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Heinlein Archives Put Online

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the plenty-to-read dept.

Sci-Fi 242

RaymondRuptime writes "Good news for fans of the late SF master Robert Heinlein, 2 months after his 100th birthday celebration. Per the San Jose Mercury News, 'The entire contents of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Archive — housed in the UC-Santa Cruz Library's Special Collections since 1968 — have been scanned in an effort to preserve the contents digitally while making the collection easily available to both academics and the general public... The first collection released includes 106,000 pages, consisting of Heinlein's complete manuscripts — including files of all his published works, notes, research, early drafts and edits of manuscripts.' You can skip the brief article and go straight to the archives."

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For real? (2, Funny)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 7 years ago | (#20693917)

Or was permission to publish just a Grumble from the Grave?

Re:For real? (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694235)

He realised the "value" of such archives much more than other people.

Just read the Lazarus rant in "Time Enough for Love" when he understands for the first time that his pearls of wisdom are being recorded.

So I think he is more likely laughing than grumbling. After all he said (though Lazarus): "Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil."

Re:For real? (3, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695303)

True.
He also put in his bequeathing to UCSC that there was one work not to be published... Ever. I haven't the time to search the archive to see if it's there, and at the moment the title escapes me, so I'll have to dig in my annual collection and look up the title (My most prized copy of ?compton's SF? some rag that was carrying RAH's first serials.)

Anyway, I hope they honor his wishes about this. He declared it his single worst story ever, never to be re-printed. He's fairly spot on in his assessment.
-nB

Who Robert Heinlein is... (1, Redundant)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694717)

Since I am generally clueless, not into Science Fiction, and was stumped when reading the posting (e.g. SF = San Francisco, not Sci Fi, when talking about the bay area), here's some background info. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 - May 8, 1988) was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard" science fiction. He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first writer to break into mainstream, general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, in the late 1940s, with unvarnished science fiction. He was among the first authors of bestselling, novel-length science fiction in the modern, mass-market era. For many years, Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.

A practice that could save us from rereleases. (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#20693935)

I wish more writers' archives would just be put online, so we can just simply see what they left out or what work was unfinished at the time of passing without a plethora of new material for purchase. For those of us who loved Stranger in a Strange Land [amazon.com] as it was, the release of the uncut version turned something nice into something overlong. And don't get me started on the Dune sequels, where the notes of Frank Herbert, instead of just being shown as they were, were turned into dreck by his son and an airport paperback writer.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694401)

And don't get me started on the Dune sequels, where the notes of Frank Herbert, instead of just being shown as they were, were turned into dreck by his son and an airport paperback writer."
Does anyone have any proof that this "notes" actually exist? The prequels are so chock-full of contradictions with the original series and - to put it bluntly - flat-out stupidity that I've always suspected that the notes were either too scanty to form a full work; largely ignored by Herbert & Anderson in favour of their own juvenile ideas; or a complete fiction invented to make a quick buck.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694653)

To be fair the Dune series was chock full of contradictions, and dropping in quality fast, before his son took over. But if Frank Herbert had thought the "notes" were anything vaguely worth turning into a book he would have pocketed a nice fat publishers advance before he died.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694677)

My understanding is that there are notes in existence which describe how Frank was going to end the series after the cliffhanger ending which happened in Chapterhouse Dune - but that these weren't discovered until part-way through the prequel-writing process.

I recall from the various introductions to the prequels that Brian was trying to "ease himself into" the final novel by writing the prequels. (Poor justification IMHO.)

Personally I've given up reading the prequels, but I'm still hoping that the ending of the series will be readable and a good end. (My hopes aren't high though.)

Its hard to think of anybody who has done a good job at "carrying on" a series once the primary author has died. Even Christopher Tolkien has done as much bad as good ..

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (2, Insightful)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695039)

Its hard to think of anybody who has done a good job at "carrying on" a series once the primary author has died.

I certainly don't disagree with you, but in all fairness there aren't all that many 'primary' authors that have done a good job carrying on a series. The obsession with never-ending series of books in scifi & fantasy almost guarantees that you will lose interest and/or be disappointed by the quality long before the series is finished. A standard trilogy may not be enough, but if there are more than 6 or so books, my advice to the author is to stop trying to milk it, give it a rest, and move on to something fresh.

There are exceptions to this, but frankly I can't think of any offhand.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695105)

One exception just came to mind, although I'm sure I'll think of others as soon as I hit 'submit': Robin Hobb's Farseer books. Nine books, written as three trilogies (the first two of which, at least, could stand alone). Excellent books, with the ninth just as hard to put down as the first. She is currently in the middle of a new trilogy, I believe, completely unrelated to the previous series -- so there is at least one author that knows when to leave well enough alone.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (3, Interesting)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695575)

There are exceptions to this, but frankly I can't think of any offhand.

