Time Enough for Heinlein (Or Not)

I admit I don’t spend much time thinking about Robert Heinlein, but when I do, I always have the same reaction, which is that shivery “Bleach! Get it off me!” response that the bug-phobic have to spiders and cockroaches.

There’s a reason for this, though.

I read Stranger in a Strange Land in high school, and liked it well enough. I no longer remember it that well, honestly. Then in college…

Well, see in college, there was this guy. He wanted me and my boyfriend to have a polyamorous relationship with him. Because he really wanted to have sex with my boyfriend, who he’d known for a long time, and he was interested in having sex with me. Okay, whatever. I knew I wasn’t suited to polyamory, but I was in my “I am a reed, bending in the wind, willing to do whatever I am told to do” phase, so I said, “I don’t know; let my boyfriend decide.”

That was an easy thing for me to say, on account of boyfriend was either A) really not bisexual at all, or B) chill with gay people, but really not chill with any gay feelings he may have felt. So he was not going to go for this polyamory proposal.

Indeed, he did not. This was conveyed to amorous guy. Who then decided that what was needed in this situation was more wheedling.

So he sent me a book.


Let me start by praising this book, as I remember it from when I was 18. It was funny. It was a fast read. It was involving. It had at least one fantasy I was super down with–I wanna be immortal like Lazarus Long. It had one memorable scene which I still recall, wherein Lazarus Long sits down with his descendents and explains the dangers of incest by means of a metaphor involving a deck of cards.

And then there was the polyamory. Specifically, there was a wide-eyed, subjectivity-less, hot-hot-hot female character named Hamadryad who nurtured others with her healing sexuality…

And all of a sudden? I was no longer wishy-washy bend-like-a-reed on the subject of polyamory. In fact, I was no longer wishy-washy on the subject of Heinlein. I now had a distinct opinion of Heinlein: read Heinlein, said this opinion, and lose your lunch.

I am not particularly interested in reading more Heinlein. Yeah, yeah, I know, “read the classics.” Well, I tell you what, in the event I ever get through reading every other book I want to read and should read, I’ll then go back and start reading the books by the guy whose novels were used to try to seduce me by proxy. Also, at the same time, you have to go read all the things you think are boring or obnoxious.

However, my experience of TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE may not really be representative of all of Heinlein’s work. I get that. A) He wrote lotsa books, and many may be less obnoxious, and B) When one is not being skeezily hit on, even the obnoxious portrayal in TIME ENOUGH may not be quite so “oh, please, godDAMN.”

I reserve the right to call the portrayal sexist, though. No matter how people argue to the contrary, this is actually an observation on par with noting structure and school–it’s a textual analysis. Was Heinlein himself sexist? No fucking clue, don’t really care.

Meanwhile, Heinlein? Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr getitoffme.

*While writing this post, it occurred to me that I use Heinlein interchangeably to mean “the individual Robert Heinlein” and “the body of works by Robert Heinlein.” If I were to say “Heinlein is sexist,” I’d mean the latter. I wonder if this is the substance of some of the miscommunications b/w Heinlein-defenders and Heinlein-questioners; I don’t think I’m unusual in using the author’s last name to denote his body of work. By the same token, though, I wonder if people also react to observations/reactions to the body of work as if they are observations/reactions to the individual, so the potential for inappropriate condensation of writing and writer, as well as the potential for straight-up misunderstanding, abounds.

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124 Responses to Time Enough for Heinlein (Or Not)

  1. 101
    Sebastian says:

    I reread “Magic, Inc.” and it’s very much worse about African-Americans (Royce Worthington is African, and so is Mr. Kiku from _The Star Beast_) and women than I remembered. There’s a couple of paragraphs about women being unfit for politics that I’d completely missed on previous readings, but at least there’s also a capable woman politician. There are no exceptional African-Americans.

    Wait, what? Mr.Kiku has to be the single most inspiring character of my adolescence. He was imminently competent, absolutely rational without being amoral, proud… and the de facto ruler of Earth, with no qualms about putting his figurehead boss in his place. His attitude about… everything is still the way I try to live my life. What the Hell did I miss that is “much worse about African-Americans”?

    That said, I have been lucky in avoiding much of Heinlein’s dreck, thanks to a friend who warned me, paraphrased “If a book of his has not been published in either French and Russian, you are better off skipping it.”

    But just for Mr.Kiku in Star Beast, I’ll forgive him a lot.

