Panels Presented by the Heinlein Society Torcon 3, Toronto, Canada

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's Women panel Pat York, Fran Van Cleave, David Silver, Larry Niven, and Elizabeth Hull

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

Heinlein 101 audience

Heinlein 101 panel Deb Houdek Rule, Brad Lyau, David Silver, Robert James


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

Sex in Heinlein's Universe panel Dave Creek, Robert James, Deb Houdek Rule, 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

tranger Than Stranger panel Brad Lyau, Fran Van Cleve, Joe Major, Robert James, Deb Houdek Rule, Geo Rule

panelist Robert James

panelist Geo Rule



panelist Joe Major




"Stranger" audience





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

Robert James scholar who found manuscript of "For Us, the Living"

Spider Robinson, writing intro to For Us, the Living

For Us, the Living, now available  from 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.

Samuel Kramer

Art Dula




David Silver


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

Heinlein's Juveniles panel Sam Kramer, David Silver, Robert James, Joseph Major, and David-Glenn Anderson

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