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Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:40 pm
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Post Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b
Just re-read this. A few random thoughts:

1. One of several places in Heinlein's work where public nudity appears. The Doukhobors, an exiled Christian sect from Russia, are mentioned in this context. They had mass nude protests in Canada – see Wikipedia.

2. "I tell you three times" – this phrase shows up several times in RAH's work, usually in the context of an automated control system (typically a sentient computer) having redundancy (so that two elements may outvote an outlying third). "Jackpot" was first published in 1952, a time when redundant computer control wouldn't be well known. Is there another context from which RAH took this phrase?

3. "Silly Season" This phrase, used in "Jackpot", is also the title of a short story by C. M. Kornbluth which Heinlein included in _Tomorrow the Stars_ (also 1952). Both times, it is used in a journalistic context to refer to the part of summer in which wacky stories overtake "real" news. Is it journalism slang, perhaps picked up by Heinlein in the 1930s when he worked on _EPIC News_? Or maybe he just picked it up from the Kornbluth story (originally published in 1950). Heinlein also used the phrase in a non-journalistic context in a letter excerpted in _Grumbles_: "No other news save that the Silly Season has opened and we have many visitors; this will continue until fall."

4. Twice in the story reference is made to a major earthquake in Long Beach in 1933. This really occurred, on 10 Mar (see Wikipedia, "1933 Long Beach Earthquake"). A contemporary account says: "In Long Beach alone 4000 marines and sailors were sent ashore from the Battle Fleet and assisted the police in treating the injured." Was Heinlein homeported on either the Lexington or the Roper there then? (The Lexington participated in a 120 ship review on the 10th off San Pedro) Was he involved in relief efforts?

5. You could make an argument that the climax of the story is set in 1956. The "54-year cycle" was high in 1929, and was troughing at the climax. 1929 + 54/2 = 1956.

6. "Mother Shippey" is mentioned in passing as a fortune teller. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Heinlein was talking about a real person, but I can't find any reference anywhere to a real prognosticator by that name.


Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:32 pm
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"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders." - Luther
In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:16 pm
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Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:03 pm
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"What I tell you three times is true" -- Lewis Carroll. Google it.

And we know RAH was a fan of "The Hunting of the Snark".


Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:10 pm
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Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:20 pm
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Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:41 pm
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I believe the computer use came because early computer scientists were all fans of Charles Matthew Dodgson, the mathematician who wrote some keen mathematical fiction. Remember the teatime with Dodgson in Number of the Beast.

Silly season is a perfectly ordinary journalistic slang, exactly as it was explained in the Kuttner story. Heinlein used the term often of summer in Colorado Springs in the correspondence.


Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:21 pm
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Re the Long Beach earthquake of 1933 -- Heinlein was in it, but he was on sick leave at the time, taking treatment in Arcadia. As it happens, he was writing a letter to his brother (who was already at Fitzsimmons) also being treated for TB) when the quake hit, so he describes it blow by blow.

The letter is extensively quoted in the biography, so you'll have a good shot before the whole thing comes out in the Virginia Edition too.


Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:24 pm
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Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:50 pm
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Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:32 am
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