Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Friday, July 06, 2007

  Why Heinlein?

"Have Spacesuit, will travel" was the first book of Heinlein's I remember reading.

I don't think it was the first science fiction book I'd ever read, but it was close to the first.

The storyline was preposterous but the characterizations of Kip and Peewee and especially the "Mother thing" wrapped themselves around my heart. Many character quirks were delightful (the lead character's father files his tax returns with an occupation of "spy" - I've been sore tempted file as "Smuggler") and so many scenes, like the contest to win the spacesuit using tag lines for soap, all caught my early attention. I must have read that book dozens of times.

I read "Stranger in a Strange Land" at far too early an age (14?), and spent much of the following years trying to sort out the truth from the fiction in that book. I was utterly confused about women. Tenative conclusion: (most) Women are wired differently. More news on that whenever I figure out more, or from my deathbed, from which I can theorize without consequences.

Only recently have I delved deeply into some of the background behind that book, in reading up on the life and times of the early Mormons. (I have a few recomendations here, more when I remember the titles).

It was "Moon is a Harsh Mistress" that caused me to read the rest of Heinlein's canon.

I was, oh, 11, I think, when I read that book, and emphasized with the main character ("Mycroft", a thinking computer) because we had the same name - so much that eventually I went into the computer field myself. There was a lot of that sort of weird autistic empathy in my impressionable years - Michael Valentine Smith, Mike Callahan - sometimes I think if I'd had a different first name I'd have turned out vastly different, and maybe happier.

Moon is a Harsh Mistress's retelling of the American revolution, written in a powerful russian/english patois is riveting! I loved all the characters in that book, even the warden. I vividly remember the book cover - which had a white one armed hero. Midway in the book, it turned out he was black, and I truly understood then that color didn't matter to me, but it apparently did to some people). The concept of line marriage and the revolutionary cell system, are concepts that have all stuck with me to this day.

Why am I at the centennial? I got invited to perform by one of the speakers here - she's giving 3 talks, including one enthusiastically entitled: "Sex!". Um, well, I got invited to perform... some music....

Evan is hopefully doing a song based on a passage of that book, entitled, "home". It's a heart tugger....

At the moment I'm in a session being given by the enthusiastic FAA administrator.

"The space program is speeding up, not slowing down" - she says.

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Comments:
I renewed my sunnyvale library card yesterday.. They've got a copy of 'rocket propulsion fundamentals'.. The unofficial arocket cookbook. Only in silicon valley would the municipal library have a highly academic text like that.

I guess the qualification on the FAA administrator's comments are "who's space program?" while the government manned program is mostly welfare for space-shuttle contractors the private space programs are certainly accelerating.
 
I'd blush, but...the format of a 55 minute panel doesn't give nearly enough time to talk about important topics like Sex!!!!!

*hug*
 
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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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