Sunday, November 05, 2017

Heinlein Wanders In...

     Not the man himself, of course, or his shade, either; but I became curious about a book of essays to which had contributed,* and looked it up in the massive two-volume biography by William H. Patterson, Jr.,† which lead to reading around in the book (I am bad for following footnotes backwards into the text, in a "Hunh!  What prompted that?" sort of way).  Heinlein's an interesting writer and an interesting man, never terribly comfortable with his public image and rarely in as good health as he liked to have people think.
  
     Love him or loathe him, his influence looms large (and somewhat misunderstood) over SF, which he helped legitimize as literature while writing for a living and without even a hint of an MFA degree.
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 * I could swear he also contributed to a book on writing SF in the later 1940s or early '50s, which I located years ago at what was, at the time, a ruinous price; but I can't run the title to earth and it was about three desktop computers ago.

Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialog With His Century, a marvelous and very readable effort, for which Patterson's reward was to unexpectedly fall ill and die.  This is the kind of thing that leads to nihilism in the survivors.

10 comments:

D.W. Drang said...

The only way to be sure of everything Heinlein wrote is to spring for The Virginia Edition (as I'm sure you know.) It resides permanently on my Christmas/Birthday/Random Event list.
I see the price seems to have come down...

Roberta X said...

From $1500?

Monty James said...

And would Heinlein be nominated for any awards today? Nope.

Zendo Deb said...

Five rules? http://www.sfwriter.com/ow05.htm

"On The Writing Of Speculative Fiction," by Robert A. Heinlein.

Zendo Deb said...

That last was from 1947, so it might be what you're thinking of

D.W. Drang said...

Bobbi: Last time I looked it was $5K. $1500 is a lot easier to work into the budget.

ZD: Here's a link to a .pdf of "On The Writing Of Speculative Fiction," by Robert A. Heinlein.
The first link goes to an article on RAH's 5 Rules of Writing, which I saw as part of his James Forestall speech at Annapolis.

John said...

That reminds me to buy the Part 2.
Just got it used on Amazon and it is on the way.
Now I have to refresh by rereading Part 1.

I expected that retiring would finally give me enough time to read, but I found that having time to read has exposed me to a lot more authors and I am finding more and more to read. I just realized that is awesome and is not a reason for complaining.

Roberta X said...

Monty James: what would he be writing today? His work was being nominated for Hugos and Nebulas as late a Job: A Comedy of Justice.

Z.D., I only know that as a fairly short list of rules.

D.W.: It is, but I still haven't got it to spend. Thank you *very* much for the link.

Blackwing1 said...

One of the more startling (at least to me) take-aways of the Patterson biography was the fact that Heinlein had correspondence with Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane and gave him permission to use some of his material in a song. He also wrote to Kantner about their music indicating that he listened to it and liked it. It made me wonder if he was ever a Jethro Tull fan...

I'm not sure why that was so startling to me, but the idea that the authors of my youth were actual human beings rather than the god-like figures I supposed them to be is still a revelation.

Mike Doyle said...

I'll acknowledge that I, as Mr. Heinlein once had a character put it, "...am not an unbiased witness..." I grew up with his works. "The Green Hills of Earth
was the first thing of his that I can recall reading, and it marked me for life; I read Stranger in a Strange Land when I was twelve, and reread it frequently, picking up the things I missed because of youth and inexperience each time; Starship Troopers was a significant influence on my enlistment... I rather like Spider Robinson's take on him, both in his essay, "Rah, Rah, RAH", and his retrospective in Requiem, even if Spider occasionally ventures into hagiography. You can't ignore the man's contribution to SF, whether you agree with his stated views or not.