Heinlein Readers Discussion Group Thursday 12/07/2006 8:00 P.M. EST Heinlein/Robinson’s Variable Star

Heinlein Readers Discussion Group
Thursday 12/07/2006 8:00 P.M. EST
Heinlein/Robinson’s Variable Star

Click Here to Return to Index

Here Begin The Postings

There were several pre-discussion threads.
First
Second Thread
Third Thread
Fourth Thread
From: “Puppet_Sock” Subject: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 14 Nov 2006 15:47:23 -0800

Ok, put on your asbestos outerwear. I’m gonna rant. And vent and bleat.

And, of course, this all has a huge “in my opinion, your mileage may actually have validity, void where prohibited by good taste” and so on. This is just me, and I don’t feel any need for people to agree.

Ok, let’s do the easy parts first. How many times in the book was something described as “indescribable?” How many times did we get the personality data-dump (loyal, trustworthy, brave, honest, etc. and etc.) from the description that the character had laugh lines or some such. This is a guy who won the JWC? Ah-huhn.

There’s lots more I could say like that. Then there’s the puns. Then there’s the inordinate swearing. (Fucking hell, carrots again! That’s the third time this month!)

There’s the obligatory-rich-evil guy. I could rant for a couple hours on that. Mr. Robinson, you took a Heinlein story and you made a rich guy an *ineffective* bad guy. Sure.

Then there’s the fact that, fundamentally, Joel is pretty dull. He can play the saxaphone. Great. And we need page after dull page of details about how to play the damn saxaphone.

Then he has a seemingly endless series of useless dates, proving that he isn’t very wise about relationships. And that the general social content of the ship is fairly dysfunctional. Geeze, sounds like top-notch colony material. And it sounds like the covenant is functioning just spiffy! And that the ship’s councilor is right on her game.

But then, Joel isn’t very smart either. Viz: He realizes he needs to commandeer the faster-than-light ship out from under the obligatory-rich-evil guy. And, out of the seven occupants of this ship, all of whom are no-longer on board but are on the larger ship they are docked to, you have at least two and maybe three on your side. And your plan manages to get two people shot dead after one had already died.

Then there are the various things that are clearly tacked onto the plot just to make false drama. The one that stood out so painfully was that there are six “relativistis” on board. No way of attempting to make more was mentioned. The mission is 20 years subjective. And if you lose three, everybody on the ship probably dies. How many people have you known for 20 years, starting at adulthood? How many of them have, over that 20 years, died or become unable to work? And the ship can apparently fast-fry a relativist who makes a mistake. You have two spares and no way to make more? Sure. What’s stopping the production of more relativists? False drama.

And then there’s one of Mr. Robinson’s signature chimney corners: Anger is just fear displaced. Well so what if it is? Does that mean that it’s not valid? Not justified? There are things we should be afraid of in the universe. And actions we should be angry about.

But I could have overlooked all that. These are minor little flecks on the ocean, and if the ending had actually gone somewhere useful, I might have ignored them.

Mr. Robinson vaporizes the solar system. And it’s pretty clear that this was some entity’s deliberate attempt to eradicate the human race. The description of 90 percent conversion to energy is enough to be pretty much a smoking artillery squadron. Typical super novas only convert a small percentage of the star to energy. I can’t think of a way that it could happen.

What do we get from this ending? We get some philosophy.

The guy in the star theatre who is expressing appropriate sentiments is escorted out by the proctors. Presumably he will have his personality chemically adjusted so as not to ever again disturb the serene contemplation of others who want to quietly enjoy the missing solar system.

The budhist on board has no room in his heart for hate. And he teaches this lesson by telling us how badly the human race messed up after 9/11. Did he tell us about other sneak attacks? Other wars? Nope. He reaches back a couple centuries and pokes at the USA right now. Not even in the context of other remembered attacks or other wars. It’s just, hey, you remember how the USA messed up so badly when they acted in anger over 9/11? We shouldn’t act in anger.

Look, buddy. The entire solar system is gone. Mountains and trees, lakes and clouds, volcanoes and traffic jams, kittens and boots and methane clouds on Jupiter. It’s *all* gone. If it isn’t on one of the colony ships or on one of the colonies, it’s an expanding clound of plasma.

No more teacher, no more books, no more school, no more road to walk uphill both ways through the snow. No more snow.

And it’s not clear that the colonies will survive either. This isn’t an ordinary super nova.

The 9/11 attack is trivially unimportant in comparison. WWII is trivially unimportant in comparison. All the wars that the entire human race has ever fought, in total in combination, are trivially unimportant by comparison. Throw in all the deaths by murder, all the accidental deaths, all the deaths by hunger or plague, and it’s *still* trivially unimportant.

What Mr. Robinson really did was, stand up on his tiny little stage and say that *NOTHING* is worth fighting back for. Why, you remember when my mom made me clean up my room? (Roughly as trivially unimportant as a little thing like 3000 people being killed on the scale of an entire solar system being fried.) Well, if I can do that without getting angry, then you can contemplate the killing of an entire solar system and remain serene.

If I had been there when this guy had started his little don’t-be-angry riff, I’d have shouted him down right away. Then started a petition to have him shoved out the airlock. *OF*COURSE* we should be angry. We should be furious. The pricks who did this must be prevented from ever doing it again.

Your heart has no room for hate? Well, then, you don’t have a big enough heart.

And Mr. Robinson, your book is going to the used book store.

Socks
From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 16:59:18 -0800

In article, “Puppet_Sock”wrote:

> Your heart has no room for hate? Well, then, you
> don’t have a big enough heart.

Compare:

… Puppet masters–the free men are coming to kill you!

_Death and destruction!_

Nice rant, Sock.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: “Puppet_Sock” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 15 Nov 2006 07:40:22 -0800

David M. Silver wrote:
> In article ,
> “Puppet_Sock” wrote:
>
> > Your heart has no room for hate? Well, then, you
> > don’t have a big enough heart.
>
> Compare:
>
> … Puppet masters–the free men are coming to kill you!
>
> _Death and destruction!_
>
> Nice rant, Sock.

Thank you David.

You’ve nailed it. I don’t think a former USN officer would just lie down and take it if the entire solar system was obliterated. I don’t think somebody who enjoyed the Lensman series would respond the way the buddhist in VS responded.

I was a bit afraid to vent so hotly. I’ve seen several “big name reviewers” gush over VS. Made me a bit hesitant when I found that my review-o-meter was registering mighty low. This is why it took me so long to post this.

Socks
From: “bajasteve”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 14 Nov 2006 22:39:12 -0800

Puppet_Sock wrote:
> Ok, put on your asbestos outerwear. I’m gonna rant. And vent and bleat.
>
> And, of course, this all has a huge “in my opinion, your mileage may
> actually have validity, void where prohibited by good taste” and so on.
> This is just me, and I don’t feel any need for people to agree.
>
> And some spoiler space. I’m not going to be careful about spoilers.
>
>
> Ok, let’s do the easy parts first. How many times in the book was
> something described as “indescribable?” How many times did we
> get the personality data-dump (loyal, trustworthy, brave, honest,
> etc. and etc.) from the description that the character had laugh
> lines or some such. This is a guy who won the JWC? Ah-huhn.
>
> There’s lots more I could say like that. Then there’s the puns.
> Then there’s the inordinate swearing. (Fucking hell, carrots
> again! That’s the third time this month!)
>
> There’s the obligatory-rich-evil guy. I could rant for a couple
> hours on that. Mr. Robinson, you took a Heinlein story and
> you made a rich guy an *ineffective* bad guy. Sure.
>
> Then there’s the fact that, fundamentally, Joel is pretty dull.
> He can play the saxaphone. Great. And we need page after
> dull page of details about how to play the damn saxaphone.
>
> Then he has a seemingly endless series of useless dates,
> proving that he isn’t very wise about relationships. And that
> the general social content of the ship is fairly dysfunctional.
> Geeze, sounds like top-notch colony material. And it sounds
> like the covenant is functioning just spiffy! And that the
> ship’s councilor is right on her game.
>
> But then, Joel isn’t very smart either. Viz: He realizes he needs
> to commandeer the faster-than-light ship out from under the
> obligatory-rich-evil guy. And, out of the seven occupants of
> this ship, all of whom are no-longer on board but are on the
> larger ship they are docked to, you have at least two and
> maybe three on your side. And your plan manages to get
> two people shot dead after one had already died.
>
> Then there are the various things that are clearly tacked onto
> the plot just to make false drama. The one that stood out so
> painfully was that there are six “relativistis” on board. No way
> of attempting to make more was mentioned. The mission is
> 20 years subjective. And if you lose three, everybody on the
> ship probably dies. How many people have you known for
> 20 years, starting at adulthood? How many of them have,
> over that 20 years, died or become unable to work? And the
> ship can apparently fast-fry a relativist who makes a mistake.
> You have two spares and no way to make more? Sure.
> What’s stopping the production of more relativists? False drama.
>
> And then there’s one of Mr. Robinson’s signature chimney
> corners: Anger is just fear displaced. Well so what if it is?
> Does that mean that it’s not valid? Not justified? There are
> things we should be afraid of in the universe. And actions
> we should be angry about.
>
> But I could have overlooked all that. These are minor little
> flecks on the ocean, and if the ending had actually gone
> somewhere useful, I might have ignored them.
>
> Mr. Robinson vaporizes the solar system. And it’s pretty
> clear that this was some entity’s deliberate attempt to
> eradicate the human race. The description of 90 percent
> conversion to energy is enough to be pretty much a
> smoking artillery squadron. Typical super novas only
> convert a small percentage of the star to energy. I can’t
> think of a way that it could happen.
>
> What do we get from this ending? We get some philosophy.
>
> The guy in the star theatre who is expressing appropriate
> sentiments is escorted out by the proctors. Presumably
> he will have his personality chemically adjusted so as
> not to ever again disturb the serene contemplation of
> others who want to quietly enjoy the missing solar system.
>
> The budhist on board has no room in his heart for hate.
> And he teaches this lesson by telling us how badly the human
> race messed up after 9/11. Did he tell us about other sneak
> attacks? Other wars? Nope. He reaches back a couple centuries
> and pokes at the USA right now. Not even in the context of
> other remembered attacks or other wars. It’s just, hey, you
> remember how the USA messed up so badly when they
> acted in anger over 9/11? We shouldn’t act in anger.
>
> Look, buddy. The entire solar system is gone. Mountains
> and trees, lakes and clouds, volcanoes and traffic jams,
> kittens and boots and methane clouds on Jupiter. It’s
> *all* gone. If it isn’t on one of the colony ships or on one
> of the colonies, it’s an expanding clound of plasma.
>
> No more teacher, no more books, no more school,
> no more road to walk uphill both ways through the
> snow. No more snow.
>
> And it’s not clear that the colonies will survive either.
> This isn’t an ordinary super nova.
>
> The 9/11 attack is trivially unimportant in comparison.
> WWII is trivially unimportant in comparison. All the
> wars that the entire human race has ever fought, in
> total in combination, are trivially unimportant by
> comparison. Throw in all the deaths by murder,
> all the accidental deaths, all the deaths by hunger
> or plague, and it’s *still* trivially unimportant.
>
> What Mr. Robinson really did was, stand up on his
> tiny little stage and say that *NOTHING* is worth fighting
> back for. Why, you remember when my mom made
> me clean up my room? (Roughly as trivially unimportant
> as a little thing like 3000 people being killed on the scale
> of an entire solar system being fried.) Well, if I can do that
> without getting angry, then you can contemplate the killing
> of an entire solar system and remain serene.
>
> If I had been there when this guy had started his
> little don’t-be-angry riff, I’d have shouted him down
> right away. Then started a petition to have him
> shoved out the airlock. *OF*COURSE* we should
> be angry. We should be furious. The pricks who
> did this must be prevented from ever doing it again.
>
> Your heart has no room for hate? Well, then, you
> don’t have a big enough heart.
>
> And Mr. Robinson, your book is going to the used book store.
> Socks

Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist” Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art renderings.

Steve
From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700

“bajasteve” warns:

> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very
> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that
> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art
> renderings.
>

Too late, went and looked…

Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my minds eye.

E!
From: Bookman Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 13:05:00 GMT

On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700, “TreetopAngel”
wrote:

>
>”bajasteve” warns:
>
>> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
>> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
>> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very
>> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that
>> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art
>> renderings.
>>
>Too late, went and looked…
>
>Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my
>minds eye.

_That_ was “art”? EEEeeeewwww!

I’ve seen better art on ABPED!

Regards,


Rusty the bookman
WWFSMD?
http://www.venganza.org/

“The difference between food and beer is that beer
has some food value, while food has no beer value”
– Linda the waitress

From: “bajasteve”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 15 Nov 2006 09:54:04 -0800

Bookman wrote:
> On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700, “TreetopAngel”
> wrote:
>
> >
> >”bajasteve” warns:
> >
> >> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
> >> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
> >> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very
> >> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that
> >> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art
> >> renderings.
> >>
> >Too late, went and looked…
> >
> >Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my
> >minds eye.
>
> _That_ was “art”? EEEeeeewwww!
>
> I’ve seen better art on ABPED!
>
> Regards,
>
> —
> Rusty the bookman

Actually, I think it would be best described as “Graphic Philosophy,” albeit pretty lame philosophy. Somehow, the word “sophomoric” comes to mind.

Steve
From: Bookman Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 16:41:31 EST (beE2)

On 15 Nov 2006 09:54:04 -0800, “bajasteve”
wrote:

>
>Bookman wrote:
>> On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700, “TreetopAngel”
>> wrote:
>>
>> >
>> >”bajasteve” warns:
>> >
>> >> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
>> >> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
>> >> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very
>> >> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that
>> >> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art
>> >> renderings.
>> >>
>> >Too late, went and looked…
>> >
>> >Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my
>> >minds eye.
>>
>> _That_ was “art”? EEEeeeewwww!
>>
>> I’ve seen better art on ABPED!

>
>Actually, I think it would be best described as “Graphic Philosophy,”
>albeit pretty lame philosophy. Somehow, the word “sophomoric” comes to
>mind.

Well, rather a different word comes to my mind, but perhaps better not to use it in mixed company….

Regards,


Rusty the bookman
WWFSMD?
http://www.venganza.org/

“The difference between food and beer is that beer
has some food value, while food has no beer value”
– Linda the waitress

From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 04:26:37 GMT

On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700, an orbital mind-control laser
caused “TreetopAngel” to write:

>
>”bajasteve” warns:
>
>> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
>> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
>> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very
>> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that
>> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art
>> renderings.
>>
>Too late, went and looked…
>
>Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my
>minds eye.
>
>E!

For whatever it’s worth, one of the ladies at work–totally out of the blue–asked me if I knew who “that artist who does those pictures with the people in the energy fields” was. I said “Alex Grey?” and hunted up his website for her.

*She* was quite impressed with the work, as was another of the therapists. De gustibus non disputandem est, I suppose.

-Chris Zakes
Texas

Luck is a tag given by the mediocre to account for the accomplishments of genius.

-The “Old Man” in “The Puppet Masters” by Robert Heinlein

From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 22:36:19 -0700

“Chris Zakes” adds:

> On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700, an orbital mind-control laser
> caused “TreetopAngel” to write:
>
>>
>>”bajasteve” warns:
>>
>>> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
>>> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
>>> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another
>>> very
>>> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things
>>> that
>>> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet
>>> pseudo-art
>>> renderings.
>>>
>>Too late, went and looked…
>>
>>Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my
>>minds eye.
>>
>>E!
>
> For whatever it’s worth, one of the ladies at work–totally out of the
> blue–asked me if I knew who “that artist who does those pictures with
> the people in the energy fields” was. I said “Alex Grey?” and hunted
> up his website for her.
>
> *She* was quite impressed with the work, as was another of the
> therapists. De gustibus non disputandem est, I suppose.

I guess I like my art to look more like nature and real people. I’d rather look at Rubins, Degas, etc. than some of what is offered today.

E!
From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 13:05:08 GMT

On Thu, 16 Nov 2006 22:36:19 -0700, an orbital mind-control laser
caused “TreetopAngel” to write:

>
>”Chris Zakes” adds:
>
>> On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700, an orbital mind-control laser
>> caused “TreetopAngel” to write:
>>
>>>
>>>”bajasteve” warns:
>>>
>>>> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
>>>> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
>>>> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another
>>>> very
>>>> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things
>>>> that
>>>> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet
>>>> pseudo-art
>>>> renderings.
>>>>
>>>Too late, went and looked…
>>>
>>>Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my
>>>minds eye.
>>>
>>>E!
>>
>> For whatever it’s worth, one of the ladies at work–totally out of the
>> blue–asked me if I knew who “that artist who does those pictures with
>> the people in the energy fields” was. I said “Alex Grey?” and hunted
>> up his website for her.
>>
>> *She* was quite impressed with the work, as was another of the
>> therapists. De gustibus non disputandem est, I suppose.
>
>I guess I like my art to look more like nature and real people. I’d
>rather look at Rubins, Degas, etc. than some of what is offered today.
>
>E!

Well, if you’re talking Jackson Pollock or his ilk, I agree. But I don’t find Alex Grey quite *that* bad.

-Chris Zakes
Texas

Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of
directions. It’s the only way to make progress.

-Havelock Vetinari in “The Truth” by Terry Pratchett

From: pixelmeow
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 20:11:07 -0500

On Fri, 17 Nov 2006 13:05:08 GMT, Chris Zakes
wrote:

>On Thu, 16 Nov 2006 22:36:19 -0700, an orbital mind-control laser
>caused “TreetopAngel” to write:
>
>>
>>”Chris Zakes” adds:
>>
>>> On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 00:51:13 -0700, an orbital mind-control laser
>>> caused “TreetopAngel” to write:
>>>
>>>>
>>>>”bajasteve” warns:
>>>>
>>>>> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
>>>>> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
>>>>> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another
>>>>> very
>>>>> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things
>>>>> that
>>>>> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet
>>>>> pseudo-art
>>>>> renderings.
>>>>>
>>>>Too late, went and looked…
>>>>
>>>>Had to go check out some Ansell Adams to get the “flavor” out of my
>>>>minds eye.
>>>>
>>>>E!
>>>
>>> For whatever it’s worth, one of the ladies at work–totally out of the
>>> blue–asked me if I knew who “that artist who does those pictures with
>>> the people in the energy fields” was. I said “Alex Grey?” and hunted
>>> up his website for her.
>>>
>>> *She* was quite impressed with the work, as was another of the
>>> therapists. De gustibus non disputandem est, I suppose.
>>
>>I guess I like my art to look more like nature and real people. I’d
>>rather look at Rubins, Degas, etc. than some of what is offered today.
>>
>>E!
>
>Well, if you’re talking Jackson Pollock or his ilk, I agree. But I
>don’t find Alex Grey quite *that* bad.
>

It wasn’t *that* bad, but damn it was close. Amazingly enough, I found two artists I like from prints hanging in the doctor’s office: Henry Peeters, http://tinyurl.com/ykq23k, but unfortunately only that one seems good to me. The image of it on that site makes it look a LOT more pink than it really is. Basically the only reason I like it is because it reminds me so much of something from my childhood, not necessarily because I think it’s pretty.

The other is Galasso, one painting is this: http://tinyurl.com/yeyj5x another is this: http://tinyurl.com/ygzzb8. He does lots of beaches with boats, but that doesn’t really do much for me; it’s the ones like these that I like. Something about the play of light on water… I just love it.


~teresa~
AFH Barwench

=^..^= “Through the walls! The heck with doors!” =^..^=
Volunteer Coordinator and Database Wrangler
The Heinlein Centennial, July 7 2007
http://www.HeinleinCentennial.com
http://www.forget-me-knotts.com
email my first name at pixelmeow dot com

From: “MajorOz”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 19 Nov 2006 12:56:32 -0800

On Nov 17, 7:05 am, Chris Zakes wrote:
> On Thu, 16 Nov 2006 22:36:19 -0700, an orbital mind-control laser
> caused “TreetopAngel” to write:

> >I guess I like my art to look more like nature and real people. I’d
> >rather look at Rubins, Degas, etc. than some of what is offered today.
>
> >E!Well, if you’re talking Jackson Pollock or his ilk, I agree. But I
> don’t find Alex Grey quite *that* bad.

Grey is the Head version of poker playing dogs. Not only bad, but trite.

cheers

oz, fan of: a) classical: the Hudson River School b) contemporary: Edward Hopper
From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 13:10:12 GMT

On 14 Nov 2006 22:39:12 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser caused
“bajasteve” to write:

(snip)

>Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
>Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
>philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very
>excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that
>you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art
>renderings.
>
>Steve

Oh, come on… it wasn’t quite *that* bad. Not to my taste, but kind of interesting.

(Although if you didn’t like that, you probably shouldn’t check out the audio link with Spider singing the “On the Way to the Stars” song, either. “Underwhelming” might be the best description.)

-Chris Zakes
Texas

The Roman writer Juvenal’s phrase “panem et circenses” is usually translated as “bread
and circuses”. A more accurate modern rendering would be “pork barrel projects”.

From: “Puppet_Sock” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 15 Nov 2006 07:34:56 -0800

bajasteve wrote:
[snip]
> Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the “artist”
> Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the most bestest ever
> philosopher in the known universe? Don’t, unless you want another very
> excellent reason to throw up. I did, and it’s one of those things that
> you will wish you could “un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art
> renderings.

You know, I was afraid it was just me. I looked at that stuff and thought it was cheez-whiz. But I don’t have the confidence to assert myself on artistic issues. All I can say is, I know what I like.

The kind of art I like is typified by the cover of one edition of _Friday_. It’s the one by Michael Whelan. It shows Friday in kind of a jump suit, with the zip down to there, and a port hole of a space ship over her shoulder. That’s art for me. I’ve got a signed-but-not-numbered print of that.

I’ve liked pretty much every cover of a RAH book, and all the interior art (for the precious few that had interior art). I recall some of the interior art showing sketches of move-overs (from _Between Planets_ IIRC) with great fondness.

Maybe it’s because I’ve never done psychadelic drugs. But I don’t get this guy with the melting mandelas.

Socks
From: (Mike Van Pelt)
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 17 Nov 2006 05:51:05 GMT

In article ,
bajasteve wrote:
>Did you happen to check out the website of Alex Grey, the
>”artist” Spider (excuse me – Joel) gushed over as being the
>most bestest ever philosopher in the known universe? Don’t,
>unless you want another very excellent reason to throw up. I
>did, and it’s one of those things that you will wish you could
>”un-see”. Think cheap black velvet pseudo-art renderings.

Back in the 60s (er, early 70s) I recall seeing a whole bunch of posters that looked just like this stuff in various “head shops” around campus, blurred by a haze of incense smoke, on the wall right behind the display case full of bongs and roach clips.

I guess I didn’t “do enough LDS” to properly appreciate this stuff. (“Not enough” in my case == “zero”)


Mike Van Pelt | Wikipedia. The roulette wheel of knowledge.
mvp at calweb.com | –Blair P. Houghton
KE6BVH

Snipped Off-thread material From: (jeanette)
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 06:17:10 -0800

I think all-in-all I liked it better than I thought I would. I tried to go in with an open mind. I didn’t find it a page-turner, it took me several days to slog through but I wasn’t counting the pages to the end as I have with too many books recently.

I don’t think the ending was bad. I think it was hurried-up-and-wrapped-up-with-a-bow after some other parts had really dragged. I wish more had been done with some of the other characters. There were a lot of things that didn’t make sense.

I suspect that RAH didn’t finish it because he couldn’t get a good grasp on the story. In Spider Robinson’s defence, nobody can write Heinlein like Heinlein and even Heinlein didn’t always pull it off.

I will re-read it sometime soon but am not sure who I would recommend it to. I am happy to say that I can’t renew it because others have requested it–a good sign for RAH (or maybe SR) IMO.

Jeanette
From: “The Rocket Scientist”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 15 Nov 2006 07:27:30 -0800

Come on, Socks, don’t hold back. Tell us what you REALLY think.

Puppet_Sock wrote:
> Ok, put on your asbestos outerwear. I’m gonna rant. And vent and bleat.
>
> There’s lots more I could say like that. Then there’s the puns.
> Then there’s the inordinate swearing. (Fucking hell, carrots
> again! That’s the third time this month!)

I liked “Prophet’s Dick!”

Maybe we could do without the swearing, but in that way Joel reminds me of my brother-in-law who liberally peppers his conversation with “fuckin'”. He uses it so much I don’t think he realizes it.

> Then there’s the fact that, fundamentally, Joel is pretty dull.
> He can play the saxaphone. Great. And we need page after
> dull page of details about how to play the damn saxaphone.

I have to agree with you here. If I ever get Spider Robinson as a captive audience I solemnly swear to regale him with model rocket stories, with minute tech detail concerning motor selection and the characteristics of black powder vs. Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant.

> Then there are the various things that are clearly tacked onto
> the plot just to make false drama. The one that stood out so
> painfully was that there are six “relativistis” on board. No way
> of attempting to make more was mentioned. The mission is
> 20 years subjective. And if you lose three, everybody on the
> ship probably dies. How many people have you known for
> 20 years, starting at adulthood? How many of them have,
> over that 20 years, died or become unable to work? And the
> ship can apparently fast-fry a relativist who makes a mistake.
> You have two spares and no way to make more? Sure.
> What’s stopping the production of more relativists? False drama.

The whole “Quantum Ramjet” drive smelled like Brown Kryptonite to me. And it ignored the law of Conservation of Momentum. Somebody else in this group referred to it as “Hand Wavium.” Sorry, a zen drive doesn’t cut it.

> The budhist on board has no room in his heart for hate.
> And he teaches this lesson by telling us how badly the human
> race messed up after 9/11. Did he tell us about other sneak
> attacks? Other wars? Nope. He reaches back a couple centuries
> and pokes at the USA right now. Not even in the context of
> other remembered attacks or other wars. It’s just, hey, you
> remember how the USA messed up so badly when they
> acted in anger over 9/11? We shouldn’t act in anger.

Yeah, this point got a bit more preachy than I could stand. I had to hold my nose and try to convince myself that Spider was only using the incident to explain the ascendancy of Nehemiah Scudder in terms of some contemporary events, something we could relate to. I hate it when an author decides to editorialize.

> If I had been there when this guy had started his
> little don’t-be-angry riff, I’d have shouted him down
> right away. Then started a petition to have him
> shoved out the airlock. *OF*COURSE* we should
> be angry. We should be furious. The pricks who
> did this must be prevented from ever doing it again.

In here I think I must disagree. The idea that I got from it was that our first priority should be finding a way to preserve humanity. As far as these folks knew, the gene pool had just been reduced considerably. First let’s build up an appreciable biomass, then let’s find the motherless pond scum that sucker punched us. For all we know, Sol going nova might have been collateral damage, an unintentional byproduct of some far more complex operation. The motives of whatever caused it might be so alien to us that we could never begin to understand them. For all we know it could have been some alien’s way of disinfecting the vessel of a failed experiment. Or maybe it was a transdimensional weenie roast that got a little out of hand. Or it might be an initiation stunt for the Aldeberan branch of the Delta house. So maybe I could hate whatever did it, but just what could I DO about it? Nothing. Not right away, anyhow. So that hatred needs to be put aside, or at least directed into something more useful. Like survival.

Anyway, that was my take on it.

> Your heart has no room for hate? Well, then, you
> don’t have a big enough heart.
>
> And Mr. Robinson, your book is going to the used book store.
> Socks

I’m keeping mine. But I respect your opinion.

Bill Sullivan
From: EngrBohn
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 00:43:54 GMT

Good evening,

The Rocket Scientist wrote:
[…]
> The whole “Quantum Ramjet” drive smelled like Brown Kryptonite to me.
> And it ignored the law of Conservation of Momentum. Somebody else in
> this group referred to it as “Hand Wavium.” Sorry, a zen drive doesn’t
> cut it.
[…]

The thing that has me scratching my head is that we’re told how essential it is to get the jet restarted within a certain amount of time after it stops, or you won’t be able to start it again. (Presumably this is only important at relativistic speeds, or you’d never be able to start it in the first place.) That must make the mid-course turnabout pretty dicey.

I suppose the alternative is to leave the jet running during turnabout. This would make the math a bit more challenging – your thrust vectors during the ten years before and the ten years after will need to account for the lateral delta-V produced during the maneuver.

Other questions that may never be answered:
– Is this time limit absolute or relative time?

– Is it any more challenging to re-start the jet when thrusting against the direction of travel? If not, why is the fusion jet required to build up speed in the first place?

A question that fandom might be able to answer:

– From an observer’s perspective, would there be a particle beam shooting out of the QRjet? That’d be one helluva wake. Probably not enough to damage another ship that passes through the wake, but the resulting ionizing radiation may not be terribly healthy for that other ship’s crew.

Take care,

cb
From: lal_truckee
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 16:42:50 GMT

EngrBohn wrote:
> …
> – Is this time limit absolute or relative time?

absolute??
From: EngrBohn
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 14:26:11 GMT

Good morning

lal_truckee wrote:
> EngrBohn wrote:
>> …
>> – Is this time limit absolute or relative time?
>
> absolute??

By “absolute time”, I mean “time as experienced by a stationary observer”.

Or were you guessing the answer?

Take care,

cb
From: lal_truckee
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 16:47:56 GMT

EngrBohn wrote:
> Good morning
>
> lal_truckee wrote:
>> EngrBohn wrote:
>>> …
>>> – Is this time limit absolute or relative time?
>>
>> absolute??
>
> By “absolute time”, I mean “time as experienced by a stationary observer”.

Still no cigar.

“Stationary observer??”

OK, I won’t belabor it. Except there is NO “absolute time” NOR any “stationary observer” – that’s the whole point of relativity theory.

It’s also the fun part.
From: EngrBohn
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 20:52:14 GMT

Good afternoon,

lal_truckee wrote:

>> By “absolute time”, I mean “time as experienced by a stationary
>> observer”.
>
> Still no cigar.
>
> “Stationary observer??”
>
> OK, I won’t belabor it. Except there is NO “absolute time” NOR any
> “stationary observer” – that’s the whole point of relativity theory.
> It’s also the fun part.

Uh… Okay, let’s try this (please forgive the stubbornness of someone with only slightly better than a lay person’s knowledge of relativity)…

Time, as experienced by someone who:
– if he’s in a vacuum and experiencing no acceleration

– and if he selects an object that unwaveringly is 299,792,458 meters away (that is, the object’s stationary relative to the someone)

– and if he directs a laser toward the object will detect the reflection two seconds later, as measured by his clock, regardless of the direction toward the object

Thanks,

cb
From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 02:58:16 GMT

On 15 Nov 2006 07:27:30 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser caused
“The Rocket Scientist” to write:

>Come on, Socks, don’t hold back. Tell us what you REALLY think.
>
>Puppet_Sock wrote:
>> Ok, put on your asbestos outerwear. I’m gonna rant. And vent and bleat.
>>
>> There’s lots more I could say like that. Then there’s the puns.
>> Then there’s the inordinate swearing. (Fucking hell, carrots
>> again! That’s the third time this month!)
>
>I liked “Prophet’s Dick!”
>
>Maybe we could do without the swearing, but in that way Joel reminds me
>of my brother-in-law who liberally peppers his conversation with
>”fuckin'”. He uses it so much I don’t think he realizes it.
>
>> Then there’s the fact that, fundamentally, Joel is pretty dull.
>> He can play the saxaphone. Great. And we need page after
>> dull page of details about how to play the damn saxaphone.
>
>I have to agree with you here. If I ever get Spider Robinson as a
>captive audience I solemnly swear to regale him with model rocket
>stories, with minute tech detail concerning motor selection and the
>characteristics of black powder vs. Ammonium Perchlorate Composite
>Propellant.

Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but how does that compare with the page-after-page of genetics in “The Tale of the Twins Who Weren’t” in TEFL or the several pages of astrophysics that *Heinlein himself* says you can skip over in “Friday”?

-Chris Zakes
Texas

The Roman writer Juvenal’s phrase “panem et circenses” is usually translated as “bread
and circuses”. A more accurate modern rendering would be “pork barrel projects”.

From: (jeanette)
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 23:07:22 -0800

This is old business and may have already been suggested–there was some discussion of the miracle breakfast. It occurs to me that it was done using the shimmery air field. Have a variety of breakfast foods ready to go just outside the door–put them on the cart as they are being ordered.

Jeanette
From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 00:05:41 -0800

In article ,
(jeanette) wrote:

> This is old business and may have already been suggested–there was some
> discussion of the miracle breakfast. It occurs to me that it was done
> using the shimmery air field. Have a variety of breakfast foods ready
> to go just outside the door–put them on the cart as they are being
> ordered.
>
> Jeanette

I’ve been a short order cook since I was fourteen, making breakfasts, starting at six in the morning in downtown L.A., across from Pershing Square back before MacDonald’s existed, in my first summer job. How hard is it to have several breakfasts near ready to go? Have four fried eggs, four scrambled eggs, four poached eggs (it would amaze you how fast I can turn four fried into a four egg omelette–they’re just eggs and elastic unless I’ve cooked ’em hard–you want some ready I’ve whipped, I can do that too–one more aluminum restaurant supply egg pan); and sausage, both kinds of bacon, ham, even salmon, whitefish and kippers. Having chopped red and green peppers and onions ready, even cooked translucent in butter or olive oil, isn’t hard or particularly expensive. Make a little pile of Potatoes O’Brien in advance, hot and ready on the back of the grill. All you’ve got to do is boil the potatoes, chop them along with the onions and peppers, and drop them in oil on the grill until they start to brown. Hollandaise and other sauces can be prepared a few minutes in a blender in advance, fresh. You’re not going to let it set for an hour. Have a variety of chilled fresh fruit available, just like a good breakfast restaurant. Coffee, tea, juice, milk, and what else would you like? Oatmeal. There’s the pot, already measured and boiling. Takes one minute after you bring it to a boil. Dry cereal? just like the old time dinner, in the racks. Toasted bread, I’ve got the cafeteria style toaster toasting every thing you’ve ever heard of. With a properly heated grill I can have eight pancakes ready in two minutes, particularly if I half pre-cook them, starting a minute before the room service waiter walks in the door; and the same for a waffle. Hot rolls–that’s easy. How ’bout something harder to bake, a coffee cake? Helms Bakeries used to deliver them fresh every morning about 7 a.m. Pop it in a 500 degree pre-heated oven for two minutes. Butter it just like mom used to do when she wasn’t hung over.

Two other fathers and I used to do about three or four hundred breakfasts to order in three hours, every time our daughters’ high school aged sorority had a “Pancake Breakfast” fund raiser. Eggs, side meat, potatoes, pancakes, fruit, sweet roll, coffee, tea, milk, biscuits and gravy. (George, the one from Midland, Texas, liked to make biscuits and gravy. We humored him. Some bacon ends, flour and water in a big pan.) We made the eggs any breakfast way you wanted, including whites only. I don’t remember anyone asking for hard boiled, but they’d have got them that way if they asked. Basted takes a little trick with the broiler and a little more hot butter. Not as long as you think.

Don’t come wandering through the kitchen while we’re dancing around–you’re likely to get skewered and cooked yourself, but we thought we were pretty good for a real estate syndicator, a tin can manufacturer executive, and a lousy lawyer. We always made over a thousand dollars for the girls every time we did it, at $3 or $4 a breakfast.

Ask Jinnia what this one orders when they have breakfast, or when he cooks for himself, or asks her to cook. That’ll narrow the odds.

If he orders something like a kidney chop, well, he can get it, but it’ll take five minutes. Win some, lose some. Have one out, fresh. Or precook it along with the pancakes–it’s only a couple bucks and this is the richest man in the world. I could do it under thirty bucks, for the cost of the food, very easily.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 01:33:14 -0700

“David M. Silver” explains fast food cooking:

(snip immediately previous long passage)

People seem to think cooking is tough! When I did work study in the dorm cafeteria, I convinced the Dining Services manager we could serve cook to order steaks (they had always broiled them to well-done)…he turned the grill over to me. We served over 500 steaks that night! All cooked to order! Most fun I ever had for two hours in a long time. Yes, I do miss cooking for the masses!

E!
From: “Will in New Haven”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 06:24:11 -0800

TreetopAngel wrote:
> “David M. Silver” explains fast food cooking:
> >

(snip repeat of long passage)

>
> People seem to think cooking is tough! When I did work study in the
> dorm cafeteria, I convinced the Dining Services manager we could serve
> cook to order steaks (they had always broiled them to well-done)…he
> turned the grill over to me. We served over 500 steaks that night! All
> cooked to order! Most fun I ever had for two hours in a long time.
> Yes, I do miss cooking for the masses!
>
> E!

Out here at the lanai we should have David cooking us breakfast and you grilling steaks to order and I will be decorative. Or something.

Seriously, my stepfather found cooking four different breakfasts for four different people so trivial after cooking for a ship in WWII (Merchant Marine) that he used to read while he did it. David’s post reminded me of that.

When I had my second summer job as a kid, in the card room at the country club, I used to cook steaks to order at lunchtime, even though I wasn’t on the kitchen staff. It was just that the cooks would NOT take a rare or medium-rare steak off the broiler. “You can’t eat that Miz Walters, it will make you sick.” So everyone who wanted a steak that wasn’t medium or more asked me, and tipped me to do it.

Will in New Haven


From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 07:48:13 -0700

Will writes:

> Out here at the lanai we should have David cooking us breakfast and
> you
> grilling steaks to order and I will be decorative. Or something.

LOL! I was going to offer to cook you breakfast…but that could easily be mis-construed. However, my breakfast making skills are on par with David’s.

And I bake fresh cinnamon rolls.

>
> Seriously, my stepfather found cooking four different breakfasts for
> four different people so trivial after cooking for a ship in WWII
> (Merchant Marine) that he used to read while he did it.
> David’s post reminded me of that.

The only problem I have at home with cooking several breakfasts is lack of space and making all the breakfasts come out at the same time.

Breakfast is my favorite meal to cook…and eat!

E!
From: “Will in New Haven”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 07:22:21 -0800

TreetopAngel wrote:
> Will writes:
>
> > Out here at the lanai we should have David cooking us breakfast and
> > you
> > grilling steaks to order and I will be decorative. Or something.
>
> LOL! I was going to offer to cook you breakfast…but that could easily
> be mis-construed. However, my breakfast making skills are on par with
> David’s.
>
> And I bake fresh cinnamon rolls.

 

>
> >
> > Seriously, my stepfather found cooking four different breakfasts for
> > four different people so trivial after cooking for a ship in WWII
> > (Merchant Marine) that he used to read while he did it.
> > David’s post reminded me of that.
>
> The only problem I have at home with cooking several breakfasts is lack
> of space and making all the breakfasts come out at the same time.
>
> Breakfast is my favorite meal to cook…and eat!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day before lunch.

Will in New Haven


From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 08:35:00 -0700

Will anticipates:
>
> TreetopAngel wrote:
>> Will writes:
>>
>> > Out here at the lanai we should have David cooking us breakfast and
>> > you
>> > grilling steaks to order and I will be decorative. Or something.
>>
>> LOL! I was going to offer to cook you breakfast…but that could
>> easily
>> be mis-construed. However, my breakfast making skills are on par
>> with
>> David’s.
>>
>> And I bake fresh cinnamon rolls.
>
>

LOL! I cheat…get my rolls ready the night before and let them rest in the fridge over night!

Jumbo or regular size…jumbo fills a salad plate.

>
>>
>> >
>> > Seriously, my stepfather found cooking four different breakfasts
>> > for
>> > four different people so trivial after cooking for a ship in WWII
>> > (Merchant Marine) that he used to read while he did it.
>> > David’s post reminded me of that.
>>
>> The only problem I have at home with cooking several breakfasts is
>> lack
>> of space and making all the breakfasts come out at the same time.
>>
>> Breakfast is my favorite meal to cook…and eat!
>
> Breakfast is the most important meal of the day before lunch.

Breakfast should be available anytime of day!

E!
From: “Will in New Haven”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 07:38:42 -0800

TreetopAngel wrote:
> Will anticipates:
> >
> > TreetopAngel wrote:
> >> Will writes:
> >>
> >> > Out here at the lanai we should have David cooking us breakfast and
> >> > you
> >> > grilling steaks to order and I will be decorative. Or something.
> >>
> >> LOL! I was going to offer to cook you breakfast…but that could
> >> easily
> >> be mis-construed. However, my breakfast making skills are on par
> >> with
> >> David’s.
> >>
> >> And I bake fresh cinnamon rolls.
> >
> >
>
> LOL! I cheat…get my rolls ready the night before and let them rest in
> the fridge over night!
>
> Jumbo or regular size…jumbo fills a salad plate.

Jumbo, but just one.

> >
> >>
> >> >
> >> > Seriously, my stepfather found cooking four different breakfasts
> >> > for
> >> > four different people so trivial after cooking for a ship in WWII
> >> > (Merchant Marine) that he used to read while he did it.
> >> > David’s post reminded me of that.
> >>
> >> The only problem I have at home with cooking several breakfasts is
> >> lack
> >> of space and making all the breakfasts come out at the same time.
> >>
> >> Breakfast is my favorite meal to cook…and eat!
> >
> > Breakfast is the most important meal of the day before lunch.
>
> Breakfast should be available anytime of day!
>
> E!

The reason for diners. Diner breakfast foods might not be good but they are breakfasts.

Will in New Haven
From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 12:33:09 -0700

Will requests:

>

Jumbo, but just one.

Jumbo cinnamon roll…hot w/butter>>>>

Top off your coffee?

E!
From: “Will in New Haven”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 11:42:02 -0800

TreetopAngel wrote:
> Will requests:
>
> > Jumbo, but just one.
>
> Jumbo cinnamon roll…hot w/butter>>>>
>
> Top off your coffee?
>
> E!

No thanks. Don’t want to mess with the ratio of coffee to rum. Too much coffee could keep me awake through an afternoon of work.

Will in New Haven


From: “Bill Patterson”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 08:45:55 -0800

David Silver: Very interesting short-order cook information (well, interesting to me, but I’m funny that way). Catering, the branch I’m more familiar with, is somewhat different.

One supplemental fact you might add is that breakfast menus tend to be somewhat more restricted than other meals (not just with us — seems to be generally true around the world. You could re-run that same explanation for Jook, for instance). So the cook gets a little assist unless — as you pointed out — your diner wanders over to another cuisine, like wanting deviled kidneys (English breakfast) when you’re set up for American midwest.

Parenthetically, English breakfasts seem about the broadest single palate, French the most restricted.
From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 10:17:12 -0800

In article ,
“Bill Patterson” wrote:

> Parenthetically, English breakfasts seem about the broadest single
> palate,

Exactly. You want beans and bangers and mash–I give you them.

> French the most restricted.

A Gaulloises and some foul coffee you can chew–that too.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: “Puppet_Sock” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 09:11:25 -0800

Chris Zakes wrote:
[snip]
> Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but how does that compare
> with the page-after-page of genetics in “The Tale of the Twins Who
> Weren’t” in TEFL or the several pages of astrophysics that *Heinlein
> himself* says you can skip over in “Friday”?

Page after page of genetics that was important to the plot. Captain Long had to decide if his adopted children could be permitted to have children together.

-vs-

Page after page of the background and context of saxaphone details that were incidental to the plot. Joel had to be established as having not much in his life other than the saxaphone.

I’m not talking about the pages of description of the spiffy way of playing a single phrase of arbitrary length. I’m talking about the first time Joel played in the ship’s pub and the (then) anonymous person played a piano with him. And then he dated her once. Joel had to be established as pretty dull.

A more equivalent genetics discussion would have been page after page of a geneticist showing off to some young lady on the ship. “Oh, I can make the DNA sing and dance!” Then having a failure of a date with her and never seeing her again.

Geeze, I better throttle back or I’ll be in full rant again.

Socks
From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 04:22:57 GMT

On 16 Nov 2006 09:11:25 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser caused
“Puppet_Sock” to write:

>Chris Zakes wrote:
>[snip]
>> Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but how does that compare
>> with the page-after-page of genetics in “The Tale of the Twins Who
>> Weren’t” in TEFL or the several pages of astrophysics that *Heinlein
>> himself* says you can skip over in “Friday”?
>
>Page after page of genetics that was important to the plot.
>Captain Long had to decide if his adopted children could be
>permitted to have children together.

Yes-and-no. “Lazarus spent a long night going over all the material the slave dealer had given him, and applying everything he knew about genetics to the problem. In the end, he decided that Llita could have her baby.” would have worked about as well.

-Chris Zakes
Texas

Luck is a tag given by the mediocre to account for the accomplishments of genius.

-The “Old Man” in “The Puppet Masters” by Robert Heinlein

From: Joe Bednorz
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 12:20:21 GMT On Fri, 17 Nov 2006 04:22:57 GMT, Chris Zakes wrote in>:

>On 16 Nov 2006 09:11:25 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser caused
>”Puppet_Sock” to write:
>
>>Chris Zakes wrote:
>>[snip]
>>> Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but how does that compare
>>> with the page-after-page of genetics in “The Tale of the Twins Who
>>> Weren’t” in TEFL or the several pages of astrophysics that *Heinlein
>>> himself* says you can skip over in “Friday”?
>>
>>Page after page of genetics that was important to the plot.
>>Captain Long had to decide if his adopted children could be
>>permitted to have children together.
>
>Yes-and-no. “Lazarus spent a long night going over all the material
>the slave dealer had given him, and applying everything he knew about
>genetics to the problem. In the end, he decided that Llita could have
>her baby.” would have worked about as well.
>

It’s the difference between music fiction and science fiction.


Index to free SF: . The
Thunder Child’s SF links to Project Gutenberg, Baen Free Library and
CDs, the Sci-Fi Channel’s archive of classic & original SF & more.
All the best, Joe Bednorz

From: pixelmeow
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 19:47:04 -0500

Sorry to jump back in with such a bang, but here I go…

On 14 Nov 2006 15:47:23 -0800, “Puppet_Sock”wrote:

>Ok, put on your asbestos outerwear. I’m gonna rant. And vent and bleat.
>
>And, of course, this all has a huge “in my opinion, your mileage may
>actually have validity, void where prohibited by good taste” and so on.
>This is just me, and I don’t feel any need for people to agree.
>

(snip)
>
>Ok, let’s do the easy parts first. How many times in the book was
>something described as “indescribable?” How many times did we
>get the personality data-dump (loyal, trustworthy, brave, honest,
>etc. and etc.) from the description that the character had laugh
>lines or some such. This is a guy who won the JWC? Ah-huhn.

Yep. And tell me how many times you can have some snippets of RAH thrown in (I guess to say yeah, it really IS RAH’s style, see?? see??? see what I wrote in here???) before you want to throw the book across the room?

>There’s lots more I could say like that. Then there’s the puns.
>Then there’s the inordinate swearing. (Fucking hell, carrots
>again! That’s the third time this month!)

Yep again. The first swear word startled me right out of the *almost* suspension of my DISbelief, and I never got it back. Then oh.my.GOD he wrote THE F WORD. Then he did it AGAIN.

I’m sorry, but that really did it. RAH would never have done that, IMNSHO. And that ain’t the end of it for me.

>There’s the obligatory-rich-evil guy. I could rant for a couple
>hours on that. Mr. Robinson, you took a Heinlein story and
>you made a rich guy an *ineffective* bad guy. Sure.
>
>Then there’s the fact that, fundamentally, Joel is pretty dull.
>He can play the saxaphone. Great. And we need page after
>dull page of details about how to play the damn saxaphone.

This was an incredibly dull character. I couldnt’ get a handle on him. I liked how he walked out at the beginning, but only some. It didn’t *feel* right, for some reason. It didn’t have the heat of Colin/Richard, or Oscar, or Sam, or fer gossakes, *Woodie*.

Can you see any of them being that way? I mean, sure, he was mad, but not in the same sort of way. I don’t know how to say what I mean, other than it’s just flat and not believable. You can see the righteous anger of RAH’s characters. You *get* it. You understand why Richard says to cut the foot off, and you see he *means* it, he’s not just saying it to look big in everyone else’s eyes, or whatever.

I got sick of it before I got as far as you got. It’s sitting out there face down with Harry Turtledove laying on it, which I just put down because it’s so good that if I don’t put it down I’ll sit reading all night. It sat under Stirling for a long time before I picked it up, and rightly so, in retrospect.

>Then he has a seemingly endless series of useless dates,
>proving that he isn’t very wise about relationships. And that
>the general social content of the ship is fairly dysfunctional.
>Geeze, sounds like top-notch colony material. And it sounds
>like the covenant is functioning just spiffy! And that the
>ship’s councilor is right on her game.
>
>But then, Joel isn’t very smart either. Viz: He realizes he needs
>to commandeer the faster-than-light ship out from under the
>obligatory-rich-evil guy. And, out of the seven occupants of
>this ship, all of whom are no-longer on board but are on the
>larger ship they are docked to, you have at least two and
>maybe three on your side. And your plan manages to get
>two people shot dead after one had already died.
>
>Then there are the various things that are clearly tacked onto
>the plot just to make false drama. The one that stood out so
>painfully was that there are six “relativistis” on board. No way
>of attempting to make more was mentioned. The mission is
>20 years subjective. And if you lose three, everybody on the
>ship probably dies. How many people have you known for
>20 years, starting at adulthood? How many of them have,
>over that 20 years, died or become unable to work? And the
>ship can apparently fast-fry a relativist who makes a mistake.
>You have two spares and no way to make more? Sure.
>What’s stopping the production of more relativists? False drama.

Right, I remember that now. One of those places that felt like a bit of RAH added as an afterthought. Like random bits of RNA or something that are supposed to somehow meld with everything else and create a whole story that we will accept as RAH come again or something.

>And then there’s one of Mr. Robinson’s signature chimney
>corners: Anger is just fear displaced. Well so what if it is?
>Does that mean that it’s not valid? Not justified? There are
>things we should be afraid of in the universe. And actions
>we should be angry about.
>
>But I could have overlooked all that. These are minor little
>flecks on the ocean, and if the ending had actually gone
>somewhere useful, I might have ignored them.
>
>Mr. Robinson vaporizes the solar system. And it’s pretty
>clear that this was some entity’s deliberate attempt to
>eradicate the human race. The description of 90 percent
>conversion to energy is enough to be pretty much a
>smoking artillery squadron. Typical super novas only
>convert a small percentage of the star to energy. I can’t
>think of a way that it could happen.
>
>What do we get from this ending? We get some philosophy.
>
>The guy in the star theatre who is expressing appropriate
>sentiments is escorted out by the proctors. Presumably
>he will have his personality chemically adjusted so as
>not to ever again disturb the serene contemplation of
>others who want to quietly enjoy the missing solar system.
>
>The budhist on board has no room in his heart for hate.
>And he teaches this lesson by telling us how badly the human
>race messed up after 9/11. Did he tell us about other sneak
>attacks? Other wars? Nope. He reaches back a couple centuries
>and pokes at the USA right now. Not even in the context of
>other remembered attacks or other wars. It’s just, hey, you
>remember how the USA messed up so badly when they
>acted in anger over 9/11? We shouldn’t act in anger.
>
>Look, buddy. The entire solar system is gone. Mountains
>and trees, lakes and clouds, volcanoes and traffic jams,
>kittens and boots and methane clouds on Jupiter. It’s
>*all* gone. If it isn’t on one of the colony ships or on one
>of the colonies, it’s an expanding clound of plasma.
>
>No more teacher, no more books, no more school,
>no more road to walk uphill both ways through the
>snow. No more snow.
>
>And it’s not clear that the colonies will survive either.
>This isn’t an ordinary super nova.
>
>The 9/11 attack is trivially unimportant in comparison.
>WWII is trivially unimportant in comparison. All the
>wars that the entire human race has ever fought, in
>total in combination, are trivially unimportant by
>comparison. Throw in all the deaths by murder,
>all the accidental deaths, all the deaths by hunger
>or plague, and it’s *still* trivially unimportant.
>
>What Mr. Robinson really did was, stand up on his
>tiny little stage and say that *NOTHING* is worth fighting
>back for. Why, you remember when my mom made
>me clean up my room? (Roughly as trivially unimportant
>as a little thing like 3000 people being killed on the scale
>of an entire solar system being fried.) Well, if I can do that
>without getting angry, then you can contemplate the killing
>of an entire solar system and remain serene.
>
>If I had been there when this guy had started his
>little don’t-be-angry riff, I’d have shouted him down
>right away. Then started a petition to have him
>shoved out the airlock. *OF*COURSE* we should
>be angry. We should be furious. The pricks who
>did this must be prevented from ever doing it again.
>
>Your heart has no room for hate? Well, then, you
>don’t have a big enough heart.
>
>And Mr. Robinson, your book is going to the used book store.
>Socks

God, what a review! I’m glad I haven’t read that far, I *would* throw it across the room, then get pissed the damn thing put a hole in the wall. Hell with the used book store, trash sounds better. 🙁

I stayed away from the threads about the book earlier, but not this, and I’m so glad to see thoughts that so closely mirror my own. Thanks,

Socks.


~teresa~
AFH Barwench

=^..^= “Through the walls! The heck with doors!” =^..^=
Volunteer Coordinator and Database Wrangler
The Heinlein Centennial, July 7 2007
http://www.HeinleinCentennial.com
http://www.forget-me-knotts.com
email my first name at pixelmeow dot com

From: “Puppet_Sock” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 07:58:10 -0800

pixelmeow wrote:
[snip]
> God, what a review! I’m glad I haven’t read that far, I *would* throw
> it across the room, then get pissed the damn thing put a hole in the
> wall. Hell with the used book store, trash sounds better. 🙁
>
> I stayed away from the threads about the book earlier, but not this,
> and I’m so glad to see thoughts that so closely mirror my own. Thanks,
> Socks.

Blush! And I was afraid of being shunned for not liking it.

As to the used bookstore: Each used book store sale represents an avoided royalty for S.R. Hmmm…?

Plus, I have an aversion to putting books in the trash. It takes a veritable “war crime” of a book before I will put it in the trash. Dunno. Maybe it’s a failing, maybe it’s that I’ve fell victim to a certain kind of propaganda.

Socks
From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 12:27:06 -0700

“Puppet_Sock” writes:

> pixelmeow wrote:
> [snip]
>> God, what a review! I’m glad I haven’t read that far, I *would*
>> throw
>> it across the room, then get pissed the damn thing put a hole in the
>> wall. Hell with the used book store, trash sounds better. 🙁
>>
>> I stayed away from the threads about the book earlier, but not this,
>> and I’m so glad to see thoughts that so closely mirror my own.
>> Thanks,
>> Socks.
>
> Blush! And I was afraid of being shunned for not liking it.

What? We are vapid, no-brains who would even consider shunning you for not liking a book? “To each his own,” “YMMV,” etc. If we all liked the same things this place would be BORING!

You posted an excellent review of your opinion of the book. Kudos!

>
> As to the used bookstore: Each used book store sale represents
> an avoided royalty for S.R. Hmmm…?
>
> Plus, I have an aversion to putting books in the trash. It takes a
> veritable “war crime” of a book before I will put it in the trash.
> Dunno. Maybe it’s a failing, maybe it’s that I’ve fell victim to a
> certain kind of propaganda.

Same aversion here and for burning a book…I can’t think of any book I would throw away or burn. OTOH, I *have* mailed a book back to it’s author with my feelings in writing. Some books make good spacers for shelving…to hold the good books.

E!
From: pixelmeow
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2006 19:29:21 -0500

On 16 Nov 2006 07:58:10 -0800, “Puppet_Sock”wrote:

>pixelmeow wrote:
>[snip]
>> God, what a review! I’m glad I haven’t read that far, I *would* throw
>> it across the room, then get pissed the damn thing put a hole in the
>> wall. Hell with the used book store, trash sounds better. 🙁
>>
>> I stayed away from the threads about the book earlier, but not this,
>> and I’m so glad to see thoughts that so closely mirror my own. Thanks,
>> Socks.
>
>Blush! And I was afraid of being shunned for not liking it.
>
>As to the used bookstore: Each used book store sale represents
>an avoided royalty for S.R. Hmmm…?
>
>Plus, I have an aversion to putting books in the trash. It takes a
>veritable “war crime” of a book before I will put it in the trash.
>Dunno. Maybe it’s a failing, maybe it’s that I’ve fell victim to a
>certain kind of propaganda.

That’s why I wrote *trash*. I have that same aversion, and like E!, to burning them. I have thrown *one* book away in my life, and it was one of my college texts. Damfino which one. I threw one book across the room because of how badly it made me feel: _Night_, by Elie Wiesel. Not bad because of him, but what he went through, and everything else. I threw one DVD across the room, then went and got it and stomped on it, bent it all to pieces meaning to break it, found out I couldn’t break it but I *could* peel the thing into three slices, then cut those into confetti, and would have burned that if I could have. That all over the last 10 minutes or so of the movie. What movie? The last Star Trek: TNG movie. I won’t tell you why, but if you have *any* idea of how much of a fan I am, you know what it says that I did that. You’ll know why, and how bad it hurt. Hell, I’m tearing up right now.

ahem. Anyway, that’s my aversion to any sort of book destruction. I donated that one book, BTW.


~teresa~
AFH Barwench

=^..^= “Through the walls! The heck with doors!” =^..^=
Volunteer Coordinator and Database Wrangler
The Heinlein Centennial, July 7 2007
http://www.HeinleinCentennial.com
http://www.forget-me-knotts.com
email my first name at pixelmeow dot com

From: “Bill Patterson”
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: 16 Nov 2006 18:47:20 -0800

Innocent question — don’t throw rocks: is the Heinlein book exchange still going? I’m sure people there would like the opportunity to read the book . . .

PS Teresa – the things I found most objectionable about that movie were spread throughout. That was a movie that did not need making, IMO
From: pixelmeow
Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 19:41:57 -0500

On 16 Nov 2006 18:47:20 -0800, “Bill Patterson”
wrote:

>Innocent question — don’t throw rocks: is the Heinlein book exchange
>still going? I’m sure people there would like the opportunity to read
>the book . . .

It’s still up, but I haven’t heard much from anyone in quite some time. I sent an email out some time back to find out who (of the donors) had what books, but only heard back from maybe two folks. E! has always been one of my best donors, as well as a few others who don’t come around here anymore (from what I have seen, anyway).

>PS Teresa – the things I found most objectionable about that movie were
>spread throughout. That was a movie that did not need making, IMO

You have a good point.


~teresa~
AFH Barwench

=^..^= “Through the walls! The heck with doors!” =^..^=
Volunteer Coordinator and Database Wrangler
The Heinlein Centennial, July 7 2007
http://www.HeinleinCentennial.com
http://www.forget-me-knotts.com
email my first name at pixelmeow dot com

From: “TreetopAngel” Subject: Re: Why I loathed _Variable Star_
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2006 08:17:30 -0700

“pixelmeow” writes:
> On 16 Nov 2006 18:47:20 -0800, “Bill Patterson”
> wrote:
>
>>Innocent question — don’t throw rocks: is the Heinlein book exchange
>>still going? I’m sure people there would like the opportunity to read
>>the book . . .
>
> It’s still up, but I haven’t heard much from anyone in quite some
> time. I sent an email out some time back to find out who (of the
> donors) had what books, but only heard back from maybe two folks. E!
> has always been one of my best donors, as well as a few others who
> don’t come around here anymore (from what I have seen, anyway).

Thanks Pix! 🙂

I still have two stacks of books to mail to good owners.

E!
Second Thread
First Thread
Third Thread
Fourth Thread

Go to Postings
Go To Discussions

From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2006 09:59:18 -0800

In article ,
Chris Zakes wrote:

> On Wed, 06 Dec 2006 18:24:03 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser
> caused “Robert A. Woodward” to write:
>
> >In article ,
> > Chris Zakes wrote:
> >
> >> On 5 Dec 2006 12:13:35 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser caused
> >> “MajorOz” to write:
>
> (snippage)
>
> >> >1.Chris disregarded inference and insisted on text references.
> >>
> >> To be precise, I disregarded inferences that didn’t have at least
> >> *some* textual backup. I was perfectly willing to accept the notion
> >> that Conrad was connected with the Kallikanzaros scholarships, for
> >> example, when David reminded me of the lead character’s name (or one
> >> of them, anyway ) in Zelazney’s “This Imortal”.
> >>
> >> The notion that that scholarship was Conrad’s way of financing
> >> prospective grandsons-in-law struck me as unlikely and contradictory
> >> to what *was* in the text.
> >>
> >
> >Since I haven’t read _Variable Star_ yet, I am somewhat handicapped
> >in this discussion. But I wonder if there was any real evidence
> >that the Kallikanzaros scholarships actually existed. Or evidence
> >that it wasn’t a way for him to fill out forms, write an essay, and
> >give other evidence to evaluate his fitness of being a
> >grandson-in-law.
>

Outside the private utterances of Joel and Jinnia to each other, and an email Joel later receives, there is no actual evidence of the existence of the scholarship. No third party mentions it; there are no announcements, no listings of scholarship aid, no encounters with anyone else who has applied for one, no reference to it from the voice of the “junior college” they attend.

> I think there’s more textual evidence that the scholarships actually
> existed than that they were some kind of behind-the-scenes method of
> scoping-out prospective grandsons-in-law.
>

Chris supports his statement of opinion by omitting from his recital of facts below something that previously was pointed out to him. That’s a concession he cannot explain or deal with what he ignores. See below.

> Joel mentions “Kallikanzaros Scholarships” plural, which means that a
> lot more people than just him were in line to get one.

Actually, Joel only refers to “a” scholarship he expects to receive. (“If, I say ‘if,’ all those bullocks I sacrificed to Zeus pay off and I actually win a Kallikanzaros Scholarship, it will be my great privilege to spend the next four years living on dishrag soup … .”) (p.13 of uncorrected proof). [Note: if he’s going to be at SUNY the next _four_ years, I’m really beginning to question the value of the so-called degree Joel has received from the so-called junior college in Vancouver. Again, I think Spider probably started writing this opus with Joel and Jinnia in high school, but then changed it to a junior college without carefully proofing the changes. Most junior college degrees at least equate to the first two years of lower division undergraduate work.]

Which gets us to what Chris wants us to ignore.

It’s Jinnia who mentions the scholarships in plural, only after Joel tells her he wishes to marry her but cannot because he thinks his financial future is too insecure: “Joel, suppose you knew for sure you had your scholarship in the bag? The whole ride?” (p.17)

He asks if she’s heard something, for as far as he knows, decisions will not be made for another few weeks.

She states: “I’m just saying suppose you knew for a fact that you’re among this year’s Kallikanzaros winners.” (p.17)

Immediately after that, she discloses to him that she is not Jinnia Hamilton, orphan, but Jinnia Conrad, the granddaughter of Richard Conrad, the world’s richest man. (p.24) And, she takes him to her family’s home to meet the patriarch.

Let’s analyze what Jinnia has done: first, she’s admitted to insider knowledge of the considerations of the Kallikanzaros Scholarship trustees; and, second, she’s all but told Joel he’s slated, according to her or someone whose wishes she certainly knows, to be a recipient of a scholarship. That implies that she, or someone very close to her whom she can influence, can actually make the choice or choices its trustees supposedly will make in “another few weeks.” That implies the trustees are so controlled as to be Conrad’s agents and the scholarship trust, of course, is Conrad’s alter ego.

If I were proving in a court of law a crime (which could actually exist here), let’s say conspiracy to embezzle trust funds and embezzlement of those funds by giving what purports to be a scholarship to someone’s future son-in-law or husband, I’d have enough to indict Miss Conrad with the admissions she’s made out of her own mouth for the conspiracy alone. A cautious prosecutor would simply wait for the award of the scholarship to be given from the charity’s funds (not Conrad’s anymore if they ever were–he likely took a deduction for a charitable contribution [or possibly is avoiding gift taxes]–they belong to the trust) to Joel to conclude the main crime, embezzlement itself. She’s admitted knowledge, intent, and agreement to commit the crime with someone who controls those funds who is able to divert them to her fiancee, and all we need to clinch a conviction for both conspiracy and the underlying crime of embezzlement is the actual act of award of the scholarship.

> That seems like
> a too-elaborate scheme to me, if its sole purpose is to get a “first
> cut” of prospective grandsons-in-law. Conrad has *lots* of money (the
> setup resembles “Rudbek of Rudbek” in “Citizen of the Galaxy”.) It’d
> be far easier to just hire a private detective or two to check him
> out.
>

It might not seem too elaborate to Conrad, or his advisors. Who knows all the advantages an educational trust he wholly controls affords him, generally? I’d think the spate of recent disclosures of the activities of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal (which involved the use of ‘educational charities’ as ‘pass-throughs’ for recipients such as Ralph Reed) would suggest some interesting usages to someone inclined to do devious things.

> FWIW, there’s no solid textual evidence of any connection between the
> Conrad empire and the Kallikanzaros Scholarships.

There’s enough evidence to indict for a crime naming Jinnia Conrad as a defendent co-conspirator; and enough evidence for a jury to convict her and others beyond a reasonable doubt if they choose to accept it as fully credible and drawing the inferences the prosecution would argue–it’s an admission tantamount to a confession by Miss “Hamilton.” We call confessions pretty solid evidence.

> There are only two
> data points that show any connection at all:
>
> 1. Once Joel has turned Conrad down, he gets an email saying his
> scholarship application has been denied (the official announcement of
> the winners is still a couple of weeks away at this point.) The
> implication is that Conrad pulled some strings to make that happen,
> but there’s no direct connection shown.

Let’s see now: it looks, acts, quacks, and waddles like Conrad’s duck, but that isn’t a “direct connection” shown. Why? Because there’s no brand saying “Conrad” on its butt? Could you run that one by us again?

>
> 2. The names. The main character in Roger Zelazny’s “This Immortal”
> calls himself “Conrad Nomikos”. He’s also called a “kallikanzaros”
> because he was born on Christmas Day.
> http://www.newsfinder.org/site/more/kallikantzaroi_creatures_from_a_greek_lege
> nd/
> I presume that this is Spider Robinson having some fun

Unconnected literary allusions, I suppose, could constitute “having some fun,” but I really think Robinson occasionally tries and does manage to connect to something while he dirties paper on one side. If he doesn’t want people to draw apparent allusions, he has only to omit them, or write in such a way as to obviate the connection.

>, because the
> original Heinlein story outline was written a good ten years *before*
> “This Immortal” was published. (My best guess is that Heinlein called
> the rich guy “Conrad” and Robinson decided to use the “kallikanzaros”
> name for the scholarship. But that’s only a guess. I *really* want to
> see the original Heinlein notes for this story and was disappointed
> that they weren’t included in the book.)
>
> -Chris Zakes
> Texas
>
> There are no dangerous weapons, there are only dangerous men.
>
> -Sgt, Zim in “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: “Dr. Rufo”
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2006 20:30:39 GMT

David M. Silver wrote:
< snip >
>>Joel mentions “Kallikanzaros Scholarships” plural, which means that a
>>lot more people than just him were in line to get one.
>
>
> Actually, Joel only refers to “a” scholarship he expects to receive.
> (“If, I say ‘if,’ all those bullocks I sacrificed to Zeus pay off and I
> actually win a Kallikanzaros Scholarship, it will be my great privilege
> to spend the next four years living on dishrag soup … .”) (p.13 of
> uncorrected proof). [Note: if he’s going to be at SUNY the next _four_
> years, I’m really beginning to question the value of the so-called
> degree Joel has received from the so-called junior college in Vancouver.
> Again, I think Spider probably started writing this opus with Joel and
> Jinnia in high school, but then changed it to a junior college without
> carefully proofing the changes. Most junior college degrees at least
> equate to the first two years of lower division undergraduate work.]

As you suggest, perhaps, the fianl edit was not a thorough as it might have been. Contrariwise, perhaps, the Kalliwhatsis scholarship(s) were to defray the costs of a winner’s upper division course work (3rd & 4th years in undergraduate school) AS WELL AS a couple of years of post-graduate work? Masters/Doctorate equivalencies?

>
> Which gets us to what Chris wants us to ignore.
>
> It’s Jinnia who mentions the scholarships in plural, only after Joel
> tells her he wishes to marry her but cannot because he thinks his
> financial future is too insecure: “Joel, suppose you knew for sure you
> had your scholarship in the bag? The whole ride?” (p.17)
>
> He asks if she’s heard something, for as far as he knows, decisions will
> not be made for another few weeks.
>
> She states: “I’m just saying suppose you knew for a fact that you’re
> among this year’s Kallikanzaros winners.” (p.17)
>
> Immediately after that, she discloses to him that she is not Jinnia
> Hamilton, orphan, but Jinnia Conrad, the granddaughter of Richard
> Conrad, the world’s richest man. (p.24) And, she takes him to her
> family’s home to meet the patriarch.
>
> Let’s analyze what Jinnia has done: first, she’s admitted to insider
> knowledge of the considerations of the Kallikanzaros Scholarship
> trustees; and, second, she’s all but told Joel he’s slated, according to
> her or someone whose wishes she certainly knows, to be a recipient of a
> scholarship.

IMHO, “big pot and little tea bag,” Counselor.

You say “she’s admitted . . . .”

I suggest, rather, that she WHAT SHE STATES is

“suppose you knew for sure . . . .” AND

“suppose you knew for a fact. . . .”

These are part of questions she presents to JJ regarding the HYPOTHETICAL situation in which he had certain knowledge of the outcome of the scholarship’s presentation(s). She does not STATE NOR IMPLY that this is the case NOR THAT she has any “insider information.”

> That implies that she, or someone very close to her whom
> she can influence, can actually make the choice or choices its trustees
> supposedly will make in “another few weeks.” That implies the trustees
> are so controlled as to be Conrad’s agents and the scholarship trust, of
> course, is Conrad’s alter ego.

I don’t believe I can agree with either of these inferences. That is, indeed, what they are: “your” inferences. THEY ARE NOT Jinnia’s “implications.”

Even in concert with her later statements/admissions concerning her family and connections; I don’t believe she is implying what you’ve inferred.

But, as always, mileage varies, what, what?

Rufe
From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2006 13:33:44 -0800

In article ,
“Dr. Rufo” wrote:

> > Let’s analyze what Jinnia has done: first, she’s admitted to insider
> > knowledge of the considerations of the Kallikanzaros Scholarship
> > trustees; and, second, she’s all but told Joel he’s slated, according to
> > her or someone whose wishes she certainly knows, to be a recipient of a
> > scholarship.
> IMHO, “big pot and little tea bag,” Counselor.
> You say “she’s admitted . . . .”
> I suggest, rather, that she WHAT SHE STATES is
> “suppose you knew for sure . . . .” AND
> “suppose you knew for a fact. . . .”
>
> These are part of questions she presents to JJ regarding the
> HYPOTHETICAL situation in which he had certain knowledge of the
> outcome of the scholarship’s presentation(s). She does not STATE NOR
> IMPLY that this is the case NOR THAT she has any “insider information.”
>

Nonsense. Perhaps in your world of theatre people walk around spouting hypothetical statements to no purpose–perhaps their world’s stage is so boring they must enliven it with fantasy; but Jinnia and Joel, purported inhabitants of a real world, are talking about something quite serious–whether they will get married. In my world, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, “hypothetical” statements in serious situations are always made to a purpose even between such naifs as junior college students. Now, if I believed Robinson were simply a truly poor writer cluttering up the pages with words to produce a final word count sufficient to get paid for writing a piece of work of a novel length, I might agree with you that he’s dirtied paper on one side to no purpose or effect. But I don’t think he’s quite that desperate. He had a purpose in writing that scene: plainly to show to Joel that Jinnia knew somehow Joel was slated (or could be slated) to receive the scholarship, whether it was a valid competitive scholarship he arguably deserved or not. How “somehow” Robinson left for the reader to deduce. She plainly implies insider information. She insists upon it by reaffirming her statement implying knowledge when he asks her if she “has heard” something, which is a tacit admission of knowledge, not by any means a denial of insider information. She plainly implies the ability to control the outcome, directly, or through some other person–and we find out, wadda surprise, she’s granddaughter to Conrad in the very next moment. The richest man in the world presumably can control a lot of things–as can his granddaughter through him. Do you want his brand on the scholarship? Conrad, in _This Immortal_, a Hugo winning SF novel, is the Kallikanzaros. Wadda coincidence.

> > That implies that she, or someone very close to her whom
> > she can influence, can actually make the choice or choices its trustees
> > supposedly will make in “another few weeks.” That implies the trustees
> > are so controlled as to be Conrad’s agents and the scholarship trust, of
> > course, is Conrad’s alter ego.
> I don’t believe I can agree with either of these inferences. That
> is, indeed, what they are: “your” inferences. THEY ARE NOT Jinnia’s
> “implications.”

Really? What purpose then, please answer me, does Jinnia have for bringing the situation up? No purpose? Idle chatter on the way home? She’s decided to dump this loser and really wants to twist the knife when she puts it in by making him believe that if he’d played his cards right he’d have gotten the scholarship? She better be careful. She pushes this nutcase too hard he’ll strangle her in the car. She brings him home where he’s told by grandpop his educational goals have all been mapped out and will be paid for. Wadda ‘nuther coincidence. If Conrad wants to use an alleged scholarship to pay for part of it, that’s Conrad’s business–and maybe the tax authorities’ business, too.

> Even in concert with her later statements/admissions concerning her
> family and connections; I don’t believe she is implying what you’ve
> inferred.
>

Feel free to believe the sun will rise in the west if it suits you, Rufo. I’ll continue to believe most people act consistent with reason and do things to a purpose. I’ll also believe that some writers at times create plot situations, as here, where their characters emulate that real life reason and purpose.

> But, as always, mileage varies, what, what?


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: “Dr. Rufo”
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2006 22:04:49 GMT

David M. Silver wrote:
> In article ,
> “Dr. Rufo” wrote:
>
>
>>>Let’s analyze what Jinnia has done: first, she’s admitted to insider
>>>knowledge of the considerations of the Kallikanzaros Scholarship
>>>trustees; and, second, she’s all but told Joel he’s slated, according to
>>>her or someone whose wishes she certainly knows, to be a recipient of a
>>>scholarship.
>>
>> IMHO, “big pot and little tea bag,” Counselor.
>> You say “she’s admitted . . . .”
>> I suggest, rather, that WHAT SHE STATES is
>>”suppose you knew for sure . . . .” AND
>>”suppose you knew for a fact. . . .”
>>
>> These are part of questions she presents to JJ regarding the
>>HYPOTHETICAL situation in which he had certain knowledge of the
>>outcome of the scholarship’s presentation(s). She does not STATE NOR
>>IMPLY that this is the case NOR THAT she has any “insider information.”
>>
>
>
> Nonsense. Perhaps in your world of theatre people walk around spouting
> hypothetical statements to no purpose–perhaps their world’s stage is so
> boring they must enliven it with fantasy; but Jinnia and Joel, purported
> inhabitants of a real world, are talking about something quite
> serious–whether they will get married. In my world, wink, wink, nudge,
> nudge, “hypothetical” statements in serious situations are always made
> to a purpose even between such naifs as junior college students.

Okay, lookit here. I didn’t say she had NO purpose in asking her hypothetical questions. I suggested that, on the basis of the information available, I didn’t agree that *her* reasons were those *you* inferred.

IMHO, it’s more reasonaable that she was asking a much simpler question: “Hey, JJ, if you already knew you’d won the K. scholarship, would you marry me right now?”

JJ ducks and weaves.

I do not mean to suggest at all that your derivations, deductions or conclusions are inaccurate but rather that they are more removed from the text than I can comfortably discern.

Of course, I’m only an egg and advance no claims to any sort of rigorous literary criticism in this or any other discussion.

> Now,
< snip >

> I’ll continue to believe most people act consistent with reason
> and do things to a purpose. I’ll also believe that some writers at times
> create plot situations, as here, where their characters emulate that
> real life reason and purpose.

Once again, I heartily agree with your statement regarding “purpose” and purposeful actions but I do not agree with the inevitability of your deductions.

I also respectfully suggest that you’ve already demonstrated more ideation and rationalization than it appears to me that Mr. R. did in his writing of the novel. But, once again, YMMV.

By the way, in my admittedly sheltered experience, I’ve noticed that people who are insecure of the dependability/stability of their relationships [as, I submit, Jinnia is regarding JJ] are tentative in pushing forward their desires. That is, they “suggest” rather than “demand”. Further, I note that such “demands” placed on new or tentative personal relationships tend to be ignored and become “deal breakers/relationship breakers.” Mileage, etc?

Rufe
From: “MajorOz”
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: 7 Dec 2006 14:40:57 -0800

On Dec 7, 4:04 pm, “Dr. Rufo” wrote:
> David M. Silver wrote:
> > In article ,
> > “Dr. Rufo” wrote:
>

(snip previous long passage)

Was it Tolstoy who said (paraphrased): “If you show a gun in act one, you had better fire it before the final curtain”? cheers oz
From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2006 02:48:53 GMT

On Fri, 08 Dec 2006 01:09:40 GMT, an orbital mind-control laser
caused “Dr. Rufo” to write:

>
>
>David M. Silver wrote:
>
>> In article ,
>> “MajorOz” , answering Rufo, wrote:
>>
>>
>>>>>> These are part of questions she presents to JJ regarding the
>>>>>>HYPOTHETICAL situation in which he had certain knowledge of the
>>>>>>outcome of the scholarship’s presentation(s). She does not STATE NOR
>>>>>>IMPLY that this is the case NOR THAT she has any “insider information.”
>>>>
>>>>>Nonsense. Perhaps in your world of theatre people walk around spouting
>>>>>hypothetical statements to no purpose–perhaps their world’s stage is so
>>>>>boring they must enliven it with fantasy; but Jinnia and Joel, purported
>>>>>inhabitants of a real world, are talking about something quite
>>>>>serious–whether they will get married. In my world, wink, wink, nudge,
>>>>>nudge, “hypothetical” statements in serious situations are always made
>>>>>to a purpose even between such naifs as junior college students.
>>
>>
>> You’ve snipped, Rufo, her reaffirmation of knowledge after Joel’s
>> question to her asking whether she’s “heard something.” You’ve also
>> snipped the part that points out a reaffirmation is a tacit admission of
>> insider knowledge; and you’ve further ignored her next disclosure, that
>> she is Conrad’s granddaughter and therefore likely to be able to control
>> the award of a scholarship that even bears his brand–Kallikanzaros.
>>
>>
>>>>Okay, lookit here. I didn’t say she had NO purpose in asking her
>>>>hypothetical questions. I suggested that, on the basis of the
>>>>information available, I didn’t agree that *her* reasons were those
>>>>*you* inferred.
>>>> IMHO, it’s more reasonaable that she was asking a much simpler
>>>>question: “Hey, JJ, if you already knew you’d won the K.
>>>>scholarship, would you marry me right now?”
>>>> JJ ducks and weaves.
>>
>>
>> Except for one thing you’ve ignored: later that evening there’s a
>> conversation between her and Joel. She says: “I’m proposing marriage,
>> Joel. … And I’m offering to support us … uh, at least until you get
>> your degree and start to become an established composer and start
>> earning. I can afford it. I’m _quite sure_ you’ll get that Kallikanzaros
>> Scholarship–but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. … ” [emphasis added]
>> (p.32).
>>
>> So it’s not a hypothetical, Rufo. It’s been fixed. She knows. If she’s
>> wrong, it doesn’t matter. Grandfather Richard’s money is there.

> Allrightee, then. In sequence, as you’ve displayed it. It seems
>consistent with your deductions.

Thanks to David Silver for pointing this bit out–I’d missed it in our earlier discussion–but *my* reading of that sequence comes to just the opposite conclusion.

Why would Jinny say “but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter” if she already *knows* the fix is in. For that matter, why would Jinny *care* about a tuition-only scholarship when her family could probably buy the whole university if it suited them?

I read the “I’m quite sure” line as her confidence in Joel’s musical ability, not because she knows he’s getting the scholarship.

Furthermore, if we take this conversation at face value, Jinny has no clue what Conrad has in mind for Joel’s life. She thinks he’s going to be a composer and her husband, not a business magnate and heir to the Conrad empire.

-Chris Zakes
Texas

There are no dangerous weapons, there are only dangerous men.

-Sgt, Zim in “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein

From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 21:03:33 -0800 In article, Chris Zakes wrote:

> >> Except for one thing you’ve ignored: later that evening there’s a
> >> conversation between her and Joel. She says: “I’m proposing marriage,
> >> Joel. … And I’m offering to support us … uh, at least until you get
> >> your degree and start to become an established composer and start
> >> earning. I can afford it. I’m _quite sure_ you’ll get that Kallikanzaros
> >> Scholarship–but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. … ” [emphasis added]
> >> (p.32).
> >>
> >> So it’s not a hypothetical, Rufo. It’s been fixed. She knows. If she’s
> >> wrong, it doesn’t matter. Grandfather Richard’s money is there.
>
> > Allrightee, then. In sequence, as you’ve displayed it. It seems
> >consistent with your deductions.
>
> Thanks to David Silver for pointing this bit out–I’d missed it in our
> earlier discussion–but *my* reading of that sequence comes to just
> the opposite conclusion.

Why am I not surprised? You always have my permission to strain reason as much as you like, Chris.

>
> Why would Jinny say “but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter” if she
> already *knows* the fix is in.

Perhaps she feels the weak tool that Joel is needs further assurances? It’s probably much like dealing with a stubborn baby. You know who I’m talking about: Joel “My Way or the Highway” Johnston.

> For that matter, why would Jinny *care*
> about a tuition-only scholarship when her family could probably buy
> the whole university if it suited them?
>

The plan seems to have been to have Joel strive to ‘earn’ a scholarship, whether or not that’s Joel’s general plan assisted by Jinny’s suggestions (“Gosh, willikers, Joel, I just heard about the Kallikanzaros Scholarship for music students that seems right up your line. What luck! Maybe you would win if you applied.) I didn’t write the dialogue or create the plot. I don’t think Robinson is quite an idiot, but I don’t have to say he writes very consistently with rationality (he’s created an irrational subject in Joel)–and I haven’t.

> I read the “I’m quite sure” line as her confidence in Joel’s musical
> ability, not because she knows he’s getting the scholarship.
>

Feel free to twist and turn as much as you like. “I’m quite sure” could be intended to mean both, but certainly means one thing: “I’m quite sure.”

> Furthermore, if we take this conversation at face value, Jinny has no
> clue what Conrad has in mind for Joel’s life.

On the contrary–she could very well understand her grandfather to have his own plans. Nobody said she agrees–except Joel assumes that of her. She could have planned to fight her grandfather every inch of the way. She’s lucky in a way she never did get married to him. She found a poor tool where she thought she might find a husband. I keep telling you that I pity poor Evelyn when she grows up to find her husband hasn’t.

> She thinks he’s going to
> be a composer and her husband, not a business magnate and heir to the
> Conrad empire.

Yep. Shame she never got to tell Joel that she would support him in that goal. Joel, you’ll recall, refused to return her calls until it was too late. Wadda weak tool.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2006 15:52:18 GMT

On Fri, 08 Dec 2006 21:03:33 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser
caused “David M. Silver” to write:

>In article ,
> Chris Zakes wrote:
>
>> >> Except for one thing you’ve ignored: later that evening there’s a
>> >> conversation between her and Joel. She says: “I’m proposing marriage,
>> >> Joel. … And I’m offering to support us … uh, at least until you get
>> >> your degree and start to become an established composer and start
>> >> earning. I can afford it. I’m _quite sure_ you’ll get that Kallikanzaros
>> >> Scholarship–but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. … ” [emphasis added]
>> >> (p.32).
>> >>
>> >> So it’s not a hypothetical, Rufo. It’s been fixed. She knows. If she’s
>> >> wrong, it doesn’t matter. Grandfather Richard’s money is there.
>>
>> > Allrightee, then. In sequence, as you’ve displayed it. It seems
>> >consistent with your deductions.
>>
>> Thanks to David Silver for pointing this bit out–I’d missed it in our
>> earlier discussion–but *my* reading of that sequence comes to just
>> the opposite conclusion.
>
>Why am I not surprised? You always have my permission to strain reason
>as much as you like, Chris.

Same right back at you, David. My “straining” at least comes from the text, rather than my hat.

>> Why would Jinny say “but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter” if she
>> already *knows* the fix is in.
>
>Perhaps she feels the weak tool that Joel is needs further assurances?
>It’s probably much like dealing with a stubborn baby. You know who I’m
>talking about: Joel “My Way or the Highway” Johnston.

Yes, David. We’ve been told over and over again that your opinions trump whatever the poor, confused author actually wrote.

>> For that matter, why would Jinny *care*
>> about a tuition-only scholarship when her family could probably buy
>> the whole university if it suited them?
>>
>
>The plan seems to have been to have Joel strive to ‘earn’ a scholarship,
>whether or not that’s Joel’s general plan assisted by Jinny’s
>suggestions (“Gosh, willikers, Joel, I just heard about the
>Kallikanzaros Scholarship for music students that seems right up your
>line. What luck! Maybe you would win if you applied.) I didn’t write the
>dialogue or create the plot. I don’t think Robinson is quite an idiot,
>but I don’t have to say he writes very consistently with rationality
>(he’s created an irrational subject in Joel)–and I haven’t.

Where is this “plan” actually stated in the text? There’s nothing that says *who* first noticed the Kallikanzaros Scholarships (or that they’re just for music students, either.) It’s pure speculation to say that it was Jinny; it could just as easily have been Joel scrounging for a way to finance college after his father’s investments for his future went south (page 97) or it could have been some unnamed guidance counselor at Fermi.

And where does Conrad say anything about the Kallikanzaros Scholarship during his description of the conditions under which Joel will be permitted to marry Jinny? Four years of college certainly doesn’t equate to “degrees in engineering, law, business administration, one of the practical sciences and a language”.

>> I read the “I’m quite sure” line as her confidence in Joel’s musical
>> ability, not because she knows he’s getting the scholarship.
>>
>
>Feel free to twist and turn as much as you like. “I’m quite sure” could
>be intended to mean both, but certainly means one thing: “I’m quite
>sure.”

