View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:18 am



Reply to topic  [ 52 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Sympathy for the Devil 
Author Message
NitroForum Oldster

Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:05 am
Posts: 238
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
OK folks , after the dissection of A.P. and our criticisms of his works focused upon RAH, I have a question. Where do you think A.P. was right on in his analysis' of RAH and his writings? Despite barbed verse, I saw alot in "Dimension", where A.P. actually praised RAH and his works. Did he find room to quibble points sometimes obscure? sure did !

I think as a group who hold RAH in the highest esteem, we may have blinders on at times and averse to seeing where the fault lines ran in RAH and his writings ! I think A.P. had a point when he ventured that RAH was an engineer who evolved into a professional writer. As an engineer he had a mind trained to look at things and ponder how they worked. A.P. sees RAH's lackings in truly depicting the complexities of humankind/ fleshing out charactors a bit beyond the minimum needed to enter them into the story. But as RAH had said "I'm a story teller"- a damn good one in my/our eyes- do i require a endless array of complex charactors to move me to keep reading? nope not necessarily- RAH storylines are compelling enough for me BUT ............ what do you think?

I do see alot of similiarites between the protagonists in RAH novels and believe like A.P. that Heinlein was writing about himself interjected into the storylines- as a writer would i do the same? damn straight- you write about that you know best- yourself !

One of the points i would vehemently disagree with A.P. about is his pronouncment that RAH had no sense of humor but rather was a satirest!- sheeeeesh, RAH could have written comedies if he had so desired !! i love the man's sense of humor- where is A.P.'s sense of humor ??

go ahead folks- as a baseball umpire i am used to the lynch mobs when my opinions are wildly unpopular !!

<tapes the "kick me" sign firmly to his backside>

next ?

Nick


Wed May 07, 2008 5:58 pm
Profile
PITA Bred
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 2401
Location: The Quiet Earth
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Nick Doten wrote:
I think as a group who hold RAH in the highest esteem, we may have blinders on at times and averse to seeing where the fault lines ran in RAH and his writings !

I would tend to disagree. That's a common claim, mostly by those who are "anti-Heinlein" for want of a better capsule term - that his adoring fans are so blinded by their worship that they can't see any flaws. There certainly are those types around, but I don't see any here.

That we tend to discuss Heinlein in positive terms is not a bad thing, but it should not be inferred that because we steer clear of the touchy spots that we aren't aware of them.

It also doesn't break down that simply, that We Good Guys, AP Bad Guy or We Worship Ground RAH Walk On, They Spit on Ground etc. AP's fault is not that he is "negative" or anti-Heinlein or any such thing, but that he's a fuzzy thinker who is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is and has been grinding a particular axe for so long that it's become excruciatingly tedious to listen to his exceptionally long-winded exposition of it. Forty effin' years and he hasn't gotten ANYWHERE with his thesis. Even plate tectonics was validated in less time, and that's one of the few legitimate exceptions to "truth proves quickly."

You want negative on RAH? I can think of several really ugly topics on which I don't think there is any real defense of Heinlein's actions or attitudes. Pick a number from one to five.

_________________
"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Wed May 07, 2008 6:24 pm
Profile
NitroForum Oldster
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:57 am
Posts: 669
Location: DC Metro
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
James Gifford wrote:
I would tend to disagree. That's a common claim, mostly by those who are "anti-Heinlein" for want of a better capsule term - that his adoring fans are so blinded by their worship that they can't see any flaws. There certainly are those types around, but I don't see any here.


Heinlein had flaws? :shock:

James Gifford wrote:
That we tend to discuss Heinlein in positive terms is not a bad thing, but it should not be inferred that because we steer clear of the touchy spots that we aren't aware of them.

It also doesn't break down that simply, that We Good Guys, AP Bad Guy or We Worship Ground RAH Walk On, They Spit on Ground etc. AP's fault is not that he is "negative" or anti-Heinlein or any such thing, but that he's a fuzzy thinker who is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is and has been grinding a particular axe for so long that it's become excruciatingly tedious to listen to his exceptionally long-winded exposition of it. Forty effin' years and he hasn't gotten ANYWHERE with his thesis. Even plate tectonics was validated in less time, and that's one of the few legitimate exceptions to "truth proves quickly."

You want negative on RAH? I can think of several really ugly topics on which I don't think there is any real defense of Heinlein's actions or attitudes. Pick a number from one to five.


I certainly see some ugly aspects of Heinlein's stories, particularly the latter ones. He was an equal opportunity offender. I doubt there are many Heinlein fans who aren't offended by something that Heinlein wrote, although that tends to vary by individual.

One thing I do admire about Panshin is his dogged persistence. Anyone who can write that much for so many years about a single author, and endure the criticism and ridicule that he has endured has my grudging admiration. I see him as sort of a spurned lover who holds a grudge for a lifetime. I did enjoy reading HiD many years ago, and you have to give him credit for being among the first (or was he THE first?) to publish a critical review (fuzzy or not) of Heinlein's career. He and, to a lesser degree and for different reasons, Spider Robinson have ridden Heinlein's coattails their whole careers. That's not an insult to Spider - I'm confident he would proudly agree.

_________________
"Being right too soon is socially unacceptable." - Heinlein, Expanded Universe


Wed May 07, 2008 7:24 pm
Profile WWW
Heinlein Nexus
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 2232
Location: Pacific NorthWest
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Nick Doten wrote:
OK folks , after the dissection of A.P. and our criticisms of his works focused upon RAH, I have a question. Where do you think A.P. was right on in his analysis' of RAH and his writings?


I posted four points earlier in this thread where I thought Panshin had hit the mark in SFTD.


Wed May 07, 2008 9:01 pm
Profile WWW
NitroForum Oldster

Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:05 am
Posts: 238
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Jim - uhhhhhhh............. number 3 ? :mrgreen: BTW i did again lose several paragraphs when hitting the submit button ! frustrating for the author perhaps a blessing for the audience

Peter- I guess I was trying to provoke our own criticisms of RAH rather than rely on those of A.P.( i.e. IMHO RAH's cardboard thin complementary charactors who served only to help carry the storyline- i was left with the hope RAH would write an entire novel upon the Col Dubois', Kettle Bellys, or Jubal Harshaws he left so partially developed) As passionate (sometimes worshippers) fans where do our insights lay? After 40 plus years has A.P. emptied his proverbial intellectual slop pot? LOL AP described as " gaseous"- can picture him farting dialogue!!!

Kelly- i agree with you that RAH's later works were a personal disappointments for myself as a reader- imho his ponitifications only served to be interruptions in his storylines. While some ideas did provoke thought, i saw too many as but distractions to the story's progression. As a reader, well, I was a mere mortal to be set straight and introduced to "right" thinking

BTW folks, I do feel like a diletante (sp?) amongst the many RAH experts here and will profer queries only after much tepidation. Hopefully I can serve this forum as a provocateur <again laziness prevents me from checking the spelling) and stir the intellectual pot on occasion. I am but a mere mortal you know :shock:

next?

Nick


Thu May 08, 2008 8:11 am
Profile
PITA Bred
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 2401
Location: The Quiet Earth
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Nick Doten wrote:
BTW folks, I do feel like a diletante (sp?) amongst the many RAH experts here...

I don't think so, and in any case I don't want anyone here feeling like there is a stratified membership. I was going to post this in a different thread, but I'll say it here:

This board is for anyone looking for that subtitle up there: intelligent discussion of Heinlein. It does not have to be "expert level" only. I did create this forum for more focused and serious discussion, but that does not mean it's closed to novices.

Note that I do draw a distinction between "novice" and "amateur." Novices are welcome here, and highly encouraged to ask any question they like, and contribute fresh viewpoints. I really don't want any of the amateurism that has permeated other Heinlein forums - yes, I specifically mean that one - where the discussion breaks down to unending blather and silliness, so that participants have to make a special effort to start and maintain a solid on-topic thread. I trust the members here to know the difference and to put topics and discussion in the correct place (of the three - focused, general and off-topic), and to keep the really off-track stuff out of the forums.

I am amazed and gratified at how well this place has taken off since the restart. Having the pool of Centennial attendees to draw on has really sparked up the place. Thanks, all, for your contributions.

_________________
"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Thu May 08, 2008 9:14 am
Profile
Centennial Attendee

Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:08 am
Posts: 29
Location: Nice, France
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Nick Doten wrote:
OK folks , after the dissection of A.P. and our criticisms of his works focused
upon RAH, I have a question. Where do you think A.P. was right on in his analysis'
of RAH and his writings?

Alexei Panshin's basic thesis, as far as I understand it, is that Heinlein
is the closest thing to literary greatness that science fiction has offered yet,
but that he still falls short of it. Then he starts nitpicking at the various literary
shortcuts Heinlein, as a commercial writer, has sometimes allowed himself
to use.

Well — I basically agree with him here. Heinlein isn't in the same class
as Shakespeare, Homer, or even Victor Hugo. Very few authors are,
and none in modern SF.

Actually, Heinlein himself has discussed the point in "Science fiction,
its Nature, Faults and Virtues" : statistically, it would be very unlikely
for a major literary talent to have already emerged out of the "corporal's
guard" of SF authors, which, moreover, were often self-taught. There's a lot
of room left for improvement here — and Heinlein's own literary technique
did obvioulsy improve with the years.

Yet, in the same essay, Heinlein insists that SF is nevertheless entitled
to the first place in the XXth Century literature, because it's the only genre
to actually take this century's problems into account — including, of course,
science and its consequences.

Heinlein in Dimension entirely misses this point. As most literary critics,
Panshin doesnt' seem very interested in actual scientific challenges.
When he does discuss science facts, as in "Sympathy for the Devil", it's
still with a very short-sighted point of view - the very opposite of the wide
one Heinlein was trying to seduce his readers into.

Thus, the book is in my opinion a rather interesting, and quite often relevant
(although sometimes more harsh than necessary), discussion of Heinlein's
works, from a strictly literary point of view, in the most restrictive sense.
And little more.


Thu May 08, 2008 9:22 am
Profile WWW
Centennial Attendee

Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:57 am
Posts: 134
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Nick Doten wrote:

I do see alot of similiarites between the protagonists in RAH novels and believe like A.P. that Heinlein was writing about himself interjected into the storylines- as a writer would i do the same? damn straight- you write about that you know best- yourself !

One of the points i would vehemently disagree with A.P. about is his pronouncment that RAH had no sense of humor but rather was a satirest!- sheeeeesh, RAH could have written comedies if he had so desired !! i love the man's sense of humor- where is A.P.'s sense of humor ??
Nick

Once upon a time (it started in fourth grade) I thought I was going to be a writer when I grew up but, every time I put pen to page, I found that the instigator/troublemaker moving my story along was the little sister I had shared a room with for ten years, and then I'd stop.
If I liked her as much as I like RAH, I'd have kept going. I've never resented Heinlein repeating himself in his fiction, as there was not nearly enough of him in the world I knew.
For me, there is his fiction, and then there is Heinlein the tonic for world-weariness. I could always find enough tonic in each book (excepting FF) to make up for any possible lack in storytelling. One part lesson and one part humor -- mm mm good!
I love the World as Myth concept, and I have read all those later, less-appreciated books more than once, just to get the concept embedded firmly.
If I had been taught in school or at home or at church how to work with others as a team, each fulfilling the responsibilities of a particular role, I wouldn't have read Cat as often.
I wish fewer of his characters smoked tobacco.
There's my scathing criticism. Sorry but that's the best I can do.

_________________
"There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." (Robert Evans)


Thu May 08, 2008 11:36 am
Profile
NitroForum Oldster
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:57 pm
Posts: 152
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Eric Picholle wrote:
Heinlein isn't in the same class as Shakespeare, Homer, or even Victor Hugo. Very few authors are, and none in modern SF.

Actually, Heinlein himself has discussed the point in "Science fiction, its Nature, Faults and Virtues": statistically, it would be very unlikely for a major literary talent to have already emerged out of the "corporal's guard" of SF authors, which, moreover, were often self-taught.

Many good & interesting points in this thread. I'd like to suggest, though, that the age of a literature or genre or movement is not a reliable indicator as to when its mature or even genius-level practitioners appear. Homer stands at the beginning of Greek literature, as a defining giant. When Elizabethan theater was taking off, Marlowe, and soon Shakespeare in competition, set a standard that has been hard to meet across the ensuing four centuries. (For background see my review of Stephen Greenblatt's excellent Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare at http://www.Troynovant.com/.

Heinlein's position in world literature is not entirely evident, and likely won't be for at least another century. In some degree it will depend on whether that future develops along the lines Heinlein hoped and worked for; or something darker.

_________________
http://www.Troynovant.com/ - recurrent inspiration


Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:17 pm
Profile WWW
NitroForum Oldster
User avatar

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:57 am
Posts: 669
Location: DC Metro
Post Re: Sympathy for the Devil
Robert W Franson wrote:
Heinlein's position in world literature is not entirely evident, and likely won't be for at least another century. In some degree it will depend on whether that future develops along the lines Heinlein hoped and worked for; or something darker.


I agree and would like to add that when entrepreneurial space ventures inevitably (IMHO) become more important and eventually supplant government programs, Heinlein's historical stature will be broadly acknowledged beyond his literary accomplishments.

_________________
"Being right too soon is socially unacceptable." - Heinlein, Expanded Universe


Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:53 pm
Profile WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 52 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


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