View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:52 pm



Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Speculation 
Author Message
Centennial Attendee
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:46 am
Posts: 538
Location: Aurora, IL, USA, Terra
Post Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Speculation
Over on Usenet's rec.arts.sf.fandom, I replied to someone asking whether The Man Who Learned Better completed the Heinlein biography. Then I realized I wanted to bring some questions here. I wrote:

True. This will be the final volume of the biography.

However, Bill Patterson wrote a lot more words. At one point the manuscript of the whole biography was much larger-- I gather it included much more commentary on Heinlein's writings-- and Bill shrank it down to fit into the two thick volumes Tor is publishing. Even after that, it fluctuated. I'll quote from this 3 December 2012 entry in Bill's literary blog:


===[begin quote from Bill Patterson]===
Quote:
In the spring of this year, midway into David's first set of edits for this volume, he brought up the possibility of splitting this volume into two books, giving a three volume biography in all. There was some back and forth; ultimately David decided not to go forward with a third volume, and since he gave me the word late in August, I've been working ever since to cut the manuscript back to the same size as volume 1. Possibly with the idea of a third volume in mind, David had asked for an expansion of the text that ultimately accounted for about 400 pages of new manuscript. The expansion itself was not particularly demanding, as I had cut much more than that out of the manuscript in 2005 and 2006 -- but it was neither possible nor desirable simply to restore the old version; the expansion incorporated all of Hartwell's edit.

Cutting a 1400+ page manuscript back to about 1000 pages is a time-consuming and finicky process involving several passes through the entire thing. I had the help of Robert James for the first sixth of the book, but still it took the full two months.
===[end quote from Bill Patterson]===

So there is a lot of stuff on the cutting-room floor, so to speak. Perhaps Bill might have eventually recycled it into another book of commentary on Heinlein's fiction. He loved to write literary criticism, as readers of his Usenet correspondence are aware, and I think he restrained this urge in order to keep the biography focused. But I suppose that will not happen now.

So I was shooting off my mouth, but here on the Nexus there are correspondents better informed than I. It would be particularly interesting to hear from Bill's beta-readers.

First, is there any major inaccuracy in my account?

Second, is there, within Bill's unpublished material, suitable fodder for a further book, large or small, perhaps concentrating on the fiction? I've actually been wondering about this for years.

One might also consider combining any nuggets mined from the unpublished wordage into a collection with some of Bill's other published writings.

_________________
Bill Higgins
bill.higgins@gt.org
http://beamjockey.livejournal.com


Fri May 02, 2014 9:01 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 603
Location: Reno, NV
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
beamjockey wrote:
Second, is there, within Bill's unpublished material, suitable fodder for a further book, large or small, perhaps concentrating on the fiction? I've actually been wondering about this for years.

One might also consider combining any nuggets mined from the unpublished wordage into a collection with some of Bill's other published writings.


I would *LOVE* to see this happen! If a book isn't marketable, what about posting this material on a web site, perhaps using a CMS system that allows experts with accounts to work on different parts of it, and index it as a resource for scholars and the curious?

I would volunteer to help with such an effort. I am not a Heinlein expert, but I *am* a technical writer and editor with 25 years experience in the field. Give me raw material and a collaborator or six who are Heinlein experts, and I bet we could set up something cool.

_________________
Catherine Jefferson <ctiydspmrz@ergosphere.net>
Home Page: http://www.ergosphere.net


Sat May 03, 2014 4:58 pm
Profile WWW
Heinlein Nexus
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 2232
Location: Pacific NorthWest
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
From the description of the material - ”six million words" - I think you're looking at years of editing. Better to put it on line in raw form like the Archives project and supply the tools for visitors to tag, cross reference, and index.


Sat May 03, 2014 7:39 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 603
Location: Reno, NV
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
Definitely, Peter. That's something Wiki software was designed to do.

_________________
Catherine Jefferson <ctiydspmrz@ergosphere.net>
Home Page: http://www.ergosphere.net


Sun May 04, 2014 1:08 pm
Profile WWW

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:01 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Studio City CA
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
It would be great to see Bill's un-cut text on-line in an appropriate venue (I have it and have read it), but really, if the books David Hartwell, a scholar of SF, a professional editor of an incredible amount of great SF, a sophisticated and brilliant Heinlein fan, puts before the public are somehow unacceptable, don't expect much from the un-cut, unedited text.

MC


Sun May 04, 2014 8:02 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:22 am
Posts: 603
Location: Reno, NV
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
Michael, I think you missed the point. The books could be wonderful, and we'd still want to see the full collection of notes, papers, and uncut manuscript made available for future scholars.

_________________
Catherine Jefferson <ctiydspmrz@ergosphere.net>
Home Page: http://www.ergosphere.net


Mon May 05, 2014 9:55 am
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 2:10 pm
Posts: 445
Location: Juneau, AK
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
sakeneko wrote:
Michael, I think you missed the point. The books could be wonderful, and we'd still want to see the full collection of notes, papers, and uncut manuscript made available for future scholars.


The books are wonderful (I read V. I three times, and the first six chapters of V. II on Google), but my gosh yes, there's obviously so much detail that's been cut, especially if you read between the lines of what's there.

Bill wrote an "old-fashioned" biography, that seems to stick almost exclusively to documented facts. It looks like V. II is going to have somewhat more story backgrounding, but in a PM about 18 months ago Bill stated that he intended to include some real analysis of ST, SIASL and TMIAHM. I don't know if that,or how much of it, made it through this last revision. It would be a pity if none did.

The other thing I sure would like is the "speculations" about Heinlein that aren't in the books: Who were Heinlein's lovers? Where did he get his knowledge of the occult? What did he see at Jack Parsons' house? What unusual/esoteric books were in his library? What guns did he own? Are there any existing scores of chess games he played (if he ever kept score)?

These are a few questions that fascinate me about Heinlein, that I don't believe will be in the biography. They're some of my own special interest but I bet a lot of us have others...release the six million words! :D

_________________
"There comes a time in the life of every human when he or she must decide to risk 'his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor' on an outcome dubious. Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else."


Mon May 05, 2014 2:25 pm
Profile
Centennial Attendee
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:46 am
Posts: 538
Location: Aurora, IL, USA, Terra
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
MichaelCassutt wrote:
It would be great to see Bill's un-cut text on-line in an appropriate venue (I have it and have read it), but really, if the books David Hartwell, a scholar of SF, a professional editor of an incredible amount of great SF, a sophisticated and brilliant Heinlein fan, puts before the public are somehow unacceptable, don't expect much from the un-cut, unedited text.

Heck, no. I had no intention to imply that the published volumes would be an inadequate biography.

Instead, knowing that Bill had more to say than he actually published, I wondered whether some fraction of his leftover words might be edited into another (small?) book. Or standalone articles about various topics. Unlike you, I have not seen his uncut text, so I can only speculate (see subject line) about it, based on remarks by Bill and by other correspondents here.

Peter Scott said he'd like to see Bill's writings online. That would depend on whether his estate allows it.

_________________
Bill Higgins
bill.higgins@gt.org
http://beamjockey.livejournal.com


Mon May 05, 2014 3:06 pm
Profile WWW
User avatar

Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 2:10 pm
Posts: 445
Location: Juneau, AK
Post Re: Is Another Bill Patterson Book Possible? Rampant Specula
beamjockey wrote:
MichaelCassutt wrote:
It would be great to see Bill's un-cut text on-line in an appropriate venue (I have it and have read it), but really, if the books David Hartwell, a scholar of SF, a professional editor of an incredible amount of great SF, a sophisticated and brilliant Heinlein fan, puts before the public are somehow unacceptable, don't expect much from the un-cut, unedited text.

Heck, no. I had no intention to imply that the published volumes would be an inadequate biography.

Instead, knowing that Bill had more to say than he actually published, I wondered whether some fraction of his leftover words might be edited into another (small?) book. Or standalone articles about various topics. Unlike you, I have not seen his uncut text, so I can only speculate (see subject line) about it, based on remarks by Bill and by other correspondents here.

Peter Scott said he'd like to see Bill's writings online. That would depend on whether his estate allows it.


I'll help, compile-read-edit-proof, for free! My impression is that Bill's family would like to see more of his work read and appreciated. Hopefully his executor agrees.

_________________
"There comes a time in the life of every human when he or she must decide to risk 'his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor' on an outcome dubious. Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else."


Mon May 05, 2014 4:11 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 9 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF