at DEC-MARLBORO), who said that "[i]t takes a
powerful artistic vision to surpass a reader's imagination," I note
that a powerful artistic vision should in fact @i(supplement) the
reader's imagination! I think that "The Last Unicorn" does just that.
Date: 26 Nov 82 22:02-PST
From: mclure at SRI-UNIX
Subject: 2001 movie sequel?
I've heard a dubious rumor: that Kubrick is working on a sequel to
2001 in-line with the 2010 Clarke book recently released. I just
can't believe that Stanley would demean himself (and the original
movie) to do a sequel; it isn't his style to do two movies on the same
subject or even using the same background.
Does anyone know the real story on this?
Date: 25 Nov 82 19:13:26-PST (Thu)
From: decvax!ittvax!sii!mem at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: The Other
Interesting theory (about Boba Fett). I didn't get any impression,
though, that Darth Vader was putting up with any insolence from him.
And it certainly isn't the case that Darth thinks he is the top living
Jedi; remember how he admits that the Emperor is stronger. First in
the communication with the Emperor (The emp indicated as how he felt a
strong presence in the Force, Darth agrees, all the while kneeling).
Next in his conversation during the battle with Luke, Darth says
something to the effect that the Emperor knew that if they (Darth and
Luke) joined forces, they would be stronger than the Emperor. Thus,
an admission of being weaker than the Emperor.
Mark E. Mallett
Date: 26 Nov 82 15:02:22-PST (Fri)
From: harpo!seismo!rocheste!FtG at Ucb-C70
Subject: The Other
Here's one vote for Other=Leia. Other suggestions seem ludicrous.
Question: why did Leia know to turn back to rescue Luke?
Question: Why has Luke and Leia been like brother-sister (hence
Hans as the romantic interest)?
Question: Why is it "princess" Leia, i.e. role of royalty/Jedi future
rulers of empire after successful revolution????
You can send congrats on insight next may to...
FtG at rocheste
Date: 26 Nov 82 18:49:02-PST (Fri)
From: decvax!utzoo!watmath!bstempleton at Ucb-C70
Subject: Re: The Other
Vader is not the top living Jedi in any way, and he knows it:
1) He defers to the emperor (my master) quite clearly.
2) It is unknown who would have won the vader-obiwan fight if obiwan
had not given up the fight to enter this higher plane he is in. If
obiwan could have beaten vader, then Yoda could too.
If the Other was on the cloud city, and yoda could not see the fate of
those there when luke left, then they should have had some concern
that all their eggs were in one basket. This gives support to the
idea that the other is not from the group of central characters, but
it could also be Lando, who the ROTJ trailer says plays a big part in
the third movie.
Remember: Yoda thought Luke was too old for Jedi Training and accepted
him because he had already learned from ob1 and the rebels.
Date: 27 Nov 1982 0507-PST
From: Henry W. Miller
Subject: Battlestar, etc
This evening, in the Bay Area, they had a re-showing of one of
the best BATTLESTAR GALACTICA episodes, "The Living Legend", starring
Lloyd Bridges as Cmdr. Cain, the master of the lost Battelestar
This episode had all the right features; the discovery of
another Colonial war ship, that was thought to be lost. A conflict
between the the respecting commanders. Father vrs son, Father vrs
daughter, friend vrs friend, warrior vrs warrior, and all on the same
Baltar, foul being that he is, slipping in his own solid
bodily wastes, when he realizes that Cain is after him. Massive alien
(CYLON) attack forces moving back and forth, trying to outwit Adama
and Cain, who have already figured out how to counteract the Cylon's
attack plans. Romance (only implied) between Adama's son, Apollo, and
Cain's daughter, Sheba.
The destruction of a Cylon base, ("Yuccky Cylons", as my
nephew is fond to say), well, what else could you want?
Well, I wanted it to live.
B.G. died a tragic death. It had the largest budget of any TV
series, and yet it died. Why?
I mean, every other week, Apollo or Starbuck would crash on
some desolate planet, similar to the old west, be made town marshall,
and go out to kick some booty.
OK, OK, the episodes with the Terra crisis were different, but
can you believe Edward Mulhare as an invisible Angel named John?
And, Patrick McNee as the Devil? (He did a good job as a
surogate) (Has anybody ever figured out what was in the wreckage on
What I am getting at, is will anyone ever figure out how to do
good SF on TV? "Lost in Space" was good until several episodes, then
it became the "Dr. Smith, Will Robinson & Robot" show. We are talking
a downhill slide.
I always enjoyed "Time Tunnel", even though the facts were not
"Buck Rogers" was just fun, even tho it was played in a
serious vein. I enjoyed it.
"Twlight Zone", sigh.
"Night Gallery", my two favorites are: "The Messiah on Mott
Street" (starring Eddie G. Robinson), and "They're Tearing Down Tim
"Outer Limits", one of my favorites is when Carroll O'Connor
plays a Martian. (Can you imangine Archie Bunker as an "illegal"
But, what I am getting at is Dry Rot.
Star Trek had two good seasons, then was handed over to a
person who had no concept of the series, and, it died. I shan't
mention his name, but he was interviewed in a two part article in
STARLOG magazine a few months ago.
He lambasted Dorthy Fontana (D.C. Fontana, story editor of
Star Trek for the second and third season) and David Gerrold, the
young unknown who wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles".
Now, not to be a name-dropper, but David and D.C. are old
friends of mine. His portrayal of them in the interview are about 180
degrees from real life. Therefore I take anything he says with a
horse sized salt lick.
Star Trek suffered badly in it's third season. Bad scripts,
bad directing, and being placed at 10 PM on Friday evening, away from
it's main audiance.
I have watched "The Powers of Matthew Starr", and while I
found it cute, I much preferred "Mr. Merlin"; the interaction between
Bernard Hughes and young Clark Brandon was much better.
What I am trying to say is that there is a legitimate place
for SF on TV. Stop giving us the candy pill; give us the real stuff.
Date: Saturday, 27 November 1982 15:31-PST
From: Jonathan Alan Solomon
Subject: ST2WOK; inconsistencies; your opinion
1) Dates: It's Romulan Ale, isn't it? Who said Romulans have to obey
the same dates the Federation did (Note that the Hebrew Calendar and
the Julian one don't use the same year either. If you had a bottle of
wine dated 1986 in Hebrew it would be some 3746 years old!)
I can't explain #2. I cheated a bit on #1, but that's show biz...
p.s. I thought it was the other way around. I thought they were
looking for CETI-ALPHA #5, and found #6 instead (i.e. that #5 blew up,
made #6 into #5). If I'm right then there's the bug (in your head),
else the bug is real. Anyone know for sure?
End of SF-LOVERS Digest