  2. 102
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    I was arguing with Steve Barnes about Heinlein, and he called Heinlein something like “a traditional Southern gentleman”. When I asked Steve what he meant, he said (again from my memory) “someone who holds having been enslaved against African Americans, but is too polite to say so”.

    Here’s the passage from “Magic, Inc.”, which is not quite as nasty as what Barnes said (he hasn’t read “Magic, Inc.”), but is further in that direction than I like seeing:

    [Thought by Alex, the main character] “We white men in this country are inclined to underestimate the black man–I know I do–because we see him out of his cultural matrix. Those we know have had their culture wrenched from them some generations back and a servile pseudo culture imposed on them by force. We forget that the black man has a culture of his own, older than ours and more solidly grounded, based on character and the power of the mind rather than the cheap ephemeral tricks of mechanical gadgets. But it is a stern, fierce culture with no sentimental concern for the weak and the unfit, and it never quite dies out.” (p. 146 of the 1968 edition, about a fifth of the way through the story, soon after Alex had met Worthington)

    What do you make of it?

    What I was trying to say in my previous comment is that if you go over Heinlein’s books, you find impressive Africans, but not impressive African Americans. The only exceptions I can think of are the black preacher in _I Will Fear No Evil_ (a minor character) and the black woman president in an essay which I think was called “The Happy Days Ahead”– Heinlein was in favor of her being president, but as I recall, she wasn’t characterized.

  3. 103
    Robert says:

    A minor textual point; Mr. Kiku was not African-American, he was from Kenya.

    There were at least a couple of African-American characters who I would consider to be impressive in one way or another, however. Joseph in FF is a pretty good person who has made as healthy an adjustment as one can make to a racist culture (and as Nancy noticed, Heinlein did notice that) and who then doesn’t make as healthy an adjustment to a different racist culture. I always saw Joseph as Heinlein playing with a character and not worrying overmuch about his racial identification; Joseph could have adapted even better to the new culture, or could have been super-successful in one culture but super-fail in another, or any number of other ways to play with the themes; Heinlein was playing.

    The class instructor and one of the heroic students in “Tunnel” were African-American. Heinlein played there, too; Carol was described as African-American, because she was a potential love interest of the main character, who “naturally” noted her appearance. The instructor’s racial background was not noted by the main character, because (since he wasn’t sexually interested in the instructor) his physical description wasn’t fully fleshed out and the main character didn’t consider race or skin color relevant to anything other than aesthetics.

    The viewpoint character in “Cat Who Walks Through Walls” self-describes as African-American, and also as mixed-race. Like in ‘Tunnel’, that came out in side exposition later in the book.

    Friday Jones is an American citizen and also has substantial African genetic ancestry.

    I forget the name of the awful Campbell-fouled racist book about white heroes fighting the evil Panasiatic invaders with a race-tunable energy weapon, but I seem to remember there was a black character in it who was portrayed (rather transparently) as Standardly Heroic, in rather a weak attempt at “see, it’s not racist, the black guy is cool!”

    Heinlein is a long way from what you might consider a racially progressive individual, but I think for his era he was way over on the right-hand side of the bell curve for privileged white guys. He had his biases and failings, but he was a fairly astute observer of social realities.

    Oh, and I think Nancy’s phrasing was a little awkward and that she didn’t mean in fact to run down Mr. Kiku as a character. I have never met any black people from Kenya or anyone from the 22nd century so I can’t speak to the accuracy of anything specifically Kenyan about the character, but I echo the previous commenter who fanboyed about him. Kiku is one of the best characters of the period’s SF, and kicks so much ass in his extremely understated way that most of the ass he kicks does not realize that it has been kicked until it suddenly sees that it is, mysteriously, nine counties away from where it was the last time it looked up.

  4. 104
    mythago says:

    Am I really the only person who read The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag?

  5. 105
    Robert says:

    No, I read it. I thought it was creepy as hell, to tell the truth. Sons of the Bird indeed. Was there an African-American character in that one? I only remember the named characters being the private-dick married couple, and Hoag. Was Hoag black? (It’s been decades.)

  6. 106
    mythago says:

    I haven’t read it really recently either, but if you want to email me a mailing address I’ll send it to you if you’d like.

  7. 107
    A.W. says:

    I read it! From what I remember it was very good.

