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How Heinlein responded to fans 
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:23 am
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Post How Heinlein responded to fans
Many many years ago (1981) I wrote a letter of thanks to RAH for many years of happy reading and received back a signed letter of thanks from him. I've cherished that memento ever since.

The other day I was surfing the net and came across this oddity.
http://io9.com/#!5048215/robert-heinlei ... nse-letter

I'll admit that that took the wind out of my sails just a tad.

The letter I have is scanned in here
http://www.technobility.com/docs/heinlein.jpg

It's not the same as the form letter - BUT it has the exact same first paragraph and last 'selection'.
It's definitely a 'form letter' response - with perhaps a little bit of extra care thrown in... maybe. Either that or they'd a) run out of the form letter or b) my letter was written before they implemented the form letter.

I'll still keep 'my' response from RAH, just glad I didn't receive the 'form' from him.

Does anyone have one of the signed forms? Or perhaps, a letter from him you'd be willing to share?


Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:57 pm
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
Yes, I received the checkoff form similar to the first link you posted in the late 70s. There was a short handwritten note appended at the bottom of the form and the initials "RAH." I have long since misplaced it but I'm sure it's still around here somewhere.

So...if you received your letter in 1981 it must represent an evolution of the standard form letter, probably run through a word processor, which allowed a more "personalized" appearance compared to the earlier checkoff form.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:15 pm
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
Hi Jack, it's possible it was generated with a wordprocessor, but? It wasn't printed with a dot matrix printer - the most common printer at this time. Andit certainly looks like it came off a regular typewriter. The lines aren't perfevtly aligned and it 'looks' like typewriter output - slight impressions of the letters.

We'll never know of course. All i know for certain is the date it was sent and when i received it.

Seeing the 'form response letter' got me thinking about the one hung near my desk is all.

Cheers

PS in 1981 it was possible to jury rig a regular typewriter to a PC... So that can't be ruled out as a possibility.


Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:15 am
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
I have a handwritten letter from Ginny somewhere in response to one I wrote in, I think, 1968 or 1969, in which I said some things that were egregious but not covered by the form. I was at Rice University as an undergraduate, and we had a series of guest lectures by science fiction writers, including Harlan Ellison and John Campbell. In a Q&A session, someone (it might even have been me) asked Campbell a question about Heinlein, and he indicated that RAH was an active member of the John Birch Society. A couple of months before, I had read in our library a copy of "Pravda Means Truth" in American Mercury, but after Campbell's comment, I misremembered the magazine as American Opinion. I sent Heinlein a letter saying that although I had compassion for his views and was familiar with the Birch Society (my father was a member), I didn't think I could ever join it. Ginny wrote back, firmly correcting my mis-memory of the magazine that published "Pravda Means Truth" and saying in no uncertain terms that her husband was not, and had never been, a member of the Birch Society. I'm ashamed of having written that letter to this very day.

A few other memories of that series of guest lectures that stuck with me:

Campbell was something of an environmentalist. He urged us to take his pledge that we would never again buy a *new* internal combustion engine. I thought that was an innovative approach.

Harlan Ellison regaled us with stories of his rivalry with Isaac Asimov. He said he was involved with a movie that starred Raquel Welch, and he knew how much Asimov lusted after her. He convinced her to find Asimov in the bar at a convention, go up to him and say, "Are *you* Isaac Asimov??? Oooh! Harlan Ellison told me to come say Hi to you, and I would do *any*thing for Harlan Ellison!" In a late-night bull session, Ellison also advised us to never say No in a job interview in response to a question about whether we had *any* particular skill. He said that for one job at a newspaper he was asked in the interview if he could operate a Linotype machine, and he said that he could, even though he had never heard of a Linotype before. He said he taught himself to use it after he was hired.

There was another guest whom I can't remember; I want to say it was Arthur C. Clarke, but I'm not certain. Whoever it was said he had a cassette tape he would play for us of a recording in which a single tone is both ascending and descending in pitch, simultaneously. I still remember what it sounded like. It turned out that it was ascending in the FM realm and descending in the AM realm. Very interesting.

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Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:24 am
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
DanHenderson wrote:
There was another guest whom I can't remember; I want to say it was Arthur C. Clarke, but I'm not certain. Whoever it was said he had a cassette tape he would play for us of a recording in which a single tone is both ascending and descending in pitch, simultaneously. I still remember what it sounded like. It turned out that it was ascending in the FM realm and descending in the AM realm. Very interesting.


Can you describe the sound in any way? Is it available online anywhere? I am not enough of a signal processing sort of guy to tell what your description means in terms of waveform. Is such a note useful for anything or aesthetically unique in some way?


Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:42 am
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
I have the same letter as you, darkumbra, from about 1984. It is one of the few pieces of correspondence I will never replace with a scan.


Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:42 am
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
darkumbra wrote:
PS in 1981 it was possible to jury rig a regular typewriter to a PC... So that can't be ruled out as a possibility.


If you wanted professional-quality printer output back then, you used either a NEC Spinwriter or a daisy-wheel printer. (There was also a Rube-Goldbergish gizmo you could fit to the keyboard of a Selectric, as well as the kind of Selectric terminal on which I printed the final copy of my dissertation [with the help of an IBM 370], but those were pretty exotic in the personal-computer world).


Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:46 am
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
PeterScott wrote:
DanHenderson wrote:
There was another guest whom I can't remember; I want to say it was Arthur C. Clarke, but I'm not certain. Whoever it was said he had a cassette tape he would play for us of a recording in which a single tone is both ascending and descending in pitch, simultaneously. I still remember what it sounded like. It turned out that it was ascending in the FM realm and descending in the AM realm. Very interesting.


Can you describe the sound in any way? Is it available online anywhere? I am not enough of a signal processing sort of guy to tell what your description means in terms of waveform. Is such a note useful for anything or aesthetically unique in some way?


I have no clue how to describe it, and I haven't found it online. I did find a page of interesting acoustic illusions, though.

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Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:23 am
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
PeterScott wrote:
I have the same letter as you, darkumbra, from about 1984. It is one of the few pieces of correspondence I will never replace with a scan.


That wouldn't make sense. I created the scan for this forum. The Letter is back on my wall.


Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:29 pm
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Post Re: How Heinlein responded to fans
RLetson wrote:
darkumbra wrote:
PS in 1981 it was possible to jury rig a regular typewriter to a PC... So that can't be ruled out as a possibility.


If you wanted professional-quality printer output back then, you used either a NEC Spinwriter or a daisy-wheel printer. (There was also a Rube-Goldbergish gizmo you could fit to the keyboard of a Selectric, as well as the kind of Selectric terminal on which I printed the final copy of my dissertation [with the help of an IBM 370], but those were pretty exotic in the personal-computer world).


I was going to suggest that it might have been created with a daisy-wheel printer, which was the standard alternative to crappy dot matrix back then. Of course, for all I know, it might have been manually typed out. I don't know if anyone alive today knows the answer.

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Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:26 pm
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