Heinlein Readers Group Online Discussion Wednesday, December 15, 2010
DavidWrightSr (9:00:26 PM): Welcome oh kilted one!
kiltedrobspierre (9:00:36 PM): Evening David
kiltedrobspierre (9:00:58 PM): How is your evening so far?
DavidWrightSr (9:01:25 PM): So far, you are it. I hope that others will show up.
kiltedrobspierre (9:01:47 PM): So do I.
DavidWrightSr (9:01:58 PM): Are you Rob Wright?
kiltedrobspierre (9:02:00 PM): I could use a break from grading finals
kiltedrobspierre (9:02:02 PM): Yes
DavidWrightSr (9:02:23 PM): Ah. thought so. Where do you teach?
kiltedrobspierre (9:02:41 PM): Chaparral Middle School in Alamogordo NM
DavidWrightSr (9:03:18 PM): Used to live in Arizona myself. Mesa outside of phoenix.
kiltedrobspierre (9:03:27 PM): 7th grade NM History and Geography
DavidWrightSr (9:04:11 PM): Fun. Well. we'll give some others time to log in and if they don't we'll have our own discussion.
kiltedrobspierre (9:04:22 PM): The Phoenix area gets too hot for me, at least here, I can retreat to the mountains
DavidWrightSr (9:05:05 PM): Yes. it was 30 days of over 115 when we moved there.
DavidWrightSr (9:05:44 PM): But it can freeze you in the mornings. Used to ride a motorcycle and really had to wrap up.
kiltedrobspierre (9:07:19 PM): We've been getting down into the 20's at night and hitting 70 during the day all week, the kids have been whining to have the AC turned back on
DenvToday (9:14:54 PM): Hello all. Ron in Denver, CO here.
kiltedrobspierre (9:15:44 PM): Evening Ron
DavidWrightSr (9:15:50 PM): Hi Ron. I am having some problems with this new version of AIM, so it took a while to get you loaded. I lost another
DenvToday (9:17:18 PM): Hello Robspierre, as well as David. It's been a long, long time.
DavidWrightSr (9:18:33 PM): It's looking like we are going to have few people here, I am sad to say. This was my first attempt at setting up a discussion and I am not sure how well it was received. Also, the change from tomorrow night to tonight may have thrown people off.
DenvToday (9:18:36 PM): I'm afraid I'm not prepared. It's been a hellishly busy time for me, and I just bought the Patterson book today.
DavidWrightSr (9:18:58 PM): Did you get a chance to look over any of the reviews?
kiltedrobspierre (9:19:34 PM): I'm catching myself up on the latest one Bill posted on the forum.
DenvToday (9:20:14 PM): Yes. I've read comments on the Nexus Forum (from Patterson and others), as well as a few reviews.
DavidWrightSr (9:21:14 PM): You just bought it, so I presume you haven't had a chance to read any, Right?
DenvToday (9:21:34 PM): Martin Morse Wooster reviewed the book on National Review Online.
DenvToday (9:21:55 PM): I've read the preface, but I haven't gotten into the guts of it yet.
DavidWrightSr (9:22:42 PM): IMHO, you've got a treat coming, regardless of what some reviewers think. O:-)
DenvToday (9:22:45 PM): By the way, I love my Kindle. lol
DavidWrightSr (9:22:56 PM): Do you have it on Kindle?
DenvToday (9:23:19 PM): http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/ ... se-wooster
DenvToday (9:23:25 PM): Yes, I have it on Kindle.
kiltedrobspierre (9:24:08 PM): I'm thinking of getting a copy for my ipad, down the road
DenvToday (9:24:16 PM): Positive review by Wooster.
DenvToday (9:24:52 PM): I'm thinking about getting an iPad. So far, my innate cheapness has won out.
DavidWrightSr (9:25:10 PM): Wow. That would eliminate one problem if you can look up references easily. That's the one problem I've had with them at the end of the book. Bill tried to have them at the end of each chapter, but lost the battle.
DavidWrightSr (9:25:27 PM): Do you have a link to the Wooster review?
DavidWrightSr (9:25:36 PM): sorry. didn't see it
DenvToday (9:25:39 PM):http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/250773/heinlein-s-conservatism-martin-morse-wooster
DenvToday (9:26:01 PM): The review is more about RAH than the book, but it's a nice review.
DavidWrightSr (9:26:03 PM): Thanks. I had a senior moment there.