Yeah, so put in the *rest* of that sentence, rather than cherry-picking: “I’m quite sure you’ll get that Kallikanzaros Scholarship–but even if you don’t, it won’t matter.” That doesn’t sound like someone describing the liklihood of the sun rising in the morning, it sounds like someone who has a solid backup plan (i.e. the family money) if Plan A doesn’t work out.

>> Furthermore, if we take this conversation at face value, Jinny has no
>> clue what Conrad has in mind for Joel’s life.
>
>On the contrary–she could very well understand her grandfather to have
>his own plans. Nobody said she agrees–except Joel assumes that of her.
>She could have planned to fight her grandfather every inch of the way.

Okay, it’s *possible* that Jinny doesn’t agree with Conrad’s plans for Joel’s life. But even if that’s true, there’s no evidence that she had the guts to fight him over it, either. See my comments below, not to mention whose side she picks in the climax scene in the “Mercury.”

>She’s lucky in a way she never did get married to him. She found a poor
>tool where she thought she might find a husband.

No, she found a husband-prospect who wasn’t interested in being a business magnate. “I honestly don’t know if I have what it takes to be a Conrad, I admit that. But I don’t know if *anybody* does, so I’m not afraid to find out. What I do know is, it’s not something I *want* to be. I guess it seems self-evident to you that any rational man would. So you won’t want an irrational husband.”

Maybe you, too, consider that irrational, but *I* don’t. Giving up everything I love and spending the rest of my life doing something that, at best, would be totally boring and at worst would be something I’d actively hate, in exchange for getting married…? Nope, I’ll pass, too.

>I keep telling you that
>I pity poor Evelyn when she grows up to find her husband hasn’t.
>
>> She thinks he’s going to
>> be a composer and her husband, not a business magnate and heir to the
>> Conrad empire.
>
>Yep. Shame she never got to tell Joel that she would support him in that
>goal. Joel, you’ll recall, refused to return her calls until it was too
>late. Wadda weak tool.

Incorrect. She calls him a couple of hours before the “Sheffield” leaves orbit and says basically “stop this foolishness and come home right now!”

There’s not one word of “I agree with you that Grandpa Richard is being overbearing, but I think I can persuade him to change his mind.” or “Look, is there some kind of compromise we can reach here?” It’s all “Mine! Mine! Give it back!” Wadda spoiled brat.

Frankly, Evelyn–at the ripe old age of 7–shows more guts than Jinny at either 18 or 31.

-Chris Zakes
Texas

There are no dangerous weapons, there are only dangerous men.

-Sgt, Zim in “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein

From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2006 10:20:46 -0800

In article ,
Chris Zakes wrote:

> On Fri, 08 Dec 2006 21:03:33 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser
> caused “David M. Silver” to write:
>
> >In article ,
> > Chris Zakes wrote:
> >
> >> >> Except for one thing you’ve ignored: later that evening there’s a
> >> >> conversation between her and Joel. She says: “I’m proposing marriage,
> >> >> Joel. … And I’m offering to support us … uh, at least until you get
> >> >> your degree and start to become an established composer and start
> >> >> earning. I can afford it. I’m _quite sure_ you’ll get that
> >> >> Kallikanzaros
> >> >> Scholarship–but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. … ” [emphasis
> >> >> added]
> >> >> (p.32).
> >> >>
> >> >> So it’s not a hypothetical, Rufo. It’s been fixed. She knows. If she’s
> >> >> wrong, it doesn’t matter. Grandfather Richard’s money is there.
> >>
> >> > Allrightee, then. In sequence, as you’ve displayed it. It seems
> >> >consistent with your deductions.
> >>
> >> Thanks to David Silver for pointing this bit out–I’d missed it in our
> >> earlier discussion–but *my* reading of that sequence comes to just
> >> the opposite conclusion.
> >
> >Why am I not surprised? You always have my permission to strain reason
> >as much as you like, Chris.
>
> Same right back at you, David. My “straining” at least comes from the
> text, rather than my hat.
>

See above. Repeat as often as needed.

>
> >> Why would Jinny say “but if you don’t, it doesn’t matter” if she
> >> already *knows* the fix is in.
> >
> >Perhaps she feels the weak tool that Joel is needs further assurances?
> >It’s probably much like dealing with a stubborn baby. You know who I’m
> >talking about: Joel “My Way or the Highway” Johnston.
>
> Yes, David. We’ve been told over and over again that your opinions
> trump whatever the poor, confused author actually wrote.
>

Can’t reply with a glib rejoinder to that one which is likely given the lack of self-esteem Robinson wrote into Joel, I suppose, so you avoid a reply with insult. Poor argument technique.

>
> >> For that matter, why would Jinny *care*
> >> about a tuition-only scholarship when her family could probably buy
> >> the whole university if it suited them?
> >>
> >
> >The plan seems to have been to have Joel strive to ‘earn’ a scholarship,
> >whether or not that’s Joel’s general plan assisted by Jinny’s
> >suggestions (“Gosh, willikers, Joel, I just heard about the
> >Kallikanzaros Scholarship for music students that seems right up your
> >line. What luck! Maybe you would win if you applied.) I didn’t write the
> >dialogue or create the plot. I don’t think Robinson is quite an idiot,
> >but I don’t have to say he writes very consistently with rationality
> >(he’s created an irrational subject in Joel)–and I haven’t.
>
> Where is this “plan” actually stated in the text?

Your lack of willingness to even consider any reasonable inference that doesn’t make Joel heroic has already been noted, and not just by me. You don’t need to reaffirm it, Chris.

> There’s nothing that
> says *who* first noticed the Kallikanzaros Scholarships (or that
> they’re just for music students, either.) It’s pure speculation to say
> that it was Jinny; it could just as easily have been Joel scrounging
> for a way to finance college after his father’s investments for his
> future went south (page 97) or it could have been some unnamed
> guidance counselor at Fermi.
>

Since you cannot figure out–so you say–how, you’d conclude it’s a vast mystery, right? Rather than consider anything within a wide range of possibilities. It must be dull reading all those books without the imagination to speculate or suppose what the author hasn’t expressly and literally written down for you. It rather robs your ability to think on topics an author raises, I fear.

> And where does Conrad say anything about the Kallikanzaros Scholarship > during his description of the conditions under which Joel will be > permitted to marry Jinny? Four years of college certainly doesn’t > equate to “degrees in engineering, law, business administration, one > of the practical sciences and a language”. >

Why does Conrad have to talk about a scholarship? Maybe he thinks he’s still following Plan A, that which Jinny, through her impatience to get a commmitment from the dunce, made a mistake and revealed to Joel. You insist in equating what Jinny reveals with Conrad’s plan to reveal. Conrad may think less of Joel’s self-esteem than Jinny (he probably does) and believe it is even more crucial to allow Joel to think he is receiving some aid through his own abilities. I see no such congruence in a plan to reveal a fraud. Conrad would naturally be reticent to do so. He’s more mature than his granddaughter, and he has no illusions about Joel loving him. My experience with people is contrary to that. Co-conspirators, plotters, frequently get their signals crossed. That’s why they often get caught. Conrad has as much money to pay for as much education as he, Conrad, thinks Joel merits. So he tells Joel that. No horseshit about scholarships. It turns out he didn’t merit any in Conrad’s view, so Conrad cut him off and arranged for Joel to get the text message from Stony Brook telling him he was cut off. Good riddance. Now his granddaughter can go find someone worth marrying.

>
> >> I read the “I’m quite sure” line as her confidence in Joel’s musical
> >> ability, not because she knows he’s getting the scholarship.
> >>
> >
> >Feel free to twist and turn as much as you like. “I’m quite sure” could
> >be intended to mean both, but certainly means one thing: “I’m quite
> >sure.”
>
> Yeah, so put in the *rest* of that sentence, rather than
> cherry-picking: “I’m quite sure you’ll get that Kallikanzaros
> Scholarship–but even if you don’t, it won’t matter.” That doesn’t
> sound like someone describing the liklihood of the sun rising in the
> morning, it sounds like someone who has a solid backup plan (i.e. the
> family money) if Plan A doesn’t work out.
>

One always has to consider naivete among the lower classes. Joel might not believe the Conrads can fix a scholarship. You obviously don’t. Joel needs reassurances. She gives them to him, in spades.

>
> >> Furthermore, if we take this conversation at face value, Jinny has no
> >> clue what Conrad has in mind for Joel’s life.
> >
> >On the contrary–she could very well understand her grandfather to have
> >his own plans. Nobody said she agrees–except Joel assumes that of her.
> >She could have planned to fight her grandfather every inch of the way.
>
> Okay, it’s *possible* that Jinny doesn’t agree with Conrad’s plans for
> Joel’s life. But even if that’s true, there’s no evidence that she had
> the guts to fight him over it, either. See my comments below, not to
> mention whose side she picks in the climax scene in the “Mercury.”
>

That’s probably the silliest argument you make. She’s a mature woman and lived thirteen years of real life since a teenage nutcase turned _her_ marriage proposal and offer to support him through his education down and ran away. She’s been humiliated by him in front of her family. She’s been married, probably a good part of that time, to someone else. She possibly even loves the guy she married. He seems a decent sort. Blood is thicker than water. It’s her grandfather and it’s her husband you’re asking her to reject. If blood and matrimony doesn’t matter, money does. Grandfather owns everything of worth in this particular universe, including the FTL vessel she’s arrived on. If he doesn’t, the inventor does. It (her grandfather’s and husband’s efforts) saved her life. She’s been soundly rejected by the nutcase–why retain the slightest affection for him? Whose side did you expect her to pick–the nutcase’s? Finally, it’s obvious to her that her cousin has a rival’s romantic affection going with Joel, and Joel reciprocates. Only a cretin and a massive egomaniac like Joel would expect a choice other than the one she makes. [In fact, I happen to think Evelyn is probably an ungrateful little psychotic bitch, who probably would have enjoyed seeing granddaddy blasted down in cold blood by Joel when he had the chance. How’d you really like to be married to her? She’ll discard you like she did her family for a pen pal. Joel better get a food taster.]

Please think about some of your arguments, Chris. Their weaknesses detrimentally affect and undermine your overall position.

>
> >She’s lucky in a way she never did get married to him. She found a poor
> >tool where she thought she might find a husband.
>
> No, she found a husband-prospect who wasn’t interested in being a
> business magnate. “I honestly don’t know if I have what it takes to be
> a Conrad, I admit that. But I don’t know if *anybody* does, so I’m not
> afraid to find out. What I do know is, it’s not something I *want* to
> be. I guess it seems self-evident to you that any rational man would.
> So you won’t want an irrational husband.”
>
> Maybe you, too, consider that irrational, but *I* don’t.

I didn’t even imply I did. Andy Libby’s solution might not be mine; but it also indicates that he found an acceptable compromise with Conrad–the thing you’ll recall that Joel never seemed to think of–compromise. You’ll recall Joel “My Way or the Highway” Johnston, the fellow we’ve been talking about?

> Giving up
> everything I love and spending the rest of my life doing something
> that, at best, would be totally boring and at worst would be something
> I’d actively hate, in exchange for getting married…? Nope, I’ll
> pass, too.
>

We already had a pretty good idea of that opinion. If you don’t love the girl enough, and it’s plain that Joel, despite his protestations to the contrary back when he thought she might let him wet his wick prom night (what kind of colleges actually still have proms?–I thought they were given up in the 1950s), doesn’t, then it isn’t worth it–is it? If you do love the girl, mileages vary.

>
> >I keep telling you that
> >I pity poor Evelyn when she grows up to find her husband hasn’t.
> >
> >> She thinks he’s going to
> >> be a composer and her husband, not a business magnate and heir to the
> >> Conrad empire.
> >
> >Yep. Shame she never got to tell Joel that she would support him in that
> >goal. Joel, you’ll recall, refused to return her calls until it was too
> >late. Wadda weak tool.
>
> Incorrect. She calls him a couple of hours before the “Sheffield”
> leaves orbit and says basically “stop this foolishness and come home
> right now!”
>

1. She managed to get through on a call him (and, miracles abound, he finally took her call and childishly told her to give up everything and come with him–did he really think a rational person would actually consider that? He doesn’t want to give up a damn thing, but it’s okay by him if she gives up more than he can conceive having), not the other way around, and 2. you and Joel probably think that wasn’t too late–but I doubt others will agree.

> There’s not one word of “I agree with you that Grandpa Richard is
> being overbearing, but I think I can persuade him to change his mind.”
> or “Look, is there some kind of compromise we can reach here?” It’s
> all “Mine! Mine! Give it back!” Wadda spoiled brat.
>

Everyone should have the chance to give up riches beyond imagining for 18-year-old broke tone-deaf saxophone players. Right? What other insults do you have for her? Wadda sorely abused and disappointed girl.

> Frankly, Evelyn–at the ripe old age of 7–shows more guts than Jinny
> at either 18 or 31.
>

Frankly, Evelyn doesn’t show me shit. A childish infatuation that trumps family obligations and good sense. “I’ll throw myself out the airlock!” Girl’s got lots of issues. Maureen, at fourteen, would lock her in the kitchen to peel potatoes the next hundred light years.


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: Chris Zakes
Subject: Re: Reconsidering “Variable Star”
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 02:52:26 GMT On Sat, 09 Dec 2006 10:20:46 -0800, an orbital mind-control laser caused “David M. Silver” to write:

>In article ,
> Chris Zakes wrote:

(snip)

>> >The plan seems to have been to have Joel strive to ‘earn’ a scholarship,
>> >whether or not that’s Joel’s general plan assisted by Jinny’s
>> >suggestions (“Gosh, willikers, Joel, I just heard about the
>> >Kallikanzaros Scholarship for music students that seems right up your
>> >line. What luck! Maybe you would win if you applied.) I didn’t write the
>> >dialogue or create the plot. I don’t think Robinson is quite an idiot,
>> >but I don’t have to say he writes very consistently with rationality
>> >(he’s created an irrational subject in Joel)–and I haven’t.
>>
>> Where is this “plan” actually stated in the text?
>
>Your lack of willingness to even consider any reasonable inference that
>doesn’t make Joel heroic has already been noted, and not just by me. You
>don’t need to reaffirm it, Chris.

I’m perfectly willing to consider *reasonable* inferences–such as the Conrad empire being behind the Kallikanzaros Scholarships.

But your notion that the Kallikanzaros Scholarships–four years of tuition and fees for musicians only–are actually some method of financing prospective heirs to the Conrad empire–which requires “degrees in engineering, law, business administration, one of the practical sciences and a language”–is even less likely than my suggestion from a few weeks ago, that using the Drastic Irrelevancy Drive is what caused the Sun to go nova. That one at least has a bit of circumstantial evidence in its favor.

>> There’s nothing that
>> says *who* first noticed the Kallikanzaros Scholarships (or that
>> they’re just for music students, either.) It’s pure speculation to say
>> that it was Jinny; it could just as easily have been Joel scrounging
>> for a way to finance college after his father’s investments for his
>> future went south (page 97) or it could have been some unnamed
>> guidance counselor at Fermi.
>>
>
>Since you cannot figure out–so you say–how, you’d conclude it’s a vast
>mystery, right? Rather than consider anything within a wide range of
>possibilities.

No, I’d say it’s not stated in the text. I could then speculate that it might have been Jinny, or Joel, or a guidance counselor or even Archangel Foster, but I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to assume that my speculation was The One And Only Correct Interpretation as you seem to be doing.

Hey, maybe Zeus himself appeared to Joel in a dream and said “if you please me, you’ll get this scholarship.” That, at least, is consistent with Joel’s comment about sacrificing bullocks to him, and makes as much sense as your thesis.

>It must be dull reading all those books without the
>imagination to speculate or suppose what the author hasn’t expressly and
>literally written down for you. It rather robs your ability to think on
>topics an author raises, I fear.

What was that comment you made earlier about “avoiding reply with insult” being poor argument technique?

>> And where does Conrad say anything about the Kallikanzaros Scholarship
>> during his description of the conditions under which Joel will be
>> permitted to marry Jinny? Four years of college certainly doesn’t
>> equate to “degrees in engineering, law, business administration, one
>> of the practical sciences and a language”.
>>
>
>Why does Conrad have to talk about a scholarship? Maybe he thinks he’s
>still following Plan A, that which Jinny, through her impatience to get
>a commmitment from the dunce, made a mistake and revealed to Joel.

Um, no. Jinny’s Plan A has them getting married immediately and using the family money to pay room and board while Joel uses the Kallikanzaros Scholarship money to pay tuition and get his degree. She’ll continue to support him while he goes on to become an established composer.

Plan B is pretty much the same, except that the family money pays tuition, too (bottom of page 32.) Please show me where any of that–other than the marriage–figures into Conrad’s plans for Joel.

>You
>insist in equating what Jinny reveals with Conrad’s plan to reveal.
>Conrad may think less of Joel’s self-esteem than Jinny (he probably
>does) and believe it is even more crucial to allow Joel to think he is
>receiving some aid through his own abilities. I see no such congruence
>in a plan to reveal a fraud. Conrad would naturally be reticent to do
>so. He’s more mature than his granddaughter, and he has no illusions
>about Joel loving him. My experience with people is contrary to that.
>Co-conspirators, plotters, frequently get their signals crossed. That’s
>why they often get caught. Conrad has as much money to pay for as much
>education as he, Conrad, thinks Joel merits. So he tells Joel that. No
>horseshit about scholarships. It turns out he didn’t merit any in
>Conrad’s view, so Conrad cut him off and arranged for Joel to get the
>text message from Stony Brook telling him he was cut off. Good riddance.

“Merits”… that’s an interesting way of putting it. Jinny and Joel think he’s going to be a musician and composer, and the family money or scholarships should be directed toward that end. Conrad thinks Joel’s musical ambitions are “childish” and he should be a business magante, and is willing to expend quite a bit of money to achieve that end.

After realizing that they disagreed completely over these plans, and, apparently, weren’t willing to even consider compromise, grownups would have simply parted company and gone on about their lives–not gone on colossal benders (although that makes some vague sense after a romantic breakup), nor exacted a petty revenge over not getting their way.

>Now his granddaughter can go find someone worth marrying.
>
>>
>> >> I read the “I’m quite sure” line as her confidence in Joel’s musical
>> >> ability, not because she knows he’s getting the scholarship.
>> >>
>> >
>> >Feel free to twist and turn as much as you like. “I’m quite sure” could
>> >be intended to mean both, but certainly means one thing: “I’m quite
>> >sure.”
>>
>> Yeah, so put in the *rest* of that sentence, rather than
>> cherry-picking: “I’m quite sure you’ll get that Kallikanzaros
>> Scholarship–but even if you don’t, it won’t matter.” That doesn’t
>> sound like someone describing the liklihood of the sun rising in the
>> morning, it sounds like someone who has a solid backup plan (i.e. the
>> family money) if Plan A doesn’t work out.
>>
>
>One always has to consider naivete among the lower classes. Joel might
>not believe the Conrads can fix a scholarship. You obviously don’t. Joel
>needs reassurances. She gives them to him, in spades.

Excuse me? Where have I said I didn’t think Conrad fixed the scholarship? That Conrad money financed the Kallikanzaros Scholarships and that Conrad was behind the denial of Joel’s scholarship are both perfectly reasonable inferences.

It’s the notion that the scholarships are some kind of method for funding prospective grandsons-in-law that I find lacking in evidence.

>> >> Furthermore, if we take this conversation at face value, Jinny has no
>> >> clue what Conrad has in mind for Joel’s life.
>> >
>> >On the contrary–she could very well understand her grandfather to have
>> >his own plans. Nobody said she agrees–except Joel assumes that of her.
>> >She could have planned to fight her grandfather every inch of the way.
>>
>> Okay, it’s *possible* that Jinny doesn’t agree with Conrad’s plans for
>> Joel’s life. But even if that’s true, there’s no evidence that she had
>> the guts to fight him over it, either. See my comments below, not to
>> mention whose side she picks in the climax scene in the “Mercury.”
>>
>
>That’s probably the silliest argument you make. She’s a mature woman and
>lived thirteen years of real life since a teenage nutcase turned _her_
>marriage proposal and offer to support him through his education down
>and ran away.

Incorrect. Jinny’s proposal was to finance his music degree and the start of his career as a composer. Plan A or B as described above. I think Joel would have been quite content to go along with either of them. Joel turned down *Conrad’s* proposal–Plan C, the one that required him to give up music and spend the rest of his life as a businessman.

>She’s been humiliated by him in front of her family. She’s
>been married, probably a good part of that time, to someone else. She
>possibly even loves the guy she married. He seems a decent sort. Blood
>is thicker than water. It’s her grandfather and it’s her husband you’re
>asking her to reject.

Incorrect again. Of the folks on the Mercury, three of them side with Conrad: Alice the bodyguard, Rennick and Jinny. Three of them oppose him: Andrew, Dorothy Robb and Evelyn. When push comes to shove, Jinny chooses her grandfather and *not* her husband.

>If blood and matrimony doesn’t matter, money does.
>Grandfather owns everything of worth in this particular universe,
>including the FTL vessel she’s arrived on. If he doesn’t, the inventor
>does. It (her grandfather’s and husband’s efforts) saved her life. She’s
>been soundly rejected by the nutcase–why retain the slightest affection
>for him? Whose side did you expect her to pick–the nutcase’s? Finally,
>it’s obvious to her that her cousin has a rival’s romantic affection
>going with Joel, and Joel reciprocates. Only a cretin and a massive
>egomaniac like Joel would expect a choice other than the one she makes.

Let’s consider that, shall we…

Choice #1 is to follow Conrad’s lead: trick the folks in the Sheffield into giving them enough supplies to continue their trip, in return for a piecrust promise (“easily made, easily broken”) to set up a ferry service to get the rest of the folks out to Bravo before the blast wave from the nova kills them.

