Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book
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Author:  beamjockey [ Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:58 am ]
Post subject:  Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

As some here know, Professor Farah Mendlesohn has been working on a book about Heinlein's writings.

Today she announced that it will be published by Unbound, a crowdfunded London publisher. Details at the Unbound site.

I was certain correspondents here on the Nexus Forum would wish to know about this. I hope some of us will consider supporting this project.

(How far have we come? I have seen "book trailer" videos before. This is the first time I have seen a book trailer for a work of literary criticism. Heinlein predicted waterbeds and pocket radiophones, but not this!)

Prof. Mendlesohn is not only a friend, but also an impressive scholar. I'll quote the bio at Unbound:
Farah Mendlesohn began reading science fiction at the age of 12, when her Dad’s best friend handed her a suitcase full of science fiction books and told her “don’t sort, take the lot”. The contents of the suitcase turned out to be an introduction to entire new worlds.

She is a historian, critic and fan. She chaired the Science Fiction Foundation and served as the President of the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts, as director of Programme for the Montreal World Science Fiction Convention and Director of the Exhibits Hall in for the London World Science Fiction Convention. She has taught History, American Studies, Publishing and Creative Writing. Mendlesohn is the author of Practicing Peace: Quaker Relief Work in the Spanish Civil War; Diana Wynne Jones and the Children’s Fantastical Tradition, Rhetorics of Fantasy, The Inter-Galactic Playground: Science Fiction for Children and Teens, and co-author of A Short History of Fantasy (with Edward James) and Children’s Fantasy Literature: an Introduction. She has been nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Related Book five times and won for The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction edited with Edward James.
I have high hopes her book on Heinlein will be a good one.

Author:  mostlyclassics [ Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

It's too bad the shipping for the print edition is so savagely expensive:

Shipping is added at checkout, and depends upon the weight of the book.

The typical delivery charge for UK destinations is £4.

International shipping is from £14 per subscription for standard format hardbacks going to the EU and more to US and ROW addresses.

For larger (and heavier!) books, shipping will vary depending on weight and destination. We appreciate the international shipping rate is high, but delivering heavy books from the UK is, unfortunately, an expensive business.

We often run 'Read with a Friend' levels that include two books per package to save on postage.

At the moment we send all of our books via tracked and signed services to ensure they have the best chance of arriving.

Postage from the UK is high, but not this high. So I suspect they're using something like FedEx.

Even so, I'm going to shell out for a printed copy. (I'm enough of a dinosaur to dislike digital editions.)

Later: Shipping to the U.S. is $23.00, as I found out when I placed my order. Ouch!

Author:  BillMullins [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

Quotes from the trailer: "He enters the field in 1940."

His first professional sale was in the Aug 1939 issue of Astounding.

"He served in the Navy until he was about 40, when he was invalided out."

Patterson's bio for the Heinlein Society says "[H]e was retired (August 1934) with the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, medically unfit for service." He was age 26.

Neither is a huge error (and the first is corrected in the excerpt from the book), but they don't inspire confidence either.

Author:  beamjockey [ Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

Today the Robert Heinlein Unbound site has added a feature.

The notable science fiction writer Ken MacLeod interviews Farah Mendlesohn about her book and about Heinlein. His first question strikes me as very relevant to our concerns in this forum:
KMM: Two full-length studies on Heinlein's work were written during his lifetime, by Panshin and Franklin. Since he died there has been Patterson's two-volume biography, and there are a lot of scholarly and fan articles. Clearly, you've read them all! Why do we need another book on Heinlein?

FJM: To start with, of the books out there on Heinlein, only two were written after Heinlein’s last novel: Leon Stover’s 1987 book and Sanders and Clareson’s The Heritage of Heinlein (2014). Stover offers a close reading but imposes his own political views on Heinlein in an attempt to render him consistent. Sanders and Clareson produce a very solid, very linear account which for reasons of space spends little time on the short stories, and which hews rigorously to what I would describe as the popular narrative of Heinlein – one which is not wrong, but which is un-nuanced. This divides his life into the three periods, of short stories, juveniles and adult novels, but in reality these overlap. It also means that there isn’t much sense of how they all connect. Once you’ve read For Us, the Living, Heinlein’s work unfolds as one long conversation and argument with the ideas in that book, and a continual revisiting of the ideas of his younger self. Frequently Heinlein uses different books to take different sides of the argument. An awful lot of people have only read some Heinlein, and I sympathise because there is an awful lot. But when you read it all and when you start to think about how the short stories and novels and essays interact, a very complex writer emerges.
The rest is well worth reading.

At the moment, the book is 73% funded, with 433 people having pledged. Very encouraging, for those of us who would like to see it published. Its main crowdfunding page is here.

Author:  BillMullins [ Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

And it is now fully funded (103%).

Author:  mostlyclassics [ Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

This is superb news!

I'm surprised it reached full funding so quickly.

Author:  LilLeaguer [ Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

via File770, this interview with the Author discusses romance in Heinlein's works.

Author:  Airgetlam [ Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

One thing I do find most interesting on a personal level is that there is rarely any acknowledgement regarding the culture in which these books were being published, and what potential limits this may have put on Heinlein...or may have affected him unknowingly. I'd certainly think that any publisher would have been unwilling to put out books that would be considered "obscene" or cause any fuss. My perception is that it wasn't until much later in life that Heinlein had the clout to push more of his own agenda, and his early efforts might be more construed as "telling an acceptable story in order to make enough money to pay the mortgage", rather than deep philosophical treatises of his opinions on humanity.

But maybe that's just me.

Author:  beamjockey [ Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

I am pleased to report that Farah Mendlesohn won another award this week. The book she co-authored with the late Michael Levy, Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction, received the World Fantasy Award in the Special Award—Professional category.

Author:  beamjockey [ Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Farah Mendlesohn's Heinlein Book

Farah Mendlesohn reports today to subscribers that she has sent the edited manuscript to Unbound.

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