Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Sci-Fi Books Media

New Heinlein Novel 460

Posted by michael
from the you-read-that-right dept.
book_reader writes "It's hard to believe but the grand master of sci-fi is back - 15 years or so after his death. His first novel that he wrote in the mid 30's and long since thought lost was rediscovered and will be coming out in November! The thought of a novel he wrote so early in his writing career boggles my mind but who will be able to resist - not I!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Heinlein Novel

Comments Filter:
  • Who? (Score:4, Funny)

    by BurKaZoiD (611246) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:45AM (#6878848)
    Never heard of him.
    • Re:Who? (Score:2, Funny)

      by fussman (607784)
      Somebody flog him for his insulence.
    • Re:Who? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by El_Ge_Ex (218107)
      I hope and pray Heinlen doesn't turn into the 'Tu-Pac' of geeks (i.e. ends up having 30 or more works 'discovered').

      -B

      • I hope and pray Heinlen doesn't turn into the 'Tu-Pac' of geeks (i.e. ends up having 30 or more works 'discovered').

        I'd prefer to hope and pray that he does.

        Without any familiarity whatsoever with the work of "Tu-Pac", I'll state for the record that if someone were to find a box of unpublished Heinlein stuff (say, 20 or 30 shorts, or maybe a handful of novels), it would be a very wonderful thing for Science Fiction, certainly far better than the entire 2 seasons of ST:Enterprise has been.

        You see what
    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by alexre1 (662339) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:28AM (#6879306)
      I wish there was a "-1, Uncultured" moderator rating!

      But for those of you who don't know, Heinlein was a master Science Fiction writer, who wrote many famous books, such as "Starship Troopers", "Stranger in a strange land", "The moon is a harsh mistress", etc. I think he wrote over a hundred works. IMHO one of the top 5 science fiction authors of all time

      Here is a listing of all his published materials [nitrosyncretic.com], for those who are interested.

      And for those who only saw "Starship Troopers" and never read the book, PLEASE don't judge the author by the movie, because that movie was truly horrendous.
      • Re:Who? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sethb (9355) <bokelman@gmail.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:55AM (#6879590) Homepage
        Amazon has it up for pre-order already, here's a link [amazon.com], complete with my referral code, for the lazy. :)

        I'm excited as all get out about this, I've read everything else he ever published, and I think I have at least one copy of everything, even the hard-to-find Notebooks of Lazarus Long booklet. I'm really curious to see how this stacks up with his other early work, like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel", "Space Cadet", etc. Have Spacesuit was the first sci-fi book I ever read, and it got me hooked at an early age.

        The fact that Spider Robinson is involved puts my mind at ease. He was good friends, and a great admirer of Heinlein, and I can't see him doing anything that would disgrace RAH.

      • The movie was great (Score:4, Interesting)

        by alexhmit01 (104757) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:42PM (#6880558)
        I love the movie Starship Troopers. I love the book Starship Troopers. I find it an amazing coincidence that there was a movie with the name of a great book using similar character names yet none of the same plot! :)

        You have the enjoy the movie for what it is, a silly sci-fi movie with really cool bugs.

        I mean, how do you make a movie about a book and mock the ideals of the book?

        I see them as two completely unrelated works that both stand on their own merits.

        If you ever wanted to see a commentary on Vietnam set in space, you should see the movie.

        Besides, it has Doogie Howser as a Nazi general!

        Would you like to know more?

        Alex
      • Re:Who? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pmz (462998) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:47PM (#6881722) Homepage
        ...that movie was truly horrendous.

        I though the movie conveyed the harsh irony of war and idealism very well. In fact, the movie was very painful to watch, because some of the scenes gutted much of what people believe in. Perhaps the movie was much better than the viewers percieved, because most viewers expect some typical hack-n-slach-hero-gets-the-bitch flick.

        "Babe" (yes the pig) was another movie that comes to mind, where childhood is so accurately depicted that I (an adult, I hope) could barely watch it. Of course, I can't not be reminded of Ender Wiggins at this point...ah crap.
  • by mOoZik (698544)
    The sci-fi gods of the past have come to reclaim the present and shape the future! RUN FOR COVER!
    • > The sci-fi gods of the past have come to reclaim the present and shape the future! RUN FOR COVER!

      I, for one, welcome our new libertarian overlor-HEY!

    • i'm assuming that this book will be just one large alien-sex orgy, as heinlein has been digressing into longer and longer alien sex rants in his books.
      • Re:they're back! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AngelfMercy (694727)
        wouldn't that be the opposite, seeing that it's an early work?
      • i'm assuming that this book will be just one large alien-sex orgy, as heinlein has been digressing into longer and longer alien sex rants in his books.

