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Heinlein Biographical thread? 
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Heinlein Biographer

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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
DavidWrightSr wrote:
JamesGifford wrote:
Look at the extent his later works are concerned with rearranging the past to make a better present. Even Door into Summer was concerned about rearranging the past and present to make a better future...

Neither AYZ, BHB, nor DIS are concerned with 'rearranging' the past as all of the events which occurred, occur again as the protagonist(s) go through the time looping. They are simply seen from a different POV each time through the loop. This is not as apparent in DIS as Dan was not aware of his second trip the first time around. Clues, however, do indicate that they were the same. "Who left the screen unlocked" and "Where did he park his car" which are explained by events caused by Dan which are shown the second time.

(see http://dwrighsr.tripod.com/heinlein/Tim ... eories.htm. This was an earlier version of my article which was published in The Heinlein Journal in Vol. 11, June 2002 and Vol. 12, January 2003).

"Farnham's Freehold" does show a rearranged past, but it is doubtful as to whether Hugh and Barbara had any part in doing the rearranging as they found at least one change had already occurred when they arrived back in the past, notably, that Barbara's car had shifted from being an automatic to a manual drive.

I'd qualify both BHB and AYZ as rearranging the past -- the various apparitions of Bob are attempting to get himself to act differently; and in AYZ he's assuring the existence of the circle in time that is his existence. "rearranging" might be the wrong word -- but he's protecting an existing time loop by influencing his own past. Daniel Boone Davis certainly makes a deliberate move to change some aspects of the outcome in 2000 when he makes the dispositions of his intellectual property that will keep them out of Belle's hands, so I think that qualifies, too. FF strikes me as trying to change the future by acts in their Present, so I'm with you there. They didn't try to rearrange -- just discovered the possibility it might change outcomes.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:19 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
BillPatterson wrote:
I'd qualify both BHB and AYZ as rearranging the past -- the various apparitions of Bob are attempting to get himself to act differently; and in AYZ he's assuring the existence of the circle in time that is his existence. "rearranging" might be the wrong word --

I think that the key word in BHB is 'attempting [to rearrange]', but he can't alter a single occurrence. In AYZ, he was simply re-traveling the events which let to his own recruitment, but again nothing was 'rearranged'. They occurred in exactly the same sequence each time through the loop.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:32 am
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
But both loops were precisely that - a loop in an otherwise linear vector. Not a circle. I've read too many poorly-structured analyses (including AP, I believe, and perhaps Stover) that present the events as if they are a closed loop, endlessly repeating with the characters trapped inside. Neither one is.

Both Jane and Bob enter their loops at one point and exit it at another. Actually, both loops have multiple entries and exits, but the main point is that there is an initial entry and a final exit from each series, with a life existing beforehand and one continuing afterwards. The situation of Jane is a little more complex with a closed loop from birth to retro-conception, but even then, the Recruiter eventually exits from that loop after arranging for his own conception.

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Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:39 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
JamesGifford wrote:
But both loops were precisely that - a loop in an otherwise linear vector. Not a circle. I've read too many poorly-structured analyses (including AP, I believe, and perhaps Stover) that present the events as if they are a closed loop, endlessly repeating with the characters trapped inside. Neither one is.


I used the phrase 'each time through the loop' to refer only to the actor from a different POV, not that they were continually looping forever. The actor does exit. My timeline that I referenced earlier clearly shows that. Both AYZ and BHB have exit points, but the difference between AYZ and BHB in this respect is there is no existance in earlier linear time of the loop in AYZ and therefore no entry point. It has only one unique starting point(1) and has multiple starting points which are all the result of some earlier event.

(1) A difficulty in dealing with these type of stories is that to discuss the story it is necessary to see the events as static from outside, whereas the actor only sees the process as dynamic by direct participation.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:11 am
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
I wasn't necessarily referring to your analysis or this discussion, only that too many published and public analyses carry the assumption of a closed loop - or state it outright.

I think it is useful to be specific and point out, when analyzing most time-loop stories, that the loop is usually open. Leaving the assumption, often promoted by the story structure itself, that the loop is closed and infinite misleads the unwary reader.

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Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:19 am
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
JamesGifford wrote:
I think it is useful to be specific and point out, when analyzing most time-loop stories, that the loop is usually open. Leaving the assumption, often promoted by the story structure itself, that the loop is closed and infinite misleads the unwary reader.

I definitely agree. People do tend, I believe, to perceive of it as an infinite loop even when it is obvious that the participant(s) generally enter and exit and don't just continue to loop in it.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:48 am
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Heinlein Nexus

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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
David ought to know -- his articles about time theory and Heinlein are the definitive take on the subject ...


Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:15 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
RobertJames wrote:
David ought to know -- his articles about time theory and Heinlein are the definitive take on the subject ...

Thank you Sir :!:

Of course, the number of stories which are built by many authors around determinate time travel(1), such as DIS, AYZ and BHB are small compared to the ones where the past can be arranged(2), or even more bizarre combinations. In SBTS and others Heinlein appears to use both in the same work. Think of the rescue of Maureen versus the work of the Circle of Ouroboros and the rescue of her father Ira Johnson from Coventry.

(1) Determinate=unchangeable, Indeterminate=changeable (Thanks to Justin B. Rye)
(2) and multi-verse stories also.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:23 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
DavidWrightSr wrote:
RobertJames wrote:
Think of the rescue of Maureen versus the work of the Circle of Ouroboros and the rescue of her father Ira Johnson from Coventry.


Sorry, a Senior Moment. Maureen's rescue was in NOTB not STBS. The alterable time line appears in the events surrounding the travelers discovery that they have been 'erased' from their original timeline. This might be stretching the definition a bit as it appears that the 'erasure' in this case is the author himself interacting with the characters just as in the case of the erasure of Sky Marshall Beaux Sambo, rather than something caused by the travelers themselves.


Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:04 pm
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Post Re: Heinlein Biographical thread?
BillMullins wrote:
AlexHergensheimer wrote:
Any more info on this interview? this is exactly the type of straight forward opinion that RAH rarely expressed. I'm not familiar with this interview, but I'd like to know more
It was on the front page of the View section of the LA Times for that date. Your librarian can probably help you get a copy.

I found it using ProQuest database search. Nice piece; I live in L.A. so maybe sometime I'll go down to Central branch and print out copies of this and a bunch of other articles from the original microfilm. ooooohhhh.... Then one day down the line I will make a giant database (maybe a user-editable wiki?) that focuses on Heinlein's stated opinions (as opposed to opinions we infer from his fiction)


Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:41 pm
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