The Official Newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction
Association -- ISSN 0894-5411
Edited by Samuel Lubell firstname.lastname@example.org
DECODING THE HIDDEN ALLEGORIES OF STAR WARS
Chart A: MYTHIC HERO CYCLE
SCIENCE FICTION AND CINEMATIC REFERENCES IN STAR WARS
WORLD WAR II REFERENCES IN PHANTOM MENACE
WORLD WAR II REFERENCES IN ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Time Machines Aren't Connected To Transportation
Hot Cross Buns - sugarless
Walking to the Stars
Puck Aleshire's Abecedary
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold
The Burning Land by Victoria Strauss
Consequences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Periwinkle With Cyan-Mauve Plaid Polka Dots
Edited for Television
Edited by Samuel Lubell email@example.com
By Samuel Lubell
It was June of 1996. Joe Mayhew, the WSFA Secretary was in the hospital with a heart attack which left the club with a problem, who would take notes and produce the journal until our secretary felt better? I had only been a member for a year or so but had given Joe a few reviews to put in and I thought how hard could it be? Besides it would be just a couple of months. So, I did the June 1996 issue. And the one after that...
Eight years and 92 issues later, I'm stepping down as editor of the WSFA Journal. It's been a wild ride, trying to do the Journal while simultaneously working a full time job and taking graduate-level night courses for much of my tenure, trying to get contributions from members (I thank everyone who has contributed, please keep writing and drawing to help out our new editor), trying to keep track of who said what at the meetings (I frequently wished for a seating chart), and generally making sure that our meetings read interesting on paper (mainly by putting jokes in brackets). I learned the greatest compliment WSFA members give is to say nothing because they can't think of anything to complain about.
I like to think I brought the Journal into the computer age with the (over)use of fonts, scanned art and clip-art, and laser printing. I had a 12 - 16 page journal virtually every month (no more than one double month issue per year just like Asimov's did). And, although few noticed, I tried to match the art to the article most of the time.
In doing the Journal, I've published some stuff I had lying around - including my undergraduate thesis, the [very] odd paper or two, and parts of my graduate thesis (but I spared you most of my education work). I published some weird stuff submitted by others including a semi-literate movie proposal, a kid's spelling homework, and even Bugs Bunny fanfic. <Keith, link to these in the online edition - thanks>
It was fun especially at first and I'm stepping down before it becomes too much of a chore. Fortunately WSFA's found another job for me (clearly the past eight years have taught me nothing about volunteering) and I expect I'll be submitting articles and reviews to the Journal in the future, maybe a President's Page column.
Would I ever be editor again? Who can predict the future? (Well, science fiction authors certainly try.) Ask me again in another few years.
By Scott Warner
Millions of viewers have enjoyed the Star Wars films for decades without realizing that three allegorical parables are hidden within the science fiction saga. In the tradition of Gulliver's Travels and Alice In Wonderland, George Lucas has concealed serious adult themes inside a children's tale. These three allegories vary widely in subject and complexity. The first allegory is derived from a literary formula governing mythological heroes and is mainly confined to Episodes Four, Five and Six. The second parable concerns comedic homage to Lucas's inspirational sources and pertains to all of the movies. The third allegory is limited to Episodes One and Two and involves a highly surprising historical analogy about Adolf Hitler and World War II.
Most dedicated Star Wars fans already know that the first three films were based on the Mythic Hero Cycle, a literary code regulating the actions of great heroes. However, many viewers still do not realize just how extensively the films conformed to this formula. In fact, Episodes Four, Five and Six followed the steps of the Cycle nearly scene for scene. George Lucas continued the Hero Cycle allegory in Episodes One and Two but the relationship was more tenuous because the viewer already knew that Anakin Skywalker could never qualify as a true Hero.
The Hero Cycle was first invented by Lord Fitzroy Raglan (Richard Somerset). Raglan discovered that many of the greatest mythological heroes underwent similar events during their lives. He listed 22 traits that proved common to great heroes, then ranked each one according to the number of communal events he had undergone. Oedipus ranked highest with 21 points; Theseus and Moses both scored 20 points; and Dionysos and King Arthur tied for third with 19 points. Other notable high scorers were Perseus, Romulus and Watu Gunung, a great hero in Javanese mythology. Raglan published these findings in The Hero: A Study In Tradition, Myth And Drama in 1936.
Famed anthropologist Joseph Campbell picked up Raglan's theme and refined his formula. Campbell showed that the steps of the Cycle began with an ascending phase followed by a descending stage. He published his ideas in The Hero With a Thousand Faces in 1949. By accident, novelist John Barth stumbled upon the Cycle and added refinements of his own. Barth realized that the formula was composed of four phases forming a complete circle: ascendant; descendant; re-ascendant; and final decline. A diagram of Barth's version appeared in his collection of novellas Chimera in 1972.
In adapting the Hero Cycle to science fiction, George Lucas displayed brilliant ingenuity (see Chart A). The fact that A New Hope conformed to the steps of the first quadrant proves that Lucas relied upon the Cycle from the beginning. The plots of the two succeeding films followed suit. (The steps of the fourth quadrant are covered by a trilogy of novels by Timothy Zahn.) However, Lucas has always been reticent about acknowledging his reliance on the Cycle. While admitting his use of mythological themes, he refuses to discuss the Hero Cycle itself.
The second allegory concerns Lucas's childhood fascination with science fiction, comic books and movies. All of the Star Wars films contain allusions to famous science fiction characters and places, both literary and cinematic. Lucas also made numerous references to famous characters and scenes in mainstream films (see Chart B). These references allowed Lucas to pay homage to his source material while poking fun at it at the same time. Though this allegory is less complex than the Hero Cycle, the inclusion of these references is further evidence that Lucas is encoding hidden messages into the Star Wars movies.
While the viewer can marvel at the way Lucas transposed fanciful myth to the high tech world of science fiction, his treatment of Episodes One and Two is even more stunning. Though the Hero Cycle is continued to some extent in these two movies, there is an entirely new analogy running through the films. This parable alludes to the political career of Adolf Hitler and the beginning of World War II (see Chart C). While some of the entries in this chart simply speculative guesses, there is also a discernible pattern of unmistakable historical analogues that is virtually irrefutable, insuring the existence of this Hitler analogy. The sheer number of correlations also provides statistical proof of its authenticity. Many of the proper names in these two episodes are derived from French, Hindu and Japanese. This is meant to reflect the roles these countries played in World War II.
This historical analogy is not as tightly conformal as the relationship between the Hero Cycle and the first three movies. (It also has the added effect of negating the Cycle's quadrant structure in Episodes One, Two and Three.) However, the inclusion of the World War II allegory is just as stimulating as the Hero Cycle because it adds another, even more poignant layer of metaphor to the story. Inspired by (or fed up with) the endless debates about the Empire's fascist proclivities, Lucas decided to put these parallels to good use. This was an advantageous stratagem since the Hero Cycle cannot be strictly applied to Anakin Skywalker. In effect, Lucas is trying to prove that he doesn't need to rely on someone else's formula, he wants to demonstrate that he is perfectly capable of inventing his own! The public's lukewarm response to Episodes One and Two would have been enhanced if this aspect of the films had been more widely understood.
Being able to still integrate references to the Hero Cycle into Episodes One and Two while encoding this complex Hitler analogy into the films at the same time augurs a level of directorial ability not usually attributed to George Lucas. The enciphering of the Hitler parable in these two episodes mirrors the anti-Nazi allegory hidden in Les Visiteurs Du Soir, the famous French movie filmed in 1942 under the very noses of the German occupiers. Much has been made of the petulance displayed by Anakin in Attack of the Clones. However, when viewed in light of the Hitler analogy, this petulance makes perfect sense even though it's attributed to the wrong character. It is surprising that Lucas failed to include two important World War II events in these Star Wars episodes. The Nazi book burnings played no role in the films, nor did the infamous burning of the Reichstag. This latter omission may have been a conscious decision due to the current trend of terrorist bombings.
A subtle allusion to World War II occurs on Tatooine in Phantom Menace. While Qui-Gon Jinn, Jar Jar and Padmé are busy in Mos Espa, Obi-Wan receives a radio broadcast from Naboo pleading for help. He warns the Queen and Captain Panaka not to reply to this message, never realizing that the Queen is an imposter. However, someone on the ship breaks radio silence, enabling Darth Maul to trace it. The person who sends this transmission is not shown. This is a direct reference to the highly elaborate and secretive radio interception and decryption services employed by both England and Germany during the North Africa campaign and elsewhere. It could also refer to the use of radar.
It is interesting to speculate on how Lucas will resolve these hidden allegories in Episode Three. If Phantom Menace had been the first story to be filmed, then the Hero Cycle and Hitler allegories could have been carried out to their logical conclusions through all six movies, producing very different results. However, since Episode Four was filmed prior to the inception of the Hitler parable, it cannot extend beyond the climax of Episode Three. Therefore, Lucas will have to choose some endpoint for the analogy in the timeline of World War II. It seems advantageous to equate the destruction of the planet Alderaan in A New Hope with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Rebel victory over the Death Star with the Battle of Midway.
Since the first two episodes encompassed the invasions of China, Ethiopia, Austria, Finland, Poland, Norway, France, Indonesia and North Africa, plus the beginning of the Russian campaign, this leaves very few major events in the war for Episode Three other than the London Blitz and the beginning of the Holocaust. Although it would not be chronologically accurate, he may choose to make reference to the Battle of the Atlantic or the Sicilian and Italian campaigns (though the nature of these military operations does not seem to fit the Star Wars universe). Another possibility is the July 20th assassination plot against Hitler. Though all subsequent major events in the war (like D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge or the A-bomb) occurred too late to chronologically qualify for Episode Three, they could still be included.
In addition, Lucas must find a way to incorporate these events into the plot line of Episode Three. The actual plot of the movie will focus on the continuing metamorphosis of Anakin, the consolidation of the Empire and the births of Luke and Leia. The promised Jedi extermination pogrom may also be included. In the Star Wars novel Approaching Storm by Alan Dean Foster, the Separatists are consumed by a hatred for all alien species. This will no doubt play a major role in the final installment of the Star Wars saga. Whatever method Lucas chooses to conclude his grand epic, it is certain that Episode Three will prove to be an interesting and stimulating experience from several viewpoints.
Quadrant I :Departure ("A New Hope) (4)
Quadrant II :Initiation ("The Empire Strikes Back") (5)
Quadrant III : Return ("Return of the Jedi) (6)
Quadrant IV : Reign + Death (Zahn novels) (Z): "Heir to the Empire", "Dark Force Rising", "Last Command"
Mythic Hero Cycle Episodes 4 - 5 - 6 + novels Episodes 1 + 2
1 Unusual conception + virgin birth; twins
4 Mysterious birth of Luke + Leia
1 Anakin's virgin birth
2 Assassination attempt by family member
4 Vader's attack on uncle's farm
4 Luke hurt by Tusken Raiders
4 Escape via Millennium Falcon
1 Palpatine's + Maul's attacks
2 Attacks on Amidala
1 Anakin's minor wound
1 Release from slavery
3 Summons to adventure
4 Call-to-arms from Leia + Obi-Wan
1 Request for aid from Qui-Gon
4 Acquisition of helper
4 R2D2, C3PO, Obi-Wan, Solo,
Chewbacca + Leia
1 Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, R2D2 +
Amidala; 2 C3PO
5 Brother battle
4 Dogfight with Vader; 5 Saber duel with
Vader; 6 Saber duel with Vader
4 Garbage monster; 5 Hoth snow monster
+ walkers; 6 Jabba's monster
4 "Crucifixion" of Obi-Wan
2 Owen Lars (stepbrother killed by
1 Naboo sea monsters + Federation droids
2 Geonosis monsters
1 "Crucifixion" of Qui-Gon
6 Imprisonment in whale's belly
Night sea journey
5 Luke survives in taun taun belly +
Falcon swallowed by space slug
5 Luke immersed in bacta tank +
crash landing in Dagobah swamp
5 Petrification of Solo
5 Amputation of Luke's hand
5 Fall from Cloud City
6 Tatooine pit monster
1 Submarine grabbed by goober fish
1 Undersea journey
1 Paralysis of Jar Jar's tongue
2 Amputation of Anakin's arm
1 "Journey through the planet's core"
Scylla + Charybdis
5 Asteroid field
5 Space slug vs Star Destroyers
1 Pod race course; 2 Asteroid field +
1 Pod racers vs Tusken Raiders
2 Asteroids vs Jango
8 Passage of riddles, tests + ordeals
5 Jedi training; vision of danger for Leia
+ Solo; Dark Side ordeal
1 Pod race; space station battle; blood test;
Jedi Council hearing; 2 Tusken massacre
(failure) + Geonosis execution
9 Adherence to narrow path
5 Promise to Yoda to return for final
training; 6 Refusal to fight Vader
1 Admission to Padawan status
2 Rebelliousness (failure)
5 Revelations about father; 6 + sister
11 Sacred marriage
Theft of magic elixir
6 Luke wedded to Force (note cloak)
6 Saber hidden in R2 (note cocktails)
6 Vader's final atonement
2 Marriage to Amidala
12 Summons to return
6 Return to Tatooine to rescue Leia +
Solo; return to Death Star II
2 Return to Tatooine to rescue Shmi;
radio message from Geonosis
13 Magic flight
4 Death Star I battle; 5 Raising X-wing
from swamp; 6 Shuttle flight to Endor
+ speeder bikes + Death Star II battle
1 Autopilot flight to space station
2 Coruscant speeder chase
14 Departure of helper
4 Death of Obi-Wan; 6 Death of Yoda
1 Death of Qui-Gon; 2 Death of Shmi
15 Rout of pretenders
6 Defeat of Jabba, Fett + Emperor
4 Rebirth of Obi-Wan; 6 Rebirth of
Yoda + Anakin
4 Yavin medal ceremony
6 Ewok + Coruscant celebrations
1 Sebulba + Trade Federation; 2 Dooku
1 Pod race victory + Naboo celebration
2 Geonosis victory
Z Rescue of Mara Jade on Myrkyr
1 Rescue of Amidala; 2 Rescue of Obi-
17 Founding of city
Z Jedi Academy on Yavin
Z New Alliance government
18 Fall from grace
Z Continuing lure of Dark Side
Z Exile from normal life
20 Extraordinary hilltop death
Z Death of Luke clone on Mt. Tantiss
Darth Vader [Ger."dark father"]
Luke Skywalker [Luke S:Lucas; "Bringer of light"]
Leia Organa ["flower wreath"]
C3PO = robot in Metropolis; robotic butler in Sleeper
R2D2 = drones in Silent Running
C3PO + R2D2 = squabbling peasants in Hidden Fortress (Kurosawa)
Amputation of arm in cantina = amputation of arm in Yojimbo (Kurosawa)
Jawas = Munchkins in Wizard of Oz
Jawa sandcrawler = sandcrawler in Dune (Herbert)
Jedi [Jap. Jidai Geki:samurai soap opera] = Lensman in Skylark of Space (E.E. Smith)
Sandworm skeleton (deluxe edition) = sandworm in Dune
Mon Motha = Mothra?
Adm. Ackbar [Arab. Ackbar:great leader]
Mon Calamari [Ital. Calamari:squid]
Sith = evil insects in John Carter of Mars (E.R. Burroughs)
Ephant Mon = Elephant Man
Klaatu, Barada, Nicto (Jabba's henchmen) = The Day the Earth Stood Still
Midiclorians = Clorians (evil aliens) in Lensmen series + fusorians (restorative symbiotes) in Reefs of Space (Pohl +Williamson)
Trade Federation landing craft = heighliners in Dune (Lynch)
Trade Federation Lt. Daultay Dofine = Dudley Doright
Amidala = Dale Arden in Flash Gordon + Princess Ardala in Buck Rogers
Naboo sea monster = Stanley & Stella In Breaking the Ice
Pod race = Ben Hur + Breaking Away
Senate droids = *batteries not included
Coruscant = Trantor in Foundation (Asimov)
Jar Jar Binks = Flinx (A.D. Foster) + Bink (P. Anderson) + Bix in Dinotopia
E.T. Senators = E.T.
Gungan sunken head = Olmec head in Raiders of the Lost Ark
"big problemo" = Terminator 2
"Hate leads to fear...to anger...to suffering" = Litany Against Fear in Dune
Riding shaak beast on Naboo = bicycle in Butch Cassidy And the Sundance Kid
Clone army transport ship = carryall in Dune (Lynch)
Clone army attack craft = Hueys in Apocalypse Now
Superdroid warriors = cyborg in Robocop 2
Geonosians hidden on wall = Alien
Geonosian acklay monster = crab monster in Angry Red Planet + alien queen in Aliens
Dooku's lightsail ship = Tron
C3PO in welder maze = Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times
"I've fallen and I can't get up" = Medalert commercial
Coruscant exteriors = Blade Runner + Dune
Mighty Bear Clan = Bad News Bears + Mighty Ducks
Geonosis hive = Mt. Krumpet in How the Grinch Stole Christmas
"I'm so confused" = Welcome Back Kotter
Padme's seashell hairdo = Plavalaguna in Fifth Element
Kaminoan = tall skinny alien in Close Encounters + ET neck stretch
Kaminoan dragon rider = Dragonriders of Pern (McCaffrey)
Robotic diner waitress = Jetsons
Baby clones = THX 1138
Wat Tambor = First Stage Guild Navigator in Dune (Lynch)
Wat Tambor (sound effects) = HAL 9000 in 2001 (powered down mode) + Marvin the Robot in Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy
Kit Fisto (Jedi) = Predator
Coruscant exteriors - "The Art of Star Wars, Episode II" by Mark Cotta Vaz
Mt. Krumpet - Vaz
Chart C [Translations of names appear in brackets]
WORLD WAR II REFERENCES IN PHANTOM MENACE (film + novelization)
The Empire [Roman Empire] = Third Reich
Emperor Palpatine (author of the political treatise The Book Of Anger) [Palatine Hill in Rome] = Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
Trade Federation = Japan + Italy (note accents of Viceroy and lieutenant)
Viceroy Nute Gunray [Newt Gingrich + Ronald Reagan] [*Newt in Aliens:hero + ray gun:heater] = Hirohito? Tojo?
