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What made me a serious Heinlein 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:24 am
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Location: Northwest Georgia
Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
sergeial wrote:
Thanks!

Actually I'm currently a "future soldier," though only for a few more days. I'm shipping out for BCT at Fort Jackson on Oct. 1, so I'll be out of touch for a while. But I'll be back and let you all know how it went over in "Coventry."


I have many memories of Fort Jackson from some 47 odd years ago. Hopefully, the weather will be a little cooler for you than what I experienced during August there. I spent many of my off duty hours reading Stranger in a Strange Land for the first time there in the base library.


Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:59 am
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
I have always loved Sci Fi. I grew up on a book diet of Roald Dahl and John Wyndham. Then I discovered Asimov and was amazed. Then I read what has become my 2nd favorite book of all time - The Door Into Summer. (Sorry but JW tops the list with The Day of the Triffids). Since reading RAH for the first time I have read most of his novels, not so many short stories though.

I got confused by SIASL, but love the World As Myth sets, and seriously think I am in love with Mamma Maureen! I totally empathise with Starship Troopers (I am an ex soldier) - I also think that the movie totally missed the point of the book, and was not very good (probably a totally different set of posts for that topic!) and wish that Starman Jones was longer! I read Friday, Sail Beyond Sunset, Number of the Beast and TEFL again and again.

But like a favorite pair of slippers I turn to my 10 year old well worn paperback copy of Door whenever I want to escape for a few hours, I even wanted to call one of our cate Pete - but my wife wouldnt let me!


Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:11 am
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Location: Cloudcroft New Mexico
Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
The first Heinlein novel I read was Starship Troopers. I was in the eighth grade. Until that time I had been reading Anne McCaffrey, Jerry Pournelle, Orson Scott Card, and Frank Herbert. RAH's writing grabbed me in much the same way that Frank Herbert's Dune had but in a different way. Despite all the action and adventure, there was something about Starship Troopers that kept me returning to it after the first reading.

Yet Starship Troopers was not the book that pulled me over the edge into full blown Heinlein obsession. That honor goes to Stranger In A Strange Land. The second RAH novel I read, also as an eighth grader. While there was much that went over my head at the time, I had such a strong reaction to the novel that I began to hunt down and read everything I could get my hands on by RAH.

Even if some of the works are now a bit dated, they all contain gems that reward re-reading.

Rob


Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:13 pm
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
My brother was the first Heinlein fan so when I was very young in the 50s I read his books. I don’t really remember the exact ones I read, but I always remembered a story about a lost star ship. In the 70’s after I got out of the Army I started collecting and rereading all of them that the book store had. It took a long time before I found the same story again (reprinted in Expanded Universe). So I guess you could say I have been a serious fan since I was seven or eight. Like all of us I have everything that I could put my hands on.
His influence is there is always something to think about within the story. I don’t think the thing in the stories is always what Heinlein thought, but something to think about so you can form your own framework.
I do think SciFi in general and Heinlein in particular makes my work more exciting; I spent over 30 years working in contract quality assurance for the DOD & NASA. I now work for a private company as a Quality Engineer for space equipment, mostly for satellites, but we are involved in other space ventures.

