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Heinlein's male/female couples vs. those of other writers 
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Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 7:52 pm
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Post Heinlein's male/female couples vs. those of other writers
This derives from the "characterizations" thread:

How much "realism" do we expect when we encounter couples in SF?

One of my favorite Phil Dick novels has at its center a (childless) marriage gone terribly wrong: Now Wait for Last Year. This has been supposed to draw upon Dick's actual third marriage when he lived in Point Reyes Station, Marin County, in the early 1960s (similarly for the central marriage in Clans of the Alphane Moon, which did produce offstage children; Dick's third wife was a widow with daughters, and they also had a daughter of their own).

If personal experience did play a role in the creation of the occasionally suicidal husbands and self-centered, vindictive wives in those novels, then perhaps (by contrast to Dick's third marriage) Heinlein had such an untroubled third-and-final marriage that, as a result, couples required for story purposes tended to be ill-defined as couples. Example: Clifford's parents in Have Space Suit. We are told what a charming curmudgeon Dad is right off the bat, with the story of the IRS agent's visit, but of the couple we know only that Dad would curl up and die if anything happened to Mom, quiet and undifferentiated though she may be. (We do learn at the end that she was once his student at university, but that doesn't shed any light on her character.)

I don't mean to imply that an author's personal experience is required to create "realistic" characters (or couples), of course... nor that realism is always desirable.

Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:11 pm
Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Heinlein's male/female couples vs. those of other writer

Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:51 pm
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