Re: [Epic] Heinlein

From: Thomas Lee Denney <seether_at_...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 10:55:41 -0600

Wrong list!

At 09:29 AM 1/17/97 -0600, you wrote:
>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)
-Tom Denney
Received on Fri Jan 17 1997 - 16:55:41 UTC

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