DenvToday (9:26:07 PM): lol
kiltedrobspierre (9:26:24 PM): Even us youngsters have them
DenvToday (9:26:42 PM): I'm middle aged. If I live to be 114, that is.
DenvToday (9:27:07 PM): Hiya doc.
DavidWrightSr (9:27:13 PM): That seems to be a problem with many of them, turning reviews into summaries of his life rather than discussing the treatment
toxdoc1947 (9:27:19 PM): not a big turnout so far
toxdoc1947 (9:27:29 PM): Hi all
DavidWrightSr (9:27:39 PM): AH. another welcome visitor. Was beginning to think that it was going to be a bust.
DenvToday (9:28:13 PM): I think we're on Tertius time.
DavidWrightSr (9:30:05 PM): Welcom Randy
DenvToday (9:30:17 PM): Hi Randy.
Randyjj55 (9:30:17 PM): Hi David, long time, no logon
kiltedrobspierre (9:30:26 PM): Welcome
DavidWrightSr (9:30:46 PM): Sorry. Missed one. Hi Doc
Randyjj55 (9:30:59 PM): What great conclusions have you reached so far?
DenvToday (9:32:09 PM): We've all decided to contribute to the DenvToday Retirement Fund.
DenvToday (9:32:17 PM): Wonderful charity.
DenvToday (9:32:33 PM): I take gold as well as Visa.
DavidWrightSr (9:32:40 PM): The only thing so far is comments about the reviews being mini-biographies rather than actually reviewing the book. There are notable exceptions, especially some of those who panned it.
DavidWrightSr (9:33:11 PM): As long as the Federal Govt, and the State of Georgia don't fold, my retirement is going well.
DenvToday (9:34:07 PM): I thought about RAH the other day. A private rocket achieved orbit from Canaveral on Dec. 8.
kiltedrobspierre (9:34:10 PM): I'll be teaching till I'm 70 with the changes NM has made to teacher's retirement
DenvToday (9:35:17 PM): Somewhere Harriman was smiling.
Randyjj55 (9:35:22 PM): Thanks for posting the link to the reviews - it was interesting reading, and as you noted, very few reviews, and certainly none in any great depth, although I thought the one by Mark Tiedmann made me want to go buy the book, which I would have anyone once I had learned it was out. Unfortunately, real life has kept me quite busy the past few years, so didn't know that it was out until the chat topic was announced.
toxdoc1947 (9:35:50 PM): me either
Randyjj55 (9:36:05 PM): Busy working on getting a cubesat ready for launch next year.
DenvToday (9:36:08 PM): When is part 2 due out?
DenvToday (9:37:02 PM): Wow, Randy. Boeing?
DavidWrightSr (9:37:25 PM): Part 2 will be a couple of more years, I'm afraid. Bill said they have just started the first copy editing, I belive.
DavidWrightSr (9:37:37 PM): Space-X wasn't it?
DenvToday (9:39:11 PM): Yes, A Falcon 9 rocket. 3.5 hour flight, two complete orbits.
DavidWrightSr (9:39:50 PM): Every since I read Walsh's review, I have been trying to find out what she meant by Learning Curve being an 'old-fashioned' biography, not the sort of thing that is done today. She referenced the bio of James Tiptree. Well, I read it and I can't see what she is talking about.
DenvToday (9:41:01 PM): Do you have the link for the review?
DavidWrightSr (9:42:32 PM): Hang on. I get it.Walton, not Walsh.
DavidWrightSr (9:42:35 PM): http://www.tor.com/blogs/2010/08/patter ... on-details
DenvToday (9:42:39 PM): Thanks.
Randyjj55 (9:43:44 PM): No, I am program manager on an environmental monitoring satellite for a student outreach program sponsored by the government. It will probably go up on a Falcon 9 next fall.
Randyjj55 (9:45:20 PM): How can Walton make that kind of a statement. If you go to google books, you can actually read large swaths of the book and it looks like a very good read to me, with lots of interesting information. Of course, since I was born in southern Missouri, what I read there looks pretty true to me.
DenvToday (9:46:26 PM): I'm not really familiar with Walton, but (she?) seems to be intent on proving she's the smartest one in the room.
kiltedrobspierre (9:46:26 PM): Considering how private RAH was, to have his early life laid out and to see how events from that time shaped him, in the context of what was going on at the time, to me, was illuminating
DenvToday (9:47:01 PM): Randy, I'm impressed. Others talk, you do. Nice.
