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Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40
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Author:  RobertWFranson [ Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40

From the "Life-Line" thread
Eric Picholle wrote:
Bill Patterson wrote:
He did not make further revisions in the stories despite an opportunity
to do so in 1967 (of course he was busy building the Santa Cruz house at the time . . .).
On the other hand, he took "Let There Be Light" away from The Past Through
Tomorrow
— maybe not a "revision", in any case not a time-consuming one,
but still, in my opinion, a significant attempt to " keep the Future History
a projection from the then-current date", as you put it : what had been an
impressive intuition of the laser in 1942 (he obviously missed the "stimulated
emission" part, but insisted on the radio analogy, thus the key resonant cavity,
for "cold light" emission) might have sounded like rather poor popularization
after Charles Townes' invention of the maser (1954) and laser (1958).

Quote:
So how are we to regard the revisions made for non-literary purposes
(i.e., not to strengthen the story, but to keep them "current.") given that
Heinlein later (Expanded Universe) repudiated this agenda?
I basically agree with Jim here : there are several slightly different
versions of the History of the Future — it might be fun to hunt down
the differences, but of little significance for most readers, and even
most critics...
Well, sometimes one version, perhaps the original, is the best. I spend a little time saying why I think this is the case in my review of "Let There Be Light" at http://www.Troynovant.com. Surely, in the ever-lengthening perspective of future readers, there's little to be gained in swapping out Sally Rand (1930s star) for Betty Grable (1940s) or Marilyn Monroe (1950s); especially since Heinlein knew Sally Rand.

Author:  EricPicholle [ Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40

Hi, Robert !

Robert W Franson wrote:
Surely, in the ever-lengthening perspective of future readers,
there's little to be gained in swapping out Sally Rand (1930s star)
for Betty Grable (1940s) or Marilyn Monroe (1950s)


Marilyn will probably remain a highly recognizable icon long after
Betty Grable and Sally Rand are forgotter — but I fully agree, of course.

Quote:
I spend a little time saying why I think this is the case in my review
of "Let There Be Light" at http://www.Troynovant.com.

Thanks for the link ! I didn't know Pohl's blurb.

On Troynovant, you wrote:
Why is "Let There Be Light" now a semi-orphan in print?
I suspect less for its mildly sexy dialogue and descriptive bits (...) The risque
dialogue could be, and was, easily tweaked for the earlier book collections
without doing much damage to the story.

I even suspect that the (mildly, indeed !) "sexy" dialogue was a mere pretext,
and that Campbell only rejected the story because he just wasn't too comfortable
with the idea of a bright and seductive woman who also excelled in science
(there are letters in the archives where he takes his own daughters, who
where definitely not scientifically oriented, as his standard in the matter...).

Quote:
I suspect less for its mildly sexy dialogue (...) than because the plot
hinges on a populist idea that corrupt big-business buys up and suppresses
promising inventions. Would Heinlein have cared to endorse this almost
thirty years on in 1967 (...) take out the invention-suppression concept,
and the plot disintegrates.

He certainly would not have endorsed it as his own political opinion,
but I don't see why he wouldn't have such ideas expressed in his fiction,
either as a character's opinion or part of the plot. He explored a lot
of extreme politics-business relationships in the 60s and later.
"Corporate fascism" is considered in Podkayne, for instance,
and invention suppression would probably not be beyond the
Shipstones in Friday...

Author:  RobertWFranson [ Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40

The decanonization of "Let There Be Light" may have been due to a combination of reasons. Is there anything in the RAH correspondence about this?

As for the progression of pulchritudinous stars, it seems rather like chasing a will-o-the-wisp currency, dumbing down to a short time horizon. One would as soon expect, for instance, a titular reference to Philosopher's Stone to be warped and simplified into Sorceror's Stone. Oh, wait --

Author:  JamesGifford [ Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40

Robert W Franson wrote:
One would as soon expect, for instance, a titular reference to Philosopher's Stone to be warped and simplified into Sorceror's Stone. Oh, wait --

Well... the HP books were written for stupid people.

Author:  Baylink [ Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40

Perhaps they were -- and as I've noted elsewhere here, perhaps I'm not the best critic of the written work -- but I liked those, as well.

Sure there are holes in them. But there are holes in Tom Clancy as well, and he managed to be pretty popular.

Author:  BillPatterson [ Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40

Eric Picholle wrote:
I even suspect that the (mildly, indeed !) "sexy" dialogue was a mere pretext,
and that Campbell only rejected the story because he just wasn't too comfortable
with the idea of a bright and seductive woman who also excelled in science
(there are letters in the archives where he takes his own daughters, who
where definitely not scientifically oriented, as his standard in the matter...).

Campbell's discussion of the rejection was fairly clear that he rejected it "because the femme is too good" -- and she had too prominent a role in the story for the tastes of his readership, as he understood it in 1939 -- that is, he rejected it for marketing reasons: "The science-fiction readers have shown a consistent distaste for science-fiction detective stories and feminine scenery in science-fiction stories.
She's much more nicely handled than the average woman in science-fiction, but I'm still afraid of her. Better lay off, or try her on MARVEL." (5/31/39). Marvel was a new sf pulp that specialized in "titillating" stories -- just one step up from the shudder pulps.

Author:  BillPatterson [ Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Stories: Let There Be Light (Opus 004/G007abc) May39/May40

Robert W Franson wrote:
The decanonization of "Let There Be Light" may have been due to a combination of reasons. Is there anything in the RAH correspondence about this?

No real discussion; Heinlein was building the Bonny Doon house at the time and didn't give the assembly of The Past Through Tomorrow the same degree of attention he normally would give it, since it was a pet project of his to get the whole of the series into boards, going back to 1946.

Damon Knight -- who was not the editor, merely asked to write the introduction -- suggested it should be omitted because it was a weaker story than the others. There is no further mention in the correspondence; so apparently Targ and Ginny (who did the proofreading) passed the omission without any further discussion in print (who knows what might have been said by telephone?)

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