  8. 108
    Ledasmom says:

    Wanted to second what a few people have said: so often, sex in a Heinlein novel is just a way-station on the journey to babies. Babies babies babies.
    It’s been a while since I read any Heinlein, while I make a return visit to Le Guin every few years or so, not to mention Tiptree. It’s easy to excuse Heinlein as a product of his time, not so easy to explain why other writers somehow don’t seem as dated (note that both Tiptree and Le Guin were somewhat later).
    To me, Heinlein didn’t really write women, not more than a few types of them anyway: bad mothers; young fertile competent women who have babies; cool grandmothers. There may be others. I no longer find Heinlein interesting enough to bother going back to find out.
    Many of Heinlein’s books would have been much better had he mastered the technique of the unreliable narrator; in fact, thinking about it, if you assume his narrators are fairly unreliable most of his stories are more interesting. Trouble is that there’s not a lot of indication in the text that they are unreliable.
    I apologize for sounding dismissive. I can discuss my Tiptree love at length, or discourse on why the later Earthsea books are not feminist polemics (and see this ghastly line from the current Wikipedia article on “Tehanu”: “Tehanu differs from the first three novels in that it is written from the female perspective”. Right! The female perspective?). But a discussion of Heinlein just takes me to the deplorable “Podkayne of Mars”, which could have been a damn good tale if he hadn’t felt it necessary to condemn the mother of new triplets – not the father, really. Pretty much just the mother – for being neglectful towards her older children. Not the only thing that put me off, but a biggie.
    I understand that he’s important to the field; a lot of the time, I kind of wish he wasn’t.

  9. 109
    Harv Griffin says:

    ATTENTION Heinlein Haters!

    Suggest you click over to:


    Ian Bertram, with wit and scholarly erudition, supplies you with specific ammunition on the “Naughty Sexual Bits” in Heinlein novels to empower you to Bust The Ass of any misguided Heinlein-Lover [This really should be the Penultimate 2013 Geek Insult, Right, PC Squad? … “Heinlein Lover!”]. @hg47

  10. 110
    Mandolin says:

    Is that sarcasm? Are you calling me a prude? Weird. I had no idea. I thought my sex scenes were more explicit than his.

  11. 111
    Ledasmom says:

    Yeah, one of the odd things about Heinlein is how unsexy his sex scenes are.

  12. 112
    mythago says:

    Harv, I’m sorry we disappointed you by having a nuanced and thoughtful discussion about Heinlein and his SF/F contemporaries. Suggest that if you’re bored and want to pick a “Heinlein rocks/Heinlein sucks” fight, this is unlikely to be a satisfying venue.

  13. 113
    Grace Annam says:


    I forget the name of the awful Campbell-fouled racist book about white heroes fighting the evil Panasiatic invaders with a race-tunable energy weapon

    Sixth Column.



  14. 114
    Grace Annam says:


    (and see this ghastly line from the current Wikipedia article on “Tehanu”: “Tehanu differs from the first three novels in that it is written from the female perspective”. Right! The female perspective?)

    I agree that “the” is a problem, but the author of that comment may be referring to LeGuin’s own self-characterization:

    LeGuin, in an interview:

    Briefly, what happened in the 17 years between Farthest Shore and Tehanu was that feminism was reborn, and I became 17 years older, and learned a good deal. One of the things I learned was how to write as a woman, not as an honorary, or imitation, man.

    From a woman’s point of view, Earthsea looked quite different than it did from a man’s point of view. All I had to do was describe it from the point of view of the powerless, the disempowered – women, children, a wizard who has spent his gift and must live as an “ordinary” man. The same place, but how changed it seems! Some people hate the book for that. They scold me for punishing Ged. I think I was rewarding him.

    I love LeGuin. I love her direct ripostes. One example from many, from that same interview:

    Q: Perhaps you feel a bit out of step with your contemporaries?

    UKL: Why should a woman of 74 want to be “in step with” anybody? Am I in an army, or something?

    Go, Ms. LeGuin!

    She has written some things which will be part of me forever. Sometimes I don’t understand some of her stories, or they don’t grab me, but I often suspect in those cases that the fault lies with me.

    Not so, when a bit of Heinlein no longer grabs me. My gut reaction at that point is usually to feel a wee bit proud of myself, to acknowledge that I’ve grown up a bit.

    I’d never really thought about that contrast before. Interesting.


  15. 115
    Grace Annam says:


    She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free.

    I’ve walked and run on train tracks which were still being used. I have even momentarily gotten a shoe caught. I have never come close to getting caught so tightly that I could not have pulled myself free, let alone pulled free with the help of two grown men, all of us spurred on by a state of panic. The only way I can think that it could happen is if the switch swung over just as she put her foot down, and it caught her ankle like a bear trap.

