Re: Stories: Citizen of the Galaxy (Opus 128/G.134) (Nov. 1956)
I see she's going to be on one of the Heinlein panels at Denvention -- and I also see they didn't get your spacesuit presentation in the list of Heinlein programming. *sigh*
I printed out that entire blog entry and found a really good example of what I think of as "phony flaws" in the first comment by "NullNix":
Ok -- its structure is not "wandering" at all: Thorby is exposed to four environments that are nominally "home" to him and in which he finds out something different about family, in order to shape the master learning of the ending.
It is a core characteristic of the story that Thorby is repeatedly jerked out of an environment to which he has become attached -- in fact, that is what set the story in motion, out of the frame of the book. It cannot logically be a "flaw" since it's intrinsic to the story arc. It can only be regarded as a flaw if you have some straight-through model as the "only" way to make a story. I.e., it's an artifact in a rather inexperienced and somewhat inflexible mind, not a flaw of the story.
In the second place, picaresque stories are supposed to move from locale to locale. Change of setting cannot properly be a "flaw" when it's a defining characteristic of the form.
The "entire cultures being drawn and discarded" bit is just astonishing as much for what it does not say as what it does: that he expects and is prepared to find cultures and backgrounds properly being sketched hazily if they are on-stage but briefly. He has managed to cast a writer's greatest technical strength -- a feature which is normally a matter of extraordinary comment and praise -- as a "flaw" of the story.
And more questions being raised than answered is usually translated as "provocative" and is usually regarded as a Good Thing.
Phony flaws. Too goddamned many of them in Heinlein criticism.
Another commenter notes that the "food fight" while Thorby is with the Hegemonic Guard is a telling incident but misreads what it tells -- he gathers it's a sign that thorby is still immature as he is unable to resist rising to the bait. What he seems to miss -- and what a lot of people miss about this and incidents in, e.g., Farnham's Freehold and in Farmer in the Sky, two examples that come easily to mind, is that they are telling us the character is emotionally disturbed, not merely immature. He's sick and it also tells us what he has to cure himself of.