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Washington Post Review 
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NitroForum Oldster
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Post Washington Post Review
Most here probably already know that The Washington Post's Michael Dirda reviewed Bill's biography in today's paper.


Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:55 am
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Post Re: Washington Post Review
Both Dirda and Jo Walton have compared Learning Curve to Julie Phillips' biography of James Tiptree Jr. and found it lacking in literary quality. I dunno, the excerpts I read on Google Books looked fine to me. I guess I'm not familiar with what critics are expecting from biographies as a genre.

One wonders if Dirda cribbed the comparison to the Tiptree book from Walton.


Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:27 am
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Centennial Attendee
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Post Re: Washington Post Review
BillMullins wrote:
Both Dirda and Jo Walton have compared Learning Curve to Julie Phillips' biography of James Tiptree Jr. and found it lacking in literary quality. I dunno, the excerpts I read on Google Books looked fine to me. I guess I'm not familiar with what critics are expecting from biographies as a genre.

One wonders if Dirda cribbed the comparison to the Tiptree book from Walton.

That the Phillips book was the last biography of an SF writer to make a big splash explains the coincidence to my satisfaction.


Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:01 pm
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Heinlein Nexus

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Post Re: Washington Post Review
The Tiptree bio was worth reading, but hardly thorough. There was so much basic research that just simply wasn't done.


Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:43 pm
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NitroForum Oldster

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Post Re: Washington Post Review
Interesting review, I guess you can't like or admire someone and also write about him..

Interesting. :lol:


Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:26 am
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Heinlein Biographer

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Post Re: Washington Post Review
TexasScot1952 wrote:
Interesting review, I guess you can't like or admire someone and also write about him..

Interesting. :lol:

There's a lot of that kind of assumption in the reviews as they appear. According to one I never met Heinlein; according to another I am academically "unprepared." People seem to assume that the material of the introduction is emotional stuff that can be ignored; nobody seems to realize that the introduction is just as factual, if a bit more global, than the rest of the text.

I'm trying in the introduction to pose the question for people who are not familiar with the subject, why is Heinlein worth studying? It comes down to a question of values.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:06 am
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Heinlein Biographer

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Post Re: Washington Post Review
BillPatterson wrote:
TexasScot1952 wrote:
Interesting review, I guess you can't like or admire someone and also write about him..

Interesting. :lol:

There's a lot of that kind of assumption in the reviews as they appear. According to one I never met Heinlein; according to another I am academically "unprepared." People seem to assume that the material of the introduction is emotional stuff that can be ignored; nobody seems to realize that the introduction is just as factual, if a bit more global, than the rest of the text.

I'm trying in the introduction to pose the question for people who are not familiar with the subject, why is Heinlein worth studying? It comes down to a question of values.

But, you know, the contact from the Cato Institute guy suggesting I appear on C-SPAN's Book Notes came about as a result of the WP review mentioning that I thought he was a pivotal figure in four social movements of the XXth century. Hard to complain too much about it.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:08 am
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Post Re: Washington Post Review
BillPatterson wrote:
TexasScot1952 wrote:
Interesting review, I guess you can't like or admire someone and also write about him..

Interesting. :lol:

There's a lot of that kind of assumption in the reviews as they appear. According to one I never met Heinlein; according to another I am academically "unprepared." People seem to assume that the material of the introduction is emotional stuff that can be ignored; nobody seems to realize that the introduction is just as factual, if a bit more global, than the rest of the text.

We are seeing the emergence of shadowy multiple Pattersons, each one a different image in a mirror held up by some blog correspondent or reviewer. What is the truth about Patterson? It is becoming a topic of debate, an echo of a strangely familiar debate about another author we know.

One can turn to the real Patterson, of course, and ask him questions-- but the answers only become further ammunition to be used in the conflict over who he really is and what he really means.

(Amazon says that my copy of Learning Curve has been shipped. I shall haunt the mailbox.)


Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:18 am
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NitroForum Oldster
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Post Re: Washington Post Review
Amazon emailed me this morning that my 3 copies are on their way. Bill, how do we get those bookplates? :D

This is all very exciting to me. Not only is Heinlein getting wider discussion than at any time in decades (aside from the splash that the Centennial created in 2007), but our own Bill is getting well deserved recognition in national media. Very cool! Much more to come, I hope.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:06 am
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Post Re: Washington Post Review
JackKelly wrote:
(aside from the splash that the Centennial created in 2007)


More of a *splip!*. We never did succeed with the (significant) effort to rope in recognition and attention from outside the sf world. Another casualty of limited manpower and a need to focus on the event itself... and the corrosive time-waster of endless damage control within the sf world.

The bio, OTOH, seems to have wider ripples every time I look. It's excellent news and (I hope) some part of the rich reward due Our Mr. Patterson.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:44 pm
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