A Heinlein Anecdote

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Gary Farber

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Dec 24, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/24/95
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This from a note to the Timebinders mailing list for RIchard Lynch's work
on an Outline of 1960's fanhistory. I thought I'd give it double-duty.
Waste not, want not. Those interested in Timebinders, which does *not*
discuss Robert Heinlein, but matters of fanhistory, and projects to
preserve it, may write: timebinde...@smith.chi.il.us

The keepers of the list, Dick Smith and Leah Zeldes Smith are away for the
week, however.

- HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION
> Alexei Panshin's detailed dissection of the novels of Robert A.
Heinlein
> published (when?)
> Heinlein hated it (quote available?)
> (fan reactions?)

There's a lot one could say about this controversy, but much of it is
more appropropriate to a book on Heinlein. But among other issues,
Heinlein was enraged over an issue having to do with letters to a
friend of his. I can't give you the gospel version, so don't take this
as such: this is a hazy recollection: I *think* a widow of Heinlein's
friend sent Panshin a bunch of letters Heinlein had written her dead
husband. Panshin read them, found them only relating to Heinlein's
personal life, and returned them. Heinlein was given the idea that
Panshin had intruded into his personal life and he found this
unforgiveable.

I was one of the few eye-witnesses to their only meeting after this, in
1973, when Heinlein spoke at the 92nd St.Y in NYC. After his talk,
Heinlein sat at a small table in the lobby and signed autographs. Panshin
walked up and stuck out his hand, beginning an apology to Heinlein.
Heinlein wouldn't let him complete his first sentence, interrupting him
with the coldest "Good day, Sir!" and refusing to take his hand. Panshin
tried several times, but just got his words interrupted with "Good day,
Sir!"

After several attempts, and Heinlein's utter refusal to even listen to a
single sentence of an apology (which Alexei Panshin was clearly trying to
do, managing to get out a few bits), Alexei gave up: it was his only
possible choice.

I was still neo enough in 1973, lord, a mere 23 years ago, to write up a
brief semi-coherent version of this for Dick Geis, with whom I'd been
corresponding in my young, neoish way (I was 13), and -- here's the
idiotic part -- I was so naive and neoish, I didn't think Geis would print
what I wrote in THE ALIEN CRITIC (the once and future SFR). I thought it
was just private gossip. After all, who would care what little me said?
Who would publish me in this Mighty and Important zine?

Nitwit. As if any gossp about *Robert Heinlein* wouldn't be printed. So
Geis printed my incoherent version, which gave Alexei Panshin the
impression I was sucking up to Heinlein, and he gave me the back of his
hand, figuratively speaking. At the age of 13, I was distraught. I
survived. I learned.

Heinlein never forgave Panshin. It never seemed at all fair, as I
understood the situation.

-- Gary Farber gfa...@panix.com
Copyright 1995 Brooklyn, NY, USA

JOHN BOSTON

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Dec 24, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/24/95
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As I recall Panshin's own account of this incident, which I obviously
read many years ago, the letters in question were to Sgt. Arthur George
Smith, to whom STARSHIP TROOPERS was dedicated.

John Boston

Ahasuerus the Wandering Jew

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Dec 24, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/24/95
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Gary Farber (gfa...@panix.com) wrote:
: This from a note to the Timebinders mailing list for RIchard Lynch's work
: on an Outline of 1960's fanhistory. I thought I'd give it double-duty.
: [snip]
: > - HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION

: > Alexei Panshin's detailed dissection of the novels of Robert A. Heinlein
: > published (when?) [snip]

First published by Advent in 1968.

[Gary's account of the events of 1973 snipped]

Sigh. Humans, what do you expect? :( However, it's fairly well known that
it is advisable to *mail* all and any serious apologies. That way you (a)
prevent potential misunderstandings often caused by anxiety attacks and
suchlike, (b) protect yourself by retaining a copy of what you wrote, and
(c) avoid scenes like the one just described. Hopefully, somebody will
learn from this unfortunate incident.

--
Ahasuerus http://www.clark.net/pub/ahasuer/, including:
FAQs: rec.arts.sf.written, alt.fan.heinlein, alt.pulp, the Liaden Universe
Biblios: how to write SF, the Wandering Jew, miscellaneous SF
Please consider posting (as opposed to e-mailing) ID requests

Ben Yalow

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Dec 24, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/24/95
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>I was one of the few eye-witnesses to their only meeting after this, in
>1973, when Heinlein spoke at the 92nd St.Y in NYC. After his talk,
>Heinlein sat at a small table in the lobby and signed autographs. Panshin
>walked up and stuck out his hand, beginning an apology to Heinlein.
>Heinlein wouldn't let him complete his first sentence, interrupting him
>with the coldest "Good day, Sir!" and refusing to take his hand. Panshin
>tried several times, but just got his words interrupted with "Good day,
>Sir!"

As another eyewitness, Gary description is pretty accurate.

I was still pretty much a neo then; I'd only been in fandom a few years
when I saw it, and didn't have the background until later (although I had
read the Panshin).

I have never before or since seen someone as icily cold, and utterly
polite, as Heinlein at that encounter. It was *very* clear that he felt
that he was the victim of an unforgiveable sin. But, at the same time,
it was clear that he felt that he was a *gentleman*, and would not be other
than polite. (Or call for his seconds, if it were permitted.)

Ben
--
Ben Yalow yb...@panix.com
Not speaking for anybody

Gary Farber

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Dec 24, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/24/95
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Ahasuerus the Wandering Jew (aha...@clark.net) wrote:
: [Gary's account of the events of 1973 snipped]

: Sigh. Humans, what do you expect? :( However, it's fairly well known that
: it is advisable to *mail* all and any serious apologies. That way you (a)
: prevent potential misunderstandings often caused by anxiety attacks and
: suchlike, (b) protect yourself by retaining a copy of what you wrote, and
: (c) avoid scenes like the one just described. Hopefully, somebody will
: learn from this unfortunate incident.

I don't know this for a fact, and could have it either completely wrong,
or just garbled, but I believe I recall hearing, or reading, that Panshin
had written such apologies several times, but they were either returned
unopened, or otherwise disregarded.

My understanding is that Alexei Panshin made every effort short of
parachuting onto the Heinlein grounds. Again, I could have an
exaggerated sense of this.

I'm certainly not trying to hold Panshin up as a saint to Heinlein's
demon. Panshin's views on Heinlein are most arguable, and fault can be
found with them. Heinlein's views on his privacy are well known (or they
were). But he was, among many other things, what I might loosely call "a
touchy guy." I am fairly sure that Panshin had tremendous love for
Heinlein's work, and no desire whatever to offend him.

This is why it strikes me as rather sad.

Oh, well.
--

Graydon

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Dec 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/25/95
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Gary Farber (gfa...@panix.com) wrote:
: I'm certainly not trying to hold Panshin up as a saint to Heinlein's

: demon. Panshin's views on Heinlein are most arguable, and fault can be
: found with them. Heinlein's views on his privacy are well known (or they
: were). But he was, among many other things, what I might loosely call "a
: touchy guy." I am fairly sure that Panshin had tremendous love for
: Heinlein's work, and no desire whatever to offend him.

: This is why it strikes me as rather sad.

Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin
is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.

I'm not a particularly touchy person, but I would be hard pressed to think
of a sufficent apology; to borrow a term from Tepper, such a person has
just demonstrated themselves quite conclusively to be without bao. 'If
you can't kill them, don't interact with them at all' is an _excellent_
rule in such cases.

--
saun...@qlink.queensu.ca | Monete me si non anglice loquobar.

Rick Cook

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Dec 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/25/95
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Gary Farber wrote:
>Heinlein never forgave Panshin. It never seemed at all fair, as I
>understood the situation.
>
From Heinlein's point of view it was perfectly fair. Heinlein was very
much a reflection of the culture that reared him. That included certain
notions about what you did and did not do. If you transgressed on those
notions you were beyond the pale.

It was part of being a gentleman.

There's also the fact that anything Heinlein said to Panshin was probably
going to find its way into print in one form or another, possibly in an
additional work on Heinlein.

--RC

Gary Farber

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Dec 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/25/95
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JOHN BOSTON (jbo...@mci.newscorp.com) wrote:
: As I recall Panshin's own account of this incident, which I obviously

: read many years ago, the letters in question were to Sgt. Arthur George
: Smith, to whom STARSHIP TROOPERS was dedicated.

So I was reminded by Tom Perry. Correct.

Avram Grumer

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Dec 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/25/95
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In article <4ble81$5...@news2.delphi.com>, rc...@BIX.com (Rick Cook) wrote:

> From Heinlein's point of view it was perfectly fair. Heinlein was very
> much a reflection of the culture that reared him. That included certain
> notions about what you did and did not do. If you transgressed on those
> notions you were beyond the pale.

Is this the same Robert Heinlein who opened _Glory Road_ with a quote from
Shaw's _Caesar and Cleopatra_, defining a barbarian as one who "thinks
that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature"?

--
Avram Grumer | If music be the food of love,
av...@interport.net | then some of it be the twinkies
http://www.users.interport.net/~avram | of dysfunctional relationships.

Gary Farber

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Dec 25, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/25/95
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I have a bit of follow-up on the episode of Heinlein and Panshin at the 92nd
St. YMHA in 1973.

Tom Perry asked me to post this for him, as he's feeling a bit under the
weather at the moment. The following is *his* writing, excerpted from
some letters to the Timebinders e-mailing list.

TOM PERRY SAID:

> - HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION
> > Alexei Panshin's detailed dissection of the novels of Robert A. Heinlein
> > published (when?)

> > Heinlein hated it (quote available?)
> > (fan reactions?)

The book was supposed to be published in 1965 or '66, I believe.
Reportedly, Heinlein threatened Advent with a lawsuit if they published
it. Advent then backed off on publishing it, and the editor of a fanzine
named RIVERSIDE QUARTERLY [Leland Sapiro - gf] offered to serve as a test
case; he published a number of chapters of the book, and no legal action
was taken. