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Notes from the Beyond

2003-09-11 15:18:49.100779+00 by petronius 9 comments

For all of us who got our brains shook up in youth by the stories of Valentine Michael Smith, the Puppet Masters, and The Man who Sold the Moon: A lost first novel by Robert Heinlein is being published soon. It predates his famous first SF story Lifeline, but was considered too racy for publication in the late 1930s. It will be good to hear a voice of reason and confidence once again in these troubled times.

[ related topics: Libertarian Art & Culture Heinlein ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: [Entry #6512] Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-12 05:36:03.944484+00 by: Shawn

I've never read Heinlein, although from what I've heard I'll probably like him. In the past this has primarily been because I've opted for the Fantasy genre over Sci-Fi, but I've recently been chewing my way through the Baen Free Library [sci-fi] offerings, and enjoying it.

I started reading Job: A Comedy Of Justice[Wiki] but wasn't in the right mindset at that time in my life. It's not that I didn't like it, I just had a hard time getting truly involved in the story - and then I had to return it to the owner.

Any recommendations for a good Heinlein starter?

#Comment Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-12 11:52:00.350202+00 by: Larry Burton

I have an idea you would enjoy The Cat that Walked Through Walls.

#Comment Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-12 21:42:15.954545+00 by: petronius

A good starter?, Hmmm...I began reading his juveniles from the 50s, like The Rolling Stones with its tremendously iconoclastic moon-based family deciding to become interplanetary traders; or Space Cadet, but they are a bit dated. I think I would recommend two good, fast reads: The Puppet Masters, an alien invasion story done right, with the most blood-curdling final sentence in SF. The other is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the story of a rebellion on the moon aided by an accidently sentient computer.

#Comment Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-12 23:55:12.217325+00 by: td

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel.

#Comment Re: [Entry #6512] Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-14 06:21:04.094135+00 by: Shawn

petronius; Puppet Masters sounds suspiciously like horror. Would that be an accurate classification? I'm absolutely not into horror (and a pet peave is when people use the term interchangaebly with "sci-fi").

Thanks to you, Larry and td for the recommendations.

#Comment Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-15 15:15:54.8927+00 by: Mars Saxman

I'm not too familiar with horror, Shawn, but I wouldn't have thought of The Puppet Masters as belonging to that genre. It's about paranoia, trust, infiltration, and the meaning of will and identity. There are a few creepy sections that might bother the squeamish but that's not really the focus of the book.

It has been some five years since I read it, so take my recollections here with a grain of salt. Still, I would back up the recommendations of "The Puppet Masters" and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" as good introductions to Heinlein.


#Comment Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-15 16:34:38.148505+00 by: baylink

I'll second Spacesuit[Wiki]; it was my first Heinlein.

It's a juve, but his juves were pretty cadet, so...

I would counter Puppet Masters, though it's probably just personal taste -- It took me (literally) decades to find a taste for that particular work.

I think, actually, that one of the short story collections might be a better bet -- if you aren't happy with the style in one story, just wait; there'll be another along in a bit. Probably the one that culminates in "Methuselah's Children", since that pitches to the Future History; which one is that? _Expanded_Universe_?

Naw; I think it's _The_Past_Through_Tomorrow_.

#Comment Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-15 17:01:35.949804+00 by: Larry Burton

It's The Past Through Tomorrow and that would be an excellent place for Shawn to start. It would also give the background needed to fully appreciate the book I recommended, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

Oh, and I read a lot of his "juves" while in my early twenties. I picked up one to pass some time with and was hooked. An enjoyable story is an enjoyable story regardless of what age group it's aimed at. I still find myself reading some of the books my fourteen year old son was reading a couple of years ago just because they're good stories and fast reads and I've ran out of reading material.

#Comment Re: Notes from the Beyond made: 2003-09-15 22:00:48.840696+00 by: td [edit history]

Heinlein said that the difference between his juveniles (which were mostly written for Boy's Life, the BSA magazine) and his adult fiction is "more action, less sex." In particular, he never pulled any literary punches in the juveniles. No one should think that his they're beneath an adult audience.