Pixel Scroll 3/27/16 (I’ll Never Be Your) Star Beast of Burden

(1) DANGER WILL ROBINSON! “’Lost in Space’ robot saved from Valley Village fire” reports Daily News.

TV and movie props that included a robot reportedly from TV’s “Lost in Space” were saved from destruction late Wednesday in Valley Village due to the efforts of Los Angeles firefighters.

The LAFD responded about 11:30 p.m. to a garage fire in the 5100 block of Whitsett Avenue. Firefighters attacked the blaze, which was electrical in nature, a fire department spokesman told a photographer at the scene.

The home belongs to a prop designer and special effects artist who was out of town at the time, according to a caretaker who woke to the smell of smoke.

(2) JOCULARITY. Two Easter hams are heard from.

(3) HEARSAY. Mark Evanier’s friend has convinced him this weekend’s blockbuster is “Not the World’s Finest” – as he explains at News From ME.

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in seeing the new Batman Vs. Superman movie, a film which has achieved something I didn’t think was possible. It actually caused my dear friend Leonard Maltin to use the word “sucks” in his review. Even Rob Schneider never managed that and lord, how he tried.

(4) PARAGRAPH FROM A FUTURE TRIP REPORT. GUFF delegate Jukka Halme outlined how he spent the day.

Sunday at Contact 2016 has been a small whirlwind. Moderated my first panel (Through New Eyes), which went really well. Chatted way too long at the Fan Fund table with the Usual Suspects. Bought books. Just a few. Waited ages for my Pad Thai at the hotel restaurant, that was brimming with people and not too many employees, Presented a Ditmar, with a little bit of Bob Silverberg routine (VERY little) to Galactic Suburbia. Held an auction for fan funds, which went smashingly well. And missed the bar, since this is a dry state and while it is apparently OK to sell alcohol during Easter Sunday, places either close up really early, or everybody had left the bar.

(5) AN AUTHOR’S USE OF NAVAJO CULTURE. “Utah author features Navajo characters, history in new science fiction thriller” in Deseret News.

After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Robison Wells, who lives in Holladay, fell in love with both the area and the people he served. When he wrote his newest book, “Dark Energy” (HarperTeen, $17.99, ages 13 and up), which features several Native American characters and is scheduled to be released March 29, he worried about portraying them in the correct way.

“I wanted to show respect for the culture,” he said. “I didn’t want to appropriate their culture or their traditions.”

He sent his manuscript out to a lot of Navajo readers to get their reactions and tried to adjust his book accordingly. He knew writing a story centering on Native American characters and history would be a difficult and controversial thing to do, but he felt that it was such a compelling story that he had to tell it.

(6) ADDRESS FOR HAMNER CONDOLENCES. Anyone wishing to send a letter or card to the family may do so at the address below.

Jane Hamner
P.O. Box 220038
Newhall, CA 91322


  • Born March 27, 1963 — Quentin Tarantino

(8) TODAY’S BLOOD-PRESSURE BOOSTER. Jason Sanford says “The Retro Hugo Awards must be fixed”.

If any particular Worldcon wants to give out Retro Hugos, then e-book and/or online anthologies of eligible authors and stories must be made available to those nominating for the awards. And that must include works which are not in the public domain. Yes, it would take time to do this but I imagine most publishers and/or author estates would be willing to make the stories available for members at no cost.

But even if voters have access to stories from decades ago, it’s still unlikely that as many people will take part in the Retro Hugo nominating process as takes part in nominating for the regular Hugos. This, unfortunately, leaves the Retro Hugos open to missing important works and to being gamed.

To fix this here’s my next suggestion: Use a combination of juries and regular Worldcon members to nominate works for the Retro Hugos. 

I know juries seem like the ultimate insider power play, but when you’re dealing with stories published 75 or 100 years ago it can be useful to have experts in that genre time period also nominating stories. Perhaps the jury could nominate two of the five works in each category, and Worldcon members could nominate three of five. This also seems like a sensible way to make sure the nominated stories are truly the best that year has to offer.

(9) CAN MUSK AFFORD A MARTIAN ODYSSEY? “Neil deGrasse Tyson to Elon Musk: SpaceX Is ‘Delusional’ About Mars”. A writer at The Motley Fool explains Tyson’s reasons.

In less than 10 years from now, SpaceX may or may not beat NASA in the race to Mars. Astrophysicist, Hayden Planetarium director, and host of the National Geographic Channel’s StarTalk Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is placing his bet on “not.”

“The delusion is thinking that SpaceX is going to lead the space frontier. That’s just not going to happen…” Tyson said in an interview with The Verge. Tyson laid out his arguments for why fans of a solo SpaceX trip to Mars suffer from a “delusion.” According to Tyson, there are three main reasons SpaceX cannot go to Mars on its own.

Reason 1: Cost

“So if you’re going to bring in investors or venture capitalists and say, ‘Hey, I have an idea, I want to put the first humans on Mars.’ They’ll ask, ‘How much will it cost?’ You say, ‘A lot,'” Tyson said in the interview.

Tyson says it’s “very expensive” to go to Mars. How expensive? Some estimate $30 billion, but a bill of $160 billion isn’t out of the question, and critics in Congress charge that the total cost could reach $500 billion….

(10) CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE? Camestros Felapton is away traveling for a month. During their absence, Timothy the Talking Cat has taken over the blog, and has been busy posting such literary gems as “Timothy retells Dune”.

…Now there was this posh elitist liberal progressive family called the Artyfarties. They like super sucked at making money. The dad was a real wimp and the mum was in some sort of feminist cult. The son looked like the crazy guy in Agents of Shield but younger and more wimpy. The kid Artyfarties thought he was so much smarter than everybody but was a big wimp.

Now Boss Harkonen took pity on the Artyfarties. Big mistake! But he had a kind heart and he hated to see the Artyfarties suck so badly at businessing. So Boss Harkonen says to Dad Artyfarties: “You can run this planet for me. It is the only place you get Old Spice Magic which makes people young and makes spaceships run. It’s a classic monopoly, you can’t go wrong. Just don’t screw it up!” ….

(11) MEASURING SUCTION. Which is worse? Timothy the Cat’s retelling, or David Lynch’s? It’s close. Here’s Jonathan K. Dick’s evaluation of the movie at A.V Club, Dune can’t capture the novel’s incalculable brilliance”.

So what the hell is wrong with Lynch’s Dune? Before the collective “everything” echoes through the internet, it’s important to understand that the phrase itself “Lynch’s Dune” should already throw up the kind of red flags usually reserved for impending, air-raid level danger. Four years removed from his time behind the chair as director for the spirit-lifting biopic The Elephant Man and its eight Academy Award nominations, Lynch received the go-ahead from producer Raffaella De Laurentiis to direct the film adaption of Dune. This after 20 years, no less than 10 directors, producers, screenwriters, scripts, and general filmmaking anxiety that included the likes of Ridley Scott, Rudy Wurlitzer, Robert Greenhut, and of course the brilliantly documented attempt by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

(12) FIRST SEASON FLINTSONES COSPLAY? The Traveler from Galactic Journey amusingly interprets cosplay at this weekend’s WonderCon in terms of what fans knew in 1961 — “[March 27, 1961] What A Wonder! (WonderCon)”.

These are generally smallish affairs compared to their business-oriented cousins, with attendance running into the hundreds.  But for the fan who normally has a local community of just a half-dozen fellows (and perhaps many more as pen pals), going to a convention is like a pilgrimage to Mecca.  One meets people with completely different experiences, different perspectives.  There is the opportunity to get news from far and wide on exciting new projects, both fan and professional.  And the carousing is second to none, both in the heights of enthusiasm and creativity.

Take a look at my newly developed roll of shots from “WonderCon”, a sizeable affair held last weekend in Los Angeles.  These are some dedicated fans, some fabulous costumes, and some terrific times!

First off, a few attendees who came in street clothes: …

(13) MILESTONES ABOVE THE SKY. Motherboard advises that “‘In Space We Trust’ is a Beautiful History of Exploration”

In the timeline (which for all its beauty will entirely monopolize your CPU usage) you navigate the history of space as a young cosmonaut. The timeline begins with the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik and takes the user through all the major space milestones: first spacecraft, journeys to other planets, landings on celestial bodies.

Each milestone is accompanied by a series of stunning animations, a brief description of the event and a link to a Wikipedia page on the topic in case you want to read more. Your journey is orchestrated with an ethereal soundtrack that is overlaid with sounds from space like cosmonauts on a radio or rocket engines igniting.


 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

324 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/27/16 (I’ll Never Be Your) Star Beast of Burden

  1. Ok, eligible for Mandrake The Magician:

    * The Museum Mystery
    * The Octopus Ring
    * Dr Griff’s Invention
    * The Theatre Mysteries

    Can’t remember if I’ve read them. :/

  2. @Tasha – I hope my comment didn’t come off as dismissive or policing your fannish credentials. I absolutely did not mean it that way. I’m laid up with a cold and a bit of a fever right now and may be kinda saying whatever comes into my head. I literally meant it was interesting to me, and was wondering at your reading origin story. It sounds like we had a similar discovery method as kids.