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Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:33 am
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
It was in 1971, and two people I knew who knew me from Vietnam Moratorium (they were anti-war, but not pro-Moratorium -- well, one of them was a Randite) got to talking with me, and at one point they offered to loan me a copy of Harsh Mistress. Don't know why; I wasn't intellectually stimulating then, and I don't feel I am now, either, especially with respect to the folks who post on this site.
But they did, and I just loved it. For one thing, I was political (new left) and Heinlein was political, and I just loved the revolution angle.
For another, I was looking for friends (and didn't know it) and here were some people who wanted to be my friends.
For a third, I was seduced by Manual Garcia O'Kelly-Davis (I only realized this lately). Manny is a great guy! His family life is great! And he's such a down to earth (down to luna) type of guy -- who wouldn't love him?
I think these folks -- well, it was Al and Harry, if you know 'em, mebbe you don't -- wanted to turn me politically. When they offered to loan me a Heinlein book, I said something like "Yeah, that's the guy who wrote Stranger In a Strange Land, isn't it? Always meant to read that."
Well, Al and Harry weren't about to let that be the first Heinlein I ever read, so they loaned me Mistress. When I finished and asked for another, they loaned me Farnham. That was taking a chance! But I decided this Heinlein guy couldn't be a racist (I hoped!) I think I got down to thinking that the way RAH and I differed on race is that I approved of affirmative action and he apparently thought the black liberation movement was part of the entitlement society. I still believe affirmative action was the right thing for the times, though now, after decades in power, I can see many black leaders figuring that THEY'RE entitled. My hope is that there is so much miscengenation in the world that eventually we'll all be latte-colored, and color won't matter any more.
Where do I agree with Heinlein? Tolerance of others, individual responsibility (this really is not a question of right-wing, left-wing), respect for people who read.
Where do I disagree? I believe toward the end of his life he grew intolerant of ignorance (did I just write that?), I mean, a bit too intolerant of the ignorant, perhaps a bit arrogant. I believe along with Kettle Belly Baldwin that you have to treat such people with compassion and try to pull them along. I also don't have that much problem with socialism; only problem is, it takes government to deliver, and that means politicians in charge, and I have grown more and more intolerant of politicians of any stripe as I've grown older.
Another bone I can pick is his reluctance to call out the scoundrels in the Republican Party, and there were plenty to call out: Gingrich, that fatass Limbaugh, Robertson, either Bush. I'll leave Reagan alone: I think he was both sincere and suffering from Alzheimer's during his second term.
Whoops! Gotten kinda off RAH here, haven't I?
Let's just say, I have great respect and admiration for the man who wrote The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, The Man Who Sold the Moon, Starship Troopers, Stranger In a Strange Land, Farnham's Freehold, Space Cadet, Red Planet...had enough?


Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:38 pm
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
I always thought there was probably something more to the incest line than met the eye, though I am not one of the deep types who can pull it out. But as Bill points out, there is a lot in later Heinlein that is satiric; could RAH have been playing with the concept of the self here? One case in point: he has sex with his cloned self-as-women, Laz and Lor. And with Maureen, was he playing with the idea of diving back into the womb?
Anyone else with ideas?
Bill?

NickDoten wrote:
Many, many moons ago, my 5th grade teacher discovered my fascination with books . Little did Mr.Tilsner realize what he was unleashing when he allowed me to browse the school library whilst my classmates were being treated to inane science experiments ! Like many of you, I found in books the ability to be transported away from my life as a child in the early 60’s. I discovered worlds that once existed and worlds that never were on those library shelves. I discovered dreams.

A couple years later, I was old enough to visit the local library alone and peruse a much larger reading selection. Until this time, I had never encountered the genre of sci-fi. I truly don’t recall my first readings. I know they excited me and I pretty much exhausted their sci-fi section. This section was mostly restricted to what we call the “Golden Era” of sci-fi. Asimov, Simak, Bradbury, and yes, Robert Heinlein. They possessed a large selection of his juveniles which soon left for home with me.

What I found (and find) intriguing about RAH writings was plainly his ability to spin a fine story ! As I and my intellect grew (at least I think it did ;}), I began to see the consistent qualities of his protagonists- qualities that a growing, inquiring teen found admirable. I found myself in agreement with RAH’s ideas of self worth and never say die attitude. I can’t attribute where I read it but I heard him called the epitome of the “American Mustang” mentality ! Independent and free. Unfettered intellect. A mind expanding (lol the 60’s there) experience could be found in his writings. Amidst a fine story could be a found thoughts which provoked deep thought. RAH gave my ponderings direction.

I can only echo the same sentiments Jack broached in what he didn’t like in RAH’s later writings. This was the “familial” sex depicted there. Sorry, as I’ve broached in the old Nitro forum, I find this disturbing even in RAH’s Valhalla. Call it personal bias, call it what you may, incest (imho) is wrong. Under any circumstance. Even as a member of the so called “free love” generation, I see it as wrong. Nope, never a victim of such myself, but I’ve witnessed the after effects of these relationships on people I know very very well. It was the most tragic turn their lives could’ve taken. 40 years later, they still harbor the hurt this caused them. Here I can not let RAH’s fiction be confused with what I perceive as a fact. It’s just wrong. Yes, I’ve read the compelling argument ( which Sharon mentioned) in “If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister” where those against incest are painted as the insane ones. Again fact over rules fiction.


Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:53 pm
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
holmesiv wrote:
. . . could RAH have been playing with the concept of the self here? One case in point: he has sex with his cloned self-as-women, Laz and Lor. And with Maureen, was he playing with the idea of diving back into the womb?

