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Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unknown" 
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Post Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unknown"
Fair warning: I haven't read this yet, I only learned of it today in a review in Salon by Paul Di Filippo:

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Malmont's new "The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown" (its title harking back to three SF magazines of the era) leaps ahead a few years after the "amazing adventures of Gibson & Dent" to the middle of World War II and the venue of the Philadelphia Naval Yards, where several conscripted SF authors are at work for the military: Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp.

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Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:18 pm
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
Note: Heinlein wasn't conscripted. He was a volunteer who couldn't *get* into the military and ended up working as a civilian in the Philadelphia Naval yards, as did his then-wife Leslyn. Sounds like the jobs were painful, often demoralizing because of incompetent Navy bureaucrats, and may have ultimately pushed Leslyn over the edge mentally and cost them their marriage. :/ Not the kind of thing that "The Good War" would lead you to expect.

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Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:00 pm
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
sakeneko wrote:
Note: Heinlein wasn't conscripted.


Good thing the book doesn't appear under Nonfiction, then! I gather it's a novel.

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Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:45 am
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
Dan, thanks for posting the link to the review. I am not familiar with Malmont but both his books sound like ones my wife and I would enjoy. She is a huge fan of Doc Savage and of all things pulp so I suspect the first book will especially appeal to her, though I think I'll like it too. Since I have just finished reading the WW II section of Bill Patterson's Heinlein biography, I feel primed for Malmont's second book. Both go to the top of my reading list.

As for the review, it seemed to be written by someone who was both familiar with and sympathetic to the personalities and the events used by both books.

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Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:49 am
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
I am reading this now, and it is a most peculiar book. So far it has been just compelling enough to get me to keep reading. I have no idea where it is going.

I cannot tell just where the liberties are being taken with actual events. One thing was pretty jarring, though: the depiction of Heinlein as being uncomfortable with Campbell's smoking because of its effects on his TB-scarred lungs. Given that Heinlein was an inveterate smoker himself, this isn't plausible.


Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:05 pm
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
PeterScott wrote:
Heinlein was an inveterate smoker himself



He was? Now I don't feel so bad!
Hak-kaff!!


Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:48 pm
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
I'm halfway through now and I don't think I have before encountered a book that so thoroughly erased the line between fact and fiction.

Heinlein is not just a character in this book; while it is something of an ensemble cast, the character with the most exposure is our Bob himself. The dialogue doesn't quite fit with his halting midwest dialect for me, though; seems too contemporary.


Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:07 am
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
PeterScott wrote:
I'm halfway through now and I don't think I have before encountered a book that so thoroughly erased the line between fact and fiction.

Heinlein is not just a character in this book; while it is something of an ensemble cast, the character with the most exposure is our Bob himself. The dialogue doesn't quite fit with his halting midwest dialect for me, though; seems too contemporary.


Let's have a full review when you're done reading.


Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:03 pm
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
I'm not going to tell you everything about this book because everyone who frequents this forum should read it. If you have not merely a taste for Heinlein's stories but also an affection for the man itself, this book will be a joy. It's exactly the kind of story that you think should have happened to Heinlein, and by the end, you don't care what was factual and what was made up.

During WWII, Heinlein, Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp and others were part of a Navy experimental lab in Philadelphia. This novel spins a yarn around that that is an honest-to-God pulp tale of superweaponry, spies, and secrets. Heinlein is the main hero, commanding and resourceful; Asimov is the geek kid with pluck; and L. Ron Hubbard comes in for--well, not respect, but certainly a lot of page time. We see each of the characters grow and something of the origins of their legendary traits. Lesyln is disturbed, violent, dark; and we see Heinlein meet Ginny and their romance blossom.

A scholar will have the itch to mark it up with true/false labels; frankly, I don't give a damn. This is a story by someone who loves Heinlein as much as any one of us, and he's done good. Read it.


Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:23 am
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Post Re: Paul Malmont's "The Astounding, the Amazing and the Unkn
I'm reading The Chinatown Deathcloud Peril right now and it does the same thing with the writers of The Shadow and Doc Savage, Walter Gibson and Lester Dent. I am sure it also does not stick entirely to the actual history but it is a pulp novel so it should make things bigger than real life. I am enjoying it so far. I wanted to read it first before I read the second book. Your comments just make me look forward to the second book even more.

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