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12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biography 
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NitroForum Oldster
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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
Even for a biography or biographical novel of someone in antiquity, where we really know very little, there are good ways and bad to approach the characters. I'm not deprecating gaudy adventure-telling, but the narrow or shallow treatment which is hitched to some jaded hobby-horse. We see it all over the place, including about Heinlein. In contrast, Learning Curve is a whole biography, in every sense.

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Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:00 pm
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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
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The most amazing claim from Walton is that she "didn't find all that much new". After all, she had read most of the available material on the subject and seemed to assume that that material contained all of the important influences in his life. What do you think?

Was it necessary to go to the detail level used in Learning Curve? If you think so, what do you believe could have been left out and still be able to gain the necessary insight into the man and the writer? ( :twisted: advocatus)


Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:19 pm
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Heinlein Biographer

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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
DavidWrightSr wrote:
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The most amazing claim from Walton is that she "didn't find all that much new". After all, she had read most of the available material on the subject and seemed to assume that that material contained all of the important influences in his life. What do you think?

Was it necessary to go to the detail level used in Learning Curve? If you think so, what do you believe could have been left out and still be able to gain the necessary insight into the man and the writer? ( :twisted: advocatus)

Well, I actually made a decision about this question, early on, and I decided that although "selection" is the business of the biographer, I didn't want to select the details I thought were personally important or made a good narrative story arc.

In the first place, I had several narrative arcs going, and each of them, required different material to support it.

In the second place, one of the functions this thing had to serve was to get all the useful stuff out for people with a great many different agendas -- for, after all, there wouldn't be another opportunity, while the letters were still sealed, until 2025 or so.

So these considerations militated against a much narrower selection of detail. So I decided to use the opportunity to increase the richness and consistency of the picture I could offer. Or die in the attempt. Something like that.


Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:46 pm
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Heinlein Nexus

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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
All authoritative biographies go into EXCRUCIATING detail. "Learning Curve" actually has far less than many of the author biographies I've read. Go try the major Faulkner bio.....

You should look at what Bill actually left OUT.....

Compared to celebrity biographies written for people who barely read at all, this has too much detail....

Robert


Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:23 am
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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
I assume you're talking about Joseph Blotner's 1970s-era biography of William Faulkner? I tried to read that in high school shortly after it came out, when one of my high school English teachers (a Faulkner fan) suggested it. I barely made it through; the level of detail was so intense that the book was nearly unreadable. *Thank* you, Bill, for not doing that to us. ;)

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Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:36 am
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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
Yes, the Blotner. It almost killed me in college.....lol.


Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:55 pm
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NitroForum Oldster

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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
realizing that most that is written is directed towards a certain audience, in this case sci-fi/ RAH fandom in particular, and i understand the need for detail in relating this bio to them. Most readers would have base knowledge of the man and his works (in my case)- i see this bio as solidifying this info and also adding to my own understanding of RAH - it filled him out as a genuine human and not purely as a legend

where could it been pared ? i guess that's all relative to what each was looking for and not looking between the covers- personally the time spent relating RAH's west point experience may have been the place to do this- i do realize that this was a time which imprinted RAH's personality and immensely impacted his later life- but ........... i have only a minor critique here

all in all IMHO this was a gem of background knowledge from which there is much to be mined- thanks Bill- i await vol 2 :) you've explained alot to me of not only who RAH was but also why


Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:23 pm
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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
Erm. You misspelled Annapolis, Nick. :shock:

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Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:54 pm
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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
Beat me to it, jeepojiii. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall if Nick had done that to RAH himself, or any other Annapolis graduate.

And you thought Canadians got shirty when mistaken for U.S. citizens? ;)

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Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:52 pm
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NitroForum Oldster

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Post Re: 12/16/2010 Critics Review of Patterson's Heinlein Biogra
:oops:

think RAH and i would've had a drawn out discussion of the army/navy game after that one- teach me not to proof a submission won't it ? :roll:

Nick (us army 72-74)

at least i didn't call him a jarhead- things may have come to blows


Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:15 am
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