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What the Hell is he Talking About? 
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
TinaBlack wrote:
How odd -- I missed most of that even though I read SFR.

I have all the Alien Critic issues that preceded SFR.

I have a vague recollection that Geis was not publishing during the Breen Boondoggle. TAC came around as fandom was picking up after All Fandom Was Plunged Into War. When it was over, it was over. It was a good -- oh, I'd say 10 years (1974 or so) -- before people would talk about it.


Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:54 pm
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
TinaBlack wrote:
Oh, and Bester was considered one of Campbell's writers, too.

Once John Campbell handed out the same idea to different writers to see what would result. One idea was give to both Bester and Sturgeon. The results? One short Sturgeon story called "Granny Won't Knit", which was not one of his award winners -- and The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.


My recollection is that Bester didn't sell much to Campbell at all. Bester claims in his memoir in Hell's Cartographers that they only met once, and that he found Campbell, shall we say, much less impressive than his reputation.

Certainly TSMD appeared in Galaxy, not Astounding. (Which doesn't necessarily contradict your point.)

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Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:39 am
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
SF history outside of the Heinlein continuum isn't my strongest area, but TSMD is one of my all-time favorite books and I've accumulated a fair amount of info about its creation. I don't recall anything about it being sparked by Campbell. Perhaps you're thinking of another work, Tina?

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Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:34 am
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
The story about this came from Sturgeon. I am also sure because the ability to jaunt was central to both stories.


Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:22 pm
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
"A critic is a reader who ruminates. Thus, he should have more than one stomach." -- Friedrich von Schlegel


Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:08 pm
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
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And I would note that some prominent fans attribute the same mental omnipotence to Heinlein himself:
"Even when the old fart's informed opinions conflict with your own ignorant prejudices."-- Spider Robinson (that is, RAH knows more than you do, so just deal with it.)


This is almost a quote out of context here, as Spider is pointing out the conflicts HE had with Robert's positions when he was a wet-behind the ears "Twenty-something" and Robert had been studying and think about the issue(s) involved for many decades.

If you are going to quote "Rah, Rah, R.A.H." please be intellectually honest enough to include the full context of what Spider is taking about at any point in time. Do not pull out a few words that can be used to support your assertion, but only when the context is ignored.

Spider Robinson is anything but a blind follower, of Heinlein or anyone else, and he pretty effectively demolishes all the cliche criticisms which have been fashionably thrown at Robert over the years.

Heinlein is not without his quirks and weaknesses, no author is.

But pulling that particular quote into this discussion seems like an attempt to qualify for your own "What the Hell is he Talking About?" :shock:


Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:17 pm
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
JamesGifford wrote:
TSMD is one of my all-time favorite books and I've accumulated a fair amount of info about its creation.


It's one of mine, too - I first came across it at age 16 in the SF Book Club's two-volume Boucher-edited Treasury of Great Science Fiction (Doubleday). I also own the Galaxy serial version, as well as an early-1960s reprint of the first-edition U.S. paperback (Signet, March 1957), which appears to be the basis for the Treasury version. Moreover, I've read about the changes made in the British version Tiger! Tiger!, which may or may not have been published in book form first, specifically Dave Langford's remarks at http://www.ansible.co.uk/writing/bester.html; a few of these - extra words after "MANTERGEISTMANN!," for example - made it into a more recent trade paperback U.S. version (although I assume that if Horace Gold trimmed those instances, then Bester decided he liked the shorter forms, because they were carried over to the Signet version).

I recently had the idea of an annotated variorum edition of TSMD - probably using the 1957 U.S. edition as a baseline, on the assumption that nearly all changes made by Gold to the serial version were countermanded by Bester when the paperback was prepared. There were other improvements made possible by a wider column width versus Galaxy, such as eight repetitions (rather than four) of "HE WAS ON THE BRAWLING SPANISH STAIRS." House style for ship names also varied, with Galaxy favoring italics and Signet using quotation marks. Of course I would need to obtain one or more editions of Tiger! Tiger! as well.

I had heard some years ago from a local book reviewer that Charles Platt knew Bester in the 1970s and '80s, and Platt was kind enough to reply to my query and filled in a few gaps. I wonder who the Bester estate's executor is now; if it's still the bartender, I travel relatively often to southeastern Pennsylvania and could possibly find the guy. Of course I fear that there's no documentation about any of the differences - that is, I tend to doubt that Bester was as much of a self-archivist as Heinlein was. Perhaps I'll get a chance to find out.

As for Bester's attitude toward Heinlein, the memoir that closes his 1976 anthology Starlight (Doubleday) calls him "my old friend and hero"- but he also writes of his book-reviewing years, "A silly story is a silly story whether written by Robert Heinlein or Norman Mailer."


Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:20 pm
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
JJGarsch wrote:
I recently had the idea of an annotated variorum edition of TSMD - probably using the 1957 U.S. edition as a baseline, on the assumption that nearly all changes made by Gold to the serial version were countermanded by Bester when the paperback was prepared.
[...]