Federation Lt. Daultay Dofine (dismissed subordinate) = Mussolini (banished from power)
Rune Haako (aide to Gunray) [King Haako VII of Norway] [*Swed. Rune:letter; haak:swastika; ko:cow; "lackey stamped with swastika"] = Norway + Finland
Trade Federation dispute = ABCD Treaty (export embargo against Japan)
Trade Federation droids (note color + lockstep) = S.A. brownshirts
Naboo (former ruler King Veruna voluntarily abdicated) [Gungan Naboo:unafraid?] = England (Edward VIII voluntarily abdicated)
Naboo invasion (Palpatine's home) = invasions of Austria (Hitler's home) + China + Ethiopia
Theed (Naboo capital on major river) = Thebes (Greek home of Oedipus + Egyptian city on the Nile River)
Padmé Naberrie [Hin. Padme:lotus; Gungan Naberrie:unburied?][*Span. Madre:mother; Fren. ne:not; barre:banded; "mother (to be) not yet married"] = England; Eva Braun?
Amidala [Fren. Ami:love; Hin. Mandala: symbol] = Amida Buddha (savior)
Naboo Gov. Sio Bibble [Sio:Leo (zodiac sign)] = German anti-war politician August Bebel
Ric Olié (Queen's pilot) [Fren. Oeil:eye] = Nikolai Romanov?
Capt. Panaka [Jap. Panikku:panic] = Hawaii? Philippines?
Sabé (handmaiden) [Fren. Sabre:sword]
Rabé (handmaiden) [Fren. Râblé:strong]
Eirtaé (handmaiden) [Fren. Vérité:truth]
Yané (handmaiden) [Fren. Âme:soul]
Saché (handmaiden) [Fren. Sachet:bouquet; sacre:holy]
Amidala's costumes = Chinese Imperial court dress + 1920's European high society (Hitler worked as street sweeper in front of Vienna Opera House; despised wealthy aristocracy)
Gungans [Watu Gunung] = Hungary (tried to remain neutral during Austrian Anshluss)
Otoh Gunga (underwater city) [Fren. Oter:disrobe]
Boss Nass = Czech Pres. Eduard Benes + Hungarian P.M. Laszlo Bardossy?
Anakin Skywalker [Anakim:race of Old Testament giants] = Hermann Göring (ace pilot + Hitler's right hand man)
Yoda = Churchill
Qui-Gon Jinn [Jap. Gaijin:foreigner] [*Qui:quiet; Gon:giant; Arab. jinn:wizard; "sleeping giant wizard"] = Roosevelt (died in office)
Obi-Wan Kenobi [*Jap. oji-san:uncle; ken:sword; obei:American; "Uncle Sam-a"] = Truman
Jar Jar Binks (big ears, big nose, clumsy) = De Gaulle (continually disrupted Allied plans); unsuspecting civilian populations?
Mace Windu = British P.M. Stanley Baldwin? [bald Windu]
Bail Organa = Neville Chamberlain? Woodrow Wilson?
Shmi [Hin. Lakshmi, goddess of beauty] = Burmese + Indian campaigns
Chancellor Finis Valorum [Fren. Finis:end; Lat. valorum:strength] = German Pres. Paul Von Hindenburg (ousted by Hitler)
"Enter the bureaucrats, the true rulers of the Republic" (Palpatine) = protection of colonial empires at the Versailles Conference, 1919
Manufactured scandal + vote of no confidence = underhanded political maneuvers by Nazi Party + enacting of repressive voting laws
Darth Maul = S.A. leader Ernst Röhm + Nazi Party leader Gregor Strasser (both sacrificed by Hitler)
Speaker of the Senate Mas Amedda (Palpatine crony)[mass media] = Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels
Trade Federation Senator Lott Dod [Senators Trent Lott + Christopher Dodd] = Japanese Ambassador Nomura in Washington?
"I will not condone a course of action that leads to war" (Amidala) = Chamberlain's appeasement policies
Tatooine = Italian-Ethiopian war + North African campaign
Mos Espa [Moses] = Spanish Morocco (site of beginning of Spanish Civil War)
Eopie (Tatooine animal) = Ethiopia
Nubian spaceship = southern Egypt, site of British attack into Ethiopia
Tusken Raiders = bedouins
Hutts = black market profiteers
Watto [Arab. Wudu (archaic form of wadi):dry gulch] = Watu Gunung
Toydarian = Tunisia? German general Heinz Guderian?
Pod race = El Alamein?
Sebulba = Sidi Barrani (Egyptian battle) + Bulgaria (allowed German troops to secretly mass on Greek border)? Erwin Rommel?
Tracing Padmé's ship to Tatooine = radio interception + Enigma decryption; radar; German spies in Egypt?
"We cannot use our powers to help her" (Qui-Gon, said of Amidala's efforts to enlist the Gungans) = American isolationism
Qui-Gon's pod race betting scam = American Lend-Lease?
"Almost everyone is in camps. A few hundred police and guards have formed an underground resistance movement" (Panaka) = resistance movements; Nazi reprisals; concentration camps
"The Federation army is much larger and much stronger..." (Panaka) = superiority of German military
"Let them make the first move" (Palpatine) = the Phony War; British advance into Belgium
Gungan energy shield = Maginot Line
Gungan Gen. Ceel = Operation Sea Lion (invasion of England)
Final Gungan battle (Federation tanks ordered to halt + bombard; infantry assault fails) = invasion of France + Dunkirk (panzers ordered to halt + bombard; Luftwaffe assault fails); successful evacuation of British army
Naboo pilots ("There are too few of us", Panaka) = RAF ("Never have so many owed so much to so few", Churchill)
Space battle with Trade Federation ships = Battle of Britain
Capture of Gunray = death of Yamamoto? defection of Rudolf Hess?
Destruction of Federation space station = sinking of the Bismark
WORLD WAR II REFERENCES IN ATTACK OF THE CLONES (film + novelization)
Amidala's transport ship = Ford Tri-motor airplane, Boeing 314 "Yankee Clipper" seaplane + Douglas DC 3 (C-47)
Dormé (handmaiden) [Fren. Dorme:sleep, dream]
Cordé (Amidala's double) [Fren. Corde:rope] = Charlotte Corday (warfare by assassination) + Cordova (Spanish Civil War)
Jango = Franco (Hitler's hired gun)
Murder of Cordé = assassinations of Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss + French For. Minister Barthou; pre-war beer hall bomb plot against Hitler
Senate intrigues = annexations of the Rhineland + Sudetenland
Kamino (oceanic planet) = Sweden (Vikings + 17th century naval power)
Kaminoan physiognomy = specifically designed from sea horse + seal
Tipoca City on Kamino = specifically designed from North Sea oil platforms
Stark white Tipocan interiors = Ikea (Netherlands)
Kamino cloners = collaboration of Swedish arms industry (Bofors Munitions sold AA guns to Allies + Axis; after destruction of Schweinfurt ball bearing plant by 8th AF, stocks were replenished by Swedish + Swiss manufacturers); Joseph Mengele?
Geonosis droid factory [Greek geo:earth; gnosis:knowledge] = Norwegian iron mines
Death Star plans = Norwegian heavy water plant? V-1 + V-2?
Kamino + Geonosis = secret German pre-war rearmament programs conducted in foreign countries (esp. U.S.S.R.)
Sifo-Dyas = S.D. (Gestapo)?
InterGalactic Banking Clan = collaboration of Swiss banks + I.G. Farben Industries
Commerce Guild, Corporate Alliance, Banking Clan + Techno Union = blizzard of pre-war diplomatic pacts + alliances
Separatist Movement = German factionalism + expansionism; Aryan racism
Confederation of Independent Systems = Axis Powers + C.S.A.
"Grand Army of the Republic" = Napoleonic French army + former title of the Army of the Potomac
"I will not let this Republic that has stood for a thousand years..." (Palpatine) = Thousand Year Reich speech by Hitler
Emergency powers for Supreme Chancellor = Hitler supersedes Reichstag + declares martial law (verbatim phrase used by Reichstag)
Tusken Raider massacre (note Mos Espa rickshaw + Chinese music) = Nanking massacre
"I killed them all...and not just the men but the women and children too. They're animals and I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them." (Anakin) = official exhortation to the Japanese Army to "burn all, loot all, kill all"
"Nute Gunray is still the Viceroy of the Trade Federation. I fear the Senate is powerless to resolve this crisis." (Bibble) = inability of the League of Nations to curb Japanese + German incursions
Archduke Poggle the Lesser (Geonosis leader; note subtle Scandinavian accent)[boggle? quizzical?] = Archduke Ferdinand + Vidkun Quisling
Techno Union = Czechoslovakia + Soviet Union
Techno Union Rep. Wat Tambor [Angkor Wat empire + Mt. Tambora] = conquest of SE Asia + Dutch East Indies
Corporate Alliance Magistrate Passel Argente [30 pieces of silver] = Baron Krupp?
Commerce Guild Pres. Shu Mai [Jap. Shobai:business] = Mao Tse Tung? Chiang Kai-shek? Burma (note costume)?
Gilramos Libkath (aide to Gunray) = Wilhelm Liebknecht + Rosa Luxemburg (German Socialist agitators)
Count Dooku = Stalin (Dzugashvili)
"This had nothing to do with me." (Dooku) = Stalin's denials about deportation + execution of Poles (esp. Katyn Forest)
"Signing this treaty will bring you profit beyond your wildest imagination." (Dooku) = systematic looting of conquered lands
Sly Moore (aide to Palpatine) = Himmler + Bormann?
Kamino P.M. Lama Su = Malaya + Sumatra
Taun We (aide to Lama Su) = Taiwan (Formosa); Tarawa?
Geneticist Ko Sai = Okinawa + Saipan
Naboo Queen Jamillia = Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (evacuated by British Navy)
Capt. Typho [typhoon] = Polynesian islands
Jocasta Nu (librarian) [Jocasta (mother of Oedipus)]
Missing entry in the Jedi library + missing star in galactic map = Neville Chamberlain's "blank paper" peace pronouncement
Republic Senator Ister Paddie = Ireland
Malastare Senator Ask Aak (political flack) = "ack ack" (flak)
Amidala's costumes = Slavic peasant dresses
Refugees on freighter = displaced persons + political refugees (note costumes)
Watto helmet = British doughboy
Zam Wesell helmet = French + Italian helmets
"Blind we are if creation of this clone army we could not see." (Yoda) = Churchill's inability to rouse serious pre-war opposition to Hitler
Sonic charges = depth charges; Battle of the Atlantic?
Geonosis arena = Roman Coliseum
Combat machines = panzers + aircraft
Clone army (all white) = Waffen S.S. (all black)
Stalgasin Colony (Poggle's hive) = Stalingrad + Helsinki
Geonosis battle = Russo-Finnish war; invasions of Poland + Russia
Clone army victory over droids = disbanding of S.A. + conversion into S.S.; destruction of Polish + Russian armies
Destruction of Federation fleet on Geonosis surface = Pearl Harbor?
Palpatine/Dooku alliance = 1939 German-Russian Nonagression Pact
Final shot of clones boarding Star Destroyers = specifically designed from footage of Nuremburg rallies
"A shroud of the Dark Side has fallen." (Yoda) = "The lamps are going out across Europe" (British For. Sec. Grey, 1914) + Iron Curtain speech (Churchill, 1946)
King Veruna abdication - Wallace
Kaminoan physiognomy - Vaz
Tipoca City - Vaz
Clones boarding Destroyers - Vaz
PREDICTIONS for Episode III
*A planet, city or character will be named "Voncy" (or something similar)
*Clone-piloted kamikazes will play a small but important role
*There will be an assassination attempt against Palpatine
*Dooku will die on Tatooine, creating a Dark Side phenomenon which will conceal the presence of Obi-Wan and Luke during the Jedi pogrom
The 5/7 First Friday in June began with Judy gaveling. "It's 9:15 by my watch. For one month more, we go by my watch. If you want us to go by your watch..." Bill said, no, no! Madeleine broke out with a call for "Four More Years!" Sec Sam said the next meeting was at the Madigans.
Bob reported $1,658.50. Someone asked when we will be getting the World Fantasy Convention money. Mike Walsh said, "We got money. Wait for Bob's Windows to come up." Bob said we will be getting a "smidgen over $40K" Mike said, "We're still waiting for advertising, that's another $10K. But there's still a few things to pay for." Mike said there's a mailing we need to do for those who couldn't attend." Lee G. asked for the SWIG (Scientific Wild Guess). Bob said, "About $50K" There was a groan. Mike warned the members, "If you kill him, you have to do his job. We still have to get the billing out. Some are not responding to email." Lee expressed amazement at "The idea of just throwing out K as a number..." But club members are used to working for the federal government, said Sam Schneider.
Alexis for the Entertainment committee said a 17-year-old tried to hold up a convenience store. The clerk protested, `I can't be held up by you. You're just 16.' The teen protested, `I am not.' So the clerk asked to see some ID; he did and the police were waiting for the robber when he got home."
Lee for the Activities Committee organized a film party to see Shrek 2 on May 19th. Anyone interested? People were. She's been unable to talk to the WETA volunteer coordinator because people are quitting. The Film Institute wants a list of films. She'll start up a Yahoo group for discussions. See Lee offline.
Capclave present has had surgery so hasn't had time to do a lot. Capclave Future met with the hotel and the director of hotel sales. They will put together an offer but said the hotel business is really picking up. His preference would be to stay at the Tyson's Corner Marriott.
Keith said he saw a complaint on-line about Disclave being difficult to get to by public transit this year. He replied saying yes, it is too bad that time machines aren't connected to transportation. Lee said, "Go back and tell them about Capclave." Keith said, "I did." Lee promised. "If he shows up, I'll kiss Keith in Opening Ceremonies." Keith said, "His name is Osama." Sam S said we need people to come sit at the Capclave table at Balticon to get people to come. Lee said, "We'll take turns sitting in people's laps. Judy asked, "How many members". Alexis said 23.
Judy for SMOFcon reported that Peggy Rae said Colleen is doing a restaurant guide. Hal Haag is doing programming. There's a special $40 rate for WSFAns and BSFS. It will be in DC at the Wyndham Hotel in Thomas Circle on the first weekend of December. SMOFcon is a convention on how to run conventions. Sam S called it, "A very well run convention."
Keith for publications reported that everything is all moved to Panix. But there are problems with canceling hosting.com. They need the account number which we never had. They said they wanted us to pay through May. I said no. [What can they do, cancel our account?] He has a copy of the constitution up but is not sure it is right. Someone suggested he check to see if it starts, "We the people..."
Steve Smith for the trustees reports. We have an election. We will adjourn the meeting and the treasurer will read the roll. Anyone who for some unaccountable reason not on the list will pay. Then the leader will explain the Australian ballot. Judy asked about the slate. Keith said the trustees' slate is: For President Sam Lubell. For VP Cathy Green. For Secretary Keith Lynch. Treasurer is Bob in the corner. Trustees are Steve, Barry and Adrienne. For Capclave '06 we have Elspeth.
Old business: Someone asked about membership cards. Bob said, "We used to do membership cards, but ran out and our treasury was low so I didn't renew." There was a call to get cards. Someone said, "We don't need cards." There was a big debate. Ernest suggested printing them out on a laser printer. Sam Lubell said that it was in the constitution but Judy said this was one of the things she changed as part of moving to a 501(c)(4). She'll check her old computer. Elspeth suggested waiting until we find the correct constitution. Lee suggested that we table the matter. Mike Walsh said, "Fold the Cards"
Keith said he has a version of our constitution up online but have some questions. In 1998 John Pomeranz gave a handout of changes but some of the changes aren't up in this version. This is a problem for the election as we changed from electing one trustee at a time to all at once. Judy said she remembers making that change since we were tired of electing trustees one at a time. Keith said it is also missing the line about not lobbying and Judy was surprised since John was very insistent about that change. She explained the difference between the charter filed with Maryland and the bylaws. She asked if there were any objections to going by her recollection and electing all the trustees at once. There were no such objections. Sam S. asked if we could do it by electronic ballot or just the regular one.
For new business Sam Lubell asked for permission to produce an extra-large issue for his final. The club said yes. Lee said someone has to oppose it for it to be legal. Keith pointed out that Don Miller had an issue of 130 pages and asked if we would try to beat that. Mike Walsh asked, "How big a font size?"
There was talk about putting money in the hat. Lee said that WSFA has the attention of an ant. Rebecca has Mensa newsletters. Goddard program on the Hubble. NASA is looking into fixing it via a robot. Bob said the train to Worldcon has been cancelled.
