Robert Heinlein

Discussion in 'The Rec Room (Sports and Entertainment)' started by Jonathan Randall, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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    "Have Spacesuit Will Travel" by Robert Heinlein introduced me to science fiction when I read it in eighth grade. After that, I scoured libraries and used bookstores for any Heinlein titles I could get. Favourites include "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", "Podkayne of Mars", "The Door into Summer" and "Stranger in a Strange Land". Any other members inspired by Heinlein's works? Thoughts?

    BTW, I also read that Robert Heinlein was a martial artist (fencer and student of Fairbairn style combatives).

    Also discussed here: (shameless plug as I'm a Moderator there, LOL).

    http://www.rustaz.com/forum/showthread.php?p=16358#post16358post16358
     
  2. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    I read Starship Troopers when I was a junior in high school, and that got me hooked.

    My favorite books were probably The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Glory Road, and Time Enough for Love.

    Favorite short stories were the Green Hills of Earth and Requiem.

    I recently read Requiem, a collection and tribute put together after his death, I found something he wrote in 1953 for Edward R. Murrow's "This I believe."

    ---------------

    I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.

    Take Father Michael down our road a piece. I'm not of his creed, but I know that goodness and charity and loving kindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike. If I'm in trouble, I'll go to him.

    My next-door neighbor is a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stay cat. No fee--no prospect of a fee--I believe in Doc.

    I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town saying, 'I'm hungry,' and you will be fed. Our town is no exception. I've found the same ready charity everywhere. But for the one who says, 'To heck with you--I got mine,' there are a hundred, a thousand who will say, 'Sure, pal, sit down.'

    I know that despite all warnings against hitchhikers I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride, and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, 'Climb in, Mac--how far you going?'

    I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime, yet for every criminal there are 10,000 honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so, no child would live to grow up. Business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime. I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses and the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land.

    I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There were never enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.

    I believe that almost all politicians are honest... there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.

    I believe in Roger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in--I am proud to belong to-- the United States. Despite shortcomings from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.

    And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red, brown. In the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far only by the skin of our teeth. That we always make it just by the skin of our teeth, but that we will always make it. Survive. Endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes, will endure longer than his home planet--will spread out to the stars and beyond, carrying with him his honesty and insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage and his noble essential decency.

    This I believe with all my heart.

    Robert A. Heinlein.
    --------------------------

    I like to think most people grok his writings. :)

    Lamont
     
  3. DavidCC

    DavidCC Master of Arts

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    You forgot Stranger In A Strange Land. also all of the Lazarus Long stuff too.
     
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I enjoyed Starship Troopers. I've read a couple of other things by him, and Stranger in a Strange Land is on my to-read list.
     
  5. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I do like Robert Heinlein, although my favorite author is Anne McCaffrey (Pern has dragons - dragons you can ride!). My favorite Heinlein story is probably "The Menace from Earth", and I've read Time Enough for Love and The Past Through Tomorrow so many times the covers fell off my copies. From what I remember reading about his bio, he and his wife were nudists (which shows in some of the books). He got a little strange in his later writings (which, from the same bio, showed his personal beliefs/preferences) and it got a little too, well, pornographic for my taste. Also, his attempts to combine all of his various universes led to some strange results. Overall, I enjoy anything he wrote in the first 1/2 to 3/4 of his career - it was the very latest stuff that was a little out there, at least in my opinion.
     
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  6. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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    That's a good summation; his early and middle work was his best. "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" was particularly good, but after "Stranger in a Strange Land", it started falling apart; while yet retaining splatches of the old Heinlein. He certainly was a unique individual, but like you mentioned, in his later work he showed some interesting fetishes.

    Taanstafl! ("There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch") was a favourite Heinlein expression and showed his Libertarian leanings.
     
  7. OnlyAnEgg

    OnlyAnEgg Senior Master

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    I've always loved Heinlein. Stranger is, by far, one of my favorite books of all time. I liked Friday, too; as well as almost all his juvy-fic.

    Indeed, my nickname is Heinlein inspired.
     
  8. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I liked Friday, but I thought that the ending was a little too pat - something that shows up in several things he wrote. Stranger was definitely good, and I reread it every few years... so many books, so little time... that silly job thing that keeps me from my reading

    I saw that - should we call you Mike?:)
     
  9. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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    If I weren't rereading "The Witching Hour", IMHO Anne Rice's best novel, I would grab "Friday" and read it again - it has been nearly 20 years! Your take on the ending is correct, IIRC. The first half of "The Number of the Beast" was intriguing; the second half was nearly unreadable.

    I know that he wrote about martial arts in both "Tunnel in the Sky" (a main character studies Savate) and "Farnham's Freehold" (a main character studies an undisclosed style of Karate). I do know that in his youth, before his illnesses, he was a fencing champion and that after WW2, when he forsaw a possible collapse of civilization, he began studying military combatives (Fairbairn style, I believe). He was also a Marine trained (he was a Naval Officer) pistol expert and champion as well.
     
  10. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's been too long since I read Tunnel in the Sky for me to remember; now that you mention it, I do recall the Karate in Farnham's Freehold. I'd reread Friday (and a few other things as well), except that one of my students loaned me a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha, and I've been reading that since then - one of the few non-SF, non-text books I've read in some time, and I'm enjoying it a lot; it's a very good novel, seems historically accurate (at least as far as I know), and very well written, with some lovely images. Still, SF will always be my favorite!
     
  11. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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  12. FearlessFreep

    FearlessFreep Senior Master

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    Only thing I've read by Heinlein was "Starship Troopers" and "Stanger In A Strange Land"

    Also liked Pern, which someone mentioned, but only read the first five or so

    Like Niven's "The Integral Trees" and of course the two "Ringworld" books as well.

    Big Asimov fan (nobody commented on my Seldon Plan reference a few weeks back in a political thread)
     
  13. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

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    I used to read a lot of Asimov (especially short stories) and Clarke a while back, but never read Heinlein, until I picked up Stranger in a Strange Land at the library today. It's pretty interesting so far.

    Did the 'Only An Egg' inspiration from Stranger, or another Heinlein work?
     
  14. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Asimov might well have had the best plotting skills of all time in the domain of Sci-Fi. He wrote some of the very greatest imaginative fiction ever. I think `The Last Question' has never been surpassed.

    Am myself a big fan of Cordwainer Smith (`The game of Rat and Dragon' and the other Instrumentality stories), Alfred Bester—just about anything he wrote; and Brian Aldiss, whose best stories (like the title story of the collection Galaxies like Grains of Sand, the last one) are unbearably poignant. And Erik Frank Russell had the odd masterpiece—Sentinels from Space and the novella `The Ultimate Invader'. There's something about those `golden age' writers at their best which is really hard to beat...

    BTW, Jay, I'm sorry I missed the thread that had your Seldon reference—the original Foundation trilogy took my breath away when I first read it lo these many, and still does every time I reread it. It would have been fun to have stumbled across a reference to the immortal Hari...

    ... did you ever recover from the final revelation in the last sentence of the third book in the trilogy? I'm not sure I ever did! :wink1:
     
  15. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

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    Got to it in Stranger. :)
     
  16. Kreth

    Kreth Grandmaster

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    This thread has got me wanting to re-read some classics. Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke. So many books, so little time.
     
  17. Jonathan Randall

    Jonathan Randall Senior Master

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    Amen to that.

    "Podkayne of Mars", anyone?
     
  18. Don Roley

    Don Roley Senior Master

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    Years ago they released the version of "Stranger in a Strange Land" that Heilein originally presented to the publishers. The version most of us first read was sent back to him and he was told to remove about one third of the story before they would accept it.

    After he died, his widow arranged for the original version to be published. I read it. I advise you do so I you have not. After reading the vision that he had for the book, you will throw rocks at the ones the original editors put out.

    It is a great book to curl up with in front of a fire with.
     
  19. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

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    Mr. Roley, Thank you for that information. My library happened to have the bigger, longer, uncut version of Stranger and I was wondering if it would be better than the one the publishers had him cut up. I assumed so.
     
  20. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've read the longer version too - and it is quite good. I checked it out from the library, and need to get a copy for myself; it's been years.

    Alas... so many books... so little space in the house....123
     

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