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Search tags: Robert-A-Heinlein
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review 2017-12-12 18:27
Pax Americana: "Double Star" by Robert A. Heinlein
Double Star - Robert A. Heinlein

Implausible and impossible to put down- like all of Heinlein's books I've read its hero is a man of action and boundless self confidence, a wisecracking all-American cowboy figure who brushes obstacles aside, a genial dictator figure who knows that as long as he's left in charge everything will be o.k. The voice is always the same - and I can see why the new wake of science fiction writers reacted against Heinlein: Aldiss, Moorcock, Ballard, Dick. Heinlein's Pax Americana and paternalism vision of the future certainly does have fascist overtones. But he's still a great storyteller, his books filled with mind-bending concepts presumably achieved without the help of the consciousness expanding substances that inspired some of his successors.

 

Yes, the Bonforte character was a very macho autocrat...Who cares? Nevertheless, “The Great Lorenzo” doesn't quite conform to the macho 'tit man' narrator as Heinlein... although the authorial voice does creep through in interesting ways in his stereotyped descriptions of Lorenzo's camp-actor personality and co...Heinlein enjoyed challenging established ways of thinking, and for most of his great period of writing liberal politics was on the rise, so he took great pleasure in poking holes in political sacred figures.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-12-06 15:03
On How to Spin a Top-Notch Yarn of Bullshit: "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein

The usual pretty crude pneumatic sex-fantasies cropped up... But women actually have a pretty dominant role in Heinlein's lunar society... It's a penal colony, and Heinlein reckons that means there are going to be far fewer women then men there - so he's come up with a system called 'line-marriage'... wherein a few women in a household share numerous husbands... And the head of the household is a woman... and women call the shots... Meanwhile, outside the home, women are treated with far more respect than they are on earth because they are so rare and precious... Obviously, he's not going to get any badges from feminists, but he does at least ask a few interesting questions about the way women were viewed in his own world...The characters explicitly reject using patriotism as a method to revolution.  

 

I think that Prof De La Paz's 'rational anarchism' is also expressed by Jubal Harshaw in 'Stranger', though not in as straightforward a manner. Both seem to say that it's not that hard to figure out what ideal behavior should be but expecting actual live humans to live up that is impossible. After accepting that point, they both want to move on. Yep, humans are hypocritical and sometimes hard to live with. What of it? The other big point of this is that only the direst situation (near term cannibalism here) justifies butting into other people's business. Sadly, this attitude is pretty rare today. The characters explicitly reject using patriotism as a method to revolution. 

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-12-02 21:02
The Risks of Universal Enfranchisement: "Starship Troopers" by Robert A. Heinlein
Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein
Word of warning. I’m going to discourse both on the book and on the Verhoeven’s movie.
 
He didn't include them as "grunts" probably because the training was sufficiently hard that most wouldn't have made it. If you read the description of the training it wasn't just 12 weeks square-bashing, it reads far more like Special Forces.
 
It might also have been because he was paying lip service to a society kind of modelled on 50s America where the ladies were the home-makers and females in the frontline weren't even on the radar.
 
However, having said that, we have the fabulous line about females in high rank and esteem:
 
"If the Almighty ever needs a hand to run the universe: hot ship pilot Yvette Deladrier" after Starship commander Deladrier brakes her ship's orbit to recover a lander that has blasted off late and which otherwise would miss rendezvous and all on board would perish. I’ve heard from a lot of my friends saying the movie version is utter shit. I’m not so sure. The thing is, Verhoeven was a master of taking existing texts and subtly pushing them into satire by overdoing Hollywood/MTV filming tropes. The viewer was encouraged to look at the films as broad entertainment and then ask what the actions of the heroes had to do with American culture. He did the same with Joe Eszterhas's scripts for “Basic Instinct” and “Showgirls”. “Basic Instinct” is a detective story where the 'hero' is someone who's already gotten away with murder because of his badge, and who shoots another innocent victim before the film is out, while the 'villain' is never actually shown to kill anyone. She's chiefly a suspect because of her sexuality (which is why GLAAD picketed the film) and lack of shame about it. “Showgirls” meanwhile depicts a vision of Las Vegas as a patriarchal dystopia where every woman is judged on her body and literally every male character is a predator of some kind. 
 
 
If you're into SF, read on.
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quote 2017-11-02 17:53
If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.

—Robert A. Heinlein

 

(talk about eerie foreshadowing...how true is this in our current politics?)

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review 2017-11-02 14:16
Drastic Irrelevancy Synergism: “Variable Star” by Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson
Variable Star - Robert A. Heinlein,Spider Robinson

"What is marriage for?"

The car told her she was heading the wrong way; she reversed direction and came back past me toward its voice and pulsing beacon. "Babies, obviously."

I followed her. "Bingo. Marriage is for making jolly babies, raising them up into successful predators, and then admiring them until they're old enough to reward you with grandchildren to spoil."

 

In “Variable Star” by Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson

 

Ghastly, isn’t it?

 

There is an urban myth about a police sergeant who is assigned to scouring confiscated hard drives for pornographic content. After frequent exposure to lewd acts that are best left unsaid he becomes an addict, and descends into the grubby world of vice he is supposed to be policing. It is a slippery slope downwards to SF addiction. I have never taken heroin, thank God, because I am sure I am an addictive personality and would never get off it, but “Variable Star” is like the Harry Harrison Rat books. It is shit. But just because it is shit, doesn't mean I don't love it. It's like that scene from Stalker by the Strugatsky brothers where the tortured and religious guide takes a cynical journalist and an academic into "the zone" to find a fabled room where all wishes come true. They are scared to enter, because Tarkovsky, like Poe, knows that if we got what we really wanted we might not like what that said about us.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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