Choice #2 is to move the Drastic Irrelevancy drive into the Sheffield and save everybody, rather than Conrad’s select few.

>[In fact, I happen to think Evelyn is probably an ungrateful little
>psychotic bitch, who probably would have enjoyed seeing granddaddy
>blasted down in cold blood by Joel when he had the chance. How’d you
>really like to be married to her? She’ll discard you like she did her
>family for a pen pal. Joel better get a food taster.]

And where’s your evidence for this? Oh, that’s right, she picks Joel’s side rather than Conrad’s, and since Conrad has the money that means he’s automatically right.

>Please think about some of your arguments, Chris. Their weaknesses
>detrimentally affect and undermine your overall position.
>
>>
>> >She’s lucky in a way she never did get married to him. She found a poor
>> >tool where she thought she might find a husband.
>>
>> No, she found a husband-prospect who wasn’t interested in being a
>> business magnate. “I honestly don’t know if I have what it takes to be
>> a Conrad, I admit that. But I don’t know if *anybody* does, so I’m not
>> afraid to find out. What I do know is, it’s not something I *want* to
>> be. I guess it seems self-evident to you that any rational man would.
>> So you won’t want an irrational husband.”
>>
>> Maybe you, too, consider that irrational, but *I* don’t.
>
>I didn’t even imply I did. Andy Libby’s solution might not be mine; but
>it also indicates that he found an acceptable compromise with
>Conrad–the thing you’ll recall that Joel never seemed to think
>of–compromise. You’ll recall Joel “My Way or the Highway” Johnston, the
>fellow we’ve been talking about?

Yeah, him and Mr. “my way or starve” Conrad. Maybe Joel telling Conrad to stuff it caused Conrad to rethink his methods. If you remember from their phone conversation, Conrad is pretty touchy about who gets to use the name “Conrad” (p. 72.) Joel-the-businessman would be a Conrad, but Joel-the-composer or even Joel-the-brilliant-research-scientist would be a Johnston. Nevertheless, Andrew is introduced as a Conrad, so either he’s *also* a top-level businessman, or Conrad has changed the rules–possibly as a result of negotiations with Andrew–since then.

>> Giving up
>> everything I love and spending the rest of my life doing something
>> that, at best, would be totally boring and at worst would be something
>> I’d actively hate, in exchange for getting married…? Nope, I’ll
>> pass, too.
>>
>
>We already had a pretty good idea of that opinion. If you don’t love the
>girl enough, and it’s plain that Joel, despite his protestations to the
>contrary back when he thought she might let him wet his wick prom night
>(what kind of colleges actually still have proms?–I thought they were
>given up in the 1950s), doesn’t, then it isn’t worth it–is it? If you
>do love the girl, mileages vary.

We’ve already determined that Joel isn’t as mature as he could be on this subject. Remember that six months or so after dumping Jinny, he decides that Diane Levy is *really* his One True Love, too. But where do you get the idea that there was any chance of them having sex after their prom? I don’t have page numbers handy, but there are several comments that the post-Prophet mores are stricter than, say, what is done these days.

You also asked “what kind of colleges actually still have proms?–I thought they were given up in the 1950s” On the one hand, this is a junior college. On the other hand, wasn’t that part of the book (i.e. Heinlein’s beginning pages) *written* in the 1950s? On the third hand, who knows how customs might change in the next few centuries? Who knows, kilts might even be fashionable.

>> >I keep telling you that
>> >I pity poor Evelyn when she grows up to find her husband hasn’t.
>> >
>> >> She thinks he’s going to
>> >> be a composer and her husband, not a business magnate and heir to the
>> >> Conrad empire.
>> >
>> >Yep. Shame she never got to tell Joel that she would support him in that
>> >goal. Joel, you’ll recall, refused to return her calls until it was too
>> >late. Wadda weak tool.
>>
>> Incorrect. She calls him a couple of hours before the “Sheffield”
>> leaves orbit and says basically “stop this foolishness and come home
>> right now!”
>>
>
>1. She managed to get through on a call him (and, miracles abound, he
>finally took her call and childishly

Um, according to the text, she only calls him twice, so “finally took her call” is a bit of a stretch. The first call is when he’s on his bender and he throws away the earpiece so he can’t hear her (and note that she’s just leaving a message, not having a conversation at that point.) The second time is when he’s on the Sheffield a few hours before leaving orbit.

>told her to give up everything and
>come with him–did he really think a rational person would actually
>consider that? He doesn’t want to give up a damn thing, but it’s okay by
>him if she gives up more than he can conceive having), not the other way
>around, and

That’s right, and Conrad (and apparently Jinny at this point) are OK with Joel having to give up everything, too. So why is “give up everything you love and devote your life to being a businessman” better than “give up everything you’ve known and come be a farmer.”? Oh that’s right, I was forgetting. Money. Money is more important than everything else, isn’t it?

>2. you and Joel probably think that wasn’t too late–but I
>doubt others will agree.

page 93:

Joel: “I can’t Jinny. It’s too late. We were out of time yesterday. The last boat has–”

Jinny: “You idiot, I can be there to get you in two hours! How long do you need to pack your four saxo–”

As I said a couple of weeks ago,

“2. Read the book.

3. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS.”

>> There’s not one word of “I agree with you that Grandpa Richard is
>> being overbearing, but I think I can persuade him to change his mind.”
>> or “Look, is there some kind of compromise we can reach here?” It’s
>> all “Mine! Mine! Give it back!” Wadda spoiled brat.
>>
>
>Everyone should have the chance to give up riches beyond imagining for
>18-year-old broke tone-deaf saxophone players. Right? What other insults
>do you have for her? Wadda sorely abused and disappointed girl.

Did I say anything about her giving up that all-important money? I merely pointed out that she made no apparent effort to defend Joel’s position against Conrad, nor any effort to come to a compromise position with Joel.

If you wish to twist that into “give up riches beyond imagining for 18-year-old broke tone-deaf saxophone players” I can’t stop you, but that doesn’t mean it’s any more accurate than some of your other “inferences.”

-Chris Zakes
Texas

There are no dangerous weapons, there are only dangerous men.

-Sgt, Zim in “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein

Third Thread
First
Third Thread
Fourth Thread

Go to Postings
Go To Discussions
From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: The Missed Opportunity in Variable Star
Date: Sat, 09 Dec 2006 20:14:39 -0800

I read all Robert Heinlein’s juvenile novels, even as some were actually being written, from age eleven to sixteen–while I was the age of some of the boys they were written about, or so close to that age that I could easily anticipate their situations. I was a Boy Scout when I read the first, and remained active in Scouting until I went away to a boarding school in my ninth grade year. I read some of them in serial form first, in Boy’s Life, the scouting magazine I received each month.

There was a reason Boy’s Life published them. The Boy Scouts emphasize and teach character development, maturity, citizenship, and fitness, physical and moral. Heinlein’s juvenile novels are fundamentally intended to teach his audience lessons useful for their own maturity. They taught me values I learned, from the pen of someone I came to depend upon as conveying to me worthwhile advice as from an older brother, an avuncular mentor, or even a father in the absence of my own after he died while I was in high school. I viewed the writer’s voice in those novels as that of a helpful friend—someone who could easily talk to me about things I couldn’t always find it in myself to talk to bring up to my own father, or things my father didn’t, or, later, couldn’t continue to tell me about. Responsibility, integrity, attention to duty, persistence, honesty, honor, optimism, sensibility, and on and on. I voraciously read each and every novel as they appeared whenever I found them on library shelves for the years that followed 1954 until the last of the Scribners series, Citizen of the Galaxy, was published in 1958; and I continued reading them afterwards supplementing them with Heinlein’s adult works, trying to understand them too as much as I was able. There was, however, one subject matter topic lacking in all Heinlein’s juveniles. There never was more than a scant word or two of advice from the older brother or uncle (or substitute dad), Robert Heinlein, about the most troubling aspect of growing up–a boy’s relationship with the other species that cohabits the earth with us–girls. Believe me, from age fourteen or so on, I could have used some advice.

Romance, courtship, love, marriage, all four of these are terra incognito in Heinlein’s juveniles. From a writer who married three times by the time he was thirty and whose own young adulthood, at least until 1947, was markedly characterized by free love, open marriages, nudism, and serial romances, this is pretty remarkable; and best explained as typical of atypical attitudes possessed by our mid-20th century American society. Sex, adolescent fumbling towards courtship and marriage were taboo in accepted English-language literature through the end of the 1950s. For a writer whose youthful attitudes were epitomized by the descriptive entry written by his roommate who likely best knew Heinlein in Heinlein’s own 1929 Naval Academy Yearbook, “stumbl[ing] into the room, cheeks aglow, eyes flashing, ‘Well, boys, I’ve reformed. I’m in love again,'” lack of romance, et al., as a topic is a little unusual and requiring of some explanation. Plainly he knew that with Alice Dalgleish as Scribners’ editor such a topic would forever be taboo, at least such treatment of it as he might find necessary to write.

When I read the first chapter in June this year of an advance proof of _Variable Star_, eleven pages, I was consumed with delight. This was new! Here, plainly, was going to be a story about romance and love. This protagonist, Joel Johnston, is in love, in the midst of courtship and evidently serious enough to marry his sweetheart. Equally serious, she’s taken him to meet her family. I was more than ready to read on. I paused, hiked myself over to a store and, on my return, opened the proverbial jug (a rather nice bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse–I’m not a teenager anymore and I really expected some enjoyment), and unwrapped the proverbial loaf along with some nice cheese, to sip and munch upon as I continued. This was going to be great!

It sadly turned out differently–a rather stupid boy loses girl is the plot, ending with him being offered, inexplicably to me, an immature and imperfect princess dangling from a god’s machine. The writer had to kill off humanity’s entire world, our solar system, to get us there for the god-dangling machine.

It was a surprising trip. It couldn’t have been written by Robert Heinlein. It required something he found overly abundantly possessed and deplorable in a later generation, the one growing up in 1969 (when Robinson was in his teens), that he told Arthur Clark and Walter Cronkite, who agreed with him, and an international television audience, he hoped that generation would put aside in the euphoria of actually achieving landfall on another celestial body. Heinlein said, “I do hope. I do hope. There¹s been too many of the young people in this country with a defeatist attitude towards things; and I hope that this will give them the lift, the esprit d¹corps, the elan vitale, to realize how terribly important this is, not to them alone, but to their children, their grandchildren, for thousands and thousands of years. This is it. This is the great Day!” CBS TV archives, “The Flight of Apollo Eleven, On and On–” July 21, 1969. Transcription by The Heinlein Society, at 21:04 of the taped broadcast.

Instead we have in _Variable Star_, a plot of merely boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy turns off to world (and really isn’t very affected himself when it’s blown up–as ever he’s far more vitally concerned with what happens to the most important person in the universe, Joel Johnston), and that’s it–up to the tacked on deus ex machina ending. Heinlein could never have written this novel.

What I’d hoped to read never came to be. There was never a hint of any attempt by Heinlein to Dutch uncle such a theme in any other juvenile. There are no girls to be seen in Rocket Ship Galileo; Matt Dodson in Space Cadet not unwisely expects his high school sweetheart to find someone else while he’s away at the Academy–and she does; except for a sister who can outshoot Jim Marlowe, there are no girls present in Red Planet; Don Harvey concludes girls “were much odder than dragons … [p]robably another species entirely,” and is virtually oblivious to ‘aunt’ Isobel Costello in Between Planets, the girl he left behind with a ring whose very significance to her he fails to comprehend; it is unlikely the species will survive if all we have to depend upon for its procreation are the two fifteen-year-olds, Castor and Pollux Stone, in The Rolling Stones, since those two seemingly are content to roll along in bachelors’ quarters forever–at least until far later when two other twins will enslave them in what definitely isn’t a juvenile’s story written for Scribners; Bill Lermer wouldn’t know a romance is developing if Gretchen, the girl next door, expressed her frustration by punching in his nose; Max Jones misses every signal Elsie flashes until she gives up, leaving the ship, and sends him an invitation to her marriage with another; Rod Walker is a dunce who cannot even tell his own partner is a girl; Tom Bartlett is a master at compiling baseball’s three strikes with the fair sex; Thorby seems only vaguely aware that one far off day Leda, first cousin once removed, might be amenable to consolidating her Rudbek stock with his through marriage, perhaps when he’s not too busy ruling his commercial empire and fulfilling his x-corps missions in Citizen of the Galaxy; and Kip, in Have Space Suit–Will Travel, ends his summer still thinking that utterly dangerous little minx PeeWee is like unto a little sister. Pity young Mr. Russell when, and if, she decides to set her hook. Only John Thomas of The Star Beast evidences an awareness that he will eventually be required to trade one over-possessive female ruler for another; and she, Betty Sorenson, seems determined to rule his life just as tightly as his mother did.

Heinlein never returned to this theme of love in his juveniles–Podkayne wasn’t a juvenile, and at best her romances are vestigial–Dexter treats her like a duty, but he did again echo and examine it in Time Enough for Love, which opens with Lazarus contemplating suicide for the reason that he has outlived all he loved.

Well, Alice Dalgleish isn’t editing anymore. I wouldn’t waste time on her. I certainly wouldn’t kill her like Joel did. We’d have missed Winnie the Pooh without her. Where did the theme go? In completing Variable Star, which he describes as the challenge of his life, Spider Robinson is forced to face this serious theme, among others; but he sneaks out the back door–cobbling a ‘lost princess’ ending onto it to inexplicably reward an unchanged in character Joel Johnston.

Spider didn’t write a “bad” novel. He just didn’t meet the challenge. It’s useful and interesting because it may show to some there’s more to writing a Heinlein novel than appears even to an admitted fan, skilled in writing himself. Spider’s Afterword tried to avoid criticism, telling us he’d been told not to give us a Rich Little impression of Robert Heinlein, as if that excuses him from frontally meeting what he calls the challenge of his life. God spare us Rich Little impressions–I saw enough of Richard Nixon when he was alive. But surely there were some other choices between a comedian’s impression and what we got. The problem with writing such a warning is, like Lucy, it also warns us that Spider believes “you got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

What do you think?


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

From: “Bill Patterson”
Subject: Re: The Missed Opportunity in Variable Star
Date: 10 Dec 2006 08:56:45 -0800

David Silver

A very interesting and provocative post. (incidentally, a very minor comment: Heinlein’s third marrigage came in 1948, when he was 41 years old, so it’s not quite accurate that he was married three times before age thirty). I think the lack of topical sex advice in the juveniles has to to with either of two things: either the market would not tolerate more than the barest minimum of such, librarians being exceptionally sensitive to it, or else it was simply too risky for him to do so for reasons of his own personal history. In his other fiction, there’s a rule of thumb that Heinlein got in as much sex as he thought the market would take — which often resulted in material that was regarded as titillating to his readers (at a time when a mere mention of a woman taking off her blouse could be regarded as risque), but it now almost invisible. The difference between the 1939 original and the 1953 revision of “If This Goes On–” (where the sexual content, extraordinarily restrained, was referred to as late as 1975 as “prurient”) puts this somewhat on display.

I think it’s a combination of both with a third and a fourth factor I’ll get to in a minute. He did experimentally put in a boy-meets-girl subplot into Between Planets, and Miss Dalgliesh seemed to think Isobel’s subplot could have been made more explicit. Given that the book Heinlein praised as being a worthwhile advisor for commercial writing, Jack Woodford’s Trial and Error, strongly recommends boy-meets-girl as the most important commercial theme for exploitation, I think there has to be some specific reason for Heinlein to avoid it.

I think there are two additional reasons: first, sex of any kind was almost totally absent from his models — the Tom Swift books when he started writing, but when he abandoned them as models the two I see him cycling between are Kipling of the Captains Courageous type and Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer books, and sex simply doesn’t enter into the world (a factor of which Heinlein complained to Miss Dalgliesh — “As to Isobel, I am pretty sure she got him in the end — she seemed like a determined lassie. I toned down the romance for fear of annoying some of my younger male readers. If you want an engagement, implied or explicit, I can put it in in about six words. What do you think we had better do about it? Boys’ books seem to assume an almost sexless world, whereas I am prepared to swear under oath that boys start thinking about girls at about the age of eleven and have them on their minds almost continuously for the next ten years — then taper off gradually. But that does not fit the assumptions of the teachers and the librarians whom we must please. How shall I handle it?”

Hmmm. “Taper off gradually?” Further deponent sayeth not.

This mention of “annoying some of my younger male readers” also evokes something that has to do with his market — in the science fiction magazines, there was a certain segment of readers who actively complained in the lettercols about any prominence of female characters over expectations; rejection of sexual material of almost any kind was enforced by the readership. Heinlein was decidedly aware of this as a commercial limitation on what could be done — censorship from the librarians was complemented by self-censorship on the part of (some of) the readers.

And second, there is the — shall we call them “technical problems” with giving sex advice above the level at which Heinlein did — by giving boys models of personal relationships with women. Every such advice is necessarily specific to a situation, and will be immediately relevant to those in the situation and flat and useless to those who are not in the situation — comparable (in a very loose way) to the problem of writers and directors using their art to exercise (or sometimes exorcise) their sexual fetishes: if you don’t happen to have the same sexual fetish, it’s as unappealing as yesterday’s cold pancakes.

So, I wonder what kind of thing you have in mind — give me a ‘f”r’instance.”
From: “David M. Silver”
Subject: Re: The Missed Opportunity in Variable Star
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 12:21:48 -0800 In article, “Bill Patterson” wrote:

> (incidentally, a very minor
> comment: Heinlein’s third marrigage came in 1948, when he was 41 years
> old, so it’s not quite accurate that he was married three times before
> age thirty).

Let me start this one by confessing fault for poor arithmetic–three marriages by his very early “forties” is the phrase I wanted to imply, still a quite young age. Thanks for the check sum.

> I think the lack of topical sex advice in the juveniles
> has to to with either of two things: either the market would not
> tolerate more than the barest minimum of such, librarians being
> exceptionally sensitive to it, or else it was simply too risky for him
> to do so for reasons of his own personal history.

It’s possible his reticence to possibly inspire someone to look hard enough to reveal his personal history dissuaded him, of course, but I do look at two stories where more than a scant remnant of a romance shows up, and think Heinlein was willing to take that risk to a certain point. A juvenile author would have to write something pretty shocking to inspire a serious investigation–and I can’t see Heinlein idly challenging the Grundys that much in a juvenile story in the 1950s. Both were conventional what we might label “Calling All Girls” plots–the short story “The Menace from Earth,” first published in 1957 (a firm date on its writing would be helpful), and the “Puddin'” tale “Cliff and the Calories” that originally showed up in 1950 in either the original “Calling All Girls” or its successor magazine “Senior Prom, the Teen Girls Magazine,” I forget which and don’t have my copy of Gifford’s bibliography handy right this minute.

> In his other
> fiction, there’s a rule of thumb that Heinlein got in as much sex as he
> thought the market would take — which often resulted in material that
> was regarded as titillating to his readers (at a time when a mere
> mention of a woman taking off her blouse could be regarded as risque),
> but it now almost invisible. The difference between the 1939 original
> and the 1953 revision of “If This Goes On–” (where the sexual content,
> extraordinarily restrained, was referred to as late as 1975 as
> “prurient”) puts this somewhat on display.

Yeah, well in 1954 when I first read it at eleven, that cavern pool-side scene was a revelation to me. I certainly didn’t rush to the librarian and tell her maybe she ought to hide the thing in the closed stacks, but I can see someone doing just that. It was about the hottest thing I’d yet read in an ‘approved’ book, bearing in mind about the hottest thing in my parent’s library was my mother’s copy of the Banned in Boston Kathleen Winsor’s _Forever Amber_, and I definitely wasn’t yet approved to read it (although I had–I read everything I got my hands on). [In banning the book (which wasn’t in the card catalogues of L.A. Public Library branches I frequented in 1954, by the way (I know, I had occasion to look it up), the Massachusetts attorney general had listed 70 references to sexual intercourse, 39 illegitimate pregnancies, seven abortions, 10 descriptions of women undressing in front of men, and 49 “miscellaneous objectionable passages”. Like many others, what fascinated me in _Forever Amber_, however, wasn’t that, but the descriptions of Amber’s courage in surviving the Plague Year, although I did appreciate Winsor’s depictions of Amber’s bodice revealing costumes.]

>
> I think it’s a combination of both with a third and a fourth factor
> I’ll get to in a minute. He did experimentally put in a boy-meets-girl
> subplot into Between Planets, and Miss Dalgliesh seemed to think
> Isobel’s subplot could have been made more explicit. Given that the
> book Heinlein praised as being a worthwhile advisor for commercial
> writing, Jack Woodford’s Trial and Error, strongly recommends
> boy-meets-girl as the most important commercial theme for exploitation,
> I think there has to be some specific reason for Heinlein to avoid it.
>

I actually think Don Harvey’s blindness about Isobel’s attraction to him is poignant and a bit funny. I could tell she was interested in him at eleven or twelve when I read it–in an ‘older girl’s’ sort of way. We eleven- and twelve-year-old kids weren’t blind–just stunted about ‘older’ girls. I remember this seventh grader when I was in the fifth grade in parochial school who used to give me rides on the back of her bike. She started dating high school boys that year–damnit!–and I suddenly saw a lot less of her than I wanted.

