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Robert Heinlein's Pre-Internet Fan Mail FAQ

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the tanstaafl dept.

Sci-Fi 181

Hugh Pickens writes "Kevin Kelly has an interesting post about a letter he found amongst correspondence from his days editing the Whole Earth Catalog. The letter is Robert Heinlein's own nerdy solution to a problem common to famous authors: to deal with fan mail. In the days before the internet, Heinlein's solution was to create a list of frequently asked questions, answer them, and remove the questions. Then he, or rather his wife Ginny, checked off the appropriate answer(s) and mailed it back. Some of the entries in Heinlein's answer sheet are quite illuminating and amusing. Our personal favorite: 'You say that you have enjoyed my stories for years. Why did you wait until you disliked one story before writing to me?'"

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Rob Heinlein (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943281)

Horses are somewhat different from other animals in the way their cock head works. When a horse is fully erect and excited and ready to mount, his cock head is somewhat pointed and not as thick as might be normally observed. This is to facilatate an easier entry into the mare. After the horse has entered and reaches a climax the head swells (though it is more spongy then hard) into a fist sized mass as he ejacultates. It is thought that this serves as a plug to force the semen deep into the mare rather then allowing it to leak out. It will take quite a few spurts to accomplish this. Each time his tail will raise and lower in a brief flick. The final few jets are of a thick gelatinous substance. This serves to "seal" the mares pussy so that the semen has time to do it's thing before leaking out. Horse semen is extremely viscous, if you touch your finger to a pool of it you can draw a thin string of it five to six feet long! Horse cum has a nice flat taste to it...not at all bitter like man's cum.

Mares can be quite satisfactory for the average well endowed male. If you are somewhat less developed you might find better pleasure with a pony or Miniature Horse. Fucking any horse will depend on the horse. Some will be ready right away...some will take coaxing. Pet the animal, talk to it softly, spend time with it gaining it's trust. If something you are doing upsets it then don't force it. Talk to it and calm it. If you work slowly you can make an animal accept anything. It is just a question of helping it overcome it's fears.

When the filly reaches weaning age, seperate her from her dam. If you have limited time to spend then she should be put to pasture. If you have plenty of time then you should keep her in a stall. I have walked up on a pen full of strange fillys at night and they came right up to me and I petted them and felt up their pussies and they just lifted their tails and seemed to enjoy it. These fillies didn't even know me but they were young, inexperienced and bored...also since they were penned they were used to the presence of people and did not fear me.

Wild mares are used to violent horsecock and the others have had peoples arms in their cunts so they can be apprehensive about sexual events. Start rubbing ,scratching, etc in different areas and observe the mare to see what she likes. If she reacts to this well she might raise her tail somewhat. Gently rub her pussy and see how she reacts. Standing directly in front of a horse is hazardous as it can raise on it's hind legs and come down with a front hoof on your head. I have had mare that welcomed me...pushed back every time I shoved, and contracted her cunt to milk my cock dry. Horses are some of the best pussy I have ever tried! Treat her as she wants and she will give you all.

Stallions that have succesfully coupled in the wild are somewhat resistant from seduction by humans. If they are isolated, tempted and trained, then they will become more acquiessent but the best ones are those that have been raised in a human enviroment since weaning, since they have not had sex with other horses they are more amenable to having sex with humans when their hormones kick in and they are looking for some release. Bringing a wild horse to orgasm can be more difficult. They are used to a mares pussy which is several degrees hotter then a humans body heat. A person could fuck or suck them and not bring them to the point of orgasm unless they had been isolated and deprived and unable to help but cut loose with a load. Stallions are aroused by the scent of mares in heat and then an artificial vagina filled with warm water is slipped over their cock and they reach orgasm. The stallions soon learn the routine and just be leading them into the proper barn they know what is coming and obtain an erection. Stallions are aroused by the smell of horse pussy above all else.

