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Heinlein Readers Group Discussion
Day 02/21/08 9 P.M. EST
Stranger In A Strange Land Part I

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Here Begin The Postings


Subject: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Topic: Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
Date: Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
Place: AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"

A novice reviewer in the L.A. Times recently wrote, inter alia, of Heinlein:

    FOR years, the intellectually ambitious novels of the 1960s,
    especially "Stranger in a Strange Land," about a spiritually and
    sexually messianic Martian-born human, and "The Moon Is a Harsh
    Mistress," which concerns a free-market revolt by prisoners on the
    moon, were considered Heinlein's great work.

    These books still have followings; "Moon" sits in the International
    Space Station library.

    But the bestselling "Stranger," which Kurt Vonnegut Jr. reviewed on
    the cover of the New York Times Book Review in 1990 when it was
    reissued in an expanded edition, now reads like a long-winded relic
    of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids.

It's always nice to hear from the next generation, especially when they barely had begun attending junior high school when reviews with which they disagree and would reassess and have us discard came out.

We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land, taking our time to do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate Origin," and "His Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.

Anyone is free to attend the meetings and make relevant pre-meeting posts. The more commentary we have, the better the chats turn out to be.

What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids"?

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

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com>

"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
news:ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net...
> Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
> Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
> Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
>
>
> A novice reviewer in the L.A. Times recently wrote, inter alia, of
> Heinlein:
>
>    FOR years, the intellectually ambitious novels of the 1960s,
>    especially "Stranger in a Strange Land," about a spiritually and 
>    sexually messianic Martian-born human, and "The Moon Is a Harsh
>    Mistress," which concerns a free-market revolt by prisoners on the
>    moon, were considered Heinlein's great work.
>
>    These books still have followings; "Moon" sits in the International
>    Space Station library.
>
>    But the bestselling "Stranger," which Kurt Vonnegut Jr. reviewed on
>    the cover of the New York Times Book Review in 1990 when it was
>    reissued in an expanded edition, now reads like a long-winded relic
>    of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids.
>
> It's always nice to hear from the next generation, especially when they
> barely had begun attending junior high school when reviews with which
> they disagree and would reassess and have us discard came out.
>
> We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land, taking our time to
> do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate Origin," and "His
> Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.
>
> Anyone is free to attend the meetings and make relevant pre-meeting
> posts. The more commentary we have, the better the chats turn out to be.
>
> What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, philosophy
> for junior high kids"? 

I have no doubt it is a valid comment by some younger readers.

For some it may indeed be considered "long-winded", which is RAH's style at times, like it or not. It is definitely a "relic" of the '60s. Novels have a habit of ageing - some age better than others. I don't think that SIASL has particularly aged badly, but I can see why younger readers may have issues with it.

I think it helps to acknowledge that reviewers of any vintage are mostly trying to be honest with their opinions. That is, they are not making up how a novel makes them feel, they are telling the truth (as it appears to them). It would be most unusual if opinions of reviewers remained unchanged over forty plus years.

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>

In article <mQVhj.2221$421.78@news-server.bigpond.net.au>,
 "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> wrote:

> "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
> news:ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net... 
> > Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
> > Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
> > Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
> >
> >
> > A novice reviewer in the L.A. Times recently wrote, inter alia, of
> > Heinlein:
> >
> >    FOR years, the intellectually ambitious novels of the 1960s,
> >    especially "Stranger in a Strange Land," about a spiritually and 
> >    sexually messianic Martian-born human, and "The Moon Is a Harsh
> >    Mistress," which concerns a free-market revolt by prisoners on the
> >    moon, were considered Heinlein's great work.
> >
> >    These books still have followings; "Moon" sits in the International
> >    Space Station library.
> >
> >    But the bestselling "Stranger," which Kurt Vonnegut Jr. reviewed on
> >    the cover of the New York Times Book Review in 1990 when it was
> >    reissued in an expanded edition, now reads like a long-winded relic
> >    of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids.
> >
> > It's always nice to hear from the next generation, especially when they
> > barely had begun attending junior high school when reviews with which
> > they disagree and would reassess and have us discard came out.
> >
[ ... snip myself ... ]
> >
> > What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, philosophy
> > for junior high kids"? 
> 
> I have no doubt it is a valid comment by some younger readers.
> 

That they might be "younger" doesn't make them necessarily ignorant, but it might make them a little less than sophisticated reviewers of writings. Timberg, writer of the review quoted, for example, has a background of having written mainly music with some related media (movies, music videos, performances) reviews. Someone at the Times thought he was ready to try a review of a writer of SF. Why? We don't know.

But it is pretty clear, from what he wrote, that Timberg relied heavily on another young lightweight named Newitz who is burdened with her own agendas.

> For some it may indeed be considered "long-winded", which is RAH's style at 
> times, like it or not. 

I suppose "long-winded" is akin to the criticism that Mozart's music has "too many notes." The question is whether the words or notes are wasted in production of an irrelevant or immaterial impact, not how many they may be.

> It is definitely a "relic" of the '60s. Novels have a 
> habit of ageing - some age better than others. I don't think that SIASL has 
> particularly aged badly, but I can see why younger readers may have issues 
> with it.
> 

But I don't know with any certainty that "relic of the '60s" means anything significant. Shakespeare's plays are relics of the end of the sixteenth century, the Elizabethan Age; Swift's essays and stories, particularly including _Gulliver's Travels_, are relics of early eighteenth century; Hemingway's writings a relic of the first half of the twentieth century. I also don't know that "aged better" (or worse) means anything more than continues or fails to have some bearing and impact on the subject of the writing.

> I think it helps to acknowledge that reviewers of any vintage are mostly 
> trying to be honest with their opinions. That is, they are not making up how 
> a novel makes them feel, they are telling the truth (as it appears to them). 

Sincerity may exist, but proving it depends on an assessment of effort, depth, time spent, and approach. I would reserve my opinion on Timberg were I unconnected with his research. However, he interviewed me, and his article pointedly ignored anything including all facts I pointed out to him contradicting points he attempted to verify with me. Cherry picking one post-interview point (how many Heinlein books I read yearly--and I do conduct these discussions of Heinlein's works here and elsewhere), and ignoring all else said in a substantially long discussion, told me all I needed to know about his impartiality as a reporter--he wouldn't know what impartiality was if it had bit him in the nose.

> It would be most unusual if opinions of reviewers remained unchanged over 
> forty plus years. 

Anyway, let's look at other efforts of newspaper reviewers of all vintages during the past forty-some years. The New York Times' Orville Prescott, preeminent reviewer in his age, wrote that in the novel, Mr. Heinlein "expresses his sardonic opinions with violence and gusto," but he didn't care for it as Vonnegut notes. He claimed he was looking for something light and clever and not too much of a strain on his weary brain cells to read and "My selection of this disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social satire and cheap eroticism was a frightful mistake."

So you might say, as some younger readers of today may themselves say, Prescott had "issues with it." Putting a strain on Prescott's weary brain cells was deemed by him to be truly a grievous fault.

100,000 copies of the abridged (1961) edition sold in hard cover--during which time it became the first SF title to crack The New York Times Book Review's best-seller list, and nearly five million in paperback later, by 1991. Prescott who died in 1989, a year after Heinlein, had he lived that long, may have regretted expressing his ire to such extent. Perhaps it's true any publicity is good publicity. In any event for the next two decades, Heinlein's problem wasn't that Stranger wasn't selling, it was getting the publishers to print sufficient copies to keep up with the demand.

It's not a great surprise that the criticism of "long-winded" or "too many words" is leveled. This was Heinlein's twelve-year-long effort, a time he had never spent on a work before by orders of magnitude, in writing a work. It was his first successful effort to 'write my own stuff' the way he wished to write it. It wasn't "something light and clever" that placed "not too much a strain" on readers looking for diversion on a rainy day.

Exactly what was the "philosophy for junior high school kids" that Timberg attacks?

It is, as Heinlein pointed out, a satire making a frontal assault on the two biggest, fattest sacred cows of Western Society, "monotheism and monogamy" (and a "double dozen" other objects).

Going beyond Timberg, we take from Prescott a need to search out and examine those evidences of mistake by Heinlein in producing a "disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social satire and cheap eroticism."

Is Heinlein's magnum opus a "philosophy for junior high school kids" and a disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social satire and cheap eroticism?

What do you think, anyone, Sean?

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

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Gaeltach" hcatleag@bigpond.com>

"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
news:ag.plusone-0F3848.22445611012008@individual.net...
> In article <mQVhj.2221$421.78@news-server.bigpond.net.au>,
> "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> wrote:
>
>> "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message
>> news:ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net... 
>> > Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
>> > Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
>> > Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
>> >
>> >
>> > A novice reviewer in the L.A. Times recently wrote, inter alia, of
>> > Heinlein:
>> >
>> >    FOR years, the intellectually ambitious novels of the 1960s,
>> >    especially "Stranger in a Strange Land," about a spiritually and 
>> >    sexually messianic Martian-born human, and "The Moon Is a Harsh
>> >    Mistress," which concerns a free-market revolt by prisoners on the
>> >    moon, were considered Heinlein's great work.
>> >
>> >    These books still have followings; "Moon" sits in the International
>> >    Space Station library.
>> >
>> >    But the bestselling "Stranger," which Kurt Vonnegut Jr. reviewed on
>> >    the cover of the New York Times Book Review in 1990 when it was
>> >    reissued in an expanded edition, now reads like a long-winded relic
>> >    of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids.
>> >
>> > It's always nice to hear from the next generation, especially when they
>> > barely had begun attending junior high school when reviews with which
>> > they disagree and would reassess and have us discard came out.
>> >
> [ ... snip myself ... ]
>> >
>> > What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, 
>> > philosophy for junior high kids"? 
>>
>> I have no doubt it is a valid comment by some younger readers.
>>
>
> That they might be "younger" doesn't make them necessarily ignorant, but
> it might make them a little less than sophisticated reviewers of
> writings. Timberg, writer of the review quoted, for example, has a
> background of having written mainly music with some related media
> (movies, music videos, performances) reviews. Someone at the Times
> thought he was ready to try a review of a writer of SF. Why? We don't
> know. 
>
> But it is pretty clear, from what he wrote, that Timberg relied heavily
> on another young lightweight named Newitz who is burdened with her own
> agendas. 

I'm just going on what you presented in your post.

>> For some it may indeed be considered "long-winded", which is RAH's style 
>> at times, like it or not. 
>
> I suppose "long-winded" is akin to the criticism that Mozart's music has
> "too many notes." The question is whether the words or notes are wasted
> in production of an irrelevant or immaterial impact, not how many they may
> be. 

"Long-winded" can also be akin to "too wordy", i.e. taking too long to make a point. I think that is what this latest reviewer may be talking about. For some situations less can be more, and RAH himself used this approach successfully in many of his earlier works. In some he combined both approaches e.g. in Starship Troopers he (IMO)successfully spoke at length at times, and used brevity to distinct effect as well.

>> It is definitely a "relic" of the '60s. Novels have a
>> habit of ageing - some age better than others. I don't think that SIASL 
>> has particularly aged badly, but I can see why younger readers may have 
>> issues with it.
>>
>
> But I don't know with any certainty that "relic of the '60s" means
> anything significant. Shakespeare's plays are relics of the end of the
> sixteenth century, the Elizabethan Age; Swift's essays and stories,
> particularly including _Gulliver's Travels_, are relics of early 
> eighteenth century; Hemingway's writings a relic of the first half of the
> twentieth century. I also don't know that "aged better" (or worse) means
> anything more than continues or fails to have some bearing and impact on
> the subject of the writing. 

Well, the question was asked and addressed. I think being a "relic of the '60's" *is* significant in that the novel SIASL should be considered in the context of the age in which it was written, now that a substantial amount of time has passed between now and then.

>> I think it helps to acknowledge that reviewers of any vintage are mostly
>> trying to be honest with their opinions. That is, they are not making up 
>> how a novel makes them feel, they are telling the truth (as it appears to
>>  them). 
>
> Sincerity may exist, but proving it depends on an assessment of effort,
> depth, time spent, and approach. I would reserve my opinion on Timberg 
> were I unconnected with his research. However, he interviewed me, and his
> article pointedly ignored anything including all facts I pointed out to
> him contradicting points he attempted to verify with me. Cherry picking
> one post-interview point (how many Heinlein books I read yearly--and I do
> conduct these discussions of Heinlein's works here and elsewhere), and
> ignoring all else said in a substantially long discussion, told me all I
> needed to know about his impartiality as a reporter--he wouldn't know what
> impartiality was if it had bit him in the nose. 

David, I have no doubt missed some earlier posts about this. Is his article on-line?

>> It would be most unusual if opinions of reviewers remained unchanged over
>> forty plus years. 
>
> Anyway, let's look at other efforts of newspaper reviewers of all
> vintages during the past forty-some years. The New York Times' Orville
> Prescott, preeminent reviewer in his age, wrote that in the novel, Mr.
> Heinlein "expresses his sardonic opinions with violence and gusto," but
> he didn't care for it as Vonnegut notes. He claimed he was looking for
> something light and clever and not too much of a strain on his weary
> brain cells to read and "My selection of this disastrous mishmash of
> science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social satire and cheap eroticism
> was a frightful mistake." 

All I can say is that tastes vary, and this opinion is probably very valid for some. Sometimes it helps to provide some further insight regarding difficult novels (such as SIASL) and previously disenchanted readers may achieve a more appreciative perspective. Sometimes there is no chance of achieving this.

> So you might say, as some younger readers of today may themselves say,
> Prescott had "issues with it." Putting a strain on Prescott's weary
> brain cells was deemed by him to be truly a grievous fault. 

I don't think if SIASL was written today by any other author it would achieve anywhere near the same success. This could be said of many great works from the past, not just RAH. Times change, peoples tastes and attitudes change. What people *want* to read changes. I'm sure there is an equation in there somewhere to demonstrate this.

> 100,000 copies of the abridged (1961) edition sold in hard cover--during
> which time it became the first SF title to crack The New York Times Book
> Review's best-seller list, and nearly five million in paperback later,
> by 1991. Prescott who died in 1989, a year after Heinlein, had he lived 
> that long, may have regretted expressing his ire to such extent. Perhaps
> it's true any publicity is good publicity. In any event for the next two
> decades, Heinlein's problem wasn't that Stranger wasn't selling, it was
> getting the publishers to print sufficient copies to keep up with the
> demand. 
>
> It's not a great surprise that the criticism of "long-winded" or "too
> many words" is leveled. This was Heinlein's twelve-year-long effort, a
> time he had never spent on a work before by orders of magnitude, in
> writing a work. It was his first successful effort to 'write my own
> stuff' the way he wished to write it. It wasn't "something light and
> clever" that placed "not too much a strain" on readers looking for
> diversion on a rainy day.
>
> Exactly what was the "philosophy for junior high school kids" that
> Timberg attacks?
>
> It is, as Heinlein pointed out, a satire making a frontal assault on the
> two biggest, fattest sacred cows of Western Society, "monotheism and
> monogamy" (and a "double dozen" other objects). 

Perhaps Heinlein succeeded, or the western world has moved on somewhat from these sacred cows?

> Going beyond Timberg, we take from Prescott a need to search out and
> examine those evidences of mistake by Heinlein in producing a
> "disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social
> satire and cheap eroticism." 

No, not "evidence of mistake" by Heinlein. Those were your words I think. I have no difficulty accepting that no one true view of SIASL exists, and that even certain views will modify over the passage of time, and especially as newer generations come to read it. To think otherwise is a bit King Canute-ish (IMO).

>
> Is Heinlein's magnum opus a "philosophy for junior high school kids" and
> a disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social
> satire and cheap eroticism?
>
> What do you think, anyone, Sean?

I don't really understand the point about "philosophy for junior high school kids", so haven't addressed it. Is the reviewer suggesting the intellectual level of discussion in SIASL is not very high? If that is what is meant, then I couldn't go along with that. The literary, philosophical, religious and historical allusions are many (and would be beyond many junior high school kids, IMO).


Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>

In article <a0fij.2490$421.740@news-server.bigpond.net.au>,
 "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> wrote:

> > Sincerity may exist, but proving it depends on an assessment of effort,
> > depth, time spent, and approach. I would reserve my opinion on Timberg 
> > were I unconnected with his research. However, he interviewed me, and
> > his article pointedly ignored anything including all facts I pointed out
> > to him contradicting points he attempted to verify with me. Cherry
> > picking one post-interview point (how many Heinlein books I read
> > yearly--and I do conduct these discussions of Heinlein's works here and
> > elsewhere), and ignoring all else said in a substantially long
> > discussion, told me all I needed to know about his impartiality as a
> > reporter--he wouldn't know what impartiality was if it had bit him in the
> > nose. 
> 
> David, I have no doubt missed some earlier posts about this. Is his article 
> on-line? 

The December 9, 2007, review by Scott Timberg, entitled "Robert Heinlein's Future May Be Past," is here:

http://tinyurl.com/32fb22

Giving due where it is merited, the Times published one letter in reply:

   Writer's legacy strong
   December 16, 2007

   HAVING just become the only writer ever to collaborate with Robert
   Heinlein on a novel, I feel an obligation to compliment Scott Timberg
   on "Robert Heinlein's Future May Be Past" [Dec. 9]. He did a very
   nearly perfect job.

   But not quite perfect.

   Although every opinion expressed by Timberg is malicious nonsense --
   and he neglects to mention recent news items related to Mr. Heinlein
   (the new half-million dollar Heinlein Trust Prize, his huge and
   successful 100th birthday celebration last summer, his first new
   novel in nearly 20 years just released this month, etc.) -- I
   discovered one statement of fact that was not false ("Still,
   hard-core admirers remain"), and one quotation from someone who has
   actually published in the field and doesn't say a single silly thing
   (Thomas Disch).

   Please exercise more care in future; these small flaws marred an
   otherwise perfect piece of comedy. 

   Spider Robinson

   Vancouver


   Robinson is the co-author with Robert A. Heinlein of "Variable Star"
   and a winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

http://tinyurl.com/324cwe

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

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: djinn <djenni@gmail.com>

On Jan 13, 12:22 pm, "David M. Silver" <ag.plus...@verizon.net> wrote:
> In article <a0fij.2490$421....@news-server.bigpond.net.au>,
>
>  "Gaeltach" <hcatl...@bigpond.com> wrote:
> > > Sincerity may exist, but proving it depends on an assessment of effort
> > > , depth, time spent, and approach. I would reserve my opinion on
> > > Timberg 

> > > were I unconnected with his research. However, he interviewed me, and
> > > his article pointedly ignored anything including all facts I pointed o
> > > ut to him contradicting points he attempted to verify with me. Cherry
> > > picking one post-interview point (how many Heinlein books I read
> > > yearly--and I do conduct these discussions of Heinlein's works here an
> > > d elsewhere), and ignoring all else said in a substantially long
> > > discussion, told me all I needed to know about his impartiality as a
> > > reporter--he wouldn't know what impartiality was if it had bit him in
> > > the nose. 
>
> > David, I have no doubt missed some earlier posts about this. Is his arti
> > cle on-line? 
>
> The December 9, 2007, review by Scott Timberg, entitled "Robert
> Heinlein's Future May Be Past," is here:
>
> http://tinyurl.com/32fb22
>
> Giving due where it is merited, the Times published one letter in reply:

snip

>
>    Please exercise more care in future; these small flaws marred an
>    otherwise perfect piece of comedy.
>
>    Spider Robinson
>

Nicely put.


Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>

In article <a0fij.2490$421.740@news-server.bigpond.net.au>,
 "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> wrote:

> > Going beyond Timberg, we take from Prescott a need to search out and
> > examine those evidences of mistake by Heinlein in producing a
> > "disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social
> > satire and cheap eroticism." 
> 
> No, not "evidence of mistake" by Heinlein. Those were your words I think. I 
> have no difficulty accepting that no one true view of SIASL exists, and that 
> even certain views will modify over the passage of time, and especially as 
> newer generations come to read it. To think otherwise is a bit King 
> Canute-ish (IMO).

Prescott used the term "frightful mistake" to describe what he characterized as a "disastrous mismash ... etc."

> >
> > Is Heinlein's magnum opus a "philosophy for junior high school kids" and
> > a disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary social
> > satire and cheap eroticism?
> >
> > What do you think, anyone, Sean?
> 
> I don't really understand the point about "philosophy for junior high school 
> kids", so haven't addressed it. Is the reviewer suggesting the intellectual 
> level of discussion in SIASL is not very high? If that is what is meant, 
> then I couldn't go along with that. The literary, philosophical, religious 
> and historical allusions are many (and would be beyond many junior high 
> school kids, IMO). 

Neither do I understand it. It's basically an insult to any reader who finds something among the satire of SiaSL worth thinking about. Essentially, Timberg and Newitz, who seems to have done his thinking for him, in her "complicated dose of didacticism" and "tasty little soundbyte[s]" are telling readers of SiaSL that our concerns are at at best a junior high level.[1] I don't know about you, but someone who takes ten or twelve years to get a Ph.D. from Berkeley (normal is seven years from the beginning of an undergrad degree) and still manages not to obtain a tenure-track teaching position doesn't impress me a great deal, no matter how busy she seems to involve herself in blogging, delivering papers at "Arse Electronika," whatever that may have been, and addresses at "feminist science fiction conventions". Nor does a "journalist" who relies so heavily upon her "tasty" little bits.

[1] See, last paragraph of http://www.techsploitation.com/about/ and http://www.techsploitation.com/appearances/ On the other hand, I rather like the taste she expresses in the three-piece suit she wears in one photograph on her appearances page. I had one like that when I was about thirty.

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

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: djinn <djenni@gmail.com>

On Jan 13, 1:25 pm, "David M. Silver" <ag.plus...@verizon.net> wrote:
> In article <a0fij.2490$421....@news-server.bigpond.net.au>,
>
>  "Gaeltach" <hcatl...@bigpond.com> wrote:
> > > Going beyond Timberg, we take from Prescott a need to search out and
> > > examine those evidences of mistake by Heinlein in producing a
> > > "disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary socia
> > > l satire and cheap eroticism." 
>
> > No, not "evidence of mistake" by Heinlein. Those were your words I think
> > . I have no difficulty accepting that no one true view of SIASL exists,
> > and  that even certain views will modify over the passage of time, and
> > especially  as newer generations come to read it. To think otherwise is
> > a bit King Canute-ish (IMO).
>
> Prescott used the term "frightful mistake" to describe what he
> characterized as a "disastrous mismash ... etc."
>
>
>
> > > Is Heinlein's magnum opus a "philosophy for junior high school kids" a
> > > nd a disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary
> > > soci al satire and cheap eroticism? 
>
> > > What do you think, anyone, Sean?
>
> > I don't really understand the point about "philosophy for junior high sc
> > hool kids", so haven't addressed it. Is the reviewer suggesting the
> > intellect ual level of discussion in SIASL is not very high? If that is
> > what is meant, 

> > then I couldn't go along with that. The literary, philosophical, religio
> > us and historical allusions are many (and would be beyond many junior
> > high school kids, IMO). 
>
> Neither do I understand it. It's basically an insult to any reader who
> finds something among the satire of SiaSL worth thinking about.
> Essentially, Timberg and Newitz, who seems to have done his thinking for
> him, in her "complicated dose of didacticism" and "tasty little
> soundbyte[s]" are telling readers of SiaSL that our concerns are at at
> best a junior high level.[1] I don't know about you, but someone who
> takes ten or twelve years to get a Ph.D. from Berkeley (normal is seven
> years from the beginning of an undergrad degree) and still manages not
> to obtain a tenure-track teaching position doesn't impress me a great
> deal, no matter how busy she seems to involve herself in blogging,
> delivering papers at "Arse Electronika," whatever that may have been, and
> addresses at "feminist science fiction conventions". Nor does a 
> "journalist" who relies so heavily upon her "tasty" little bits. 
>

got yer tasty bit's right here, baby. :)

You've got a point. It sounds like a 'sour grapes' kind of sneer. The writers really didn't 'get it', so anyone who likes Heinleins' writing must be dumber than they are. A not uncommon situation, the contempt of the ignorant for the knowledgable.

This seems to be what she does for AE.

Upcoming Events:
10.07.2007 / Delivering a paper on "A Futurist's History of Sexual
Technology" at Arse Electronika, a conference on pornography and
technical innovation, San Francisco.

I have to admit to curiosity about Sexual Technology.

/On the other hand, I rather
> like the taste she expresses in the three-piece suit she wears in one
> photograph on her appearances page. I had one like that when I was about
> thirty. 

That is a nice suit.


Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Ogden Johnson III <oj3usmc@yahoo.com>

"Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> wrote:

>"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:

>> Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
>> Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
>> Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
>>
>>
>> A novice reviewer in the L.A. Times recently wrote, inter alia, of
>> Heinlein:

[Snips]

>>   " But the bestselling "Stranger," which Kurt Vonnegut Jr. reviewed on
>>    the cover of the New York Times Book Review in 1990 when it was
>>    reissued in an expanded edition, now reads like a long-winded relic
>>    of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids." 

[More snips]

>> What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, philosophy
>> for junior high kids"? 
>
>I have no doubt it is a valid comment by some younger readers.

Heck, *I* probably would have considered SiaSL "long-winded" if it had come out when I was in my teens/early 20s - it's the nature of being in your teens/early 20s, impatience, or maybe better, lack of patience reigns supreme.

I have noticed, as I gain age, that the works of a lot of authors seem to increase in length in direct proportion to their age and success in the market place. To pick just one, Tom Clancy of Hunt for Red October - 350 - 400 pp IIRC - hit 1500-1600 pp with the combined pair Debt of Honor and Executive Orders.

-- 
OJ III

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>

On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 06:17:14 -0500,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused Ogden Johnson III <oj3usmc@yahoo.com> to write:

>"Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> wrote:
>
>>"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:
>
>>> Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
>>> Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
>>> Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
>>>
>>>
>>> A novice reviewer in the L.A. Times recently wrote, inter alia, of
>>> Heinlein:
>
>[Snips]
>
>>>   " But the bestselling "Stranger," which Kurt Vonnegut Jr. reviewed on
>>>    the cover of the New York Times Book Review in 1990 when it was
>>>    reissued in an expanded edition, now reads like a long-winded relic
>>>    of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids." 
>
>[More snips]
>
>>> What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, philosophy
>>> for junior high kids"? 
>>
>>I have no doubt it is a valid comment by some younger readers.
>
>Heck, *I* probably would have considered SiaSL "long-winded" if
>it had come out when I was in my teens/early 20s - it's the
>nature of being in your teens/early 20s, impatience, or maybe better, lack
>of patience reigns supreme. 

I'm not so sure about that. Wasn't a major part of SIASL's popularity among the hippie/counter-culture set? Most of that group was in their teens and early twenties.

>I have noticed, as I gain age, that the works of a lot of authors
>seem to increase in length in direct proportion to their age and
>success in the market place.  To pick just one, Tom Clancy of
>Hunt for Red October - 350 - 400 pp IIRC - hit 1500-1600 pp with the
>combined pair Debt of Honor and Executive Orders. 

I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's policies than the age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut something like 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble on such a "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly equal parts SF, fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in the 1950s or '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more recently, 400+ pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention Robert Jordan's tomes... <G>)

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

The only thing that preserved religious freedom in the United States was not the 
First Amendment and was not tolerance… but was solely a Mexican standoff between 
rival religious sects, each sect intolerant, each sect the sole custodian of the 
"One True Faith"-but each sect a minority that gave lip service to to keep its 
own "One True Faith from being persecuted by all the other "True Faiths."

	-Maureen Johnson Smith in "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" 
	 by Robert Heinlein

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net>

"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com...

<snip>

> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's policies than the
> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut something like
> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble on such a
> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly equal parts SF,
> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in the 1950s or 
> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more recently, 400+ 
> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention Robert Jordan's
> tomes... <G>) 

But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only half-kidding ...)


Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>

On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to write:

>
>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>
><snip>
>
>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's policies than the
>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut something like
>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble on such a
>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly equal parts SF,
>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in the 1950s or 
>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more recently, 400+
>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention Robert Jordan's
>> tomes... <G>) 
>
>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only half-kidding ...)

Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes don't work as well as they used to, so it's either bigger print or reading glasses.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

The only thing that preserved religious freedom in the United States was not the 
First Amendment and was not tolerance… but was solely a Mexican standoff between 
rival religious sects, each sect intolerant, each sect the sole custodian of the 
"One True Faith"-but each sect a minority that gave lip service to to keep its 
own "One True Faith from being persecuted by all the other "True Faiths."

	-Maureen Johnson Smith in "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" 
	 by Robert Heinlein

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:u9gio3hnaojoa1jvib55ms99g8lf2audti@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital 
> mind-control laser
> caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to  write:
>
>>
>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>>
>><snip>
>>
>>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's 
>>> policies than the
>>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut 
>>> something like
>>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble 
>>> on such a
>>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly 
>>> equal parts SF,
>>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in 
>>> the 1950s or
>>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more 
>>> recently, 400+
>>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention 
>>> Robert Jordan's
>>> tomes... <G>)
>>
>>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only  half-kidding ...)
>
> Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes 
> don't work as
> well as they used to, so it's either bigger print or  reading glasses.

...or bigger fonts and/or monitors. That was part of my wife's decision in getting me the Dell 17" screen Inspiron E1705 laptop - I think she was getting sympathy eyestrain every time she saw me squinting at the old one.

One of my nephews just splurged for the Dell "portable" computer which sports a 20" LCD monitor. It's not the heaviest thing you might put on your lap in a business environment - if you're immune to sexual harassment suits and/or being shot by an angry spouse. :-)

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net>

"Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote in message 
news:tc-dnaMPEPZ-1BTanZ2dnUVZ_o-mnZ2d@forethought.net...
> "Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
> news:u9gio3hnaojoa1jvib55ms99g8lf2audti@4ax.com... 
>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital mind-control laser
>> caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to write:
>>
>>>
>>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>>>
>>><snip>
>>>
>>>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's policies than the
>>>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut something like
>>>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble on such a
>>>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly equal parts SF,
>>>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in the 1950s or 
>>>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more recently, 400+
>>>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention Robert Jordan's
>>>> tomes... <G>) 
>>>
>>>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only half-kidding ...)
>>
>> Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes don't work as well
>> as they used to, so it's either bigger print or reading glasses. 
>
> ...or bigger fonts and/or monitors.  That was part of my wife's decision 
> in getting me the Dell 17" screen Inspiron E1705 laptop - I think she was 
> getting sympathy eyestrain every time she saw me squinting at the old one.
>
> One of my nephews just splurged for the Dell "portable" computer which 
> sports a 20" LCD monitor.  It's not the heaviest thing you might put on 
> your lap in a business environment - if you're immune to sexual harassment 
> suits and/or being shot by an angry spouse.  :-) 

Chris, Vance: Both good points! :-D But what I was referring to and probably should have been more explicit about is a comparison of the physical books then and now. A couple of examples from my library:

"Starship Troopers"

  • Berkeley Medallion Edition, May 1968: 208 pages of small print between very narrow margins.
  • Ace edition, May 1987: 263 pages of larger print with wide margins.

"Revolt in 2100"

  • Signet, circa mid-60s: 192 pages of small print between very narrow margins.
  • Baen Books, Sept 1986: 336 pages of larger print with wide margins.

By "large print" I mean what's common nowadays, not the LARGE PRINT editions available for some books.

Of course, if you're familiar at all with paperbacks from the 40s, 50s, and 60s, they're all small print and narrow margins. Could this have been due to a mindset left over from WWII paper shortages?


Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:u9gio3hnaojoa1jvib55ms99g8lf2audti@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital 
> mind-control laser
> caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to  write:
>
>>
>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>>
>><snip>
>>
>>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's 
>>> policies than the
>>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut 
>>> something like
>>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble 
>>> on such a
>>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly 
>>> equal parts SF,
>>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in 
>>> the 1950s or
>>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more 
>>> recently, 400+
>>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention 
>>> Robert Jordan's
>>> tomes... <G>)
>>
>>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only  half-kidding ...)
>
> Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes 
> don't work as
> well as they used to, so it's either bigger print or  reading glasses.

...or bigger fonts and/or monitors. That was part of my wife's decision in getting me the Dell 17" screen Inspiron E1705 laptop - I think she was getting sympathy eyestrain every time she saw me squinting at the old one.

One of my nephews just splurged for the Dell "portable" computer which sports a 20" LCD monitor. It's not the heaviest thing you might put on your lap in a business environment - if you're immune to sexual harassment suits and/or being shot by an angry spouse. :-)

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Pete LaGrange <oldman1961@hotmail.com>

Chris Zakes wrote:
> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital mind-control laser
> caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to write:
>
>>
>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>>
>><snip>
>>
>>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's policies than the
>>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut something like
>>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble on such a
>>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly equal parts SF,
>>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in the 1950s or 
>>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more recently, 400+
>>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention Robert Jordan's
>>> tomes... <G>) 
>>
>>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only half-kidding ...)
>
> Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes don't work as
> well as they used to, so it's either bigger print or reading glasses.
>

Or both!

-- 
Pete LaGrange
loyalty above all, save honor
http://69.127.16.11:7776/index.html

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"Pete LaGrange" <oldman1961@hotmail.com> wrote in message 
news:9aeij.236280$uv7.19564@fe05.news.easynews.com...
> Chris Zakes wrote:
>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital 
>> mind-control laser
>> caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to  write:
>>
>>>
>>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>>>
>>><snip>
>>>
>>>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's 
>>>> policies than the
>>>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut 
>>>> something like
>>>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble 
>>>> on such a
>>>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly 
>>>> equal parts SF,
>>>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in 
>>>> the 1950s or
>>>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more 
>>>> recently, 400+
>>>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention 
>>>> Robert Jordan's tomes... <G>)
>>>
>>>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only  half-kidding ...)
>>
>> Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes 
>> don't work as
>> well as they used to, so it's either bigger print or  reading
>> glasses. 
-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote in 
message 
news:WYqdnQxvK6i_5RTanZ2dnUVZ_qWtnZ2d@forethought.net...
> "Pete LaGrange" <oldman1961@hotmail.com> wrote in message 
> news:9aeij.236280$uv7.19564@fe05.news.easynews.com... 
>> Chris Zakes wrote:
>>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital 
>>> mind-control laser
>>> caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to  write:
>>>
>>>>
>>>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>>>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>>>>
>>>><snip>
>>>>
>>>>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's 
>>>>> policies than the
>>>>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut 
>>>>> something like
>>>>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to 
>>>>> gamble on such a
>>>>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly 
>>>>> equal parts SF,
>>>>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in 
>>>>> the 1950s or
>>>>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more 
>>>>> recently, 400+
>>>>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention 
>>>>> Robert Jordan's tomes... <G>)
>>>>
>>>>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only  half-kidding ...)
>>>
>>> Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes 
>>> don't work as
>>> well as they used to, so it's either bigger print or  reading
>>> glasses. 
>
>
> -- 
> Vance P. Frickey
>
> "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
> infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates
>
> remove safety from Email address to use

Sorry, I meant to insert meaningful repartee in the previous post while watching the remake of the "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy" and was distracted by the Vogon Poetry Appreciation Scene in which, of course, nothing of significance was uttered to forestall the captives' death by immediate exposure to the vacuum of space.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>

On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 12:26:23 -0600,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to write:

>
>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>news:k7iho3pg39u0i8663hlaa6bue9oavg69dj@4ax.com... 
>
><snip>
>
>> I *think* than may be more a product of publisher's policies than the
>> age of the writers. Remember that Heinlein had to cut something like
>> 1/3 of SIASL before his publisher was willing to gamble on such a
>> "long" SF book. Looking through our library (roughly equal parts SF,
>> fantasy and mysteries) most of the books published in the 1950s or 
>> '60s, run about 200 pages. For those published more recently, 400+
>> pages seem pretty common. (And let's not even mention Robert Jordan's
>> tomes... <G>) 
>
>But the print is so much bigger now! (I'm only half-kidding ...)

Well, yeah, that's because *we're* older and our eyes don't work as well as they used to, so it's either bigger print or reading glasses.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

The only thing that preserved religious freedom in the United States was not the 
First Amendment and was not tolerance… but was solely a Mexican standoff between 
rival religious sects, each sect intolerant, each sect the sole custodian of the 
"One True Faith"-but each sect a minority that gave lip service to to keep its 
own "One True Faith from being persecuted by all the other "True Faiths."

	-Maureen Johnson Smith in "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" 
	 by Robert Heinlein

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> wrote in message 
news:mQVhj.2221$421.78@news-server.bigpond.net.au...
>
> "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in  message 
> news:ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net... 
>> Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
>> Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
>> Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
>>
>>
>> A novice reviewer in the L.A. Times recently wrote, inter 
>> alia, of
>> Heinlein:
>>
>>    FOR years, the intellectually ambitious novels of the  1960s,
>>    especially "Stranger in a Strange Land," about a 
>> spiritually and
>>    sexually messianic Martian-born human, and "The Moon 
>> Is a Harsh
>>    Mistress," which concerns a free-market revolt by 
>> prisoners on the
>>    moon, were considered Heinlein's great work.
>>
>>    These books still have followings; "Moon" sits in the 
>> International
>>    Space Station library.
>>
>>    But the bestselling "Stranger," which Kurt Vonnegut 
>> Jr. reviewed on
>>    the cover of the New York Times Book Review in 1990 
>> when it was
>>    reissued in an expanded edition, now reads like a 
>> long-winded relic
>>    of the '60s, philosophy for junior high kids.
>>
>> It's always nice to hear from the next generation,  especially when
>> they barely had begun attending junior high school when 
>> reviews with which
>> they disagree and would reassess and have us discard came  out.
>>
>> We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land,  taking our time
>> to do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate 
>> Origin," and "His
>> Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.
>>
>> Anyone is free to attend the meetings and make relevant  pre-meeting
>> posts. The more commentary we have, the better the chats 
>> turn out to be.
>>
>> What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the 
>> '60s, philosophy
>> for junior high kids"?
>
> I have no doubt it is a valid comment by some younger  readers.
>
> For some it may indeed be considered "long-winded", which 
> is RAH's style at times, like it or not. It is definitely 
> a "relic" of the '60s. Novels have a habit of ageing - 
> some age better than others. I don't think that SIASL has 
> particularly aged badly, but I can see why younger readers 
> may have issues with it.
>
> I think it helps to acknowledge that reviewers of any 
> vintage are mostly trying to be honest with their 
> opinions. That is, they are not making up how a novel 
> makes them feel, they are telling the truth (as it appears 
> to them). It would be most unusual if opinions of  reviewers remained
> unchanged over forty plus years. 

NOT philosophy for junior high kids. I was in junior high when I got my first copy, and the philosophy was definitely advanced for me - not that I thought so then :-) but I can understand why (as is recorded in Grumbles) some more impressionable and less balanced kids were absconding with the family store till and running off to start Nests after reading SIASL. It all seems so plausible - all you have to do is pass the water around and start screwing (or so you might think if you're an ninth grader with a full set of hormones and a new copy of SIASL).

SIASL is dangerous in precisely the way that John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" is dangerous - it points out graphically and acerbically what is wrong with modern society, then places the weak-minded, ignorant reader in a situation where he or she could be tempted to believe that an alternative actually is readily available which lacks the drawbacks of modern society - but when you draw the curtain back, there's... mostly what the reader walked in with in the first place.

Certainly SIASL was "an invitation to think" as RAH said it was - but in most cases junior high kids don't have the firmware or the data for the sort of thinking SIASL invites - not yet, anyway. You could make the very same statement of most first and second-year college undergraduates. And, by the way, both books place Islam on a pedestal which now we can see isn't justified. I'm not anti-Islam as such, but if you read how Brunner and RAH describe it in SIASL and "Stand on Zanzibar" and take the statements made by some of the characters in those books at face value, you could be tempted to think it lacks the drawbacks of other religions.

"Dangerous" doesn't mean "Bad," by the way. Sharp knives and fast cars are dangerous, too, but they have their uses and I would not abolish them. Writers shouldn't have to write down to the slowest ten-percentile of their potential audience, or slap "mature audience" labels on their work. (The rating system usually accomplishes the exact opposite of what it intends - it shrieks "Buy Me!" for the work which kids probably shouldn't be viewing, not because of its explicitness, but because it's just crap. Tipper Gore was the rapper's friend, believe me, when she got ratings for music pushed through. She made them MONEY.)

The term "long-winded" is relative. Depends on how much the writer really has to say, and how long the reader's attention span is. I'd have stuck around if RAH hadn't made the cuts his editors and agent recommended. Then again, I read all three "Lord of the Rings" books in a week (I was in bed with the London Flu, and trust me, reading about the Pits of Mordor when you're running a high fever definitely gives you value for money).

I also didn't have a 128-bit graphics video game system or much else in the way of complex entertainment competing for my time and attention. Nor was I chemically-enhanced, especially not with some of the phenethamine derivatives being sold to kids with little alien faces printed on the tablets these days. Some of the little twits reading and reviewing literature these days would find the instructions which came with their iPhone long-winded.

Georgian England had some of the same drawbacks - a critical audience the majority of which by and large wasn't up for the challenge of reading worthwhile literature. Remember, public hanging was one of the major forms of entertainment at that time. Dr. Greg Dening (in "Mr. Bligh's Bad Language") gives a good account of what I'm talking about. Not only must you, in criticizing a work of literature written in another time, consider that time, but it helps to consider the current criteria against which it's being judged. We've got a wide spectrum of literature and readers now. Just WHO is calling SIASL "long-winded" and "philosophy for junior high kids"? The same people driving the sales reported in the NYT's list of bestsellers?

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>

On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 08:40:52 -0700,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to write:

(Snip the rest of a very intelligent post, so I can get to the one
point I want to quibble about.)

>And, by the way, both books place Islam on 
>a pedestal which now we can see isn't justified.  I'm not 
>anti-Islam as such, but if you read how Brunner and RAH 
>describe it in SIASL and "Stand on Zanzibar" and take the 
>statements made by some of the characters in those books at 
>face value, you could be tempted to think it lacks the  drawbacks of
>other religions. 

<shrug> Is this all that different from Heinlein speaking favorably of the priest who lives down the street in "This I Believe"? There are elements of the Koran and the Bible (and probably every other sacred text out there) that can be misinterpreted or overemphasized or taken out of context and used to justify all sorts of things.

Consider, for example, the sharp contrasts between the Amish, with their 19th century technology and Joel Osteen (a Houston preacher who recently bought a 16,000-seat sports arena and turned it into a mega-church ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq_Center_(Houston) .) They are both Christians and (theoretically) operating under the same set of rules.

Or consider some of the atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion by the Inquisition or during the Crusades. It's not the religion per se that's at fault, it's the fanatics who use it as an excuse for their crimes.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

The only thing that preserved religious freedom in the United States was not the 
First Amendment and was not tolerance... but was solely a Mexican standoff between 
rival religious sects, each sect intolerant, each sect the sole custodian of the 
"One True Faith"-but each sect a minority that gave lip service to to keep its 
own "One True Faith from being persecuted by all the other "True Faiths."

	-Maureen Johnson Smith in "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" 
	 by Robert Heinlein

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:rcgio357o57g4k46v2674plenu7rl1rbmf@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 08:40:52 -0700,  an orbital 
> mind-control laser
> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to  write:
>
> (Snip the rest of a very intelligent post, so I can get to 
> the one
> point I want to quibble about.)
>
>>And, by the way, both books place Islam on
>>a pedestal which now we can see isn't justified.  I'm not
>>anti-Islam as such, but if you read how Brunner and RAH
>>describe it in SIASL and "Stand on Zanzibar" and take the
>>statements made by some of the characters in those books  at
>>face value, you could be tempted to think it lacks the drawbacks of
>>other religions. 
>
> <shrug> Is this all that different from Heinlein speaking 
> favorably of
> the priest who lives down the street in "This I Believe"? 
> There are
> elements of the Koran and the Bible (and probably every 
> other sacred
> text out there) that can be misinterpreted or 
> overemphasized or taken
> out of context and used to justify all sorts of things.

Chris, I very specifically mentioned two specific works, one by RAH and one by John Brunner, in which the glaring inconsistencies of the Old and New Testaments are trotted out for lip-smacking condemnation while passages from the Qur'an and/or the supposed treatment of People of the Book by Muslims are applauded. I am aware that at least in RAH's case, more even-handed views of al-Qur'an and other texts are presented.

I had two Muslim roommates in college, one of whom was a fundamentalist and one of whom used to split expenses with me in the matter of keeping my dorm fridge full of Miller's High Life. You win some, you lose some. I agree with you that religious texts in general are the worst possible foundation for political and military decisions, especially when money or lives are riding on the outcome of whatever's at stake.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>

On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 18:17:56 -0700,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to write:

>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>news:rcgio357o57g4k46v2674plenu7rl1rbmf@4ax.com... 
>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 08:40:52 -0700,  an orbital 
>> mind-control laser
>> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to  write:
>>
>> (Snip the rest of a very intelligent post, so I can get to 
>> the one
>> point I want to quibble about.)
>>
>>>And, by the way, both books place Islam on
>>>a pedestal which now we can see isn't justified.  I'm not
>>>anti-Islam as such, but if you read how Brunner and RAH
>>>describe it in SIASL and "Stand on Zanzibar" and take the
>>>statements made by some of the characters in those books  at
>>>face value, you could be tempted to think it lacks the drawbacks of
>>>other religions. 
>>
>> <shrug> Is this all that different from Heinlein speaking 
>> favorably of
>> the priest who lives down the street in "This I Believe"? 
>> There are
>> elements of the Koran and the Bible (and probably every 
>> other sacred
>> text out there) that can be misinterpreted or 
>> overemphasized or taken
>> out of context and used to justify all sorts of things.
>
>Chris, I very specifically mentioned two specific works, one 
>by RAH and one by John Brunner, in which the glaring 
>inconsistencies of the Old and New Testaments are trotted 
>out for lip-smacking condemnation while passages from the 
>Qur'an and/or the supposed treatment of People of the Book 
>by Muslims are applauded.   I am aware that at least in 
>RAH's case, more even-handed views of al-Qur'an and other  texts are
>presented. 

It's been 30+ years since I read "Stand on Zanzibar" so I'll stick to "Stranger".

Where and how does Heinlein praise the Koran and/or "the supposed treatment of People of the Book"? Jubal says he learned Arabic so he could read the words of the Prophet in the original, but is that all that much different from Jake Burroughs keeping a copy of the King James Bible around?

I recall Jubal talking about Sodom and Gomorrah and Elisha and the bears, but I expect those examples were used becase in 1961 almost nobody in the US knew anything about the Koran, so kicking that particular sacred cow would have been ineffectual. (These days, of course, kicking Islamic sacred cows would have landed Heinlein in hot water with the PC crowd, which would probably have suited him just fine. <G>)

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you.

	- Benjamin Franklin

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:f6smo39fpcj2s32du7i2rnc7a01p0psbqq@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 18:17:56 -0700,  an orbital 
> mind-control laser
> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to  write:
>
>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:rcgio357o57g4k46v2674plenu7rl1rbmf@4ax.com... 
>>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 08:40:52 -0700,  an orbital
>>> mind-control laser
>>> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>  to write:
>>>
>>> (Snip the rest of a very intelligent post, so I can get  to
>>> the one
>>> point I want to quibble about.)
>>>
>>>>And, by the way, both books place Islam on
>>>>a pedestal which now we can see isn't justified.  I'm  not
>>>>anti-Islam as such, but if you read how Brunner and RAH
>>>>describe it in SIASL and "Stand on Zanzibar" and take  the
>>>>statements made by some of the characters in those books at
>>>>face value, you could be tempted to think it lacks the drawbacks of
>>>>other religions. 
>>>
>>> <shrug> Is this all that different from Heinlein  speaking
>>> favorably of
>>> the priest who lives down the street in "This I 
>>> Believe"?
>>> There are
>>> elements of the Koran and the Bible (and probably every
>>> other sacred
>>> text out there) that can be misinterpreted or
>>> overemphasized or taken
>>> out of context and used to justify all sorts of things.
>>
>>Chris, I very specifically mentioned two specific works,  one
>>by RAH and one by John Brunner, in which the glaring
>>inconsistencies of the Old and New Testaments are trotted
>>out for lip-smacking condemnation while passages from the
>>Qur'an and/or the supposed treatment of People of the Book
>>by Muslims are applauded.   I am aware that at least in
>>RAH's case, more even-handed views of al-Qur'an and other texts are
>>presented. 
>
> It's been 30+ years since I read "Stand on Zanzibar" so 
> I'll stick to
> "Stranger".
>
> Where and how does Heinlein praise the Koran and/or "the  supposed
> treatment of People of the Book"? Jubal says he learned 
> Arabic so he
> could read the words of the Prophet in the original, but 
> is that all
> that much different from Jake Burroughs keeping a copy of 
> the King
> James Bible around?
>
> I recall Jubal talking about Sodom and Gomorrah and Elisha 
> and the
> bears, but I expect those examples were used becase in 
> 1961 almost
> nobody in the US knew anything about the Koran, so kicking  that
> particular sacred cow would have been ineffectual. (These 
> days, of
> course, kicking Islamic sacred cows would have landed 
> Heinlein in hot
> water with the PC crowd, which would probably have suited 
> him just
> fine. <G>)

Where does RAH say one bad thing about the Koran? He rips up Christian, Jewish and Hindu holy scripture in no uncertain terms - but doesn't dig up dirt on the Muslims' book. My point was just that. The Commentaries (Hadith) might have given RAH some grist for his mill.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

Correction - the hadith are the collected sayings and deeds of Muhammad, while the Commentaries and explications of the text are the tafsir. My apologies.

In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts displays as much his provincialism as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four centuries to judge scriptures by modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly practice. This, after RAH takes care to upbraid Americans for mistaking their customs for laws of God (the Shaw quote in the beginning of Glory Road). It's only when those ancient scriptures are used verbatim to run people's lives here and now that there is a problem with the usefulness of the Scripture - any Scripture. My reading of the Bible does not indicate to me that it is a cookbook or a rule book, but a remarkable collection of history. Christianity originally rested on two central facts - the Incarnation of Jesus and his Resurrection.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com>

"Vance P. Frickey" Correction - the hadith are the collected sayings and 
deeds of Muhammad, while the Commentaries and explications of the text are 
the tafsir.  My apologies.

In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts displays as much his provincialism as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four centuries to judge scriptures by modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly practice. This, after RAH takes care to upbraid Americans for mistaking their customs for laws of God (the Shaw quote in the beginning of Glory Road). It's only when those ancient scriptures are used verbatim to run people's lives here and now that there is a problem with the usefulness of the Scripture - any Scripture. My reading of the Bible does not indicate to me that it is a cookbook or a rule book, but a remarkable collection of history. Christianity originally rested on two central facts - the Incarnation of Jesus and his Resurrection.

*********************************************************************************

Where do the Ten Commandments fit in? Are they rules, or a recipe?


Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>

In article <dfidndQsj72STQvanZ2dnUVZ_j6dnZ2d@forethought.net>,
 "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote:

> In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts displays as much his 
> provincialism as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four centuries 
> to judge scriptures by modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly 
> practice. 

Or, you might say, it merely displays Jubal's own orientation: Jubal is an agnostic, and rejects every religious text, whatever the origin. How far back he goes to reject text is determined on how far back the text goes.

> This, after RAH takes care to upbraid Americans for mistaking 
> their customs for laws of God (the Shaw quote in the beginning of Glory 
> Road).   It's only when those ancient scriptures are used verbatim to run 
> people's lives here and now that there is a problem with the usefulness of 
> the Scripture - any Scripture. 

When any scripture, ancient or modern, or any text, literature, philosophy, religion, political, science, or cultural is used (verbatim or not) to "run people's lives" the same problem exists, even Shaw's.

> My reading of the Bible does not indicate to 
> me that it is a cookbook or a rule book, but a remarkable collection of 
> history.  Christianity originally rested on two central facts - the 
> Incarnation of Jesus and his Resurrection.

Jubal's reading is the only POV he seeks (or Heinlein through him seeks) to express. Try this take on his state of mind.

"Easter Day. Naples, 1849"
 
Through the great sinful streets of Naples as I past,
With fiercer heat than flamed above my head
My heart was hot within me; till at last
My brain was lightened, when my tongue had said
Christ is not risen!
 
Christ is not risen, no,
He lies and moulders low;
Christ is not risen.
 
What though the stone were rolled away, and though
The grave found empty there! <
If not there, then elsewhere;
If not where Joseph laid Him first, why then
Where other men
Translaid Him after; in some humbler clay
Long ere to-day
Corruption that sad perfect work hath done,
Which here she scarcely, lightly had begun.
The foul engendered worm
Feeds on the flesh of the life-giving form
Of our most Holy and Anointed One.
 
He is not risen, no,
He lies and moulders low;
Christ is not risen.
 
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
As of the unjust, also of the just <
Christ is not risen.
 
What if the women, ere the dawn was grey,
Saw one or more great angels, as they say,
Angels, or Him himself? Yet neither there, nor then,
Nor afterward, nor elsewhere, nor at all,
Hath He appeared to Peter or the Ten,
Nor, save in thunderous terror, to blind Saul;
Save in an after-Gospel and late Creed
He is not risen indeed,
Christ is not risen.
 
Or what if e¹en, as runs the tale, the Ten
Saw, heard, and touched, again and yet again?
What if at Emmaus¹ inn and by Capernaum¹s lake
Came One the bread that brake,
Came One that spake as never mortal spake,
And with them ate and drank and stood and walked about?
Ah! "some" did well to "doubt"!
Ah! the true Christ, while these things came to pass,
Nor heard, nor spake, nor walked, nor dreamt, alas!
He was not risen, no,
He lay and moulder low,
Christ was not risen.
 
As circulates in some great city crowd
A rumour changeful, vague, importunate, and loud,
From no determined centre, or of fact,
Or authorship exact,
Which no man can deny
Nor verify;
So spread the wondrous fame;
He all the same
Lay senseless, mouldering, low.
He was not risen, no,
Christ was not risen!
 
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
As of the unjust, also of the just <
Yea, of that Just One too.
This is the one sad Gospel that is true,
Christ is not risen.
______________
Is He not risen, and shall we not rise?
Oh, we unwise!
What did we dream, what wake we to discover?
Ye hills, fall on us, and ye mountains, cover!
 
In darkness and great gloom
Come ere we thought it is our day of doom,
From the cursed world which is one tomb,
Christ is not risen!
 
Eat, drink, and die, for we are men deceived,
Of all the creatures under heaven¹s wide cope
We are most hopeless who had once most hope,
We are most wretched that had most believed.
Christ is not risen.
 
Eat, drink, and play, and think that this is bliss!
There is no Heaven but this!
There is no Hell; <
Save Earth, which serves the purpose doubly well,
Seeing it visits still
With equallest apportionments of ill
Both good and bad alike, and brings to one same dust
The unjust and the just
With Christ, who is not risen.
 
Eat, drink, and die, for we are souls bereaved,
Of all the creatures under this broad sky
We are most hopeless, that had hoped most high,
And most beliefless, that had most believed.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
As of the unjust, also of the just <
Yea, of that Just One too.
It is the one sad Gospel that is true,
Christ is not risen!
______________
Weep not beside the Tomb,
Ye women, unto whom
He was great solace while ye tended Him;
Ye who with napkin o¹er His head
And folds of linen round each wounded limb
Laid out the Sacred Dead;
And thou that bar¹st Him in thy Wondering Womb.
Yea, Daughters of Jerusalem, depart,
Bind up as best ye may your own sad bleeding heart;
Go to your homes, your living children tend,
Your earthly spouses love;
Set your affections not on things above,
Which moth and rust corrupt, which quickliest come to end:
Or pray, if pray ye must, and pray, if pray ye can,
For death; since dead is He whom ye deemed more than man,
Who is not risen, no,
But lies and moulders low,
Who is not risen.
 
Ye men of Galilee!
Why stand ye looking up to heaven, where Him ye ne¹er may see,
Neither ascending hence, nor hither returning again?
Ye ignorant and idle fishermen!
Hence to your huts and boats and inland native shore,
And catch not men, but fish;
Whate¹er things ye might wish,
Him neither here nor there ye e¹er shall meet with more.
Ye poor deluded youths, go home,
Mend the old net ye left to roam,
Tie the split oar, patch the torn sail;
It was indeed "an idle tail",
He was not risen.
 
And oh, good men of ages yet to be,
Who shall believe because ye did not see,
Oh, be ye warned! be wise!
No more with pleading eyes,
And sobs of strong desire,
Unto the empty vacant void aspire,
Seeking another and impossible birth
That is not of your own and only Mother Earth.
But if there is no other life for you,
Sit down and be content, since this must even do:
He is not risen.
 
One look, and then depart,
Ye humble and ye holy men of heart!
And ye! ye ministers and stewards of a word
Which ye would preach, because another heard, <
Ye worshippers of that ye do not know,
Take these things hence and go;
He is not risen.
 
Here on our Easter Day
We rise, we come, and lo! we find Him not;
Gardener nor other on the sacred spot,
Where they have laid Him is there none to say!
No sound, nor in, nor out; no word
Of where to seek the dead or meet the living Lord;
There is no glistering of angel¹s wings,
There is no voice of heavenly clear behest:
Let us go hence, and think upon these things
In silence, which is best.
Is He not risen? No <
But lies and moulders low <
Christ is not risen.

1849
 
"Easter Day. II"
 
So while the blear-eyed pimp beside me walked,
And talked,
For instance, of the beautiful danseuse
And "Eccellenza sure must see, if he would choose"
Or of the lady in the green silk there,
Who passes by and bows with minx¹s air,
Or of the little thing not quite fifteen,
Sicilian-born who surely should be seen <
So while the blear-eyed pimp beside me walked
And talked, and I too with fit answer talked,
So in the sinful streets, abstracted and alone,
I with my secret self held communing of mine own.
 
So in the southern city spake the tongue
Of one that somewhat overwildly sung;
But in a later hour I sat and heard
Another voice that spake, another graver word.
Weep not, it bade, whatever hath been said;
Though he be dead, he is not dead.
In the true Creed
He is yet risen indeed,
Christ is yet risen.
 
Weep not beside his tomb
Ye women unto whom
He was great comfort and yet greater grief;
Nor ye faithful few that wont with him to roam,
Seek sadly what for him ye left, go hopeless to your home;
Nor ye despair, ye sharers yet to be of their belief;
Though he be dead, he is not dead,
Nor gone though fled,
Not lost though vanished;
Though he return not, though
He lies and moulders low,
In the true Creed
He is yet risen indeed,
Christ is yet risen.
 
Sit if ye will, sit down upon the ground,
Yet not to weep and wail, but calmly look around.
Whate¹er befell,
Earth is not hell;
Now too as when it first began,
Life yet is Life and Man is Man.
For all that breathes beneath the heavens¹ high cope,
Joy with grief mixes, with despondence hope.
Hope conquers cowardice, joy grief,
Or at the least, faith unbelief.
Though dead not dead;
Though gone not fled;
Though lost not vanished.
In the great Gospel and true Creed
He is yet risen indeed,
Christ is yet risen.

1849?


      -- Arthur Hugh Clough,
-- 
David M. Silver
http://www.heinleinsociety.org
"The Lieutenant expects your names to shine!"
     Robert Anson Heinlein, USNA '29
     Lt.(jg), USN, R'td

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>

In article <ag.plusone-393291.08380723012008@individual.net>,
 "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:

> Jubal's reading is the only POV he seeks (or Heinlein through him seeks) 
> to express.

More importantly, for the purpose of reading SiaSL, since it is a satire, how are we to take what Jubal says? Is it true? Did Heinlein intend us to take his expressions of hostility towards forms of organized religion to be true?

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

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>

"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
news:ag.plusone-1ABAA5.08464523012008@individual.net...
> In article 
> <ag.plusone-393291.08380723012008@individual.net>,
> "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:
>
>> Jubal's reading is the only POV he seeks (or Heinlein 
>> through him seeks) to express.
>
> More importantly, for the purpose of reading SiaSL, since 
> it is a
> satire, how are we to take what Jubal says? Is it true? 
> Did Heinlein
> intend us to take his expressions of hostility towards 
> forms of
> organized religion to be true?

Hmmmmm. A definite poser.

In SIASL, he was playing Jubal up as a hard-bitten misanthrope who by the bye was also working off a mighty grudge against the people who were responsible for his early religious instruction - a sentiment with which I can identify heartily, having had catechism under Dominican nuns. :-)

BUT RAH's letters confirm the sentiment; this isn't to say that he was hostile towards PRACTITIONERS of organized religion (all of them, anyway) - that would be directly contradicted by the "This I Believe" speech.

But the sage of Butler, writing as himself to Lurton Blassingame and perhaps others (lost my copy of Grumbles temporarily and can't remember), was definitely of the opinion that religion was one of the things that people addled their minds with, with no redeeming value past any anesthetic effects induced in the believer.

Again, reasonable men may differ, I go by what the man wrote.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>

 to write:

>Correction - the hadith are the collected sayings and deeds of Muhammad,  while the
>Commentaries and explications of the text are the tafsir.  My apologies. 
>
>In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts displays as much his provincialism 
>as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four centuries to judge scriptures by 
>modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly practice.  This,  after RAH takes
>care to upbraid Americans for mistaking their customs  for laws of God (the Shaw quote in
>the beginning of Glory Road). 

Are you saying that children being torn apart by bears or a man offering his daughters for a gang-rape are *not* universally despicable?

And on the other side of the coin, there's this scene in the hotel room after they have had the big conference with Secretary Douglas. Jubal says:

"'How about victuals, Stinky? Anne stuffed a ham in one of those hampers--and there may be other unclean items. Shall I check?'

Mahmoud shook his head. 'I'm not a traditionalist, Jubal. That legislation was given long ago, for the needs of the time. The times are different now.'

Jubal suddenly looked sad. 'Yes, but for the better? Never mind, this too shall pass.'"

>It's only when those ancient scriptures are used verbatim to run 
>people's lives here and now that there is a problem with the 
>usefulness of the Scripture - any Scripture.  My reading of the Bible 
>does not indicate to me that it is a cookbook or a rule book, but a 
>remarkable collection of history. 

The Bible *is* history, but what's your opinion of the Ten Commandments or the various prohibitions in Leviticus? It's hard to see them as anything other than a rule book.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.

	-Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>


"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:vc0gp3lnd1bv6458g1kpq50dlsb4v5m37g@4ax.com...
> On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 22:25:42 -0700,  an orbital 
> mind-control laser
> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to  write:
>
>>Correction - the hadith are the collected sayings and 
>>deeds of Muhammad,
>>while the Commentaries and explications of the text are 
>>the tafsir.  My apologies.
>>
>>In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts 
>>displays as much his provincialism
>>as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four 
>>centuries to judge scriptures by
>>modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly 
>>practice.  This,
>>after RAH takes care to upbraid Americans for mistaking 
>>their customs
>>for laws of God (the Shaw quote in the beginning of Glory 
>>Road).
>
> Are you saying that children being torn apart by bears or 
> a man
> offering his daughters for a gang-rape are *not*  universally
> despicable? 
>
> And on the other side of the coin, there's this scene in 
> the hotel
> room after they have had the big conference with Secretary 
> Douglas.
> Jubal says:
>
> "'How about victuals, Stinky? Anne stuffed a ham in one of  those
> hampers--and there may be other unclean items. Shall I  check?'
>
> Mahmoud shook his head. 'I'm not a traditionalist, Jubal. 
> That
> legislation was given long ago, for the needs of the time. 
> The times
> are different now.'
>
> Jubal suddenly looked sad. 'Yes, but for the better? Never 
> mind, this
> too shall pass.'"
>
>
>>It's only when those ancient scriptures are used verbatim 
>>to run
>>people's lives here and now that there is a problem with  the
>>usefulness of the Scripture - any Scripture.  My reading 
>>of the Bible
>>does not indicate to me that it is a cookbook or a rule 
>>book, but a
>>remarkable collection of history.
>
> The Bible *is* history, but what's your opinion of the Ten
> Commandments or the various prohibitions in Leviticus? 
> It's hard to
> see them as anything other than a rule book.

I view the Bible as written - the most remarkable history ever written in human civilization. Very few other contemporary accounts have had some of the archaeological confirmation that the Old Testament has (Simcha Jacobovitch, host of "the Naked Archaeologist" satellite TV series, shows some fascinating examples of this). But it's not a rule book for modern man. We have JC's word on that, unless I'm badly mistaken.

I do not think that it is a rule book until we get to the Sermon on the Mount - and I have strong personal doubts about all of that. And I take the individual books and epistles in their historical context. St. Peter was definitely talking out of his yarmulke about the piety of Lot. He was an unlettered fisherman, and brave as hell to boot. In general, to say that the Bible was Divinely inspired cover to cover not only shows a misunderstanding of the book itself, but may actually be unintentional blasphemy. God is God. His employees don't always speak for him.

> -Chris Zakes
> Texas
> Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
>
> -Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"

You WOULD quote that one. Remember that the computer jockey who installed the monks' computer was from Louisiana? :-)

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group From: Anneli <Anneli.halme@gmail.com>
wrote:
> "Chris Zakes" <donti...@gmail.com> wrote in message
>
> news:vc0gp3lnd1bv6458g1kpq50dlsb4v5m37g@4ax.com...
>
>
>
>
>
> > On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 22:25:42 -0700,  an orbital
> > mind-control laser
> > caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfric...@safetyricochet.com> to write:
>
> >>Correction - the hadith are the collected sayings and
> >>deeds of Muhammad,
> >>while the Commentaries and explications of the text are the tafsir.
> >> My apologies. 
>
> >>In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts
> >>displays as much his provincialism
> >>as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four
> >>centuries to judge scriptures by
> >>modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly
> >>practice.  This,
> >>after RAH takes care to upbraid Americans for mistaking
> >>their customs
> >>for laws of God (the Shaw quote in the beginning of Glory
> >>Road).
>
> > Are you saying that children being torn apart by bears or
> > a man
> > offering his daughters for a gang-rape are *not* universally
> > despicable? 
>
> > And on the other side of the coin, there's this scene in
> > the hotel
> > room after they have had the big conference with Secretary
> > Douglas.
> > Jubal says:
>
> > "'How about victuals, Stinky? Anne stuffed a ham in one of those
> > hampers--and there may be other unclean items. Shall I check?'
>
> > Mahmoud shook his head. 'I'm not a traditionalist, Jubal.
> > That
> > legislation was given long ago, for the needs of the time.
> > The times
> > are different now.'
>
> > Jubal suddenly looked sad. 'Yes, but for the better? Never
> > mind, this
> > too shall pass.'"
>
> >>It's only when those ancient scriptures are used verbatim
> >>to run
> >>people's lives here and now that there is a problem with the
> >>usefulness of the Scripture - any Scripture.  My reading
> >>of the Bible
> >>does not indicate to me that it is a cookbook or a rule
> >>book, but a
> >>remarkable collection of history.
>
> > The Bible *is* history, but what's your opinion of the Ten
> > Commandments or the various prohibitions in Leviticus?
> > It's hard to
> > see them as anything other than a rule book.
>
> I view the Bible as written - the most remarkable history
> ever written in human civilization.  Very few other
> contemporary accounts have had some of the archaeological
> confirmation that the Old Testament has (Simcha Jacobovitch, host of
> "the Naked Archaeologist" satellite TV series, shows some fascinating
> examples of this).  But it's not a rule book for modern man.  We have
> JC's word on that, unless I'm badly mistaken.
>
> I do not think that it is a rule book until we get to the
> Sermon on the Mount - and I have strong personal doubts
> about all of that.   And I take the individual books and
> epistles in their historical context.   St. Peter was
> definitely talking out of his yarmulke about the piety of
> Lot.  He was an unlettered fisherman, and brave as hell to
> boot.  In general, to say that the Bible was Divinely
> inspired cover to cover not only shows a misunderstanding of
> the book itself, but may actually be unintentional
> blasphemy.  God is God.  His employees don't always speak
> for him.
>
> > -Chris Zakes
> > Texas
> > Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
>
> > -Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"
>
> You WOULD quote that one.  Remember that the computer jockey who
> installed the monks' computer was from Louisiana?  :-) 

Hadits or fatwas, so what?

I think RAH and others, most folks actually, have succumnded to the myth of islam as a peacefull religion and in reality to the western very new secular myth of begging pardon for everything.

The crusades where only an answer to the Jihad! I do respect islam as a religion, the majority of muslims are good people. BUT those in Saudiarabia (who sent out the Jihad), Do not take care of their children. The "palestinian arabians are their brothers in camps and as fugetives around the world.

Now when jews and christian palestinians make them selves free, the muslims try to make them selves into sufferers and refuggees and the western world makes appollogees and agrees and have forgotten history. The muslims in Palestine condems the crusades, What about their Jihad that raped the Christian Middeleast and Northafrica and the only thing we rescued was the Iberians (perhaps we should give that penisula back to them?)

Islam has many good folks and thinkers, but so have we who read the Bible in warious tougues and the Thora and Talmud and so on.

The only thing I really do hate Muhammed for doing is that he and his followers did show christians that "Holy Wars" was possible. That learning made some big results in America and here in Europe.

Anneli


From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 03:37:14 -0700

"Anneli" <Anneli.halme@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:75f6c622-54fc-4f80-9583-c5ad69ac6cca@q21g2000hsa.googlegroups.com...
> On 24 Jan, 06:30, "Vance P. Frickey"  <vfric...@safetyricochet.com>
> wrote: 
>> "Chris Zakes" <donti...@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>
>> news:vc0gp3lnd1bv6458g1kpq50dlsb4v5m37g@4ax.com...
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> > On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 22:25:42 -0700, an orbital
>> > mind-control laser
>> > caused "Vance P. Frickey"   to write:
>>
>> >>Correction - the hadith are the collected sayings and
>> >>deeds of Muhammad,
>> >>while the Commentaries and explications of the text are the tafsir.
>> >>My apologies. 
>>
>> >>In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts
>> >>displays as much his provincialism
>> >>as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four
>> >>centuries to judge scriptures by
>> >>modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly
>> >>practice. This,
>> >>after RAH takes care to upbraid Americans for mistaking
>> >>their customs
>> >>for laws of God (the Shaw quote in the beginning of 
>> >>Glory
>> >>Road).
>>
>> > Are you saying that children being torn apart by bears  or
>> > a man
>> > offering his daughters for a gang-rape are *not* universally
>> > despicable? 
>>
>> > And on the other side of the coin, there's this scene  in
>> > the hotel
>> > room after they have had the big conference with 
>> > Secretary
>> > Douglas.
>> > Jubal says:
>>
>> > "'How about victuals, Stinky? Anne stuffed a ham in one  of those
>> > hampers--and there may be other unclean items. Shall I check?'
>>
>> > Mahmoud shook his head. 'I'm not a traditionalist, 
>> > Jubal.
>> > That
>> > legislation was given long ago, for the needs of the  time.
>> > The times
>> > are different now.'
>>
>> > Jubal suddenly looked sad. 'Yes, but for the better? 
>> > Never
>> > mind, this
>> > too shall pass.'"
>>
>> >>It's only when those ancient scriptures are used  verbatim
>> >>to run
>> >>people's lives here and now that there is a problem  with the
>> >>usefulness of the Scripture - any Scripture. My reading
>> >>of the Bible
>> >>does not indicate to me that it is a cookbook or a rule
>> >>book, but a
>> >>remarkable collection of history.
>>
>> > The Bible *is* history, but what's your opinion of the 
>> > Ten
>> > Commandments or the various prohibitions in Leviticus?
>> > It's hard to
>> > see them as anything other than a rule book.
>>
>> I view the Bible as written - the most remarkable history
>> ever written in human civilization. Very few other
>> contemporary accounts have had some of the archaeological
>> confirmation that the Old Testament has (Simcha 
>> Jacobovitch,
>> host of "the Naked Archaeologist" satellite TV series,  shows
>> some fascinating examples of this). But it's not a rule
>> book for modern man. We have JC's word on that, unless 
>> I'm
>> badly mistaken.
>>
>> I do not think that it is a rule book until we get to the
>> Sermon on the Mount - and I have strong personal doubts
>> about all of that. And I take the individual books and
>> epistles in their historical context. St. Peter was
>> definitely talking out of his yarmulke about the piety of
>> Lot. He was an unlettered fisherman, and brave as hell to
>> boot. In general, to say that the Bible was Divinely
>> inspired cover to cover not only shows a misunderstanding  of
>> the book itself, but may actually be unintentional
>> blasphemy. God is God. His employees don't always speak
>> for him.
>>
>> > -Chris Zakes
>> > Texas
>> > Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
>>
>> > -Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"
>>
>> You WOULD quote that one. Remember that the computer  jockey who
>> installed the monks' computer was from Louisiana? :-) 
>
> Hadits or fatwas, so what?
>
> I think RAH and others, most folks actually, have 
> succumnded to the
> myth of islam as a peacefull religion and in reality to 
> the western
> very new secular myth of begging pardon for everything.
>
> The crusades where only an answer to the Jihad! I do 
> respect islam as
> a religion, the majority of muslims are good  people. BUT 
> those in
> Saudiarabia (who sent out the Jihad), Do not take care of  their
> children.  The "palestinian arabians are their brothers in 
> camps and
> as fugetives around the world.
>
> Now when jews and christian palestinians make them selves 
> free, the
> muslims try to make them selves into sufferers and 
> refuggees and the
> western world makes appollogees and agrees and have 
> forgotten history.
> The muslims in Palestine condems the crusades, What about 
> their Jihad
> that raped the Christian Middeleast and Northafrica and 
> the only thing
> we rescued was the Iberians (perhaps we should give that 
> penisula back
> to them?)
>
> Islam has many good folks and thinkers, but so have we who 
> read the
> Bible in warious tougues and the Thora and Talmud and so  on.
>
> The only thing I really do  hate Muhammed  for doing is 
> that he and
> his followers did show christians that "Holy Wars" was 
> possible. That
> learning made some big results in America and here in 
> Europe.

If it had been a "holy war" we thought we were waging in Iraq, not one stone would stand on another by now. Our troops risked, and sometimes gave up their lives in order to conduct a war according to the laws established to protect civilian lives regardless of religious faith.

Reasonable efforts, and sometimes unreasonable efforts were undertaken to avoid civilian deaths by our forces. The lower life form who killed my son and his comrades doubtless did so clad in civilian clothes, his weapon a garage door opener or some other remote control wired to detonate three heavy-bore artillery shells under their armored personnel carrier. But I do not advocate retaliation against civilians - my daughter-in-law has relatives there, and my son was strongly motivated to help them and others in the area. I think that his wishes should be honored.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 09:40:13 -0600

On Wed, 23 Jan 2008 21:51:10 -0800 (PST),  an orbital mind-control
laser caused Anneli <Anneli.halme@gmail.com> to write:

(snip)

>I think RAH and others, most folks actually, have succumbed to the
>myth of islam as a peaceful religion and in reality to the western very
>new secular myth of begging pardon for everything. 

Don't forget the historical context of when "Stranger" was written, though. In the 1950s and early 60s, "Militant Islam" (if there actually was such a beast) was limited to trying to conquer Israel. Bin Laden, Al Quaeda and suchlike were still far in the future.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

I ha' harpit ye up to the throne o' God,
I ha' harpit your midmost soul in three;
I ha' harpit ye down to the Hinges o' Hell,
And -- ye -- would -- make -- a Knight o' me!

	Rudyard Kipling, "The Last Rhyme of True Thomas"

From: "Dr. Rufo" <baybus@mindspring.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 13:08:12 -0800

Anneli wrote:

< snip >
> Hadits or fatwas, so what?
> 
> I think RAH and others, most folks actually, have succumnded to the
> myth of islam as a peacefull religion and in reality to the western
> very new secular myth of begging pardon for everything.
> 
> The crusades where only an answer to the Jihad! I do respect islam as
> a religion, the majority of muslims are good  people. BUT those in
> Saudiarabia (who sent out the Jihad), Do not take care of their
> children.  The "palestinian arabians are their brothers in camps and
> as fugetives around the world. 

In response to your assertion that the Crusades were "only an answer to the Jihad," I suggest you've over-simplified to allow your rant below - which I have snipped.

The "Public Reason" for the Crusades was "the undoubtedly 'holy task' of the recovery of the Land of the Christian Savior's Life from the infidels." There were equally binding and important "Private Reason(s)" as varied as the number of crusaders. But I'll provide these two for starters.

1. Land/estates to be won in combat for the younger sons of the European nobility who (mostly) inherited their holdings via primogeniture. There was precious little unassigned land available in Europe at the time. RAH mentions this "population pressure" in STARSHIP TROOPERS en passant.

2. Influence

A. Of the Church over the laity/nobility. Remember, there was only One practical Church at that time and this influence/control was important to the generally accepted European world-view

B. Of the Nobility over the lesser members of the stratified feudal European society. Important for the same reasons as "A" above.

Further, regarding any Jihad to which the Crusades were a response originating in Saudi Arabia:

The Umayyad caliphs' capital was in Damascus -- which was and is in *Syria* rather than in Arabia Felix. That of the Abbisid caliphs was in Cordoba which has always been located on the *Iberian* Peninsula. "Saudi Arabia" didn't exist until the Brits backed the Saud Family in the 1920s.

Rufe

From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 09:23:51 -0600

On Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:30:48 -0700,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to write:

>
>
>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>news:vc0gp3lnd1bv6458g1kpq50dlsb4v5m37g@4ax.com... 
>> On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 22:25:42 -0700,  an orbital 
>> mind-control laser
>> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to  write:
>>
>>>Correction - the hadith are the collected sayings and 
>>>deeds of Muhammad,
>>>while the Commentaries and explications of the text are 
>>>the tafsir.  My apologies.
>>>
>>>In any case, Jubal's demolition of all religious texts 
>>>displays as much his provincialism
>>>as his erudition - going back thirteen to twenty-four 
>>>centuries to judge scriptures by
>>>modern morals and manners is scarcely good scholarly 
>>>practice.  This,
>>>after RAH takes care to upbraid Americans for mistaking 
>>>their customs
>>>for laws of God (the Shaw quote in the beginning of Glory 
>>>Road).
>>
>> Are you saying that children being torn apart by bears or 
>> a man
>> offering his daughters for a gang-rape are *not*  universally
>> despicable? 
>>
>> And on the other side of the coin, there's this scene in 
>> the hotel
>> room after they have had the big conference with Secretary 
>> Douglas.
>> Jubal says:
>>
>> "'How about victuals, Stinky? Anne stuffed a ham in one of  those
>> hampers--and there may be other unclean items. Shall I  check?'
>>
>> Mahmoud shook his head. 'I'm not a traditionalist, Jubal. 
>> That
>> legislation was given long ago, for the needs of the time. 
>> The times
>> are different now.'
>>
>> Jubal suddenly looked sad. 'Yes, but for the better? Never 
>> mind, this
>> too shall pass.'"
>>
>>
>>>It's only when those ancient scriptures are used verbatim 
>>>to run
>>>people's lives here and now that there is a problem with  the
>>>usefulness of the Scripture - any Scripture.  My reading 
>>>of the Bible
>>>does not indicate to me that it is a cookbook or a rule 
>>>book, but a
>>>remarkable collection of history.
>>
>> The Bible *is* history, but what's your opinion of the Ten
>> Commandments or the various prohibitions in Leviticus? 
>> It's hard to
>> see them as anything other than a rule book.
>
>I view the Bible as written - the most remarkable history 
>ever written in human civilization.  Very few other 
>contemporary accounts have had some of the archaeological 
>confirmation that the Old Testament has (Simcha Jacobovitch,  host of
>"the Naked Archaeologist" satellite TV series, shows some fascinating
>examples of this).  But it's not a rule book for modern man.  We have
>JC's word on that, unless I'm badly mistaken.
>
>I do not think that it is a rule book until we get to the 
>Sermon on the Mount - and I have strong personal doubts 
>about all of that.   And I take the individual books and 
>epistles in their historical context.   St. Peter was 
>definitely talking out of his yarmulke about the piety of 
>Lot.  He was an unlettered fisherman, and brave as hell to 
>boot.  In general, to say that the Bible was Divinely 
>inspired cover to cover not only shows a misunderstanding of 
>the book itself, but may actually be unintentional 
>blasphemy.  God is God.  His employees don't always speak  for him.

Fair enough. (For the record, I suppose *some* of the rules in Leviticus might still be applicable, but I haven't done a detailed study of the matter, so I can't give you a list.)

>> -Chris Zakes
>> Texas
>> Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
>>
>> -Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"
>
>You WOULD quote that one.  Remember that the computer jockey  who
>installed the monks' computer was from Louisiana?  :-) 

<chuckle> Hey, don't blame *me*, that's just what happened to be next in my sig file list. It's either mere coincidence or an Act of God. (If it's any consolation, I put up a new sig this morning.)

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

I ha' harpit ye up to the throne o' God,
I ha' harpit your midmost soul in three;
I ha' harpit ye down to the Hinges o' Hell,
And -- ye -- would -- make -- a Knight o' me!

	Rudyard Kipling, "The Last Rhyme of True Thomas"

From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 17:36:04 -0600

On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 21:48:49 -0700,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to write:

>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>news:f6smo39fpcj2s32du7i2rnc7a01p0psbqq@4ax.com... 
>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 18:17:56 -0700,  an orbital 
>> mind-control laser
>> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to  write:
>>
>>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>>news:rcgio357o57g4k46v2674plenu7rl1rbmf@4ax.com... 
>>>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 08:40:52 -0700,  an orbital
>>>> mind-control laser
>>>> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>  to write:
>>>>
>>>> (Snip the rest of a very intelligent post, so I can get  to
>>>> the one
>>>> point I want to quibble about.)
>>>>
>>>>>And, by the way, both books place Islam on
>>>>>a pedestal which now we can see isn't justified.  I'm  not
>>>>>anti-Islam as such, but if you read how Brunner and RAH
>>>>>describe it in SIASL and "Stand on Zanzibar" and take  the
>>>>>statements made by some of the characters in those books at
>>>>>face value, you could be tempted to think it lacks the drawbacks of
>>>>>other religions. 
>>>>
>>>> <shrug> Is this all that different from Heinlein  speaking
>>>> favorably of
>>>> the priest who lives down the street in "This I 
>>>> Believe"?
>>>> There are
>>>> elements of the Koran and the Bible (and probably every
>>>> other sacred
>>>> text out there) that can be misinterpreted or
>>>> overemphasized or taken
>>>> out of context and used to justify all sorts of things.
>>>
>>>Chris, I very specifically mentioned two specific works,  one
>>>by RAH and one by John Brunner, in which the glaring
>>>inconsistencies of the Old and New Testaments are trotted
>>>out for lip-smacking condemnation while passages from the
>>>Qur'an and/or the supposed treatment of People of the Book
>>>by Muslims are applauded.   I am aware that at least in
>>>RAH's case, more even-handed views of al-Qur'an and other texts are
>>>presented. 
>>
>> It's been 30+ years since I read "Stand on Zanzibar" so 
>> I'll stick to
>> "Stranger".
>>
>> Where and how does Heinlein praise the Koran and/or "the  supposed
>> treatment of People of the Book"? Jubal says he learned 
>> Arabic so he
>> could read the words of the Prophet in the original, but 
>> is that all
>> that much different from Jake Burroughs keeping a copy of 
>> the King
>> James Bible around?
>>
>> I recall Jubal talking about Sodom and Gomorrah and Elisha 
>> and the
>> bears, but I expect those examples were used becase in 
>> 1961 almost
>> nobody in the US knew anything about the Koran, so kicking  that
>> particular sacred cow would have been ineffectual. (These 
>> days, of
>> course, kicking Islamic sacred cows would have landed 
>> Heinlein in hot
>> water with the PC crowd, which would probably have suited 
>> him just
>> fine. <G>)
>
>Where does RAH say one bad thing about the Koran?  He rips 
>up Christian, Jewish and Hindu holy scripture in no 
>uncertain terms - but doesn't dig up dirt on the Muslims' 
>book.   My point was just that.  The Commentaries (Hadith) 
>might have given RAH some grist for his mill.

Vance, you're starting to contradict yourself. You'd started out by saying that Heinlein (and Brunner) "place Islam on a pedestal", then later you say that "passages from the Qur'an and/or the supposed treatment of People of the Book by Muslims are applauded."

You've yet to provide any evidence for those statements. I agree that Heinlein doesn't specifically run down the Koran (although Jubal implies that he *could* when he asks Jill if she's read it, before he goes on to cite negative Biblical examples.) But "doesn't dig up dirt on the Muslims' book" is hardly the same as putting it on a pedestal.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.

	-Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"

From: "Dr. Rufo" <baybus@mindspring.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 17:15:43 -0800

Chris Zakes wrote:

< snip >
> Vance, you're starting to contradict yourself. You'd started out by
> saying that Heinlein (and Brunner) "place Islam on a pedestal", then
> later you say that "passages from the Qur'an and/or the supposed
> treatment of People of the Book by Muslims are applauded."
> 
> You've yet to provide any evidence for those statements. I agree that
> Heinlein doesn't specifically run down the Koran (although Jubal
> implies that he *could* when he asks Jill if she's read it, before he
> goes on to cite negative Biblical examples.) But "doesn't dig up dirt
> on the Muslims' book" is hardly the same as putting it on a pedestal. 

Chris, I supply the following from the text. Neither suggests either the previously-mentioned "pedestal" or "the lack of negative examples.":

Dr. Stinky asks Dr. Jubal--
	"Doctor, you speak Arabic, do you not?"
	"Eh? I used to, badly, many years ago," admitted Jubal. "Put in a 
while as a surgeon with the American Field Service, in Palestine. 
But I don't now. I still read it a little . . . because I prefer to 
read the words of the Prophet in the original."

Just a bit further along, the exchange from Stinky to Jubal continues with --

"But nevertheless there are things which can be said in the simple 
Arabic tongue that cannot be said in English."
	Jubal nodded agreement. "Quite true. That's why I've kept up my 
reading of it, a little."

Perhaps, "on a pedestal" is an hyperbole but at least Jubal shows/admits to some appreciation for the *language* of the Koran itself ("the words of the Prophet").

I do not suggest that RAH, himself, shared that attitude citing Niven's Law. As ever, YMMV.

Rufe

From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 09:59:30 -0600

On Wed, 23 Jan 2008 17:15:43 -0800,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Dr. Rufo" <baybus@mindspring.com> to write:

>
>
>Chris Zakes wrote:
>
>< snip >
>> Vance, you're starting to contradict yourself. You'd started out by
>> saying that Heinlein (and Brunner) "place Islam on a pedestal", then
>> later you say that "passages from the Qur'an and/or the supposed
>> treatment of People of the Book by Muslims are applauded."
>> 
>> You've yet to provide any evidence for those statements. I agree that
>> Heinlein doesn't specifically run down the Koran (although Jubal
>> implies that he *could* when he asks Jill if she's read it, before he
>> goes on to cite negative Biblical examples.) But "doesn't dig up dirt
>> on the Muslims' book" is hardly the same as putting it on a pedestal. 
>
>Chris, I supply the following from the text. Neither suggests either 
>the previously-mentioned "pedestal" or "the lack of negative examples.":
>	Dr. Stinky asks Dr. Jubal--
>	"Doctor, you speak Arabic, do you not?"
>	"Eh? I used to, badly, many years ago," admitted Jubal. "Put in a 
>while as a surgeon with the American Field Service, in Palestine. 
>But I don't now. I still read it a little . . . because I prefer to 
>read the words of the Prophet in the original."
>
>Just a bit further along, the exchange from Stinky to Jubal 
>continues with --
>	"But nevertheless there are things which can be said in the simple 
>Arabic tongue that cannot be said in English."
>	Jubal nodded agreement. "Quite true. That's why I've kept up my 
>reading of it, a little."
>
>Perhaps, "on a pedestal" is an hyperbole but at least Jubal 
>shows/admits to some appreciation for the *language* of the Koran 
>itself ("the words of the Prophet"). 

Granted. I'd say Heinlein's attitude toward Islam in SIASL was "polite" especially in showing Jubal's relationship to Dr. Mahmoud. Kind of like his attitude toward Mormons in several of his other books, or the way he talks about neopaganism near the end of "Expanded Universe."

Remember the bit where Jubal says that a dear friend of his believes in astrology, and that while *he* thinks it's twaddle, you won't hear him saying so in Becky's presence? That may account for a lot of his politeness about Islam.

Had he lived to see 9/11, I doubt his attitude (at least toward the more militant aspects of Islam) would have been much different from his attitude toward the Japanese Empire after Pearl Harbor.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

I ha' harpit ye up to the throne o' God,
I ha' harpit your midmost soul in three;
I ha' harpit ye down to the Hinges o' Hell,
And -- ye -- would -- make -- a Knight o' me!

	Rudyard Kipling, "The Last Rhyme of True Thomas"

From: EngrBohn <engrbohn@gEEmail.noEE.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2008 17:45:00 -0500

Good evening,

Chris Zakes wrote:
[...]
> Had he lived to see 9/11, I doubt his attitude (at least toward the
> more militant aspects of Islam) would have been much different from
> his attitude toward the Japanese Empire after Pearl Harbor. 

I don't remember seeing anything in GFTG, but did he have much to say about Islamic militants after the Munich Olympics, or after the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran?

Take care, cb

-- 
Christopher A. Bohn
      "Pedagogical" is the "yada-yada" of education.

From: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:40:55 -0700


"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:hajfp3pum48erct9i1jggiue28g1krbm1p@4ax.com...
> On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 21:48:49 -0700,  an orbital 
> mind-control laser
> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to  write:
>
>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:f6smo39fpcj2s32du7i2rnc7a01p0psbqq@4ax.com... 
>>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 18:17:56 -0700,  an orbital
>>> mind-control laser
>>> caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>  to write:
>>>
>>>>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>>>news:rcgio357o57g4k46v2674plenu7rl1rbmf@4ax.com... 
>>>>> On Sat, 12 Jan 2008 08:40:52 -0700,  an orbital
>>>>> mind-control laser
>>>>> caused "Vance P. Frickey"  <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to write:
>>>>>
>>>>> (Snip the rest of a very intelligent post, so I can  get to
>>>>> the one
>>>>> point I want to quibble about.)
>>>>>
>>>>>>And, by the way, both books place Islam on
>>>>>>a pedestal which now we can see isn't justified.  I'm not
>>>>>>anti-Islam as such, but if you read how Brunner and 
>>>>>>RAH
>>>>>>describe it in SIASL and "Stand on Zanzibar" and take the
>>>>>>statements made by some of the characters in those  books at
>>>>>>face value, you could be tempted to think it lacks the drawbacks
>>>>>>of other religions. 
>>>>>
>>>>> <shrug> Is this all that different from Heinlein speaking
>>>>> favorably of
>>>>> the priest who lives down the street in "This I
>>>>> Believe"?
>>>>> There are
>>>>> elements of the Koran and the Bible (and probably  every
>>>>> other sacred
>>>>> text out there) that can be misinterpreted or
>>>>> overemphasized or taken
>>>>> out of context and used to justify all sorts of  things.
>>>>
>>>>Chris, I very specifically mentioned two specific works, one
>>>>by RAH and one by John Brunner, in which the glaring
>>>>inconsistencies of the Old and New Testaments are  trotted
>>>>out for lip-smacking condemnation while passages from  the
>>>>Qur'an and/or the supposed treatment of People of the 
>>>>Book
>>>>by Muslims are applauded.   I am aware that at least in
>>>>RAH's case, more even-handed views of al-Qur'an and  other texts are
>>>>presented. 
>>>
>>> It's been 30+ years since I read "Stand on Zanzibar" so
>>> I'll stick to
>>> "Stranger".
>>>
>>> Where and how does Heinlein praise the Koran and/or "the supposed
>>> treatment of People of the Book"? Jubal says he learned
>>> Arabic so he
>>> could read the words of the Prophet in the original, but
>>> is that all
>>> that much different from Jake Burroughs keeping a copy  of
>>> the King
>>> James Bible around?
>>>
>>> I recall Jubal talking about Sodom and Gomorrah and 
>>> Elisha
>>> and the
>>> bears, but I expect those examples were used becase in
>>> 1961 almost
>>> nobody in the US knew anything about the Koran, so  kicking that
>>> particular sacred cow would have been ineffectual. 
>>> (These
>>> days, of
>>> course, kicking Islamic sacred cows would have landed
>>> Heinlein in hot
>>> water with the PC crowd, which would probably have  suited
>>> him just
>>> fine. <G>)
>>
>>Where does RAH say one bad thing about the Koran?  He rips
>>up Christian, Jewish and Hindu holy scripture in no
>>uncertain terms - but doesn't dig up dirt on the Muslims'
>>book.   My point was just that.  The Commentaries (Hadith)
>>might have given RAH some grist for his mill.
>
> Vance, you're starting to contradict yourself. You'd 
> started out by
> saying that Heinlein (and Brunner) "place Islam on a 
> pedestal", then
> later you say that "passages from the Qur'an and/or the  supposed
> treatment of People of the Book by Muslims are applauded."
>
> You've yet to provide any evidence for those statements. I 
> agree that
> Heinlein doesn't specifically run down the Koran (although 
> Jubal
> implies that he *could* when he asks Jill if she's read 
> it, before he
> goes on to cite negative Biblical examples.) But "doesn't 
> dig up dirt
> on the Muslims' book" is hardly the same as putting it on  a pedestal.

Hmmmm. Heinlein doesn't do it nearly as much as John Brunner does - Brunner's mouthpiece in Stand on Zanzibar, Chad Mulligan, does explicitly laud Islam and condemn Christianity. Brunner passed on about the time that the Taliban were ramping things up and Osama bin Laden was becoming an asshole. Wonder what his last thoughts on the matter were?

Not, again, that I am personally unsympathetic to all of Islam. Sufism has its very strong points, and the scholarly tradition of medieval Islam is nothing to despise, but the religion does command its faithful to conquer the rest of us, and that command is increasingly being taken at face value all over the world.

For which, we should point out, we have 1,054 answers in concrete silos all over North America, and many more on patrol in the world's oceans. Just my opinion.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

From: Ogden Johnson III <oj3usmc@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2008 06:42:10 -0500

"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:

>What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, philosophy 
>for junior high kids"? 

Of course it is. Junior high kids, in general - there are exceptions, don't do long. As I pointed out to Sean, *I* probably wouldn't have read SiaSL in my teens/early 20s - and didn't. Although it came out about the time I graduated from high school, I didn't read it until ~ 1968/1969 when I was 25 or 26. As a callow youth, I didn't do long.

[I wouldn't have considered TEfL back then either, although I snapped it up when it came out as I was safely hitting 30 {thereby losing the trust of anyone under 30 in the eyes of Jack Weinberg}.]

-- 
OJ III

From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 18:28:48 -0800

In article <ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net>,
 "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:

> We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land, taking our time to 
> do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate Origin," and "His 
> Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.
> 
> Anyone is free to attend the meetings and make relevant pre-meeting 
> posts. The more commentary we have, the better the chats turn out to be. 
> 
> What do you think? Is SiaSL a "long-winded relic of the '60s, philosophy 
> for junior high kids"? 
I also wrote, elsethread:
    Anyway, let's look at other efforts of newspaper reviewers of all 
    vintages during the past forty-some years. The New York Times'
    Orville Prescott, preeminent reviewer in his age, wrote that in the
    novel, Mr. Heinlein "expresses his sardonic opinions with violence
    and gusto," but he didn't care for it as Vonnegut notes. He claimed
    he was looking for something light and clever and not too much of a
    strain on his weary brain cells to read and "My selection of this
    disastrous mishmash of science fiction, laborious humor, dreary
    social satire and cheap eroticism was a frightful mistake."

Let's set the stage, since we're trying to understand both recent and long-ago criticisms leveled against SiaSL. It's 1961, and the book has been published. I cannot help you with an 1961 review of my state of mind when I received and read it because I wasn't in a position to receive or read it. I was overseas, during part of a sojourn paid for by our rich Uncle Shelby; and they didn't have copies in PXs or post libraries, assuming they had either where I was, and they didn't much of the time. Some time later, about late 1963 or early 1964, after some Army schools and such, when I was about twenty-one or -two, I finally had time to indulge in leisure reading, occasionally (I'd read little but field manuals for at least a couple years); and about that time--I was then stationed at Ft. Carson in Colorado--I noticed a paperback copy of SiaSL in an off-post coffee house-book store up near Broadmore I dropped in from time to time to listen to the folk-singing and look (mostly) with fondness on the local co-eds. So I picked it up and took it back, later that evening, to the BOQ and read it over the next few days.

I'd been reading Heinlein since I was eleven, and was pleased to see he'd written something new. It was the first new Heinlein I'd read since _Starship Troopers_, read my senior year in high school when I'd been seventeen, about four or nearly five years earlier.

Honestly, it was nice to read; but it wasn't earthshaking to my world. It was simply a new Heinlein, a lot more satirical than I'd read before, and longer by much, and a bit fun; but I felt it was predicable. I expected the satire of all organized religion, the questioning whether any religion was true. Heinlein's work, _"If This Goes On--"_ had certainly telegraphed that. The attack on monogamy, the "nest" arrangement Valentine Michael sets up, wasn't pre-ordained by anything he'd written before; but it wasn't so unexpected as to be anything like a shock. Heinlein had been raising little questions here and there about establishments of our society for a long time. He always was a bit of a subversive I felt.

Nice, but not unexpected, was my assessment of the work. It wasn't much of a surprise to find a copy in a coffee house frequented by college students.

It wasn't much of a surprise for another reason as well: there were a lot of iconoclastic writers and writings being produced in the 1950s, to say nothing of later in the 1960s. The fact that Eisenhower had been in the White House until 1960 didn't slow them down a bit. Ozzie and Harriet may not have discussed it with David and Ricky, but high school students read those works criticizing our society. We actually had teachers in high schools then who believed in "Stretching the Curriculum," and didn't stay within the confines of a set curriculum. One of those teachers was a fellow named Daniel Chasman, who I remember with more than a bit of fondness. [see, http://tinyurl.com/2apl7z for his _The English Journal, Vol 43, No. 2, Feb 1954, article of that title.] He was my English teacher for the tenth and eleventh grade. He did a lot to stretch the curriculum. He used to take interested students to plays, encouraged outside reading, and taught us as if we were college, not high school, students, and adults.

At his recommendation, I and not a few other students, looked into works by writers such as Philip Wylie (Generation of Vipers, including his infamous demolishing of "mom" and "momism"), C. Wright Mills (The Power Elite), Sloan Wilson (The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit), and Vance Packard (The Hidden Persuaders). And, of course, H. L. Mencken.

So I can understand, in a way, Orville Prescott's dismay at finding what he found on a dreary rainy day in 1961, when he'd been looking instead for another tale of Lummox raising John Thomases, or Willis burrowing out of Howe's office, or Sir Isaac Newton's lisping voder. No cute BEMs and no teenaged boys discovering a world of amazement.

What do you think? And should we now start reviewing the first book of SiaSL--"His Maculate Origin," i.e., everyone up to speed at least that far?

-- 
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 <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 14:36:30 -0600

On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 18:28:48 -0800,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> to write:

(snippage)

>What do you think? And should we now start reviewing the first book of 
>SiaSL--"His Maculate Origin," i.e., everyone up to speed at least that 
>far? 

I'm reading the uncut edition, and have just started on "His Preposterous Heritage." We probably all recall the Life Imitates Art moment back in the '80s when it was revelaed that Nancy Reagan regularly consulted an astrologer.

This time through, I find myself wondering how closely the relationship of Joe and Agnes Douglas reflects that of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you.

	- Benjamin Franklin

From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:38:32 -0800

In article <pnevo3hvs80cnja5kvikrsjihallse46or@4ax.com>,
 Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 18:28:48 -0800,  an orbital mind-control laser
> caused "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> to write:
> 
> (snippage)
> 
> >What do you think? And should we now start reviewing the first book of 
> >SiaSL--"His Maculate Origin," i.e., everyone up to speed at least that 
> >far? 
> 
> I'm reading the uncut edition, and have just started on "His
> Preposterous Heritage." We probably all recall the Life Imitates Art
> moment back in the '80s when it was revelaed that Nancy Reagan
> regularly consulted an astrologer. 
> 
> This time through, I find myself wondering how closely the
> relationship of Joe and Agnes Douglas reflects that of Bill and
> Hillary Clinton.
> 

[I couldn't comment on how closely, since I don't think the fictional relationship is truly reflected in sufficient detail to judge, Chris; but I always thought it ironic that the news break that revealed in 1988 that Nancy regularly consulted fortune tellers occurred within the same week Heinlein died. No relationship of cause and effect implied, of course, but ironic. Warren Harding's wife continuously went to fortune tellers and tailored her life around their advice, as well.]

Okay, I'm glad we're ready more or less for "His Maculate Origin" which is the first of the five parts of SiaSL.

There's a couple web-published comparisons you might look at of the 1991 uncut and the 1961 cut versions. See, Henrik Stromberg's "Stranger Compared," http://www.wegrokit.com/rah-titl.htm> and Geo Rule's "Stranger vs Stranger" http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/works/novels/strangervsstranger.html .

We may note other items from time-to-time since we've got a long time to review the work.

Things to remember from the outset:

The story begins with the following:

   "Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named 
Smith." (1991 uncut version).

   "Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith." 
(1961 cut version). 

That's the traditional folk-tale opening to get readers ready for a different kind of discourse: a long narrative that we aren't supposed to expect to be literally true, a kind of dreamland, not be be confused with, ordinary reality. And the punchline of a "Martian named Smith" was a joke Heinlein had been using on audiences of librarians for years, trying to explain to them how broad topics might be in what science fiction might contain.

Some also feel it is a tip-off for the regular SF audience of readers Heinlein had developed to be aware this isn't going to be one of his standard science fictions. It could be "fantasy," but it might also be what it turns out to be: satire.

With this beginning it's a little bit laughable how many reviewers and self-styled critics miss the first point when they critique SiaSL for lacking realism, e.g.,

      As nearly as I can tell, however, the story's premises are not
    true:  there are no Martians of the sort Heinlein writes of, and no
    super powers are available to those who think proper Martian
    thoughts.  And without these anyone who attempts to practice the
    book's religion (which includes mass sexual relations) is headed for
    trouble.  In other words, the religion has no point for anybody. 
      Both story and religion, it seems to me, would be much sharper
    without the rather silly things that Smith is capable of doing. 
    Smith's education and enlightenment should be central but they
    aren't -- instead, Smith's ability to control the length of his
    haircut by thinking is central, and that has no importance
    whatsoever. 
      Those capable of accepting Mike's religion (an ability inborn in
    one person in a hundred) and developing super powers are God, the
    only God there is, so it seems.  Since they are God, they continue
    to be God after death -- the book calls death "discorporation." 
    They run the universe they have invented (how, why, and from where,
    like so much of all this, are unanswered) and for no good reason
    wear wings and halos.  This construction of things seems to render
    all human action in the story completely irrelevant, but let that
    go.  It also seems pretty foolish as story material, but let that
    go, too. 

               -- Alexei Panshin, Heinlein in Dimension, 
               Cp. 4, part 2, at
               http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/Dimension/hd04-2.html
Or, James Blish, The Issue at Hand, p. 69, quoted by Panshin:
       He can control his metabolism to the point where any outside
    observer would judge him dead; he can read minds; he is a
    telekinetic; he can throw objects (or people) permanently away into
    the fourth dimension by a pure effort of will, so easily that he
    uses the stunt often simply to undress; he practices astral
    projection as easily as he undresses, on one occasion leaving his
    body on the bottom of a swimming pool while he disposes of about
    thirty-five cops and almost as many heavily armored helicopters; he
    can heaI his own wounds almost instantly; he can mentally analyze
    inanimate matter, well enough to know instantly that a corpse he has
    just encountered died by poisoning years ago; levitation,
    crepitation, intermittent claudication, you name it, he's got it --
    and besides, he's awfully good in bed.

What part of "folk-tale" did these readers miss? Do you think their criticisms are to the point? What do you think about the setting and characteristics of Valentine Michael Smith, trained and educated by Martians?

Mowgli, trained and educated by wolves, outmatches most humans he encounters. Do you suppose Kipling's beast tale experienced the same criticisms from Victorian reviewers for it's lack of realism?

Is the suspension of belief required of the reader and innate in this mode of writing too much of an imposition on the reader?

What would you discuss about the setting and habiliments of Valentine Michael Smith? How does it help whatever points--whether or not junior high philosophy--Heinlein seeks to make? Does it harm those points for most readers?

More later. But, first, 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: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 23:04:44 -0700

"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
news:ag.plusone-78152C.13383218012008@individual.net...
> In article <pnevo3hvs80cnja5kvikrsjihallse46or@4ax.com>, <snipped good
> stuff not immediately germane to my point, and 
Panshin's BS>

> What part of "folk-tale" did these readers miss? Do you 
> think their
> criticisms are to the point? What do you think about the 
> setting and
> characteristics of Valentine Michael Smith, trained and 
> educated by
> Martians?

It may be that Heinlein had by the release of SIASL fallen victim to the ghettoization of SF writers in the US. Kingsley Amis, C.S. Lewis and George Orwell could drift in and out of science fiction without being judged by how closely they followed the standards of the genre they were assumed to be writing in... because few British reviewers would have been as thick as to tell these gentlemen what they were writing (the exceptions mostly being folks with an axe to grind).

Vonnegut, on the other hoof, is allowed license to romp in the fields of fabulism and SF largely, I suspect, because the reviewers think he can do no wrong - when Vonnegut might have bobbled, no one's there making a gallon of java from a teaspoon of grounds.

> Mowgli, trained and educated by wolves, outmatches most 
> humans he
> encounters. Do you suppose Kipling's beast tale 
> experienced the same
> criticisms from Victorian reviewers for it's lack of  realism?

Kipling caught unshirted hell from many contemporary reviewers and letter-writers for the "Stalky and Co." stories precisely because they WERE realistic in their portrayal of Victorian English public-school life. These reviewers expected Kipling's heroes to be stand-up priggish refugees from "Tom Brown's Schooldays," not surreptitious tobacco smokers and shandy-drinkers, hookey-players, adventitious poachers and in general not as concerned about the opinions of their house prefect as apparently the Victorian press would have liked.

> Is the suspension of belief required of the reader and 
> innate in this
> mode of writing too much of an imposition on the reader?

Not of any serious (i.e., "widely read") reader, IMO. A high school graduate should be able to distinguish between fiction, fantasy, satire and lampoonery just by having watched movies for fifteen years or so. He might not know them by their names, but he should be able to tell the difference between, say, "Starship Troopers," "The 13 Monkeys," "Brazil" and "The Fifth Element." (YMMV as to where those movies fall in the literary spectrum I've outlined.)

> What would you discuss about the setting and habiliments 
> of Valentine
> Michael Smith? How does it help whatever points--whether 
> or not junior
> high philosophy--Heinlein seeks to make? Does it harm 
> those points for
> most readers?
>
> More later. But, first, what do you think?

Heinlein certainly confessed his intention to his agent (as reproduced in Grumbles) to have fun with every cherished institution in the reader's world in SIASL. I think that enough book reviewers even back in the 1960's were familiar with the word "Rabelaisian" - or should have been - to have divined Heinlein's intent early on - the chapter titles certainly tipped us off that Christianity in particular and messianic religions in general were in for a good fluffing-up. The conversations in "Heaven" between Foster, his successor and Michael certainly evoke Rabelais' tour of Hell, with the Popes all groveling for tips from visitors.

Panshin's remarks in particular and the derogatory review in general (and some of the laudatory press, in addition, namely Theodore Sturgeon's gushing remarks reproduced on the back of the paperback edition I own) on SIASL show the classic signs of shallow thinking (in Panshin's case, it had to be axe-grinding, because he seems brighter than to actually believe the passage David quoted). Heinlein was having FUN. He wasn't trying to evoke apostolic Christianity or write standard SF.

Speaking of SF lampoonery, they're showing "Barbarella" tonight on the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) satellite channel in about 45 minutes.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 16:06:24 -0800

In article <Ee-dnbo33s29DgzanZ2dnUVZ_r6rnZ2d@forethought.net>,
 "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote:

> Not of any serious (i.e., "widely read") reader, IMO.  A 
> high school graduate should be able to distinguish between  fiction,
> fantasy, satire and lampoonery [ ... ]. 

And, perhaps, only a reader at the _junior_ high school level (and a slow one at that), out to express "malicious nonsense," would consider it "philosophy," rather than satire, as Timberg (or the consultant, Newitz, who seems to do his thinking for him in her "tasty bytes") does in their "review" of Heinlein with which I started off this thread.

So what does "satire" give us? For one thing, it gets SF in the U.S. out of the ghettoization that some U.S. critics and reviewers insisted in putting it, up until SiaSl was written. SF, in the United States, up until 1961, wasn't known for satire. Most real critics, like Prescott, took it as "something light and clever and not too much of a strain on [their] weary brain cells to read," something to read to cheer yourself up on a dreary day, about delightful young boys meeting up with Martians like Willis, and outwitting their headmaster and those short-sighted enough to consider Willis fit for a zoo (and colonists fit for oppressive slavery and even ultimate untimely death, subject to the cost-cutting whims of their masters).

Prescott, who was plainly qualified to recognize satire when he saw it, and said so in his review of SiaSL, wasn't ready for a satire on a dreary day in 1961. But he soon was forced to ready himself. 1961 was the beginning of a renaissance in the United States for satire, not merely in ghettoized SF, but generally. That year, Joseph Heller published _Catch-22_, a satirical, historical novel frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the Twentieth century. Like Heinlein's "grok," it introduced a phrase into the English language that would go on to have a life of its own, and which sums up a concept that seems to have been around forever. "If he flew them [bombing missions] he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to." Joseph Heller, defining Catch-22.

Before satire became a tool enabling them to do so, Philip Roth, another writer who followed the lead of Heller (and Heinlein) in turning back to satire, "the American writer in the middle of the 20th Century [had] his hands full in trying to understand, and then describe, and then make credible much of the American reality-- the actuality is continually outdoing our talents," without satire in their toolbox.

American writers, many of them, were about to join in the usage of satire with their British contemporaries including SF writers from earlier in the century, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and American writers mainly active in the pre-World War II period, such as novelist Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, Main Street, and It Can't Happen Here), the first American novelist to win a Nobel Prize, and critics such as Dorothy Parker and H. L. Mencken. Literature was to become, in the minds of its writers--and readers, in the words of the author of Babbitt, not something to be "afraid of [if it] is not a glorification of everything American," but something which is "a glorification of our faults as well as our virtues." Lewis had died, prematurely in 1951, of advanced alcoholism, and satire had, for a time in the United States, never revived from the World War II period and, so, had seemed to die prematurely with him.

The writers of the "the gritty reality of life," Theodore Dreiser, in journalistic, conservative, plain-speaking style, Willa Cather, and economy and understatement, Ernest Hemmingway, had claimed the field. Realism was the watchword and nearly sole standard, Sinclair Lewis excepted, of best-selling American fictional literature, in the decades from the death of Twain until 1961.

But, the iconoclasts who wrote popular non-fiction criticism of the society from the 1940s and 1950s (Wylie, Packard, et al, who I mentioned above thread, and their mentor, the satiric "Sage of Baltimore") were about to be joined by the writers of popular fiction, including Robert Heinlein, one of the very first--perhaps rightfully the claimant to be the first, as he'd been working on _Stranger in a Strange Land_ for fourteen years.

In close order in years following, "Catch-22" became a film; and other satires followed in novel and film form, many by or in which Terry Southern had a hand, such as "Candy," "Dr. Strangelove," and "Barberella," and the spoof version of "Casino Royale," with Peter Sellers and Orson Welles.

Satire was in the air, and Heinlein started it in SF.

More later, but what do you think? Did SF need to break free from the accepted view of it as something only a little different from realism in its views of the future? And did Heinlein help the "genre" with his vision of "Once upon a time ... "?

The film Dr. Strangelove from 1964 was a popular satire on the Cold War. A more humorous brand of satire enjoyed a renaissance in the UK in the early 1960s with the Satire Boom, led by such luminaries as Peter Cook, John Cleese, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, David Frost, Eleanor Bron and Dudley Moore and the television programme That Was The Week That Was.

-- 
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: "Vance P. Frickey"<vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 04:51:09 -0700

"David M. Silver"<ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
news:ag.plusone-1CD946.16062419012008@individual.net...
> In article 
><Ee-dnbo33s29DgzanZ2dnUVZ_r6rnZ2d@forethought.net>,
> "Vance P. Frickey"<vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote:
>
>> Not of any serious (i.e., "widely read") reader, IMO.  A
>> high school graduate should be able to distinguish  between fiction,
>> fantasy, satire and lampoonery [ ... ]. 
>
> And, perhaps, only a reader at the _junior_ high school 
> level (and a
> slow one at that), out to express "malicious nonsense," 
> would consider
> it "philosophy," rather than satire, as Timberg (or the  consultant,
> Newitz, who seems to do his thinking for him in her "tasty 
> bytes") does
> in their "review" of Heinlein with which I started off  this thread.

Ms Newitz... hmmm, "amour propre" doesn't quite seem strong enough to sum up her self-assessment in her Web site.

> So what does "satire" give us? For one thing, it gets SF 
> in the U.S. out
> of the ghettoization that some U.S. critics and reviewers 
> insisted in
> putting it, up until SiaSl was written. SF, in the United 
> States, up
> until 1961, wasn't known for satire. Most real critics,  like
> Prescott, took it as "something light and clever and not too much of 
> a strain on
> [their] weary brain cells to read," something to read to 
> cheer yourself
> up on a dreary day, about delightful young boys meeting up 
> with Martians
> like Willis, and outwitting their headmaster and those  short-sighted
> enough to consider Willis fit for a zoo (and colonists fit  for
> oppressive slavery and even ultimate untimely death,  subject to the
> cost-cutting whims of their masters).
>
> Prescott, who was plainly qualified to recognize satire 
> when he saw it,
> and said so in his review of SiaSL, wasn't ready for a 
> satire on a
> dreary day in 1961. But he soon was forced to ready 
> himself. 1961 was
> the beginning of a renaissance in the United States for 
> satire, not
> merely in ghettoized SF, but generally. That year, Joseph 
> Heller
> published _Catch-22_, a satirical, historical novel 
> frequently cited as
> one of the great literary works of the Twentieth century. 
> Like
> Heinlein's "grok," it introduced a phrase into the English 
> language that
> would go on to have a life of its own, and which sums up a 
> concept that
> seems to have been around forever. "If he flew them 
> [bombing missions]
> he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to 
> he was sane
> and had to." Joseph Heller, defining Catch-22.
>
> Before satire became a tool enabling them to do so, Philip 
> Roth, another
> writer who followed the lead of Heller (and Heinlein) in 
> turning back to
> satire, "the American writer in the middle of the 20th 
> Century [had] his
> hands full in trying to understand, and then describe, and 
> then make
> credible much of the American reality-- the actuality is  continually
> outdoing our talents," without satire in their toolbox.
>
> American writers, many of them, were about to join in the 
> usage of
> satire with their British contemporaries including SF 
> writers from
> earlier in the century, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and 
> American
> writers mainly active in the pre-World War II period, such 
> as novelist
> Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, Main Street, and It Can't Happen 
> Here), the
> first American novelist to win a Nobel Prize, and critics 
> such as
> Dorothy Parker and H. L. Mencken. Literature was to 
> become, in the minds
> of its writers--and readers, in the words of the author of 
> Babbitt, not
> something to be "afraid of [if it] is not a glorification 
> of everything
> American," but something which is "a glorification of our 
> faults as well
> as our virtues." Lewis had died, prematurely in 1951, of  advanced
> alcoholism, and satire had, for a time in the United 
> States, never
> revived from the World War II period and, so, had seemed 
> to die
> prematurely with him.
>
> The writers of the "the gritty reality of life," Theodore 
> Dreiser, in
> journalistic, conservative, plain-speaking style, Willa 
> Cather, and
> economy and understatement, Ernest Hemmingway, had claimed 
> the field.
> Realism was the watchword and nearly sole standard, 
> Sinclair Lewis
> excepted, of best-selling American fictional literature,  in the
> decades from the death of Twain until 1961.
>
> But, the iconoclasts who wrote popular non-fiction 
> criticism of the
> society from the 1940s and 1950s (Wylie, Packard, et al,  who I
> mentioned above thread, and their mentor, the satiric "Sage of 
> Baltimore") were
> about to be joined by the writers of popular fiction,  including
> Robert Heinlein, one of the very first--perhaps rightfully the 
> claimant to be
> the first, as he'd been working on _Stranger in a Strange 
> Land_ for
> fourteen years.
>
> In close order in years following, "Catch-22" became a 
> film; and other
> satires followed in novel and film form, many by or in 
> which Terry
> Southern had a hand, such as "Candy," "Dr. Strangelove,"  and
> "Barberella," and the spoof version of "Casino Royale," 
> with Peter
> Sellers and Orson Welles.
>
> Satire was in the air, and Heinlein started it in SF.
>
> More later, but what do you think? Did SF need to break 
> free from the
> accepted view of it as something only a little different 
> from realism in
> its views of the future? And did Heinlein help the "genre" 
> with his
> vision of "Once upon a time ... "?

No doubt, he did. But earlier, there was a weaker but discernible satirical thread in American SF - Cyril Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl were also in there swinging their satirical bats with "The Space Merchants" and Kornbluth's excellent "The Marching Morons" - Kornbluth in general being possessed of a biting wit which lent itself admirably to satire. And Asimov's "A Feeling of Power" did more than predict the future ubiquity of pocket calculators/PDAs in 1953 - he showed that he in particular and SF in general were capable of satire quite as incisive as non-SF work. ("A Feeling of Power" is that rare Asimovian tale which is neither light Victorian-style farce (as with his "The Love Philtre") or heavy-handed political comment (as his later "Moral Majority").

Pat Frank, whose "day job" was reporting for the Associated Press, started his SF career in the early 1950s with "Mr. Adam," which prefigured Heinlein, Heller and Richard Condon in using SF as a vehicle for free-wheeling political satire with spicy sexual banter thrown in. Only later with "Alas, Babylon" did Frank buckle down to write "serious SF" (and the only "after the nuclear war" novel of the period with anything like contact with reality) - but even "Alas, Babylon" had strong satirical undercurrents (such as the father of the hero's romantic interest spouting racist bilge to be brought up short by his wife - "Hush! We don't call them 'dinges' - say 'darkies'!")

Political satire in SF was no doubt strangled somewhat by Campbell's heavy hand at Astounding (James Dunnigan, in a historical review of SF for his magazine "Strategy and Tactics," compared Campbell's favorite stable of writers in the early '50s to assistant prosecutors in the Alger Hiss trial) but still managed to exist throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Anxiety over nuclear war had, as with Dr. Strangelove and Mr. Adam, provoked some cutting satire using SF settings from folks like John Hersey (famous for "Hiroshima" and "A Bell for Adana"), who with "The Child Buyer" managed to combine drama, pathos and devastating political satire in a short but wrenching SF novel. In fact, post-nuclear dystopic novels became a cottage industry in the late '50s/early '60s, most of these having at least satirical undertones when not being satires from cover to cover.

But you're right, David, the most successful SF satires came from outside the body of writers who specialized in SF - Richard Condon, Pat Frank, John Hersey - people who made their eating money writing other things than SF and who used SF settings as a way to make reductia ad absurdum of current social and political trends. People outside the SF ghetto, the American equivalents of C.S. Lewis and Kingsley Amis.

Harry Turtledove has managed to break out of the SF ghetto with his many alternative histories - his collaboration with Richard Dreyfuss, "The Two Georges," is very much worth reading despite some minor logical and stylistic flaws (and their weakness for horrible cross-universal puns - in that alternate universe, North America remained a British colony/dominion, Supermarine branched out into the sports car business, and one of the characters reflects that a Supermarine roadster he climbed into "looked ready to spit fire.").

> The film Dr. Strangelove from 1964 was a popular satire on 
> the Cold War.
> A more humorous brand of satire enjoyed a renaissance in 
> the UK in the
> early 1960s with the Satire Boom, led by such luminaries 
> as Peter Cook,
> John Cleese, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, David Frost, 
> Eleanor Bron
> and Dudley Moore and the television programme That Was The 
> Week That Was.

Oh, yeah... still have my copy of Lehrer's LP album of ditties "That Was The Year That Was." :-) Though I still can't listen to "The Ballad of Wernher von Braun" without mixed emotions.

Then, you have to consider Kurt Vonnegut, whose meat and potatoes came from writing precisely the sort of satirical speculative writing that Heinlein broke the dam with in SIASL. Reviewers tended to be not only forgiving, but protective of people like Kurt Vonnegut and Joyce Carol Oates who "winged it" in SF while making social commentary.

Why this should be so for Oates, Vonnegut and others like them and not RAH is a very interesting question. Any perspectives? David? Anyone?

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 06:38:16 -0800

In article <TOCdnaTPAtpLqA7anZ2dnUVZ_u2mnZ2d@forethought.net>,
 "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote:

> "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
> news:ag.plusone-1CD946.16062419012008@individual.net... 
> > In article 
> > <Ee-dnbo33s29DgzanZ2dnUVZ_r6rnZ2d@forethought.net>,
> > "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Not of any serious (i.e., "widely read") reader, IMO.  A
> >> high school graduate should be able to distinguish  between
> >> fiction, fantasy, satire and lampoonery [ ... ]. 
> >

[Quite large snip]

> >
> > Satire was in the air, and Heinlein started it in SF.
> >
> > More later, but what do you think? Did SF need to break 
> > free from the
> > accepted view of it as something only a little different 
> > from realism in
> > its views of the future? And did Heinlein help the "genre" 
> > with his
> > vision of "Once upon a time ... "?
> 
> No doubt, he did.   But earlier, there was a weaker but 
> discernible satirical thread in American SF - Cyril 
> Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl were also in there swinging 
> their satirical bats with "The Space Merchants" and 
> Kornbluth's excellent "The Marching Morons" - Kornbluth in 
> general being possessed of a biting wit which lent itself 
> admirably to satire.  And Asimov's "A Feeling of Power" did 
> more than predict the future ubiquity of pocket 
> calculators/PDAs in 1953 - he showed that he in particular 
> and SF in general were capable of satire quite as incisive 
> as non-SF work. ("A Feeling of Power" is that rare Asimovian 
> tale which is neither light Victorian-style farce (as with 
> his "The Love Philtre") or heavy-handed political comment  (as his
> later "Moral Majority"). 

Unquestionably, there were a few exceptional stories employing satire, mainly short fictions in the pulps which were on their way out in popularity, or so much irony as the verge on satire, before 1961; but they were far from a norm. Even _The Space Merchants_, which was first published in book form in Britain, had limited reach in the U.S. since it was serialized in the pulps.

> 
> Pat Frank, whose "day job" was reporting for the Associated 
> Press, started his SF career in the early 1950s with "Mr. 
> Adam," which prefigured Heinlein, Heller and Richard Condon 
> in using SF as a vehicle for free-wheeling political satire 
> with spicy sexual banter thrown in.  Only later with "Alas, 
> Babylon" did Frank buckle down to write "serious SF" (and 
> the only "after the nuclear war" novel of the period with 
> anything like contact with reality) - but even "Alas, 
> Babylon" had strong satirical undercurrents (such as the 
> father of the hero's romantic interest spouting racist bilge 
> to be brought up short by his wife - "Hush!  We don't call 
> them 'dinges' - say 'darkies'!")
> 

I think you'll find _Mr. Adam_ was published in 1946, right after the war, in an era well before 1961, and its then very near future speculation very topical, indeed. Heinlein was writing the mostly unpublished "How To Be a Survivor" world-saving articles then. I tracked down _Mr. Adam_ and read it only after I'd read _Alas, Babylon!_ some time after 1958. I hadn't bothered to do that, a few years earlier, when I'd read Frank's popular Korean-War novel, _Hold Back the Night_. Frank's use of irony alone in _Alas, Babylon!_, doesn't make that post-apocalypse novel a satire, but you could easily call his 1946 one at least lightly satirical. I recall it had a sardonically funny ending, but it's been years ... .

> Political satire in SF was no doubt strangled somewhat by 
> Campbell's heavy hand at Astounding (James Dunnigan, in a 
> historical review of SF for his magazine "Strategy and 
> Tactics," compared Campbell's favorite stable of writers in 
> the early '50s to assistant prosecutors in the Alger Hiss 
> trial) but still managed to exist throughout the 1950s and  1960s.
> 
> Anxiety over nuclear war had, as with Dr. Strangelove and 
> Mr. Adam, provoked some cutting satire using SF settings 
> from folks like John Hersey (famous for "Hiroshima" and "A 
> Bell for Adana"), who with "The Child Buyer" managed to 
> combine drama, pathos and devastating political satire in a  short but
> wrenching SF novel. 

They make an argument that post-apocalypse novels are barely science fiction but merely "speculative fiction," and Hersey was certainly off the main sequence for SF readers in 1960 for _The Child Buyer_. "Dr. Strangelove" only turned into a satire in the movie form in 1964, after Southern et al. got their hands on it. Its basis was a serious, straight forward cold war novel.

>  In fact, post-nuclear 
> dystopic novels became a cottage industry in the late 
> '50s/early '60s, most of these having at least satirical 
> undertones when not being satires from cover to cover.
> 

And Philip Wylie wrote at least two of them. Some very dark 'satires' indeed.

> But you're right, David, the most successful SF satires came 
> from outside the body of writers who specialized in SF - 
> Richard Condon, Pat Frank, John Hersey - people who made 
> their eating money writing other things than SF and who used 
> SF settings as a way to make reductia ad absurdum of current 
> social and political trends.   People outside the SF ghetto,  the
> American equivalents of C.S. Lewis and Kingsley Amis. 
> 

[snip pretty good pun about Submarine Spitfire]

[snip bit about satire blooming after 1961]

> 
> Oh, yeah... still have my copy of Lehrer's LP album of 
> ditties "That Was The Year That Was."  :-)  Though I still 
> can't listen to "The Ballad of Wernher von Braun" without  mixed
> emotions. 

One of the nicest things I ever got from Ginny in the mail was a small collection of 33s that included her and Robert's copy of that Lehrer LP.

> 
> Then, you have to consider Kurt Vonnegut, whose meat and 
> potatoes came from writing precisely the sort of satirical 
> speculative writing that Heinlein broke the dam with in 
> SIASL.  Reviewers tended to be not only forgiving, but 
> protective of people like Kurt Vonnegut and Joyce Carol 
> Oates who "winged it" in SF while making social commentary.
> 
> Why this should be so for Oates, Vonnegut and others like 
> them and not RAH is a very interesting question.  Any  perspectives? 
> David?  Anyone? 

The critical community, both newspaper and magazine, and academic, adopts some writers, often for reasons that seem more related to personal popularity, or social stances or politics; and, sometimes, because they seek out a standard that once selected they adhere to, e.g., Bradbury.

Critics also strive to "make their bones" by striking down the beast on the top of the heap. Why pick on poor bankrupt, mentally unstable, and drug-addicted Phil Dick, when Robert Heinlein is available as a target? It's won't hurt Heinlein's sales much more than a gadfly's sting, but criticism directed against poor Dick might stop him from writing forevermore.

Writers make themselves targets by taking on unpopular stances, and Heinlein never hesitated to do that if he thought it might make his readers think.

I think Vonnegut's personal popularity based on his well-known history as a POW after the debacle of the 106th Infantry Division in which he served during the Battle of the Bulge and his survival, as a POW, of the fire bombing of Dresden made him heroic and untouchable to any critics inclined to be caustic about his works. He was quite fortunate. And, he happened to be a good writer.

Sometimes, in academic criticism, obscurity in writing seems to be the criteria, e.g., Thomas Pynchon, for it gives researchers "in the know," needing to "publish or perish," a rich, private, even if over-written, lode of raw rock to mine for grains of pay dirt for evermore that the profane public will never concern itself about or bring its practicality of judgments to bear upon. It's nice and quiet to play in small private puddles like Pynchon, and more than marginally better than writing a "dissertation on images of monsters, psychopaths, and capitalism in 20th Century American pop culture," or like dregs of a subject.

And then, of course, the academic culture favors its own, when it can. Robert Penn Warren is a favorable example. Whether Oates will get there or not is something on which I have no opinion as I haven't read her.

-- 
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: "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 00:17:02 -0700

"David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote in message 
news:ag.plusone-1A706A.06381620012008@individual.net...
> In article 
> <TOCdnaTPAtpLqA7anZ2dnUVZ_u2mnZ2d@forethought.net>,
> "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> wrote:

<snipped highly agreeable discussion>

>> Then, you have to consider Kurt Vonnegut, whose meat and
>> potatoes came from writing precisely the sort of  satirical
>> speculative writing that Heinlein broke the dam with in
>> SIASL.  Reviewers tended to be not only forgiving, but
>> protective of people like Kurt Vonnegut and Joyce Carol
>> Oates who "winged it" in SF while making social  commentary.
>>
>> Why this should be so for Oates, Vonnegut and others like
>> them and not RAH is a very interesting question.  Any perspectives? 
>> David?  Anyone? 
>
> The critical community, both newspaper and magazine, and  academic,
> adopts some writers, often for reasons that seem more related to
> personal popularity, or social stances or politics; and,  sometimes,
> because they seek out a standard that once selected they adhere to,
> e.g., Bradbury.

Nailed it in one (in my humble opinion).

> Critics also strive to "make their bones" by striking down 
> the beast on
> the top of the heap. Why pick on poor bankrupt, mentally 
> unstable, and
> drug-addicted Phil Dick, when Robert Heinlein is available 
> as a target?
> It's won't hurt Heinlein's sales much more than a gadfly's 
> sting, but
> criticism directed against poor Dick might stop him from  writing
> forevermore. 

Think the cannibals, er, critics actually had thoughts that charitable about mere writers? It's nice to entertain the notion, but I don't believe it.

> Writers make themselves targets by taking on unpopular 
> stances, and
> Heinlein never hesitated to do that if he thought it might 
> make his
> readers think.

And that screwed him up with the reviewers right there. No points for making your readers think unless those are approved thoughts, eh?

I'm watching "Breaking Bad" right now and dreading the shellacking that Vince Gilligan is going to get for asking "What if Ward Cleaver had to work two jobs, both of them thankless and ill-paying, in order to support a wife and a disabled kid, got incurable cancer, and felt he had no other choice but to color way outside the lines to make sure his family didn't starve after he died? And no matter what happened, the crayons got stickier and the area inside the lines smaller?"

Not that I think making crystal meth (or anything else illegal, dangerous and lethal) is the way to go (I don't), but Gilligan deserves credit for trying to put ordinary folks inside the heads of desperate ordinary folks. Instead, he'll probably get to explain himself before a Congressional subcommittee (though it's amusing to note that the DEA's offices in Albuquerque and Los Angeles appear in the show's credits, at the very end).

> I think Vonnegut's personal popularity based on his 
> well-known history
> as a POW after the debacle of the 106th Infantry Division 
> in which he
> served during the Battle of the Bulge and his survival, as 
> a POW, of the
> fire bombing of Dresden made him heroic and untouchable to 
> any critics
> inclined to be caustic about his works. He was quite 
> fortunate. And, he happened to be a good writer.

That he did.

> Sometimes, in academic criticism, obscurity in writing 
> seems to be the
> criteria, e.g., Thomas Pynchon, for it gives researchers 
> "in the know,"
> needing to "publish or perish," a rich, private, even if 
> over-written, lode of raw rock to mine for grains of pay dirt for 
> evermore that the profane public will never concern itself about or
> bring its practicality
> of judgments to bear upon. It's nice and quiet to play in 
> small private
> puddles like Pynchon, and more than marginally better than 
> writing a
> "dissertation on images of monsters, psychopaths, and 
> capitalism in 20th
> Century American pop culture," or like dregs of a subject.

Esquire once ran a cheat sheet on "Gravity's Rainbow" for those who wanted to impress literate chicks without actually building up the arm and skull muscles required to read, mark and inwardly digest (much less understand) the whole thing.

> And then, of course, the academic culture favors its own,  when it
> can. Robert Penn Warren is a favorable example. Whether Oates 
> will get there
> or not is something on which I have no opinion as I  haven't read her.

Wish I could say the same, but she does have the time in academia, and then some. Definitely a member of the Mortarboard Club.

Running out of steam here, guys, so if I don't show up for a while, it's nothing bad. Just having to rest up a while.

Great discussion, David. Thanks.

-- 
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they 
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

From: MajorOz <MajorOz@centurytel.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 12:27:27 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 21, 1:17 am, "Vance P. Frickey" <vfric...@safetyricochet.com>
wrote:

> Great discussion, David.  Thanks.
> --
> Vance P. Frickey

Thanx to you both. I have enjoyed / learned from it.

cheers

oz, lamenting the Chargers

From: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:38:32 -0800

In article <pnevo3hvs80cnja5kvikrsjihallse46or@4ax.com>,
 Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 18:28:48 -0800,  an orbital mind-control laser
> caused "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> to write:
> 
> (snippage)
> 
> >What do you think? And should we now start reviewing the first book of 
> >SiaSL--"His Maculate Origin," i.e., everyone up to speed at least that 
> >far? 
> 
> I'm reading the uncut edition, and have just started on "His
> Preposterous Heritage." We probably all recall the Life Imitates Art
> moment back in the '80s when it was revelaed that Nancy Reagan
> regularly consulted an astrologer. 
> 
> This time through, I find myself wondering how closely the
> relationship of Joe and Agnes Douglas reflects that of Bill and
> Hillary Clinton.
> 

[I couldn't comment on how closely, since I don't think the fictional relationship is truly reflected in sufficient detail to judge, Chris; but I always thought it ironic that the news break that revealed in 1988 that Nancy regularly consulted fortune tellers occurred within the same week Heinlein died. No relationship of cause and effect implied, of course, but ironic. Warren Harding's wife continuously went to fortune tellers and tailored her life around their advice, as well.]

Okay, I'm glad we're ready more or less for "His Maculate Origin" which is the first of the five parts of SiaSL.

There's a couple web-published comparisons you might look at of the 1991 uncut and the 1961 cut versions. See, Henrik Stromberg's "Stranger Compared," http://www.wegrokit.com/rah-titl.htm and Geo Rule's "Stranger vs Stranger" http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/works/novels/strangervsstranger.html .

We may note other items from time-to-time since we've got a long time to review the work.

Things to remember from the outset:

The story begins with the following:

   "Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named 
Smith." (1991 uncut version).

   "Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith." 
(1961 cut version). 

That's the traditional folk-tale opening to get readers ready for a different kind of discourse: a long narrative that we aren't supposed to expect to be literally true, a kind of dreamland, not be be confused with, ordinary reality. And the punchline of a "Martian named Smith" was a joke Heinlein had been using on audiences of librarians for years, trying to explain to them how broad topics might be in what science fiction might contain.

Some also feel it is a tip-off for the regular SF audience of readers Heinlein had developed to be aware this isn't going to be one of his standard science fictions. It could be "fantasy," but it might also be what it turns out to be: satire.

With this beginning it's a little bit laughable how many reviewers and self-styled critics miss the first point when they critique SiaSL for lacking realism, e.g.,

      As nearly as I can tell, however, the story's premises are not
    true:  there are no Martians of the sort Heinlein writes of, and no
    super powers are available to those who think proper Martian
    thoughts.  And without these anyone who attempts to practice the
    book's religion (which includes mass sexual relations) is headed for
    trouble.  In other words, the religion has no point for anybody. 
      Both story and religion, it seems to me, would be much sharper
    without the rather silly things that Smith is capable of doing. 
    Smith's education and enlightenment should be central but they
    aren't -- instead, Smith's ability to control the length of his
    haircut by thinking is central, and that has no importance
    whatsoever. 
      Those capable of accepting Mike's religion (an ability inborn in
    one person in a hundred) and developing super powers are God, the
    only God there is, so it seems.  Since they are God, they continue
    to be God after death -- the book calls death "discorporation." 
    They run the universe they have invented (how, why, and from where,
    like so much of all this, are unanswered) and for no good reason
    wear wings and halos.  This construction of things seems to render
    all human action in the story completely irrelevant, but let that
    go.  It also seems pretty foolish as story material, but let that
    go, too. 

               -- Alexei Panshin, Heinlein in Dimension, 
               Cp. 4, part 2, at
               http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/Dimension/hd04-2.html
Or, James Blish, The Issue at Hand, p. 69, quoted by Panshin:
       He can control his metabolism to the point where any outside
    observer would judge him dead; he can read minds; he is a
    telekinetic; he can throw objects (or people) permanently away into
    the fourth dimension by a pure effort of will, so easily that he
    uses the stunt often simply to undress; he practices astral
    projection as easily as he undresses, on one occasion leaving his
    body on the bottom of a swimming pool while he disposes of about
    thirty-five cops and almost as many heavily armored helicopters; he
    can heaI his own wounds almost instantly; he can mentally analyze
    inanimate matter, well enough to know instantly that a corpse he has
    just encountered died by poisoning years ago; levitation,
    crepitation, intermittent claudication, you name it, he's got it --
    and besides, he's awfully good in bed.

What part of "folk-tale" did these readers miss? Do you think their criticisms are to the point? What do you think about the setting and characteristics of Valentine Michael Smith, trained and educated by Martians?

Mowgli, trained and educated by wolves, outmatches most humans he encounters. Do you suppose Kipling's beast tale experienced the same criticisms from Victorian reviewers for it's lack of realism?

Is the suspension of belief required of the reader and innate in this mode of writing too much of an imposition on the reader?

What would you discuss about the setting and habiliments of Valentine Michael Smith? How does it help whatever points--whether or not junior high philosophy--Heinlein seeks to make? Does it harm those points for most readers?

More later. But, first, 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: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:02:46 -0800

In article <ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net>,
 "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:

> Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
> Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
> Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
> 
> 
[ snip ]
> 
> We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land, taking our time to 
> do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate Origin," and "His 
> Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.

Turning away from the generalized and back to the specific text, it's useful to note how quickly Heinlein gets into a subject of satire. Within the first three-and-one-half pages (Cps. I and II) Heinlein roasts the first subject.

Man has decided on his first flight to Mars the "greatest danger to man is man himself," and so, to avoid that danger "An all-male crew was vetoed as unhealthy and [socially] unstable [from lessons learned earlier]." [1] So, the prime contractor contracts with the Institute of Social Studies [whoever they are] to select from among "volunteers" a compatible crew. They have some problems--the crews don't work out to give them the necessary skills; and when the prime contractor suggests that the criteria for compatibility be lowered, the Institute offers to return its one-dollar fee.

What's wrong with the picture drawn here? What's being satirized? Why? How? And how do we find out?

What's the next subject of satire?

How many do you find in Part I, "His Maculate Origin"?

-- 
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: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 04:54:05 -0800

In article <ag.plusone-0C8CFE.15024625012008@individual.net>,
 "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:

> In article <ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net>,
>  "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:
> 
> > Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
> > Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
> > Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
> > 
> > 
> [ snip ]
> > 
> > We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land, taking our time to 
> > do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate Origin," and "His 
> > Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.
> 
> Turning away from the generalized and back to the specific text, it's 
> useful to note how quickly Heinlein gets into a subject of satire. 
> Within the first three-and-one-half pages (Cps. I and II) Heinlein 
> roasts the first subject.
> 
> Man has decided on his first flight to Mars the "greatest danger to man 
> is man himself," and so, to avoid that danger "An all-male crew was 
> vetoed as unhealthy and [socially] unstable [from lessons learned 
> earlier]." [1] So, the prime contractor contracts with the Institute of 
> Social Studies [whoever they are] to select from among "volunteers" a 
> compatible crew. They have some problems--the crews don't work out to 
> give them the necessary skills; and when the prime contractor suggests 
> that the criteria for compatibility be lowered, the Institute offers to 
> return its one-dollar fee. 
> 
> What's wrong with the picture drawn here? What's being satirized? Why? 
> How? And how do we find out? 
> 
> What's the next subject of satire? 
> 

Turning quickly to the next episode (beginning of Cp. III), we find in the meeting of the Federation cabinet with Captain Van Tromp, three subjects: (a) cabinet politics and politicians, (b) academic researchers, and (c) press agents and secretaries.

How many ways are they satirized? For only one, what do you think about the name of one cabinet department ("Peace and Military Security")? Doesn't that take one notable aspect of recent history a step farther? In 1947, a year before Heinlein started writing, the Departments of War and the Navy had been superseded by an overall euphemism, the Department of Defense, in the name of unification. Now, Heinlein has it as War-->Defense-->Peace. A progression of euphemisms. And then, added to it: Military Security. What would have been worse: adding that, or Homeland Security? No Posse Comitatus Act problems under the Federation governmental accords which superseded the American Constitution we'll find about in a chapter or so.

The next interlude (second part of Cp. III) has Smith "just" staying alive by controlling his own respiration and heart action in an odd way; lowering heart action to twenty beats/minute and breathing to nearly imperceptible. Then, he thinks on the events. Does anyone see an object of satire here? The problem of writing in satirical mode is often if you drop out of it, the reader may interpret you as still being in it.

[It's been decades since I read E.E. Smith's Lensmen space opera sagas, but I still remember suffering a bit of boredom whenever he began to describe how far in mental ability and uses of the mind the Arisians, etc., surpassed homo sap. Is Heinlein possibly parodying this, here?]

Then, the next episode shows a little parody of discussion of sex in the conversation between the technicians and the marines. We move from there to a bit about hospital routine (with a shot at the washing techniques of some nursing staff), and then on into what introduces the second major object of parody, religion, and on into a parody or Martian parallel of the ritual cannibalism our major western religion practices in its communion services.

Still in Cp. III, Heinlein next bites the hand that feeds him, the publishing industry, having no doubt wished to bite it before. How does he do that?

"Smith lay motionless for the next half hour, but try as he might he 
could not grok it at all." 

And that ends, finally, the chapter.

What do you think about these efforts at satire, in what amounts to only the first twelve (uncut) pages?

> How many do you find in Part I, "His Maculate Origin"?

Any who wishes to speak up, please do.

-- 
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: "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 01 Feb 2008 12:35:02 -0800

In article <ag.plusone-0C8CFE.15024625012008@individual.net>,
 "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:

> In article <ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net>,
>  "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:
> 
> > Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
> > Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
> > Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
> > 
> > 
> [ snip ]
> > 
> > We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land, taking our time to 
> > do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate Origin," and "His 
> > Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.
> 
> Turning away from the generalized and back to the specific text, it's 
> useful to note how quickly Heinlein gets into a subject of satire. 
> Within the first three-and-one-half pages (Cps. I and II) Heinlein 
> roasts the first subject.
> 
> Man has decided on his first flight to Mars the "greatest danger to man 
> is man himself," and so, to avoid that danger "An all-male crew was 
> vetoed as unhealthy and [socially] unstable [from lessons learned 
> earlier]." [1] So, the prime contractor contracts with the Institute of 
> Social Studies [whoever they are] to select from among "volunteers" a 
> compatible crew. They have some problems--the crews don't work out to 
> give them the necessary skills; and when the prime contractor suggests 
> that the criteria for compatibility be lowered, the Institute offers to 
> return its one-dollar fee. 
> 
> What's wrong with the picture drawn here? What's being satirized? Why? 
> How? And how do we find out? 
> 

I've been sitting on this series of questions for a reason. I'd hoped for an answer. The satire is quite rich, but it has to be analyzed to be appreciated.

Before there was a term for "political correctness" the phenomena was nevertheless alive and well.

Here we have an Institute of Social Studies, evidently the most renown institution in this future world where "social studies" are studied as a science, which is contracted to do important work. Today, the level of this work is, and was, in 1961, at the level of matchmaking at best. I suppose there might have been a matchmaker who reduced his subjects' answers to punch cards in 1961, somehow wrote a program that matched them with each other, fine sorted out the matches, and advertised itself as a "computer dating service," but, if there wasn't, a Ouija board or other form of computation of necessary factors, and just about as reliable, was undertaken.

Here, Heinlein asks us, despite his later unfavorable characterization of sociology, etc., in _Expanded Universe_ (I cannot recall whether there was a similar attack in _Worlds Of_) to suspend our disbelief and imagine a world where "Social Studies" are an actual accepted science.

Okay, we can do that; but look what comes next. The criteria imposed by the designer of the problem given the Institute--that the crew must consist of four married couples which result self-destructs.

Why must that criteria be imposed?

Because, in the uncut version: "from lessons learned earlier"? What lessons? When? Where? What studies produced them?

This is the first flight to another celestial body, our own moon excepted. The moon flight takes a few days at most. We read nothing of Venus, so we can assume man went to Mars first in this future.

Where in human history, before this first flight to another celestial body, did man endeavor journeys lasting more than a year from which we might have "learned lessons earlier"? Sea voyages of discovery? The ones in recorded history, lasting longer than a couple months, from Vasco de Gama in 1492 (lasting months longer than Columbus' much shorter voyage to the Caribbean) around the Cape of Good Hope to India, through Magellan and Drake around the world, through the New England whalers that hunted the Pacific, and through the Clippers to China, were crewed by all-male crews. The only unbearded faces were cabin boys. Only when Clippers to China became routine did females appear on board these year-long voyages, and then, at first only the rare captains' wives. Only after colonies were established did female passengers become somewhat common on any voyages of any substantial duration (the odd Plymouth colonies excepted, in which wives joined the original colony). Female or mixed-crewed voyages of a year or more duration are yet virtually unknown.

If Heinlein intended us to believe there were earlier lessons, he'd have given us some basis for so believing. Or some hand-waving formulating the supposed data. Cutting the phrase from his own edited version makes the lesson sharper, because there really weren't any.

So we can conclude this is a political decision--women must be included. And a further political decision--since it is impossible in over a year to keep healthy people from engaging in sexual conduct-- they must be properly married couples. Why? Because our mostly Judeo-Christian tenets of religion require marriage lest the sexual conduct be sinful (in some cases and jurisdictions, illegal). Which gets us back to the two main subjects of the satire--monogamy and monotheism.

And so we have the seeds of failure built into the mission's parameters--possessiveness, jealously, violence--all put there by monogamy and and our western society's particular brand of monotheism. With one scalpel the mission's physician killed its leader, himself, and the rest failed from whatever reason. He could have used a Cross or a Star of David.

Not surprisingly, the next voyage was accomplished by an all-male crew under naval discipline. Naval discipline imposes its own substitute for compatibility.

One might note the one dollar fee the Institute charged was about the value of the service it provided. A little cherry-on-the-top irony.

> What's the next subject of satire? 
> 
> How many do you find in Part I, "His Maculate Origin"?
-- 
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 <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 01 Feb 2008 18:29:45 -0600

On Fri, 01 Feb 2008 12:35:02 -0800,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> to write:

>In article <ag.plusone-0C8CFE.15024625012008@individual.net>,
> "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:
>
>> In article <ag.plusone-473146.05384711012008@individual.net>,
>>  "David M. Silver" <ag.plusone@verizon.net> wrote:
>> 
>> > Topic:      Stranger in a Strange Land--Parts I and II
>> > Date:       Thursday, February 21, 2008, 9 PM EST
>> > Place:      AIM chatroom "Heinlein Readers Group"
>> > 
>> > 
>> [ snip ]
>> > 
>> > We've decided to review Stranger in a Strange Land, taking our time to 
>> > do so, beginning with Parts I and II, "His Maculate Origin," and "His 
>> > Preposterous Heritage" beginning next month.
>> 
>> Turning away from the generalized and back to the specific text, it's 
>> useful to note how quickly Heinlein gets into a subject of satire. 
>> Within the first three-and-one-half pages (Cps. I and II) Heinlein 
>> roasts the first subject.
>> 
>> Man has decided on his first flight to Mars the "greatest danger to man 
>> is man himself," and so, to avoid that danger "An all-male crew was 
>> vetoed as unhealthy and [socially] unstable [from lessons learned 
>> earlier]." [1] So, the prime contractor contracts with the Institute of 
>> Social Studies [whoever they are] to select from among "volunteers" a 
>> compatible crew. They have some problems--the crews don't work out to 
>> give them the necessary skills; and when the prime contractor suggests 
>> that the criteria for compatibility be lowered, the Institute offers to 
>> return its one-dollar fee. 
>> 
>> What's wrong with the picture drawn here? What's being satirized? Why? 
>> How? And how do we find out? 
>> 
>
>I've been sitting on this series of questions for a reason. I'd hoped 
>for an answer. The satire is quite rich, but it has to be analyzed to be 
>appreciated. 
>
>Before there was a term for "political correctness" the phenomena was 
>nevertheless alive and well. 
>
>Here we have an Institute of Social Studies, evidently the most renown 
>institution in this future world where "social studies" are studied as a 
>science, which is contracted to do important work. Today, the level of 
>this work is, and was, in 1961, at the level of matchmaking at best. I 
>suppose there might have been a matchmaker who reduced his subjects' 
>answers to punch cards in 1961, somehow wrote a program that matched 
>them with each other, fine sorted out the matches, and advertised itself 
>as a "computer dating service," but, if there wasn't, a Ouija board or 
>other form of computation of necessary factors, and just about as 
>reliable, was undertaken. 
>
>Here, Heinlein asks us, despite his later unfavorable characterization 
>of sociology, etc., in _Expanded Universe_ (I cannot recall whether 
>there was a similar attack in _Worlds Of_) to suspend our disbelief and 
>imagine a world where "Social Studies" are an actual accepted science.
>
>Okay, we can do that; but look what comes next. The criteria imposed by 
>the designer of the problem given the Institute--that the crew must 
>consist of four married couples which result self-destructs. 
>
>Why must that criteria be imposed?
>
>Because, in the uncut version: "from lessons learned earlier"? What 
>lessons? When? Where? What studies produced them? 
>
>This is the first flight to another celestial body, our own moon 
>excepted. The moon flight takes a few days at most. We read nothing of 
>Venus, so we can assume man went to Mars first in this future. 
>
>Where in human history, before this first flight to another celestial 
>body, did man endeavor journeys lasting more than a year from which we 
>might have "learned lessons earlier"? Sea voyages of discovery? The ones 
>in recorded history, lasting longer than a couple months, from Vasco de 
>Gama in 1492 (lasting months longer than Columbus' much shorter voyage 
>to the Caribbean) around the Cape of Good Hope to India, through 
>Magellan and Drake around the world, through the New England whalers 
>that hunted the Pacific, and through the Clippers to China, were crewed 
>by all-male crews. The only unbearded faces were cabin boys. Only when 
>Clippers to China became routine did females appear on board these 
>year-long voyages, and then, at first only the rare captains' wives. 
>Only after colonies were established did female passengers become 
>somewhat common on any voyages of any substantial duration (the odd 
>Plymouth colonies excepted, in which wives joined the original colony). 
>Female or mixed-crewed voyages of a year or more duration are yet 
>virtually unknown. 

I've been told that on longer voyages, the cabin boys would serve as a sexual relief valve for the older crew members.

Since "homosexuality is evil/unnatural" is one of the few sacred cows that Heinlein *didn't* kick in "Stranger", I think it's reasonable to assume that an all-male crew was vetoed for that reason.

>If Heinlein intended us to believe there were earlier lessons, he'd have 
>given us some basis for so believing. Or some hand-waving formulating 
>the supposed data. Cutting the phrase from his own edited version makes 
>the lesson sharper, because there really weren't any. 

Not necessarily. *I* caught the implication (i.e. that an all-male crew canned up for three years is going to turn to homosexuality or go nuts) right away.

>So we can conclude this is a political decision--women must be included. 

Nonsense. Where in that society are women shown as having the level of social equality that we take for granted today? Nurses, secretaries, wives... the only two who might qualify are Patty Paiwonski and Becky Vesy.

>And a further political decision--since it is impossible in over a year 
>to keep healthy people from engaging in sexual conduct-- they must be 
>properly married couples. Why? Because our mostly Judeo-Christian tenets 
>of religion require marriage lest the sexual conduct be sinful (in some 
>cases and jurisdictions, illegal). Which gets us back to the two main 
>subjects of the satire--monogamy and monotheism. 

As you say, the criteria for the trip had failure built into it: four ultra-compatible couples, with Captain Brandt freshly married to "a horse-faced spinster semantician nine years his senior." I can only wonder if Brandt impregnating Dr. Lyle (and *why* wasn't she using Wise Girl, or something similiar?) was the only hanky-panky going on.

>And so we have the seeds of failure built into the mission's 
>parameters--possessiveness, jealously, violence--all put there by 
>monogamy and and our western society's particular brand of monotheism. 
>With one scalpel the mission's physician killed its leader, himself, and 
>the rest failed from whatever reason. He could have used a Cross or a 
>Star of David. 

What does monotheism have to do with this?

>Not surprisingly, the next voyage was accomplished by an all-male crew 
>under naval discipline. Naval discipline imposes its own substitute for 
>compatibility. 

Umm, the fact that *that* trip only took nineteen days (instead of 258 each way, plus wait time on Mars) might have been a factor, too.

>One might note the one dollar fee the Institute charged was about the 
>value of the service it provided. A little cherry-on-the-top irony.  

Perhaps. I've always seen it as a token payment; the real payment was in the prestige of being the institute chosen to pick the first Mars crew.

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

From the point of view of an arrow, chain mail can be thought of as a series of 
loosely connected holes.

	-Terry Pratchett, "Lords and Ladies"

From: "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 19:39:37 -0600

"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:fqb7q3t4dq3gm5ugmifg65v42icjt7o7ta@4ax.com...

<snip>

> I've been told that on longer voyages, the cabin boys would serve as a
> sexual relief valve for the older crew members. 

<snip>

> Not necessarily. *I* caught the implication (i.e. that an all-male
> crew canned up for three years is going to turn to homosexuality or go
> nuts) right away. 
This might be yet another example of something that "everybody knows" which ain't necessarily so:
"In their anxiety to sanitise 18th-century seafaring life, the Victorians 
managed to confuse the offence of "unclean behaviour" such obnoxious 
activities as relieving oneself in the hold or on deck or refusing to wash 
one's clothes or body with something they feared: widespread homosexuality 
among an essentially all-male crew.
"In reality, homosexual behaviour was disapproved of by crews, and 
documented cases are rare. Great care was taken to protect adolescents from 
older crewmen. Contemporary society considered homosexuality a mortal sin, 
while the law held it to be a crime punishable by death. Navies have always 
reflected the societies from which they spring, and in this respect, the 
18th-century royal navy was hardly unique in punishing overt homosexuality.

"Relatively few cases came before naval courts martial, but those found 
guilty were hanged. It seems that, in the essentially public nature of life 
on board these crowded, cramped warships, the accepted mores of the age and 
the threat of serious punishment sustained the social order."

http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/n-s/nelson.html

Especially credible if you consider that, at least in the Royal Navy, the "cabin boys"/midshipmen were often noblemen's sons sent to sea to begin their naval careers at what nowadays would be considered a shockingly young age. (AIUI, even in WWII sailors as young as 16 were serving in the RN.)


From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 01 Feb 2008 20:32:49 -0600

On Fri, 1 Feb 2008 19:39:37 -0600,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Bruce C. Baker" <bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to write:

>
>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>news:fqb7q3t4dq3gm5ugmifg65v42icjt7o7ta@4ax.com... 
>
><snip>
>
>> I've been told that on longer voyages, the cabin boys would serve as a
>> sexual relief valve for the older crew members. 
>
><snip>
>
>> Not necessarily. *I* caught the implication (i.e. that an all-male
>> crew canned up for three years is going to turn to homosexuality or go
>> nuts) right away. 
>
>This might be yet another example of something that "everybody knows" which 
>ain't necessarily so:
>
>"In their anxiety to sanitise 18th-century seafaring life, the Victorians 
>managed to confuse the offence of "unclean behaviour" such obnoxious 
>activities as relieving oneself in the hold or on deck or refusing to wash 
>one's clothes or body with something they feared: widespread homosexuality 
>among an essentially all-male crew. 

Interesting. I suppose that's what I get for going with hearsay rather than doing research. <G>

Next I suppose you'll be telling me that this is just fiction and wild imagination, too? http://www.turoks.net/Bordello/GoodShipVenus.htm

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

From the point of view of an arrow, chain mail can be thought of as a series of 
loosely connected holes.

	-Terry Pratchett, "Lords and Ladies"

From: "Bruce C. Baker"<bcb@undisclosedlocation.net>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 21:01:51 -0600


"Chris Zakes"<dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:i9l7q3lge50bd6n2dh4l20n9ruef52ism6@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 1 Feb 2008 19:39:37 -0600,  an orbital mind-control laser
> caused "Bruce C. Baker"<bcb@undisclosedlocation.net> to write:
>
>>
>>"Chris Zakes"<dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:fqb7q3t4dq3gm5ugmifg65v42icjt7o7ta@4ax.com... 
>>
>>
>>
>>> I've been told that on longer voyages, the cabin boys would serve as a
>>> sexual relief valve for the older crew members. 
>>
>>
>>
>>> Not necessarily. *I* caught the implication (i.e. that an all-male
>>> crew canned up for three years is going to turn to homosexuality or go
>>> nuts) right away. 
>>
>>This might be yet another example of something that "everybody knows" 
>>which ain't necessarily so:
>>
>>"In their anxiety to sanitise 18th-century seafaring life, the Victorians
>>managed to confuse the offence of "unclean behaviour" such obnoxious
>>activities as relieving oneself in the hold or on deck or refusing to wash
>>one's clothes or body with something they feared: widespread homosexuality
>>among an essentially all-male crew. 
>
> Interesting. I suppose that's what I get for going with hearsay rather
> than doing research.<G>
>
> Next I suppose you'll be telling me that this is just fiction and wild
> imagination, too? http://www.turoks.net/Bordello/GoodShipVenus.htm 

Well, it certainly looks as though at least one old sea dog channeled his excess sexual drive into composing doggerel! :-D

Speaking of hearsay, I've heard tell of a young sailor who was always exhausted. It seems that said sailor was leading a rather strenuous and promiscuous existence as the object of affection of several of his shipmates, particularly amazing as this supposedly happened during the early days of WWII aboard a rather cramped destroyer while at sea.

So, I'm not saying that these things /don't/ occur, just that they're not as commonplace or as accepted as the conventional wisdom might lead one to believe.


From: Chris Zakes<dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 08:05:13 -0600

On Fri, 25 Jan 2008 01:38:05 GMT,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Gaeltach"<hcatleag@bigpond.com> to write:

>
>"Chris Zakes"
>
><snip>
>
>> Had he lived to see 9/11, I doubt his attitude (at least toward the
>> more militant aspects of Islam) would have been much different from his
>> attitude toward the Japanese Empire after Pearl Harbor. 
>
>An empire is different to an extremist group. Heinlein would probably know 
>the difference. 

Of course he would. But do you think that becuse we were attacked by a gang of terrorists instead of a government that Heinlein would just say "so it goes" and turn back to his keyboard?

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

I ha' harpit ye up to the throne o' God,
I ha' harpit your midmost soul in three;
I ha' harpit ye down to the Hinges o' Hell,
And -- ye -- would -- make -- a Knight o' me!

	Rudyard Kipling, "The Last Rhyme of True Thomas"

From: "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 22:47:26 GMT


"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:t9qjp3l7jbj79i25b6ldpa777mdanp1uqf@4ax.com...
> On Fri, 25 Jan 2008 01:38:05 GMT,  an orbital mind-control laser
> caused "Gaeltach" <hcatleag@bigpond.com> to write:
>
>>
>>"Chris Zakes"
>>
>><snip>
>>
>>> Had he lived to see 9/11, I doubt his attitude (at least toward the
>>> more militant aspects of Islam) would have been much different from his
>>> attitude toward the Japanese Empire after Pearl Harbor. 
>>
>>An empire is different to an extremist group. Heinlein would probably know
>>the difference. 
>
> Of course he would. But do you think that becuse we were attacked by a
> gang of terrorists instead of a government that Heinlein would just say
> "so it goes" and turn back to his keyboard? 
I don't know what his reaction would be for sure. I just pointed out the disparity in comparing an empire (or country) with an extremist group.

From: Chris Zakes <dontivar@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: February 21, 2008 meeting--Reading Group
Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2008 19:26:50 -0600

On Sat, 2 Feb 2008 12:20:25 -0700,  an orbital mind-control laser
caused "Vance P. Frickey" <vfrickey@safetyricochet.com> to write:

>
>
>"Chris Zakes" <dontivar@gmail.com> wrote in message 
>news:fqb7q3t4dq3gm5ugmifg65v42icjt7o7ta@4ax.com... 

(snip)

>> As you say, the criteria for the trip had failure built 
>> into it: four
>> ultra-compatible couples, with Captain Brandt freshly 
>> married to "a
>> horse-faced spinster semantician nine years his senior." I 
>> can only
>> wonder if Brandt impregnating Dr. Lyle (and *why* wasn't 
>> she using
>> Wise Girl, or something similiar?) was the only  hanky-panky going
>> on. 
>
>Hmmmm.  Since Mary Jane Lyle Smith was married to the ship's 
>physician, he'd have known from blood work and such (not to 
>mention perturbations in his wife menstrual periods) if she  was on The
>Pill. 

My point was more aimed at the question of why would you want to add the potential complications of pregnancy, labor and delivery to an already hazardous expedition to Mars?

Here's another semi-related question that I don't think anyone's ever caught:

A normal pregnancy is usually calculated as 40 weeks or 280 days. Heinlein says on page 1 of "Stranger" that the trip to Mars takes 258 days. He also says that once they arrived they spent two weeks in a photographic survey of the planet before landing, which brings us up to 272 days.

Now granted, that "40 weeks" is just an approximation and you can get a healthy full-term baby after 37 or 38 weeks, but just when did Captain Brandt impregnate Dr. Lyle???

"Figures are sharp things, Jones. Don't juggle them, you'll get cut."

		-Dr. Hendrix in "Starman Jones"

	-Chris Zakes
		Texas

From the point of view of an arrow, chain mail can be thought of as a series of 
loosely connected holes.

	-Terry Pratchett, "Lords and Ladies"

Go To Posting

Here begins the Discussion


You have just entered room "heinleinreadersgroup."

qinjingyou has entered the room.

qinjingyou: hi David

DavidWrightSr: Greetings

qinjingyou: I'm at work so may or may not participate :-)

qinjingyou: my worldclock says it's ten til nine there.

DavidWrightSr: Yes. Hopefully people will start showing up soon.

qinjingyou: I didn't think I' make it so I haven

qinjingyou: t read the book recently.

morganuci has entered the room.

qinjingyou: but maybe I can ask questions :-)

DavidWrightSr: Always a winning strategy.

morganuci: Hi guys

qinjingyou: hi

DavidWrightSr: Hi Tim

georule1861 has entered the room.

georule1861: evenin'

qinjingyou: Hi

georule1861: Bill said he was coming tonight.

georule1861: Dunno about David S.

BPRAL22169 has entered the room.

georule1861: Howdy, Willum.

morganuci: Sorry, I was trying to catch up on the pre-meeting discussion.... Hi Bill

BPRAL22169: Howdy -- I was just going to sign on through the old link

BPRAL22169: The invitation only said "an internet user"

DavidWrightSr: It didn't give my name?

qinjingyou: Hi Bill

BPRAL22169: No, it didn't.

DavidWrightSr: Strange. What version you using?

BPRAL22169: Hey, quinjingyou. I don't recognize the handle.

qinjingyou: dave jennings

BPRAL22169: Oh, it's

Ravenart has entered the room.

RMLWJ1 has entered the room.

Ravenart: hey RAH fans!

RMLWJ1: Evening, all, thanks, David.

morganuci: Welcome

BPRAL22169: Back again? I froze up while AOL radio was loading.

georule1861: I see you, Bill

morganuci: We only got "Oh, it's" :-)

georule1861: /me does a Double Star riff

Ravenart: Thanks for the invite David

BPRAL22169: Anyway, long time no see, David Jennings.

DavidWrightSr: Nada

Major oz has entered the room.

Major oz: hello all

RMLWJ1: As with David, been a while, Leon Jester here.

Major oz: Who is that in yellow -- can't make it out

georule1861: The colors are random, Oz.

georule1861: You're yellow to me.

georule1861: No offense intended!

Major oz: Well......didn't know that

georule1861: ;-)

Bookman99R has entered the room.

Ravenart: Has anyone watched Battlestar Galactica as well as read RAH? There's a lot of themes that are very common between both fiction universes

Major oz: yo, rusty

RMLWJ1: I've seen a few, haven't followed it closely, though.

Bookman99R: hi, Major, everyone

georule1861: Most hardcore sf'ers watch BSG, yes?

georule1861: I don't know that it's all that RAHian tho

Ravenart: and a lot of people who are not hardcare SF fans too

georule1861: Different conversation topic.

georule1861: Make a note, Tim!

CatLeague has entered the room.

BPRAL22169: I stopped watching BSG midway into the first season -- too soap-operaish for my tastes.

BPRAL22169: or melodramatic, at any rate

Ravenart: the two books that have same themes are Friday and Starship Troopers

georule1861: Season 3 was pretty weak, imho

morganuci: I haven't watched it, but I'd heard that it was good. So there you go!

Major oz: Never thought BSG was worthwhile

Ravenart: I agreed. The first half was awnsome, but then it lost track halfway

Major oz: Shame........as the outline had great possibilities

Bookman99R: had it's moments, but TV isn't very good at drama series, outside of SOs

BPRAL22169: Well -- it's clearly better than the abortion in the 1970's. Richard Hatch had a long, hard struggle to get it back on tv.

Ravenart: much much better.

georule1861: I wish HBO would do a s-f series.

Ravenart: and far better than most TV shows nowsday

RMLWJ1: yes, but that doesn't take much Raven.

Bookman99R: TV & movies produces rarely do well with SF

RMLWJ1: Argentina vs Uruguay on a windy, wet day is better.

Ravenart: no, but in my opinion, it is worth the Peabody award

Bookman99R: one reasone I no longer want to see SIASL done by either

morganuci: At one point, I heard that 5 of the top 10 all time grossing movies were SF related.

georule1861: Were any of them good sf?

Bookman99R: that means they were popular, not that they were good, or eve SF

georule1861: Or action movies with sf furniture?

Major oz: If you count DVD sales, the top 10 are slasher movies.

Ravenart: I think SIASL can be done right if by right people. Lord of the Rings was very well done , even for me who generally don't care for fantasy

Bookman99R: YMMV, Raven - I know a few people who _hated_ LOTR

CatLeague: Greetings. Lunchtime here. I'm at work.... but scanning the chat a little. Pardon me if I am fairly quiet.

morganuci: Yeah, I assume that's for the theatrical release. Star Wars and ET are 2 of them, I'm sure.

RMLWJ1: It could be a hell of a flick, but Hollyweird would screw it up, IMO.

Bookman99R: CE3K?

georule1861: I personally think Movies don't work for novels well.

BPRAL22169: They might have intended the Indiana Jones movies in that, as well. Close Encounters, yeah, probably.

georule1861: For short stories, yes. But not novels.

Bookman99R: not sure I'd count that one as SF

georule1861: To novels right, generally, you need a mini-series.

Bookman99R: novells, IMO

Bookman99R: novellas

Major oz: Tom Hanks did well with the ms of Apollo 13

morganuci: I think Close Encounters is another. And to be fair, you should adjust the gross $ figures for inflation, and maybe even population growth!

georule1861: Anyway, it's quarter after. . . ready to light this candle, Tim?

BPRAL22169: Or you can do as Ragtime did it -- or Blade Runner, or WeCan Remember It for you Wholesale -- pick a bit of the story

Major oz: ...4...3...2...1...go

morganuci: Sure. David Silver claimed to have a bunch of discussion topics for this series of meetings, so I was hoping he was

BPRAL22169: He's posting on afh these days -- I take it he was not seriously debilitated?

morganuci: going to be the guest moderator. I'm sure we can come up with something.

Ravenart: That's their opinion Bookman.

morganuci: I dunno. I sent him a couple of messages and didn't get a reply, but I did see the posts.

Ravenart: I'm a artist, so I judged them for the storytelling, beauty and music and acting

georule1861: David is within weeks of surgery, so I think he's a bit in and out.

BPRAL22169: I'm scanning the discussion on afh. I think part of the "long-winded" criticism comes from the fact that most people, mowt of the time, have no idea how to read satires.

Ravenart: why? Is David sick?

Major oz: More cardiac stuff?

georule1861: Yeah.

morganuci: I wasn't sure when the surgery was going to be.

RMLWJ1: thanks, Raven, was wondering myself.

RMLWJ1: Bypass?

Ravenart: heart attack or something/

Ravenart: ?

RMLWJ1: ouch

Major oz: He had a bypass two years ago

georule1861: Keep him in your thoughts and karmic wheel energies.

georule1861: Not my place to get into the details.

Major oz: three?

Bookman99R: will do

morganuci: As an experiment :-), I had a junior high schooler read Stranger recently. I'm not sure he got a lot of the philosophy, but he liked

Ravenart: There is one SF movie I love, the Incredibles

RMLWJ1: yes, I will. Please give him my regards and best wishes should you see him online.

morganuci: the story and passed the AR test.

CatLeague: When I first read SIASL I wasn't aware I was reading a "satire".

Major oz: The last Q David posed dealt with some critic alleging that SIASL was "....philosophy for a JHS boy"

Major oz: eh?

BPRAL22169: I think Stranger does its best work when you don't understand too much of the history and philosophy that went itnto it.

morganuci: That's what I'm referring to.

Bookman99R: anyway, first section: "His Maculate Conception", right?

georule1861: I was reading RAH today to Putnam on SiaSL and he used a phrase about himself I loved.

georule1861: "agnostic-mystic"

Major oz: I thnk is is great titilation for jr hs boys

Major oz: But I don't think they would understand most of the philosophy

georule1861: I think Robert believed at the time that most jr high boys needed some tititllation.

morganuci: Definitely. He was embarrassed by parts of it. We discussed the satire issues a bit, as I didn't want him to miss that entirely.

georule1861: And someone to tell them it was okay to question authority.

Bookman99R: sure, Oz - that's an age where rebellion is common, and questioning cultural norms is common

morganuci: "He"=the jr. highschooler.

CatLeague: If someone is a well-known SF author, that's kinda what you expect to read... unless it's clearly labelled as something else.

georule1861: He says that he himself was 14 when he broke loose from organized religion he'd been raised in.

Bookman99R: that's one of the things RAH played with - the role of organized religion in society

BPRAL22169: I think I was in my senior year in high school when I read it.

Major oz: I read it, initially, as a Catholic / Jeb / Augaustinian. Laughed my ass off.

Major oz: hi, JJ

BPRAL22169: (Coincidentally the same year I read Atlas Shrugged)

Bookman99R: in Foster's church, he foreshadows that ORs might have to change in order to survive

Ravenart: very true. Look at the sex problem Catholic church have, or the violence in radical Muslims

Bookman99R: and falling membership in general

RMLWJ1: Not just the RCs, Raven, the ECUSA has a few also.

Major oz: EC ?

Bookman99R: RAH pointed out in TSBTS that early 20th cent. churches were as much social clubs as places of worship

RMLWJ1: Episcopal Church of the United States of America, Major.

georule1861: And that was a useful function, the social club one.

georule1861: Still is.

Major oz: Here in the Ozarks, churches got to be such a big part of life, as there was no other social outlet in the hills and hollers

Ravenart: yes. that's a useful part of a church, social networking

Major oz: The local Baptist Church was the ONLY place to get together

RMLWJ1: yes, it is.

Bookman99R: yes, Geo, but5 less so - they have more competition

georule1861: For social networking? Dunno.

georule1861: Must of modern society is actually tending towards isolation.

georule1861: Seems to me.

Bookman99R: depends on how many social activities the church supports

georule1861: Tho little havens like this exist for the like-minded.

RMLWJ1: Possibly networking within a group might be a better descriptor.

BPRAL22169: Still is in a lot of highly rural places

CatLeague: I also read SIASL in highschool. To me, at the time, it was just another SF story. Just not as good as others. The religious elements were quite annoying when I first read it. Not so later.

Major oz: Agree, geo; quiet place in the country, internet connection, satellite TV. Who needs people?

Ravenart: by the way, I'm really "Religion is Not About God" by Loyal Rue. I just started it. It's an attempt at naturalistic general theory of religion in term of human evolution

Ravenart: reading, my mistake

Major oz: sounds HEAVY

Ravenart: actually, it's an easy read for me. science book is alway fun for me

BPRAL22169: You can have religion without God, but yo can't have religion without the divine.

Major oz: As Mozart's patron might have said: "too many letters...."

RMLWJ1: lol

BPRAL22169: (that wasn't as silly a criticism as it sounds - he was accusing Mozart of being too "academic" and baroque-y)

Ravenart: the question the book asked is "what does religion do for people?" How does it promote people's reproductive fitness?

Major oz: Is anyone here familiar with The Baltimore Catechism?

morganuci: No, what's that?

Bookman99R: do tell

Major oz: It is THE WORD for RC kids in elementary school from the 30's to the .....70's or so.

RMLWJ1: Used to be "Johnny Unitas is God" in my youth.

Bookman99R: lol

Major oz: Subject sequences are similar to SIASL progressions.

Major oz: Who made you? God made you. Why did God make you? To know, love...........it proceeds close to Mike's learning

RMLWJ1: Hrrm. Never thought of that, Major.

RMLWJ1: Good point.

CatLeague: http://www.truecatholic.org/baltcont.htm

Major oz: checking.........

BPRAL22169: There;s a good chance that Heinlein actually used the Baltimore Catechism to construct Stranger

Bookman99R: could be. He liked to refer to outside sources

Major oz: Neat site..........have to peruse it later...........<< not looking forward to nightmares of steel rulers >>

RMLWJ1: that makes sense. It's good structure.

BPRAL22169: He actually mentioned some of them in Mike's "seeking" phase -- out of topic for this particular discussion

Ravenart: Mike did studied a lot of religional traditions before he started Church of All Worlds

BPRAL22169: I had to giggle when I read that "predictable" criticism in the original review. Uh -- if you know how the Christology ends, yeah, any parody of the Christology had better be predictable...

Bookman99R: so, what of his Maculate Conception?

Major oz: I never understood the attempt for word play. Yeah, it wasnt IMmaculate.......but, what is the point?

Bookman99R: was adultery leading to murder cast in the die of the crew-planning?

Major oz: Just a simple outline of where he came from?

Major oz: ....or the fued of the angels in heaven, leading to the birth of a redeemer.........?

Bookman99R: Maculate, because in the strict sense, he was a bastard

CatLeague: maculate = spotted, or stained

Major oz: ...as was JC.......in the strict sense\

Bookman99R: as opposed to Jesus' Immaculate conception, though

Major oz: ....in hindsight

morganuci: There are parallels to Christ's life; when I first read it, that title tipped me off even when I was a kid. That it also indicated satire I missed back then.

Bookman99R: Mike was the product of "sin", by social standards of the time

Major oz: Well, the title is from St. Paul

Ravenart: like the Greek heros when the wives get banged by Zeus

Major oz: I always try to put biblical names to the characters

Major oz: Each time I read it, I wind up with different ones.

Bookman99R: so, was Mission to Mars #1 a demonstration of the inherent fragility of traditional marriage?

morganuci: Of course, the undoing of the Envoy's mission was exactly one of the problems with human society that Mike observes and wants to fix.

Major oz: Don't think so. Just cow-towing to standards

Bookman99R: I could certainly see a group marriage going sour under the same conditions

BPRAL22169: Sorry, I had to step afk. Yes, "maculate" is parody of the immaculate conception.

Major oz: Wouldn't matter today

Major oz: Heavy rumors that there is already a 135 mile hi club

Bookman99R: yeah, but that's still "short-time" when compared to MM#1

RMLWJ1: Oh, really, Major?

Major oz: But marriage wouldn't be important in today's culture

Major oz: yeah......really

Bookman99R: I've heard of such rumors, but no attributions to them

Major oz: and you never willl

Major oz: no one admits

BPRAL22169: Just thought of something -- the hanky-panky in Mars orbit was by defintion in the "heavens," so could be regarded as doings of the Gods . . .

morganuci: It depends on who you are. If you're the president, all of a sudden people become very fundamentalist about it.

Major oz: Today, you just select for competence and send them off, straight, gay, or bi........just get-R-done

Bookman99R: but whether married or not, a mixed crew does imply interpersonal social and sexual difficulties

morganuci: And so when exactly DID Mary Jane get pregnant, and how did her husband know who did it?

Ravenart: there's Warren Buffet. His wife picked out a girfriend for him to give him cooking and sex while the wife pursue her career

BPRAL22169: I'm not so sure, Tim. I remember a lot of people disgusted by Clinton's sexual escapades, but it was the perjury that really got people hot under the collar.

Major oz: He probably didn't, unless there was a tearfull confession.

Ravenart: then the wife died after many years and the gf married him a few years back

Major oz: sounds ok to me

BPRAL22169: How very European of him.

morganuci: I've heard several people talk about "the stain on the office of the president" They like to think of the pres. as not a regular person, somehow.

Major oz: Lots of O'Henry-esq stories about terminal spouse picking out a successor.

Major oz: Love to talk about this in another context

BPRAL22169: There's "regular person" and there's trailor trash who don't care enough about the tradition they represent.

morganuci: The same people don't seem to mind when it's the guy down the street doing it (or them)

Bookman99R: "Would she use my golf clubs?" "Of course not! She's left-handed... Oh, crap."

Ravenart: they want the president to be Moses of Americans

georule1861: They want to not be embarrassed.

georule1861: Not so much to ask.

BPRAL22169: LOL. Actually, I think they wanted Bill Clinton to be Josiah Bartlett...

Bookman99R: a point

RMLWJ1: heh

georule1861: A discrete relationship is one thing.

Ravenart: France have presidents who have a lot of gfs out of marriage and they don't give a crap

georule1861: Banging the interns is something else.

Major oz: So, here is this lanky prodigy, in a hospital bed, very literal about language (could have made a fundie out of him) and a semi-horny nurse befriends him. What a way to start.

Bookman99R: OTOH, if the average Joe had the slightest inkling of what foriegners generally thought of the USA, they'd quit worrying

RMLWJ1: I don't have a problem with Clinton getting laid, I have a problem with him doing it in the Oval Office. Kennedy at least kept it out of the White House.

Ravenart: an office is just an office

BPRAL22169: I'm not sure anybody knew he was a "prodigy" when Mike was in a hospital bed.

georule1861: I have trouble with him doing it with an 18 yr old intern, rather than an experienced, discrete, age-appropriate partner that doesn't giggle girl talk to a partisan who recorded it about the stains on her dress.

georule1861: Oh, wait, stranger. Right.

Bookman99R: don't forget that he was an Innocent, as well, since Mike knew nothing of human culture

Major oz: Right, they didn't know. But he still was

Ravenart: Washington never called himself Commander in chief, just a humble adminsterator

BPRAL22169: I think we can agree that Bill Clinton was not up to our social standards, but this threatens to overwhelm our subject . .

RMLWJ1: Ms. Lewinsky was over 21 at the time, IIRC.

Major oz: Good thing nobody REALLY pissed him off too soon.

georule1861: Well, Washington also insisted on "Excellency" as a title.

RMLWJ1: True, it does.

georule1861: So let's not get too caught up in his humbleness.

BPRAL22169: I'm not sure they could have pissed him off too soon -- he was taking in stuff to grok later.

Ravenart: no, that was Alex Hamiton who wanted Washington to be called His Excellency.

Bookman99R: exactly, BR - he had no idea of Right vs Wrong

Major oz: I find it interesting that the most well-known contribution to US culture by H was "grok"

BPRAL22169: Ah, a good point: he was theologically innocent -- he was unfallen by intellect but fallen by parentage.

Major oz: fallen...........?

BPRAL22169: And of course he was "fallen" to earth from the heaven of Mars

Bookman99R: the Matians didn't really teach him their values, nor had he a concept of the human forms

Major oz: as in "original sin" ?

BPRAL22169: Yeah, oz.

morganuci: What are Martian values?

BPRAL22169: Oneof the imporant theological points a lot of people miss is that Christ incarnated as innocent and had to know human experience, including sin, in order to redeem.

Major oz: Disagree, rusty. I think they taught him values simply by teaching him respect for them (the old ones)

Bookman99R: he was, in a sense an "Adam before the Fall", unaware of sex (and nudity) and death/violence

Major oz: ....which, to some, is all the values you need

Bookman99R: correct to a point, Oz - but not a thorough indoctrination

Major oz: agreed

BPRAL22169: One of the things I didn't get a chance to discuss in TMNS was that the book is a romance in form, and his descent into the loss-of-identity in the "nightmare realm" is his trip to earth

Major oz: needed to "quicken" some more

Bookman99R: TMNS?

Major oz: huh ?

BPRAL22169: "The Martian Named Smith," the monograph I co-wrote about Stranger

Bookman99R: ah

Bookman99R: ty

BPRAL22169: It cvouldn't be more than about 50,000 words, so there was a lot that got left out.

morganuci: Well, 'splain?

BPRAL22169: OK -- the romance is the oldest story form surviving and in some ways the most important. It is a "parabolic form" starting out in a stable environment. The romance

Major oz: we gots enough time.....sounds (no offense, Bill) kinda litcrit to me

BPRAL22169: protagonist loses identity and social status (in the classical world, capture by pirates was the leading figure for that). They descend into a nightmare world where they suffer. There is a moment of "recognition," after which

BPRAL22169: ascent starts, and they wind up with restored identity and status.

Bookman99R: interesting

BPRAL22169: The book of job is this form. The whole Bible is this form, with the loss of innocence leading to descent and separatio from god, with restoration at the end in heaven

Major oz: I tend to glaze over, starting when the straight haired ladies in grenny dresses and burkies start "deconstructing"

Bookman99R: so "Starman Jones" was also a romance in form?

BPRAL22169: And the Christology is this form -- separation from God, followed by restoration to God.

BPRAL22169: I wouldn't say Starman Jones is a romance in the strict sense (though there are certainly romance elements); Sam, after all, isn't restored to a status he possessed at the start; he makes a place for himself.

Major oz: "Christology" ? is this like an " --ology" or study, of Christ?

RMLWJ1: It's the blue-haired ladies with perms you have to worry about, Maj.

BPRAL22169: yeah, it's just shorthand for the particular version of the hero tale that is worked out by the story of Christ

Major oz: hokey

Major oz: hok"a"y

BPRAL22169: oppa

BPRAL22169: Now bring me a glass of retsina.

Major oz: Nah; they are the ones that want my knickers when I am playing a gig at the senior center.

Bookman99R: well, I'm going to re-sate my earlier question: Was MM#1 "doomed from the start", accoring to RAH, because of wishful thinking on the part of the planners?

Major oz: yes

Major oz: but the thinking wasn't simply "wishful"

BPRAL22169: The point of all this was that Heinlein has done this over and over -- the descent into the nightmare world is OUR world.

Major oz: ...but flawed, due to many reasons

BPRAL22169: I called it an "ambiguous romance"

RMLWJ1: [offers a glass of retsina, sips aged rhum]

georule1861: A bit contrived even.

georule1861: Any planner wise enough to insist on married couples would insist on long-marrieds.

georule1861: Not a new newlywed of a hot shot pilot and a horse-faced spinster

Major oz: NO

BPRAL22169: I don't know "doomed" - but Heinlein certainly seems to be saying all this "scientific" stuff has . . . um . . . l"imitations"

qinjingyou: Silver mentioned about turning crew selection over to the social studies institute or somesuch

Major oz: long marrieds have burried (surpressed) shit that would come to the surface

georule1861: Tho, again, that's part of him digging at convention.

morganuci: That brings up a question I had.

georule1861: He's saying the planners didn't give a fig for reality, just form.

georule1861: They were bowing to convention.

morganuci: I didn't take the Institute of Social Studies as satire---I figured it was a bunch of psychometricians using computers!

Major oz: New marrieds can use up time exploring each other rather than argueing about the paris trip two years ago.

georule1861: It probably didn't occur to Robert that NASA would actually insist on chastity, an even wierder perversion.

qinjingyou: bureaucrats : we did all the proper things

Major oz: No, geo; that's PERZACLLY what H assumed

Ravenart: the glory of government-run adventure. Taking the fun and drain it colorless

Major oz: ...amd why the trip was doomes

Major oz: doomed

Bookman99R: yeah, bureaucrats - CYOA is Rule 1. Challenger, anyone?

RMLWJ1: yeah

RMLWJ1: absent companions, eh?

Major oz: Except, Raven, when I was in Peace Corps. Had a ball

Bookman99R: and "Don't Make Waves" is #2

georule1861: Heinlein is a wagons ho guy above all. Going without women is anathema.

georule1861: And men + women = animal with two backs

Randyjj55 has entered the room.

morganuci: You can also argue that the crew WAS compatible with each other---in at least one case, TOO compatible.

Bookman99R: there's that

Major oz: But the whole discussion of phony courtship and marriage presuposes H assumed NASA to be prim nannies.

Major oz: Today, it wouldn't (and AFIK) doesn't matter

Randyjj55: I think it was more the legal aspects they were worried about than the moral.

Bookman99R: didn't RAH state repeatedly that high intelligence tends to be accompanied by high libido?

Major oz: Was it him?

RMLWJ1: I believe he did.

Major oz: brb

Randyjj55: I think it is pretty much anyone that thinks they have a high IQ. :-)

Bookman99R: he certainly stated that WRT sex, geniuses make their own rules

Bookman99R: or his charachters dis - I'm using shorthand, here

Bookman99R: did

BPRAL22169: I don't know how trivial it would be regarded as nowadays -- that ridiculous flap last year over Janet Jacksons' breast being exposed was . . . disturbing.

BPRAL22169: You think you've gotten beyond the Victorian crap and then stuff like that comes up.

Randyjj55: But that raises the issue - you can make all the rules you wantabout your own life in your own castle. Getting others to accept yourrules, or even letting you use your own rules with yourself is muchharder.

Bookman99R: about is bad as "oral sex" and WJ Clinton - since the ones flappuing it about were the press, but WJC took the blame...

Randyjj55: Mrs Grundy is alive and well with way too many helpers.

Bookman99R: brb

BPRAL22169: And that, of course, was one of RAH's most important teachings.

Major oz: Undergoing thunder-sleet. Had to top off my glass of Aberlour

Randyjj55: The way things are going, I'm afraid we are going to be callinghim a prophet instead of a teacher - even though the only title heprobably wanted was honest craftsman.

georule1861: Oh, I dunno.

georule1861: He was a terrible phony on that subject.

georule1861: He wanted to be a teacher. He just didn't want to be caught at it.

georule1861: Nor have to explain the lesson more than once.

Bookman99R: I dunno, Geo

Randyjj55: Well, then you have to wipe your hands off a lot, if you are caught.

Major oz: I would not have wanted to take a classroom course from Him

Major oz: But, I could go fishing with him

Bookman99R: I would guess that he less wanted to be a "teacher", than a "letcurer", in the style of Mark Twain

Randyjj55: I think it would have been fun to take a class from him. It might be work, but it would be fun,

CatLeague has left the room.

RMLWJ1: Abelour's lovely stuff.

georule1861: /me goes to reload the Makers Mark

Major oz: I CatLeague from Oz or NZ?

Bookman99R: not necessarily as a humorist, mind, but there were a number of people doing what Clemens did, doing lecture tours

Randyjj55: So, does the Man From Mars want to be a lecturer, a teacher, or a fisher of men, with Major Oz at his side?

Major oz: My son brought me a couple bottles for Xmas

BPRAL22169: He did a couple of impromptu lctures at UC Santa Cruz -- people seemed to love 'em -- very provocative.

Randyjj55: Any transcripts or writings about his lectures around?

Major oz: There is some scholorship alleging that JC went to the middle / far east during the hidden years. Some who claim to know find similarities in his teachings and that of those regions.

BPRAL22169: Well, the Forrestal Lecture has been republished, and I think "On the Writing of Speculative Fiction" -- or maybe it was "SF its nature faults & virtues" was a lectur e-- even a classroom lecture.

Major oz: GIVEN that that is a possibility.......then Jubal is his Guru

Bookman99R: is section II "His Irregular Education"?

Randyjj55: I think of Jubal as not just a Guru, but the (human) father figure Michael never knew.

Major oz: And the three "fronts" are Mary Magdeline

BPRAL22169: I think that trip to India is made up to explain the correspondences of Christ's teachings with some Hindu teachings.

BPRAL22169: Who was it who wrotd "The Perennial Phlosophy" in 1948? Not Graves -- Huxley?

Major oz: It may well explain the correspondences. But that doesn't allege that it is made up. Anyhow, I was saying that....GIVEN that idea......then...........

Randyjj55: It was Huxley.

BPRAL22169: Thx

Randyjj55: Although I think it was Leibnez who first postulated the idea.,but Huxley was a much better known writer and popularized the ideas.

BPRAL22169: Jubal, Duke and Larry is a male trinity; Anne, Miriam and Dorcas is a female trinity.

Major oz: Is Jubal taking his role seriously? Is he like the guy that discovers a son he didn't know he had? Did he give a shit?

Major oz: Would he palm Mike off if he could?

Randyjj55: Well, Jubal had lots of walls around himself - physical andmental. They started getting broken down - literally andmetaphorically, and eventually we get to the core of him.

Bookman99R: dunno, Oz - ISTR something about "Chinese Obligation" in there

BPRAL22169: Well -- he didn't. He could have made Mke a ward of Douglas.

georule1861: Duke as the member of a trinity is quite a giggle.

Major oz: He eventually comes to a "...Oh, Lord, I am not worthy" level. But that is wayyyy later

Randyjj55: When those doors were broken down, he had "decisions" to make, which shook up the "comfortable" life he had built for himself.

Major oz: I can buy the girls, but not the other -- that seems a bit of a stretch

Bookman99R: yeah, that comes ofter he gets his nose in the fact that Mike knows more than he does, does it not, Oz?

BPRAL22169: Think of this from Emerson: First we build our house, then we are imprisoned by it.

Major oz: God the

Major oz: Father.....maybe

georule1861: I think Jubal originally accepts the burden to spit in the eye of authority.

BPRAL22169: Jubal did escape from the prison of his onw making.

georule1861: But he got into the spirit of the thing.

georule1861: Much like Lazarus marrying Dora.

Randyjj55: The first thing required to escape a prison is recognize that one is IN prison.

Major oz: Was he. I never gave much credence to platitudes, even if they seem to work most of the time.

BPRAL22169: Well -- I don't think it's really so much a stretch. Mike and Jill come as seekers -- a classical esoteric situation, to the house of the gods for succor and enlightenment. They find a male trinity and a female trinity.

Major oz: I like that, geo -- laz/dora

BPRAL22169: Both Duke and Larry have parts that Jubal doesn't have personally, from that defintion Heinlein later gave, (in the other "bookend" to Stranger) of what a human being should be able to do.

Major oz: As Jane once said: "lots of soup from one oyster"

Randyjj55: Does Mike represent a complete human - one that doesn't need others to supplement him?

toxdoc1947 has entered the room.

BPRAL22169: But this isn't "one oyster," it's an oyster bed i full production.

Bookman99R: what's up, Doc?

toxdoc1947: hi all - maybe better late than never

Bookman99R: <WEG>

RMLWJ1: Hi, Doc.

Major oz: The reason I find the guys a stretch is that they are distinct, whereas the girls, as a literary device, have no separatness, they are one unit with three faces.

georule1861: Maybe Miryam and Dorcas. . .but Anne?

BPRAL22169: At the start, sure -- but that just makes them the White Goddess posed as consort to the Christian male trinity. A tidy literary figure.

Major oz: Literarily, yes

Randyjj55: Bur didn't Mike say they all had unique faces?

BPRAL22169: Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: The name of the White Goddess is "Anna"

toxdoc1947: I respectfully disagree - they are very much individuals - the appearance of sameness is that they have a smooth working relationship

Bookman99R: I read a theory that the most successful forms of entertainment fill four roles: Father/Authority, Mother/Priest, Creative Child, and Comic Child - does Jubal's set-up fit that bill?

Major oz: Inside the story, yes Mike saw them. Looking in, however..........

Bookman99R: Bearing in mind that each role can be filled by more than one charachter

Major oz: Can each character fill more than one role?

BPRAL22169: "The Tempest" almost fits that formula.