  3. I loved the Heinlein juveniles. Also Norton. I cherish them. Nothing can dislodge them from my heart.

    Not even all Heinlein’s issues. Not all Norton’s sometimes very awkward prose.

    Not even having been aware of, and sometimes struggled to articulate, Heinlein’s issues at the time. Not even having had the itch to edit Norton’s prose at the time.

    It wasn’t the 90s, or the 80s, or even the 70s, but the 1960s, and their books offered something I mostly wasn’t finding elsewhere. Not even other sf.

    For a while, John Barnes and a few others were writing “modern” Heinlein/Norton juveniles. I hoped that would take off and give new generations the same thrill I got, but it seemed to fizzle. Oh, well. 🙁

    Libraries were my safe place, the place no one was allowed to tease or bully, and where all the adults were happy to talk about books and help me find The Next Thing. It makes me very sad to think of libraries being a scary place for anyone. 🙁

  4. @Lis. I wonder if the “Duke of Uranium” series wasn’t part of that attempt on Barnes’ part. I think they had a little more sex than I’d have expected in a pastiche of a Heinlein juvenile. Retroactively, I think they might be classifiable “High YA”.

  5. @Paul

    I don’t remember where but I read something by Barnes stating The Duke of Uranium series was targeted at the Men’s Adventure market. Then the bottom fell out of that market segment killing the series.

    Personally, at the time they came out, I thought the Uranium books were a deconstruction and critique of the Heinlein juveniles. The characters read very Heinlein like but every time the hero tried to act like a Heinlein protagonist disaster struck.

  6. Stoic Cynic
    I took one long, long bus trip around 1974 (Fort Collins to Brookings, SD, then on to Chicago) that was made a bit longer by a talky kid with a small vocabulary in a seat ahead. She called out every moo cow she saw, and when we passed a shopping center grand opening with an elephant in the parking lot, she called that a moo cow as well. I saw it coming, but still felt obscurely pleased at the moment. It wasn’t the worst bus ride I ever took, but I did see my suitcase head off to Sioux City as I was heading for Sioux Falls. Around 1:00 or 2:00 of a cold and weary morning on the bus, I found a vending machine in a terminal that dispensed hot cans of Beanee Weenee. God, it was ambrosia.

    Hampus Eckerman
    Li’l Abner was going very strong in 1940. Flipping through the 1940 volume of dailies, the most SFFnal thing I can find is Ol’ Man Mose’s prediction for Sadie Hawkins Day. Abner’s stupidity is so transcendent, maybe that counts as fantasy. The Sub-Mariner was pretty damn stylish, and the anti-human protagonist made quite a splash.
    Looks like 1940 was the tail end of an attempt to revive “Little Nemo in Slumberland” with Bob McCay (the original for Nemo) drawing a continuation of his father’s strip. It’s really hard to find specifics. Lambiek says there was a daily strip starring Impie. He was drawing “Nemo in Adventureland” in 1945 for Red Seal Comics, and in 1947 launched another attempt to revive Little Nemo (cutting and revising the art for changed format of Sunday pages) that didn’t last very long, but long enough to be referred to by Coulton Waugh in The Comics.

    ETA: Here’s what looks like a promising avenue of inquiry: Comic Book Plus’s Virtual Newsstand for the various months of 1940. There are also other ways to search this incredibly valuable site, which amounts to a Project Gutenberg for comic books (public domain, needless to say).

  7. I’ve read most of the stuff Heinlein published, even stuff like his travelogue Tramp Royale. My assessment of his material goes something like this:

    1. Most of his late career stuff isn’t worth reading unless you really like Heinlein. Books like The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset are so self-referential that anyone who hasn’t read piles of Heinlein is likely to not get much out of them. Basically, I would avoid pretty much anything Heinlein published after 1970 or so until you’ve decided you are into his work, and even then I might give it a pass.

    2. His most famous novels are all okay, but I wouldn’t start with them. Starship Troopers, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and Stranger in a Strange Land are all influential works, and if you’ve read a fair amount of science fiction you’ve probably read stuff that is in conversation with them (or in some cases, is a straight up homage). At this point, reading them would be interesting from a historical perspective, but the themes of these books have been covered by subsequent works, and often times have been done better.