If you have access to a mare, then gentle her till she will let you finger her...then coat your fingers with her juice. Now rub your fingers across the stallions nose! He will react even if she is not in heat! He knows the smell! I have done this to geldings! Horses that have been castrated and they still got a hardon!!! Also pet & rub the horse and rub his cock...don't pull on it hard.. be gentle...big as it is it is still tender! If you rub his belly and sheath slowly and gently and let him smell some horse pussy juice then he will erect. If you can find a horse in heat then grab some urine and refrigerate it. Take some out and thaw it when you want it. Rubbing some hot mare piss on a stallions nose will make him horny as hell! He will be all over you! Once a stallion smells that he doesn't care what he fucks! He just wants a hot hole. Make sure there are no other horses around...otherwise he will jump them instead of you!

Some horses have been trained too react to certain cues, others react to their own natural cues...I remember a $1,000,000.00 Arabian stallion I trained.. He stuck his tounge out about 1/2 inch...when someone would rub this small crescent he would instantly get a raging hardon...more proof that stallions are very oral. This stallion had never had sex with a mare...he had only climaxed through the intervention of humans and was quite happy with having sex in a artificial vagina with the help of humans...training does wonders.

Nobody should attempt intercourse with a stallion unless they are experienced in fist-fucking or they have taken a large dog in to the max (knot and all). Hint: A large dog can stretch you where a horse can fit if you make the switch before the hole shrivels.

Country boys - you know where the animals are and how to get them.

City Boys - Drive out to the suburbs and find some horses. Try to get them used to you and then return at night to have some fun. IF there are stables around then spend some time there. You can help run the show by day and return for sex at night. Just be careful, there is less privacy in the city as compared to the country. You sure don't want to be caught!

Re:Rob Heinlein (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943715)

oh dear god I came so hard

who ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943317)

is this idiot ? and why cvant he use a computer ?

Re:who ? (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943339)

is this idiot ? and why cvant he use a computer ?

TFA makes it quite clear that it's talking about days before home computing, not the days before the internet.

Ginny Heinlein said that by 1984, "with the advent of computerization in our household, we no long use the form letter to answer fan mail. I find that it is possible now, with the computer, to write individual letters in reply to fan mail faster than I could check off the answer on the form."

Re:who ? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943387)

is this person who reads the TFA ? and why cant he act like other /.ers ?

Re:who ? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945901)

Some people will do anything for karma.

Re:who ? (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943511)

Clearly. In the days of the internet, we tend to write the FAQ first.

Re:who ? (5, Funny)

paganizer (566360) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943519)

I'm not sure that is an excuse; I'm fairly confident that Robert & Virginia Heinlein were fully capable of producing a computer from parts from a TV, washing machine, and whatever was laying around in the basement, anytime from about 1946 on.
I bet it was the printer that was the sticking point.

Re:who ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943737)

I'm not sure that is an excuse; I'm fairly confident that Robert & Virginia Heinlein were fully capable of producing a computer from parts from a TV, washing machine, and whatever was laying around in the basement, anytime from about 1946 on.

And it would be a right dinkum thinkum when they were done, too!

Re:who ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943767)

I'm fairly confident that Robert & Virginia Heinlein were fully capable of producing a computer from parts from a TV, washing machine, and whatever was laying around in the basement, anytime from about 1946 on.
I bet it was the printer that was the sticking point.

Losers. L. Sprague de Camp [wikipedia.org] could have done it from the sixth century, if he hadn't run out of parchment to print on.

Actually, he missed on that point (4, Informative)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943821)

I know that your post is tongue-in-cheek, but the reality is that Heinlein didn't foresee electronic computing and in all of his early works which I am familiar with (e.g., the "Future History") he has human mathematical savants being used for navigation calculations.

Re:Actually, he missed on that point (5, Informative)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944677)

The early stories did have some computers; Heinlein just fell into the same trap as most writers then and thought they would always be huge. "Slipstick" Libby was a special case.

I personally like Space Cadet; its only one sentence, but the character has a pocket-sized portable telephone. 40 years ahead of the curve on the cellphone.

Re:Actually, he missed on that point (4, Interesting)

shilly (142940) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944769)

For me, what's interesting in that is that one of the character says they put their phone in their suitcase so they didn't have to answer it. It's that very human interaction with technology that makes his writing so believable -- even when, as in this example, he didn't predict the exact form of the future (ie the need for a power button).

Re:Actually, he missed on that point (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945183)

My cell phone "conveniently" wakes up and rings even if I have it turned off......even in "silent" mode the screen still lights up. The only way to go off-grid is to either be out of reception areas (harder and harder these days) or put it in "flight mode" or, as a last resort, take the battery out.

Stupid electronic leashes.

Layne

Re:Actually, he missed on that point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24946371)

Everybody knows iphone sucks. Buy a real phone.

Re:Actually, he missed on that point (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944795)

The early stories did have some computers; Heinlein just fell into the same trap as most writers then and thought they would always be huge. "Slipstick" Libby was a special case.

Don't forget Deija Thoris Carter. But by then he was making the point (repeated in Friday) that a computer, no matter how fast, may not be able to beat human intuition.

Then there is Lazarus's clone sisters Laz and Lor who IIRC had similar talent with numbers. I won't include Dora Long because she started as a computer in the first place.

Re:Actually, he missed on that point (4, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945095)

Those were the later stories and they suck so hard my bookshelf is surrounded by a cloud of Hawking Radiation.

Re:Actually, he missed on that point (2, Insightful)

Mephistro (1248898) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945405)

In "The door into summer" (1957) Heinlein wrote what I think is the first literary description of a CAD system, plus plotter. Had many details wrong (i.e. using keystrokes instead of a pointing device) and his description of the device's electronics is totally crap, but he had some great insights, imho.

Re:who ? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943831)

I'm not sure that is an excuse; I'm fairly confident that Robert & Virginia Heinlein were fully capable of producing a computer from parts from a TV, washing machine, and whatever was laying around in the basement, anytime from about 1946 on. I bet it was the printer that was the sticking point.

If he had a beautiful daughter he would have had a time machine in his basement as well.

Re:who ? (1)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945593)

I know you're desperate for a date dude, but seriously you should try looking for one in your own decade.

Re:who ? (3, Funny)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944883)

No no... You are confusing him with McGyver.

I think the TV was the sticking point (4, Interesting)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945287)

Read The Door Into Summer: the guy practically designed AutoCAD in 1956, but with the computer interfacing directly with a plotter. The missing piece was the idea of using video rather than the paper itself to visualize intermediate results.

Why?! (5, Funny)

UnixUnix (1149659) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943331)

Why did I wait?! Because I am Lazarus Long and I do things my own way, Bob.

Re:Why?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943433)

Oops, sorry, modded you troll. Posting to reverse.

Re:Why?! (4, Insightful)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943599)

Wow, offtopic when he mentions Lazarus Long in a Heinlein article. People just don't read these days.

Maybe if you don't know anything about Heinlein, you shouldn't modding

Re:Why?! (5, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944287)

There's got to be a Lazarus Long quote to fit the situation somewhere. Let's see...

Perhaps the bad mod was an example of "Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect."

but this quote probably fits better: "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity."

Re:Why?! (4, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944323)

I guess the mods didn't grok the joke. Or this one, in all liklihood.

Re:Why?! (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944393)

Long time since I seen a /. response containing the word 'grok'. I do have the impression that the general newsfeed is not that interesting anymore, and probably not to the other ./'ers who would use this.

Re:Why?! (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945127)

People are spoiled because it is free and everybody knows TANSTAAFL

Re:Why?! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944419)

If the mods are not polite they may find themselves suddenly somewhere else.

Re:Why?! (0, Troll)

spaceman375 (780812) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944571)

From Wikipedia: Lazarus Long is a fictional character featured in a number of science fiction novels by Robert A. Heinlein.

Perhaos you should read a little more too. Your ignorance is showing.

Re:Why?! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24945313)

Maybe if you don't know anything about Heinlein, you shouldn't modding

Maybe he accidentally a coca-cola bottle.

Citations? (4, Interesting)

Naznarreb (1274908) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943399)

Anyone know off hand what the papers and articles he cites are all about? I'm curious to know what questions The Saturday Evening Post, Mark Twain and Who's Who's in America might answer, especially since they were common enough to be included in the FAQ.

Re:Citations? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943465)

The Renshaw reference is regarding "Citizen of the Galaxy": accelerated education using a tachistoscope to provide brief glimpses of material that must be read and or memorized. Using a projector with exposure settings much like a camera, you can learn to recognize things very quickly. I used this when I learned to speed read and it was quite effective.

Re:Citations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24945449)

Is that the same kinda of thing Lawnmower...*ring*

sec my phone's ringing.

Re:Citations? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24946207)

I was taught speed reading the same way. While it worked well, I found an even better use for the speed recognition skill was in debugging code. Doing an electronic search for a particular variable name or command is quick, but when I'm searching for a handful of items at the same time, I can scroll the screen at tremendous speed and stop on the right spot. People looking over my shoulder get sea sick trying to keep up. I was taught this technique in a small private religious elementary school. I have never met anybody else who had learned the same way. How common is this?

Interesting (4, Insightful)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943419)

Some of the answers were amusing. Good to know that fannish entitlement and the false sense of intimacy are not merely a product of the internet.

Re:Interesting (3, Insightful)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943463)

Some of the answers were amusing.

The list makes me think that the *unchecked* "Please do not write to me again" and "Your letter was most welcome! ..." answers also work as special reward and punishment, respectively.

Re:Interesting (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943531)

Oh yes, most definitely. Possibly saved him a little bit of idiot-mail along the way.

Re:Interesting (3, Insightful)

RichiH (749257) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943949)

Well, a sense of false entitlement was one of the things he hated the most (judging by what he wrote, but I read pretty much all fiction and a good chunk of his non-fiction).

Re:Interesting (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944021)

That's true. The last book of his I read, and thus the one I most clearly remember, was Starship Troopers with it's meritocractic government.

I'm lazier than Robert (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943447)

(with fewer reasons). Please post {descriptions of /links to} the articles, etc. which he lists in his FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions)

It isn't "better" now, though... (3, Insightful)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943451)

Before, they had to write the thing, buy a stamp and send it.

Now I can send britney my lesbian star trek fan fiction at the click of a mouse. It's got to be wayyyy worse to go through your mail now. (Assuming you have the intention of attempting to appease your fans by answering). Way easier to delete of course.. :)

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943579)

Every time I feel like writing fan-mail, I think, "Wait, would I really want to be bothered by this? And is it creepy?" and then I don't send it. I'd love to tell Alastair Reynolds how much I enjoy his work, but then I stop myself because the last thing I want to do is waste his time reading "gosh I sur luv ur books lawl" when he could be spending that time writing more books...

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943677)

This is why hate mail makes so much more sense. People like reading their hate mail.

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944835)

You just managed to sum up every troll's logic in like 2 sentences, well done.

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (3, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945875)

Well it's true to an extent. I've got fan-mail in the past quite a few times, but I never really knew what to say to it. It makes me feel awkward; just saying "Thanks" isn't really enough, it's too little effort. But I can't think of anything meaningful to say either, because really, what do you say to praise? I draw a blank.

Hatemail, on the other hand, I can deal with. Sometimes they have a point and it makes you think. Sometimes they're funny. And sometimes it makes you shake your head and want to leap on theirs. All in all though, I find it much easier to respond to.

Insightful rather than funny... (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945213)

My psychology supervisor used to keep a whole filing cabinet of hate mail he received after doing a series of radio programmes. He occasionally used to trawl it for offensive phrases to use on some of his less intelligent colleagues, and to reassure himself that his work had in fact had an effect on people.

And yes, some of it was unintentionally very funny. (I think he was planning to donate it eventually to the Abnormal Psychology people.)

Well, check out the last answer on the list : (5, Insightful)

g253 (855070) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943795)

" Your letter was most welcome! - loaded with friendliness and with no requests or demands. You suggested that no answer was expected but I must tell you how _much_ it pleased me. I wish you calm seas, following winds, and a happy voyage through life. "

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (5, Funny)

plen246 (1195843) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944083)

My fans are pretty well-behaved. Sometimes they'll say "hi" to me on the street, but they're almost always too shy to tell me that they recognize me from the photos on my blog. Occasionally, my more enthusiastic fans will take time out of their workdays to send me fan mail, often exclaiming that I'm "Super lucky!" or "Pre-qualified!". I do find it a bit creepy when my more ardent fans send me lists of all of the public places I've been in the past few weeks. Although I don't usually notice them when I'm out and about, some of them must get pretty close, as they've been keeping track of my spending habits.

Come to think of it, rising political stars often take advantage of the boost in self-confidence that comes with their new stature on the national stage to send me personalized greetings in the mail, praising our shared values and beliefs. Somehow, though, we always lose that special connection once they're in office.

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 5 years ago | (#24946523)

My fans are mostly well behaved as well. The dogs know how to sit and stay, but the cat never gives me any space or privacy at all - particularly at feeding time...

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944291)

Do it - I emailed Alastair Reynolds regarding his work back when I first picked up the Revelation Space series. It wasn't at all creepy, and we ended up having a decent email conversation about a bunch of things.

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (2, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944979)

Every time I feel like writing fan-mail, I think, "Wait, would I really want to be bothered by this? And is it creepy?" and then I don't send it.

One thing that tells you is that your personality profile has an "I" in it instead of an "E", due to the 2 italicized words in the quote. That said, I'm sure almost anyone would appreciate novel, well-thought-out, positive, criticism. That said, I always figure someone has always beaten me to it with a better-thought-out note already, so I don't send it either.

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (2, Insightful)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945245)

I always figured the best kind of fan mail is the royalty check the author gets each month. For those books I truly love, I buy them again when the old copy wears out/gets left behind on the train/becomes a chew toy for the dog. I've bought the paperback version of Dune four times now (I know, he's beyond getting fan mail or royalty checks now.)

I have, however, sent fan emails in a few specific cases- with specific inquiries. I've asked a couple authors about making their work available for the Kindle (I have one), and gotten positive and detailed responses, mostly "We'd love to, and are currently negotiating digital rights with our old publisher/the estate of the author/etc."

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24945899)

Once when I was in the Air Force back in the stone age (some time between 1971 and 1973) I was incredibly drunk, drew a picture of a robotic hand ripped from its arm laying on top of a book titled "Handbook of Robotics" and sent it with a short note to my favorite author, Isaac Asimov.

Yes, I did a little drinking back then, too. Dover was the most boring place I've ever been.

He responed via a post card, a very nice reply. I used that post card as a bookmark for years; I lost it some time between then and now.

I was amazed decades later when I ran the Springfield Fragfest Quake site and had people send ME fan mail. It really boosts your ego! I was ashamed of my drunken self when I sobered up after sending the mail to Dr. Asimov, but after recieving my own fan mail I felt better about it. I wonder if he kept the drawing?

Sorry for posting this AC, slashdot logged me out yesterday and I have no idea what my password is, and it's been so long since I've used yahoo mail that I couldn't log in there either. I hope I don't have to creat another /. account.

-mcgrew (sm62704)

Re:It isn't "better" now, though... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#24946109)

I only respond to authors with blogs. If a person just wants to work and create stuff I like to read, I'm not going to joggle their elbow unless they invite comments and such.

Makings of a slashdot poll... (1)

keshto (553762) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943461)

What question in a fan's mail will receive the answer: "Please do not write to me again" ?

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943723)

That question would be

What question in a fan's mail will receive the answer: "Please do not write to me again" ?

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945921)

Questions that also get the answer added, 'talk to my lawyer about this'.

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943855)

What question in a fan's mail will receive the answer: "Please do not write to me again" ?

Writing to say you loved his foundation series.

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (5, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943999)

Do you like what Stanley Kubrick did in the on-screen adaptation of your book?

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944421)

+2 Very Funny

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944441)

Come to think of it The Sentinal had a few things in common with Rocketship Galileo.

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#24946665)

What about the same think, only with Paul Verhoeven instead of Kubrick?

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (5, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943927)

Heinlein was very intolerant of anyone who challenged certain of his political views, even driving away life-long friends over very minor issues. He didn't suffer those he saw as fools gladly, and I'm sure he used that check-box often. You can read Spider Robinson's biography and literary reviews of Heinleins work for the sordid details, if you care about that sort of thing. Don't mistake the author for his protagonists.

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944135)

Heinlein was very intolerant of anyone who challenged certain of his political views, even driving away life-long friends over very minor issues. He didn't suffer those he saw as fools gladly, and I'm sure he used that check-box often. You can read Spider Robinson's biography and literary reviews of Heinleins work for the sordid details, if you care about that sort of thing. Don't mistake the author for his protagonists.

He must have had a lot of hangers-on though. Politics is a good excuse to use if you are just bored with somebody.

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24944179)

So what? So am I, and good riddance as far as I'm concerned. The less fools in my life the happier I am - and really, who are you to judge? If it bothers you, I'm more than willing to let you have my share idiots. Perhaps you can give them a good home.

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (5, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944329)

You need to maintain a balance. In any room an ideal mixture is half ready to kill you, and half eager to defend you. That's maximum entertainment.

different from his protagonists? (1)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944515)

I'm not sure. It does seem similar, the radical political statements and not suffering fools gladly. Maybe it's just that what he stood for didn't look as nice in reality as it did in his books. But I don't see him being hypocritical about it, or deceiving himself.

Re:Makings of a slashdot poll... (1)

keithltaylor (966667) | more than 5 years ago | (#24946507)

Can't seem to locate the biography you mention - do you have a title for it?

Answer to answer (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943471)

"You say that you have enjoyed my stories for years. Why did you wait until you disliked one story before writing to me?'"

Because if you're a good writer, you might have pleased millions.

And if millions of people write to you, it could make the postman unhappy (and other people too).

There's already a good way to show appreciation - via the writer's bank account.

That said, do write an appreciation letter if it's for something exceptional (or your letter is going to be something worth reading).

But millions of letters just saying "I liked your latest book" might get a bit tiresome (or worse think star trek fan vs Shatner ala SNL ).

Re:Answer to answer (2, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944317)

If you've got a better answer than Heinlein, then quit writing it on Slashdot and start a novel.

Re:Answer to answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24944399)

Because if you're a good writer, you might have pleased millions.

And if millions of people write to you, it could make the postman unhappy (and other people too

Likewise with the idiots who call in to a show and say how much they love the show. "Duh, why else would you be listening?"

Or those who gush, "Thank you for taking my call". Jeez, WTF do you think they name it a "call-in show" for, dumbshit" Quit wasting their time with your filler and spit out your question/comment. If everyone did that, it would leave more time to take other calls.

By the way, how do we get around to snuffing the guests who have to start every answer with, "That's an good question". Jesus, don't evaluate my question -- I know it's good -- just answer the fucking thing and get on to the next caller!

In the same vein, what's with these insane pricks who have to use "Absolutely." as the first word in every damned answer? I once watched a guy interviewing someone for five minutes. The interviewee had to start EVERY SINGLE ANSWER with, "Absolutely." -- I am not exaggerating. He used it some twenty to twenty five times during that short interview. Fer Chrissakes -- did I miss the part where they excised from everyone's dictionary the words: Yes; Certainly; Uh-huh; That's true; Yea verily; You bet your sister's ass; Of course -- what the hell are you -- stupid; I agree; No shit, Jack; Fuck yeah; Does the Pope shit in the woods; If it ain't, I'm in really deep shit; Got any other meaningful choices, dumbass; No shit; or any other selection from the plethora of expressions of hearty assent available to the serious user of the English language?

Good idea (4, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943495)

(X)The article
( )The intervieuw
( )The ramblings
was
( )intresting
(X)informative
(X)funny
( )bullshit
and thank you for
(X)sharing this with us
( )informing us of such a very important item.
( )wasting our time

Re:Good idea (1)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943753)

I request that you use this form in the future. If I ever see it again, i will get your address and send you a free copy of ubuntu. (thats a good thing)

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24945561)

>> a free copy of ubuntu

Is that anything like "death by ru-ru"?

Re:Good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24944197)

The way you misspelled "interview" shows that your native language is dutch. ;)

Re:Good idea (3, Funny)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945353)

...
and
(X)thank
( )fuck
you for ...

Re:Good idea (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#24946311)

I wonder where the author of this article gets his ideas. I should write him and ask.

Reminds me of this (4, Interesting)

tmk (712144) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943521)

Stephen Goldin's 23 rules [stephengoldin.com] how to act when you meet a pro at an Sci-Fi convention. Not as amusing as Heinlein's, but an interesting read.

via [thislife.org]

Re:Reminds me of this (3, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943595)

Stephen Goldin's 23 rules

I count 17 actual rules and 6 "refer to rule X" clauses where the same rule applies to other situations.

The gist however is don't be an ass, do the right thing at the right event, be generous and buy the bloke a meal or drink. Seems like common sense to me. I guess it's not so common (especially for some of the less socially adept that attend these conventions).

Re:Reminds me of this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24945191)

"I count 17 actual rules and 6 "refer to rule X" clauses where the same rule applies to other situations."

But that's the point. The actual rules are vastly simpler than 23 or so. Most of them can be summarized in only 2 or 3 items, as in "Be polite", "Use common sense", and "Try to consider things from someone else's perspective".

Unfortunately people often need a solid whack with the clue bat for the simple rules to sink in, or they're too excited and temporarily forget them even if they are familiar. In Goldin's case, he's tried to avoid this problem by doing a specific enumeration of all the circumstances where the elementary rules apply, so that people are sure to find what they are looking for (this falls into the category "most people are too lazy to follow simple rules 1 to 3, because it involves thinking, so here's a list of all of the corollaries derived from them, to save you the time and effort").

I mean, really, this isn't rocket science. Most people can figure this stuff out, they just don't bother to try most of the time. Also, statistically-speaking, if you are interacting with hundreds or thousands of fans, that means you'll meet a lot of astonishingly clueless people.

Hmmm... come to think of it, you don't have to be a big star to experience that effect. Work in a fast-food restaurant or other service industry. The customers you face aren't motivated to try to be nice, so the statistics are even worse.

Re:Reminds me of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24943837)

I know "Always wear a condom" and "cash up front" but what are the other twenty-one? "Make sure it's really a chick?"

Re:Reminds me of this (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945967)

From the linked article:

``Offering to buy the Pro a drink or a meal is always in order.''

I disagree with this on the principle that the pro is already being rewarded, perhaps handsomely, for attending the event in return for the expectation that he or she will entertain or inform the audience.

If a fan were to meet their hero in the street, then by all means buy them a drink in return for their time. But they shouldn't require additional inducements to perform their contracted duties at a convention. As the article continues:

``The Pros are here to talk to you.''

