Sunday, 01 July, 2001

Discovering Heinlein

I didn't read much science fiction until 1989 or so.  Mostly I stuck with Robert Ludlum spy novels, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King.  Those genres anyway.  It's not that I disliked SF, just that I hadn't explored it.  Debra had the "Hugo Winners" books when we met, and I started reading SF there.  As you can imagine, there are still holes in my knowledge of the field.

One such hole is Robert A. Heinlein.  I read Stranger in a Strange Land about 10 years ago on the recommendation of a friend.  My friend was less than pleased with my opinion (a bunch of free-love, "I'm OK, you're OK" bullshit), and then gave me another Heinlein title--I Will Fear No Evil (incoherent is my kindest comment).  Looking back, I can hardly believe that I actually finished that book.  I figured that with those two "highly recommended" books, I didn't need to read any of Heinlein's lesser works.  After all, my friend wouldn't recommend two of the author's worst books, would he? 

Another friend recommended some other titles.  Friday I picked up Starship Troopers and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  I finished Troopers on Saturday and made a large dent in the other today.  Now I understand why the SF community holds Heinlein in such high regard.  I also understand why Heinlein fans were so disappointed with the movie.  I'll have to find somebody to steer me to the good stuff and away from the crap.  Some friends have told me that Mistress is the last of his good works.  I'll keep that in mind.