Monday, May 14, 2007

Hot Topic

On Sunday Kevin Drum did a post on the Heinlein Centennial, which will be July 6 through 8 in Kansas City.

Of course the post has a lot of comments. They range from the idiotic (Why isn't it another date? Well, since Heinlein was born July 7 of 1907, another date would not be a Centennial, now would it?) to the very explicit.

One of the comments I liked the most pointed out that his three major cult novels appealed to three very different cults. The person commenting did not see a philosophical thread that connected Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, and Stranger in a Strange Land, but they are actually not inconsistent with one another. Indeed, Moon is a Harsh Mistress holds permutations and echoes of the other two.

Every now and then, as someone who has read all his work, I have a Heinlein moment, when something he has written becomes obvious to the rest of the world. One of the most recent was when Stephen Hawking took his zero-g flight. The inevitable thought was that Hawking would live "Waldo" if he were allowed to do so, because living in zero-g would be a great boon to him and his caregivers.

In many ways Heinlein was a visionary. He was, nevertheless, a creature of his age, for all the things he did that were unusual.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

“In every age the common interpretation of the world of things is by some scheme of unchallenged and unsuspected presuppositions; and the mind of every individual, however little he may think himself in sympathy with his contemporaries, is not an insulated compartment, but more like a pool in a continuous medium — the circumambient atmosphere of his time and place.”

F. M. Cornford Foreword of Thucydides Mythistoricus