I can: Terry Pratchett.

While the Discworld books have evolved significantly from essentially a ripoff of Douglas Adams to the best fantasy humor ever written to painstaking social commentary and satire, even a spinoff into children's stories that are largely as good as the "main" series, after something close to 30 books, I think he's still doing a great job. Of course, they're not coming out twice a year, each thicker (and better) than the last like they were in the 90's, but I think man is still on a roll.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695959)

There you go - I knew there were other obvious examples I was missing.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (1)

marcsherman (300604) | more than 7 years ago | (#20696151)

There are exceptions to this, but frankly I can't think of any offhand.
Um, Heinlein's own Future History?

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (0, Flamebait)

tillerman35 (763054) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694743)

Personally, I'd rather we tackle the issue of "collaborations" with aging popular writers. Is there some sort of old-folks home where we let Lackeys prop up ex-best seller senile octogenarian authors whose "hair is gray but eyes are still green" so that younger talentless hacks without the ability to come up with an idea on their own get to "help" gramma write another book so that her grandkids can buy another Mercedes with the royalties?

I've even seen one edition that touted itself as being "FROM THE MIND OF [AUTHOR HERE]" which I can only interpret as "gramma could only drool and reminisce about the time she was six and her pet cat blouncy used to get in 'ever so much trouble' so we nodded, patted her head, and ran with that idea as inspiration for another Darkover book." Actually, it wasn't the Darkover series, but you get the idea.

Sadly, neither practice is likely to end soon. The vast majority of readers are either too stupid to see past the marketing gimmic or idiodic fanfic enthusiasts who are just waiting for that call from the author's agent telling them that the Harry-Potter-on-Darkover mashup they wrote is just the thing that could sell. /Off to write a Harry-Potter-on-Darkover mashup...

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694975)

And don't get me started on the Dune sequels, where the notes of Frank Herbert, instead of just being shown as they were, were turned into dreck by his son and an airport paperback writer.
THANK YOU. Thank god I wasn't the only one who noticed this -- the whole time I'm reading the few prequels that I actually did read, I'm thinking, "Man, it's like someone took a book that Frank Herbert had written and got some two-bit hack to copy it over, only he left out all the good bits."

I always thought it amazing how I was able to read God Emperor of Dune in five days, yet Battle of Corrin took four frickin' weeks. The book was utter shite, and I'm being as nice as I can be in saying that.

Re:A practice that could save us from rereleases. (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695681)

A little bit offtopic, but about the Dune prequels, I read the first one that came out and had to force myself to finish it. Never read the others. Awful stuff. Then I heard about the new sequel by the same two 'writers', supposedly based on good notes by Frank. Is that any better and worth reading ? I though the original Dune series ended with a nice if mysterious wrap-up. Some kind of liberation of the characters by their author into the world at large. Not sure if I want this spoiled...

TANSTAAFL (5, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20693953)

As usual.

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

smee2 (731813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20693957)

Sadly - nary a free snippet to be had. *sigh*

Re:TANSTAAFL (2, Informative)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694047)

I saw a post on rec.art.sf.composition a while back from David Langford talking about his efforts to get his work removed from Scribd.com - in one of the replies another author (James Nicoll? maybe...) said he had difficulty getting other works removed so he contacted the lawyers for Heinlein's estate and within 3 days they'd had every reference to him taken down. Then I saw this and thought, god that's odd that they're putting this all up online for free.... well doh.

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20693993)

This is the best news that I've heard in forever. I've been a huge Heinlein fan for about 10 years, and I thought I had read almost everything he'd written, but there's definitely some new stuff here (not even counting the personal stuff and random drafts).

It's definitely appropriate (if a little disappointing, in an i'm-a-cheap-bastard sort of way) that it's not free, I saw the bit about credit cards and TANSTAAFL slapped me right in the head.

I wish there was a way to buy large collections all at once though...I'd love to have all of the novels and short stories without clicking for each one (and it says that you shouldn't do more than 4 or so in one order...) Maybe I'll just wait for the torrent and then anonymously send them some $$.

Re:TANSTAAFL (2, Funny)

grimflick (947516) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694735)

Electronic commerce! Sigh, I am only an EGG

Re:TANSTAAFL (3, Informative)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695067)

Hilarious!

I saw your acronym, and (once again, clueless me) I had to look it up in Wikipedia. [wikipedia.org] And it's a Heinlein reference!

