Monday, July 09, 2007


Grokking Bob

July 7 was the 100th birthday of Robert Heinlein and Brian Doherty has a nice appreciation of Heinlein's work at Reason magazine. As much as I liked some of his corpus (and hated other parts), I have to acknowledge that the following has at least some truth to it:

The prominence of his juvenile novels and his galvanizing effect on so many adolescent fans have led many critics to condemn Heinlein's work as inherently unworthy of serious adult attention. As one scholar, Elizabeth Anne Hull, has written, "In an attempt to account for the extraordinary popularity and influence of the novels of Robert Heinlein, it would be all too easy to assert that the masses are asses and let it go at that. Those of us academics who read Heinlein are likely to admit it with an apology [and consider] our weakness in enjoying his work a minor character defect."
But this part is outright wrong:
Despite his visions of near-immortals and cryogenic sleep, he didn't live to see [his birthday]. He died in 1988, mourned by millions of readers who saw him more as a father or a guru than merely as a spinner of captivating tales.
Doesn't Doherty know that the Senior has to change identities before the ephemerals start to suspect who he is?
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