Have you examined the 1996 Vintage Books edition, edited by my friends whom Dave Langford, in the piece you cite, calls "that splendid duo Alex and Phyllis Eisenstein?" From the magazine version, the American editions, and the British editions, they attempted to reconstruct a text that's as close as possible to Bester's original-- and earned widespread praise for their effort.

I imagine you're aware of this version, but one or two things you said made me doubt. Here's a link to the Worldcat record:
http://www.worldcat.org/title/stars-my-destination/oclc/33438913&referer=brief_results
JJGarsch wrote:
I wonder who the Bester estate's executor is now; if it's still the bartender, I travel relatively often to southeastern Pennsylvania and could possibly find the guy.

Chances are good the Eisensteins know the answer to this question. Write me and I'll put you in touch with them.

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Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:08 am
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
Yes, I perused that edition in a bookstore in the late '90s - before I obtained the 4 issues of Galaxy containing the serial - but didn't see anything in it that described just what it was that the Eisensteins did, beyond their "compiled and edited by" credit on the first page (per Amazon "look inside" feature; my local library doesn't carry it). Such credits don't carry much weight with me in and of themselves - there was a Baen edition of James Schmitz's The Witches of Karres in 2005 with a prominent "Edited by Eric Flint" on the cover, and because I'm a longtime fan of that book and have two different early editions, I wrote to Flint at Baen asking whether I'd notice any changes, and he replied and said no.

I did of course notice the credit for the "special restored text of this edition copyright 1996" by Bester's estate, as well as the longer (i.e., British edition) forms of the all-caps phrases near the end, and presumed (perhaps incorrectly) that the former referred to the latter and to nothing else. I also see in the portion of the first chapter visible at Amazon that the ship names are in italics as in Galaxy, certainly a choice I'd have made as well.

Thanks for the offer to follow up with you privately about this - I'll probably do so after my younger daughter's bat mitzvah is out of the way, in 7 or 8 weeks.


Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:52 am
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Post Re: What the Hell is he Talking About?
Daled73 wrote:
Quote:
And I would note that some prominent fans attribute the same mental omnipotence to Heinlein himself:
"Even when the old fart's informed opinions conflict with your own ignorant prejudices."-- Spider Robinson (that is, RAH knows more than you do, so just deal with it.)


This is almost a quote out of context here, as Spider is pointing out the conflicts HE had with Robert's positions when he was a wet-behind the ears "Twenty-something" and Robert had been studying and think about the issue(s) involved for many decades.

If you are going to quote "Rah, Rah, R.A.H." please be intellectually honest enough to include the full context of what Spider is taking about at any point in time. Do not pull out a few words that can be used to support your assertion, but only when the context is ignored.


I don't fully recall my mindset of 2 years ago, so I just re-read the thread, and Spider Robinson's essay.

The only place I see in "Rah, Rah R.A.H." where Robinson points out a disagreement ("has a conflict") with one of Heinlein's positions is near the end, where he says (in reference to Expanded Universe) "But I have to admit that the happy scenario, Over the Rainbow, strikes me as preposterously unlikely." He says he doesn't agree with everything Heinlein says, but specifically doesn’t say what those disagreements are. So I don't find the context you posit.

And where did "Twenty-something" come from (it doesn't appear in the essay, so why the quotes?) He does say "the only arguments I [SR] can assemble to refute him [RAH] are based on “my thirty years of experience.” "

But if all of "Rah, Rah R.A.H." taken as a whole is the context, then it merely supports my original statement – that some of Heinlein's biggest fans (SR in particular) give him credit for being smarter, wiser, having greater mental faculties, etc., than most everyone else. The quote I gave, either as stand-alone statement or part of a greater essay/speech, supports what I said, as do:

"But do not good people, responsible people, enlightened citizens, want to be lectured to by someone [RAH] who knows more than they do?"

"[RAH] has learned prodigiously."

"Anyone that he [RAH] cannot convert to rationalism is purely unreachable,"

"If there is anything that can divert the land of my birth from its current stampede into the Stone Age, it is the widespread dissemination of the thoughts and perceptions [of] Robert Heinlein"

Once he calls RAH one of the best educated men in America; another time he says that RAH is better educated than anyone SR ever heard of (although he also quotes RAH as saying that Virginia is better educated than RAH is . . .).

He gives RAH credit for inventing the waterbed, which is false (although RAH did write about one); and for helping design the modern space suit (while RAH did write about them and give details of the systems they would require, what he did comes nowhere near "design" – to assert so insults the efforts of the engineers who actually did design them.)

SR, throughout the essay, consistently credits Heinlein for great thoughts, wisdom, and ideas (he had some, but he also had some stinkers).

I still stand by the point I was trying to make -- some of RAH's fans, SR in particular, have (or had) a near-sycophantic adoration for the teachings of RAH.


Fri May 06, 2011 6:28 pm
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