TANSTAAFL is an acronym for the adage "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch," popularized by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which discusses the problems caused by not considering the eventual outcome of an unbalanced economy. This phrase and book are popular with libertarians and economics textbooks. In order to avoid a double negative, the acronym "TINSTAAFL" is sometimes used instead, meaning "There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch".
I take it they are charging for access?

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

mangastudent (718064) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695515)

I take it they are charging for access?

It would be exceedingly odd if they weren't.

They said the average cost per page was one cent.

I know from serious professional experience (designed, wrote and built 6 and 7 figure systems that scanned millions of pages) that the scanning and associated cleanup, rework and organization required would not have been cheap. No idea what it would cost today (been out of the field for a decade), but a lot of it is labor, and that isn't getting any cheaper (not for quality work).

And the faster scanners would be just too harsh on the originals, they probably did much of it page by page on flatbeds (ouch!).

Re:TANSTAAFL (2, Insightful)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695637)

Agreed.

But if the Estate (or descendants) "invested" in the scanning, and then released the manuscripts a little at a time, via torrents or free / cheap hosting services, it's possible that they would re-energize the market for his books.

I have never bought a Heinlein book, and don't intend to pay to download stuff. But if I were exposed to it via a free website, it might just pique my interest enough to buy a book (which has happened NUMEROUS times to me with technical books).

Then again, they might be executing the iPhone "skim the market" strategy. First, you pick up the early adopters at a premium price. Then you open it up for free / cheap, and try to use it to drive other business (like book sales).

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

wilder_card (774631) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695755)

If you have never read a Heinlein book, at _least_ buy, steal, download, or borrow The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. There are lots of other great ones, but that's my best recommendation. Doing anything else first is a waste of your time.

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 7 years ago | (#20696101)

Wow. OK, I'll try to open my mind a little. I've done without it for about 50 years. Can't imagine it's that great!

What you are suggesting involves three things I really don't care for: Reading novels (passive activity), fiction (stuff that didn't happen), and "Science" fiction (stuff that can't happen). It sounds horribly boring, un-challenging, and something that will cause my eyes to roll.

I'll report back. I'm sure I am in the minority on Slashdot, but I never really "got it". I'd rather read a school history book or a technical manual!

It's a shame he renewed everything. (2, Interesting)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#20696103)

Heinlein (and his successors) were extraordinarily diligent about renewing every single thing he ever wrote. If they hadn't been, you could read some examples that had fallen through the cracks and into the public domain, such as the works of [gutenberg.org] : Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, John W. Campbell, Lester Del Rey, Harry Harrison, Damon Knight, Andre Norton, H. Beam Piper, Frederik Pohl, E. E. "Doc" Smith and Kurt Vonnegut.

Actually, it appears there may be one or two available shorts [pgdp.net] , the ones that he really, really hated and prevented from ever being republished. I may hit up my interlibrary loan department for that.

This links to a *STORE*, people... (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#20693969)

You can skip the brief article and go straight to the archives.

...Where you can add any of Heinlin's works to your cart, for a low, low price. They take Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover.

Hey, if I link to the "complete" works of another great author on Amazon, can I make FP too? Or does it have to belong to some "special" collection selling out?

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694007)

Hey, isn't infinite copyright cool ?

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694335)

Indeed. The perpetual copyright has inspired Heinlein to keep publishing these past 10 years, oh wait, no it hasn't. Its truly sad to see Congress beholden to major corporations to such a degree that they'll enact unconstitutional laws.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (2, Insightful)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694055)

No one said anything about being free or public domain.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694793)

No one said anything about being free or public domain.

When someone describes the works of a dead author going online in some archival form, "in an effort to preserve the contents digitally while making the collection easily available to both academics and the general public", the idea of "for free" implicitly tags along for the ride.

If you want to "preserve" an intangible and/or make it "easily available" to everyone, you don't charge for it. You give it away to anyone who will take it.



Furthermore, while I have no problem with rewarding an artist for their work, I do have a problem with continuing to pay them after they've died. I will never understand how the aristocracy managed to get the plebes to buy into the idea of leaving one's heirs a "legacy". For most of us, that means getting nothing, or worse than nothing - Thanks to modern medicine keeping people alive long after they should have died, more people today pass on massive debt than any sort of estate.

translation of parent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20695779)

My parents didn't understand money, so I don't either. WHERE IS MY FREE LUNCH????

