Heinlein Society at the 61st World Science Fiction Convention
Panels Presented by the Heinlein Society
Torcon 3, Toronto, Canada
August 28-September 1, 2003
The Heinlein Society at Torcon
Annual Meeting Report
Heinlein Awards and Dinner
Heinlein’s Women — “Just Like the Girl Who Married Dear Old Dad”
Description: An audience participation discussion of female character types, their purpose and impact in Heinlein’s works.
Day: Thu Time:1700
The panel, despite being scheduled on a Thursday which prevented both Robert James, our Education committee chair, and Deb Houdek Rule, our new website committee chair, from participating, since their flights weren’t due in until later that evening, went very well, attendance filled the room, and the discussion was lively.
Larry Niven and Elizabeth Ann Hull, Fredrick Pohl’s English Professor wife, made up a great attraction as our guests on the panel and together were probably the reason for the full room attendance we had, despite several other attractive panels being held in that hour. Fran Van Cleave, a Society member, several of whose recent stories have appeared in Analog, and Pat York, a teacher from Buffalo, both did wonderful jobs on the panel, keeping a good balance in their presentations, filling in for Robert and Deb. Dr. Hull had a few interesting approaches to the subject; and Larry gave a great overview of Heinlein’s women characters.
Panelists: David M. Silver, Larry Niven, Elizabeth Ann Hull and Pat York
Heinlein 101: “All you ever wanted to know about Heinlein, but were afraid to ask.”
Description: An overview of the themes, writing techniques, literary forms and character types of Heinlein’s works, in seminar form. The who, when, where, what and, most important, why of reading Robert A. Heinlein. General introduction to Heinlein’s writing covering various zigs in his career and the groups of different works: pre-war, juveniles, Post stories, Future History, Stranger and the novels of the 60’s, and the final World as Myth books.
Day: Fri Time:1400
Robert “Doc” James was all ready to go when we arrived, passing out the prepared outlines he had made for the audience which was already filling up the room. Our panel, very lively and well-presented, was once again given to a standing room only crowd, just at it had been at ConJosé. Dr. Brad Lyau and Deb Houdek Rule joined Robert and me for the panel, and everyone did their usual splendid job, while I moderated and tried to stay out of trouble. Once it was finished, some of us left immediately to our hotels to get ready for the dinner, while Deb. Robert and Kitten Trumpski-Roberts ably filled in on a “Heinlein and Sex” panel set just one hour before the dinner that some of us had to miss.
Panelists: David M. Silver, Robert James, Bradford Lyau and Deb Houdek Rule
Sex in Heinlein’s Universe
Day: Fri Time: 1600
Of course a discussion of sex in Heinlein’s universe will fill a room. Some of the discussion included the various forms of sex presented in Heinlein’s books, and the lack of any actual descriptive sex scenes in them.
Panelists: Robert James, Dave Creek, Deb Houdek Rule and Barbara Trumpinski-Roberts
Heinlein, Stranger than Stranger: “Four Decades After the Hugo”
Description: An audience participation survey of the Hugo award winning novel Stranger in a Strange Land, its impact on speculative fiction and literature.
Day: Sat Time:1400
At 2 PM we held our “Heinlein: Stranger than Stranger, Four Decades After the Hugo” panel, once again, to a packed room. Well over 120 people were present. With Dr. James moderating, Brad Lyau, Geo Rule, Deb Houdek Rule, Fran Van Cleave, and Joe Major all presented a variety of views. Several Heinlein Society panelists were interviewed about it by a television crew following this panel.
Panelists: Robert James, Geo Rule, Deb Houdek Rule, Brad Lyau, Joe Major and Fran Van Cleve
Heinlein: Lost, Strayed, Misplaced, and Found Again
Description: Major New Publications of Works by Robert A. Heinlein, including his first, previously never published novel, “For Us, the Living –”
Day: Sat Time:1600
Saturday afternoon in a room four times the size of the ordinary panel room (between 400 and 500 seats), absolutely packed, we presented the “Heinlein: Lost, Strayed, Misplaced, and Found Again” panel, which was, of course, mostly about the discovery and publication of For Us, The Living. We distributed the flyers Simon Schuster had provided. It was a wonderful panel, the most successful we’ve had.
Panelists: David Silver, Robert James, Spider Robinson, Arthur M. Dula and Eleanor Wood
For Us, the Living, now available from Amazon.com. Get your copy now
Heinlein’s Take on the Law and Lawyers: “The Year We Hanged All the Lawyers”
Description: An audience participation survey of the themes, roles and character types, their purpose and impact relating to lawyers and law used in Heinlein’s works. Law, legal beagles, and trials pop up over and over in Heinlein’s fiction. Is he fascinated with the subject because he thinks of lawyers and the law as guardians of civilization? Not likely — he created a utopia by hanging them all. Let’s talk about this professional satirist and subversive’s take on law and lawyers. Caution! Count your cards! Hands on wallets! Some of these panelists are lawyers! You Have Been Warned!
Day: Sun Time:1700
We continued the next two days, with two more panels: “Heinlein’s Take on Law and Lawyers: The Year We Hanged All the Lawyers,” on Sunday and “Heinlein’s Juveniles: Just Plain Kids, Superkids, or Sociopathic Monsters” on Monday, once again to fully packed rooms.
Panelists: David Silver, Arthur M. Dula, Esq. and Samuel M. Kramer, Esq.
Heinlein’s Juveniles: “Just Plain Kids, Superkids, or Sociopaths?”
Description: An audience participation discussion of the themes, writing techniques, literary forms and character types, their purpose and impact used in the juvenile stories of Heinlein’s works, with discussion of their suitability for K-12 education or their introduction to adolescent readers.
Day: Mon Time:1100
We were joined by David-Glenn Anderson, Fran Van Cleave, and Joe Major for the Juveniles panel. David-Glenn is the manager of the Reading For the Future list Greg Bear, Greg Benford and David Brin created a few years back to encourage the use of SF in teaching, and teaches himself in Utah. All our panelists were a great help on that panel.
Panelists: David Silver, Joseph Major, David Glenn-Anderson, Samuel Kramer and Fran Van Cleve