I'm sure something like "playing with the concept of self" is going on. One of the most enduring recurrent figures in the corpus is represented by the anecdote told in Stranger about the earthworm meeting its "other end" and falling in love. The figure is enormously fraught, and it bears on the idea of self and other. (which is probably why SF was so attractive to him -- SF is the literature of Other).

The idea that we are all fragments of the single reality (Emerson's Over-Soul), that our independence and individuality is an illusion, was an idea that is enormously powerful for Heinlein. I think the emergence of the incest motive in the last five books is one of the things Heinlein does in ddrawing a literary equivalence between humans and gods. Having the power of choice, what Gods do is transgress monkey rules (and incest is the most powerful literary device for that kind of thing, blasphemy being the other common literary device)


Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:07 am
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
Speaking for myself, I found the treatment of this theme in " 'All You Zombies--' " to be more than satisfactory, as encapsulated in the sentence "It's a shock to have it proved to you that you can't resist seducing yourself." That is, in retrospect I'd have been happy not to have ever read Heinlein's working out of this same theme in Time Enough for Love (e.g., the Laz-Lor scenes) and the three later novels in which Laz-Lor appeared.

(Not to say another writer couldn't make a go of it, as for example David Gerrold's 1973 novel The Man Who Folded Himself; just that Heinlein had, in my view, already treated this topic as concisely and wittily as he would ever be able to do.)


Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:36 am
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
Been thinking about this since I wrote that last post. Essentially, the "family" play in the World As Myth novels, in which the vast majority of the characters are in a group marriage with Lazarus Long, is the same thing as the Ninth Circle In Stranger, only with his mother and clone-sisters added in the mix.
Duke tells Ben he'd never make love outside his family (Ninth Circle), and LL's family members do the same.
Bill may have already stated this, but here's my latest take: RAH has stated that geniuses make up their own rules, and each of LL's family members are geniuses (and I'm using "genius" to stand in for the idea of the super-advanced person or "next level of evolution" that I believe that RAH believed was coming). As such, they are above the moral rules that we mere mortals observe; theirs is the new morality, which can include having sex with a close relative.
However, fiction is fiction. Did RAH think we should all hop into bed with Mom and Sis? Doubt it, I think he was just illustrating some of the shape of a new society which he may or may not have thought would come one day.
I came up in the Sixties, when the moral code was being rewritten, so none of this stuff bothered me when I read it in Time Enough for Love in the Seventies.

BillPatterson wrote:
holmesiv wrote:
. . . could RAH have been playing with the concept of the self here? One case in point: he has sex with his cloned self-as-women, Laz and Lor. And with Maureen, was he playing with the idea of diving back into the womb?

I'm sure something like "playing with the concept of self" is going on. One of the most enduring recurrent figures in the corpus is represented by the anecdote told in Stranger about the earthworm meeting its "other end" and falling in love. The figure is enormously fraught, and it bears on the idea of self and other. (which is probably why SF was so attractive to him -- SF is the literature of Other).

The idea that we are all fragments of the single reality (Emerson's Over-Soul), that our independence and individuality is an illusion, was an idea that is enormously powerful for Heinlein. I think the emergence of the incest motive in the last five books is one of the things Heinlein does in ddrawing a literary equivalence between humans and gods. Having the power of choice, what Gods do is transgress monkey rules (and incest is the most powerful literary device for that kind of thing, blasphemy being the other common literary device)


Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:42 pm
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Post Re: What made me a serious Heinlein
This seems like a good topic for my first post here. I was raised in the Mormon Church, and by age 12 and the 7th grade, 1972 living in Reno, NV I was already rejecting the "story" of the church and considered myself very logical and scientific. Mr. Spock was a personal hero...and I lumped science fiction with fantasy. Until a friend urged me to read Heinlein, saying "this is not fantasy, this is great!"

So, I walked into the junior high library and checked out Tunnel in the Sky, and never looked back. What made me a serious reader wasn't easy to discern at the time. The books flowed. They were riveting entertainment and I was learning science and something about adult life at the same time. I felt that Heinlein was something like a very intelligent, adult friend. We were simpatico. I read everything I could find by him, voraciously.

Over the years I managed to read just about every word he ever published, and I agreed with most of it, regarding rights, duty, government, child rearing, etc. Probably my biggest disagreement was with the economics espoused in BTH, but now I do understand a bit better where he was coming from. And Alaska, where I now live, has a "dividend" from oil royalties that is actually similar in concept.

Robert Heinlein is the biggest intellectual influence of my life.

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Tue May 03, 2011 4:13 pm
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