    3. If I were to suggest a book to start with, I’d suggest one of his juveniles, but not one at random, as some (like Podkayne) might not go over well. I’d go with something like Red Planet, Farmer in the Sky, or maybe Citizen of the Galaxy. Double Star isn’t a juvenile, but it is fairly good too, although it is very dated both in terms of technology and attitudes towards women.

    4. One recurring theme in Heinlein’s work is that women, no matter what else their ambitions might be, find happiness when they realize that what they really want to do is settle down to have lots of babies, and in later books, group sex with the hero and the other women who are in love with him. If this will ruin a book for you, then many of Heinlein’s books will be problematic for you.

  8. @Stoic Cynic – Dude! We were in Ten-Mile! (Or rather, Ten-Mile was the closest town, for a value of town…this would have been the very early 80s, and all I remember was a little general store that sold Tab.)

    Small world.

  9. I dunno. I never read the Heinlein juveniles when I was younger. Between here and Whatever, they get a lot of mentions and so I occasionally will look at one in the library. So far I haven’t gotten much past the first few pages.

  10. Jack Lint said:

    I dunno. I never read the Heinlein juveniles when I was younger.

    Someone gave me a couple when I was the right age, and they just didn’t click with me. Asimov’s juveniles worked much better. Alas, his What Do We Know About…? science books would be horribly dated now, and I have such fond memories of the Lucky Starr books that I don’t even want to go back and see if the Suck Fairy has hit them.

  11. Did my last updates to my Hugo ballot, and calling it done. It’s not completely filled out (some categories, I just don’t follow–fancasts and art mostly; the editor ones are ones that I have great doubts about, and in a few other cases, spending most of February sick meant I was not able to read all I wanted). But, it’s done! And now we can wait for the results!

    In response to some of the other discussion going on in this thread: reading science fiction gave me such a strong place to question not only the canon of English Literature (which of course had to be radically challenged to include AMERICAN literature!) which I was assigned in my English classes in the 1970s but also the ideology and function of canonization in any field that I tend to start twitching at the thought of an Official SF canon that MUST be read (*stern taskmaster patriarchal authoritative voice holding large club*) whether it’s from the former Young Turks who challenged the exclusion of sf from “literature” or from fans lecturing other fans. Big nasty twitches.

    I’ve grudgingly accepted the depressing fact that human beings want canons (and what we have is an explosion of canons), but I don’t like it, don’t support it, and enough canoncrap from people makes me stop reading them (too bad Stylish doesn’t work on my android phone).

    For every set of foundational/influential works one person pimps, it’s possible to find other sets that were foundational/influential in other ways (and just because one book reminds generic-you of another doesn’t prove that the author read the other work–the standards of proof for that claim are substantially higher).

    *TWITCHES* off to do some grading and writing.

  12. _The Starbeast_ was the first SFF book I ever read. I was somewhere between nine and twelve at the time, I think.

    I went on to read just about every SFF book the library had, and I’ve missed _Tramp Royale_ but I think that’s the only Heinlein book I didn’t track down.

    I agree his handling of female characters is problematic, but when I was reading, in the mid to late 70s, he was really quite progressive.

    But I would never start someone–especially not a kid–on Heinlein now. Yeah, I think he was great in his time, but this is a different time. Reading Heinlein wouldn’t, IMO, help you appreciate the Temeraire books or the Laundry series or the Vorkosigan books or the Ancillary books, for example. And what if they did give you an extra 2% of appreciation–is that actually worth it if wading through a bunch of outdated material in which women always decide their true job is pleasing their man, and people are using slide rules for goodness sake to calculate orbital trajectories makes a bunch of new readers give up on the field entirely and never make it to the new stuff?

    Also has anyone noticed that the people who give up on the field because Heinlein’s attitudes about women and LBGT turn them off are going to be more likely to be–women and LBGT? Makes me wonder if the Puppies want the Heinlein gate for a reason.

  13. @James Moar : Well, now you’re blatantly leaving out stuff like Lucian’s True History and Aristophanes’ The Birds. And Plato’s The Republic, though that might be more of a prehistoric fantasy.

    ROTFL I had to make cutoff somewhere or possibly I’ve read those things. Since it’s only over the last 15+ years I started tracking my reading I don’t know exactly which Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient philosophers and such I’ve read. I have picked up a number of Delphi Collections of philosophers, playwrights, authors going back to Ancient Greece and Rome possibly older as they don’t put the time periods people lived. I read a number of Jewish works which pre-date Christianity. I’ve always been fascinated with others religious beliefs/mythologies. I’ve read stuff which goes back to B.C.E. when I was younger.