    In which case, nice blaming the victim, there, Mr. Heinlein, with your, “She apparently did not watch her step.” Next you’ll be accusing a random pedestrian of not watching their step when a car jumps a curb and runs over them.

    Also, I think by his own standards, Heinlein missed a bet, there: there was a moment, in the last split-second, where, having done everything he could to free the woman, the tramp could have thrown himself free, and accomplished his own survival. But he chose to continue to try to free the woman, even though, in that instant, the choice was between (a) both dead, (b) woman dead, tramp alive and able to further his genetic legacy. By Heinlein’s lights, wouldn’t the tramp’s failure to throw himself clear be immoral, tending as it does toward extinction? And likewise, for the husband? (Though a genetic essentialist argument could be made for one of them to place himself between the train and the presumably fertile woman as a human cushion, thereby maximizing her chances to make more babies.)


  16. 116
    Robert says:

    It happens pretty regularly, Grace.



    (Note that in the first of those, there were two grown men trying to help a woman. Panic is useful in a narrow range of scenarios but is most likely not of positive value when the scenario is ‘you need to solve this object-manipulation puzzle in thirty seconds, before you die’.)

    I’ve read the Heinlein passage in question many times, and you’ve completely missed the boat on what his moral reasoning is. It’s not an evopsych-style coldly rationalistic ‘optimize my gene propagation’ strategy. Heinlein was an individualist by temperament, but philosophically he always circled back around to the group being more important, and correct moral behavior being a choice by the individual to sacrifice for the good of the group. That’s why he hated Communism so much; it made mandatory what, in his view, needed to be a volitional act. Note that he says nobody would have blamed the tramp for jumping clear at the last minute; that behavior wouldn’t have been evil.

    It was choosing to work until the end in the hopes of a last-instant victory that was the affirmative good.

  17. 117
    Robert says:

    (Damn, bring back the edit function!)

    In fact, I would say that passage contains the absolute moral distillation of Heinlein, in much the same way that the “All right then, I’ll go to Hell!” passage of Huckleberry Finn contains the moral distillation of Mark Twain. There is a coherent case against Heinlein the philosopher, but it ought to be made against him, not against a misunderstanding of him.

  18. 118
    Grace Annam says:


    It happens pretty regularly, Grace.

    Fascinating. I knew that people got hit by trains pretty regularly, but that’s generally people trying to beat a train they know, in advance, is coming, like the idiots who ignore the flashing lights and bells and drive around the lowered barriers.

    I think you may be overstating your case with “pretty regularly”. We’ve got the two you point out, from 2008, but via le google I was only able to find one or two more, and that presumably covers the English-speaking world. And in one of them, she did get free … and then tried to beat the train, because she could only board from the other side, and her boyfriend was beckoning to her and yelling at her to run (he was not the one who helped get her free).

    But, granted that it seems to happen sometimes without a moving part, and in such cases I am more inclined to think poorly of the person who got her foot stuck, as Heinlein did in the instant case.

    As for my sarcasm, where I essentialized Heinlein’s views on genetic propagation, I’m willing to walk that back a bit, or re-target it. I’ve read almost all of what he published, some of it many times (though not recently), and I’m well aware of how his moral compass works (in some aspects, a lot like mine; I, too, agree that fit and able people should voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of the group, even a group which is, except in the absolute sense, unrelated genetically (see his definition of patriotism), and I, too, feel free to regard people as lesser when they don’t make that choice).

    There is a certain class of science fiction authors, though, who glory in “the genes are all” in a very simplistic way (Niven and Pournelle, for example), and without exploring (a) the ways in which that kind of thinking can easily go off the rails and result in hurt to blameless individuals and (b) the ways in which genetic fitness and evolution are much more complex than essentialists realize, with very interesting and story-worthy side-consequences (in fairness to Pournelle, he included a story which explores a bit of this later in his There Will Be War series, but the name of the story escapes me). But if Heinlein was not precisely in their camp, he certainly enjoyed visiting it, and his own tent was pitched only a stone’s throw away.

    Heinlein was human, and allowed to be inconsistent, as we humans often are. As far as I know, he never heard of the Grandmother Hypothesis, which is a pity, because it falls right in line with people being evolutionarily valuable for what they can contribute to the group, even when they can’t, or can no longer, contribute directly themselves. In other words, he made the same mistake as other genetic essentialists in thinking that he had it all figured out and tied up in a pretty bow, when in fact it’s slippery and tricksy, with counterintuitive little consequences everywhere you look.

