SF history

Anyone who has been around lit SF for any amount of time is likely aware of the nearly instant debate that can be generated with a single name: Robert A Heinlein.
Depending on who you ask, Heinlein was….
A Communist
A Fascists
A Hippie
An Authoritarian
A Libertarian
The best Sf Writer of all time. (including future tense)
A Hack
A talented creator of female characters.
A sexist.

And he was all these things at the same time. Truly he is the Rorschach test of SF Fandom.
One of his most controversial works was the novel Starship Troopers. He wrote the book as a juvenile, it was rejected, new material was added and ti has not been out of print ever since. This is the book many point to when they call Heinlein a Fascist.

I have stumbled across — thanks to the comments and discussions at TOR SF an archive of criticisms and defenses of Starship Troopers spanning a time from 1959 when it was being serialized in F&SF through its publication as a novel and ending in 1963.

Wow. The Heinlein flame wars are sort of like the 100 years war. This was a fascinating series of comments and essays to read. It has not moved my thoughts on the matter. (I’m a Heinlein Fan, but I worship no man. Something I think got from reading Heinlein; though — like Ayn rand — fantatical followers are upsetting and close-minded.) The essay comparing Starship Troopers with The Star Dwellers has made me want to find a copy of The Star Dwellers and give it a read.

If you have any interest at all this link is worth your time.


Sunday Night Movie: The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)

By way of my Netflix account I got ahold of the Blu-ray for the 1938 production of The Adventures Of Robin hood, starring Errol Flynn as Robin Hood.

There have been a number of Robin hood productions. The character has been in the popular imagination for literally centuries. Which means two things to movie makers.

One, that there is a built-in audience for the stories, and producers love a built-in audience. Producers really hate risk, when it comes to putting money into films they can be very conservative.

And two Robin Hood is in the Public Domain and they don’t have to pay no rights to nobody.

This production of Robin Hood was hardly the first. Douglas Fairbanks had been in a very successful silent version and was considered the definitive screen Robin Hood until this film was realeased. Continue reading Sunday Night Movie: The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)


Monday Monday

‘Can’t stand that day.’

Seems to be an off Monday all around. I have been having one and off headaches, while my sweetie-wife has been suffering from migraines.

I have managed to edit a chapter and a half tonight. (Typing in the edits is a fairly brainless job, as the hard calls were made when I put the changes down on the manuscript with ink and paper.) I have two new scenes to write for Chapter 7, but they will have wait for my faculties to improve.

As it stands I am about a third of the way through and I haven’t burned the manuscript yet.


Bloody Brilliant

When little Aiden toddled up our daughter Johanna and asked to play with her Elmo ball, he was, admittedly, very sweet and polite. I think his exact words were, “Have a ball, peas [sic]?” And I’m sure you were very proud of him for using his manners.

To be sure, I was equally proud when Johanna yelled, “No! Looter!” right in his looter face, and then only marginally less proud when she sort of shoved him


This is a taste of a wonderful spoof on Randian Objectivism brought to the playground. It’s well wortha  read.


Not Superstitious

So today is Friday the 13th and frankly that makes me happy. Fridays are good days in general. The weekend is kicking off, I’ll hang out with my friends and play games. The business is less busy the freeways are less congested. (There are actually fewer accidents on the road on Friday the 13th than on other days.)

So if you are huddling in a cave on this day, well that neither picks my pocket nor does it break my leg so have fun. Me? I’m going to enjoy today.


Another new link

If you are a fan of the original Star Trek television series, you should check the link in my blog roll to Star Trek re-watch.

Two bloggers over at TOR SF are watching every episode of Star Trek (The Original Series) in broadcast order and bloggin about each episode.

It’s almost better for the bad episodes as much as for the great ones.

I have really enjoyed the feature and it, strangely, has me looking forward to Season 3.


Not much to say

I had a lot to say and frankly I still do, but I am too tired to say it.

I am continuing to make progress on the final version of Cawdor. I finished editing Chapter 5 tonight. Could have pushed on to Chapter 6, that there’s a new scene that needs to be composed for the middle of that chapter and I am not wuite up to it.

Oh, if you have an interest in fashion you might visit the new blog on my blog roll, any second now. It’s run by a friend of mine from my day-job. Pay her a visit.


Musing on Marriage

Continuing off from the recent court ruling on marriage I have a few questions for people who feel that the ruling was in error.

Do you feel that marriage is a fundamental albeit unenumerated right or is it a privilege of government?

If you feel it is a fundamental right, who sort of reasonable restrictions can the state place upon it before the government has overstepped its bounds and intrudes in the exercise of that fundamental right?

Can the State restrict marriage to only mixed-gender couples that are fertile? Force infertile people to substitute a civil union for their marriage?

Can the State restrict marriage to mixed-gender couples of only the same political party affiliation?

Can the State restrict marriage to mixed-gender couples of only the same race? (Yes, Loving vs West Virginia said no the state cannot, but you might feel that was another example of judicial tyranny.)

Can that State restrict marriage to mixed-gender couples of only the same religious preferences?

For my own opinion marriage IS a fundamental right, though it is unenumerated in the US Constitution. Any of the above restrictions are infringements on the exercise of that right, as is the restriction that it can only be practiced by mixed-gender couples.


Sunday Night Movie: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Yesterday I got the news that award winning actress Patricia Neal has passed away and I resolved to make my Sunday Night Movie The Day The Earth Stood Still.

I have not seen very many films with Patricia Neal, but from what I have seen she was a talented actress of diverse skill and range. The films I know her best from are, of course, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and  A Face In The Crowd.

The first film clearly SF and the second very nearly SF. If you have never seen A Face In The Crowd this is a must see movie. A great, absolutely stellar cast, a pitch-perfect scrip and just as relevant today as when it was made.

Back to last night’s movie.

The Day The Earth Stood Still is a classic of SF films, and is a classic of films in general. Made in 1951 it was ahead of the curve for SF films, leading, along with Destination Moon, the charge into SF films of the 50s. Sadly, most of the films that followed were heavy on ray guns, monsters, and adventure and light in the thought and ideas that science-fiction can explore so well.

Very loosely inspired by the Harry Bates short story, Farewell the Master,  the movie is about the arrival of an alien, Klaatu, and his robot, Gort, to the planet Earth. Klaatu is greeted with gunfire and suspicion. The alien has a mission and message, but refuses to share it with any one nation or people, insisting that it must be heard by representatives of all the peoples and nations of the Earth.

This of course is impossible in a world divided between the United States and the USSR. Frustrated by terran stupidity, Klaatu eascape his captivity to learn more about humans and their fears firsthand.

What follows is in part a message film, in part a lovely look at the Earth through alien eyes, and in part a manhunt. (Or an alien-hunt if you prefer.)

I have problems with the specific message delivered in the film, but that’s okay. It’s a wonderful story, wonderfully told. I am not as allergic to ‘smug aliens’ as some of my friends are.

Of course if you have never seen this movie, I urge you to rent it. I own it on Blu-ray and the effects hold up very well for a film nearly 60 years old.

DO NOT see the remake. There is no remake. I refuse to acknowledge it.