>
> I think there are two additional reasons: first, sex of any kind was
> almost totally absent from his models — the Tom Swift books when he
> started writing, but when he abandoned them as models the two I see him
> cycling between are Kipling of the Captains Courageous type and Mark
> Twain’s Tom Sawyer books, and sex simply doesn’t enter into the world
> (a factor of which Heinlein complained to Miss Dalgliesh — “As to
> Isobel, I am pretty sure she got him in the end — she seemed like a
> determined lassie. I toned down the romance for fear of annoying some
> of my younger male readers. If you want an engagement, implied or
> explicit, I can put it in in about six words. What do you think we had
> better do about it? Boys’ books seem to assume an almost sexless
> world, whereas I am prepared to swear under oath that boys start
> thinking about girls at about the age of eleven and have them on their
> minds almost continuously for the next ten years — then taper off
> gradually. But that does not fit the assumptions of the teachers and
> the librarians whom we must please. How shall I handle it?”
>

If you count the prurient thoughts of fifth graders while sitting on the luggage rack of a seventh grader’s bike carefully avoiding the temptation to grab her butt (hips were okay), I suppose that’s right, but it takes a year or so past eleven before the thoughts occupy much more than oh, say, about ninety-five percent of the time.

What did Alice reply?

> Hmmm. “Taper off gradually?” Further deponent sayeth not.
>
> This mention of “annoying some of my younger male readers” also evokes
> something that has to do with his market — in the science fiction
> magazines, there was a certain segment of readers who actively
> complained in the lettercols about any prominence of female characters
> over expectations; rejection of sexual material of almost any kind was
> enforced by the readership. Heinlein was decidedly aware of this as a
> commercial limitation on what could be done — censorship from the
> librarians was complemented by self-censorship on the part of (some of)
> the readers.
>

Some of the same readers, in their sixties today, can still be found attending SF conventions. They’ve been advancing steadily in sophistication, some have even achieved a sophomoric level today. They’re the ones, usually overweight about one hundred and fifty pounds, wearing beanies and colorful but unwashed t-shirts. It takes all types.

Okay, probably all these things were factors; but I really think Heinlein would have pressed on with the topic if he found it possible.

> And second, there is the — shall we call them “technical problems”
> with giving sex advice above the level at which Heinlein did — by
> giving boys models of personal relationships with women. Every such
> advice is necessarily specific to a situation, and will be immediately
> relevant to those in the situation and flat and useless to those who
> are not in the situation — comparable (in a very loose way) to the
> problem of writers and directors using their art to exercise (or
> sometimes exorcise) their sexual fetishes: if you don’t happen to have
> the same sexual fetish, it’s as unappealing as yesterday’s cold
> pancakes.
>
> So, I wonder what kind of thing you have in mind — give me a
> ‘f”r’instance.”

I think the plot problem in “Dr. Einstein’s Clock” was hard to work out. The most appealing boy-meets-girl plot is:

Boy Meets Girl

Boy Loses Girl Because He’s Immature (and boy, did Spider do a good job on that!)

Boy Regains Girl Because He Grows in Character

or

Boy Regains Girl While Performing as the Heroic Tailor Because the Act of Heroism Forces Him to Grow Character

Getting Joel the Idiot onto the Sheffield and then getting Jinnia to catch up without time affects turning the Jinnia-Joel relationship into a December-May thing required some tricky manipulations on differing tracks, and a more complicated plot than the one we got. You gotta send Jinnia somewhere else while Joel trundles away to Novo Brazil to spend his time growing up with the Foreign Legion. Then you have to bring her (maybe grown a bit herself) to Novo, or send Joel on to where she is, without their clocks running too differently for them to get too far out of sync. I think Spider wasted time on deep breathing exercises, playing the sax without taking his mouth from the reed, and Zen-driving cats with buttered bread strapped on their tummies, too long to allow room to write something different. There was no room for character development or tricky time manipulations, so we got what I think of as a Richard Nixon impression of Rich Little, or whomever it was, certainly not Robert Heinlein.

Otherwise, if you give up on Jinnia, Evelyn has to be traced through adolescence somehow, and the perspective of a credible romance from her mind written to avoid the deus ex machina ending. Evelyn’s a lot different than either Ricki or Vicky. Both the Heinlein girls have sufficient contact with Davis and Bartlett to develop a credible romantic attachment. Bartlett and Vicky lived in each other’s minds, so to speak, all her life. Ricki grew up with Davis around enough to fixate on him and his tomcat–and she had those years with her grandmother to try out more likely options (although finding them in Barstow might have been a challenge). Neither pair are exactly fully credible or developed lifemates as it stands when their stories end; but they have at least possibilities. Evelyn’s got what with Joel? Five minutes of conversation, total, followed by some letters smuggled to her over the years. Without the letters–and there could be a fair romance by letter laid out, Lucy, er, Evelyn’s got some ‘splainin’ to do that won’t be satisfied by threatening to jump out an airlock.

Tributes or tips of the hat to the Lensmen series and love at first bite are all very well–and we all know the story about Robert and Leslyn meeting one day … and marrying soon thereafter–but how often does
that without a lot more work out?


David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
“The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!”
Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA ’29
Lt.(jg), USN, R’td

Fourth
First
Second Thread
Third Thread

Go to Postings
Go To Discussions
From:
Subject: Heinlein Reading Group meeting notice
Date: 20 Nov 2006 23:23:51 -0800

[I attempted to post this through my ISP, and it never showed up, so I’m re-posting it through Google. My apologies if we end up with duplicates.]

RAH Reading Group on AIM

Heinlein/Robinson’s Variable Star

Meeting Dates and Times: Thursday, December 7, 2006, from 8 to 11 PM, EST and Saturday, December 9, 2006, from 5 to 8 PM, EST

Place: AIM chatroom “Heinlein Readers Group chat”

Spider Robinson recently published the novel “Variable Star,” based on an outline written by Robert Heinlein in 1955. Heinlein’s outline was apparently for a book in his “juvenile” series, and it was given various working titles, including “The Stars Are A Clock” and “Doctor Einstein’s Clock”. The outline either never had an ending or those pages of the outline had been lost. Instead of writing “The Stars Are A Clock,” Heinlein set the outline aside and wrote what became “Time for the Stars” instead. That novel shares many similarities with “Variable Star,” including instantaneous communication by telepathy between twins.

The theme of this Reading Group chat will be discussing how “Variable Star” compares with Heinlein’s other work, particularly the juveniles. Some of the topics we may discuss include:

* Heinlein’s juveniles are bildungsromans, novels that trace the moral, social, and educational development of the protagonist. Is “Variable Star” such a novel?

* The first part of “Variable Star” has the “feel” of one of Heinlein’s 1950s juveniles, while the latter portion feels more like a modern Sci Fi novel. Was Robinson purposefully trying to inject the 1950s feel into the book? Should he have done so?

* On the flip side, in the latter part of the book, the protagonist’s language, use of drugs, and other things are far from anything in the books that Heinlein wrote. Heinlein was constrained editorially from touching on these subjects in his juveniles, and his later adult novels certainly discussed sexual activities and themes openly. How does this affect the acceptance of the book among younger, or older, readers of today? If Heinlein were writing today, would he have written it this way? What benchmarks should we use in judging “Variable Star”?

* Many of the developments that occur during the course of the novel have similarities to events in other Heinlein novels: the death of critical ship’s personnel, unexpected twists in the storyline, surprise marriages near the end of the story, etc. Was Robinson hitting the nail on the head, or was this just throwing every Heinleinesque plot twist into the mix?

* On the other hand, one particular twist in the book has been criticized as making the book dark and negative, unlike Heinlein’s juveniles, which were typically more upbeat about the progress of humanity. How did you react to this particular event in the novel?
From:
Subject: Re: Heinlein Reading Group meeting notice
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 12:47:43 -0500

On 20 Nov 2006 23:23:51 -0800, wrote:

 

Ye gods, this means I have to *finish* reading it… sigh.


~teresa~

From: LN
Subject: Re: Heinlein Reading Group meeting notice
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 2006 01:13:41 GMT

wrote:

(snip previous passage)

What’s this? I’ve been replaced? It’s about goddam time. Last time I held a chat Nixon was still in office, Heinlein was alive and, from what I hear, if he were alive today, he’d (1) be 99; and, (2) puke if he read this book.

At the risk of seeming ungrateful that somebody did something to keep the Heinlein name and the Heinlein body of literature in the public eye, I’m not grateful because it’s not Heinlein. It’s Spider Somebody and if it’s anything like his other stuff I tried to read but gagged within the first five pages, it’ll drive away half the prospective Heinlein fans, or more, who don’t unreasonably conclude that what they’ve read is representative of the original author.

Tell you what, Tim. I’m bidding on a copy on eBay and if I get it for less than a couple of bucks and if it comes in enough time before the chats for me to read it, I’ll drop by and gratuitously opine further; otherwise, I’ll drop by and do what people usually do in the chats: prattle and gossip.

LNC
Go To Postings
Here Begins The Discussion Log

You have just entered room “heinleinreadersgroup.”

QSpecies has entered the room.

DavidWrightSr: Ah ha. There you are

QSpecies: David, I don’t know yet how this works; do I just rattle on?

DavidWrightSr: Yup. Just type in what you want to say in the box at the bottom.

QSpecies: Apparently so 🙂

DavidWrightSr: We are early. Normally, the meeting starts at nine and I expect that some people won’t have noticed my time and will show up then

DavidWrightSr: Hang on. I’ve got to let my wife use the keyboard for a couple of minutes.

QSpecies: OK. I’m going to go check my e-mail and will be back shortly.

DavidWrightSr: I’m back now.

QSpecies: David, I’ve only done this once before, with Ginny looking over my shoulder and telling me what to do. In words of one syllable or less, how does this work? I assume other people will start drifting in in another half hour or so?

QSpecies: BTW, I’ll eventually figure out how to change my screen name to something that isn’t quite so goofy.

DavidWrightSr: Right. Basically, people just talk. It can get confusing because you might be answering something said several minutes ago and meantime there have been a half-dozen or so messages on other aspects since then, but you will get ….

DavidWrightSr: the hang of it.

DavidWrightSr: Don’t worry about that. There are others that are way out.

DavidWrightSr: How is Snowy? You were the one who took her in weren’t you?

DavidWrightSr: BTW, if you need to ask questions, just highlight my name and click on the IM link in the list of buddy names. We can talk privately outside of the chat room.

QSpecies: No, I’m the one who gave him to Ginny, when he was just a ‘pup’. Laura Heywood took him when Ginny got really sick, and Laura’s son when Laura died. I will check to see if he is still alive — he’d be pretty old now.

QSpecies: Where do I find the list of buddy names?

DavidWrightSr: do you see the little running man in your system tray. Double-click on that.

QSpecies: What’s a system tray?

DavidWrightSr: Are you on a PC or a MAC?

QSpecies: A PC

QSpecies: But not an operating system that I am used to.

DavidWrightSr: Ok, then there should be a menu bar at some place on the screen with the START Button. Usually, the Systray is at the other end showing some programs that are running. The AIM icon is blue with a little running man.

QSpecies: Snowy came about because Ginny was upset that she’d had to give Pixel away because Fleet Landing wouldn’t accept pets. I told her that I had a white kitten that had lost one leg when only a few days old.

has entered the room.

: Thanks!

QSpecies: She said she’d love to have it if she could get the Fleet Landing administration to agree. They did,

QSpecies: and I said I’d fly it down. Unfortunately, the night before we were planning to leave, the kitten died. I called and told her,

QSpecies: she asked if I had another, and I said yes — but it has all its legs. She said bring it on, so I did, still unnamed.

DavidWrightSr: Yes, I remember the story now. I spoke with Laura’s son not too long ago. After Ginny died, Laura sent me a pair of penquin cufflinks that she had made for her. I was very touched by the gift.

QSpecies: I can’t say that it (Snowy) liked small planes, but he sure did like her piano…..

DavidWrightSr: I had hoped to be able to get down and visit Ginny that spring, but it was too late. I certainly enjoyed corresponding with her over the last couple of years before she died.

QSpecies: I think Laura was single-handedly responsible for keeping Ginny going for a year longer than would have been possible otherwise.

DavidWrightSr: Jim. Bleddyn is Andrew. Andrew, Qspecies is Jim Cunningham.

DavidWrightSr: I don’t doubt that at all.

QSpecies: Laura had a bad heart, and it was Ginny that kept her going too, I think. We lost Laura 30 days after Ginny.

QSpecies: Hi, Andrew — glad to meet you.

DavidWrightSr: I have no idea how well the meeting is going to go tonight. This is the first one in over a year and we’ll just have to see. I don’t see our new moderator online yet.

: Nice to meet you.

QSpecies: Does anyone know if Amy is going to be with us tonight?

morganuci has entered the room.

DavidWrightSr: Yes, I was very taken aback when Laura died so soon afterwards.

DavidWrightSr: Ah, There’s our moderator.

DavidWrightSr: Hi Tim.

morganuci: Hi everyone.

QSpecies: Hello, Tim.

DavidWrightSr: Amy has never attended one of these that I can recall.

DavidWrightSr: Tim. Qspecies is Jim Cunningham.

QSpecies: I’ll fix that (but can’t get it done in time for this one).

morganuci: Oh, thanks. I know the name, but I don’t think we’ve met yet.

DavidWrightSr: bleddynn is Andrew. (sorry, don’t know the last name)

: Salamon

DavidWrightSr: Time was dumb–I mean bold enough to volunteer to moderate one of these get togethers. O:-)

QSpecies: Amy and I were taken aback too. We had become very close to Laura and her family in those last few years.

DavidWrightSr: Time–Time

morganuci: It’s my first time, so be gentle!

DavidWrightSr: Time–Tim

DavidWrightSr: This could be an interesting meeting or a dud. There has been a long ongoing discourse going on between David Silver and Chris Zakes on alt.fan.heinlein and that might or might not continue here.

QSpecies: Keep trying David, you’re starting to sound like Dr. Sui…. Crap, I can’t spell it — the Cat in the Hat guy. But I see you got there 🙂

DavidWrightSr: Seuss?

QSpecies: Yup

DavidWrightSr: The fingers don’t always twist the way I want them to.

DavidWrightSr: Jim, did you find the AIM icon?

Ron0859 has entered the room.

QSpecies: I did. And I just got notified of an offline message, but my virus software blocked it.

QSpecies: Hi, Ron

Ron0859: Hi David…long time no see. Glad to be back

DavidWrightSr: Greetings! Introduce yourself. Here we have myself , Jim Cunningham and Andrew Salamon and Time Morgannuci.

DavidWrightSr: Which Ron are you?

DavidWrightSr: Damn it TIM

Ron0859: Ronald L. Black…. Way back when I used to show up under my Caine id

DavidWrightSr: Caine1959

DavidWrightSr: ?

Ron0859: ah, memories!

Ron0859: yep

DavidWrightSr: Ok, I’ll have to change my buddy list.

Ron0859: oh, the mail came though okay. that’s how i found out about tonight’s discussion. Liked the way the major points were set up in that, by the way

QSpecies: I’m not familiar with any of the Heinlein discussion groups. What sort of discourse?

DavidWrightSr: That was all Tim’s doing

morganuci: I was just trying to give examples of what we might talk about, to get people interested. Anything within reason is fair game.

QSpecies: I’ve not seen the discussion points. Where are they located?

DavidWrightSr: Did you receive the notice from me?

DavidWrightSr: If not, I’ll send you a copy.

Ron0859: okay if i get the ball rolling then? Variable Star. it was interesting and I liked it.

QSpecies: I don’t remember if I received a notice, or just an e-mail (been a busy week).

morganuci: I’m glad we have someone in the “I liked it” camp—I was worried it would all be one-sided!

QSpecies: I liked VS a lot. Thought Spider did an excellent job.

Ron0859: It remined me of a line from a Mad magazine story long ago….” It’s not as good as Whip n Chill, but it does have a very nice flavor.”

Ron0859: It felt Heinleinian…. then shifted to more Robinson then WHAM.

DavidWrightSr: Ok, Jim. I just sent you a copy. I liked VS also, but it didn’t have the kind of oomph to it that I would have preferred. Unlike a Heinlein, I had no trouble putting it down whenever I needed to.

Ron0859: I got hit by a literary two by four

DavidWrightSr: How do you mean Ron?

QSpecies: Re one-sided, has there been any bad press? Spider’s native writing style is very similar to Robert’s, and I thought VS was a good blend of the two.

DavidWrightSr: Well, the thread on A.F.H. was entitled Why I Loathed Variable Star. That should give you some idea. 😎

morganuci: Ditto: my impression from the AFH discussion was that most people were negative about it.

Ron0859: The early part was very RAH in feel and ploting, then as he got more personal on the generation ship, I was as at home as if it were one of SR’s Calahan stories. I was feeling almost as if it were part of the junivel cannons when…

Ron0859: shall we say the Earth moved?

Ron0859: and I was in shock.

Ron0859: hope everyone’s read it…don’t want to present spoilers

DavidWrightSr: Are you referring to the destruction of the Earth or to something later on?

Ron0859: but as I was reeling from that little plot twist, familiar faces started to show up

Ron0859: yep

Ron0859: I had almost convinced myself SR had fit the story into one of the classic RAH universes, when ka-boom there went that theory

Ron0859: then the other ship showed up and i was very hooked into finding out what happened next

DavidWrightSr: Some of the discontinuities bothered me, Obviously, on reflection, Spider was creating alternate timelines, but some indication of that would have been helpful to me.

Ron0859: so much so, I almost missed a character who was familiar showing up out of the blue

Ron0859: classic parallel universe – things are almost the same but not quite

DavidWrightSr: And this Zen stardrive. I could have done without that.

QSpecies: It started in the Farmer in the Sky Universe, and split off from Methuselah’s Children at the family meeting that occured 11 years before the opening of MC

morganuci: I agree about the timelines—he threw in stuff to make you think it was just in the future history one at first.

Ron0859: The name of the ship was the first clue things were askew

Ron0859: not Joel’s ship, but the first generation ship

morganuci: Was the zen drive just a plot mechanism so that human foibles would end up “sinking the ship”? Or because SR likes Buddhism?

DavidWrightSr: I can’t say. I really don’t know about him. I’ve only read one or two of his works.

Ron0859: could be both…. it kept it vague enough not to be caught up in the technical details, but was still believible

QSpecies: By first generation ship, are you referring to the New Frontiers?

DavidWrightSr: Actually, the only other one of his that I liked was called “The Free Lunch”.

Ron0859: yes

QSpecies: I thought Free Lunch was great. The heroine reminded me very much of Ginny.

DavidWrightSr: That was the second one. Didn’t he refer to the Vanguard somewhere?

DavidWrightSr: Or not. . I can’t remember at this point.

QSpecies: I think so, but I don’t have my copy of the book handy (and mine is an advanced uncorrected proof anyway — I think its identical with the published version, but am not sure.

Ron0859: But New Frontiers had been stolen by the Howard Familes in MC. Apparently they didn’t exist in this universe, unless you count “Andrew”

DavidWrightSr: You can see that VS didn’t have the impact on me. A true Heinlein would have been read 6-7 times by this time. and most of it memorized.O:-)

Ron0859: heh heh

Ron0859: I confess to only once, but it stuck with me

QSpecies: Did my last message get truncated? Should of ended with the words “developing it”.

morganuci: I’m pretty sure I remember the Vanguard mention, and that it implied it had not been stolen, ergo no Howards, different universe.

Ron0859: don’t think it came through Q

QSpecies: Different universe AFTER that meeting in which the Howard

DavidWrightSr: No. the Vanguard was the one sent out by the Jordan Foundation in Orphans of the Sky. It is referred to in Time Enough For Love at the dinner on Tertius when Justing came.

DavidWrightSr: It had been found at that point

QSpecies: Families elected not to go public — 11 years before Methuselah’s Children opened.

morganuci: Right, got them mixed up, sorry. OK, the New Frontiers was not mentioned as having been stolen, etc…

QSpecies: opening of Methuselah’s Children — so they didn’t have to hijack the New Frontiers, and Libby’s FTL drive wound up being quite different when he got around to developing it.

AGplusone has entered the room.

AGplusone: Hi, Tim

QSpecies: Hi, David — I’m Jim Cunningham

morganuci: Hi David.

AGplusone: nice to see you Jim

QSpecies: You too.

AGplusone: How’s the library doing?

QSpecies: Quite well.

AGplusone: well, please continue. I’ll settle back and try to catch up.

QSpecies: BTW, I loved Spider’s choice of names in VS.

Ron0859: any in particular?

AGplusone: Perry Jarnell and Larry Cott, eh?

Ron0859: ouch! now they make sense

morganuci: And there’s one I think is named after you, David?

QSpecies: I liked Dr. Amy Louis. After Dr. Amy Baxter and her husband, Dr. Lous Calderon.

AGplusone: I hold out hope for the Lone Ranger’s horse.

QSpecies: And of course, Alice Dahl — no more evil antagonist ever existed.

morganuci: Yeah, Alice Dahl was a good one!

AGplusone: It was somewhat distracting, tho. I wondered why he’d want to imply that Pournelle and Niven were a homosexual couple.

QSpecies: Editors make great evil-doers.

QSpecies: I totally missed that implication.

AGplusone: It’s pretty express, Jim, at one point.

Infobabefgh has entered the room.

TheChaosrunner has entered the room.

georule1861 has entered the room.

NYC20CnLtd has entered the room.

AGplusone: Of course, he might view it as Just good clean humor.

QSpecies: I don’t doubt it; just went over my head.

georule1861: Good evening.

NYC20CnLtd: Good evening.

Infobabefgh: Evening, all

QSpecies: Hi, George. Jim Cunningham here.

TheChaosrunner: Howdy.

georule1861: Upon what subject am I winging it tonight?

AGplusone: Hi, keeper of Snowy. How’s he doing?

NYC20CnLtd: Present and accounted for. Sound asleep right here on my lap. 🙂

morganuci: We’re talking about Variable Star & how it fits into the Heinlein universe(s).