    And that mistake, of thinking that he understood it better than he did, was the foundation of his attitude toward all trans people, everywhere, who weren’t lucky enough to be born in circumstances where they could have baby-making bodies. He called us “monsters”. Here’s something I wrote back in the dark ages of 2009 (which I linked earlier in this comment thread) in response to Cheryl Morgan, who argued that “Friday” was a trans novel.

    (And note that while one should hesitate to draw conclusions about an author’s views from what comes out of the characters’ mouths, if there is any character in science fiction, anywhere, who was meant to stand in for the author, it is Lazarus Long.)

    This is an interesting article. I had not thought of Friday’s experience being analogous to trans experience, but clearly there are parallels.

    That execrable rape scene, though. Feh.

    I loved Heinlein’s writing when I was growing up, but I have a hard time with him now. There’s no doubt that he’s in the vanguard of the genetic essentialists among SF authors, which strikes me as odd considering some of his other opinions, such as the words he put in Lazarus Long’s mouth, if I recall correctly: “Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other ‘sins’ are invented nonsense.”

    But here are some other words he put in Lazarus’ mouth, from _Time Enough for Love_:

    [Minerva is suggesting novel life experiences for Lazarus.] “Lazarus, you could become female.”

    [Lazarus replies.] “Minerva, I’m not sure what you mean. Surgeons have been turning inadequate males into fake females for more than two thousand years-and females into fake males almost as long. I’m not attracted by such stunts. For good-or bad-I am male. I suppose that every human has wondered how it would feel to be the other sex. But all the plastic surgery and hormone treatments possible won’t do it-those monsters don’t reproduce.”

    So, for Heinlein, “real” femaleness (and presumably maleness) lay in the ability to reproduce. Anyone who has examined trans issues more than superficially knows that that road leads to problems very quickly.

    Lest anyone accuse me of confusing Heinlein’s opinion with one of Heinlein’s character’s opinions, here’s how Minerva responds;

    “I am not speaking of monsters, Lazarus. A true change in sex.”

    In Heinlein’s writing, his characters quibble over small issues so routinely that it’s distracting. But Minerva, a super-intelligent super-computer, is quite willing to adopt the “monster” terminology without challenge or qualification, and then contrast surgical transition with “true change of sex”, which sets up the dichotomy that surgical transition is a false change of sex.

    The similarity of Friday’s experience and a generalized trans experience are striking, but they certainly weren’t intentional. Heinlein clearly drew the line at chromosomes or reproduction, and thus left out in the cold every trans person living in a setting where chromosomal intervention is impossible — which includes every trans person living in Heinlein’s day, and every trans person living now.

    Denying trans people their humanity (“monsters”) because they live in an era where medical practice doesn’t meet Heinlein’s requirements would certainly qualify as “hurting others unnecessarily”. Heinlein often decried racism and some other forms of discrimination in his writing, but he never did work out his issues with gender.


    “Inadequate males into fake females”? Polite conversation does not encompass my response.


  19. 119
    Robert says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t go to the barricades for him on those issues, either. On the other hand, though…he was aware of the existence of the issues. A huge majority of the authors of his day, and even a pretty big chunk of the authors who were dealing with non-cis sexuality at the time, would have said “huh?” or responded with phobia a lot stronger than his. (I think, from a close reading of his autobiographical material scattered everywhere in SF, that he had a friend or lover when he was in the Navy who was trans.) TEFL was published in 1973; I was five. My grandmother was still using the n word in casual conversation. A woman applying for grad school at Harvard was asked how, given the waste of an education she would represent what with the babies and husbands and all, she planned to fulfill her duties to her man and still find work in her field. It wasn’t today’s playing field, is what I’m saying.

    That’s no excuse for his negative attitudes, of course, and on the mechanics and biologics of transitioning, I have no knowledge and so will, uncharacteristically, stand mute. On the gripping hand, though, (see what I did there?) I do recall that when LL was offered the from the chromosomes-up transition, he was interested and bookmarked the idea, not repelled and “eww, that’s just monsters with better parts”. And there are other passages in later books (notably, when Libby is resurrected, and has a memory of choosing her new body’s gender) which seem to be fairly accepting of gender fluidity. Again, not going to the barricades on this.

  20. 120
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    The thing about Heinlein is that he’s such a damned mixed writer.

    Here’s the introduction to Time Enough for Love. It’s out there in squick country with the bit about “our gallant women” replacing the population of 50 planets in a generation, if 50 planets (out of 2000 or more) should happen to be lost. There is tiresome chest-beating about how tough and dangerous the human race is.