Major oz: The beauty, to me, of H's writing is lack of formula

BPRAL22169: Can't figure a mother/priest; Prospero is priest as well as father.

Major oz: ...except for Glory Road, which I am absolutely convinced, he did on a bar bet.

Bookman99R: the book I was reading applied it to ST: TOS, MASH, Gilligan's Island, and The Beatles

Major oz: Rusty, Rusty, my son........you have wasted your life. Come, let me guide you.............

Bookman99R: lol

Bookman99R: wasted my life? How so?

Randyjj55: Guiding him where? :-)

Major oz: M*A*S*H, GI, Beatles

Bookman99R: lol

Major oz: Although I watched _Sgt. York_ this afternoon

Randyjj55: So, basically, you are going to turn him into Gilligan, playing Beatles tunes in Korea?

Major oz: ...talk about scholck

Major oz: schlock

Bookman99R: <shrug> I liked "Enemy Mine", as well - lay on, sir!

Major oz: yeah, Randy.......and the finer points of good living

Bookman99R: ;-)

Major oz: But he does do a MEAN Bar-B-Q

Bookman99R: ty, ty

Ravenart: Bye guys, it's a lot of fun listening to you :-)

Bookman99R: night, Raven

Randyjj55: Well, BBQ preferences are a true measure of a man.

Ravenart has left the room.

Major oz: Bill, I apologize if it seems I am ridiculing scholorship. I am not. But I do find it difficult to burrow as deep as some, with more knowledge of the canon, do.

Bookman99R: agreed, Oz

BPRAL22169: Not a problem. Skepticism is very useful.

Randyjj55: Well, onion scholarship requires peeling back a lot of layers.

Bookman99R: some of the structural stuff seems to be more indicative than definitive

Randyjj55: But you can make onion rings with any layer.

BPRAL22169: As Frye said: the first responsibilty of a critic is to see what is there.

georule1861: The point of deep craft with an author is to be able to enjoy a book on many levels.

Major oz: My problem is that I have run into too many phony "scholors" that I have trouble recognizing real ones.

BPRAL22169: LOL very neat analogy.

morganuci: We've talked about the book as satire. How about as myth?

georule1861: That those who don't hit some of the deeper ones can still enjoy it.

Randyjj55: I like big onion rings as well as the small ones. Sometimes even more, but I still love the little ones.

Bookman99R: there's a point there - applies to the WB cartoons, as well, IMO

Major oz: AS myth? I have trouble with that, but am willing to listen.

georule1861: The customer is _always_ right.

Bookman99R: heh - do you work for a corporation, Geo?

BPRAL22169: The structuralist definition of myth is a useful starting place: stories that convey the important values of a culture.

georule1861: Use too. Work for me now.

morganuci: So how do you do that while satirizing all the important values?

Bookman99R: before I started having medical issues, we had a training session that argued against that notion

Major oz: Without, Bill, caring if the story, itself, has credence?

BPRAL22169: "That notion" being "the customer is always right"?

Bookman99R: Myth?, or Fable? Do both apply?

Bookman99R: yeah

Randyjj55: Absolutely. What separates real storeytelling from hack writingis the ability to write a story that the reader enjoys the first time,and then keeps enjoying as they discover new facets each time theyreread it.

Major oz: Agree, Randy.

BPRAL22169: Satires don't have a story form of their own; they always borrow -- by parody - other story forms

BPRAL22169: Stranger parodies the Christology, but its target is not the Christology; it's the mess that has been made of religion.

BPRAL22169: So you can start with the same myth and turn it this way and that to catch different aspects.

georule1861: I was reading today that he put the last bit in, with Mike as an

georule1861: Angel, to annoy the humanists as much as the fundies.

Bookman99R: heh

Bookman99R: what source, Geo?

BPRAL22169: "toes god made to be stepped upon"

georule1861: That atheism was as much an expression of faith as christianity.

georule1861: The archives, Rusty.

georule1861: :-)

Bookman99R: ok

Randyjj55: I tend to agree Bill. Would the Master Himself recognize themess that was left behind, in His name? As Mike indicated at the end,there were a lot of things that needed to be changed.

georule1861: Editorial correspondence with the Putnam's editor.

georule1861: it's online, for a couple bucks.

BPRAL22169: Yeah, well, that's a crock in absolute terms -- while being perfectly true of "militant atheists." Apparently you can approach anything as a religion.

Major oz: So: for me, the definitive meaning of myth is of "fairy tale" or not true. But you say the definitive meaning is that it reveals or tells or teaches some aspect of the culture. Do I have that right?

Bookman99R: Well, he also did that with Jubal's monologue on religion

georule1861: I'm fairly sure he meant he militant atheists, Bill. He'd call the others agnotics, I think.

georule1861: *agnostics

BPRAL22169: That's Levi-Strauss' defiinition. But it has the virtue that it's pretty definite and you can work with it.

BPRAL22169: I think Malinowski would agree with Levi-Strauss, so that pretty much puts in the status of an "anthropological method"

Bookman99R: except that Jubal criticized agnosticism, as well

BPRAL22169: Well, one of the important features of Stranger's method is that Heinlein gives you something you think is a firm ground to stand on, and then undercuts it.

Major oz: Agnostocism always went in my trash can along with independents who bitch about not being to vote in a primary.

Bookman99R: which leaves us with the Quest for the Unknowable, with no "right" way to pursue it

morganuci: And are fairy tales myths? The book starts in fairy tale tradition, "Once upon a time..."

BPRAL22169: That's because all ways are "right" ways.

RMLWJ1: As far as militant atheism goes, look at the Marxist/Stalinist line.

BPRAL22169: Oh, yeah, the Marxist-Stalinist line. That's pure-quill religion.

BPRAL22169: 'a "Christian heresy" someone called it.

Major oz: Well, militant atheism cannot, by definition, be FOR anything. It must have something to rail against/

Bookman99R: as well as "wrong" ways, with the charachter of the person making all the difference, a la his digs at gov't in the same book?

georule1861: I think sometimes when it is not necessary to make a decision it is necessary to not make a decision.

BPRAL22169: OK, I'll buy that

BPRAL22169: I'll buy that too

georule1861: That's the distinction between independents in primaries and religion.

Randyjj55: For a dollar!

BPRAL22169: LOL

Bookman99R: lol

BPRAL22169: For a quarter. Moogs!

qinjingyou has left the room.

Major oz: hello ?

BPRAL22169: Yo?

Major oz: I think I was bypassed by some kind of jargon

Major oz: But, I am used to that

Major oz: y'all

Bookman99R: "I'll buy that for a dollar" was a catch-phrase used in "Robocop"

BPRAL22169: It's just a reference to "The Marching Morons." "Would you buy that for a quarter" was a catch-phrase the protagonist didn't get.

georule1861: Ah, another archives surprise recently. . . RAH loved Kornbluth.

BPRAL22169: Of course, "The Marching Morons" was written 35 years or so before Robocop -- inflation.

georule1861: But thought Kornbluth loathed him.

Major oz: Haven't yet, though I plan to, read MM. And I walked out on RC

georule1861: Gave money to his widow tho.

BPRAL22169: Kornbluth was a sour, sarcastic son of a bitch -- but a helluva writer.

georule1861: Pretty good thumbnail there.

Major oz: Sounds like me

Major oz: except for the writer part

Randyjj55: That raises a question. Even though Heinlein's works weretranslated into many languages, how did they come across to thenon-American reader?

Randyjj55: Does Stranger come across the same way to someone who is not familiar with American culture?

BPRAL22169: "The Altar at Midnight" still gives me chills. And "The Annunciation on Channel 8" is as dismaying now as it was in 1954

Major oz: The Russians and Lats I know loved it, but had questions.

BPRAL22169: i talked briefly with Eric Picholle. He thinks the French never got Stranger at all because the translation was so bad.

georule1861: There's a bit from Arthur Clarke in the archives reporting the Brits thought Destination Moon was awfully jingoistic.

georule1861: And noting the hypocrisy of reformed poachers.

Randyjj55: I can see that, given that there is a strain of mysticism in theRussian psyche, that parallels, roughly, the religious strain in manyAmericans. Do the French get anything American beyond Jerry Lewis?

georule1861: Eric has been a good customer.

RMLWJ1: reformed poachers are usually very accomplished, in my experience.

starfall2 has entered the room.

BPRAL22169: I'm not entirely sure Art Clarke or Eric Frank Russell are fair examples.

BPRAL22169: LOL. Not at all surprising. Have you seen Solutions Non-Faisantes yet?

Major oz: Anything that celebrates American technological accomplishment is considered jingoistic by many, the degree proportional to the amount of money we give them.

Bookman99R: hi, Star!

starfall2: Hi. I thought I'd come visit for a little while.

morganuci: Welcome!

Bookman99R: heh, a point there, Oz

Randyjj55: No I haven't. :-)

Bookman99R: I've been re-reading "Tramop Roayle"

toxdoc1947: ahhh starfall, I KNEW you wouldn't be able to resist ;-)

starfall2: thanks

starfall2: heh. i won't be here long, though. it's been a long day, and i'm sleeping soon

Major oz: Hokay, the question of the century: who popped Mike's cherry?

Randyjj55: The evil cherry popper?

Major oz: I am a crude bastard, but too old to beat around the bush (no pun intended)

Bookman99R: I vote against Jill - she was a "playa", and it was stated that it was probably the best of the bunch for that

toxdoc1947: you're right - the question of the century (the evening anyway)

toxdoc1947: I think not Anne but couldn't rule her out

Bookman99R: Anne was portraued, IMO as the least sexual of the Fronts

Major oz: Anyone opt for a group effort?

Bookman99R: that leaves Miriam & Dorcas

toxdoc1947: I sort of think it was just one

Bookman99R: nope, since it's portrayed as a one-on-one encounter

Major oz: me too

Randyjj55: But is it possible that Anne just seemed that way except when she took off her "personal robe"?

Bookman99R: there's that

Major oz: That is the only hint I can find. The "taking off the robe". I guess I have to live with that.

Bookman99R: it may be that Anne _was_ the best choice, since she would have brought the least "baggage" to the encounter, by way of being a Fair Witness...

Randyjj55: I'm not saying that it IS Anne, just that I don't think she canbe ruled out easily. RAH was more subtile than a serpent, except whenhe wanted you to think he was being subtle while taking you for a ride.

toxdoc1947: lol - second the comment!

Bookman99R: heh, a point, Randy - as evidenced in TCWWTW

Major oz: One glaring point in his acculturation. Mike doesn't let physical appearance determine the "look" of a person. Then, later, Jubal explains, when speaking of the sculpture, the beauty is not always available to be seen.

Major oz: Who is teaching who?

Randyjj55: However, I always thought of Anne as being the sterotypicalLibrarian. She seems so prim and proper, but get her out of thelibrary and take off her glasses, and she's a house afire. :-)

georule1861: Gents, I need to get back to work. Ta. Bill, talk to you tomorrow night.

BPRAL22169: applause

Bookman99R: -more to the point, who is teaching _what_ to whom?

georule1861 has left the room.

RMLWJ1: good point

BPRAL22169: ciao

Bookman99R: it could be that appreciation of beauty is a commonality that binds Mike & Jubal together

Bookman99R: "beauty in ugliness" as compared to "victory in defeat"

Randyjj55: An appreciation of inner/true beauty over the outer/common/apparent beauty

Major oz: Indeed. It is a triteness, but I use it sometimes, especially with HS students: "She doesn't have to be pretty to be beautiful".

Bookman99R: as with the Helmetmaker's Wife, eh?

Major oz: ?

toxdoc1947: yeah but we I agree with Major's comment that beauty is not always available to be seen

Bookman99R: "She who used to be the beautiful wife of the helmetmaker"

Bookman99R: the satue in Jubal's art room

Randyjj55: However, Mike is used to seeing with different eyes. Eyes thathave been "opened" by those who showed him a different way when he wasyounger.

Major oz: hokay I missed the background

Randyjj55: The true Man from Mars.

Major oz: by the way, google pics has good pics of the statue

BPRAL22169: I was browsing LACMA andcame upon that on a crowded table. I hd to squat to look at it. Brought tears to my eyes.

Randyjj55: Is beauty not always availabl to be seen, or not always recognized when seen?

Major oz: Tech Q: I have a number of copies of SIASL. The one on the desk right now is the book club edition, with the green jacket with the sculpture on it. On the back flap, under the jacked notes.........

Bookman99R: something to that, Randy

Major oz: ........of RAH, is a note that says: "printed in the usa" and under that " 1881 " Yes, EIGHTEEN eighty one. Does anyone else's have that same number?

BPRAL22169: There are other alternatives -- probably quite a number of them. Don't you find that you see beauty in something/someone you love, irrespective of formulas of social beauty?

Bookman99R: while Jubal went into great lengths to expose the beauty in the "ugly" statue, he failed to see the parallel when he saw the bust of himself in the Nest

BPRAL22169: i.e., you bring beauty to it.

BPRAL22169: Oz, don't recall ever seeing that noted as a feature of the book. Might be a code used just by the SFBC.

BPRAL22169: (Oh, I guess I've arrived -- I saw the issue of FIRSTS magazine I did last year up for auction on Ebay a couple of days ago)

Bookman99R: an allegory to the Burns poem about self-awareness?

Major oz: Good point, Rusty. He was embarrased by it, as I recall.

Bookman99R: Harshaw _couldn't_ see himself as others saw him, in that case?

BPRAL22169: the one, "would that god the giftie gie us/to see ourseln as others see us"?

Bookman99R: yep

Bookman99R: AIRI, the word used was "horrified"

Bookman99R: there's an irony there. JH was portrayed as a lover of, and (relative) expert in sulpture, but when confronted by a sculpture of himself, he cannot effectively evaluate it

Major oz: I have always had my own image of Jubal. He doesn't fit any hollywood or actor-type that I can think of. My pic is clear. He is my very most favorite character in the canon.

RMLWJ1: I agree on that, Maj.

Randyjj55: How well do any of us evaluate the figure we see in the mirror? A skill that Mike alone seemed to possess, but even he needed multiplemirrors and time to see what he needed to see.

Major oz: He is tragic to himself, but heroic to all, including me, that knew him.

toxdoc1947: second the comment!

RMLWJ1: One actor, name I can't recall -- once played a linotyper who was the Devil.

Major oz: Somewhere between Sebastian Cabot and Brando

Major oz: ...but likeable.

Bookman99R: the last is the clincher for my choice

Bookman99R: that being DeVito (yeah, yeah, i know...)

Major oz: YES

Major oz: thassssss it

Bookman99R: huh, thought that had been floated on AFH

Major oz: guess I wasn't there

toxdoc1947: well, got to get up early and pretend to be an expert to some lawyer (I know, I know, but the pay's good) lol

Bookman99R: but I've never seen Danny DeVito play "likeable"

Major oz: I know we play that game often over all the canon

toxdoc1947: 'nite all

Randyjj55: When Mike and Jubal were having the conversation that led to thebig blow-off, was Jubal reflecting Mike or providing a different viewthen Mike was seeing.

Bookman99R: night, Doc

Major oz: by doc

Randyjj55: See ya, Doc

toxdoc1947 has left the room.

Bookman99R: Mike was using him as a sounding board, IMO

Bookman99R: and, I think, seeking approval

Major oz: and vice-versa

Major oz: J was, as developed, a reluctant God-the-Father

Major oz: ...drafted into the job

Bookman99R: another indication of a "father-son" relationship

RMLWJ1: Burgess Meredith, that's the actor. I think he could have done a superb Jubal.

Major oz: uuhhhh

starfall2: i've got to get some sleep. 5 AM comes way too soon. nice seeing you all, even if i didn't talk much.

Major oz: not for me

Bookman99R: yeah, that's a possible

Major oz: I see a fat man

Bookman99R: g'night, Star

Randyjj55: And that, I think is the major point, Major Oz. When others seekapproval from us, it also validates what we think thereby providing us"approval" - Thou Art God, as art I

morganuci: Goodnight

RMLWJ1: me too, I'm afraid.

starfall2 has left the room.

RMLWJ1: David, thanks for the invite.

Bookman99R: and to you, RM

Major oz: c ya

RMLWJ1: I'll try to catch the group next Thursday.

RMLWJ1: be well, all.

Randyjj55: See ya later, RM

RMLWJ1 has left the room.

Bookman99R: not next thursday

DavidWrightSr: Tim. When is Part II scheduled?

Bookman99R: it's a monthly

morganuci: It's supposed to be the 3rd Thursday of each month

Major oz: 20 mar

Bookman99R: damn, too slow

DavidWrightSr: Spasibo

Major oz: Pazhalsta

Bookman99R: Major, was the link I emailed you of any interest?

Major oz: Why was there such a character as Duke? It seems that he was there only because some things needed to be said to a dummy -- or at least an uneducated person.

Major oz: which one was that?

Randyjj55: The handyman.

Bookman99R: the Mo vet'ran medal thing?

Bookman99R: MO, that is

Randyjj55: I think his role was more than that.

morganuci: And to show that the religion wasn't just for intellectuals, maybe?

Major oz: Yes, I have already applied. Thank you.

Bookman99R: you're welcome, sir

Major oz: Yeah, the place needed a handyman, but why was he so prominent?

Major oz: And what did it have to do with Mike.

Bookman99R: dunno. I suspect that Duke was the "everyman" in the story, there so that Jubal has an excuse to lecture to the audience by proxy

BPRAL22169: Some body had to represent the naive view

Bookman99R: and to show that the audience can learn & evolve past their culture, as well

Major oz: That is the only excuse I can think of. But it seems pretty lame for the writer that H had become by that time.

Randyjj55: I think Duke was another version of the caterpillar, waiting tobecome a butterfly. Remember that he started out "behind" most of theothers, yet got to the same point eventually, pledging his fealty toMike in the Nest

Randyjj55: Helping out by taking on roles of handyman, photographer, etc.

BPRAL22169: Well, Duke's "conversion" has a lot of functional roles in the narrative -- he was a dissention to Jill, remember, so taught her the meaning of water brotherhood

Major oz: hokay. We can ALL aspire to (whatever) level he made??

BPRAL22169: And it was an object lesson that the Martian benefits aren't just for the elite the others represent.

Randyjj55: We can all aspire to become better than we are, to ascend.

Bookman99R: while Caxton was there to demonstrate that cynicism is a facade, p'raps?

BPRAL22169: Caxton got in his own way too much

Major oz: Never liked Caxton

Major oz: seemed like a creep

Randyjj55: That cynicism can be penetrated, and that it is a weak defense at best.

morganuci: According to http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Duke, the name Duke means "leader"

Major oz: AS in John Wayne

BPRAL22169: Yes. Dux means "leader" and the verb means to lead out or draw out.

Major oz: I can't even remember Caxton's role past delivering MIke to the compound.

BPRAL22169: So the leader is being led.

Randyjj55: Actually, in retrospect, I think that Caxton more likelyrepresented the insecurity that leads to cynicism, instead of cynicismitself.

BPRAL22169: Possibly that's because he didn't -- he disappeared so Jill kidnapedhim and took him to Jubal's compound -- remembering Duke had mentioned him one time

Bookman99R: he also served as the device to describe the Nest

Major oz: dux, dukus as Fr. Kanne, S.J. would have said

BPRAL22169: Hmm. :Probably "ducis"

BPRAL22169: Caxton was the orignal viewpoint character, the journalist who reports on Mike.

Bookman99R: heh, and another theft by Lucas is exposed - "Count Dukoo", eh?

Randyjj55: I think I need to get a new keyboard. This one keeps dropping spaces, thus I keep missing the final frontier.

Major oz: Fr. Kanne also used to say: "tempus fugit" although he pronounced it tempus fugget.

BPRAL22169: I think Heinlein got hung up in the first part of writing until he realized he needed another narrative focus so developed Jubal out of Kettle Belly Baldwin

BPRAL22169: When he realized he needed to focus on Harshaw, he wrote the rest of the book straight through

Randyjj55: Does Caxton represent the person who is not only the narrator,but the person who has "seen it all" and thus is less impressed by thenew, because he doesn't think there is anything new or real left?

Major oz: Absolutely, Bill. I always saw that similarity/.

Bookman99R: Bill, you've more data, but IMO the resemblance isn't marked

Bookman99R: beyone the "elder statesman" role, that is

BPRAL22169: It's in a letter Heinlein wrote -- it's not at all obvious in the text, I agree.

Randyjj55: Not just the elder statesman, but also the wise mentor.\

Bookman99R: part of the same thing, in this use

Major oz: I thought Caxton started off as the Damon Runyon hard-boiled reporter type who melted, not into sensitivity, but into uselessness.

BPRAL22169: And, of course, Kettle Belly Baldwin was a "kind of executive secretary to an organization of supermen" Sound familiar?

DavidWrightSr: Garsch--McCoy-Harshaw--Baldwin

Randyjj55: Hard-boiled? Does that mean he was originally a good egg?

Major oz: Or well-laid

Randyjj55: :-)

BPRAL22169: There was a book Upton Sinclair published in oh, 1953 I think, called "It Happened to Didymus" that used a journalist. And of course Odd John uses a journalist to tell Odd John's story

Bookman99R: well, he was a muck-raker, who thought it was his job to keep the Administration on it's toes & flying right

Major oz: how crude...........I'm getting old

Major oz: I don't remember Caxton's view of the preacher (cant remember the name).

Bookman99R: I forget if he was a Winchell or a Lippmann - before my time

Major oz: Did he have a proper cynidism

BPRAL22169: Rhat device is a traditional one for viewing an extraordinary event or person

Major oz: ?

Randyjj55: Define proper cynicism.

BPRAL22169: Winchell was pretty canny

BPRAL22169: I tend to think of Lipmann as a gossip columnist

Major oz: Winchell of Lippman. I loved that. H was going through his political metamorphasis about that time, wasn't he.

BPRAL22169: (though both are really before my time, too)

Major oz: or

BPRAL22169: "About that time" covers a period of 13 years, so, yeah.

Major oz: "Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. This is Walter Winchell speaking from the......"

BPRAL22169: You are enough older than I that you might actcually be able to remember that. (though I think that was what he used in WWII, wasn't it?)

Major oz: I heard that every evening at 1830

Major oz: ...until the early 50's

DavidWrightSr: I heard it at least in the late 40s or possibly early 50s

Randyjj55: The quote in the book is

Randyjj55: "In his years as a snooper, first as a reporter, then as a lippmann, hehad learned that close-held secrets could often be cracked by going allthe way to the top and there making himself unbearably unpleasant.",

BPRAL22169: I just missed it. I was about 7 when he was retired.

Bookman99R: Didn't Jill assert that he was a "Winchell"?

Bookman99R: if so, that's a neat irony that I've missed

Major oz: Want to feel old? Last week NBC celebrated the 60th anniversary of the evening news on TV.

Bookman99R: I've had enough "feeling old" moments, TYVM

DavidWrightSr: Want to feel old. I've put together a website for my 50th high school reunion in the summer

Bookman99R: don't need more ;-)

Major oz: lol

Randyjj55: Jubal said he was a Winchell:

Major oz: had my 50th last May

Randyjj55: "He didn't get to be one of the best winchells in the businessthrough playing his cards face up.He didn't get to be one of the bestwinchells in the business through playing his cards face up."

BPRAL22169: My god, I just realized my 40th is next year. Haven't given good old P.U. two thoughts in the last forty years.

Randyjj55: Then Jill said: "Ben is not a winchell! He's a Lippmann!"

Randyjj55: Jubal then replied "Sorry, I'm color-blind in that range."

Major oz: H seemed to leave it to the reader to determine what a L or W was. Another incidence of his leaving the reader to research it or skip it -- differentiating between us.

Bookman99R: IIRC, _someone_ said "He's not a lippman, he's a Winchell", I think to Jubal, and he responded that he was tone deaf or color blind in that range

BPRAL22169: Ican't help it. If it's researchable, I'll research it. It's a reflex

BPRAL22169: Google is very, very bad for me.

Bookman99R: lol

Bookman99R: BTDT, all too often

Major oz: Makes me wonder how I ever lived without the web.

Randyjj55: Google is bad for anyone who has insatiable curiosity and no sense of time. Oh, wait. That describes many of us here...

BPRAL22169: Like a bookstore right across the street grom your house. (my last address in San Francisco)

Major oz: I went to college in slide rule days and learned about vacuum tubes.

Randyjj55: You're not the only one, MO

Bookman99R: and to think, the concept pre-dates the word 'computer'

BPRAL22169: Fortunately it wasn't all that good a bookstore . . . but I went from there to Santa Cruz, living directly over the best independent bookseller in California. You just can't win. I had to pretend it wasn't there.

Major oz: Nothing quite as useless as an OLD engineering degree.

Randyjj55: Unless it's an old English degree...

BPRAL22169: Well, tyhere's useless and there's useless. My business partner still wants to program in Assembler.

Major oz: Garrison Keeler will enlist you into the International Federation of English Majors.

Bookman99R: what, a new "liberal arts" degree doesn't make that list? <EG>

Randyjj55: An engineering degree is only as old as the amount of time it's been since you stop learning.

Major oz: I'm a Zebbie

Bookman99R: brb

Major oz: I was too lazy to keep up. It all came too fast. Still have a "ceremonial" P.E.

Randyjj55: I'm a electrical /nuclear/aero type myself

BPRAL22169: Fortunately, it's become too idfficult to find any real information on Google of late.

Bookman99R: don't look at me, I'm just a lowly tech

Major oz: My life is now playing music, fly fishing, travel, and grandkids

Bookman99R: speaking of which, you are welcome to stop over here any time, Oz

Randyjj55: Don't sell yourself short. A good Tech is like a good NCO. They keep things going and new engineers/officers out of trouble.

Bookman99R: heh

Major oz: Got a new pick-em-up and travel trailer. May be through there come April or so.

Bookman99R: ty, sir

BPRAL22169: Well, It's getting time to feed the kids, so I'll say goodnight gracie.

DavidWrightSr: Goodnight Gracie

Bookman99R: give me enough lead time, and I'll BBQ, otherwise, it's grill or 'other'

Bookman99R: g'night, Bill

Major oz: I gonna go too. Already missed the news on how long the ice will continue to build up.

BPRAL22169: my line.

BPRAL22169: ciao all

Major oz: night Bill\

morganuci: Good night

Bookman99R: call it a night, then?

BPRAL22169: Oh, BTW, are we no longer doing the Saturday second session?

DavidWrightSr: No

morganuci: We're about at the end of our appointed time.

Bookman99R: not to my knowledge

Major oz: See you all next time. I will be out pickin' and dancin' Sat.

morganuci: The Sat. meetings weren't well attended (meaning, no one), so we stopped them

BPRAL22169: just as well. But we never see Kultsi any more.

Major oz has left the room.

BPRAL22169: Ok. thx and next time.

BPRAL22169 has left the room.

morganuci: Good night everyone

Bookman99R: likewise

Bookman99R: I'm off

Randyjj55: See you later

Bookman99R has left the room.

DavidWrightSr: Tim. I've got a complete log.

Randyjj55: Thanks for the invite David.

DavidWrightSr: You are welcome. I try to watch out for everyone.

morganuci: Great, I was just about to try to figure out how to save it. You've saved me the trouble!

Randyjj55: Looking forward to seeing what I missed at the front.

DavidWrightSr: I'll start working on a transcription of tonight and the a.f.h. postings this weekend.

morganuci: Thanks!!

Randyjj55: Guess I'll take off also and prepare some notes for tomorrow's class.

Randyjj55: Have a good evening, all.

DavidWrightSr: Nite.

morganuci: Thanks, good night!

morganuci has left the room.

Randyjj55 has left the room.

DavidWrightSr: Log officially closed at 11:59 P.M. EST


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