And don't let them away with anything less! They are as dependent on their fans for success as their fans are on them for entertainment.

Another one (4, Informative)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943561)

Spider Robinson appropriated (with permission) another form of RAH's and used them as thank you cards to subscribers to his Spider on the Web podcast.

There's a copy here: http://mackereth.net/images/SotW_Thank_You_Card.jpg [mackereth.net]

Televangelists did it better (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943569)

One of the big-name televanglists (Billy Graham?) had an early computerized system for answering his fan mail. A staff of people read the mail, and used highlighter to mark phrases that contained relevant keywords. Data entry operators keyed in the address and the highlighted phrases. A program used the phrases to select an appropriate canned reply, filled in keywords, added bible citations, and printed out a letter.

Re:Televangelists did it better (4, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943675)

One of the big-name televanglists (Billy Graham?) had an early computerized system for answering his fan mail. A staff of people read the mail, and used highlighter to mark phrases that contained relevant keywords. Data entry operators keyed in the address and the highlighted phrases. A program used the phrases to select an appropriate canned reply, filled in keywords, added bible citations, and printed out a letter.

BAD famous person!

I once wrote Johnny Isakson about the PDEA (piracy deterrance and enforcement act) which would have turned the p2p wars into the war on drugs, and received a canned reply about the public domain enhancement act.

Makes me want to pick up my rolled up newspaper and swat him good and proper, then lock him in the garage.

Re:Televangelists did it better (1)

Asahi Super Dry (531752) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944819)

Sounds like an awfully technical solution. I wonder why he didn't just use the power of prayer?

Read "Grumbles from the Grave"... (4, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943897)

"Grumbles from the Grave" is a (now out-of-print) posthumous collection of letters from Heinlein, mostly between himself, publishers, and other SF Authors. It contains many letters on dealing with Fan Mail, Fans themselves, critics, publishers, etc. Quite an interesting little book.

SirWired

I have to say (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24943917)

...that RAH is a lot more polite in that letter than I would have expected from his books. A letter bomb wouldn't have surprised me but maybe I am confusing Jubal Harshaw with the Author.

Re:I have to say (3, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944261)

a lot more polite in that letter than I would have expected from his books. A letter bomb wouldn't have surprised me

Ah, but bombs are expensive, and most people aren't worth the money.

Good old Robert (4, Funny)

Lavene (1025400) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944001)

Even in real life he was way ahead of his time. Look, the letter has underlined links!

Re:Good old Robert (5, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944119)

In space cadet (~1950) a character takes a call on his mobile while standing in a queue for something. He tells the caller he will call back later when he is not in a crowd. Heinlein got the technology of the cellphone absolutely right but it didn't occur to him that in the future people would just keep chatting away, annoying people around them.

Re:Good old Robert (4, Funny)

flewp (458359) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944531)

Heinlein got the technology of the cellphone absolutely right but it didn't occur to him that in the future people would just keep chatting away, annoying people around them.

Well, there's a reason it's called science FICTION, no?

Re:Good old Robert (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#24946411)

Dick Tracey had a cellphone long before THAT. It was never much of a stretch, even in the early 20th century, to imagine a portable radio that could be used like a telephone.

I just want to know when we get out powersuits.

Interesting (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944239)

That was interesting and amusing, and it made my morning. Thanks slashdot!

Oblig (2, Funny)

rgo (986711) | more than 5 years ago | (#24944717)

( ) CowboyNeal

Because... (3, Funny)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945297)

'You say that you have enjoyed my stories for years. Why did you wait until you disliked one story before writing to me?'

Because, if I sent you a fan letter after every story I liked you would probably have me arrested for stalking.

shooped! (2, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24945423)

It would appear that Kevin Kelly has erased whichever checks were checked on his copy. No desire to tell the Internet how you pissed off a well-loved legend?
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