Re: Éric Picholle's Review of the Archives
-- and sorry for the late answer, and for not having introduced myself yet...
Actually, I didn't know the paper was published yet, much less already online...
Funny to find out this way, thank you very much !
I will, if people here are interested — but no promise about when !
To make a long story short, it's basically an hommage to Bill Patterson's work,
and to the Heinlein Trust's quite original approach to his legacy. In this paper,
I tried to point out the originality of this possibly unique (to date...) project,
and to discuss the tension between the ambition to offer a tool to the researchers
and to allow the "fair use" of his archives, on the one hand, and avoiding to make
online piracy and copiright violation a lot easier, on the other hand.
I also tried and discuss more general smart database strategies for non-SF scholars
to have their attention called on the amazing variety of useful and otherwise
unavailable information that can be found in the archives of a man who was
a careful observer of the XXth century, with a very personnal point of view
on the technical revolutions that caracterize this historical period. As an example,
I offered Heinlein's visit to Los Alamos in august '45, only a couple of weeks
after Hiroshima, a key political period preceding the creation of the Federation
of Atomic Scientists
Nothing really deep — not really my field (I'm basically a research physicist,
who sometimes also teaches some epistemology) — but I seldom pass on
any opportunity to place RAH front and center in an academic context.
Anyway, the basic conclusion is that the online publication of the Robert
and Virginia Heinlein archives is an amazing achievement, and will become
quite a powerful tool... once the necessary key to their overwhelming variety
is made available — namely, Bill's The Man Who Learned Better.
(hint, hint !)
I wish it were true... But I'm afraid I am another casualty of the French
so-called "classical" education — loads of dead languages in high school,
thus rather poor fluency in any spoken language, even if we sometimes
can maintain the illusion on the internet...