[LMB] Heinlein

Elizabeth Holden alzurite at gmail.com
Sat Oct 2 17:48:50 BST 2021

Re Heinlein:

> To add some on-topic content to the thread, so we don't have to add OT: to
> it:

Good idea!

> I think many authors are frustrated when they put *some* content they
> personally believe in into a novel or story, and then have people
> that characters in those works are meant to *be* the author themselves.

I tend to think that books are improved by the inclusion of a writers'
beliefs - as long as those beliefs are in some way congruent to my own. No
homophobia, racism, or misogyny for me, thanks. But otherwise - bring it on!

Actually, I can and sometimes do enjoy reading books where the author's
philosophy is incongruent with my own. Ayn Rand is a case in point.
Horrified fascination.

> Our Host is a fine example.  I doubt anyone who's read her works has any
> doubt about her opinion regarding sexual education, or the attractiveness
> of extremely pale men for that matter.

Pale men?  Who are you thinking of? You lost me there. Penric is
fair-haired; is that what you mean?

> There are lots of characters that Heinlein clearly based on
> himself, and even used as bullhorns for his opinions, but it doesn't
> that everything about those characters is a reflection of him.

I would argue perhaps that the problem is not so much the insertion of his
own personality, consciously or unconsciously, but that his characters all
seem like the same personality, regardless of their actions. Whether
that was Heinlein's own personality is a moot point. I never met him.

I have no problem with that. I like Heinlein's writing, and his ideas are
interesting and I agree with a good part of them. Haven't read them all;
I've heard odd things about some of them. I haven't read any of the books
my friends seem to like best, i.e., Starship Troopers. Hated the movie. And
the book sounds like the kind of military boys' stuff I have always
avoided. But then of course, I come across Miles Vorkosigan and his
military boy's stuff is the substance of some of my favourite books
ever, so it goes to show that I shouldn't judge what I haven't read.

But one has to have some sort of emotional incentive to pick.up any given
book. Or not.

I wish more authors followed Heinlein in his philosophical bent. Most
fiction is bland in that regard.

My comment about his women being un-womanlike was simply because he stands
out in that regard; most writers who haven't much idea how to write a
female character avoid a deep female viewpoint, or make her fairly generic
and cliched. Not Heinlein. He just jumped right in, fearlessly and
shamelessly, and if it reads offly to my female eyes, it at least fits his
style and themes.


Elizabeth Holden <azurite at azurite.ca>

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