The long-awaited second half of William H. Patterson's Heinlein biography has been published and I'm well into it. There are a few deeply jarring science bobbles early on -- Patterson seems to have gotten the notion that V-2 rockets were fueled with liquid oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, for example -- but it is a lucid, readable and, where it concerns his subject, well-researched narrative.
Anyone who has been following the long, dark tea-time of SF's tempest between (mostly smalltime) Social Justice Warriors on sone side and Larry "Walter B. Gibson reborn" Correia (with midlist accompaniment) on the other will find much that is familiar in the book's coverage of critical and editorial reactions to Heinlein's "Starship Troopers," right down to the determined misreading of the text.
Big book fulla fascinating dish, well-supported, well-written despite the occasional technical lapse. Recommended -- buy your copy via Tam's link and help pay for high-speed internet here at Roseholme Cottage, mmm-kay?
N.B.: I have corrected a silly typo in the post title. My first name is just one letter longer than RAH's -- and I type it rather than his (and my fathers) practically as a reflex.
Update: William H. Patterson passed away 22 April of this year. He was 62. He is much-missed.
1. What? These are both oxidizers. Like air. V-2 engines burn alcohol (75% ethanol, 25% water -- 150 proof, like rum only without the flavor) and LOX. They do pump 'em with a steam turbine driven by catalytic reaction of hydrogen peroxide, but it's not driving the rocket any more than the battery propels a '53 Chevy. Patterson is very comfortable explaining the complexities of who said what to whom, when but I'm willing to bet he never changed spark plugs in his car.
2. You could maybe look him up. Let's just say Gibson probably kept his neighborhood typewriter repairman very happy.
Working On A Starship
1 month ago