You bought it with your taxes. (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 7 years ago | (#20696165)

UC Santa Cruz doesn't operate on flowers and sunshine; they have an endowment, tuition income, and state subsidies. While it's perfectly understandable that they want to subsidize their archival efforts by selling the results rather than giving them away for free, it's important to recognize that making them free to download would not be providing a free lunch--rather, the lunch has already been bought by the fine folks in California and anyone else who donated to the archives.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (4, Insightful)

derrickh (157646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694305)

Why does it have to be free? If you want to read Stanger in a Strange Land for free, whats stopping you from going to the library? If the $21 price tag on the Starship Troopers opus is too much, then head over to Amazon and get the novel for $5.
This whole 'everything should be free' movement is weird.

D

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (5, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694373)

The whole paying money to a dead author thing is even weirder.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694629)

You need money on Mars too. Try to grok it.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (2, Interesting)

hercubus (755805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694987)

The whole paying money to a dead author thing is even weirder.


dead authors may have live heirs who need the money

it would be nice to think that one's work could benefit one's children for some time

OTOH, current corporate perversions attempting to lock revenue streams in perpetuity are abominations

OTTH, Admiral Heinlein, I salute you sir!

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20695203)

Plus most of the time their heirs get shit, it's the publishing company, the so called "real" copyright holder, that gets all the money. Otherwise I would agree.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (4, Insightful)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695321)

dead authors may have live heirs who need the money

Such weak BS.

If an artist wants to take care of their heirs, they need to do like the rest of us and take care of their heirs with the money they earn while they are still alive.

Untimely accident? TFB, death sucks for all of us.

I just don't see what gives artists the right to continue to profit from their works after they die. No one else has that "right".

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1)

Convergence (64135) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695443)

Given that he was born 100 years ago, and has been dead for 20, his kids would be about 70 and grandkids 40. Everyone has heirs who need money. Why, I'll have you know that my grandfather put the plumbing in the demolished building across the street, and I could certainly use money.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695455)

The whole paying money to a dead author thing is even weirder.


dead authors may have live heirs who need the money

it would be nice to think that one's work could benefit one's children for some time

OTOH, current corporate perversions attempting to lock revenue streams in perpetuity are abominations

OTTH, Admiral Heinlein, I salute you sir!

Ok here's an idea. How about we limit copyright to a period of lets say 20 years, and if authors want to take care of there kids they have to invest a portion of their income during that 20 years. I work for the man, and thats how I plan on taking care of my kids. Of course I specifically don't want to help them too much after college. I believe in making them go out on there own, and charging rent that is cheaper than market value but not insignificant if they wish to remain living with me.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695667)

OTTH, Admiral Heinlein, I salute you sir!
I suspect you meant to say, "OTGH [wikipedia.org] ". This, BTW, is an especially appropriate reference since LN made him an Admiral in "The Return of William Proxmire".

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (3, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695917)

dead authors may have live heirs who need the money
My grandfather is dead, but I am his heir. He did some good work 70 years ago but I am quite poor. Everyone must send me $10.

it would be nice to think that one's work could benefit one's children for some time
I would like that too. But my employer has told me that my pay will be stopped when I die. Evidently I am in the wrong industry.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695739)

Oh come off it. Look, I think its a little jacked up that so many things get tied up like this, however, if the original author wants it to be handled differently that is what a will is for. So when a parent dies who owns a business all the people off the street should be able to walk in and take whatever they want instead of the ownership of that business transfering? Please...this extremist view is just getting tired and only encourages the people with the power to fix things to not listen to such lunacy.

Now in this case...and in many others...the estate funds various prizes and educational funds and whatnot. So "waaa I want a free book instead of paying a dead author" is even less impressive when those funds are going to maintain worthwhile charitable causes. This is not the same as the Disney empire by a LONG stretch. And as has been otherwise noted, quit bitching and go support your local library, because once again, "waa I want a free book isntead of paying ad ead author" also hurts your local tax funded library when they can't show that people actually come to read the books.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (2, Insightful)

bit01 (644603) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694617)

Why does it have to be free?

By putting a price of even a buck on it you cut out the majority of the world's population.

If you want to read Stanger in a Strange Land for free, whats stopping you from going to the library? If the $21 price tag on the Starship Troopers opus is too much, then head over to Amazon and get the novel for $5.

You're being parochial. The US is less than 5% of the world's population. The european population is more than double that but the entire western world is still less than 25%. Not to mention children and other members of western society who can't afford even $5. Why should they go without because of broken IP law?

This whole 'everything should be free' movement is weird.

Actually, this whole 'everything should be paid for again and again' movement is the weird one.

