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Kirkus Review 
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:44 am
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Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:53 pm
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PITA Bred
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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.


Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:59 pm
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Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:46 pm
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So why frame your comfort as a universal proposition? If a friend had just been high-hatted by an old girlfriend and you said, "Hey, buck up--women are like that," you might expect a dirty look from any woman within earshot.

As for the function of reviews--The buyer's-guide end of the job is pretty dull and in any case amounts to "you'll like this, if you like that sort of thing." The standard advice is to find a reviewer or three whose taste you share (or at least have calibrated against your own) and use them as your bird-dogs. Otherwise, you're better off going to a bookstore and just reading the first page or two.

For some of us, though, the review is a place to talk about books--how they work (or don't, as might happen), about the topics and issues they raise, about what enjoying a work of fiction feels like, about how this book fits in with the rest of the books in the world. If one doesn't enjoy that kind of conversation, then a review won't have much to offer, nor will most literary discussion. But it's my experience that some people do enjoy reading about books (or music or painting or architecture or any number of other pursuits), which is why there are still reviews and blogs and on-line forums.


Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:26 pm
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Heinlein Biographer

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Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:01 am
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Glad you found the TEFL essay useful. It was written in '75, right at the tail-end of grad school. I've always thought that the oubliette down which academic writing vanishes is even deeper than the one reserved for software and computer-equipment reviews.

I suspect that most of us who write for publication rather than the trunk have some taste for public performance. The same applies to, say, teachers--I discovered my inner ham in the classroom, and that kind of performing is the other thing I miss about not-teaching. (The big loss is not having an excuse to talk about books and ideas, even if often to a captive, restless, or napping audience. Thus the consolation of reviewing and, to a lesser degree, posting.)


Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:20 am
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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.


Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:18 pm
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I'll cop to being old (permanently) and grouchy (on occasion), though I've never managed the mass or pelt required for bear status. Two out of three ain't bad, though. (Enough for a C- these days.) Don't know about engagement--I'd have to ask my wife.


Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:26 pm
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Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:19 pm
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I think I started the TEFL piece in late '75 or early '76; it was certainly finished it by Labor Day of '76, because I took a copy to MidAmericacon and left it and a cover letter at the hotel desk for Heinlein, just as a courtesy. (Later I got a Mr.-Heinlein-doesn't-read-these note from Ginny--I mention same in passing in the Locus review.) It was commissioned for the Writers of the 21st Century Series by Joe Olander, as were all but one of the essays (Dave Samuelson's is a reprint). There were all kinds of delays wrapping up the project, so it didn't come out until 1978. Years later, I wrote the Heinlein entry for Jim Gunn's not-entirely-successful New Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, and that one experienced delays as well. Maybe there was a Heinlein Jinx operating. (And there's an awful line that some editor at the packager or at Viking inserted in the NESF piece--I just reread it and am embarrassed all over again. Charles never did that to me.)


Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:45 pm
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