Heinlein Reader’s Discussion Group
RAH-RG Notice 4-27_4-29
On alt.fan.heinlein 18 Apr 2000 21:12:11 GMT
AGplusone RAH-RG Notice of 4/27 & 29 meetings
Message: 1 of 1
Sent: 18 Apr 2000 21:12:11 GMT
The Robert A. Heinlein Reading Group
Notice of Next Meeting
Thursday, April 27, 2000, 9 PM to midnight EDT and
Saturday, April 29, 2000, 5 to 8 PM, EDT.
Locations: to be determined (AIM is a possibility for both meetings)
Topic: Robert A. Heinlein’s short stories “Requiem” (1939) and “The Man Who Sold the Moon” (1949) [from the “Future History” series and] which may be found in the recently reissued collection _The Man Who Sold The Moon_ [Baen, Riverdale, NY, ISBN 0-671-57863-4, second printing: March 2000] as well as earlier collections and editions.
We continue next meeting with our monthly more or less chronological readings into the Future History by concluding with the two stories remaining in the collection _The Man Who Sold The Moon_. [Next month we’ll move on to the stories collected in the recently reissued collection _The Green Hills of Earth_. If you don’t have them otherwise, go buy a copy of it, so you may join our discussions.]
Among many things that might be discussed in these stories are points mentioned two recent threads on alternate.fan.heinlein [this usenet newsgroup, aka “AFH”] that have direct application to these two stories, one which mentions that the last of which,
“Requiem,” chronologically was written years before the first. The other point stems a maxim in “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long,” pertaining to ‘selfishness’ and associated maxims such as those dealing with ‘altruism.’
“Requiem” written ten years earlier is the end of the tale of Delos D. Harriman. His role in this future fiction series was that of entreprenuerial genius whose ‘selfishness’ resulted in permanent colonization of Luna and resultant race to the stars. The paperback cover of the omnibus collection _The Past Through Tomorrow_ (G.P. Putnam, 1967) that I own shows an elderly Harriman, dressed in flight uniform, his flight gear next to him, whose facial resemblance to Robert Heinlein is obvious, seated, with cane and field glasses, looking upward into the night sky at what obviously must be the goal of his dreams.
“Requiem” belongs in a class of short stories or pieces of longer ones Robert Heinlein wrote that includes what I call not-too-originally the “tear-jerkers,” e.g., “The Long Watch,” “Ordeal In Space,” the Last Stand of Imperial Marine Sergeant Sam Richards (‘or Roberts, I forget which it was’) in _Starman Jones_, and others. What do you think of this sort of writing? It is suited to the task, or simply a vehicle for emotional twaddle? How Robert Heinlein wrote backwards from from what he portrayed and the character he described in it to the fuller, more realized character of the Harriman of “The Man Who Sold The Moon” and, later, to some of the same events and characters contained in _To Sail Beyond The Sunset_ could be matter we find useful to examine. There are other things to look at as well. Which do you see?
“The Man Who Sold The Moon” goes back to the beginning of the tale, and contains much more than merely the ‘story’ or ‘character’ of Harriman. There are discussions of economics of exploration, references to certain facts of history, manipulations of and by governments and corporations of each other, individuals and the populace, struggles between rival individuals, even those within marriage, the effects of that and–even–selfishness and selfless conduct that might tie into a struggle for definition of what seemingly motivates human conduct. What else can you see in this story?
And how well overall do the two stories tie in–together with each other and into the ‘future history’ RAH envisioned? What went wrong in another time-line, that one demoninated “Neil Armstrong” rather than Leslie DeCroix, that stopped manned spaceflight in its tracks for what is now nearly forty years after “one small step for [a] man?” Why? [And what about the points Poul Anderson makes along these same lines in his novel _Operation Luna_ that we’ve recently considered with him?]
I’m looking forward to your comments, arguments, all of your perceptive thought following this post and to seeing all of you in chat in about two weeks, wherever it is that we ultimately decide to meet. We cannot rival the Anderson chats every week, but we can see how close we can get.
David M. Silver
“I expect your names to shine!”
End of Notice