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  #51  
Old 10-20-2012, 05:46 PM
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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.
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.
  #52  
Old 10-20-2012, 05:50 PM
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Skipping the Tertius chapters would also mean skipping "Tale of the Adopted Daughter", though. Which is probably the only chapter in the whole book where Lazarus isn't lying through his teeth.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:52 PM
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Skipping the Tertius chapters would also mean skipping "Tale of the Adopted Daughter", though. Which is probably the only chapter in the whole book where Lazarus isn't lying through his teeth.
And which in my opinion is the best part of the whole book.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:47 PM
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While I'm not to that book yet I'll say that the Tale of the Adopted Daughter *is* essentially the book. Dora taught him that living forever isn't a long time. She loved as well as he did and that made it all worthwhile.

If 'Time Enough for Love' comes from anywhere in the text it's from that story.
  #55  
Old 10-20-2012, 07:55 PM
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Well, the book does start off in media res. So there has been some action there. Wasn't the 20-second bomb in the first couple of pages?
Yes. I always chuckle when the room clears of skinnies.
  #56  
Old 10-20-2012, 09:07 PM
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Yes. I always chuckle when the room clears of skinnies.
It also predicted something I later had a DI yell at me - "Do something, Algher, even if its wrong!"
  #57  
Old 10-20-2012, 09:24 PM
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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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  #58  
Old 10-20-2012, 10:18 PM
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Skipping the Tertius chapters would also mean skipping "Tale of the Adopted Daughter", though. Which is probably the only chapter in the whole book where Lazarus isn't lying through his teeth.
First, learn what the concept of fiction means. Also the "Tale of the Adopted Daughter
" doesn't actually take place on Secundus, it is a flashback.
  #59  
Old 10-21-2012, 11:08 AM
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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).
  #60  
Old 10-21-2012, 07:50 PM
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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')
  #61  
Old 10-25-2012, 09:50 AM
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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.
  #62  
Old 10-25-2012, 12:34 PM
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Go completely different and walk the Glory Road.
  #63  
Old 11-13-2012, 06:33 AM
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How to Be a Politician

An interesting book that the extra material claims was inspired by Heinlein's dismay at American politics.

Note: I have run for office myself so some of this is likely more interesting to me than the rest of you.

Other than a mid-20th century fixation on machine politics (which has collapsed in the wake of the primary system) much of the advice here (the book is alternately titled "Take Back Your Government") is still sound.

1. Decide which party you prefer.
2. Begin volunteering with your party
3. Be willing to take any job.
4. Prepare to run for office once you're known
5. If you win office don't sell out cheap

The important thing there is the last one. Heinlein claims, and I agree, that once you're in you'll be given offers to sell out or overly compromise. If you do so too quickly or too cheaply that will stop your career. One needs to maintain a certain level of ambition and not sell out until the price is right. Well, sort of, but very few politicians play at the highest levels without some form of compromise. The question is with whom do you do so?

Still, only a book for a serious Heinlein fan who must read everything.
  #64  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:43 AM
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I'm catching up on these, post-Election. Forgive the delay.

Between Planets

Here we have another one of Heinlein's juveniles. But again this is one of the ones where, unlike some of them, the main character, Don Harvey, is largely passive. He finds himself swept up in events beyond his control and forced into actions that aren't of his own choice.

He wants to see New Chicago on his own. He ends up seeing it with a friend of his parents.
He wants to go to Mars. He ends up on Venus.
He wants to join the High Guard (Navy). He ends up in the infantry.

Really, he might be the least on top of his game Heinlein protagonist. Or at least he's in the running with John Thomas Stuart XI in The Star Beast.

Also, as in The Star Beast, we see a Heinlein 'take charge' young woman in Isobel Costello. She doesn't have much screen time but it's clear she can boss Don around pretty much whenever she wants. An interesting note is that in one of his letters Heinlein is clear that Isobel not only wants to marry Don but does so after the book ends. He says that she wouldn't have stood for anything less.

Still, an interesting book and one that shows that an early juvenile (This was published in 1951) still can have a more complex backdrop. The political situation and the challenges confronting Don Harvey are more grown up that the ones in the books immediately before, Red Planet, and after, The Rolling Stones. Both of those books seems younger, somehow.
  #65  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:44 AM
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Next will be the compilation book, Creating a Genre. This book features short stories written by Heinlein between 1939 and 1942 and published under his pen names. I'll get brief reviews of each story as I finish them.
  #66  
Old 11-13-2012, 08:48 AM
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I didn't care for "Take Back Your Government" although the horribly retarded...and I'm not saying "in hindsight", I mean, "retarded for the time" notes by Pournelle in the one printing of the book...notes about how ROSS PEROT WILL SAVE US ALL are hilarious. Were they anywhere in the Virginia Editions? (As an appendix or something)?

Also Trampe Royale is fun. It's very much a product of it's time, but Heinlein's odd stream-of-consciousness rambling is fascinating and some of his opinions are kind of surprising (He thinks Joe McCarthy is/was a douche, but that, despite his douchiness and douchy tactics, he wasn't entirely wrong on the basic problem...and it's not the business of any other country, for example). Very good read, if totally outdated.

Last edited by Fenris; 11-13-2012 at 08:50 AM.
  #67  
Old 11-13-2012, 09:24 AM
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Of all of the juvies, Between Planets is the one I remember least. In fact, about all I do remember of it is Venusian dragons speaking via voder. Clearly, I need to go re-read it.
  #68  
Old 11-13-2012, 01:09 PM
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You should, Chronos. I consider it one of his better ones.

Fenris, the intro to 'Take Back Your Government' gives the Pournelle history in such as way as to say that the book wouldn't have ever seen modern print without Pournelle's intervention. So there's that. And yes, it goes into how Pournelle overcommitted (much like my dear father) to Ross Perot, God help us all.

Still, I could see it being a valued manual way back when. There are better, now. Trust me on that.

OK, then.

Elsewhen from Creating a Genre

Clearly an early story of Heinlein's this is one of those 'multiple worlds' tales where the characters leave the 'real' world for others that they reach, this time through hypnosis and suggestion. It may have been ground-breaking in 1940 or so but it feels clunky now. The writing is stilted and the dialog a bit overwrought in places but the idea is good.

One thing that's odd is that it seems to go on for about 3-4 more pages than it needs to. Once the hero, a college professor named Frost, escapes from the police (who want him for the disappearance of several students who are now in other universes) there's quite a bit more of him living in other universe that, to me, don't really contribute. Just his saying "a matter of time" and vanishing would have been enough.

The more cynical among us might note that Heinlein was being paid by the word. Just sayin'.
  #69  
Old 11-13-2012, 01:10 PM
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Follow up on Between Planets

Sorry to not let this go but I realized last night (and forgot to include in my review) that the rebels in Between Planets are a group of scientists and academics. Those with a good knowledge of Heinlein will realize that in several other places he explicitly makes fun of/has foolish characters espouse the idea that government should be by an educated elite.

Just an oddity.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:43 PM
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It is indeed curious that the same man who gave us such gems of time travel fiction as "By His Own Bootstraps" and "All You Zombies" was also responsible for the drek of "Elsewhen".
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:00 PM
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Sturgeon's Law is a cruel mistress.
  #72  
Old 11-13-2012, 02:27 PM
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Silenus wins today's award.

Still, I promised you people I'd read it all and review it and by God I'm going to.

Note from the end of the story: This was Heinlein's fifth story written.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:48 PM
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You thought that was iffy?

My Object All Sublime from Creating a Genre

The first of the self-labelled 'stinkeroos' that I've run into. It starts as a sort of hard-boiled yarn and never really picks up the pace. A gadget story in which the gadget is hardly used on stage. This could have used a little more science or a little more comedy, either one.

Frankly, it's best that it was a quick read. But it's notable, to we here at least, because both the 'Taken From' and Endnotes contain mention of the Heinlein compilation Off the Main Sequence, which was edited by one of our own G.B.H. Hornswoggler. I can't find the private message in which he mentions it to me but I'm very happy to see him mentioned. There are few things that I truly envy about other men but being mentioned in The Virginia Edition is one of them.

Oh, and I find I'm astonished to see in the endnote for the story that Heinlein once wrote a screenplay for Abbott and Costello. Oofah.
  #74  
Old 11-14-2012, 12:13 PM
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It's not getting better.

Pied Piper from Creating a Genre

Another pretty dodgy effort. This one features, again, a gadget story that doesn't really have the gadget in it. Instead we see the impact of the gadget in how different music makes different demographic cohorts behave as if hypnotized.

Still, just a dull one.

Parenthetical aside: If you ever wonder why I'm not doing these reviews in numerical order (all the books are numbered 1 to 46) it's because the first one shipped was I Will Fear No Evil. Need I explain?
  #75  
Old 11-14-2012, 01:02 PM
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Coward.
  #76  
Old 11-14-2012, 06:17 PM
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Damn straight.

If I started there I might despair and never go on!
  #77  
Old 11-14-2012, 08:49 PM
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Damn straight.

If I started there I might despair and never go on!
Don't be silly; you could move right on to The Number Of The Beast or Farnham's Freehold.
  #78  
Old 11-14-2012, 09:17 PM
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Farnham's Freehold wasn't as bad as it's made out to be. OK, yeah, it's definitely in the lower echelon of Heinlein's work, but it still doesn't compare to stinkers like Number of the Beast.
  #79  
Old 11-15-2012, 03:52 AM
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I am immensely enjoying this thread, though I have little to add. Do you notice that the juveniles (and the couple of 1950s adult books) show Heinlein at the top of his form, building believable backstories by his extrapolative methods and telling stories with a purpose? He was pretty well clear that his job was to be the man that sold the Moon, in real life. And it shows.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:43 AM
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Oh, and I find I'm astonished to see in the endnote for the story that Heinlein once wrote a screenplay for Abbott and Costello. Oofah.
He wrote a treatment on pretty much the same basis any hopeful in H'wood might. There's no sign that it was ever even acknowledged by A&C's representatives.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:19 AM
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I'm not sure that's true, NitroPress. The note in the book says that it was submitted to A&C with the studio's condition that it couldn't be shopped to any other comedy duo. That at least implies that the studio accepted it for consideration.

And Poly? I'm not prepared to make that judgement yes based on the readings of this project. Once I get a little further into the reading I'll make that call. But at the moment I've read one early juvenile, Between Planets, one later juvenile, Citizen of the Galaxy, and one adult novel, Starship Troopers...along with some short stories and a political screed. Give it time.

Good to hear from you, by the way.

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 11-15-2012 at 10:20 AM.
  #82  
Old 11-15-2012, 10:24 AM
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Following this with great interest. Keep it up, Jonathan!
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:42 AM
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I'm not sure that's true, NitroPress. The note in the book says that it was submitted to A&C with the studio's condition that it couldn't be shopped to any other comedy duo. That at least implies that the studio accepted it for consideration.
I stand by what I said. Just because it was logged in by a production company doesn't mean anything more than that it was mailed over. Certainly nothing more ever came of it... just like the other 500 treatments they likely got that week.
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Old 11-16-2012, 06:47 AM
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Interstitial Aside for Lost Legacy

Just to mention this before I forget:

Lost Legacy is an early Heinlein story and one of the 'Stinkeroos' he had trouble selling. And it shows.


But it features a character who mentions, repeatedly, his 'Grandfather Stonebender' and various tall tales. This is later reflected (20 years later) by Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land. The is also a mention of a person with ESP who is a lightning calculator AND has a perfect clock in his head. THIS is a foremention of Dejah Thoris Burroughs-Carter from (40! years down the line) The Number of the Beast.

Old ideas never die, apparently. They just bide their time.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:48 AM
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I don't remember Deety being a lightning calculator. Are you thinking of A. J. Libby?
  #86  
Old 11-16-2012, 08:10 AM
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No, I'm pretty certain she mentions it in a sentence where she reveals that she has the clock in her head. Might be wrong, though. I do know that there's a mention of lightning calculators in the book.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:15 AM
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I don't remember Deety being a lightning calculator. Are you thinking of A. J. Libby?
She and Libby basically broke the ice with each other by swapping lightning calculation stunts, and Deety had the built-in clock in her head (no mention of whether her "twin" Libby-as-female shared that). What she didn't have was ESP.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:25 AM
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Interstitial on reading Starship Trooper 2

I have just finished gotten to the part where Rico graduates from boot camp. In this edition it's page 103. The total page count for the book is 208. That means 50% of the book (a hair less) takes place before the action begins.

This is not your typical war book.
Over half of that book is talky-talky, and there is surprisingly little combat. There is a bit more in suit work, from training. But yes, definitely not a typical war book.

A part of me would love to curl up with these. A part of me can't imagine finding the time. I've read a good deal of the books. I might reread a few sometime, but it's a balance between that and reading new/other books I've never read.
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:48 PM
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Starship Trooper was the first science fiction book I read, circa 7th grade and thank you to my teacher Mr. Harry Rablin. Opened up a whole new world. I had been a big war book reader, and ST just grabbed me. Loved it and read hundreds if not thousands of science fiction books after that.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:40 AM
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...Lost Legacy is an early Heinlein story and one of the 'Stinkeroos' he had trouble selling. And it shows...
You mention in the intro to this that they are
> written by Heinlein between 1939 and 1942 and published under his pen names.

Does this edition specify what pen names were used for each "stinkeroo"?
  #91  
Old 11-18-2012, 12:23 PM
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It does. Here they are for the ones I've discussed so far.

Elsewhen - Caleb Saunders
My Object All Sublime - Lyle Monroe
Pied Piper - Lyle Monroe

I should note that the notes in this book mention that 'Lyle Monroe' was a pen name used when Heinlein didn't have much faith in the story and was just trying to get it in the marketplace for any return.

I'll continue doing this as I continue.
  #92  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:58 PM
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In other words, he knew it was crap, but needed to make a buck or two.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:14 PM
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Elsewhen - Caleb Saunders
My Object All Sublime - Lyle Monroe
Pied Piper - Lyle Monroe
Just for completeness, he also used:

Anson MacDonald - major ASF stories, to avoid duplication/overload on the RAH byline. This is the only pseudonym used more than once.
Simon York - one detective story
John Riverside - one fantasy story

And, of course, he carefully hid his girls' stories under 'R.A. Heinlein.' *snicker*
  #94  
Old 11-18-2012, 02:14 PM
Jonathan Chance is offline
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One of Heinlein's basic rules is that if he'd written a story, it would stay on the market until SOMEone paid him for it. To give up on trying to sell it would be to say the time spent was a sunk cost and not recoverable.
  #95  
Old 11-18-2012, 03:50 PM
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Lost Legacy from Creating a Genre

Under the pen name, Lyle Monroe.

This one's a mixed bag. First off, it's the longest story so far, at over 80 pages in the book. It's also, to me, trite. We begin with a standard Heinlein collection of two men, slightly sarcastic but educated, and a woman, who is treated...um...a bit disparagingly be the men but in a friendly way. The end up discovering that all humans have latest ESP that they don't use.

The Loki, Mercury, Jove and such show up for a scene. The Atlantis and Mu, the anti-Atlantic. Then, for heaven's sake, Ambrose Bierce.

That's right. Ambrose Bierce.

Following that our heroes discover that there is a society of the enlightened who know how to use their ESP. Then there's a group of evil men opposed to them. Our heroes learn and go on the offensive and wrap up the whole thing in the last 10 pages. The confrontation is not a confrontation at all.

Not a great story but the end notes say that Heinlein thought this got more fan mail than anything he'd previously had published. So there's that.

More interesting is who purchased the story. It was rejected by John W. Campbell and instead picked up after a while by a young Frederick Pohl. Brilliant.

Again, another one only for the those who simply must read everything Heinlein published. There are other, later, stories that are, frankly, by a more mature and skilled writer.
  #96  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
Lost Legacy from Creating a Genre

Under the pen name, Lyle Monroe.

This one's a mixed bag. First off, it's the longest story so far, at over 80 pages in the book. It's also, to me, trite. We begin with a standard Heinlein collection of two men, slightly sarcastic but educated, and a woman, who is treated...um...a bit disparagingly be the men but in a friendly way. The end up discovering that all humans have latest ESP that they don't use.

The Loki, Mercury, Jove and such show up for a scene. The Atlantis and Mu, the anti-Atlantic. Then, for heaven's sake, Ambrose Bierce.

That's right. Ambrose Bierce.

Following that our heroes discover that there is a society of the enlightened who know how to use their ESP. Then there's a group of evil men opposed to them. Our heroes learn and go on the offensive and wrap up the whole thing in the last 10 pages. The confrontation is not a confrontation at all.

Not a great story but the end notes say that Heinlein thought this got more fan mail than anything he'd previously had published. So there's that.

More interesting is who purchased the story. It was rejected by John W. Campbell and instead picked up after a while by a young Frederick Pohl. Brilliant.

Again, another one only for the those who simply must read everything Heinlein published. There are other, later, stories that are, frankly, by a more mature and skilled writer.
Lordy! I haven't read that one for a while. Buried so far back in my brain if you'd just have given me the plot I probably would not have associated it with Heinlein.
  #97  
Old 11-19-2012, 07:51 AM
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That's OK. The NEXT one ALSO features Atlantis and Mu.

Oy.

When I say, 'reading ALL', I mean reading ALL!

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 11-19-2012 at 07:51 AM.
  #98  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:23 AM
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That's OK. The NEXT one ALSO features Atlantis and Mu.

Oy.

When I say, 'reading ALL', I mean reading ALL!
And I can't think which one that is....
  #99  
Old 11-19-2012, 12:53 PM
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Probably it's the third Stinkaroo and Heinlein's only collaboration. Um...I can't remember the title off hand* but the punch-line (such as it is) is that
SPOILER:
the Easter Island statues are political advertisements


As an aside, I disagree with Jonathan Chance. I liked "Elsewhen" and loved "Lost Legacy". The last line of "Lost Legacy" always gives me the chills in a good way.


*"Beyond Doubt". I looked it up. IMO, the worst (by far) of the three Stinkeroos.
  #100  
Old 11-19-2012, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Just for completeness, he also used:

Anson MacDonald - major ASF stories, to avoid duplication/overload on the RAH byline. This is the only pseudonym used more than once.
Simon York - one detective story
John Riverside - one fantasy story

And, of course, he carefully hid his girls' stories under 'R.A. Heinlein.' *snicker*
I just noticed this and want to correct NitroPress. It's clearly not true that only the Anson MacDonald pseudonym was used more than once. Just in the information I've posted in this thread, and confirmed online, the Lyle Monroe name was for several stories, and the R.A. Heinlein you mentioned was used twice.
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