How Durable is Heinlein?
Thursday, 10 May 2018
A really interesting post from John Scalzi here on Heinlein's durability. One point he notes is that you might not have read Heinlein but you have probably read writers influenced by Heinlein so you aren't going to escape his influence no matter what you do.
My own feeling is that if RAH makes it through one more generation he'll move from "Vintage" (a thing that some think sexy and others think…
The slow process of publishing.
Thursday, 5 April 2018
I've been receiving enough comments along the lines of "why will it take so long to publish your book?" that it seems worth making a post about it. Hopefully this won't be too dull.
Book publishing is slow. Because as readers we tend to focus on the words between the covers, we often lose sight of the fact that this is a manufactured product. That means that it:
- needs to meet physical specifications…
Heinlein at Eastercon
Sunday, 1 April 2018
Every Easter weekend a section of British fandom meets in a hotel location somewhere in Britain. This year was Harrogate, at The Majestic, with author guests Kim Stanley Robinson and Nnedi Okorafor (both of whom secured Hugo nominations this week).
The committee invited me to give a talk on Robert Heinlein and despite Kim Stanley Robinson being on a panel directly opposite, it invited a healthy…
At last, we have a title!
Saturday, 24 March 2018
One of the comments I've frequently made, is that in some ways I have been channelling the great man himself. Verbosity, intemperance, etc etc. But nowhere has this been truer than my inability to come up with a title. Heinlein had a terrible ear for titles. Most of his stories were titled by magazine editors, and most of his adult novels were titled by Virginia. His original title for Number of the…
Wendy Bradley – Tax Collection
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
Wendy Bradley is a retired tax inspector who is a member of the Women in Tax Community. She asked me to think about Heinlein's attitude to taxes and a tax based society.
Q: How seriously should I take Heinlein's "don't drink: you might shoot at tax collectors and miss"? Several Heinlein characters seem to argue paying tax is either voluntary or a sign of degeneracy - did that carry over into…
Q&A with Aliette de Bodard
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Aliette de Bodard, author of The Dominion of the Fallen series, dark Gothic fantasies set in a ruined turn-of-the-century Paris devastated by a magical war; The Xuya series, space opera influenced by Vietnamese culture, which includes the standalone books On a Red Station, Drifting and The Citadel of Weeping Pearls
And The Obsidian and Blood trilogy of books, Aztec noir fantasy featuring priest…
Q&A with Julie Bozza
Monday, 30 October 2017
In a parallel universe Farah Mendlesohn is about to publish her first novel, Spring Flowering, with the LGBT+ publisher Manifold Press. This led to a conversation with her editor, Julie Bozza, about romance in Heinlein.
1. How important were the romance subplots in Heinlein's novels and stories?
In Heinlein’s Juveniles romantic subplots are notable mostly by their absence. If there is a lesson…
Mimi Mondal – Con or Bust
Monday, 16 October 2017
Con or Bust raises funds for fans of colour to attend conventions, particularly in the United States. I chose this organization is that it has been active in supporting friends outside of the Anglo-American fannish community. As Heinlein was a committed internationalist for at least the first half of his writing career (the crews of his spaceships and his Patrol were from all over the world, long…
Con or Bust
Monday, 9 October 2017
Con or Bust, Inc., is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization (EIN: 81-2141738) that helps people of colour/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited to the United States, to particular types of con-goers, or to specific cons; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It is funded through donations and…
Interview with Robert J. Sawyer
Friday, 29 September 2017
Robert J. Sawyer is a Canadian SF writer who has won the Nebula, Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Awards. This week he was awarded an Aurora for the best and most compelling Canadian science fiction of the decade.
We’ve been friends for many years and a few years ago I was able to host him at my favourite independent bookshop, Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, North London.
RJS: To me, Heinlein…
National Poetry Day – Remembering Rhysling, the blind singer of the spaceways
Thursday, 28 September 2017
It’s national poetry day today so let’s remember the blind poet Rhysling, the blind singer of the spaceways.
Rhysling was an engineer on the Earth Mars run. Blinded in an attempt to repair the ship’s engines, he becomes a tramp, taking advantage of the right of spacemen to free passage. His story is told in “The Green Hills of Earth” (1947)
Extract from Chapter 3.
“The Green Hills of Earth…
Q&A with Ken MacLeod
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
KMM: Two full-length studies on Heinlein's work were written during his lifetime, by Panshin and Franklin. Since he died there has been Patterson's two-volume biography, and there are a lot of scholarly and fan articles. Clearly, you've read them all! Why do we need another book on Heinlein?
FJM: To start with, of the books out there on Heinlein, only two were written after Heinlein’s last novel…