    Hmm I wonder if that’s why I’m not impressed with claims about the Golden Age being the best thing ever?

    Kathodus: @Tasha – I hope my comment didn’t come off as dismissive or policing your fannish credentials.

    Not at all. Thought you might be interested in more. LOL

    I hope you have a milder cold than I and my family caught. May you have a quick and complete recovery.

    I want to clarify a bit on the librarian bit. They would take me down to the children’s section to help me find books where I belonged which annoyed the heck out of my. They tried to work within my eclectic parameters. But 12 (or maybe I was 9 or 10) year-old girls didn’t belong in the adult section. The adult librarians were intimidating. It’s unusual for me to give up as I was very much a standup to authority person. That library has changed a lot since I was a kid. They do tons of innovative things to bring patrons in. Were I 10-12 and to walk in there today with my request the upstairs/adult librarians, including my sister, would help me rather than redirect me downstairs/to the children’s section.

    Prior to outgrowing the kids section I loved the library and it was a treat which could be used to bribe me into behaving well.

  14. @Tasha – I’m not sure how old I was, but I remember my parents had to explicitly give permission for me to be in/check books out of the adult library.

  15. I’m not sure how old I was, but I remember my parents had to explicitly give permission for me to be in/check books out of the adult library.

    I don’t remember dealing with that at the library we went to, but the SF and adult books were all on the main floor – children’s and periodicals were in the basement. After we moved to a different city, the branch library was half a mile down the street and I was there often.

  16. @PJ Evans – it was a small town in the Midwest. The librarians liked me (from what I remember), but they had to be careful about letting kids into the adult section – overprotective parents can be a pain. They still screened what I checked out, though they didn’t blink an eye when I checked out a few Henry Miller books.

  17. I have no memories of my parents censoring my reading. My mom certainly was reading non-fiction understand your body and understand sex/how babies are made books to us at younger ages than any of my friends parents were. I have no idea if our library required parents permission for kids to access the adult sections. If so my mother gave such permission as soon as I expressed an interest as she is the one who sent me upstairs when I was bored with kids books.

    Our taste in books has rarely aligned. It was easier for her to read the children’s books with me. When I started reading adult books her reading what I was stopped for the most part.

    By this stage in my life my dad was workaholic, full time alcoholic, and not around much except for month long summer vacations. By 13 they were separated and later divorced and my contact with him pretty much came to an end. I vaguely remember him being pleased I was a reader when it didn’t interfere with what he wanted to do with me. But I don’t remember him being actively involved in my reading post-5/6.

  18. As bookish child, I read pretty much everything I could lay my hands on including encyclopedias. A big part of my formative reading was books borrowed from family friends who had older children, which included children’s books both American (The Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew etc.) & British (any number of Enid Blyton, boy was she prolific). But the lightning bolt moment for me was reading a borrowed copy of the Hobbit (Science fiction came after). Not too long after that, getting a lending card to the local British Council Library opened the floodgates. I don’t use libraries much these days, but I still have an unnatural fondness for them.

  19. When my oldest sister got her first library card, my mother took one look at it, went to the librarian, and said, “Give her an adult card. She has my permission to read and check out anything in this library”, or words to that effect. To their everlasting credit, the library staff did it. And in our turns, we younger kids got adult cards, too. Something I appreciated when I ran out of Misty of Chincoteague books, and wanted to try something different. And that’s how I got into Agatha Christie and John Creasey mysteries. I suspect that the Toff books haven’t aged well, but I still like Poirot.

  20. As I remember, it was usually fairly common for “young children” to have to get parental permission to check out books from the adult section of the public library. It was a fairly simple process at my local library–a parent signed a card, the card went in the kid’s file, and that was that. The cut-off date was usually either 12 or 14–I think perhaps depending on whether or not the municipality in question had a separate junior high; when students had to start doing research outside of school libraries, the adult non-fiction section automatically opened up and brought the fiction section with it. I also remember (in my local library, at least) that librarians didn’t particularly care if I sat and READ books from the adult section while I was in the library–they just weren’t permitted to check them out on my (juvenile) library card. I read quite a bit of sf that way . . .

  21. For a significant part of my younger years, we lived around the corner from the library. My dad tried briefly limiting what I could read, and decided it was a bad idea, accomplishing nothing that wasn’t better achieved by talking to me about books. When the librarians had doubts about some of my choices, they talked to my parents, who assured them I had permission, and that was that.

