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  #1  
Old 12-04-2001, 06:34 PM
wedgerat wedgerat is offline
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I'm reading a compilation of Robert A. Heinlein's stories. It was printed in 1967. It includes the story "Blowups Happen," about an atomic energy plant. This story was originally published in 1940, according to the copyright page. It mentions both Hiroshima and the Manhattan Project. This freaks me out to no end. Could someone please explain?
My best guess is that the story was doctored later on to fit the facts, but that seems so... very not nice. And I'd think it'd be mentioned on the copyrights page.
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2001, 06:54 PM
yabob yabob is online now
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Your suspicions are correct. It was rewritten for first collection in an anthology in 1946:

http://hubcap.clemson.edu/~sparks/hein.html

The list you saw probably listed the magazine publication date of the original version. It's not an unknown practice for authors to update stories. Unfortunately, original publication dates in anthologies might not reflect updated versions. If the author is someone given to publishing forwards with their stories (like Ellison) they might mention it.
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Old 12-04-2001, 08:01 PM
wedgerat wedgerat is offline
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Thank you. You have restored a teenager's faith in the logic and order of the universe.
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Old 12-04-2001, 08:13 PM
Etaoin Etaoin is offline
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However, Heinlein I think and a couple other science-fiction writers were hauled off in a black sedan in 1944 or so because of their stories. The U.S. gov'munt thought they had broken top-secret data about the atom bomb. The writers showed the agents that the information was in the public domain, and they were released.

Heinlein might discuss it in Grumbles From the Grave. Asimov talked about it somewhere, maybe in one of his autobiographies, In Memory Yet Green and the other one, the name of which escapes me.
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Old 12-04-2001, 08:23 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Heinlein and Asimov didn't get hauled off, primarily because they were doing military research at the time. As far as I know, no SF writer was arrested over the issue.

Government agents once visited the offices of Astounding Science Fiction when they heard they were going to publish a story which mentioned an atomic bomb. However, John Campbell convinced them to let the story run, since stopping all mention of atomic bombs in science fiction magazines might make the Germans wonder why.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2001, 08:38 PM
Etaoin Etaoin is offline
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Thanks, Chuck. I'm glad was somewhere close with that story, anyway.

Do youu, by the way, have any idea what research Asimov and Heinlen were involved in?
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2001, 09:06 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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The original story is published in the great collection Expanded Universe, in case anyone's interested. Heinlein said he considers updating already-written science fiction a mistake and evidently preferrs the original story.

So the cosmos makes sense, and, as Hawking put it, we have made the "world safe for historians".

(Blowups Happen is one of my favorite stories the science of which I can laugh at. )
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2001, 10:34 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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RealityChuck writes:

> Government agents once visited the offices of Astounding
> Science Fiction when they heard they were going to
> publish a story which mentioned an atomic bomb. However,
> John Campbell convinced them to let the story run, since
> stopping all mention of atomic bombs in science fiction
> magazines might make the Germans wonder why.

The story was "Deadline" by Cleve Cartmill, which appeared in _Astounding Science Fiction_ in 1944. It was after the publication that government agents visited Campbell's office. He persuaded them that it was possible to find out all the information in Cartmill's story using just the information in a public library. See the entry in _The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction_ on Cartmill.
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  #9  
Old 12-04-2001, 11:33 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Heinlen did write a surprisingly prescient story during WWII about nuclear weapons called Solution Unsatisfactory. Admittedly, he had details wrong (he had the Sviet Union remaining nuetral in the war and his weapon was radioactive dust rather than an explosive) but his central idea of a weapon so devastating it would force fundamental changes to the way countries were run and wars were fought was not too far from what happened within a few years.
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Old 12-04-2001, 11:43 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Heinlen's prescience.

Don't forget the waterbed in Stranger in a Strange Land.

And D.D. Harriman, (The Man Who Sold The Moon,) had the given name of Delos. Kind of a neat coincidence, not to mention a wierd name for an American businessman.
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  #11  
Old 12-05-2001, 12:36 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Little Nemo
Heinlen did write a surprisingly prescient story during WWII about nuclear weapons called Solution Unsatisfactory. Admittedly, he had details wrong (he had the Sviet Union remaining nuetral in the war and his weapon was radioactive dust rather than an explosive) but his central idea of a weapon so devastating it would force fundamental changes to the way countries were run and wars were fought was not too far from what happened within a few years.
I agree, except that the solution in Solution Unsatisfactory has no resemblence to what really happened. Heinlein dropped the ball in the end.

The first waterbed was called the 'Share-Water Bed'. Heinlein dreamed up the concept when he was bedridden and trying desperately to find a comfortable position. It wasn't a matter of prediction as much as it was a matter of invention.

(Of course, my source is Expanded Universe. I could be wrong.)
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2001, 01:43 AM
Kaitlyn Kaitlyn is offline
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It's ironic that Heinlein did conceive of the water bed and the adjustable bed (what we think of as a hospital bed) before their invention, but he had it backwards. His water bed was for medical therapy, and his adjustable bed was a home convenience.

The latest issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction's feature story is a Harlan Ellison update of a story he wrote in 1956--"Never Ask for Whom the Lettuce Wilts". Ellison routinely updates stories he believes are flawed due to youthful inexperience.
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2001, 01:45 AM
Kaitlyn Kaitlyn is offline
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Ack! Make that "Never Send to Know Fow Whom the Lettuce Wilts".
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2001, 09:11 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Heinlein mentioned in one of his letters in Grumbles from the Grave that during WWII he was working for the military in the "necessary tedium" of designing mechanical linkages for use in aircraft controls.
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  #15  
Old 04-07-2002, 08:34 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Was this the short story I'm thinking of? A safety expert at a nuclear plant enlists a psychologist to devise a test to weed out otherwise sane, intelligent people who's egos cause them to foolishly disregard safety warnings. The tests select two employees for dismissal: "The shop steward and the biggest 'I know my rights' man in the company". The attempt to fire them provokes a strike, which ends up causing a meltdown/explosion.
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  #16  
Old 04-07-2002, 08:59 PM
dtilque dtilque is online now
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Quote:
Originally posted by Number Six
It's ironic that Heinlein did conceive of the water bed and the adjustable bed (what we think of as a hospital bed) before their invention, but he had it backwards. His water bed was for medical therapy, and his adjustable bed was a home convenience.
Water beds were in use for about a century before Heinlein 'invented' them. The earliest citation in the OED for water bed (with the meaning a watertight mattress) dates from the 1840s. And in fact, the first ones in use were for invalids.
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