Robert A. Heinlein Is J.K. Rowling

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…at least to the right-libertarian crowd.

You can’t go through a single conversation about books, science fiction, anything without Heinlein being invoked as if he’s some kind of deity, or as if his future history is somehow prophecy (even though it was kinda poorly strung together later as a retcon to make them all in the same universe).  You see his books talked about in almost the same fashion as SJW millennials do with… yes, Harry Potter.

Yes, the average right-libertarian’s facebook page looks almost like the sign above when it comes to Robert A. Heinlein. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress proves government should get out of our lives! In both cases, I gotta tell people — it’s not real.

While Heinlein’s work tends to have a bit more political philosophy in it than Harry Potter, in both instances they are taken to extremes for “the cause” which just cause onlookers to eye roll because it’s yet another instance of the same thing being repeated. And it glosses over that Heinlein’s obsession with free-sex relationships in later books gets borderline on downright creepy. You don’t usually hear those being championed in these circles.

Whether you’re a Harry Potter’d millennial or a right-libertarian Heinlein obsessee, the solution remains the same: read another book.

Edgar Rice Burroughs and Poul Anderson often present better archetypes for living. As was mentioned on Twitter today, ERB’s Mars/Venus stories amount to a young strapping man exploring and working hard, and he topples evil dictatorships by just his sheer willingness to fight. We don’t have that anymore, and it’s something you can’t really find in protagonists in Heinlein books. Anderson presents positive aspects of military service and loyalty in his Fire Time or Young Flandry series, and gives some awesome Deus Vult In Space action in The High Crusade. But these books never get referenced in terms of policy, debate, or anything else. Why not?

The breadth of reading is what stretches our imaginations and will enable us to come up with better, more creative solutions than the same talking points regurgitated about a couple of authors. Let’s develop some new references so we don’t look like dated millennials.

If you find me amusing or heck are even offended, another book you could check out is my The Stars Entwined, just out a couple of weeks ago to positive reviews. It tackles themes of loyalty, love, war, and what it means to be human. Kinda like a lot of Heinlein books. Check it out here.

 

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10 thoughts on “Robert A. Heinlein Is J.K. Rowling

  1. Actually, I was saying Otis Adelbert Kline’s Mars/Venus books were about young strapping men exploring and working hard, and toppling evil dictatorships by just sheer willingness to fight, but it’s true of Burroughs, too.

  2. I think it is saddening and baffling how, when it comes to science fiction, so many still praise the works of Asimov and Heinlein when, in my opinion, Poul Anderson touched on such things as politics, philosophy, war, peace, religion, the rise and fall of civilizations, etc., in far more profound and interesting ways. I would recommend readers to look up his Nicholas van Rijn and Dominic Flandry stories from his early and middle phase and then the HARVEST OF STARS books in his later years.

    Sean M. Brooks

  3. Strange post, dude.
    Heinlein = Rowling because reader set “A” likes Heinlein and unconnected reader set “B” likes Rowling? I take it logic isn’t your strong point.

    His “kinky” sex stuff is extrapolation of the sexual revolution going on when he was writing. Since he was a speculative fiction writer and not a fantasy writer like Rowling he incorporated that speculation of where the sexual revolution would end into his books. Unless there’s some kind of moral U turn I’d say is projections are looking pretty much spot on.

    • Mr. Bee,
      I disagree. I recall reading in the collection of Heinlein’s letters called GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE statements from him saying that his thoughts and views about sexual matters PRE-dated the so-called sexual revolution. It was simply that RAH’s editors in the ’40’s and ’50’s acted as a restraint on his worst instincts as a writer.

      I said “worst” because when RAH started really letting down his hair about sexual matters, beginning with STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, the quality of his writing catastrophically declined. Put frankly, most of RAH’s later books, beginning with STRANGER, were BORES. He became tiresomely, wearisomely obsessed with sex and ruined what might have been a truly fascinating novel, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, with his sexual manias. I read I WILL FEAR NO EVIL twice before I gave up on that book.

      There is more, much more, to life and the universe than just sex. I believe Heinlein’s best work is to be found in his pre-STRANGER books. I do partially except THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS from my condemnation of most his later books. BECAUSE in that book we again see RAH speculating about and examining far more ideas and issues than the merely sexual.

  4. Sorry, simply because his worldview isn’t great doesn’t deter me from reading him and enjoying him. I don’t particularly care about a dead author’s worldview or politics so long as the story is entertaining. Of the Heinlein books that I’ve read(and admittedly they aren’t many) I enjoyed all of them. It’s sad that people only recommend him because he has libertarian views, but I guess that’s Heinlein’s fault for imbuing them so much in his fiction.

    That said, you get a thumbs up from me for recommending Burroughs and Anderson. The latter is one of the most underrated authors of the last century.
    Reading them made me realize that it’s possible to write a story in under 200 pages with a beginning, middle and end, full character arcs, good plotting and deep themes. Modern fantasy authors could learn a lot from him.

    • Constantin,
      It’s not Heinlein’s libertarianism which bothered me. As a conservative I agree with many of the libertarian criticisms of the state. What irritated me about many of Heinlein’s later works, beginning with STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, was how they BORED me. For reasons I’ve already written about in earlier comments.

      I do agree with your comments about Burroughs and Poul Anderson. Esp. the latter, who is my single most favorite SF writer! Yes, Anderson had a real talent for writing fully developed novels under 200 pages.

      While I love Anderson’s fantasies, such as THE BROKEN SWORD and THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS, I lean more to preferring his hard science fiction. Such as THE ENEMY STARS, A CIRCUS OF HELLS, THE BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS, etc.

  5. I think people want so much to claim an author as one of their own in order to legitimize whatever belief system they find comfortable that they tend to get selective about which writings of said author that they champion. Jack London wrote great self-made man stories but also preached socialism. People who are trying to crown an ideological literary Messiah tend to ignore one or the other; or worse, they purity spiral and decide they can’t enjoy anything of his because he “compromised.”

    • Mr. Johnson,
      I disagree because I think it is possible to enjoy a writer’s works while not agreeing with his political or ideological views. You mentioned Jack London, and those of his works which I enjoyed were his fictions, not whatever political tracts he may have written. I simply don’t recall CALL OF THE WILD, for instance, preaching any kind of particularly political message.

      What I’m trying to say is that, these days, the MESSAGE is overwhelming or trumping the need for writers to compose INTERESTING stories readers will want to read. Social Justice Warriors and Identity Politics cranks are ruining science fiction (along with other kinds of fictions) by pushing the “message” ahead of the story.

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