    And yet…. the main point of the rant– the difficulty of keeping track of even the simplest things about what’s going on– is very sound, and more sensible than a lot of other sf writers I can think of.

    Off-hand, I don’t think there were any black characters in Sixth Column. There was a heroic Japanese-American character– iirc, added at Heinlein’s insistence, that made the book less racist than Campbell had in mind. I think it’s downright weird to think that an anti-Asian book could be made less racist by having a heroic black character.

    I hate saying this, but I think Friday marrying her rapist is within reason for the character. She never recovered from the way she incorporated the prejudice against her into her own mind, though she did manage to tone it down.

    On the other hand, I think it’s fair to say that Heinlein was more apt to write realistic female characters (Maureen Johnson is another hyper-competent polymath, but she gets ordinary earthly opportunities for most of the time she’s onstage, Podkayne is a reasonable story of someone with a vague ambition they aren’t pursuing and aren’t going to achieve), while male characters are likely to happen to be in a position (Starman Jones, <Have Spacesuit, Will Travel) where a combination of knowledge, hard work, and luck gives them a large victory.

    Grace Annan @ 36, that’s an interesting question about people who aren’t part of what you call Heinlein’s Libertarian Elite being helped by those who are. Offhand, Alex of “Magic, Inc.” might be a marginal case. He’s low-end competent– good at running a hardware store, but not much interested in or good at anything else. He’s helped by people who are much more capable than he is– practically everyone in the story is more powerful.

    I hate to mention this, but “Jerry Is a Man”.

    And there’s the stuff in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls about the “free-lance socialist” that the couple on the run tries to help. I hated that part– it seemed like a very crude statement about there’s no point in trying to help some people– but it’s there.

    This discussion has led me to wonder whether Heinlein was necessarily wrong about incest. After all, he’s the author who wrote about PTSD (Citizen of the Galaxy) long before it was public knowledge, so he was paying attention at least some of the time.

    It is certainly the case that if there is healthy adult consensual incest, it is being concealed.

    Delaney’s Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders has an incestuous relationship on stage. (I’m getting this from Jo Walton’s review, which Delany mentioned as good.) I haven’t seen anyone complaining about it, possibly because Delany is a more difficult writer.

  21. 121
    Harvey Griffin says:

    Hey, gals and guys, I love this Internet page; the initial provocative anti-Heinlein post, and the many intelligent comments it gathered, and is still gathering, in response.

    I am Guilty-As-Charged of sarcasm, Mandolin. And as mythago suggests, nuanced and thoughtful discussion about Heinlein and his SF/F contemporaries is perhaps beyond me. All I have is flagrant emotionalism.

    This page was DEAD from September 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm until my comment on June 10, 2013 at 10:29 pm – which has sparked a renewed conversation here – that’s more than TWO YEARS, so maybe a bit of controversy & emotion & a POV on Heinlein outside the PC isn’t entirely a bad thing.

    Not trying to pick a fight. Tell me to get lost, and I’m gone.

    Possibly my favorite science fiction writers are not valued by the other commentators to this “Heinlein (Or Not)” post. So be it. My family moved around a lot when I was growing up. I average a different school for the first 12 years of my education. I went to six different High Schools. I was always the new guy who didn’t fit in. Well, sorry, I could care less about “fitting-in” because I had Asimov and Heinlein and Bradbury to help me escape into worlds where the train wreck of my life would disappear for a while. So, rational arguments about how awful Heinlein was as a writer or a human being are probably not going to work on me. The guy gave me hundreds of hours of pleasure and kept me sane and functional.


  22. 122
    mythago says:

    Not trying to pick a fight.

    The real problem isn’t that you keep trying to pick a fight. The real problem is that you don’t have the spine to admit it.

    Grace Annam @118: Admittedly, I couldn’t even finish Friday, not just because of the rape scene but because it was just so….mawkish. It’s like the macaroni sculpture version of a writer trying to be Progressive. We have a future where Everyone Is Equal except for ‘artificial’ persons, and yet a man still gets his ego permanently in a knot because Friday beats him at arm-wrestling.

  23. 123
    Grace Annam says:

    Harvey Griffin:

    This page was DEAD from September 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm until my comment on June 10

    Nonono! It was resting. At worst, it was only mostly dead. (And I went through its pockets and there was no loose change. Not a bent farthing.)


  24. 124
    Robert says:

    It was pining for the Fords.