22 June 2006

Rediscovering Heinlein

There is something that happens in the world from the middle of May until the summer solstice. For some it’s a wonderful time of cook outs and sum-sum-summer time fun. For me it generally ends up being a big old fashion funk. This year it’s been brought about by psyche crushing days at work and a galded feeling in my shorts. Since the solstice has busted it’s move for the season, I can feel the mental noose loosening a little bit. I can attribute this, in small part to rediscovering Robert Heinlein. Imagine a geek worshiping at the feet of a sci-fi author, who would have thought it?

I won’t go into any of the typical maudlin diatribes that most are prone to launch when chatting about a favorite author. These tend to be boring at best and pompous at worse. I have a very clear mental image of a night a Bongo Java where I wanted to punch out a guy expressing his love for Anne Rice. Not wishing this fate for myself, I’ll keep my comments to the topic of Heinlein getting me out of my funk.

This week I listened to a very bad recording of Friday . (Due to the long drive I have into work, I have become a huge fan of the Audio Book.) I was struck by a few cords in his work.

1. Heinlein was a very sexually repressed man. If you don’t believe me pick up a copy of Farnham's Freehold The guy had some issues.

2. Starship Troopers did change my life. If you know me, you can figure that one out. If not, you’ll have to pay for that story.

C. In the Heinlein books I’ve read, he spends little time explaining the “universe”. His narration is generally supportive of what is happening to the characters and how the world around them is relevant to them. Most authors spend an inordinate amount of time explaining away the world situation, and then fitting their characters in. Maybe one day I’ll grow up to write with as light a touch.

After listening to Friday, I started to do a little research on Heinlein. I unearthed the following “Rules for Writing” by Robert A. himself.

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
  4. You must put the work on the market.
  5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

You can put the pieces together. Thank you long dead author man for helping me get off my ass again.

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