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Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:40 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Albert Michelson

Albert Michelson made many important early measurements of the speed of light. On p. 63 of the biography, it says "a textbook ... did not even mention the ongoing measurements of the speed of light, which Michelson had started at the Naval Academy in 1886." (The Michelson-Morley experiment, which gave the first evidence disproving the ether, was conducted in 1887 at what would become Case-Western.)

Michelson's first experiments on the subject were in late 1877 and early 1878 at the USNA.

P. 107 quoted RAH saying that Michelson "performed his first famous experiments in 1878".

The index, under "Michelson", includes the reference on p. 107 but not the one on p. 63.


Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:42 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Fencing Coach

p. 53 "His fencing master was a real French swordsman with a mystery in his past. Capitaine Deladrier gave instruction in epee . . ."

Clovis Deladrier (1885-1948) was from Belgium. He started coaching at the Academy in the late 1920s, and became head coach in 1932 upon retirement of George Heintz Jr. He wrote _Modern Fencing_, published by the Naval Institute in 1948. He died during a match with Yale.

His son Andre coached at the Academy from 1957 to 1990, and was US Fencing coach at the 1960 Olympics.


Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:38 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
A scattering of good touch-up points from the helpfully eagle-eyed Heinlein crew, but of course not amounting to more than a few freckles on such a necessarily wide-ranging biography and cultural history as the altogether excellent Learning Curve. I certainly appreciate the determination and good-will, as well as the scholarship, to provide Heinlein's own story and character to the world.

I like the idea of an html and/or pdf file at the author's site to contain corrections and minor discoveries pertinent to the volumes; with perhaps larger items -- Lanning's career and friendship, for instance -- developing into separate essays as out-of-book appendices.

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Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:16 am
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
RobertWFranson wrote:
A scattering of good touch-up points from the helpfully eagle-eyed Heinlein crew, but of course not amounting to more than a few freckles on such a necessarily wide-ranging biography and cultural history as the altogether excellent Learning Curve. I certainly appreciate the determination and good-will, as well as the scholarship, to provide Heinlein's own story and character to the world.

I like the idea of an html and/or pdf file at the author's site to contain corrections and minor discoveries pertinent to the volumes; with perhaps larger items -- Lanning's career and friendship, for instance -- developing into separate essays as out-of-book appendices.

Well, that was supposed to be on the Archive site here, and I did post a bunch -- and then of course some more showed up! And then some more. I'll talk with Deb about what can be done on the site directly. Have to incorporate this newest batch into the corrections David Hartwell asked for, for the second impression. But I won't be able to do tht till I get back to LA on Monday.


Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:56 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
p. 592 note 47: Both #9 and #11 of The Heinlein Journal are dated as July 2001. I supposed at least one of these is incorrect . . . .


Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:33 pm
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Today in E-mail from Nathan Howe, I received a supplemental bit of information that is entertaining, but I'm not quite sure how it might go into the biography yet:

I just got off the phone with a family friend in her eighties, who's from Missouri and now wants to read Learning Curve. I was just skimming it again--kind of poignant about his teenage years. You know, I think Learning Curve is going to go the distance and last the ages. It's going to be absolutely necessary down the ages to anyone who even comes near a Robert Heinlein story.

I don't know if you picked up on it, but the Heinleins were in touch with the writer Robb White, Annapolis '31. He's the guy who wrote Secret Sea, Up Periscope [1956] (they made the old James Garner movie from the book [in 1959]) and about 25 others; his books complement the Heinlein juveniles remarkably well. Robb told me that at Annapolis RAH was the world's fastest rope climber. During the war, Robb got to visit General Macarthur every month to tell him that he couldn't have a dozen aircraft carriers this time, either. Admiral Nimitz made him write down Mac's subsequent blasphemies and obscenities for his personal review and private amusement. Robb White eventually made Captain; the Navy liked what he wrote about it. He died after a car accident in 1990....he was another great man. I understand that he wrote Virginia a very warm, caring letter after Robert died. (I'm using these first names loosely; I wouldn't have dared use them in real time.)

There is, or used to be, a big Commonwealth interest in RAH. I hope your agent is pushing for a good British edition. Funny, I looked through my stack of LOCUS and didn't spot any reviews, but it must be somewhere. They've gone kind of corporate since Charlie Brown left. Or maybe it's these eyes of mine....


The only one of White's books I could find still in print is Deathmatch (1972)


Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:41 am
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
This may not be an _omission_ because it may belong in Volume II but there is no mention of RAH's interest in bridge. I know he played the game, although I don't think he played it often, and he had a bridge game going on in Farnham's Freehold Did he really pick the game up so late that it doesn't belong in Volume I?

Then there's the single word "mechanic" in the discussion of his ability to generate a little extra income in poker games. I saw nothing in the notes that convinced me that this is accurate yet I don't think you would say such a terrible, contemptible, thing about the subject of a biography without adequate reason. So I won't call it an error but I will say that I hope you are sure of your ground and, at the same time, I hope you are wrong.


Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:59 am
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
Guest wrote:
Then there's the single word "mechanic" in the discussion of his ability to generate a little extra income in poker games. I saw nothing in the notes that convinced me that this is accurate[...]

Good catch, IMHO. I know nothing to indicate that Heinlein was a card manipulator or cheat - other than that he did have an interest in magic and card tricks, which can lead to manipulation. So it's possible he, um, cheated his way into some pocket money in those days. Hard temptation to resist if you have the skills and are playing with motivation.

I think that Bill probably meant "sharp" more than "mechanic," though - as in a skilled, knowledgeable player who watches the cards and play like a hawk and uses every tell to his advantage. Poker is like many endeavors where being just a little more attentive and on the ball can distance you from casual do-er/players.

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Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:28 am
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
JamesGifford wrote:
Guest wrote:
Then there's the single word "mechanic" in the discussion of his ability to generate a little extra income in poker games. I saw nothing in the notes that convinced me that this is accurate[...]

Good catch, IMHO. I know nothing to indicate that Heinlein was a card manipulator or cheat - other than that he did have an interest in magic and card tricks, which can lead to manipulation. So it's possible he, um, cheated his way into some pocket money in those days. Hard temptation to resist if you have the skills and are playing with motivation.

I think that Bill probably meant "sharp" more than "mechanic," though - as in a skilled, knowledgeable player who watches the cards and play like a hawk and uses every tell to his advantage. Poker is like many endeavors where being just a little more attentive and on the ball can distance you from casual do-er/players.


If Bill meant something other than "cheat" he made a major error. There is a fascinating discussion in Yardley's The Education of a Poker Player where a cheat tries to convince two poker-game operators who have caught him that he is no worse than they are, since the marks have no more chance against them than against him. He talks a good case but he didn't convince them and he didn't convince me.

I play a great deal of poker and I win, obviously not every session. If someone called me a mechanic he'd have a fight on his hands.

Oddly enough, John Varley, an admirer of Heinlein's and a very good author in his own right, has several protagonists who cheat at poker and thinks it is an amusing part of their personas. I don't.

Will in New Haven


Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:49 am

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:44 am
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Post Re: Errors and Omissions, Volume 1 of the Bio
BillPatterson wrote:
Today in E-mail from Nathan Howe, I received [. . .]:

Funny, I looked through my stack of LOCUS and didn't spot any reviews, but it must be somewhere. They've gone kind of corporate since Charlie Brown left. Or maybe it's these eyes of mine....


Not to toot my own horn, but the October issue carries my review, starting on p. 21. (And any perception of post-Charles corporateness at the magazine is entirely in the eyes of the beholder.)


Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:50 pm
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