[TAG] Ya know, I've changed my mind.
rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Nov 5 21:07:30 MSK 2005
Quoting Benjamin A. Okopnik (ben at linuxgazette.net):
> > Heinlein? Might there be a lead to an interesting book to read?
> Oh, sure. I *think* that one comes out of his "Expanded Universe" - is
> that right, Jay? It's been a number of years, but - fairly good
> collection of stories.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion,
butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance
accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give
orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem,
pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently,
die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-- Lazarus Long, _Time Enough For Love_, 1973
For the benefit of any TAG folk who don't know the author:
Heinlein's work is famously a mixed bag, with some attitudinal quirks
that became more prominent over time. In particular, some of his later
books are very much not to everyone's taste. If you want to start a
rousing flamewar, go into any science-fiction fans' discussion forum
and assert that Heinlein's women characters were believable and
progressively written (if they don't just shoo you out and say they're
tired of that donnybrook).
Very _early_ Heinlein shares some of the odd sociological and stylistic
quirks of Golden Age science fiction in general; before dismissing any
of it, make sure you check the copyright date for context. Be aware
that many of his volumes over the years were explicitly written as
juveniles. They're _really good_ juvenile fiction, but don't be
surprised if you find yourself reading a superior grade of The Hardy
Boys in Space.
Newcomers to Heinlein might want to start with a couple of classics:
_The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ (1966), _Expanded Universe_ (1980
collection of non-fiction plus short stories), _Glory Road_ (1963),
_Starship Troopers_ (1959), _The Cat Who Walks through Walls_ (1985).
Volumes many people have been lead to TBAR (throw book across room)
include _Friday_ (1982), _The Number of the Beast_ (1980), and _I Will
Fear No Evil_ (1970).
Think of Heinlein the man as your gruff, ultra-smart, ex-Marine drill
sergeant friend who's sincerely struggling to be hip and progressive,
but keeps missing. The canonical "Boy, did you ever miss" Heinlein
moment is when the eponymous, genetically-engineered female secret agent
of _Friday_ gets raped by enemy-agent captors, but enjoys the physical
experience with one of those captors, later meets him in better
circumstances, and marries him.
TBAR moment, that.
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