Sunday, June 1, 2003

Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein still remains one of my favorite authors. Here's a website that quotes bits and pieces of his wit and wisdom. The only downside is that the site is not updated (no changes since June 14, 2000!) and the person running the site does not seem to respond to e-mail. But, keep hitting your "Refresh" button for a stream of comments...

(This was clipped from a previous site, so here is a response from Steve Hart dated June 8, 2003...)

Fans of Robert A. Heinlein crop up in the most unexpected places. When he died, the single most heartfelt tribute I read was in the libertarian Reason magazine—not too surprising, when you think about Heinlein's libertarian mindset, but the editors of Reason give the impression of reading nothing beyond The Wealth of Nations and Atlas Shrugged. Just the other day, I was researching somebody in the Bloomberg database and came across a business advisory firm called Tanstaafl. That's probably a warning of what to expect when the guy sets his fee.

And a follow-up comment by me, from September 6, 2003...

You Just Can't Keep a Discorporate Author Down!

A long lost novel by Robert A. Heinlein has been found and will be published early next year.

Here's a link to The Heinlein Society. There's a link there to order the book through (somehow, using this link instead of the usual Amazon site, benefits the society...and they say that they promote human spaceflight, which is a good enough reason for me to send them something!)

The description is pretty interesting. The book was never published because it was so racy—so racy that you could not have legally shipped it when it was written! It also features the first appearance of Nehemiah Scudder, the "Prophet" of the short novel If This Goes On... (one of my favorite stories by RAH, and set in his future history (see the collection The Past Through Tomorrow as well as numerous other collections of short stories).

This will be of some interest to me. I've read a number of books by Heinlein that were re-published in their original format. Some, like Stranger in a Strange Land did not really benefit from their restoration (I liked it either way!). Others, like Podkayne of Mars and Red Planet showed how heavy-handed editors can be (and Heinlein laid out his feelings clearly in his semi-autobiographical work Grumbles from the Grave). Others, like The Puppet Masters just became much better books as a result of the restoration.

With the recent passing of Virginia Heinlein, it's possible that we might see some additional restorations. I don't know who makes up Heinlein's "estate", but I hope that they exercise restraint or some control in granting movie options. No more horrible movies like Starship Troopers or Puppet Masters, please!

So, Heinlein's first novel now becomes his last novel!