NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

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Diemo
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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby Diemo » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:29 pm UTC

Heinlein was a . . . excellent writer,

Hahaha. NO!
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J Thomas
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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby J Thomas » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:52 pm UTC

Diemo wrote:
Heinlein was a . . . excellent writer,

Hahaha. NO!


His skills changed over time. Maybe kind of like Picasso. I picked up _Methuselah's Children_ a few years ago and I could hardly read it, even though I hadn't noticed anything wrong when I was a kid. But _Friday_ was well-written by mainstream standards. It was a mainstream plot in a science fiction setting. A woman who superficially has a whole lot going for her, who is plagued by her sense that she doesn't really fit into society, that she does not really have a home. Those doubts keep her from fitting in or finding a home, she gets used by various people until she emigrates to a colony in the third world where there are few amenities and hard work is valued more than fitting in.
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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby morriswalters » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:48 pm UTC

Heinlein's rep is secure the despite the opinions of anyone at this point. He made a living as a writer and a lot of his stuff is still in print. The Wikipedia article lays it out. Evidently his peers had an excellent opinion of him.
Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974.[7] He won Hugo Awards for four of his novels; in addition, fifty years after publication, three of his works were awarded "Retro Hugos"—awards given retrospectively for publication years when there were no Hugo Awards.[8] In his fiction Heinlein coined words that have become part of the English language, including "grok" and "waldo", and popularized the terms "TANSTAAFL" and space marine.

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Garm
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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby Garm » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:20 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Diemo wrote:
Heinlein was a . . . excellent writer,

Hahaha. NO!


His skills changed over time. Maybe kind of like Picasso. I picked up _Methuselah's Children_ a few years ago and I could hardly read it, even though I hadn't noticed anything wrong when I was a kid. But _Friday_ was well-written by mainstream standards. It was a mainstream plot in a science fiction setting. A woman who superficially has a whole lot going for her, who is plagued by her sense that she doesn't really fit into society, that she does not really have a home. Those doubts keep her from fitting in or finding a home, she gets used by various people until she emigrates to a colony in the third world where there are few amenities and hard work is valued more than fitting in.


Dude... "Friday" is fucking terrible. I like Heinlein and the fact that you went straight to Friday makes me wonder. So much misogyny in that book.
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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby Heisenberg » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:31 pm UTC

I think that's the only one I didn't finish. Stick with the classics: Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Heinlein is great. Anyone with five Hugo awards is free to besmirch his name.

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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby J Thomas » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:08 pm UTC

Garm wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Diemo wrote:
Heinlein was a . . . excellent writer,

Hahaha. NO!


His skills changed over time. Maybe kind of like Picasso. I picked up _Methuselah's Children_ a few years ago and I could hardly read it, even though I hadn't noticed anything wrong when I was a kid. But _Friday_ was well-written by mainstream standards. It was a mainstream plot in a science fiction setting. A woman who superficially has a whole lot going for her, who is plagued by her sense that she doesn't really fit into society, that she does not really have a home. Those doubts keep her from fitting in or finding a home, she gets used by various people until she emigrates to a colony in the third world where there are few amenities and hard work is valued more than fitting in.


Dude... "Friday" is fucking terrible. I like Heinlein and the fact that you went straight to Friday makes me wonder. So much misogyny in that book.


Friday is not good science fiction. Friday is excellent literature.

So, this person is born with lots of enhanced genes. Of course an orphan, owned by a corporation. The nearest thing she has to a father is the spymaster who has her trained to do horrific things and then repeatedly sends her into situations where she could easily be killed. Her sense of appropriate social roles is, well, skewed. It turns out that people like her are considered a minority and somewhat discriminated against. They are better than other people in most ways, that's enough reason isn't it?

When her "father" dies and the organization is disbanded, she wants to belong to something and she has no idea what. She tries to hang out with the mercenaries who used to work for the org and they are happy to have sex with her and charge her rent, until one by one they get other mercenary jobs. She can't get one because she has no CV, everything she did for her defunct org was secret. And she doesn't know how to toady to HR.

She does get a mercenary job and only her superhuman reflexes keep her from getting killed in the first seconds of the first engagement, along with the rest of the crew.

She takes up with some geneticists who have sex with her and harvest her genes.

She's a super-genius with fantastic skills of various sorts -- but she has no concept of marketing those skills or of going into business for herself. All she can imagine is finding a new home like her old spy group. She was in the old one from birth, how would she join one as an adult? Why would they trust her? Perhaps they might see her fundamental innocence and naivete?

Finally she does get a job as a courier -- the kind of clay pigeon the other spies shoot at. The HR guy is utterly unsympathetic and nobody seems to like her much. She finds out what she is transporting -- she has been impregnated with some other woman's egg. The doublecross of a plan calls for her to be killed along with the egg.

In spite of her intelligence and her trained intuition, in spite of her advanced training in all sorts of things, she acts stupidly her whole adult life because she is looking for a community that will accept her. She has no idea how to find it and no concept of creating it. So she bounces around at random.

It isn't misogyny. Friday would have had similar problems as a man.

The writing style was excellent. Vivid images. Brilliant characterization. A searing indictment of the anomie of society after modern times. It was everything that sort of novel ought to be, apart from being in fact science fiction. If some mainstream critic says that Heinlein couldn't write this is one of the books to show them. Except that they will probably bog down on the first page because they don't know what a beanstalk is and they can't figure out what's going on and they will dismiss it as science fiction. But apart from that, it's about as good a modern novel as anybody could expect. Mainstream critics ignored it because it was science fiction and science fiction readers didn't like it because the heroine failed to think out her problems and solve them.
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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:58 am UTC

Heinlein wrote well, yes. He did have certain topics he tended to hit time and again, and I can see why some people would tire of those topics. Especially the topic of old dudes having sex with young women(to whom they might be related). Might be just a wee bit of his RL attitudes on sexuality spilling over.

For Us, The Living was also kind of a rough read. There's a pretty solid variance in his work, with some of them being pretty great, and some being, well...they don't get talked about much.

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Re: NASA plans to rassle an asteroid

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:25 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Heinlein wrote well, yes. He did have certain topics he tended to hit time and again, and I can see why some people would tire of those topics. Especially the topic of old dudes having sex with young women(to whom they might be related). Might be just a wee bit of his RL attitudes on sexuality spilling over.

For Us, The Living was also kind of a rough read. There's a pretty solid variance in his work, with some of them being pretty great, and some being, well...they don't get talked about much.



For Us, the living, was also one of his first novels. Personally, I find most of his young adult science fiction to be better than some of his later stuff (I never really liked Lazarus Long et al). Have Spacesuit - Will Travel; Podkayne of Mars; Double Star; Beyond this Horizon, all of these were very well-written (and entertaining). The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is in my opinion his magnum opus (regardless of what people say about Stranger in a Strange Land, I think that Mistress has shaped our space policy more than any other single work of fiction).

He could be quite anvilicious on certain things (personal freedom/responsibility, the importance of math and science, etc), but no one can say that he was not a successful writer.
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