AGplusone: Yeah. Say hi for us.

georule1861: Whoa, heya, Jim. Nice to run into you again.

georule1861: Deb was on The History Channel two weeks ago, btw.

georule1861: Not for Vikings tho.

georule1861: Our Civil War boys.

georule1861: Anyway, carry on.

QSpecies: How’s Snowy holding up? Lela and I were trying to remember how old he is last week. We still think of him as that little fuzzy lump that we flew down to Atlantic Beach.

QSpecies: George, say hi to Deb for me.

NYC20CnLtd: He’s 15, I believe–nearly 16.

QSpecies: That sounds about right. I think we gave him to Ginny the year after she moved to Atlantic Beach, but it may have been two.

NYC20CnLtd: Snowy’s adjusting well to the other cats.

QSpecies: Or they, him? 🙂

NYC20CnLtd: (As a matter of fact, Chessie just joined us.)

AGplusone: How does it fit, Tim, in your view?

AGplusone: Bash, smash, file to fit and cover with a thick coat of O.D.?

Ron0859: heh

QSpecies: Speaking of Snowy’s age, if you want to know exactly, I’ll fish out my correspondence with Ginny before we gave him to her, and that should nail it within a week or two

AGplusone: ” … or Navy blue.”

morganuci: I generally liked it, but I thought it was somewhat discordant between the throwback-to-the-50s feel at the beginning and the last 2/3s.

IrishBet has entered the room.

IrishBet: Good evening

QSpecies: Hi.

Infobabefgh: Hi

AGplusone: I was troubled with the retention of psychotherapy for anti-social atavism. I’d think Heinlein jetisoned the notion that was appropriate when he rewrote If This Goes On–

QSpecies: I thought that transition was quite a good blend.

has left the room.

AGplusone: as inappropriate to free men

IrishBet: Was that psychotherapy bit in the outline, Dave? Do you know?

Ron0859: But it did give it the feel of that particular period after the Prophet

AGplusone: I don’t know. No one knows about the outline except some who aren’t saying.

Ron0859: think we’ll ever get to see it?

morganuci: I was contrasting the feel of VS with that of Red Thunder (by John Varley) which our family is currently reading.

morganuci: Red Thunder has a modern feel, but the protagonist has the characterization of someone like Kip Russell (admittedly, I haven’t finished it yet!)

AGplusone: I liked the feel of Red Thunder–it had the Heinlein feel even with a bit of sex and dirty language typical of teens.

georule1861: Yes.

morganuci: Right. The last 2/3 of VS had the sex/dirty language, but the first 1/3 seemed more like a book from the 50s.

QSpecies: I haven’t read it yet (Red Thunder). Should I?

AGplusone: I thought VS was less appropriate, fart jokes and all. Too much self-consciousness about bad language.

georule1861: VS sort of feels like it fits nicely with Double Star and Citizen and Door into Summer. Which it should.

AGplusone: I would recommend it, and its sequel.

AGplusone: “Herb” by the way, is what friends call Varley. He’s obviously modeled on Varley.

georule1861: Red Thunder should be read by anyone who thinks they quite making good juvie SF after RAH gave it up.

morganuci: Me, too, again so far. I agree about the fart jokes in VS.

QSpecies: What’s the name of the sequel?

morganuci: Red Lightning, of course 🙂

QSpecies: Of course 🙂

AGplusone: Keeping track of the Tuckerisms in VS was a little too much after a while.

QSpecies: I did most of my SF reading back in the fifties, and I’m afraid I’m not current with a lot of the current authors. Would I like Varley?

AGplusone: Some of him.

TheChaosrunner: Tuckerisms?

QSpecies: My ignorance is showing, What’s a Tuckerism?

georule1861: Recursive.

AGplusone: A “Tuckerism” is putting the name of a friend or acquaintence in the book.

AGplusone: After Bob Tucker, a SF fan who died not long ago.

TheChaosrunner: Ah. So a literary form of name dropping.

IrishBet: Here’s my problem with VS: Joel was a wuss.

QSpecies: Robert did that a lot too. Oh, I know who he was (but didn’t know him).

Ron0859: ah, but he grew as the story progressed

QSpecies: Chaosrunner, what’s your first name? And irishbet? I’m Jim

morganuci: I agree with Pam about Joel: I didn’t like his character very much, compared to (again) Kip.

TheChaosrunner: I’m Max. Pleasure to meet you, Jim. 🙂

georule1861: Why Kip?

IrishBet: Into a bigger wuss.

morganuci: He does grow, but I felt that he mostly fell into his situations rather than making them.

AGplusone: Character development aside, of which Joel shows none, he wasn’t very much worth emulating. How did Joel grow in your view, Ron?

georule1861: I mean, it wasn’t goign to be a juvie was it?

AGplusone: Doesn’t have to be a juvie to show character development. Larry Smith shows development; Oscar Gordon, Hugh Farnham, etc.

morganuci: I thought it was to be his 1955 juvenile, and it turned into Time for the Stars

georule1861: Ahhhh.

Ron0859: Seemed he was taking more responsibility as he progressed, and finally took a stand.

QSpecies: Larry Smith was one of my favorites of Robert’s characters.

AGplusone: If taking more responsibility is getting his head out of his ass, I’d agree; but working on the farm isn’t an end-all to character development. How did he grow?

QSpecies: And of course, Hazel was my alltime favorite.

AGplusone: Learn something?

AGplusone: Admit error?

Ron0859: after going along with just about everyone about everything, he stood up to Conrad and his family in the end, instead of just running away or believeing everything he was told

AGplusone: For example, Bill Lermer leans to keep his well-intention mouth shut, as when he says something that keeps his sister, Peggy, on Ganymede, which ultimately kills her …

AGplusone: he notes he wanted to bite his tongue off immediately after he said it.

AGplusone: I guess courage is having no where else to run. Okay, I’ll buy that.

AGplusone: leans=learns

IrishBet: That isn’t courage, Dave — it’s just desperation.

AGplusone: I’m looking for growth in Joel.

AGplusone: Looking hard … I could just view Joel as stubbornly insistent that Conrad must be a bad guy–he hurt me, so he must be bad.’

QSpecies: Did anyone notice that VS kept the same gravity field for Ganymede that was used in Farmer?

morganuci: Yes. Do we know now that it’s not correct?

morganuci: (in the real world, I mean)

DavidWrightSr: Different universe, just like Mars in TNOTB8-)

IrishBet: If Joel onsidered any alternatives at the end of the book, Spider didn’t enlighten the readers. How did Joel know it wasn’t what’s-his-name — the husband?

Major oz has entered the room.

AGplusone: Joel did set it up to shoot first, ask questions later. That’s not particularly mature. Does kill Conrad’s bodyguard though.

QSpecies: (in the real world, I mean)

Major oz: ‘evenin all

QSpecies: Yes.

Infobabefgh: howdy

AGplusone: Hi, Oz

AGplusone: Also happens to get Joel’s only buddy killed too.

Major oz: I just gonna quietly catch up watchin’

QSpecies: (in the real world, I mean) Yes. It’s known to be incorrect.

AGplusone: What do we think the gravity of Ganymede is, Jim?

QSpecies: I’ll get this right if I keep trying. In answer to irishbet’s question, the gravity in Farmer and Star is known to be incorrect.

QSpecies: David, durned if I know — Spider told me it was wrong, and I haven’t looked up the correct value.

Major oz: ISTR it’s about one eigth G

IrishBet: Gravity wasn’t my question, but if I correctly recall theScience Channel from last week it’s about 15% earth G

QSpecies: What’s ISTR ?

Major oz: I seem to recall

AGplusone: Meaning a less dense body that Luna, Oz?

Major oz: si

NYC20CnLtd: About–it’s 0.146 g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganymede_%28moon%29

QSpecies: Irishbet — oops. But don’t worry, I’m guaranteed to get everyones’ name wrong repeatedly…..

IrishBet: 😉

QSpecies: Irishbet, what’s your first name? I’m gradually coming up to speed, but have met a lot of new folks tonight (and a lot of old ones too).

IrishBet: Pamela

QSpecies: P.S. I’m one of the old ones.

Ron0859: old??? I’m still working on my first century!!!

morganuci: A Howard among us 🙂

QSpecies: 64. As an aside, my screen moniker came about because of Robert’s story The Menace From Earth.

IrishBet: You’re younger than my husbad, Q

IrishBet: husband

Major oz: …just a kid

Ron0859: naw, just shootin for 125, then I’ll see if I want to hang around or move on to new horizons

morganuci: Good plan!

Major oz: According to my cardiologist, I am good to 129

Major oz: …scuse…..that’s 120

QSpecies: I have developed a strong plan for acheiving old age. Inhale, repeat, and again — and again….

Ron0859: works for me

AGplusone: Beats the hell out of heading for Brazil Novo.

QSpecies: You got that right.

Major oz: dry flies, single malt, young women, playin’ music…….that’ll do it every time

AGplusone: That Zen drive drove me nuts–six people who can keep it going over what, twenty years?

AGplusone: Sounds like a suicide mission.

DavidWrightSr: I agree. I thought that was the really stupid part.

AGplusone: No apprenticeship training … no backup.

Major oz: What is the idea with the zen drive? Did I miss a reference in some SR writings or elsewhere?

DavidWrightSr: Especially, not being able to get it started again. Why the heck not?

QSpecies: I dunno. I just thought it showed determination.

AGplusone: Determination to suicide.

Ron0859: I thought of them as engineers, but lacking the ability to put what they do into laymen’s terms

AGplusone: Also, who the hell do they report to?

IrishBet: It was the weirdest hocus-pocus — but vaguely reminiscent of Gramps Schneider

QSpecies: Ron, speaking as an engineer, that sounds reasonable to me. Articulation ain’t one of our skills.

DavidWrightSr: Yeah, but that was a fantasy, not sf.

AGplusone: Only engineering department I ever saw that was totally autonomous.

Major oz: I had a Phd physicist (born in India, at the foot of the H mountains and a Budhist) working for me for about five years who swore he saw his uncle levitate.

morganuci: Yeah, I thought of the Gramps Schneider connection too. Also, if you’re going to posit that there’s some way to break

AGplusone: Why couldn’t the captain restart the drive? He wasn’t a Zen driver …

morganuci: the known laws of physics, it might as well be mental as a science breakthrough 🙂

AGplusone: compare Starman Jones.

Major oz: In the drive, do you mean, David?

IrishBet: Tim, I don’t know that it’s a break with the known laws of physics. Are you familiar with the so-called “brane theory”?

AGplusone: No assistants, no techs, not even Chief Kelley trying his best as a last resort.

AGplusone: Lose enough of those clowns and you’re finished. Can’t even jury rig something.

morganuci: Only a bit. Fill us in.

Major oz: The only thing I can figure is it is some zippity-do-dah version of kinesthetics.

IrishBet: There is a current theory that the reason gravity is such a (relatively) weak force is that it really isn’t in our universe — it’s leaking from a parallel universe.

IrishBet: Gramps Schneider

IrishBet: Again

IrishBet: Brane theory is an extension of string theory — positing infinite dimensions. The math works better than the string math.

Major oz: Yeah, but Spidey can’t do eleven dimensions

IrishBet: Spidey has trouble with three.

AGplusone: Granted the joke about the cat with the butter side strapped down was funny, but really, was the joke worth it?

Major oz: Say: “thank you” for the straight line

IrishBet: Thank you.

IrishBet: 🙂

Major oz: But is was an OLD joke

AGplusone: I know

Ron0859: those are sometimes the best

Major oz: ….i guess……..

QSpecies: joke worth it — I thought so. I like Spider’s sense of humor and I like old jokes.

IrishBet: But, IF Spider is familiar with brane theory, his drive makes a sort of sense.

Major oz: It was written before Brane theory was disseminated very much.

Major oz: And he ain’t much of a tekkie

DavidWrightSr: Branes look very much like Hogan’s k-space in The Genesis Machine.

IrishBet: That’s why I emphasized the “if”

Major oz: gotcha

DavidWrightSr: but I don’t see any Zen connection.

IrishBet: If not, it’s just smoke and mirrors. I honestly don’t buy the tip of the hat to Gramps.

AGplusone: Didn’t even think it was a tip.

Major oz: How ’bout the magic antennas in Waldo?

Infobabefgh has left the room.

morganuci: I just took it as something similar—they just think the right way, and the ship zips along, but they can’t say why/how

AGplusone: Thought we were getting pure Zen, like the ‘art’ he referenced as part of his psychological reorientation.

IrishBet: I didn’t either, really, Dave. I thought of Gramps, but I doubt Spider did.

IrishBet: That’s Gramps Schneider, Oz

Major oz: “he”……..SR or Joel

Major oz: hokay……….getting old

Major oz: thought it was waldo hisself

IrishBet: Gramps Schneider fixed the broomstick, Waldo learned how to harness it.

AGplusone: … which was another shuck, I felt. How does a deep breathing exercise psychologically reorient you? Good for heart lung patients, but what else does it do?

Major oz: What was the short short about all the telekinetics who held the a-bombs together?

AGplusone: Yeah, the card sharp.

IrishBet: TM.

IrishBet: Aummmm

DavidWrightSr: And the little old ladies. I believe

Major oz: If you breath REALLY fast and hard, you can get zoned

IrishBet: Om mani padme aum

Major oz: Hi, Pattie

georule1861: Project Nightmare?

Major oz: thassit

DavidWrightSr: Yeah, that was it.

georule1861: I suddenly need a gin and tonic. brb

Major oz: Maybe it is an offshoot of that

Major oz: Oh……..to see the notes

QSpecies: Which notes?

AGplusone: Project Nightmare

Major oz: Anyone know id they will ever be available in the collection?

Major oz: if

DavidWrightSr: The outline to VS that Heinlein wrote

Major oz: Now, that was a REAL freudian slip

IrishBet: Oy

Major oz: yeah, will that ever be “public”?

Ron0859: well, in this room it’s been known to happen now and zen.

QSpecies: What were the contents of that drink that Ginny liked so much? Was it called a 75?

Major oz: BBPPPPPPTTTTTTT

AGplusone: French 75

AGplusone: shot of brandy over an icecube floated in a glass of champagne

IrishBet: With a dash of gin.

IrishBet: Strange bedfellows

AGplusone: yuck the gin … never drank it that way.

QSpecies: It’d uv been a good drink without the brandy & champagne. Hard to ruin gin.

AGplusone: cognac is better without the gin

IrishBet: Most anything is better without gin. Even tonic

Major oz: Sounds like what a Brit got me hammered on at my 20th b-d (in NY): Lord Nelson — shot of brandy and a measure of port at room temp.

IrishBet: (Can you tell I never acquired the taste?)

DavidWrightSr: Is our conversation degin-erating?

Major oz: yeah…..

QSpecies: Naah, not enough 75’s yet

IrishBet: ::::: bangs head gently on keyboard :::::

Ron0859: now i’m thirsty…. you folks have a good night…hopefully I’ll catch you next time…glad to be back in the swing again

AGplusone: Geo Rule’s fault. It was the mention of Project Nightmare. Haven’t read that in years.

Major oz: ….meanwhile, back at the ship……..

DavidWrightSr: We have another one Saturday at 5:00 P.M.

QSpecies: Back to VS. Would anyone like to see a sequel?

Major oz: Be dancing then

Major oz: NOOOOO

TheChaosrunner: I think I’ll pour a shot of Ice into my cocoa tonight…

georule1861: I rather like Project Nightmare.

IrishBet: Not of that particular cask of characters.

Major oz: Maybe a three paragraph wrap

IrishBet: cast

Ron0859: ha…i may be in San Diego shopping then, if the girls have their way…. adieos amigos

Ron0859 has left the room.

georule1861: Tho about every three years I make a point of rereading all the less-than-novels

AGplusone: good example of what Heinlein wouldn’t have done I thought …

AGplusone: he wouldn’t have let Joel occupy the entire story without learning a lesson

Major oz: There was a whole mountain of gods in that Deus ex Machina

AGplusone: and having to recite it

IrishBet: I cannot imagine RAH ending a story with the few remaining humans heading for the hills.

georule1861: Heinlein was one of the most sequel-setting-up-ingest.

georule1861: For a guy who didn’t write many of them.

QSpecies: It was the reciting that really made a Heinlein story.

georule1861: I think its part of his charm and depth.

Major oz: Mayhap Joel would undergo an epiphany of sorts………nah………he is boxed into his character

georule1861: Same idea in reverse of assuming pre-knowledge.

AGplusone: Then, and only then, the story was over. After “lesson learned”

morganuci: Yeah, with many of RAH’s stories, you’re left wishing you could find out more about what happens to the characters afterwards.

georule1861: And the certainlty that stuff did.

georule1861: If only he’d tell you about it.

AGplusone: Or the prequels. Wanted to read the story of Baslim’s rescue.

morganuci: I guess you could make the sequel more than just “Joel warns everyone”—maybe they find and fight the baddies?

Major oz: Who was the rep of the trust that did the negotiating with SR when they laid (no pun intended) out the guidelines for the book?

DavidWrightSr: And most of the time when we did see characters, conditions had changed, but then change was inevitable in RAH’s worldview.

IrishBet: Tim, Joel didn’t show any sign of wanting to fight the bad guys

morganuci: Maybe that’s the solution—someone else rises to the top and figures out how to fight them, or at least stop

morganuci: them from blowing up stars

morganuci: I agree it’s not music-major Joel

AGplusone: If there was a negotiation, it was Art Dula, Oz. I don’t think please don’t give us a Rich Little imitation of Heinlein is a negotiation, however.

georule1861: And then he opened straight out of NOTB anyway.

georule1861: Heh.

georule1861: Minus the nipples, ‘natch.

IrishBet: LoL, Geo — you noticed that, too?

DavidWrightSr: You have lost me. What are you talking about?

IrishBet: (How could anyone not — but a couple of people have told me they missed it.)

georule1861: “after a dance like that a couple should get married”

georule1861: Look it up.

Major oz: Hokay David. I just figured where the “” go.

AGplusone: Number of the Beast opens like the Grey Lensman, or something, is what they’re talking about.

AGplusone: With the dance

DavidWrightSr: Oh, I haven’t read that in over 50 years and didn’t like it much then.

Major oz: got that……..it was the Little thang……

QSpecies: Folks, I gotta go. The wife and supper are calling. I’m pleased to have met everyone.

Major oz: I have tempered my criticism some. Having read not much of SR due to his ususal POV, I can see how he can’t much help what he does. I respect that he is a FAN extraordinaire, but that ain’t enuff

AGplusone: I’ve actually enjoyed dissecting VS from the “could Heinlein have written this” aspect.

morganuci: Thanks for joining the discussion! See you next time.

DavidWrightSr: Glad you made it Jim. I happy that I could help

georule1861: Nice to see you again, Jim.

AGplusone: Nice to see everyone.

AGplusone: David: have log?

georule1861: I’ll tell Deb you said hi.

DavidWrightSr: Got it.

QSpecies: I’m not gone quite yet, but shortly.

TheChaosrunner: Night all

AGplusone: ‘kay, I’m gooing to get some dinner.

QSpecies: DavidW, many thanks for the help getting online

NYC20CnLtd: Enjoy. 🙂

AGplusone: One thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand, check canopy ….

QSpecies: David S, good to talk to you again

AGplusone has left the room.

georule1861: ciao

georule1861 has left the room.

QSpecies: NYC, give Snowy a biiig hug for me.

NYC20CnLtd: 🙂

DavidWrightSr: NYC. You are Laura’s son? I didn’t know.

Major oz: hey…..Hey……HEY……..I showered and everything……….whereyagoin ?

NYC20CnLtd: I’m John. Laura’s son. Yes.

QSpecies: John, give your dad a hug too.

NYC20CnLtd: Will do.

IrishBet has left the room.

QSpecies: Major Oz, what’s your name? I’m Jim Cunningham

Major oz: For reasons to complicated to go into here, I don’t give my name in the open.

QSpecies: I can identify with that 🙂

Major oz: ….it aint witness protection………

QSpecies: Major, they’s lots uv reasons, all good….

DavidWrightSr: John. I’m glad to find that out. Thanks again for your help on the cufflink questions.

QSpecies: I’m outa here folks. See you later

Major oz: c ya

Major oz: I guess all the problems were solved before I got here, eh?

QSpecies has left the room.

BPRAL22169 has entered the room.

BPRAL22169: Howdy

morganuci: Hi Bill

Major oz: Right now, I got things that I MUST get to.

Major oz: ……..so……see y’all later………

Major oz has left the room.

DavidWrightSr: Ooops too late. I see.

BPRAL22169: How did the discussion go?

morganuci: I thought pretty well. We had some in the “I liked it” camp, for balance.

BPRAL22169: It’s my impression that at least on afh, how one reacts to Variable Star is a direct function of how one reacts to Spider’s Callahan’s Bar storis.

DavidWrightSr: I don’t know about that. I’ve never read any of them that I recall.

morganuci: Me either (haven’t read any Callahan stories)

BPRAL22169: I seem to have a higher tolerance for them than some of the particpants in the big thread, but only in small amounts

DavidWrightSr: Oh. Enjoyed having everyone here. Congratulations Tim, you survived beautifully. John, happy to have talked with you.

DavidWrightSr: Gotta go.

BPRAL22169: Not that they’re bad; but they center in a very focused psychological “place” and how you feel about that place is extremely variable.

BPRAL22169: Have a good one. I’ll be traveling on Saturday so won’t be back for it.

morganuci: My family’s pulling on me to go have some dinner. Sorry you can’t make it on Saturday, Bill.

BPRAL22169: Good to see you here, Tim

DavidWrightSr: I’ve got to let my wife have this computer to check her e-mail.

DavidWrightSr: Night

BPRAL22169: ciao

Click Here to Return to Index


This entry was posted in Readers Group. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply