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Old 10-14-2012, 07:52 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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On Re-reading all of Robert Heinlein via The Virginia Edition

As some of you may remember last year I purchased The Virginia Edition. TVE is a complete Heinlein. And they mean complete. All the books, stories, screenplays, essays, and letters available that were written by the old man. 46 volumes of leather bound, acid free Heinlein. Heck, each volume even comes with one of those little ribbon bookmarks.

I have never regretted buying it.

But I just, following last year's move, found the box they were packed in. And I'm determined to read the entire thing. Narcissist that I am I thought I'd share my thoughts with you fine folks.

Please feel free to chip in with thoughts and such as we get to them. I'd love to hear your opinions.

I am reading them in no particular order. Merely as whim dictates.

Volume XX: Citizen of the Galaxy


The last of the juveniles, or close to the last, and one that doesn't quite fit in. This is both a classic Heinlein tale of 'Young Man Does Good' and nearly a Horatio Alger tale of 'rags to riches'. The lead character is a young man constantly in search of a home, finds several, but finds them restrictive. It's only when he starts being active rather than reactive that he truly takes control of his place in the world. It contrasts well with the juvenile that went before, Time for the Stars (in which the lead character allows himself to be manipulated until the final few pages) and that followed, Have Space Suit Will Travel (in which the lead is an actor in his life throughout).

Again in this one Heinlein makes hilarious extrapolations about computers and their uses in the far future. While I'm not comfortable dinging him about such the work is set up to 500? 1000? years in the future and my phone is several orders of magnitude more powerful than the machines in use in this book.

Interesting, in the forward there's mention of Heinlein's ongoing quarrels with his editor, Alice Dalgleish. This time she wanted even the mention of girly magazines and a section on doubting religion removed from the text. Both remained this time.

Also, interesting, in several places the text of this novel differs from the paperbacks by which I learned Heinlein in the late 70s and early 80s. Some added paragraphs and such though nothing of true consequence.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:18 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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I shall be following this thread with some interest.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:22 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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You luck so & so!


I could never afford TVE!
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:16 AM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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I could never afford TVE!
I’ve been waiting for this for thirty years. I could do it by either living off of Top Ramen and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese dinners for a year, or by selling my AR-15. Both are plausible options.
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:03 AM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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I’ve been waiting for this for thirty years. I could do it by either living off of Top Ramen and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese dinners for a year, or by selling my AR-15. Both are plausible options.
I could skip my coffee and breakfast sandwich at Tim Horton's for four years.

I think I'll just pick and choose the e-books, save the storage space, and retain my caffeine and bacon.

(Sorry, Bob - I know you won't mind.)
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:23 AM
Ranchoth Ranchoth is online now
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I’ve been waiting for this for thirty years. I could do it by either living off of Top Ramen and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese dinners for a year, or by selling my AR-15. Both are plausible options.
Well, technically, there's a way you could keep the AR-15 and still get TVE...y'know, just sayin'.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:37 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Well, the editor is very nice. She's been helpful.

And they lowered the price to $1500. And they'll work out any payment plan you like, really. It's worth it. Frankly, just for the collection of Heinlein's letter to John W. Campbell discussing what science fiction is and could be.

Just sayin'.

Last night I began Tunnel in the Sky. Give me a day or so.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:41 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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And if you have a Facebook account...

A photo of the collection.

Well, most of it, anyway.

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 10-15-2012 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:21 AM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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Well, technically, there's a way you could keep the AR-15 and still get TVE...y'know, just sayin'.
Yeah, but that crappy little shelf above the toilet is only about three feet long. And my cellie would probably just tear out the pages and use them as needed. On the flip side though, I’d have plenty of time for reading. I could even finally find enough time to write that autobiography I’ve always dreamed of—“Bubba is a Harsh Mistress…”
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Old 10-15-2012, 11:50 AM
jasg jasg is offline
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Yeah, but that crappy little shelf above the toilet is only about three feet long. And my cellie would probably just tear out the pages and use them as needed. On the flip side though, I’d have plenty of time for reading. I could even finally find enough time to write that autobiography I’ve always dreamed of—“Bubba is a Harsh Mistress…”
Somehow I doubt that anyone named Bubba would take kindly to being called a mistress. Just sayin'
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:18 PM
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For that much I think it'd be easier for me to wait 26 years.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:36 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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I managed to locate online ebooks of everything he ever published. Pirated, of course, but I already own every single thing in the collection in hard copy. Anywhere I have my iPad, I have my Heinlein!
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Old 10-16-2012, 03:27 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Well, I doubt you have everything in this collection. Given the background stuff, the letters and guides to writing that are included.

Still, on with the reviews:

Volume XVIII: Tunnel in the Sky

This is another of Heinlein's juveniles. Again we see his themes of self-sufficiency and planning inherent in the storyline.

However, unlike the prior (but later published) Citizen of the Galaxy, we find that the hero, Rod Walker, is inclined against passive acceptance of events. He constantly makes moves to either improve himself or his situation. The amusing things, and something I feel Heinlein intended, is that early in the book most of his actions are entirely wrong. Walker jumps to conclusions or otherwise takes actions that work to his detriment of himself and his teammates.

It's only with some added maturity that we see this particular 'Heinlein character' begin to learn the difference between using 'logic' (which leads him astray...often through its misuse) and 'wisdom' (though it's not labelled as such in the text.

This book also stands in stark contrast to 'Lord of the Flies' which was published around the same time. In LofF the civilized behaviors of the children involved break down to savagery while in Tunnel in the Sky the children (admittedly older being high school and college age) build a town with laws and customs. It's an interesting contrast, though not one I think either author knew about at the time.

In the background material I note no substantive differences in the text from the one I first read in the early 1980s. The editorial information in the front does declare that Heinlein, while working with Dalgleish well enough, was still frustrated by her attempts to alter his copy 'for purposes of sales' and was determined to pull something off with this one.

First, he made the protagonist black. It's never said outright but there are several subtle hints in the text that indicate it. The largest of which comes at the end where Rod Walker, speaking to his sister, refers to a girl who is described earlier as a 'Zulu' as being 'She looks a lot like you'. That implies that his sister is black and therefore so is he.

Also, from the more juvenile put one over the editorial preface notes that Heinlein had 'Tunnel in the Sky' as a working title but submitted this to Scribner, and therefore Dalgleish, under the title 'Schoolroom in the Sky'. When Dalgleish rejected the title because no child would buy a book with 'Schoolroom' in the title Heinlein accepted her suggestion of the working title. He is said to have enjoyed the acronym this gave the book.

Next up, Starship Troopers. Then I'll get to some of the harder, non-fiction, material. Perhaps How to Be a Politician (alternately called Take Back Your Government).
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:39 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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This book also stands in stark contrast to 'Lord of the Flies' which was published around the same time. In LofF the civilized behaviors of the children involved break down to savagery while in Tunnel in the Sky the children (admittedly older being high school and college age) build a town with laws and customs. It's an interesting contrast, though not one I think either author knew about at the time.
Wait, they were published at about the same time? I had always assumed that Heinlein wrote Tunnel as a deliberate response to Flies, since the parallels (and perpendiculars) are so obvious.

As for the main character's race, his comparison of his sister to Caroline Mbutu could also be taken to indicate a society where skin color isn't considered any more important than any other superficial feature. Besides, that comparison was never primarily about physical appearance, but more about personality and attitude.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:31 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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There's some cheating going on here, Chronos. I took the fact that they were published independent from the introduction by Dr. Robert James and William Patterson, Jr, Heinlein's biographers.

In this one, Heinlein is quoted as writing later that, "In another book (Tunnel in the Sky) I used a Negro boy as my hero - but never mentioned his skin color and buried the proof like clues in a detective story. Intentionally. My editor was an English woman from a (Negro) Caribbean Island - I pointed out the proof to her some years after publication. She was furious!"

I do believe that Heinlein's intent was to provide clues as to Rod Walker's race but have the world in which he existed no care at all.

As to Lord of the Flies and William Golding the second to last paragraph of the introduction states that neither writer knew of the other or the other's work. Lord of the Flies was published in late 1954 while Tunnel in the Sky was published in 1955. So there's as little as a few months to a year between them. I think it's a matter of two writers mining a similar vein but coming up with extremely different outcomes.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:06 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Wait, they were published at about the same time? I had always assumed that Heinlein wrote Tunnel as a deliberate response to Flies, since the parallels (and perpendiculars) are so obvious.

As for the main character's race, his comparison of his sister to Caroline Mbutu could also be taken to indicate a society where skin color isn't considered any more important than any other superficial feature. Besides, that comparison was never primarily about physical appearance, but more about personality and attitude.
i was surprised to find that Jules Verne had written a very simillar book over 65 years earlier. Two Years Holiday/Adrift in the Pacific ([/i]Deux ans de vacances [/i]) is about a ship full of boys from a boys' school who get marooned on an island and have to survive on their own, dealing with not only their physical survival but also their rivalries and disagreements. I'd bhe interested to know if either Heinlein or Golding knew about this. In any event, Verne's schoolboys act i n the best Jules Verne Shipwrecked Hero tradition and manage to arrange a workable societty, as in Heinlein, and don't go tribal-wild, as in Golding.









*Verne really loved Robinson Crusoe and the Swis Family Robinson stories. There are a lot of such survival storioes in his works, inclding two sequels to SFR. His own Desert Island Clasic, [u]The Mysterious Island[/i], started off as a SFR-type story before he rewrote it as a non-family story.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:34 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Yet Lord of the Flies is required reading in high schools but Tunnel In the Sky is ignored.


Tanj.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:21 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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On the other hand, though, Rod at least considers the possibility of a romantic relationship with Caroline (he rejects the notion, but for reasons that have nothing to do with race). If one assumes Rod to be white, that would push at least as many buttons, in the 1950s, as him being black himself.

And if neither author knew of the other's work, is it then possible that they both mutually drew inspiration from some earlier source? It seems uncanny that they'd be completely independent.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:30 AM
Dave Hartwick Dave Hartwick is offline
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TITS (never noticed that) is a favorite for me. I've probably read it more times than any other of RAH's juvies. Did you catch the scene where another kid mentions that Rod's phone is "sounding"? I like to think that not only did RAH predict the mobile phone, but he also predicted the ring tone. At least, that's how I remember it. Wish I had a (searchable) copy.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:51 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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TITS (never noticed that) is a favorite for me. I've probably read it more times than any other of RAH's juvies. Did you catch the scene where another kid mentions that Rod's phone is "sounding"? I like to think that not only did RAH predict the mobile phone, but he also predicted the ring tone. At least, that's how I remember it. Wish I had a (searchable) copy.
In "Space Cadet" one of the cadets waiting in line at induction mentions that he turned off his phone so he wouldn't have to talk to his parents. Also in "Between Planets" the main character is out horseback riding in the canyon when he gets a phone call. Future generations aren't going to realize that these were supposed to be throw-away science fictional bits.

Last edited by Lemur866; 10-17-2012 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:06 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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In "Space Cadet" one of the cadets waiting in line at induction mentions that he turned off his phone so he wouldn't have to talk to his parents.
He has characters turn off or leave behind their pocketphones in several stories - Lost Legion and Blowups Happen to name just two.

I have observed several times on this board that predicting the pocketphone (ie: a cell phone) is pretty trivial. Predicting that people would find being always reachable to be a royal pain in the ass: genius.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:24 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
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In "Space Cadet" one of the cadets waiting in line at induction mentions that he turned off his phone so he wouldn't have to talk to his parents. Also in "Between Planets" the main character is out horseback riding in the canyon when he gets a phone call. Future generations aren't going to realize that these were supposed to be throw-away science fictional bits.
Yeah, I love the bit with the phone in Space Cadet. It really is a beautiful bit of prediction/world-building that would now go right over anyone's head--not just miniaturized portable telephones, but the implications of being always available, including the Embarassing Conversation in a Public Place. There's even a hint of the possibility of ring tones in that one too--Matt doesn't notice his phone is ringing until Tex points it out to him (implying that, you know, some way of personalizing the darned things might be helpful...)

Another bit of futurism/world-building that goes right over everyone's head these days: In Between Planets, there's a casual mention of the hero having to get his bags X-rayed when boarding a spaceship--IIRC, the word "fluoroscoped" may have been used. Well, now of course, we pay no attention to that little detail...but I'm pretty sure routine X-raying of bags/putting all passengers through metal detectors didn't become standard practice until maybe the early 1970s. (Between Planets was from 1951.) World-building/futurism, and also a hint that this particular future is somewhat dystopian--on the one hand, there may be people who try to smuggle bombs onto spaceships and rocket shuttles. On the other hand, this is a government that routinely goes snooping through everyone's luggage.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:08 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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...Another bit of futurism/world-building that goes right over everyone's head these days: In Between Planets, there's a casual mention of the hero having to get his bags X-rayed when boarding a spaceship--IIRC, the word "fluoroscoped" may have been used. Well, now of course, we pay no attention to that little detail....
The same thing happens to interplanetary travelers in Podkayne of Mars (1963).
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:16 AM
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While we are on TITS (like Dave Hardwick I'd never noticed that ) can anybody tell me what RAH was thinking of when he mentioned the Walker's religion. Early in the book he says:

Quote:
Dinner was on the table, still warm in its delivery containers; they took their places, standing, and Mr. Walker solemnly lighted the Peace Lamp. The family was evangelical Monist by inheritance, each of Rod's grandfathers having been converted in the second great wave of proselyting that swept out of Persia in the last decade of the previous century, and Rod's father took seriously his duties as family priest.
What's "Monist"?
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:21 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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While we are on TITS (like Dave Hardwick I'd never noticed that ) can anybody tell me what RAH was thinking of when he mentioned the Walker's religion. Early in the book he says:



What's "Monist"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monism


Heinlein loves throwing out disorienting bits in his book. Isn't the family neo-Zoroastrian in this book, too?



By the way, what does it say about me thsat I noticed the acronym TITS a long time ago?
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:51 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Either nothing good or something awesome, Cal. Six'll get you five and pick'em.

I, too, had never noticed the acronym. And it's likely I read this book 10 times during my pre-teen and teen years. And trust me, I was obsessed with the subject of the acronym. So I first became aware of it having read the introduction earlier this week. Now I can't unsee it.

And I admit as well that I had to look up Monism and such when I was a boy to understand what was going on. That might have been my first experience with religions other than Christianity and Judaism. But I wouldn't count on that.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:17 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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While we are on TITS (like Dave Hardwick I'd never noticed that ) can anybody tell me what RAH was thinking of when he mentioned the Walker's religion. Early in the book he says:



What's "Monist"?
People who worship Monet, of course.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:18 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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People who worship Monet, of course.



Monet isn't everything.
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:20 PM
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The lack of Monet is the root of all evil!
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:43 PM
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Monet for nothing and TITS for free
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:51 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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Rod's family's religion is another classic Heinlein touch of barely mentioned throw-away details that emphasize the strangeness of the future in the midst of the familiar.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:22 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Yeah, like how Rod lives in the Grand Canyon suburb of Greater New York.
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Old 10-17-2012, 03:56 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Yeah, like how Rod lives in the Grand Canyon suburb of Greater New York.
This is one of those delicious details which shows that Heinlein really thought hard about the ramifications of the science in his stories. If you have teleporters, then why couldn't a 'city' be a legal concept more than a geographic area? You can imagine remote towns and regions choosing which city to join, and then being legally incorporated into them as 'suburbs' even though they might be across the continent or across the world.

Heinlein probably had reams of background information drawn up for the story that no one ever saw. He was the kind of writer who could spend days working out the details that would allow him to get a single sentence right. He was famous for doing this with spaceflight - A throwaway line in a story about how long a trip took would be the result of hours of hours of orbital calculations by Robert and Virginia.

I wish more writers paid that much attention to detail. It's those little touches that make a book feel grounded and real - especially important with science fiction.

Last edited by Sam Stone; 10-17-2012 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:25 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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"The door dilated..."


RAH said that it was the little things that had the greatest impact in show a different place/time/society.
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:30 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Huh, I picked up on the religion, and just filed it away mentally as "OK, in this future, things are a bit different, and some novel new religion has sprung up and become established as semi-mainstream. I guess it's sort of like the Mormons.". But I never realized that it was a real religion that he was using.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:28 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Yep. Heinlein was throwing in a real thing that would still feel alien to his young readers. Nice trick.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:05 AM
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Thanks for the link! I'm with Chronos - mostly I filed it in the same pile as "the door dilated", set dressing to make the future different, although I think there was a background element of "I'd understand this if I was American"
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:52 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Well, forget that. I'm American and it threw me as well!

Interstitial note on reading Starship Troopers:

In the section at the beginning of boot camp where Zim is offering to fight the boots. The section fight Zim has is with two German boys. It contains this sentence:

Zim: "And tell your Korpsbruder that I'm ready now."

I don't recall ever reading that line before. Can someone check me on that? Is it possible that even an oblique reference to the Wehrmacht was still too touchy at that point?
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:55 AM
silenus silenus is offline
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I remember that line from my copy. I don't have it here at school to check, but I remember it. Because the lines previous indicate that one of the German boots doesn't speak English, and Zim says that he didn't either when he first signed up.

"Rules?"
"How can there be, with three?"
"True. But we should agree that gouged eyes are to be given back after the round."
Agast Boot.

Last edited by silenus; 10-18-2012 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:59 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Yes, the line with Korpsbruder occurs immediately following that exchange.

I'm perfectly willing to be educated here. But there have been many versions. Somewhere around here I have the pulps with the original serialization of ST (called 'Starship Soldiers'). Maybe I'll check that.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:09 AM
silenus silenus is offline
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My reread until the pages fell out paperback copy was printed back in the late 60s. The one with the green cover featuring the bug-looking retrieval boat.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:26 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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My first one was a paperback with Rico on the cover is Darth Vader looking armor. Sometime in the early 1980s. It was terrible.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:38 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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I've been introducing my son, 12, to Heinlein. We've read Podkayne of Mars and Have Space Suit - Will Travel together. I think we'll do Space Cadet next; Time for the Stars, Starship Troopers and Glory Road are also old favorites of mine.

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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Citizen of the Galaxy [is]... one of those novels that basically describe a civilization and examine it by having a single character travel through all parts of it. Larry Niven (a huge Heinlein fan) used the same concept in Destiny's Road....
Not sf, but Gary Jennings masterfully does the same thing in his epic historical novel Aztec. One of my favorites.

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Originally Posted by detop View Post
Monet for nothing and TITS for free
FTW!

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Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
My first one was a paperback with Rico on the cover is Darth Vader looking armor. Sometime in the early 1980s. It was terrible.
This one?: http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n0/n1835.jpg

I preferred it to this, at least: http://www.lwcurrey.com/pictures/133436.jpg
  #44  
Old 10-18-2012, 12:19 PM
detop detop is offline
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post

I preferred it to this, at least: http://www.lwcurrey.com/pictures/133436.jpg
This cover looks quite similar to the Avalon Hill game box
  #45  
Old 10-18-2012, 01:11 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Originally Posted by detop View Post
This cover looks quite similar to the Avalon Hill game box
Both dopey IMHO.
  #46  
Old 10-18-2012, 12:21 PM
Ruby Slippers Ruby Slippers is offline
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I was a huge Heinlein fan in my early years. Still am for the most part, but I'm looking forward to your comments about Number of the Beast and Time Enough for Love. I don't think of these as his finest hours.
  #47  
Old 10-20-2012, 06:46 PM
JoelUpchurch JoelUpchurch is offline
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Originally Posted by Ruby Slippers View Post
I was a huge Heinlein fan in my early years. Still am for the most part, but I'm looking forward to your comments about Number of the Beast and Time Enough for Love. I don't think of these as his finest hours.
For TEFL, skip the chapters that take place on Secundus and Tertius. "The Man who was too lazy to fail" and "The tale of twins that weren't" are classics.
  #48  
Old 10-21-2012, 08:50 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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And another one is down. Only about 40 to go.

Volume III: Starship Troopers

This is the book where Heinlein started catching flack from all sides of the aisle. Certainly, published in 1959 it was far too early for the hippies and such who would later excoriate it as militaristic or even fascist in tone. Certainly the later movie painted it in that way.

But as discussed in the introduction this is a book that almost didn't get written. Heinlein got distracted prior to it being written by, of all things, nuclear test bans. All writing for anything was suspending following the call, by SANE, for President Eisenhower to unilaterally forgo testing any nuclear weapons. In 1958 Heinlein dropped everything except campaigning to ensure that such did NOT happen. As a product of the depth of the cold war he, and Virginia, were convinced that such a thing would only encourage the Soviets to pursue aggressive policies aimed at the destruction of the United States.

Heinlein paid for full page ads in newspapers, a letter-writing campaign, and anything else he could think to try. But none of it worked and later Eisenhower did, indeed, cease all weapons testing. Heinlein's campaign had failed.

And he stopped writing. For months. In his mind, possibly forever. He put aside his work on the first half of "A Martian Named Smith" saying he had no heart for it.

Until a chain of thinking caused him to begin writing this book. A book specifically aimed at instilling respect for moral thinking and duty. Rather than being his basic Alger tales that so many of his previous juveniles had been this one spent a great deal of time with both internal and external monologues dealing with the issues and concepts that make one a citizen in the fullest sense.

While this book IS an Alger tale unlike earlier books the point-of-view character, Juan Rico doesn't save the world (as the POV characters do in Have Space Suit Will Travel and The Star Beast) instead Rico succeeds in only striving to realize his position as citizen and succeeding in the military. He wins no battles, he advances no agenda on a great capacity. Instead, in the three military actions we see him in he fails at the tasks he's given. In the first chapter he attempts pick up on another soldier who dies. In Operation Bug Hunt everything goes to hell. And in the final operation on Planet P he's knocked out of action and wakes up later under a doctor's care.

This illustrates that the point of Starship Troopers, as a book, is not to glorify battle but rather to glorify a young man's process of growing into his adult responsibilities. The point of the book is not to show the grand process of the war but the process of Rico thinking about what he has seen and learned and to draw lessons and develop from it.

It might be one of Heinlein's greatest character arcs. It certainly challenges any of his others such as Manny in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Don in Between Planets.

I will note, however, in the introduction that Heinlein saw the book as a response to what he called pacifists who were pushing the United States into what he thought of as dangerous policies of allowing the enemies of the USA to advance while his country was held back. This was a book written with a clear goal in mind: to influence a generation of boys and young men into respecting duty and citizenship and that a price may be paid for both.

Coming next: How to Be a Politician (alternately titled 'Take Back Your Government')
  #49  
Old 10-25-2012, 10:50 AM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Interstitial Comment on Take Back Your Government

An interesting book, if somewhat dated. Heinlein approaches politics in a 'first half of the 20th century' Machine Politics mold. That has largely died off with the rise of the primary system.

Still, his take on politics such as
  • Expect graft. If you take it you'll be small time all of your life"
  • Anyone can fight a machine.
  • Accept any volunteer job at first.
  • Build your base whenever you can
  • Businessmen make lousy elected officials

That last one seems oddly appropriate now. Heinlein makes the point that the skills and attitudes necessary to keep a city happy are entirely different than those required to run a profitable enterprise.

I'll try to get through this one quickly as it's the completist in me driving me to it. But I'll take suggestions for the next one that I read and review.
  #50  
Old 10-18-2012, 01:17 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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This one at least shows something. Or this one, which was from the uniform re-issue back in the 80s.
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