Jim Kling said he asked Ivy to marry him. Inexplicably she agreed. Time and location to be determined. INS will have a lot to do with it. <Sorry Jim, but can you imagine her introducing herself under her new name? The conversation will go like this. "Hi, who are you?" "Ivy Kling" "Yes, it does, but who are you?" >
Mike Walsh says he has signed contracts and will have five books out at Worldcon. Pangborn's Davy and Mirror for Observers, plus Simak's City and Waystation. All long out of print. Lloyd Alexander sent a handwritten note about liking the Limekiller books.
WSFA frightened off another newcomer. Ernest said, "It would be nice to have members with such good judgment." The meeting unanimously adjourned at 9:59. Steve Smith then took charge and banged to start the election. WSFA uses a modified Australian ballot with an instant run-off. For president, Samuel Lubell was elected by acclamation but Bill Lawhorn abstained. He was told that a good drycleaner can take care of that stain. Cathy Green was acclaimed as Vice-president. For secretary Lee nominated Alexis. He declined respectfully (but Bill said it was defiantly) Keith Lynch was acclaimed as secretary. For treasurer Eric nominated Mike Walsh. He considered it for all of a second, "Eat kitty litter and die." Bob was acclaimed. There was a real election for trustees. The slate was Steve, Barry, and Adrienne. Sam nominated Lee Gilliland. Elspeth nominated Ernest. The trustees' slate won. The nomination for the chair of Capclave 06 took place while ballots were being counted. There was some dispute over whether those counting ballots would object to not having a voice in the selecting of the chair. Elspeth said, "I doubt it. I dated two out of three of them." Bill made a lewd remark about how she made her way to the top. Elspeth was elected by acclamation. Lee said, "I think Elspeth will make a great chair and some of you have dirty minds."
The new officers start in first week of June. Meeting adjourned unanimously at 10:30..
By Madeleine Yeh
This was made for WSFA meeting in 2003 due to a certain person who was trying to avoid eating sugar. Its based on a very old, at least 47 year old, Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe given to me by Wendell Barrett. He got the recipe from his wife and gave it to me.
The modified recipe only uses 2 teaspoons of sugar and uses dried fruit instead of candied citrus peel. I did a double recipe in 2003 and a single recipe in 2004. Ingredient list is for the double recipe. The half recipe is slightly different, in 2004 I did this in a single day not overnight. It was also made after Lent so having a cross frosting was not required.
1/2 cup mashed potato
1 3/4 cups warm milk
1/4 cup potato water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cardamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cloves
about 1 - 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups dried fruit ( currants, dates, dried cherries, etc )
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sponge: Cut up a potato and boil it. Mash in a ricer. Save 1/4 cup of water for the sponge. Save 1/2 cup packed mash potato.
Mix the milk, sugar, mashed potatoes and 2 cups white whole wheat flour together. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup potato water. Let the yeast sit until bubbles are visible. Mix into the sponge. Beat the sponge with a spoon until no lumps are visible and the yeast is well mixed in. Cover the bowl and place in a good place to rise. Let rise overnight in the refrigerator or an hour or so at room temperature, or a couple of hours in a cool place.
Dough: Beat the 4 eggs into the sponge. Stir together the sugar, salt, spices and 4 cups of flour. Mix this into the dough. Stir in flour a couple of spoonfuls at a time until no more flour can be stirred into the dough with a spoon and rubber scraper. Cover the dough and let sit for awhile. 10 minutes will do but I've been known to put it in a cool place and let rise for a couple of hours. Turn into kneading board and knead until it feels right. Knead in more flour as needed. It should be bouncy and elastic. Knead in the butter a little bit at a time. Knead until all the butter is well incorporated. Mix the fruit together and knead it in. The dough will be moister at this point as the butter includes water.
Let the dough rise until double. Punch down and knead some more to make sure the fruit is well distributed. Form into 30 balls and place on 1/2 sheet baking pan. Place in large storage container and let rise overnight.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees for 10 minutes. bake buns for 15 minutes until nicely brown. Let cool.
Mix the confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla to make the icing. Place in plastic bag to allow piping the icing into a cross. Take icing and buns separately to WSFA. Let sugar avoiders eat buns unfrosted.
By Alexis Gilliland
The lawyer smiled and composed its expressive hands over the manila folder on the polished mahogany desk top. "The deal is clearly to your advantage," it said smoothly. "Your fraternity has three chapters in Indiana, two chapters in Ohio, two in Illinois and--if you get established in Kentucky--the Kappa Gamma Phi will have a piddling total of eight chapters nationwide. You should be grateful for the philanthropic interest my client is taking in your small time midwestern social club--pardon, fraternity--and yet you appear apprehensive and ill at ease. What seems to be your problem?"
Burton W. Randolph, National President of the Kappa Gamma Phi Alumni Association, looked dubious. The tastefully elegant security door had an engraved brass plaque proclaiming Don Carlos Mendoza Cervantes y Quixote an Attorney at Law. The receptionist had been beautiful and well spoken. The law office was opulent, deliberately impressive, with twelve foot ceilings, walnut paneling and a wall of glass overlooking the river. Nothing, however, not the heirloom oriental carpet nor the ornately framed original artwork had prepared him for dealing with a robot. "I don't understand why you want to change our initiation procedures, Mister-uh-Cervantes."
"Call me Carlos if you would prefer, or Don Carlos. The informality does not bother me, and I try to accomodate the people I deal with. Would you prefer to be called Burton or Burt?"
The president looked slightly pained. He was still young enough that he needed to stand on his dignity. "Call me Mister Randolph, please."
"Of course, Mister Randolph. Your question was . . . ?"
"Why are you doing this?"
The robot smiled easily. "On behalf of my client."
"I think Mister Randolph wants to know what your client is up to," said Jack Mayer. He was a graduate law student, recently admitted to the consolidated bar for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, who was acting as counsel for the Fraternity in exchange for his room and board. "Why do you want to revise our initiation?"
"The revision is the slightest of modifications, Mister Mayer, and a perfectly legal one. Considering what you'll be getting, your fraternity should jump at the chance."
"Painting the scrotum with methylene blue antiseptic is no problem, Don Carlos, but a stab in the testicle isn't a slight modification, even if it is legal."
"The needle biopsy will be done by a registered nurse, Mister Mayer, a safe procedure, albeit a scary one--made scarier by talking it up to the pledges, I have no doubt--and the tissue sample thus taken will be physically stored in liquid nitrogen, together with the names, photos, DNA identification, and biographies of the donors--the last to be maintained over the lifetime of the donor. Legally, the tissue sample will be stored in escrow, which means that it can't be used without the consent of the party of the first part, my client, and the party of the second part, the tissue donor."
"I understand. What happens when the tissue donor dies?"
The robot looked amused. "It would be appropriate to bury him, I suppose. To answer your somewhat imprecise question, the donor's interest in the tissue sample having come to its natural end, the escrow dissolves with the rights to the sample reverting to the party of the second part."
"That's slavery," said Mayer.
"Incorrect, sir. Human tissue stored in liquid nitrogen is not a person unless it is a unique individual, the body or at least the head of that individual, or, following Williams et al v. NIH, a blastoderm, or a fertilized ovum. A tissue sample from a living individual may serve a myriad of purposes but any rights of the sample are subsumed by the rights of its donor, so when the donor expires, his rights also expire. The tissue sample, which had always been property, remains property instead of becoming a person."
"When a person becomes property, that's slavery."
"You humans have strange ideas about a lot of things," Carlos replied. "For example, I am a legal person because I am incorporated as a corporation of which I am the sole asset, and I am a free person, because I own more than half my total stock. But it is perfectly proper to buy and sell my stock, and if--God forbid--I should lose control of my corporation, I would for all practical purposes become a slave."
A pause as Jack Mayer considered the statement. "Well--ah--yes, but meaning no offense, Don Carlos, you are a robot and not a human being. Your personhood is a legal fiction, while a human is a person from the instant the sperm penetrates the ova."
"An interesting sidebar, Mister Mayer. However, the personhood of a fertilized ovum is also a legal fiction, relying on the theological theory that at the moment of conception, a human soul is formed. Absent that hypothetical soul, the bit of tissue in question is a few pounds and some longish period of development short of anything remotely like personhood. You humans believe what you want to believe, and vote accordingly; the law may be shaped by the reality of that vote if the objective reality is insufficiently assertive. Now it may be there has been some confusion since the tissue in question is to be stored in liquid nitrogen."
Mayer's eyebrows went up. "How so?"
"Religion, of course, though not the same religion that attributes personhood to a freshly fertilized ovum. In the search for a real, palpable life everlasting, the doctrines of The Cryonicist Church have conferred mystical powers upon the liquid nitrogen they use for storing their dead."
"Excuse me, Don Carlos, the cryonicists are as secular as they come."
"Times change, Mister Mayer. They organized themselves as a church for tax purposes a few years back, and at least some of them have been discussing their theology on the internet ever since."
"Nobody pays attention to those idiots--what sort of theology?"
