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C.M. Kornbluth bio 
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Heinlein Nexus

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Post C.M. Kornbluth bio
Mark Rich finally published his biography of C.M. Kornbluth, with MacFarland. Incredibly well-researched book. I had no idea so much material was available on him. Bit of an ax-grinder against Fred Pohl, without ever really nailing down the case against him, and Rich doesn't fully grapple with the negative aspects of Kornbluth's character (even though he had conversations with Kornbluth's father and brother). Kornbluth's widow and children aren't tracked after his death with even a cursory mention of "where are they now". But as an exploration of his life, Rich has provided all the groundwork anyone could ask for as a first major step into Kornbluth. Well worth reading!


Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:26 am
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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
About all I know about Kornbluth, biographically, is that he was one of several Futurians with green teeth, that he died far too young, and that I will never shovel the snow from my walkway and then run to catch a bus.

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Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:52 am
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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
Fairly or not --and I really haven't fully analyzed why I feel this way-- one of the interesting shocks to me from reading a fair chunk of RAH's correspondence was the discovery that he was a fairly serious Kornbluth fan, but felt it would have displeased Cyril to know that fact --and that Robert himself didn't seem to find it all inappropriate or unusual for Kornbluth to feel that way. It came up at Kornbluth's death when some of his friends were making a collection in the sf community to help his family financially.

Heinlein himself was the damnedest amalgamation of dreamer, pragmatist, and cynic --I suspect this gave him at times the ability to resonate sympathetically with the more purer personalities of all three types.

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Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:03 pm
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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
georule wrote:
Heinlein himself was the damnedest amalgamation of dreamer, pragmatist, and cynic --I suspect this gave him at times the ability to resonate sympathetically with the more purer personalities of all three types.

Perhaps that distills into the most genial meaning and interpretation of "charlatan." :)

I don't think RAH had any illusions about his self and how others perceived it.

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Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:27 am
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Heinlein Nexus

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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
There are some Heinlein materials and issues raised in the bio, including the damndest letter Kornbluth wrote about meeting Heinlein in the late fifties.

Bill has my copy right now, but I will post said letter here when I get it back -- unless Bill does it first.


Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:17 am
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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
JamesGifford wrote:
georule wrote:
Heinlein himself was the damnedest amalgamation of dreamer, pragmatist, and cynic --I suspect this gave him at times the ability to resonate sympathetically with the more purer personalities of all three types.

Perhaps that distills into the most genial meaning and interpretation of "charlatan." :)

I don't think RAH had any illusions about his self and how others perceived it.


Well, you're coming from a different direction, I think. I didn't mean it meant Kornbluth would like Heinlein --he doesn't seem to have. I meant it made it possible for RAH to like Kornbluth. And, for that matter, Hubbard --tho I do think that Heinlein never quite grasped just how thoroughly Hubbard had duped him on issues that Robert would have cared about, like Hubbard's actual war record vs the one he convinced Robert he had. Duping the gullible on religion, which he clearly knew Hubbard was up to, was just belly-laugh material for Heinlein up to the point where the church gets strong enough to actually start being a menace. It is interesting to wonder how Robert's opinion about Hubbard and Scientology would have changed if he'd lived to be aware of the revelations of the last 20 years.

As to mixtures being evidence of being a charlatan, well I suppose the RNC's recent test for "are you really a republican? If you fail three of these ten you don't qualify" would be in that vein of thought. But some people just get upset when individual examples refuse to neatly fit into their preferred taxonomy. The thing is, taxonomy is supposed to describe reality, rather than reality neatly conform to taxonomy for convenience sake.

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Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:25 am
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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
JamesGifford wrote:
georule wrote:
Heinlein himself was the damnedest amalgamation of dreamer, pragmatist, and cynic --I suspect this gave him at times the ability to resonate sympathetically with the more purer personalities of all three types.

Perhaps that distills into the most genial meaning and interpretation of "charlatan." :)

I don't think RAH had any illusions about his self and how others perceived it.


To me it distills into a pretty good description of "engineer." The ability to envision, the practicality to produce a working version, and the bedrock knowledge that Murphy's law will bring down your building, or your nation, sooner or later. The best that good engineering can do is make it "later."

My view is that's a good thumbnail of Heinlein the writer, and the man.

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Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:15 pm
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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
I put C. M. Kornbluth right behind RAH as my all-time favorite writer in the SF arena. I never knew of the behind the scenes stuff alluded to here, just that Kornbluth's approach in his stories appealed to me in a different vein from RAH's. It is a shame he was taken from us too early.

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Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:10 pm
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Post Re: C.M. Kornbluth bio
Seconded on all points, OJ. Kornbluth and Weinbaum wrote such brilliant stuff and were taken away far too early. I don't think I've read a story by either that I didn't like.

And let's face it, even a lot of the revered Golden Agers wrote a few stories in their early career that never saw the light of reprints... making these two even more of a brief treasure and a loss.


Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:09 am
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