[Epic] Heinlein

From: <duckrvr_at_...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 09:29:26 -0600

Okay, this isn't a sci-fi board, but I feel unloved that no one wants to
play on private e-mail. I'll make my objections briefly and then shut up
about it.

Problems with Heinlein in general:

1) He is incredibly didactic. He just happens to preach ideas that find
resonance among many sci-fi fans. However, he beats you over the head with
his ideology.

2) All of his characters are one dimensional. They are very stereo-typical.
        Mentor/wisdom figure: Jubal Harshaw, Lazarus whoever, etc.
        Intelligent and gorgeous women: too many names to mention
        Gruff tech type: so forgettable I don't remember names
        Youthful prodigy: M.V. Smith, the guy in Starship troopers, etc.

3) All of his plots are simplistic. Basically they are messianic,
adolescent male, masturbatory power fantasies. Youthful prodigy (who fits a
messianic archetype) meats mentor/wisdom figure, hangs out with beautiful,
intelligent women and gruff tech types and goes on to rule the world/become
company commander/explore the universe. There are, of course, exceptions,
but a large portion of his books follow this pattern.

4) His expressed ideologies are frequently contradictory with the REAL
events in the story. For example, he professes equal treatment of women in
all ways. However, in _Stranger..._ his women are treated as underlings to
Jubal and M.V.S. in all ways. They are valued because they are beautiful
and intelligent/competent, but the gruff techie type is valued bcause he is
intelligent/competent even though he is one step shy of being a mis-shapen
dwarf. In short, he does not need physical beauty, while the women do.
Then there is that Arabic guy's sexist treatment of women which is condemned
by the characters, but which is written about in a very sympathetic manner.

In Heinlein's favor he does write amazingly clean prose. Consequently he is
very quotable. He also has a remarkable turn of phrase. To sum up, he says
nothing of value, but he says it incredibly well. (see end quote)

I won't post specific problems with _Stranger..._ because I could write a
book about the number of insanely bad aspects of the so-called novel.
Frankly, I'm embarassed to have it on the same shelf as _Dune_.

My apologies for diverging from the discussion. I'm beggin' for some lively
debate. Any takers? Anyone know a good sci-fi mailing list?


"Here's to alcoholic brotherhood; more suited to the frail human soul than
any other sort." - J. Harshaw (I might be off by a little, it's been years)
Received on Fri Jan 17 1997 - 15:29:26 UTC

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