---

It's wrong that an intellectual property creator should not be rewarded for their work.
It's equally wrong that an IP creator should be rewarded too many times for the one piece of work, for exactly the same reasons.
Reform IP law and stop the M$/RIAA abuse.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1)

hercubus (755805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695139)

You're being parochial.


you're being shortsighted

sure, we all hate the corporate parasites currently sucking the life out of everyone and everything. but don't forget about the original author and his family who really are entitled to compensation

saying everything should be free for the children (THINK OF THE CHILDREN!) is jacked up, my $0.02

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695297)

Why should his family be entitled? That's not how copyright used to work.

Even the idea that the author himself is entitled to something when copies are made is a fairly recent notion, limited to the West. For most of the history of the human race, artists made a living by patronage, and no one had any moral objections to people copying their works. The Roman poet Martial knew that his recitals were transcribed and sold in the marketplace without a dime going to him, but his only complaint was when these copies were sold under someone else's name.

Re:This links to a *STORE*, people... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694325)

You PC mouthbreathers need to stop deluding yourselves that you need Macs, or even that you're Mac-compatible at all. Real Mac users don't use Macs for the image, you pencil-pushers--it's not about being cool. It's about finding the right OS for your personality. And sorry to say, but most of you people just don't belong on the Mac.

No Free Lunch (2, Interesting)

norm1153 (222156) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694033)

Yeah, how depressing. Somehow from the news releases I also thought it'd be a freebie. After all, it's a publicly funded institution...

Grumble, mumble mumble.

Shoulda known.

The Trust isn't publicly funded. (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695671)

It's privately funded, mostly through sales of Heinlein's works.

Copyright concerns (2, Interesting)

Rhinobird (151521) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694043)

To avoid another Scribd-like fiasco, do they have permission from Heilien's estate to do this?

Re:Copyright concerns (1)

Anomalous Cowbird (539168) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695193)

. . . do they have permission from Heilien's estate to do this?

Why is it so much easier to post an uninformed question than to RTFA . . . ?

Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694073)

was just another second-rate American pulp writer with a fascist bent. Why are US universities spending money on this kind of operation?

Is it because the US has so few writers of any note that we have to exaggerate the importance of the few we do have? I thought we regularly had to import writers from Britain, or copy their work if we wanted anything half-decent, and any cultured half-competent Americans ran over there as soon as they could - people like Blish and Kubrick, for instance.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694085)

While Heinlein's writing sucks, Stranger in a Strange Land was highly popular in 1960s counterculture, and so he's an important writer for his impact, not for his talent.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694219)

Wow, are you kidding me?

Heinlein is one of the biggest, most influential names in science fiction. He won 4 Hugos, the very first Grand Master Award from the SFWA, and I'm sure a lot more awards that I don't know about. Fuck, at one time he was referred to as one of the "Big Three" names in sci fi (along with Asimov and Clarke).

Read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Friday, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Citizen of the Galaxy. If you can't appreciate the genius that this man had after that, you're beyond hope.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694263)

Critical opinion has greatly turned against Heinlein after his death. Many writers have won awards only to be recognized as over-hyped later.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694353)

I suspect that you're trolling me, but in case not: have you read his work? I find it hard to believe that someone could read his best works and come up with your summary of him. This isn't some small time author that was super-hyped and was later dismissed. He helped inspire an entire generation to dream and reach for the stars! He coined words which are now part of everyday speech! The man has a goddamn moon crater named after him in honor of his hand in popularizing space exploration.

If you haven't read his best works, you're really missing out. I urge you to give him a try, you won't regret it. Maybe you read one of his "bad" books and got a bad impression. Read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, it is my favorite book of all time, out of any genre.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (3, Insightful)

LukeWebber (117950) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694361)

Heinlein was not exactly a literary genius, but he wrote a good yarn, and that's more than some geniuses could manage. More of a Rudyard Kipling than a James Joyce. But I know which I'd rather read.

It's a tragic shame that Heinlein lived long enough to write his later rubbish, which he apparently typed one-handed, with his trousers off. But his early stuff made good light reading. Fun and full of ideas.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

wmelnick (411371) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694989)

It did seem that he really had something interesting going at the beginning of The Number of the Beast, but where he had laid the foundation for some great writing in the future, he seems to have been overcome with a massive bout of.... well I'm not sure of exactly what, but everything from the 1980s until his death was questionable.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695329)

It did seem that he really had something interesting going at the beginning of The Number of the Beast,

I started reading Heinlein with the first paperback printing of Number of the Beast, about a year or 2 after the hardback was released. I chose poorly. I wasn't quite ready for the non-linearity and multiple narrative stuff. I'm glad I gave him another chance, going back to the much more accessible early juvenile works until my reading ability matured a little. And I think it was good when he pushed the envelope, even when the results were disappointing.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

wilder_card (774631) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695805)

He took a long a hiatus, then started publishing again with "Number of the Beast". It was, umm, not his best. Each of his subsequent books, however, was better than the last. I especially appreciated "Job: A Comedy Of Justice".

