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Interesting take on Variable Star 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
James Gifford wrote:
VS falls squarely into that mold. Spider didn't want to stray too far from the center, so he carefully and cleverly constructed his tale from recycled Heinlein bits. Where he didn't he used recycled Robinson bits... which, being derived largely from Heinlein raw materials, add to the allee-samee feel and - unfortunately - to the dull sameness.


So if Heinlein had done it, he would have stretched himself in some new dimension? In other words, extended the definition of what constituted "Heinleinian" until that point?

It would be an interesting Journal article to succinctly call out each point in his oeuvre at which Heinlein transcended himself, and how.


Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:27 am
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
Peter Scott wrote:
So if Heinlein had done it, he would have stretched himself in some new dimension? In other words, extended the definition of what constituted "Heinleinian" until that point?

Exactly. It might have been dull, trite and predictable, but it would have been built from new Heinlein pieces, not recognizable elements from other books. As Taco Bell amply demonstrates, the same old ingredients can only be remixed so many ways.


Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:14 pm
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
Jack Kelly wrote:
JimHarris wrote:
By the way, have you seen the outline that Robinson used for Variable Star, and how does it match the book? And I can't help but believe that RAH wrote Time for the Stars from the same kind of brainstorming that he might have been doing when he wrote that outline. Does the outline contain telepathic communicators? If it does, it would seem very strange that Heinlein didn't abandon that outline for one for Time for the Stars.


I asked Spider at the Centennial about the notes or outline that he was given to use for VR. Spider said that the material consisted of no more than a few notecards with character names, situations, etc. and not an outline at all. So, 90% of the story was spun by Spider without explicit guidance from RAH.

Well, not quite. There was I think about 8 pages single spaced of notes. They were a "Heinlein Outline," by which he meant he started jotting down ideas and thinking them through on paper, and going on to the next then coming back to an earlier one. Some of the outlines start jotting down bits of dialogue and then segue into just writing the book.

I think the real reason they didn't want to publish the outline and cards (available from the Online Archive nowadays for a very nominal charge) is that SR had to pick and choose what would make a coherent story from the material, and if the outline were published, you'd have numbnuts complaining he didn't use this bit or that bit -- and he invented some stuff out of whole cloth. Better to let sleeping outlines lie, lie, and damned lie.

And of course the bits he stole from elsewhere in the canon and jammed together with this story.

You often find ideas in early outlines, too, but not used until later, so it's not that Time for the Stars was the book he really wanted to write instead of these notes; he just found a good use for some of the notes he wrote down at this time.


Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:11 pm
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
I just happen to be re-reading Variable Star at the moment and I believe the only way to read this novel is see it as a Spider work with strong RAH overtones.

I read the book when it first came out and it has sat on a shelf since, needing something to read
I decided to re-read and am enjoying it. I am sure RAH would have done things differently, but I accept the story for what it is and will probably come back to it in 3 or 4 yrs.


Mon May 11, 2009 10:47 am
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
TexasScot1952 wrote:
I just happen to be re-reading Variable Star at the moment and I believe the only way to read this novel is see it as a Spider work with strong RAH overtones.

I read the book when it first came out and it has sat on a shelf since, needing something to read
I decided to re-read and am enjoying it. I am sure RAH would have done things differently, but I accept the story for what it is and will probably come back to it in 3 or 4 yrs.

Well yeah, I think I concluded my review of the book for the Journal saying it works best as a Spider Robinson novel and approaching it as a Heinlein creation isn't very fruitful.


Tue May 12, 2009 6:42 am
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
Was "pay it forward" originally Ben Franklin or does it predate even him? And was it RAH or Spider Robinson that really pushed it?


Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:06 pm
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
audrey wrote:
Was "pay it forward" originally Ben Franklin or does it predate even him? And was it RAH or Spider Robinson that really pushed it?

The sentiment is certainly an old one, though I've never heard a specific attribution to Benjamin Franklin. I think Jerry Pournelle may have been the first one to quote RAH saying it that way -- about the help he and Niven received on The Mote in God's Eye -- though the expression is used earlier in Heinlein's correspondence. I'm not sure RAH thought of it as a motto or slogan; Jerry Pournelle turned it into a motto, and I picked it up for the Society back in 1998.

So I guess it really depends on what you mean.


Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:42 am
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
Several cites (as well as sites) say it appeared in a letter from Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Webb dated April 22, 1784. (Hopefully they are not all citing each other. ) Apprently there is a movement of some kind with that name as well.


Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:34 am
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
audrey wrote:
Several cites (as well as sites) say it appeared in a letter from Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Webb dated April 22, 1784. (Hopefully they are not all citing each other. ) Apprently there is a movement of some kind with that name as well.


There was a bad movie by that name with Kevin Spacey and the annoying kid from The Sixth Sense.

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Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:42 am
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Post Re: Interesting take on Variable Star
audrey wrote:
Was "pay it forward" originally Ben Franklin or does it predate even him?


I just did a fairly serious Wikipedia edit on the subject; check the entry for "Pay it forward".

For those who don't wish to sully their monitor with wiki-photons (Mr. Gifford <G>), both Ben Franklin and R. W. Emerson wrote the idea behind "pay it forward" in more florid language, as befitted 18th and 19th century writers. An obscure author named Lily Hardy Hammond wrote in 1916, "You don't pay love back; you pay it forward." An anonymous spokesman for AA used the concept and the phrasing "pay forward" in a 1944 interview in the Christian Science Monitor. Heinlein did use the term and idea in 1951's Between Planets. Woody Hayes also used the term and phrasing in many public speeches, so he may have done more to popularize it than Heinlein.

Quote:
And was it RAH or Spider Robinson that really pushed it?
Heinlein did push it, at least privately. Jerry Pournelle has written about RAH telling him to repay a favor by paying it forward. Others who knew him quote him as having said it to them.


Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:33 pm
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