  22. What I forgot to mention & apropos of the discussion: that British Council library card? My Aunt arranged it so I was allowed to take books out from the grown-up section. I was reading some of the literary critique of Tolkien at a young enough age that a lot of it was over my head. But I read it anyway.

  23. I haven’t had a library card in years, because I still haven’t gotten over the giddy pleasure of actually owning books, but I’m a huge fan. When I was eight and nine, we lived a block away from a library and I went there every day after school. I soon exhausted the juvenile collection (yay for L. Frank Baum and Misty of Chincoteague) and wasn’t allowed to check things out of the adult section without an adult card, but the very kind librarians used to drop hints about what I should read while I was there. Eventually the head librarian took pity on me and said if I got permission from my parents, they’d put a special stamp on my card and let me take home two adult books at a time.

  24. Regarding the juveniles, when I was a juvenile, Heinlein and Norton were my favorites, but when I revisited them in my twenties (quite a while ago), I found that Heinlein had been hit much harder by the suck fairy.

    Asimov’s juveniles never did much for me, either as a juvenile or later.

    Regarding libraries: I loved them when I was younger, but once I got old enough to start reading some of the SFF on my parents’ shelves, they became much less important to me. Growing up in a house where the walls were lined with SFF was quite pleasant. 🙂

    I don’t remember any troubles checking things out of the library, but I’m fairly certain that if I’d found something I wanted to read, and the library didn’t want to let me have it, my parents would have checked it out for me.

  25. First Heinlein I read from the local library contained such industrial strength incest that I’ve never been able read more. Not enough brain bleach and steel wool in the world.

  26. First Heinlein I read from the local library contained such industrial strength incest that I’ve never been able read more.

    I’m guessing that you started with Time Enough for Love.

  27. @IanP

    I wish I could say ‘oh, THAT book’ but, unfortunately, it could be any of several beginning in the 1970’s. I think his only worthwhile book from the 70’s and later is Friday. (And even that has a major WTF ending, though not involving incest).

    Ulcre-pbzcrgrag, trargvpnyyl raunaprq vagryyvtrapr pbhevre svaqf ure yvsr’f fngvfsnpgvba ol zneelvat ure encvfg naq frggyvat qbja gb orpbzr n qra zbgure. ERNYYL?!?

  28. Reasonably sure it was To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

    ETA, checking the synopsis confirms.

  29. @Stoic: “REALLY?!?”

    The possession of useful abilities does not mean one is required to embrace them and put them at the core of their life. I could be the best singer in the world, but if singing doesn’t make me happy, there’s nothing wrong with walking away from that to become an accountant. Maybe I like numbers.

    As for the encvfg bit, I got more of a “sryy va jvgu n onq pebjq, qvqa’g jnag gb or gurer, naq unf erunovyvgngrq uvzfrys gb ure fngvfsnpgvba” ivor sebz vg – frr gurve “jul fubhyqa’g V xvyy lbh abj?” qvfphffvba va puncgre 29. Vg tbrf avpryl jvgu gur “negvsvpvny crefbaf ner frpbaq-pynff pvgvmraf ng orfg” gurzr, juvpu va ghea qbirgnvyf jryy jvgu gur ernyvgl gung rira “rayvtugrarq sbyxf” jub ner gelvat gb qb gur evtug guvat – yvxr Obff – pna or oyvaq gb gur snpg gung gur Evtug Guvat zhfg vapyhqr yrggvat bccerffrq crbcyr znxr gurve bja pubvprf. Sevqnl qbrfa’g unir gb or n fhcrefcl orpnhfr Obff genvarq ure nf bar, naq juvyr V znl qvfnterr jvgu ure qrpvfvba gb sbetvir Crgr, vg’f ure qrpvfvba gb znxr. Nf sbe Crgr uvzfrys, ur qbrf unir gur iveghr bs vzzrqvngryl bjavat hc gb uvf pevzrf naq abg gelvat gb rkphfr gurz. Pbhcyr gung jvgu gur vafgnag xvafuvc Sevqnl srryf sbe nyy NCf, naq V pna ng yrnfg haqrefgnaq ubj N yrnqf gb O yrnqf gb P. Zvtug abg or n urnygul pubvpr, ohg synjf ner gur fbhy bs uhznavgl… naq fur vf uhzna, nsgre nyy.

    But that’s just my opinion. Others certainly differ.

  30. Reasonably sure it was To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

    That one was laced through with Heinlein’s odd obsession with intrafamily sex as well.

  31. @Rev Bob

    V haqrefgnaq gnyrag naq qrfver ner abg nyjnlf n 1:1 zngpu. Tvira Sevqnl’f frnepu sbe snzvyl guebhtubhg gur obbx vg’f rira n cynhfvoyr raqvat. Fbzrubj vg sryg qvfzvffvir bs jbzra gubhtu. V unq n fvzvyne ernpgvba gb Cbqxnlar jurer ure zbgure vf n onq zbgure ol orvat pnerre bevragrq. Obgu raqvatf vzcyl jbzra ner orggre bss, naq jbhyq varivgnoyl or unccvre, va gur xvgpura naq orqebbz guna va gur bhgfvqr jbeyq. V xabj lbh pna ernq vg qvssreragyl ohg n ybg bs crbcyr V xabj ernq vg gur jnl V qvq (abg gung na nccrny gb ahzoref zrnaf nalguvat).

  32. I’m puzzled — it seems Brian Z. has completely missed all of vonDimpleheimer’s hard work this year. Those collections are what I’m reading for Retro-Hugos.

    Despite being a fully-qualified SJW (with cats, even), there’s at least 2 Heinlein stories on my retro ballot. I still like the juveniles despite the sexism. I didn’t have any problem with him — even with the Issues — until after he died and became St. Bob to assholes who use his name as some sort of incantation/talisman. Many of whom haven’t even read him, like Puppies.

    For new YA books like Heinlein or Norton juveniles, I recommend the SF works of L.J. Cohen, beginning with “Derelict”. Has the can-do frontier spaceship spirit with modern prose style and avoids the Issues. Crack engineer protagonist is a teenage girl; her accidental posse includes two mixed-race brothers and a Japanese-ancestry woman. LGBT and disabled characters.

  33. @Stoic:

    Oh, the more general “Heinlein women are happiest when staying home and having kids” theme definitely has problems. Sure, some women (and some men!) indeed do match that, but when so many of them in such a relatively small group do, something’s amiss.* Likewise, the incest thing could’ve worked in one story, maybe two, but when it becomes so ubiquitous that it’s a theme, something has gone very wrong.

    I guess I’m more forgiving of Heinlein’s obsessions because I’ve always been a voracious reader; by the time I get back around to the same author (unless I’m doing a series read), my palate has been thoroughly cleansed by all the books I’ve read since their last one. I mean, I traditionally read 150 books in a year, and it was typical for authors to come out with one book – maybe two – in that time. That’s over six dozen new flavors between “repeats.” I’m happy repeating literal flavors far more frequently…

    * Pun not intended, for once.

  34. I was very ill. In true Princess Bride style (though before that book came out) my Dad trapped me in my sick bed and force-read me The Hobbit. With the hideous adult-only cover. I protested right up to the second sentence. Then he had to hide the book from me. He read all the way through the end of The Return of the King, finding increasingly obscure places to hide the books so I wouldn’t read ahead.

    The best present Mom ever gave me was subscribing to The Book of the Month Club just to get the premium which was The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillian, and a Tolkien biography.

    I’d already read some SF/F before then. But that’s when I got hooked for life.

  35. @lurkertype:

    Picked up Derelict on your recommendation. For the benefit of other lurker types, the author is happy to provide an EPUB version if Kindle isn’t your thing. (I got the option of PayPal or treating it as a format-shift from Amazon.) Very reader-friendly!

  36. Ultragotha, love it! I can easily see how that cover would throw you right off as a kid, and how quickly you’d become addicted.

    I enjoy re-reading The Hobbit more, generally, than Lord of the Rings. Not because of the length, but I like the tone much more. I do tend to start a Lotr re-read when I’m jonesing for a camping trip, though.

  37. @lurkertype:

    Picked up Derelict thanks. Sounds right up my alley. It’s currently on sale for $0.99 at Amazon. And File770 TBR grows again.

  38. ULTRAGOTHA: I was very ill. In true Princess Bride style (though before that book came out) my Dad trapped me in my sick bed and force-read me The Hobbit. With the hideous adult-only cover.

    Okay, now you’ve got me intensely curious. Which one is the adult-only cover?

  39. My mother made a very strong effort to censor my reading at one point–she was going through an intense evangelical phase, and no sex, excessive swearing, or questioning of Christianity was allowed. But she was also very busy and she thought that Star Trek novels were safe, wholesome books, and I rapidly learned that if I brought her a sacrificial book approximately once a quarter, saying that it had sex in it, this kept her convinced that I was abiding by her dictates. (Better, if I made it a library book, then I didn’t have to spend money.) The only problem was that when I would rhapsodize about something or other with a bad priest as villain–Ladyhawke comes to mind–she would get very upset that the Church was always the bad guy, and I would get a lecture during which young me would roll my eyes mentally about, because Mom clearly just did not understand.

    Eventually I managed to get two birds with one stone because she started buying me “christian fantasy novels” and most of them were nigh-unreadable tripe, but some also had sex–the Bible not being exactly a G-rated source–so I could ditch them and get my tithe of censorship out of the way at the same time.

    Alas, eventually all things end and there was a dreadful midnight purge years later when she went through my shelves and discovered that possibly I was not living in a world of PG fantasy after all…AKA, she found the Piers Anthony section. I talked very fast, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t believe me, but it was just too exhausting to keep trying to call me on it. So they all went in the trash. (Ironically, she also insisted on pitching the Christopher Sashteff, which was actual Christian fantasy, because he said something in his author bio about being a lapsed Catholic and that was Not Appropriate As A Role Model.) Got all the D&D and Dragon magazine stuff too.

    After that, I began hiding everything I really wanted to keep along the back of the roll-top desk. We had one more blow-up over Clan of the Cave Bear, but then I think she gave up.

    Well, years pass, and she still apologizes now and again. So it more or less worked out. But being rousted in the middle of the night to defend one’s reading material against the vengeful forces of the parental inquisition is one of those things that does rather stick with you in later life.

  40. So what you’re all saying, then, is that we’re about to test the Puppy claim that Heinlein could never get a Hugo nomination in this day and age…?

  41. RedWombat
    I was lucky. Mom threw out some comics, though never from moralistic reasons—just getting rid of stuff. When I started hunting down back issues, she helped me. We drove to Denver and Boulder in the days before I had a license, much like we went on thrift shop runs to Loveland and Greeley.
    In the early 70s, I learned that Mom has subscribed to the Chicago Tribune when she was working in DC (’42–3) so she could get the Spirit sections, which she saved. She later bought Spirit reprints and subscribed to the magazine. I think she got a letter published.
    Once, on a trip East, she stopped in at Kitchen Sink and talked to Denis Kitchen. I met him in 1984 at a con, and he was gracious enough to say that he remembered her. Who knows? Maybe he did. I sure do.

    Petrea Mitchell
    I can see it now. Robert Heinlein’s self-promotion blog. “NOMINATED FOR THE HUGO SCIENCE FICTION AWARD!!”

  42. Heinlein’s greatest work is in fact the novella, The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag. Which is also Urban Fantasy*. Which Dean Koontz “homaged” the crap out of with one of his 90s novels. Heinlein wrote a surprising amount of Urban Fantasy, such as the short story, “Our Fair City.” IIRC, enough to fill an anthology at one point. Regardless, Jonathan Hoag is best Heinlein. I found it both terrifying and moving.

    Be aware: husband & wife team of private detectives!

    *Some of you will probably insist the novella is really horror. But you are no fun. Plus, noir tropes!

  43. Kip W: I can see it now. Robert Heinlein’s self-promotion blog. “NOMINATED FOR THE HUGO SCIENCE FICTION AWARD!!”


  44. Jim Henley: Heinlein’s greatest work is in fact the novella, The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.

    Doesn’t matter that I don’t agree with this. I am inspired by your bold expression of personal integrity to declare it in front of the deity of your choice, if any, and everyone!

  45. @Mike Glyer: I’d actually read a lot of Heinlein before getting around to Jonathan Hoag – most of the juvies as a kid, plus the 60s novels and a couple of the 70s books and a ton of short stories, and really liked most of them. But none of them prepared me for Hoag. I loved the sheer, merciless efficiency of the storytelling, and I really loved how it is a story about the greatness of devotion. The last sentence hit me, as the kids say, right in the feels.

    I think I would even recommend it to the Heinlein-skeptical since it is so unlike the more canonical works.

  46. @Jim Henley Jonathan Hoag

    I think I would even recommend it to the Heinlein-skeptical since it is so unlike the more canonical works.

    Any rape, incest, or other issues I’d need to prepare for if I were to give it a try?

  47. When I was a kid (50 years ago!) the local library was only a block and a half away. I can still remember the joy I felt when I found Norton and the Heinlein juveniles. I think they were in the SF section with Asimov’s Foundation books and Anderson’s Flandry books and all the rest. In my mind’s eye I can see that SF part of the library.
    When I was in Jr. High one of the librarians noticed the books I was checking out and she would add to my stack with things like 1984 or Brave New World. If I could go back in time I would find her to thank her.
    Is it weird that I remember my library card number was J126?

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