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (2, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695359)

More of a Rudyard Kipling than a James Joyce. But I know which I'd rather read.

Yes, yes, YES!

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695417)

i have read a lot of sf in my 27 years of life.
it ranged from aleksei tolstoy to stephen baxter.

still, heinlein is one of the authors whose books i have absolutely hated, alongside with e.e. smith and edgar burroughs.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

pragma_x (644215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695665)

The funny thing is that the subtext of the story practically pokes said counterculture in the eye with a pointy stick.

Don't get me wrong, I love that book and agree that it was influential. But having read it for the first time about a year ago, I was left with the notion that the whole work was as much about Heinlein's social commentary of the time, as it was about men from Mars that hail from an alien utopia. That commentary seems to extend both to both parts of the establishment/government, and hippie (and former beatnik?) culture clash.

That said, I hear that the story looses much in it's translation from the original Martian edition.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

pragma_x (644215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695709)

Er... "loses" much. Way to blow the punchline there Pragma.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

syrion (744778) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694607)

The U.S. has (and has had) plenty of great writers. Pickings were a bit slim in the 19th Century, but the 20th made up for it: Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Ralph Ellison, John Updike, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, John Dos Passos, Richard Wright, Robert Penn Warren, Flannery O'Connor, Nabokov... I have never understood the fascination with Heinlein. I think he must have been "childhood reading" for a lot of people, and so gets a free pass. He's not a great writer. (Gene Wolfe--also an American--might be. Samuel R. Delaney--New Yorkese just like Wolfe--gets a lot of credit, too, though I've never liked his style.)

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

technothrasher (689062) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694787)

The U.S. has (and has had) plenty of great writers. ... Nabokov

Can you really call Nabokov an American writer? He only spent 20 of his 78 years in the US.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

syrion (744778) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695029)

Well, he's usually counted "American" because he emigrated, and his greatest fame is in his English writing. He's an odd case, but I think (given his writing style and residence) you can call him an American writer. That's how he's usually taught, too.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695053)

Ug. Hemingway? You'll piss all over Heinlein but give the "dust on the dust on the dusty road", Hemingway a kudos. I have never understood the fascination with Hemingway. I think it was b/c it was "childhood reading" for a lot of people or maybe stories about bullfighting just seem cool.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

syrion (744778) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695215)

Actually, I personally dislike Hemingway, but he's generally recognized as a great writer. It's not so much his plots that make him so popular--his style was simply developmentally necessary to the later course of American fiction. Essentially, Faulkner and Hemingway were the creators of two latter-day American aesthetics: Faulkner's convolutions, heavy on description and atmosphere, versus Hemingway's spare and economical style. You can see the tension between the two in one of our present great writers, Cormac McCarthy--his earlier novels are plainly Faulknerian, while his latest (The Road) is almost devoid of excess detail.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20696091)

You can see the tension between the two in one of our present great writers, Cormac McCarthy--his earlier novels are plainly Faulknerian, while his latest (The Road) is almost devoid of excess detail.
What if he drew influence from neither? Would tension between the two still be evident? Feh. Pompous ass.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

Drasil (580067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694651)

Umm??? I thought Heinlein... was just another second-rate American pulp writer with a fascist bent.
You were wrong. Right-wing yes, but the Libertarian (good) kind if I read his books correctly. He did have some peculiar ideas, but you only become a fascist when you try and force your ideas on others IMO. Personally I love his work, at his best he was on a par with the likes of H. G. Wells and Aldous Huxley.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695049)

Heinlein was a Douglasite.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

Drasil (580067) | more than 7 years ago | (#20696069)

K2Fe++Cl42(H2O) [webmineral.com] ?

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (2, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695177)

Heinlein was one of a handful of writers that created the genre of Adult Science Fiction. You can see the transition in his own works, like from the Juvenile literature of Starship Troopers to the Adult Stranger in a Strange Land. If it weren't for Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, et al, Sci Fi might still be "pulp" fiction and "boys books". BTW, I'm using "juvenile" in the library sense, not pejorative.

BS! And mod parent down.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20695237)

Perhaps you might try actually *reading* some of his works instead of just going by some half baked movie releases that raped the hell out of his books? The man is one of the best writers the United States ever produced and he still manages to be both relevant and timely years after his death. Especially given his book (really a collection of three stories) Revolt in 2100, the background for which seems to be coming to life before our very eyes...

Re:BS! And mod parent down.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20695337)

"...The man is one of the best writers the United States ever produced ..."

I'll give you that. That's why I think the US is a cultural desert, full of rednecks whose idea of literary criticism is a shotgun.

Who do you think has to write the storyline for any of our films or TV shows? Foreigners, that's who. Even at the kid's end of the spectrum, where is the US J K Rowling? If there is one, I guarantee she'll be on the next plane to Europe.

Re:Umm??? I thought Heinlein... (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695265)

Why does everybody always think that Heinlein was a fascist ?

I think **whoosh** applies here.

Heinlein was very good at playing devil's advocate, and while some of his stories seem very authoritarian, they always question something basic.

Having read most of his early stories up until his last, you can definitely see a shift in his backgrounds and ideas moving from so-called right to so-called left. But the main thing is that I always have the impression that what he writes, he continually questions (except for Glory Road and The Number of Beast, maybe. Fantastic adventure novels).

Increase the income... (4, Informative)

Rick Richardson (87058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694169)

Though the Archives is provided online for research and academic purposes, The Heinlein Prize Trust, Robert and Virginia Heinlein's estate, who made the online Archives possible is not a non-profit organization. Just as Heinlein always said he wrote for money (something you'll find is true if you read through his correspondence), the Trustees have a responsibility to not only maintain, but increase the income of the Heinleins' estate. This benefits us all as the mission of the Heinlein Prize Trust is to not only preserve Heinlein's legacy through projects such as this online Archives, but to support and encourage the human (that's us) expansion into space through commercial endeavors. The first Heinlein Prize of $500,000 was awarded to Peter Diamandis for just such commercial space endeavors.
 

Re:Increase the income... (2, Insightful)

bit01 (644603) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694675)

... This benefits us all...

No, this benefits only those who accidentally happen to have objectives similar to those of the trust.

---

Like software, intellectual property law is a product of the mind, and can be anything we want it to be. Let's get it right.

Re:Increase the income... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695579)

No, this benefits only those who accidentally happen to have objectives similar to those of the trust.
No, this benefits those who purposely have objectives similar to those of the trust as well.

Just for the sake of completeness... :)

Re:Increase the income... (1)

brown-eyed slug (913910) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695075)

... Just as Heinlein always said he wrote for money (something you'll find is true if you read through his correspondence) ...
Sorry, I can't afford to, so I'll have to take your word for that.

I'm a fanboy but... (4, Interesting)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694213)

I fear this is for the hard core only.

I was hoping to get downloadable versions of all his books that I read as a kid, especially some of the more obscure titles, and as I read them.

Don't get me wrong - this is very cool, but we're not talking the finished product here, but all drafts leading up to the galley that was submitted to the publisher.

So this would be very good to see how the plot, characters & books were developed. But you're not gonna curl up with one of these. I suspect they'll be dense reads.

And expensive! The complete, seven parts of Starship Troopers [heinleinarchives.net] will set you back $21!!

QUITE INTERESTING POST (-1, Offtopic)

techavenger (1157255) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694249)

Re:spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694389)

You can post here for discussions (as in on-topic), please don't spam it with whatever article you submitted to the firehose (as in off-topic).

hrmph. (3, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694261)

I like Heinlein.

I have all his books, even the one finished by Spider Robinson.

But when I can buy an copy off the 'net for less then a scanned, no doubt DRM'd, electronic copy - I have to wonder who the target of this website is.

Bottom line - If you want to impress people donate the collected works to the Gutenberg archive.

But of course that is not a money spinner. Hardcore fans only indeed - though I am not knocking this as a source for historical research for the academics.

Re:hrmph. (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694891)

While I am not completely aware of what's available in published form, I did take a look at what you get for your $38.00 to download the Stranger in a Strange Land files. I was impressed. You get scans of the original manuscript, drafts, edits, letters he wrote and recieved about that work, and other interested tidbits. Hence, the archive seems pretty well poised for the academic and research crowd, where getting a behind-the-scenes look is actually now afordable. No more flying down, staying in a hotel, searching through boxes of papers, taking notes and making copies. As a replacement for a $6 mass-market paperback, not as good a deal.

Re:hrmph. (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694991)

Your last line answered it: Hardcore fans and academics.

While I love to read, I have very little interest in HOW a book is written. I mean, I kind of care, but not enough to sift through tons of notes and try to recreate his thought process on a book that took him months or years to write. I simply don't have enough time to care.

On the other hand, if I were looking at writing my first book, I'd be sorely tempted to take a look at the process a master used, and see what could help me along.

And if I lived and breathed his books, I'd cherish the ability to get deeper into his thinking.

I just like a good story, though, not the author or anything else involved.

Playboy.com makes mens magazine available online! (4, Funny)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694415)

In other news, Playboy Magazine recently launched Playboy.com, which allows the worlds premier men's magazine to be made available online! You can skip the brief article, and go straight to the archives [NSFW] [playboy.com] .

smokin something (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694657)

Job: A comedy of Justice, new on Amazon... $7.99
Job: A comedy of Justice, used on Amazon... $0.01
Job: A comedy of Justice, digitized... $33.00?!?

Re:smokin something (1)

VAXcat (674775) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695527)

...plus, Job: A Comedy of Justice, is really really bad! One of his worst works, and I say this as a lifelong devoted RAH fan. This (along with "I Will Fear No Weevils") is one of the RAH books I have only read once...and just barely made it through.

Heinlein A Master (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694665)

Robert Heinlein is one SciFi author that everybody at slashdot should love. He was into technology before there really was any. My favorite: "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress".

Vector: Santa Cruz (2, Funny)

drseuk (824707) | more than 7 years ago | (#20694861)

The last entry in the archive seems to indicate that he was preparing a new book: "Once upon a time a very large meteorite was heading directly for SCO. It was like a million miles across and filling the sky. Even then Darl didn't notice as he was too bust trying to kick the company server back to life ..." It ends there but there's a footnote: "This will undoubtably destory my Santa Cruz Library archive too but it's a price worth paying". It's amazing how he could predict the future with such accuracy. Then, mysteriously he died. RIP RH.

Anyone notice the search bar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20694893)

"Would you like to know more?" is a quote from the the Heinlein 'inspired' movie - Starship Troopers. In the movie they would have a pseudo-interactive interface with some mystery person doing the navigation.

Yeah, but... (1)

RetiredMidn (441788) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695765)

...I'd like to think that he would have disclaimed the movie.

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20695267)

A Santa Cruz operation worth cheering for!

Hmm.. (0, Offtopic)

l0cust (992700) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695721)

I missed out on reading anything by Heinlein till about a few weeks back so I may be missing something important which made his works important when they came out but my first experience with one of his books(Stranger in a Strange Land) has been a really mixed bag so far.

(I think I should mention that I purchased the new Uncut version which, as someone pointed out earlier, may not be as good as the original one which most of you guys may have read)

The novel starts off well, I was getting into the plot nicely but then there were these disussions which kept going off on tangents, and got longer and longer as the novel progressed. It was fine for a while because short discussions are always interesting when they are related to something as open-ended as Religion or Universe, but then somewhere towards the later half of the book they got just plain stretched out and boring. I think the fact that some of the points made are not as scandalous today as they may have been a few decades from now may have something to do with it. Now some of the monologues come off across as plain preachy and narrow-minded (which is kind of ironic because most of them are about how the religions of the world suffer from those symptoms)

**SPOILERS**

I had to put the book down at the point where Michael finally groks that he is human because it was really taking me a lot of effort to just keep reading. I was losing interest even before that and the fact that a chapter ended at that point just made me decide to give up until I can get myself to finish it. Apart from the fact that I have been through most of the scandalous points raised a million times since I started taking interest in such subject,

He never defined till that point what is a Religion before showing that All religion are true. So as soon as anyone proclaims any answer to the question of "Life, The Universe and Everything" it automagically becomes true? Or do you need to have atleast 'n' number of people believing that to make it true? He criticizes (through the voice of one of his characters) that the Universe just couldn't have come to be with chance alone? Why not? Isn't that also one of the answers?

**SPOILERS**

I could go on but the post is already too long. Maybe he explained all my point towards the end of the book (in which case please refrain from posting spoilers :) but that will make them useless once someone stops reading the thing because its getting too tedious and uninteresting to spend time on.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20695867)

I think the fact that some of the points made are not as scandalous today as they may have been a few decades from now may have something to do with it.


That's a big part of it: in the 50s and 60s they were pretty radical ideas.

But there's no getting around the fact that, for all his intelligence, he was a pedantic windbag, a quality that got worse with his success and the inability of editors to rein in his prose. I didn't even get a quarter of the way into The Lives Of Lazerus Long.

Do they use any DRM scheme? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20696087)

I checked the website but I could not figure out if they use any DRM. I am to cheap to spend $20-30 per file just to check if there is any DRM involved. If they dont use DRM in no time the whole archive will be available for free via bittorrent.
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