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Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . . 
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Post Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
Re: "Authorized Biography"

Although this biography has always been "authorized" in the sense that it was commissioned by Mrs. Heinlein while she was the only surviving trustee of the inter vivos trust that owned the intellectual property rights to Heinlein's writing, Ginny didn't want to use the term "authorized biography," and I agreed with her reasoning that the term has come to mean "whitewash by the self-interested survivors" and carries the implication that material the estate objects to was left out. That's not true for this "formal biography" (the term I have always used).

Ginny did ask me not to put in during her lifetime any mention of one single event because it might subject her to pointless social censure among her contemporaries where she lived. After she passed, she said, she doesn't care any more. She died in 2003, and by the time I got to writing that section, even that restriction was ineffective, so in it went, in some detail.

The Prize Trust's "guidance" for the biography was the same as for the online Archive -- everything goes in; nothing is suppressed.

Well, of course everything can't go in -- even the 750,000 word first draft left some stuff out. There's simply too much detail and some of it is trivial. I tried to cram in stuff that would satisfy the curiosity of people who read the book for many different reasons and agendas; as Robert James reminded me, this is going to be the one big one, as nobody else is ever going to have reason or ability to spend this much time and energy on this kind of biography again, and this book will set the agenda, so that anything that needed to get into the record had to get into this book.

At any rate, I believe it was Tor that wanted the dubious cachet of an "authorized" biography. The term suddenly showed up last year when we went between Legal Review (a process that took something like three months, from May through August and into September, I believe) and the copyedit.


Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:04 am
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Post Re: Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
Well, it IS authorized, in that you had/have the consent and cooperation of Ginny and the Trust. So, the term is accurate. While it is impossible to avoid the guilt-by-association of other "authorized" biographies that are little more than publicity vehicles and press releases, it is also true that an "authorized" biographer (usually) has access to more first-hand and original sources than an unauthorized one. So, I can understand the publisher's desire to designate this book as such. In the end the work will stand on its own merits. The rest is just marketing.


Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:17 am
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Post Re: Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
whpattersonjr wrote:
The Prize Trust's "guidance" for the biography was the same as for the online Archive -- everything goes in; nothing is suppressed.


I'll vouch for the latter, even when it made for some squirming and wincing.

And no I won't give pointers --y'all will have to find them on your own. :)

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Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:56 am
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Post Re: Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
Frankly, I have no expectation that Mr. Heinlein was perfect in every way. He was human, we all have our foibles and issues. I do think he had some fascinating ideas, and a skill for weaving a great story, which is why I enjoy reading his works.

So sure, I expect to squirm occasionally, and disagree with some of his thoughts/choices. Much as I would expect the masses to do with my own life choices and thoughts.


Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:10 am
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Post Re: Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
Airgetlam wrote:
Frankly, I have no expectation that Mr. Heinlein was perfect in every way. He was human, we all have our foibles and issues. I do think he had some fascinating ideas, and a skill for weaving a great story, which is why I enjoy reading his works.

So sure, I expect to squirm occasionally, and disagree with some of his thoughts/choices. Much as I would expect the masses to do with my own life choices and thoughts.

That's too sane -- you can't hang out here!


Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:47 pm
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Post Re: Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
One of my favorite sayings --"The only 'normal' people are the ones you don't know very well". Bill has spent 10 years making sure he knew Robert very well indeed.

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Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:03 am
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Post Re: Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
After thinking about the subject for several days I decided to bite the bullet and pre-order half a dozen books for autographing purposes. I think the pre-order discount will about cover the postage for two mailings, so anyone who wants to order an autographed and inscribed copy can do so for the nominal cover price of -- oh, heck, let's just make it $30 and you can moan about eating the additional nickel. It will give you something to complain about for the health of your soul.

If anyone wants to commission an inscribed copy, contact me by e-mail first, then you can send the payment to me c/o the Heinlein Journal's mailing address, which is now 357 S. Fairfax Ave., No. 226, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

It would also help if you discuss what you would like to see in the inscription.

By coincidence the day I made my order for inscription copies the first batch of my author copies arrived (not, I should mention, in wonderful shape; Tor had packed them in too big a box so the corners got dinged during shipment. But at any rate, I'll be able to start fulfilling inscription orders immediately.


Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:49 am
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Post Re: Something like a FAQ -- what he said . . .
the check's in the mail :P


Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:13 pm
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