        Since it was written it 1938, that doesn't follow. (Also, I dont recall any "alien" sex, just lots of hetero, and occasionally homo, and a little pedo.)

        However, according to the FA, it was spiked becasue it was "too racy" for the staid 30s. If so, and that's not just marketing (instead of "too immature"), the I'll have to reconsider my opinion. I'd thought

  • by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) * <cydeweys AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:48AM (#6878885) Homepage Journal
    I don't know whether to be elated or scared. It's kind of common knowledge that Heinlein's earlier works are better than this later works ... but if this is his first work, it might not be all that good. There might be a reason it wasn't published up until now ... there might be a reason Heinlein hid it away for all these years. I'll definitely buy it and read it, but I'm keeping my expectations low.
    • Read the article, bozo.

      It's a dirty book.
    • by tsetem (59788) <tsetem&gmail,com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:55AM (#6878978)
      While going through the Heinlein Society homepage, I found this review [heinleinsociety.org] of The Number of the Beast. I've never read the book (but will now), but it seems to imply that Heinlein intentionally wrote the book bad to show how a SciFi book should not be written.

      The review is pretty interesting, and I think I'd like to read it just to see what they are talking about. Morbid curiosity maybe?
    • Read it in bed next time you're sick. Everyone knows that it's not a sin to read bad literature when you have a head cold.
    • by msuzio (3104) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:05AM (#6879092) Homepage
      Eh. Sounds too much like his later works.

      Everything after "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" kind of sucked, IMHO. Once he got so into the whole sex/polyamory thing as a constant focus, I just lost interest. He actually managed to make sex boring to me, which is really saying something. Yeah, OK, Lazarus Long has slept with everyone and their mother... yeah, wonderful, free love is awesome, whatever.

      I actually heard Heinlein was kind of pissed about how his works inspired the poly crowd, but I don't see what *else* he was intending to say in all these books. I mean, just off the top of my head -- Friday, The Number of the Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Time Enough For Love -- all of these books were soured for me by what seemed like constant, totally unerotic sex. In "Friday", it was almost mechanical... boring.

      (Yes, I know someone will post a page-count vs. sex acts ratio to try to convince me otherwise, but I don't care).

      [ ObSenselessRant: Oh yeah, and Piers Anthony is a dirty old man. "Bio of A Space Tyrant" sucked once he got into the hero having consensual sex with a 12 year old. That coupled with Xanth novels titled "The Color of Her Panties" makes me want to have authorities monitoring his shack in Florida... ]
      • by kasparov (105041) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:54AM (#6879571)
        Perhaps the response that you had was the one that he was trying to elicit. Makes since if he was "kind of pissed" about it inspiring the poly crowd... By exaggerating a topic and carrying the exaggeration through to its "logical" (by the author's standards) conclusion, authors typically condemn things in their books that they show as commonplace. Just my $0.02.

        Of course, I am a semi-rabid Heinlein fan, so I have to say that... don't I? What can I say? I grew up reading his books and they had a profound impact on me. I never really took him as condoning polyamorism or incest, but merely showing that sexual "tastes" were culturally based patterns of behaviour. Asimov did the same thing with some of his Robot/Foundation books (societies where no one knew who their children were, so the concept of incest became unimportant, etc.).

      • by Pxtl (151020)
        Whoa, it took you that long to decide that Anthony is filthy? Nearly every series of his has some point where he tries to justifiy his lusting after young flesh. When ever he tries to discuss social issues (like prostitution, a frequent subject) he sounds like Kathy Lee or Connie Chung - someone with lots of opinions and no knowledge or brains.
      • by wagemonkey (595840) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:21AM (#6879837)
        OK, Lazarus Long has slept with everyone and their mother...
        Well actually Lazarus Long has slept with everyone and his mother...
  • by henbane (663769) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:49AM (#6878906)
    Let the man rest in peace. Did he approve of the editor? Did he have any input in to it since 1930?

    Free as a Bird [amazon.com] anyone?

    How much material has Tupac released since he died?

    And all that crap that Tolkien's son claimed he wrote to make some money

    Why, why, why do this to Heinlein as well?

    • by Jack_Frost (28997) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:05AM (#6879095)
      Brian Herbert's books are cereal box covers compared to the depth of the originals turned out by Frank Herbert. Still though, I won't call this graverobbing until I read it.
    • by TopShelf (92521) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:13AM (#6879167) Homepage Journal
      If you RTFA (I know, I know...), you'll see that what was recovered is a final draft, which required only a few "minor edits and spelling corrections." Hardly comparable to your other examples.

      As to the Tolkein stuff, some was well worth posthumous publication (Silmarillion, Book of Lost Tales, etc.), but they did end up going waaaay overboard.
    • by Mycroft_514 (701676) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:13AM (#6879170) Journal
      >Let the man rest in peace. Did he approve of the editor? Did he have any input in to it since 1930?

      What editor? If you read the top, it was published with only minor spelling corrections. This is similar to the tack that was taken with 2 other works after his death. They were re-published the way HE wrote them, not the way they were first published.

      Spider Robinson was a friend of his, and if he has some say in the matter (he did one of the forwards for this book), then it ought to maintain some integrity.

      Mark me down as optimistic until I get a chance to review it. Most of his "so-called" hack work is better then 90% of today's writers anyway.
    • So don't buy it?

      Newly discovered works of long-since-gone authors may be invaluable sources to other people from scholars to fans. Would you ban the publishing of a "book" written by a scribe in the ancient Egypt? Or the new opera by Mozart that no-one knew about?

      You don't have to buy Christopher Tolkien's publications, either, but someone might just love to see just one more glimpse into Middle Earth that J.R.R. wrote in the corner of some notebook page.

  • Fours posts and I'm wondering if the Heinlein Society folks have time enough for A NEW SERVER.

    Oy, that's too bad. *shake*
  • A few years ago (Score:4, Informative)

    by Richy_T (111409) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:50AM (#6878910) Homepage
    after achieving fame and recognition, Terry Pratchett released one of his early stories. It was somewhat naff and an obvious ripoff of "The Hobbit". Hopefully this will fare a little better.

    Rich

  • by mckwant (65143) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:51AM (#6878927)
    I mean, really. A substantial chunk of artistry is knowing what isn't worth publishing. Now, we've got Douglas Adams and Heinlein releasing stuff from beyond the grave that they might not deem publishable, given the option.

    Simply getting more of an artist's work is NOT necessarily a good thing. For instance, I got a hold of a bootleg of a bunch of old Pixies studio sessions. The stuff they released is good, but you know what?

    The stuff they didn't release is crap. They wrote bad songs, recognized them as bad songs, and DIDN'T release them. There's a reason that stuff stays in the attic, and fans should be able to respect that, IMHO.
    • You need to RTFA. In most cases, I would agree with you. But the only reason this wasn't published was that it was too racy by 1930's standards. There's no reason to believe he didn't want this published. He had tried to get it published, but in the '30s, they wouldn't have even been allowed to ship it by mail!

      Also: "Earnings will be going to the advancement of human exploration of space."
    • Why should it matter to you if they publish this, even if it is crap? It's not like they're going to force you to read the thing. Don't buy it.
    • Well, for some fans completism is part of it appreciating and author/artist. Personally, I feel that grandmaster or not, I like the missing work of someone like Heinlein to be published for me or for study- it'd be partly for the story, partly out of fandom, but something for study. Especially with early works, or partial works, you can learn about the process of your favorite authors.

      If you take it in context, I think it adds a lot to appreciation of a subject. But its like an audio commentary, if you don
    • this brings up an interesting point. if you as the artist/author/whatever know that something that you've created is crap, should you destroy it or hang onto it? if you're well-known/famous, this "junk" is bound to find it's way out to the public after your death. so what do you do? i realize that keeping crappy creations around can be quite beneficial, in that you may reuse ideas or themes in other pieces that you deem finish-worthy. i guess it's just a risk every artist has to take...

      oh, and btw, if the
    • If Douglas Adams' publishers had waited until Douglas was happy with anything before publishing it, we'd still be waiting for the first hitch-hiker novel.

      An artist's own opinion is not always the best one to decide whether something is worth publishing.
    • Theodore Sturgeon's famous observation that 90% of everything is crap is oft misunderstood.

      In fact he was addressing this very issue. His point was that 90% of everything was crap, specifically the output of good writers.

      The primary difference between a good writer and hack being that the good writer only publishes the 10% worth publishing.

      KFG
    • by jkauzlar (596349) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:32AM (#6879949) Homepage
      It seems to go either way. Hemingway's unpublished writings were a goldmine. In the past few years Charles Bukowski and John Fante have had unpublished stuff released and it was wonderful. In music, you can point to Dylan's bootleg series and unreleased basement tapes, about 5 regular albums' worth of music all better than some of his 80's official releases. Oh, and ALL of Kerouac's pre-'On the Road' novels (about 8 books) were passed over by publishers before being published in light of On the Road's success. Nabokav's Lolita would have remained unpublished as a mere artistic exercise had it not been for his wife's urging.