"The belief that cold, dead bodies will be revived, healed and made whole by the kindness of strangers in some mystically advanced future is clearly an act of faith. After a while the faithful begin to prettify the picture, and without a central authority to tell them no, they will become that central authority. However, even when stored in the most mystical of liquid nitrogen, a testicular tissue sample does not qualify as a person. Therefore, since it was never a person, our tissue sample simply changes from property held in escrow to property owned in fee simple."
"Point taken," said Mayer at last. "What do you want it for?"
"My client does not wish to share that information, I'm afraid. However, that "it" of yours is a very slippery pronoun. We have been talking about one singular individual sample. Consider rather a collection of such samples, say 100 samples a year for 100 years, a total of 10,000 samples, each with the life history of the young man from which it was taken."
"You mean like a sperm bank?" Randolph was familiar with sperm banks from his freshman year at Berkeley.
"Essentially," replied Carlos. "The main difference being that testicular tissue freezes better than sperm, so such tissue can be revived and made to produce viable sperm long after regular sperm would have passed its expiration date. A minor difference is that one knows the trajectory of the donor's life. Something every newly married couple must take a chance on, hoping for the best in their chosen partners."
"Then your sperm bank is for holding really long term deposits?"
"Yes, Mister Mayer. We hope to create a sperm bank as close to eternal as can be managed. And, of course, if one sperm is not a person, then neither are a few million, so the question of slavery never arises."
"So why did you come to us?"
The robot lawyer spread its hands. "The Kappa Gamma Phi started off as a chess playing fraternity--the Greek letters stood for King's Gambit Forever--and eventually found itself a niche role serving semi-jocks who liked to play cards and computer games."
The president scowled. "What do you mean, semi-jocks?"
"Look at the people you recruit, Mister Randolph, non-scholarship athletes, run of the mill track and field guys, students who are playing at sports instead of working for a sports career. Some of them are even outstanding; the Purdue Chapter recently had a ballroom dancer who reached the quarterfinals in the Viennese waltz at the National Championship."
"Norman should have gone all the way," said Randolph. "The judges--" he checked himself. "Never mind. We do look for physical fitness, yes, but semi-jocks is a slam from the athletic department which only wants to support stuff that makes them really big money."
"My apologies, sir. I'd heard the description and thought it apt. Academically, your people tend to be bright but unmotivated, distinguished mainly by the joy they take in playing--which is not an insult, but a taxonomic description. There are several similar fraternities we could have approached--and may yet approach--but we liked your style, and your balance sheet suggested you could be more easily persuaded than some of the others."
"It's no secret that the fraternity has cash flow problems," conceded Mayer. "On the other hand, the board wants to know what you guys are up to before they sign on to this deal you're pushing at us."
Carlos smiled and leaned back in its chair. "That is my client's business, of course, and I have not been made privy to any long range strategy, but. Have you read Richard Shenier's Walking To The Stars?"
"I'm familiar with it from the talk shows," said Randolph.
"That will do. Shenier lists several things that would be necessary if not sufficient for launching what he calls a "seed ship" to some of the nearer star systems, and one of them is an artificial womb that would take a person from a fertilized ova to a full term infant. A consortium is funding the development of such a system on Taiwan."
"Is that the Islamic Fundamentalist group that wants to reproduce without women?"
"They are part of the consortium, yes. The seventy two virgins promised in Paradise are already available as a suite of very upscale sex toys, so this is the next logical step towards creating heaven on earth."
The robot shook its head. "No, Mister Randolph, misogynist perhaps, but not disgusting. If a culture is going to treat women as sex toys, it would seem far more humane to use real sex toys."
"Sex toys, feh. Pfui! What good do the vile things do?"
"That depends on whom you ask. The verisimilitude of my own human appearance--essential for any lawyer--is the direct result of work by the sex toy industry."
"While we human lawyers are stuck with plastic surgery," laughed Jack Mayer, who had celebrated passing the bar by getting a nose job. "An interesting sidebar, Don Carlos. Is your client a member of the consortium in question?"
"My client may or may not belong to the consortium, Mister Mayer, but is very likely aware of their research. There has been speculation, unfounded so far as I know, that the problem of raising such an infant--or infants, human children having evolved to thrive in groups--is under study elsewhere. Some of the less controversial items on Shenier's wish list are, in fact, being studied in the United States."
Randolph shook his head. "Come on, sir, what has all this to do with sperm banks?"
"Activated after centuries or millennia of dormancy, the artificial womb Shenier envisions would require viable sperm and viable ova to function," replied Carlos. "Maybe this is not what my client has in mind, and even if it is, a walk to the stars may never happen for all sorts of reasons. My client, who is paying out the money, has no guarantee of success, just as your fraternity has no guarantee that the testicular tissue samples which you are undertaking to provide will be put to any use at all, let alone a good use."
"Any use you can think of couldn't be much worse than the way our frat brothers have been spreading their sperm around freehand," said Mayer at last. "Burt, I say take the money and run."
"What do we tell the board?"
"Give them copies of Walking To The Stars and tell them that it has to be a long shot for our anonymous philanthropist, but there's no reason WE can't take his--or its--money."
Randolph shifted in his black leather chair. "For what, Jack? Why do we want to hook up with this outfit?"
"Get real, Burt! To open the chapter in Louisville and take care of our deferred maintenance! Our pledges will be needled for the good of the fraternity, and who knows, maybe for the good of humanity as well. Don't turn up your nose at little posthumous nookie."
"After a mystical millennia in mystical liquid nitrogen, any sort of nookie would seem to be out of the question," Randolph observed dryly.
Carlos laughed. "You take reproductive success any way you can get it, Mister Randolph. Do we have a deal?"
"I think so," was the guarded reply. "It looks like the way to bet, anyway. The board wanted to accept your offer, if they could. Once I can tell them we aren't plugging into any hot wire issues, they'll go for it." A pause. "Is your client really looking to take a walk to the stars?"
"Officially, I don't know," said the robot. "Unofficially, I think--I think it's a definite maybe, but don't quote me."
By Michael Swanwick
Pleasantville, N.Y. : Dragon Press, 2000
A review by Colleen R. Cahill
There is something charming about a short-short story. The brevity of the work makes it essential to be to the point and when Michael Swanwick turns his hand to such, he also adds humor, satire and style. In Puck Aleshire's Abecedary, Swanwick takes us to interesting places with only a few words.
These twenty seven stories (one for each letter of the alphabet, plus one) are a mix of themes. From the luxurious conditions in "A is for Albany" to the wonder of Clark Ashton Smith's writing in "Z is for Zothique", each story is a burst of energy and a nugget of fun. But these are not just lighthearted vignettes. You don't have to read too deeply to see the edge, such as in "Y is for Youth". Swanwick denies the Hollywood view of vampires, who are actually "bald and wrinkled and have waxy skin", along with smelling very bad. Your nose is tweaked when he reveals they control the movie industry, which they use to project a sexy image for their kind and thus find willing victims for their appetites of human youth. What made me pause is the end line where the satisfied vampires proclaim "We owe it all to our fans"; I thought of several other kinds of vampires that might make the same statement.
Strangely, the one of the main things these stories have in common (other than their short length) is that each topic is so different from the other. Oh, each is in a similar style, but the subject matter is unique. From the sad life of King Kong after his star has waned to the wonders of Virtual Food, these ideas bounce around, but each stands alone and does not need anything from the others. This is quite an accomplishment and adds to the enjoyment of the stories, as each will take you to a new thought.
Since the total work is only 28 pages, it is easy to finish in one sitting, but there is no need to rush. Taking time to savor each one adds more to the experience. And even though these are only a paragraph or three, they are also worth revisiting. Partly you will want to ponder the bursts of insight Swanwick presents, but also to have a chuckle again at a quip. Nothing is safe from this author's wit, be it language to time to Joe Haldeman.
Each story is illustrated with a letter that Kathryn Cramer has embellished to hint at the theme of the piece. What is at first a strange bit of art becomes more relevant, often reflecting the feel of the work.
Although you may have to spend time tracking this chapbook down, it is well worth the hunt. I recommend these micro-slices of life, as their twists entertain, but also give a new view to a subject: one that you might not have seen.
From the April, 2004 Alexiad:
by Neal Stephenson http://www.nealstephenson.com
New York: William Morrow, 2003
A review by Colleen R. Cahill
Most often, I am reading on two or more books at the same time, picking up each as suits my mood. When I got the latest Neal Stephenson book, Quicksilver, I knew this one was a book stopper. A book stopper, in that I had to put aside all others and read just one book, because a Stephenson book is dense and I do not mean in size. Yes, there are many pages, but the flow of ideas, language and characters is so interesting, I am swept in and cannot look at another story until I am finished. So for a week or so, I have reveled in the world of alchemy, conquest, politics, science, commerce, sex, intrigue, and religion, taking in the mix of history and fiction that Stephenson weaves so well.