DavidWrightSr (9:48:11 PM): Bill claims, (and who am I do dispute him), that this is not a biography of a sf writer, but a biography of an american literary writer. ( I may be misquoting him).O:-)
DenvToday (9:48:12 PM): I can't wait to delve into it. My Kindle has been calling to me all day.
Randyjj55 (9:48:54 PM): Others do, I have the joy of trying to get 10 pounds out of a 5 pound bag - the usual approach of the government funding a program. I do get to do the communications and ground station design though, so there is some fun in the program.
DenvToday (9:50:02 PM): Makes me think about the space program 50 years ago. Done mostly with slide rules. Amazing.
DenvToday (9:50:50 PM): Sorry Randy, I'm but I'm still mightily impressed. You're just gonna have to live with it.
Randyjj55 (9:52:08 PM): i would say that there is no inconsistency between talking about being a sf writer and a literary writer, if the sf is done intelligently. Certainly in many of the later novels that make up the future history series and the melding & mingling of other novels like number of the beast, there is an interesting literary strand, as put forth by Heinlein's characters.
DenvToday (9:52:27 PM): He and Ginny once spent all weekend working out ballistic orbits, by hand, for Space Cadet, a book for boys who wouldn’t have known the difference if they’d fudged it. But he got it right, every little bit of it
DavidWrightSr (9:53:46 PM): Yeah, that's a great story. "Computer? My boy, this was 1948" (paraphase)
DenvToday (9:54:30 PM): I agree, Randy. A good novelist is a good novelist, not matter the label.
Randyjj55 (9:55:52 PM): I don't think Walton truly appreciates how much forensic work Bill had to do to work around the fact that RAH was very much interested in controlling the story and arc of his life. The idea of burning much of his correspondance must have driven his biographer(s) and his fans to dispair, aye to the Pit of Dispair/.
DenvToday (9:56:48 PM): My favorite bread is made from the Dough of Despond.
DavidWrightSr (9:58:18 PM): Bill said that even with the burning, which he didn't consider crucial, there were over 100,000 thousand documents in the archives and another 100,000 with Ginny. The problem was too much rather than too little, IMO
DenvToday (9:59:33 PM): wb
DavidWrightSr (9:59:45 PM): Dang it. close the room accidentally!
DenvToday (10:00:23 PM): I'm guessing this was a work of love. There can't be much money in it for him.
Randyjj55 (10:01:07 PM): Probably not. Especially when you figure the amount of money he probaby got for the book, versus the amount of time he probably put into it. I know when I did my first book, there were hours spent just spent verifying some item of information - and I was writing about electromagnetic theory, not a person. EM is much easier in my opinion.
DavidWrightSr (10:01:07 PM): I certainly doubt that any amount would be enough to compensate for the actual work that he did.
kiltedrobspierre (10:02:46 PM): It is obvious that the biography is a labor of love, but you can also tell that Bill did not try to hide anything or play up a particular viewpoint.
DenvToday (10:02:47 PM): People like him enrich out lives.
DenvToday (10:02:53 PM): er..our
DenvToday (10:04:02 PM): I know RAH tried to control the info about his early life, but I suspect he would not object to warts and all.
DavidWrightSr (10:04:25 PM): That' what I don't understand from some of the critics. They automatically assume that because Virginia authorized it, Bill was obligated to spin it a certain way, when it was very obvious to anyone with half a brain, that he wasn't doint that.
Randyjj55 (10:05:12 PM): Yes, it is like they read a different book in a parallel universe set up by black hats.
DenvToday (10:05:40 PM): The Number of the Reviewer
DavidWrightSr (10:05:55 PM): The question is, Can they read and if they can, did they actually read it. Remember RAH's quote about critics in the Kilkenny lounge.
DenvToday (10:07:16 PM): What was the quote?
DavidWrightSr (10:08:07 PM): To get out of the lounge, all a critic had to do was read plain English without distorting it (paraphase)
DenvToday (10:08:25 PM): Ah. Devilish. lol
DenvToday (10:09:13 PM): I must go. David, thanks for organizing the discussion tonight. I hope there will be others. Good night to one and all.
kiltedrobspierre (10:09:27 PM): Night.
DavidWrightSr (10:09:41 PM): I have been reading RAH since 1953 at least. I don't know how many times I have read everything he wrote. The amazing thing to me was how as I read the bio, I felt like my previous experiences were being expanded into other dimensions, opening up like an explosion
Randyjj55 (10:09:53 PM): Yep! That's why I brought up the reference. I suspect that the take if the readers of the biography will be much like the readers of Starship Trooper. Their opinions are based more on their life experiences as filtered and shaped by the way they WANT the world to be instead of their understanding of what the world actually IS.
DavidWrightSr (10:10:07 PM): If anyone has a theme in mind, don't hesitate to let me know.
Randyjj55 (10:10:15 PM): See you Denv.
DenvToday (10:10:19 PM): Will do. Thanks again!
DenvToday (10:10:22 PM): Bye Randy.
DavidWrightSr (10:10:29 PM): do svidanje
kiltedrobspierre (10:11:58 PM): I've not liked everything I've read by Heinlein, but, they all have made me think and in some cases re-evaluate some of my views.
DavidWrightSr (10:12:51 PM): What are the ones you don't like? And, conversely, what is your favorite?
Randyjj55 (10:12:57 PM): Actually, I think it would be interesting if people who have read the biography would present specific ways that the biography illuminated or changed their understanding of a story or novel that they have read in the past.
Randyjj55 (10:14:17 PM): For instance, I would like to see more information on his time in the military and how it influenced Starship Troopers. Having spent much of my life in the military, both on active and reserve duty, I fail to see many of the things that people claim are in the story.
DavidWrightSr (10:14:23 PM): That's a good theme. Maybe I'll use it next time. File off the serial numbers first.O:-)
Randyjj55 (10:15:01 PM): Just good engineering efficiency - don't reinvent the wheel, unless you can get a cut on the patent.
toxdoc1947 (10:15:51 PM): Yeah - I've been in the military (just as a "Join or get drafted" recipient of what we used to call a 'McNamara Fellowship' "
DavidWrightSr (10:16:12 PM): That's a good question.
toxdoc1947 (10:16:25 PM): Even so, the tenets of "Starship Troopers" resonate with me
kiltedrobspierre (10:16:33 PM): The biggest thing for me so far, just how much influence utopian writing/thinking had on Heinlein throughout all of his writings
DavidWrightSr (10:17:07 PM): I do know that reading Starship Troopers helped me get through Basic training by showing that there had to be something better than what I was experiencing.
toxdoc1947 (10:17:08 PM): It might be worth talking about how his early books influenced kids
toxdoc1947 (10:17:39 PM): "Starship Troopers" and "Space Cadet" were some of my earliest exposures to RAH.
Randyjj55 (10:17:44 PM): I came in after that misunderstanding and lack of appreciation of world history and ethnology. Instead, I got to spend time trying to understand 14th century tribal mentalities.
DavidWrightSr (10:18:38 PM): It also helped me that SIASL was in the post library and I spent all of my offtime reading it.
Randyjj55 (10:18:48 PM): I agree that both Space Cadet and Starship Troopers were among my favorites, even to this day. However, I also like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Double Star a lot, for different reasons.
toxdoc1947 (10:19:06 PM): I had a studette who complained that ST somehow conferred a compulsion to serve among her friends - including one guy who said "I wish I'd have died in Viet Nam - where my death would have meant something."
toxdoc1947 (10:20:30 PM): I have two sons - one read it (national guard, airborne, special forces), and the other did not.
toxdoc1947 (10:20:45 PM): An n=2 is a very insufficient population
DavidWrightSr (10:20:51 PM): It certainly didn't 'compel' me to join, it was, as you said above, join or be drafted. Joining got me training that has made a significant difference in my life.
Randyjj55 (10:21:04 PM): Nothing in Starship Trooper really justifies that sort of thinking. If anything, it really hammers home the point that most of what you do in the military is oriented around duty and honor, which means that you are doing the hard, dirty work that others want done, but don't want to do.
toxdoc1947 (10:22:14 PM): My training was very, very interesting (Military Intelligence) but my life was pharmacy -> clinical toxicology at a poison center. Still, I learned some very fundamental lessons and use then to today.
toxdoc1947 (10:22:45 PM): *them
toxdoc1947 (10:23:10 PM): A lot of the H&MP stuff in ST resonated with me
DavidWrightSr (10:24:46 PM): I have observed that RAH fans generally fall into 3 categories, 1) prefer the 'juveniles', 2) prefer the 'adult' and 3) like most if not all of them. I am in 3)
toxdoc1947 (10:25:04 PM): I totally agree - duty, honor, and putting yourself between threats and your family and friends
kiltedrobspierre (10:25:13 PM): I find myself in the third category
Randyjj55 (10:25:21 PM): Same here. I think the key word is resonated. To those who value those ideas and concepts, they are tightly coupled to what RAH was trying to explore and understand them in a visceral way. To those whose orientation is otherwise, they are always looking for the man who wasn't on the stairs.
toxdoc1947 (10:25:32 PM): I'm a "3" also - just got hooked early
Randyjj55 (10:26:04 PM): Yes, I am a type 3 also, starting at an early age and remaining so to this day.
toxdoc1947 (10:26:34 PM): can't believe that 90 minutes has passed - we could just be getting started
kiltedrobspierre (10:26:51 PM): ST and SIaSL were the first Heinlein works I read at age 12, haven't stopped since
DavidWrightSr (10:27:11 PM): As many have pointed out, a lot of early SF fans hated the way RAH went after his Campbell years. Myself, I never could understand that.
DavidWrightSr (10:27:40 PM): Well, we haven't talked much about the theme, but I didn't really think that we would.
toxdoc1947 (10:28:39 PM): Yes, I think our feelings about RAH have crystallized - regardless of published biography
kiltedrobspierre (10:28:46 PM): RAH after Campbell I think was outside the comfort zone for many readers
Randyjj55 (10:29:34 PM): Well, when you think about it, we are talking about it - our discussion is as wide-ranging and eclectic as Robert's writing, and that is what you would expect in a biography of that sort of person.
DavidWrightSr (10:29:51 PM): I was too young to have read him during those years, so maybe that predjudices me.
kiltedrobspierre (10:31:07 PM): RAH grew as a writer, he never allowed himself to stagnate
DavidWrightSr (10:31:53 PM): Did any of you ever have a dream where you found unread Heinleins? Used to happen to me quite frequently.
Randyjj55 (10:33:06 PM): That was thing that I always found interesting about RAH's writing. While many authors stick to a particular genre or subset of SF/fantasy, Heinlein roamed all over the SF map.
Randyjj55 (10:34:53 PM): That is not an unusual dream - there are several authors that I wish that would occur with. Of course, sometimes there were good reasons that stories were unread and should have stayed that way.
DavidWrightSr (10:35:02 PM): Not only the SF map. What always amazed me about people who said RAH was 'x' or 'y' have to be looking it strictly through their own filter, because almost every thing that said 'x' you could find 'not-x' somewhere else.
DavidWrightSr (10:35:20 PM): Sometimes even in the same story.
DavidWrightSr (10:37:20 PM): Do you recall the passages where a character said that 'thinking was impossible without symbols'? He attributed to Korzybski. Well, I have spent several years researching that. a) Korzybski never said it. b) Heinlein had counter examples even in some of the stories that he claimed it.
toxdoc1947 (10:37:59 PM): Some of his stuff might have encouraged dreams NOTB had a would series of universes dedicated to fantasy - and some later works had memorable lines like "Worse case we could be dealing with an..... author!"
Randyjj55 (10:38:08 PM): Yes, the sign of real maturity and stability - being able to hold and consider fundamentally opposing ideas in one's mind and ponder the meaning of, agreeing with, one or both or neither.
DavidWrightSr (10:38:25 PM): And drives critics mad!
Randyjj55 (10:39:53 PM): I thought they started out "mad" (angry) and "mad" (crazy) and just polished off the rough edges as they progressed through their career.
toxdoc1947 (10:40:11 PM): Ahhh critics: send then to Kilkenny lounge
Randyjj55 (10:42:44 PM): Well, as much as I enjoy this, I gave a final today and probably should get to grading them so the kids can get their grades.
DavidWrightSr (10:43:01 PM): Unless someone has something further they would like to contribute, I am going to call it a night. I have enjoyed it. It didn't turn out exactly like I expected, but it went well. Thanks to everyone.
toxdoc1947 (10:43:18 PM): yoiu don't use the "throw them down the stairs" method?
kiltedrobspierre (10:43:23 PM): Every journey starts with one step
Randyjj55 (10:43:34 PM): No, that doesn't work with solid state physics.
toxdoc1947 (10:43:45 PM): Thanks David - this was GREAT!!
DavidWrightSr (10:43:52 PM): Remember if any theme occurs to you, post it on the forum or email me.
Randyjj55 (10:43:58 PM): Good job David. We should do this again soon.
kiltedrobspierre (10:43:58 PM): And like Randy, i need to get back to grading as well
DavidWrightSr (10:44:18 PM): Night All
kiltedrobspierre (10:44:21 PM): Night all
Randyjj55 (10:44:25 PM): Night.