      Releasing posthumous or 'early' material is a common enough practice in the arts that we should learn to look forward to it. If anything it gives diehard fans and scholars a chance to see beyond what the artist deemed acceptable or beyond what publishers at the time deemed acceptable.

      That said, I've never read any Heinlein and want to know what a good book is of his to start with. I've just been getting into Asimov and George RR Martin lately and am looking forward to reading another great SciFi author. How does Heinlein compare to Asimov?

      • by Thag (8436) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:44PM (#6880572) Homepage
        His big-name books are:
        • Starship Troopers - An homage to the poor, bloody infantryman that has been called a variety of unpleasant names by critics and other degenerates. Thankfully, it's nothing like the movie. A must-read if you like military sci-fi.
        • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - The citizens of the moon revolt against the government of earth in order to gain their independence.
        • Stranger in a Strange Land - The life and times of Valentine Michael Smith, messiah. This is the Heinlein novel the literary crowd likes the best, but I find it to be one of his worst: it just never really comes together.

        Most of his books are quite good, particularly the "Heinlein juveniles." The science is dated now in many cases, but they're great reads. Personal favorites include The Door into Summer, Citizen of the Galaxy, Starman Jones and The Past Through Tomorrow.

        Many feel that Heinlein's later books, after 1966, aren't nearly as good. They certainly get more self-indulgent and cheezy. To start out with, I would avoid the following books, because they're not really indicative of most of his work: I Will Fear No Evil, Time Enough For Love, The Number of the Beast, Friday, Job: A Comedy of Justice, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

        Jon Acheson
  • by telstar (236404) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:52AM (#6878944)
    Wow, never say never...

    Heinlein's got another book...
    Celine Dion came out of retirement...
    Cher had her comeback tour...

    I'd given up waiting for a sequel of "From Justin to Kelly" but this story has nenewed my hope!
  • His last few novels were so tedious. Doesn't matter... I'm not an adolescent know-it-all utopian collectivist anymore... a new Heinlein novel doesn't get my interest like it once would have.
  • by Jack William Bell (84469) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:53AM (#6878960) Homepage Journal
    We discussed this at TorCon [slashdot.org] last weekend. The general consensus was:
    1. Everyone would be more confortable about this if Ginnie (Virginia Heinlein) was still alive and vetting this.
    2. There is probably good reason why RAH didn't want it published.
    3. We will all buy it and read it anyway.
    • as to point 2, from the article, it appears that at the time it was a bit racier than the public mores whould allow to be published.

      I tend to suspect that if you go to your local book store in November and December, you can easily find books that are far racier than this book will be/was.

      I suspect that even in comparison to Glory Road, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Strnager in a Strange Land, this will be considered tame. Then again I haven't read it yet, so I don't know.

      I agree with point 1, though
  • I found it down the back of a sofa that I bought from the ex wife of the cousin of the guy that fixed the car of Heinlein's dentist's cleaning lady.

    You can have it for a million bucks. I'll donate the money to, uh, space or something.

  • He's back! (Score:3, Funny)

    by 1s44c (552956) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:56AM (#6878988)
    "It's hard to believe but the grand master of sci-fi is back - 15 years or so after his death"

    I'll bet he smells kind of bad.

  • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:56AM (#6878992)
    Does this satisfy the definition of ironic?
  • by Andrewkov (140579) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:58AM (#6879017)
    Wow, science fiction from the 30's. It will be an interesting read just to see the perspective of someone in the 30's: By 1950 everyone will be driving flying rocket cars. By 1970 the world will be destroyed by war, by 1990 a new race of ape-people will take over the planet. By 2003 the war against the apes will have been won, and the whole galaxy will be colonized by humans! Cool!
  • Scudder (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dr. Smeegee (41653) on Friday September 05, 2003 @09:59AM (#6879024) Homepage Journal
    I had read that Heinlein *hated* his Nehemiah Scudder character (who later went on to form a really pleasant theocracy in "If This Goes On...") so much that he was not able to write about him. This should be interesting. :-)
  • For me this is the only fact that makes it tempting to read. I wonder when the purge took place, during the early or late phase of his career. That is, does it undermine the straight-on patriarchial onanism of Stranger in a Strange Land or the more shame-riddled tone of "Job."

    Opinions are free, they're just not easy.

    • by Glock27 (446276) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:28AM (#6879303)
      That is, does it undermine the straight-on patriarchial onanism of Stranger in a Strange Land or the more shame-riddled tone of "Job."

      Er, "Stranger" and "Job" were both from the late phase of his career. The early phase consisted of "Have Spacesuit Will Travel", "Red Planet", "The Rolling Stones", "Starman Jones", "The Starbeast", "Citizen of the Galaxy", "Farnham's Freehold", "The Puppet Masters", "Tunnel in the Sky", "Starship Troopers" and so on. All of those novels were targeted at the "young adolescent" of the time, but were still entertaining, thought provoking stuff. They also included enough hard science to be dangerous.

      His later phase, which began around the time of "Glory Road" and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" (now THAT should be made into a movie;), was more adult oriented and controversial - still with a stiff dose of plausibility and real science.

      Say what you like about Heinlein and his social ideas, but fundamentally he was a freedom lover who wanted nothing so much as to see humanity grow up and move beyond the nest. He also had the ideas for several inventions including the waterbed and the "waldo" (remote manipulators used with hazardous materials). Very few of those who bash him have made a similar contribution to society.

      I'm sure I'll read his "new" novel with quite a bit of enjoyment, whatever the quality of the work. :-)

  • Burn Your Trunk! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PeterPiper (167721) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:02AM (#6879063) Homepage
    Good advice given to new novelists is, of course, "keep writing'. While your first novel is making the rounds of getting rejected by the various publishers (a process that can take a couple of years), write your second and third novels. Start them on their rejection rounds and keep writing.

    Most writers do not sell their first novel (or even their second and third). What they finally do sell is the novel that they have grown into by the practice of writing their previous works. Those previous novels are not up to par with what they finally do sell. Better advice then given to new novelists is "burn your trunk". 'Trunk' refers to all the writing you've done before you finally sell something. It is not up to the standards of what you are now able to produce and publishing it will lower the public's perception of your current talent.

    I strongly suspect that this 'new' Heinlein novel is Heinlein's trunk. Likely he never had it published because he himself subscribed to the advice that one's trunk should be burned.

    I will buy the book none the less, because Heinlein was by far the novelist who was the most influential on me in my youth. I will consciously remember while reading it though that this is his very first novel, something written in the thirties and not a book that he wanted published because he felt it to be inferior to what he was subsequently capable of.
    • Re:Burn Your Trunk! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RobertB-DC (622190) *
      Those previous novels are not up to par with what they finally do sell. Better advice then given to new novelists is "burn your trunk". 'Trunk' refers to all the writing you've done before you finally sell something. It is not up to the standards of what you are now able to produce and publishing it will lower the public's perception of your current talent.

      I see the reason for advising new writers to discard their old, unsold, sub-par beginning works. It would be far too tempting during a bout of writer'
    • Re:Burn Your Trunk! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      True, circa 1980. Now, post Pratchett and Potter, you write the first three novels of a series before even approaching a publisher, and you offer them outlines and options on at least four more.

      Publishers don't sell books any more, they sell authors and series.

    • Re:Burn Your Trunk! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RedBear (207369) <redbearNO@SPAMredbearnet.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @06:52PM (#6883954) Homepage
      Why in the name of all that's Holy is every one of these "guessing" posts getting moderated up to +5?
      Likely he never had it published because he himself subscribed to the advice that one's trunk should be burned.

      Or likely you and everyone else like you don't know enough about the situation to be opening your mouths. The linked article [heinleinsociety.org] said A) the book is good, and B) no publisher would publish it because it was too racy for the morals of the 1930s. Is there something complicated about reading the article?

      I normally don't care that no one reads the damn article, as it makes for some fun discussion. But it seems like every highly moderated post today is spouting the same sort of theory that for some reason the book must be bad, and for basically the same reason, that Heinlein "didn't bother to publish it", when the facts are that he sent it around to various publishers and they refused to publish it. Everyone here seems to assume they know what happened and why. Well, according to the article, you're all wrong. Moderators, please read the article [heinleinsociety.org] before moderating.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:06AM (#6879100)
    Heinlein only has three posthumous novels- the original length "Stranger in a Strange Land", an autobiography, and this one. Ron Hubbard published at least 13- including the ten volume Mission Earth series. Toklein published at least 15, including the Allakabeth, Simarillian, a book of poetry, and the 12 volume History of Middle Earth series. Asimov had a have dozen in press that came out after his death. Gene Roddenberry had Final Conflict and Anromedea TV series, plus two more rumored in production. Frank Herbert partially completed 7th Dune volume, and an early edition of his origional Dune are supposed to be published in due course by his son.
    The above list doesn't include continuations of earlier novels authorized by these authors estates. There have been a dozen of those. Herbert is the most prolific with the 5th New Dune novel due out next week and eight more planned.
    • The number of cash grabs (posthumous releases) after the author passed away does not reflect the quality of his work.
    • You're forgetting _Grumbles from the Grave_, a Expanded Universe-esque compilation (padded quite nicely by good essays by Spider Robinson and a few others). The new stuff in there are mostly speeches and essays, but some were never officially published until then. Also, I'm pretty sure his _Tramp Royale_ was never published until after his death.

      I'm pretty sure I have a complete Heinlein collection, and I also have several variants of each novel. Almost all are from used books stores, and I've never sun

    • In the non-sci-fi world check out Hemingway's posthumous output.

      And Emily Dickinson's complete works weren't published until after she'd snuffed it.

  • I'll be buying. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Unknown Kadath (685094) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:11AM (#6879151)
    Heinlein is one of those authors who made science fiction. His chauvinism occasionally sets my teeth on edge, and his later works are preachy, but these are small blemishes on the body of work of a man, who above everything else, knew how to tell a story. Unlike much SF, his stories are always character-driven. I've often gone back to Glory Road or The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress for a good read that never gets old. Finding out that there's an unpublished Heinlein a few days after hearing about a new Zelazny collection [fantasticbookclub.com]? My cup runneth over!

    My hat's off to the cranky old Grand Master who still makes me all sniffly at the end of Stranger in a Strange Land, almost 10 years after I read it the first time. Where can I place a pre-order?

    -Carolyn
    • Re:I'll be buying. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Glock27 (446276) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:43AM (#6879476)
      His chauvinism occasionally sets my teeth on edge, and his later works are preachy, but these are small blemishes on the body of work of a man, who above everything else, knew how to tell a story.

      Given that you're a fan overall, I can't be too hard on you. ;-)

      However, I'd suggest that Heinlein wasn't "chauvinistic", just that he celebrated the differences between men and women (which any sane individual recognizes, no?).

      Heinlein's women piloted starships, fought alongside the men in battle, and generally bested the males involved in most situations. Given that a lot of those writings appeared in the 50's, I think he should be recognized as one of the most progressive proponents of women's equality (superiority?) of the 20th Century.

      I realize some of his writings may lead in other directions ;-) but hey you have have to look at the overall picture... :-)

      • by Unknown Kadath (685094) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:21AM (#6879833)
        Three points:

        1) Certainly most of Heinlein's female characters are as competent as the male ones, but the air of "don't you worry your pretty little head" that so many of his mouthpiece characters have, especially in his earlier works, drives me batty. "Sure, she can pilot a starship and shoot the center out of the ace of spades at 50 paces, and isn't it cute? She'll meet the right man one day and settle down, and then she won't have to because he'll take care of her."

        2) There's also Heinlein's assumption that gender roles are as they should be--this was his opinion, and I strongly disagree with it, but overall it didn't detract much from his writing.

        3) Finally, a lot of his female characters break under the slightest pressure and start crying. His male characters never do. Especially in the Future History, where sexuality and gender identity is supposed to be androgynous, this bothers me. Even Galahad in Time Enough for Love, (the most sympathetic portrayal an effeminate man ever got in Heinlein) never cries.

        I can ignore sexism in most of the authors of Heinlein's generation and earlier (*coughAsimovcough*), but Heinlein himself was just so progressive in everything else that a lot of his gender politics show up as glaring flaws, when they would just fade into the background in works by other writers. Writers shouldn't have to be politically correct, and Heinlein was perfectly justified in coloring his stories with his opinion, but I find that it tempers my enjoyment of his works.

        -Carolyn
    • Re:I'll be buying. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ausoleil (322752)

      Heinlein is one of those authors who made science fiction. His chauvinism occasionally sets my teeth on edge, and his later works are preachy, but these are small blemishes on the body of work of a man, who above everything else, knew how to tell a story.

      Carolyn, your comments are somewhat valid to Heinlein the writer, but Heinlein the man was somewhat different:

      Robert Heinlein Biography [nitrosyncretic.com]

      July 20, 1969, is probably the most important day in human history - the day men from Earth first s

  • OMG OMG OMG (Score:2, Informative)

    by 2TecTom (311314)
    Yes, yes, yes ... I don't care if it's good, bad or ugly. He's a god and I look forward to reading anything he's written.

    IMHO, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" is the ultimate Sci-Fi novel and he singlehandedly raised the bar so that Science Fiction wasn't simply regarded as pulp. Many people were inspired by his words and foresight. He contributed many revolutionary concepts and provided so many hours of entertainment that even the thought of anything new is interesting in the extreme.
  • The most entertaining thing about old sci-fi is the bad science. Well, it wasn't bad at the time but it's comically inaccurate now. Heinlein was good about writing in reasonably black-box style in later books so perhaps this one won't be too bad, but if you've ever read, say, 'under pressure' by Herbert then you know what I mean.
  • "Stranger in a Strange Land" has been optioned several times. In its day it was pretty riske- spoofing religion, free sex, and government. A first-year Star Trek episode "What about Charlie?" 'borrowed' part of the plot. I think the novel is soemwhat timeless and has merit as a movie.
    Any more Heinlein novels to be movies?
  • Although it was in his teenage pulp scifi, I enjoyed when reading it in the 6th grade. I re-read it again when I was at M.I.T. and enjoyed the twist at the end- the hero wins admission to that college.
    • Actually, I loved his pulp "adolescent" scifi more than his more tedious "adult" stuff. HSWT, Red Planet, Tunnel in the Sky, Space Cadet, Starship Troopers (yes, it qualifies - no sex), etc. were all absolutely great novels. Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough For Love, etc., are all good, but weighty. Not good backyard-hammock material.

      -T

  • Oh, wait, just a manuscript.

    Nevermind.

    KFG
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:26AM (#6879282) Homepage Journal
    I ran across this link a while back, and filed it away for future reference. Should have known that Slashdot would come through:

    Heinlein Happens [enter.net], by by Earl Kemp

    It's a scathing expose of the "dark side" of Robert Heinlein, painting him as a Hugh Hefner wannabe with an ego the size of a god's, masking an inner insecurity the size of the Grand Canyon. It's hard to tell, though, how accurate Kemp's descriptions are, since he's writing from the POV of one of Heinlein's "disremembered" -- close friends who p***ed off the artist and were removed from his list of people worth acknowledging.

    I'm curious how much is true, how much is exaggerated, and how much is just made up. I figure this is the place to ask!

    As far as the literary side of the man... I've been a fan since I read "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" as a kid in the late '70s. The "Future History" stuff left me cold, but "Job" was a great return to form. The last Heinlein book I read (shamefully long ago) was the restored "Podkayne of Mars", with the original (downer) ending.

    I haven't seen the "Puppet Masters" movie... and from what I've heard, I'm probably better off for it.
    • ...in "I. Asimov," which is definitely worth reading even if you are not a huge fan of his writing. Fascinating guy.

      Not a huge discussion, but you get the impression of Heinlein as a brilliant but flawed personality. He was the first sci-fi I ever read, though, and will always occupy that niche, whatever his personal failings.

    • Interesting, never seen that essay before. It seems to agree with some of the other stuff I've seen written about Heinlein; Arthur C. Clarke apparently was "cut off" like that, because he supposedly had the audacity to criticize Reagan's missile defense system. Isaac Asimov admits he never really cared for Heinlein, though they were always on civil, if not friendly terms, and in one of his autobiographies he mentions Heinlein's tendency to fly into a rage if anyone dared disagree with him about anything.
  • The grandmaster? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SashaM (520334) <msashaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:27AM (#6879301) Homepage

    It's hard to believe but the grand master of sci-fi is back

    The only person deserving to be be called that is Isaac Asimov [wikipedia.org], publishing over 500 volumes of the best science fiction to date. Not to say that other writers (Heinlein, Lem, Strugatsky) didn't write good stuff in the same "league", but not with the same consistent quality in those amounts.

  • Quoted from the article :

    "The other bonus is another gift to us. The money earned by this novel will be going to directly and substantially support Heinlein's dream, and the dream we, Heinlein's Children, share. Earnings will be going to the advancement of human exploration of space. When you purchase "For Us, the Living" you are also contributing, in a real and meaningful way, the furtherment of this dream. Yet again, Heinlein 'pays it forward.'"

    Imho is particularly cool. As cool as a new book by RAH.
  • When I was younger I thought a few of his books were ok. I read "Grumbles From the Grave" a while back and learned why I never really because a fan. The only two books I like from him are "Friday", and "Starship Troopers".

    Everyone who thinks they're "fans" should go read "Grumbles From the Grave". I think it would give them all a much better perspective about their cherished entertainer.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:44AM (#6879480) Homepage
    ...is that a fan enjoys reading everything his or her idol writes, regardless of whether it's much good.

    Of course it isn't going to be any good.

    Of course I'm going to read it.

    People who say "his earlier stuff is better than his later stuff" are thinking of the forties and fifties,when he really hit his stride. His earliest stuff reads all too much like "Doc" Smith, to my way of thinking.

    I don't expect very much from this, but it will be nice to have it.

  • Randite (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Morlenden (108782) on Friday September 05, 2003 @10:55AM (#6879582)
    Ayn Rand's first novel, "We the Living" [amazon.com] was published in 1937, one year before the new Heinlein novel was completed.

    I wonder if Heinlein had seen Rand's novel when he chose that title, "For Us, The Living".

  • by nightsweat (604367) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:07AM (#6879691)
    Was he the first to use this phrase (the amount of money changing over time, of course)?

    It's in Robocop, but I think it's also in "The Roads Must Roll". I think Dick used it as well.

    Any sci-fi scholars want to answer?

    • Actually, the originator of the phrase is C.M. Kornbluth, in "Those Marching Morons". The premise is that in the far future, the average IQ is about room temperature, but everyone's happy with their "futuristic" speeders (which are cars that do 30 mph), their television is vapid, and there's a small elite running the world - they're the only ones with a real IQ.

      Check the short story out... well worth it.
  • by GeorgeVW (599773) on Friday September 05, 2003 @11:52AM (#6880127)
    This came up at last night's LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society) meeting, and Dr. Pournelle said that Heinlein most emphatically did not want this to see the light of day and thought that he had destroyed all the copies. If Ginny were still alive, I'm sure that we wouldn't be seeing this, and I think that it's telling that this didn't appear until shortly after she passed away.
    • Here's the relevant link [jerrypournelle.com].
    • Ah, another example of a situation that cuts to the quick of the copyright issue.

      Just because an author "wished" a work would still be under his control after his death, does not mean he should really have a right to such and expectation.

      An author is not living up to his end of the bargain, the bargain with the people that allowed writing to have possibilities of making an income for the author in the first place, and he is in fact violating the whole spirit of copyright when he tries to control his work
  • Public domain? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ortholattice (175065) on Friday September 05, 2003 @12:22PM (#6880401)
    If it wasn't registered with the copyright office before the end of last year, the manuscript is public domain - see Unpublished Works May Lose Copyright Protection Unless Published by December 31, 2002 [loeb.com] (pdf file, sorry). I suppose the edited version can be copyrighted, but apparently not the actual manuscript (if it was not registered).

    Now I would guess that they probably did register it, unless they were unaware of this little-known quirk in the copyright law. But I find it interesting this quirk exists, and probably a huge number of unpublished works became public domain at the beginning of this year.

  • by LauraW (662560) on Friday September 05, 2003 @01:24PM (#6880961)
    I've been thinking for a while that next year's Hugos ought to include a special award for Most Prolific Dead Author. The runaway winner would be Marion Zimmer Bradley, but it's nice to know that Heinlein would be in the running too.
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Friday September 05, 2003 @02:25PM (#6881539) Homepage
    I wonder if this is a hoax? There are two things that strike me as odd about it.

    First, they say this novel was written before Heinlein's first published SF short story. It's been a while since I've read any Heinlein biographical material, but I thought the story (no pun intended) was that Heinlein read about a contest for amateur stories, wrote one, decided to submit it to a magazine instead, was accepted, and basically said "Whoa...how long has THIS easy way to make money been around?" and was off and running.

    For him to have an unpublished novel from before this would mean that he was trying to be a writer before he did that first short. Furthermore, it would mean he was trying to start with novels, which is much harder. It was far better to break into the field with short stories in the magazines than to start with novels (especially since there really wasn't a market for SF outside the magazines). If Heinlein was actually planning on being a writer, I find it very hard to believe that he would not have researched the field.

    Second, the novel being unpublishable in its day because of racy content does not strike me as very Heinlein-like. Sure, some people consider Heinlein's later works to be overly concerned with sex, but that at least made sense, both in the context of the times, and in the context of Heinlein's personal situation at the time. It would make no sense for him to be starting out with a racy novel--one so racy that it could not be published. (And, back to the first point, I have a hard time believing Heinlein would not know exactly what the limits were, and stay on the publishable side...he does not strike me as the kind of man who would go to the effort of writing an unpublishable novel)

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Friday September 05, 2003 @03:00PM (#6881840) Journal
    ...in the thirties.

    What was that people are saying about the erosion of our rights today?

A holding company is a thing where you hand an accomplice the goods while the policeman searches you.

Working...