The seventeenth century was a time of change, with the first steps in modern government, commerce and science. Daniel Waterhouse lives on the edges of these great transformations in England, having seen the execution of Charles I through the beginning of William of Orange's reign. In 1713, Waterhouse lives in Massachusetts and has been called back to settle a dispute over calculus by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, as Waterhouse was the college roommate of former and friend to the latter. Although a Puritan, Waterhouse is also a scientist, one who is under the shadow of brighter stars in the field. Much of the story is his memories of the past as he travels on ship from America to England, or at least tries to: Waterhouse's ship is being stalked by the pirate Blackbeard.
In a second thread, we meet "Half-cocked Jack" Shaftoe, who is part of the forces driving the Ottomans out of Vienna. While securing some loot, Jack also rescues Eliza, an escapee from a Turkish harem. These two set out for freedom and riches, Jack through the role of the King of the Vagabonds and Eliza through trade and espionage. From Vienna, the pair travel through the ruins of Bohemia, to Leipzig and Amsterdam. Jack is suffering from syphilis, which he expects to drive him mad at any time. Eliza has not only a keen mind and beauty, but knows all the skills of a finely trained harem member. The duo experience many ups and downs, and one's path leads to destruction while the other finds powerful friends and dangerous tasks.
This is not a book to be picked up lightly. Not only is heavy by weight and words, it is thick with ideas and events. The characters move quickly through places and times, sometimes making the story a wild ride. And if the names sound familiar to those of you who have read Cryptonomicon, it is because these are the ancestors of Bobby Shaftoe and Randy Waterhouse. Even Enoch Root makes several appearances and having checked out Stephenson's MetaWeb site, it is clear this is the same man who obviously lives a very long time. The website also makes it clear that these two books are related: hopefully the next two books in The Baroque Cycle, which are due out this year, will reveal more about these connections.
Quicksilver is a long, deep read, but one I highly recommend. Between his grasp of history, strong characters and sense of humor, Stephenson has crafted a book worth spending a week or two reading.
Reviewed by Lee/3/Right
Larry Niven once theorized that use of time machines would inevitably lead to a universe in which no time machines were ever invented. Sort of like the plot of this film.
Computer reverse engineer Martin Jennings is hired to invent a new computer for a project so secret that his memory is wiped once he's finished. No problem since he expects to collect a gigantic paycheck for his apparently successful work. To his dismay, he discovers that he apparently forfeited said check in exchange for a meaningless collection of everyday items. However, by following the clues, he discovers that he invented a time viewing machine and World War IV. Horrified, he dodges his sinister former employer's incompetent gunmen and an unsympathetic Attorney General to undo his work.
This film's production values are very good, and the logic mostly works. However, it left a bad taste in my mouth for several reasons. The fictional science rationalizing time viewing was stunningly bad. (Hint: If you build a "laser lens" that can view the "light that has traveled around the universe," you will be looking at the remote past, not the near future.) The story is much shorter than the movie but is padded out with silly incidents, hackneyed relationships, and gratuitous gunfire and property destruction. The extended chase in which the hero uses foreknowledge and apparently minor items to foil pursuit reminded me a LOT of Minority Report by the same author. And my political antennae quivered a lot at the portrayal of the post-9/11 government agents who, apparently, are supposed to ignore intelligence that would enable the United States to prevent World War IV.
The interested fan would be better off ignoring this trite film. I rate Paycheck as ««½ on the 5 star scale. -- LS
New Line/Wingnut Films, 2003
Reviewed by Sue and Lee Strong
"How long was this movie?" -- Sue Strong
"Three hours, forty minutes." -- Lee Strong
"Well, the middle two and a half hours was wonderful." -- Sue
And, of course, Sue is right. The splendid climax to Professor Tolkien's magnificent epic of good and evil starts somewhat slowly and then finishes slowly, but the net result is pure magic.
The story picks up where we left off at the end of The Two Towers and marches forward from there. Guided by the cunning and treacherous Gollum, Frodo and Sam cautiously enter the nightmare land of Mordor, attempting, sometimes successfully, sometime not, to avoid orcs, wyverns, giant spiders and other menaces along the way. The other characters unite and begin to converge on the city of Minas Tirith, capital of the principal kingdom of Men, and now the target of Sauron's all-out assault. New threats emerge but also new allies as the final battle for Middle-Earth begins. All of the chief characters show their heroism, loyalty and love of freedom and each other as skies darken and the earth shakes in token of the Great Eye's ever tightening grip. Nor are the evil forces neglected in telling displays of individual feeling and style.
This is a really tremendous film with brilliant direction, plot and character development, and plenty of color and action. Middle-Earth comes vividly to life as we return to the great struggle for freedom. Will the courage of Men fail before the hordes of monsters? Can Frodo destroy the Ring of Power, or will the original Evil Empire hold dominion until the ending of the world?
That said, Return does not quite reach the heights of its predecessors. The battles of Minas Tirith and the Black Gate seemed somewhat repetitious, especially compared to the previous battle of Helm's Deep. And the sheer length of the movie -- despite the surgical removal of several interesting episodes from the book -- created a conflict between heart and kidney.
Still, we recommend following your heart back to Middle-Earth. We rate The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as «««« on the 5 star scale. -- SS and LS
Written by Harry Turtledove
Published New York, United States: Ballantine/DelRay, 2002
Reviewed by Lee Strong
This is the sixth novel set in one of Mr. Turtledove's two Confederate survival alternate history universes but not his best work.
The series that includes the dreadful How Few Remain, the interesting Great War subseries, and the adequate American Empire: Blood and Iron now reaches the Weimar Republic era of the alternate timeline. This novel is a rather sprawling attempt to look at the many lives of Canadian, Confederate and United States Americans affected by the aftermath of the Great War of 1914-17 and the beginning of the Great Depression. The main story IMHO is the rise of Jake Featherson to the Confederate Presidency - a rather obvious knockoff of Adolf Hitler (who makes a brief appearance as an Imperial German liaison to Germany's US allies). This has a certain power that may appeal to history buffs but I found it rather blah because Turtledove hews so closely to our history's script that it became easy to predict his fictional events. It's hard to maintain reader interest when the plot is completely predictable. The rest of the 497 pages are filled with human interest stories that don't contribute that much interest. Peace has failed to provide Mr. Turtledove with a successful novel. We must repose our hopes in a second appeal to arms.
I rate American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold as ««½ on the five star scale. -- LS
The Burning Land by Victoria Strauss
Avon/Eos 496 pgs. List price $24.95
Review by Samuel Lubell
Author Victoria Strauss is trying to do something beyond the ordinary fantasy quest in her novel The Burning Land. While she does not quite pull it off, she should certainly get credit for writing seriously about religion, faith, and belief.
The book has perhaps an overly complex background. Its prologue tells the story of the creation of the world by the god Ârata, his fight with the dark god, and his long sleep to heal himself in the wasteland that became the Burning Land. As Ârata slept evil entered the world and so the god's spirit gave the First Messenger the principles of Ârata's religion, a crystal of the god's blood, and a prophecy of the Next Messenger who also would bear Ârata's blood. The actual story opens with the Âratists retaking control of their temple and the country from the secular Caryaxists. The book's main character, Gyalo, is given the assignment to go into the Burning Land and find a group of Âratists who had been banished into the desert. Gyalo is a Shaper, who is required by the Church to use a special drug to control his magical power to create objects through force of will. The Âratists fear that some of the exiled Âratists may be out-of-control Shapers, who do not limit their use of their power to religious rituals as the Church-controlled Shapers have since the ancient Shaper wars. But storms, desert conditions, and mutiny leave Gyalo and a few others unable to survive unless Gyalo breaks his vow and the rules of the Church to use his Shaper powers for personal ends.
Meanwhile the descendents of the banished live in their Refuge from the demons they think have taken over everywhere else but the Burning Land. Only Axane, who has kept her power to dream true Dreams secret, has seen beyond the Dream-veil protecting the Refuge and realized that the world is populated not by demons but humans like herself. The people of the Refuge have their own legend that someday the Next Messenger will come to lead them out of exile. So when Gyalo arrives many are convinced that he is the Next Messenger while others fear he is a fake created by the demons to destroy Refuge. For his part, Gyalo is shocked by the various heresies the secluded group had developed until he sees the empty cave that the people of Refuge are certain was the resting place of Ârata - meaning that the god must now be awake.
Strauss does several interesting things here. First, she has created a situation in which neither group has all of the correct story. And the reader never finds out how much of these myths are true. Another innovative twist is the question of whether Gyalo really is the Next Messenger. He is convinced he is not but the prophecy keeps falling into place by sheer accident. Unfortunately, the author could have done more to show his internal questioning over this question. Also, although much is made of Gyalo's breaking of his vow and his acceptance of the consequences, the author fails to show the internal struggle convincingly. Strauss tells what happens but never lets the reader feel Gyalo's emotions and doubts.
There's a lengthy and largely unnecessary subplot about prisoners being used for mining that appears to be there largely to show increasing corruption and conflict between Church and State. And only Axane and Gyalo (and one other character late in the novel) emerge as real three-dimensional creations. Too many characters exist solely to manipulate these two and even Axane adapts remarkably easily to what should be an alien outside world once Gyalo takes her out of the Refuge.
Still, this book's strength is its willingness to break the usual patterns for fantasy novels. There is no quest to save the world and Gyalo never tries to become a religious revolutionary. Nor is there a typical romantic relationship as Gyalo is required to be celibate. Even the ending is not the typical happily ever after. In a genre full of "collect the plot coupon objects" and "farmboy becomes king/sorcerer" novels, it may be enough that The Burning Land tries to do something different with serious religious issues, even if, at least for this reader, the novel faltered in the execution of this goal. Review from sfrevu.com
Consequences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Roc / Penguin Putnam 384 pgs. List price $ 6.50
Review by Cathy Green
Consequences is the third novel in Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Edgar award nominated series about Retrieval Artist Miles Flint, who was first introduced in the Hugo Award winning novella "The Retrieval Artist". The first two books in the series, which deftly combine the science fiction and mystery genres, are The Disappeared and Extremes (SFRevu 0803). While the reader who has read the first two books will be more familiar with the background information about Miles Flint and his former partner police Det. Noelle DeRicci, lack of knowledge of the first two books will in no way hamper or diminish the reader's ability to enjoy Consequences. In fact, new readers (like me) will probably enjoy it enough to want to track down the other two, and Rusch provides enough background exposition that the new reader is never lost.
The book is set in an unspecified time in the future when Earth and worlds settled by humans are part of a vast interplanetary Alliance of human and non-human worlds. The rules of the Alliance require all members to respect the rules of all member worlds. Of course, many alien cultures are vastly different than ours, and definitions of crime differ as well. As a result, a person could find himself facing the death penalty because he stepped on a flower on another planet. As a result, organizations developed which would help people disappear and establish new identities on other worlds in order to escape unduly harsh punishments for actions that many would not consider a crime. Retrieval Artists are investigators who locate the Disappeared and reunite them with family if possible. Retrieval Artists work alone and trust no one, since the people they are trying to locate may have a price on their heads.
The book opens with an assassination on a distant world. At first this seems unrelated to the rest of the story, but as the plot develops, it becomes clear how it ties in. Having started literally with a bang, the scene then shifts to Miles Flint as he is uniting Carolyn Lahiri, a former disappeared with her parents in the city of Armstrong on Earth's moon. Her parents had come to Miles when an amnesty on Etae had been declared which would allow Carolyn, a former combatant in the various Etae wars to resume her identity. Shortly after being reunited, all the Lahiris are murdered and Det. DeRicci is assigned to the case, which is a political hot potato because Carolyn's parents were a prominent judge and doctor. DeRicci finds evidence that Flint was working for the Lahiris and visits him at his office, hoping he will assist her out of friendship, and also feeling that she owes him a heads up because they used to be partners on the police force. Flint refuses to help her because all the work he does as a Retrieval Artist must be done with the utmost secrecy. DeRicci is hurt and also a little angry at herself, since Flint is considered a suspect and her friendly heads up is going to be hard to explain, especially if Flint leaves Armstrong. Flint is upset by the death of his client and decides to investigate on his own, both to clear his name and to assure himself that he did not lead the assassin to the Lahiris. Also, being an honorable man, he feels he owes it to the Lahiris to find their killer.
In addition to the plot threads involving the simultaneous murder investigations of DeRicci and Flint, the third major plot thread involves a semi-secret meeting between Alliance ambassadors and representatives of the Etae government, which has requested admission to the Alliance. What the Etae government can offer in return for admission to the Alliance becomes a key plot point. The meetings are being held in Armstrong and complications ensue as the secret meetings become public knowledge. All three plot threads prove to be interrelated and are fairly neatly tied up in the last third of the book.
Both Miles Flint and Noelle DeRicci are interesting and likeable characters. Rusch ably weaves the various plot threads together. The internecine plotting and politics of the large interstellar Alliance are nicely developed. Rusch also clearly put a lot of thought into what the fallout of a bloody civil war like the one on Etae would be and the sort of difficulties the winning side would face in gaining acceptance and in dealing with the consequences of the actions that put them in power in the first place. In fact, the title of the book, Consequences, is the overall theme of the book, since everything that stems from the characters previous acts. Readers who enjoyed the previous books in the series will definitely want to read this one as well, and new readers should not be put off by the fact that it is the third in the series, since it works equally well as a stand-alone novel. From sfrevu.com
Cathy called the 5/21
meeting at Candy and John Madigan's to order with a "Yo everyone shut up!" But people continued to drown Cathy
out. At the last meeting there was talk
of a constitutional problem and Sam was elected president of
the world WSFA. Bob reported $1,178.50 and said the
insurance got paid. Colleen said,
"Yay! We can break things again." But Bob said, "NO!" Capclave future had nothing to report. Webmaster was not here. Eric for austerity said we still needed to
be austere. Buy food, bring money. Sam asked if people were interested in
volunteering at Balticon. Cathy said
she must have been drinking at the last year's Balticon. Sam said some WSFAns will volunteer.
Colleen asked for people to email her with their email and addresses. firstname.lastname@example.org for the address book. Sam gave his trademarked announcement one final time.
Chuck Divine wrote down his announcement: "The terror threat level for this weekend is Periwinkle with cyan-mauve plaid polka dots and an absolutely required six pack of Guinness. Saturday is Everyday is Wednesday's Red Line Irish Pub Crawl. People said his threat level made as much sense as what Homeland Security has come up. Mike Walsh said he may publish the Christopher Priest novel The Separation. Keith said the list of officers now goes back to 1947 and WSFA's first female officer was in the 1940s. Steve Smith's company is looking for a software tester. Elizabeth has a new job after five interviews. Bill Lawhorn will have an article in Occupational Outlook Quarterly. 9:39 the meeting was unanimously adjourned. Then the Gillilands walked in. Alexis said that a 1953 sf movie used cicadas for sound effects of the flying saucer. Lee had info on a Titanic auction.
by Lee Strong
Early 21st Century Common Era
The two men were studying a carefully annotated map of New York City when the cruise missile smashed thru a mudbrick wall into the room. Both heads jerked upward to see the sleek machine braking to a halt, retrorockets scorching the wall behind them. The heavy missile crashed to the floor, its Coalition of Nations/United States Air Force emblem upright.
The same thought flashed thru both minds: It's a dud! Or a hangfire! Both men leaped to their feet, intent on escape. But it was too late.
Smoothly machined hatches opened on the dorsal side of the missile. Flexibly telescoping tubes vomited forth, seeking the two men. The hindmost tube thrust up a box studded with glittering eyes. The older of the targeted men had an instant to recognize a television camera-microphone. Eblis take them! A camera means...!
From the other hatches sprang robotic arms, military grandchildren of the International space program's remote manipulators. One of them smashed blindly into the table legs but the others reached their targets. Steel alloy hands slapped both faces. Hard. Repeatedly. Both men jolted backwards, off balance, falling heavily to the floor. The robotic arms smoothly retracted into the missile. The camera continued to survey the room serenely.
The older men was the first to recover. He reached over and picked up a rug rolled up in the room's corner. He oriented it to the east - easily visible thru the gaping hole in the wall - and unfurled it. He placed himself carefully on the rug and knelt down.
The younger man was too furious to understand. "What are you doing?"
"Praying," responded his elder. "The real warhead will be here in about one minute."
The younger man screamed, "Satan take them! Why do the Americans do such things?"
The elder thought briefly of ignoring the question, but, sighing, remembered that the wise should instruct the ignorant. "It satisfies their perverted morals and their bestial desire for entertainment. This way, they can say that they gave us a minute to make peace with God." So saying, he attempted to do so.
The younger man was more worldly. "Entertainment? How does this provide them with entertainment?"
The older man smiled thinly. "The camera is still filming us." As the younger man stared at the machine, the camera slowly nodded up and down - a gesture familiar to generations poisoned by Hollywood's pornography.
The younger man hesitated for a second, but only a second. His cursing was eloquent, inventive and a tribute to a language rich in such things. The camera recorded it impassively.
When he ran down, his elder again attempted to recall him to prayer. "That does no good. The Americans will edit your description of their mothers out of their television broadcasts." The camera again nodded up and down.
The younger man was not defeated yet. He made a series of finger gestures not native to his culture but well understood around the world. The camera recorded it impassively.
His elder sighed. "The Americans will edit that out as well. Altho they fornicate casually, they are surprisingly puritanical about language."
The younger man was still not defeated. "Well, their bomb may kill me but they'll not see me run. I am no coward!" he declaimed.
The older man said simply, "The color of your pants tells a different story."
The camera nodded up and down.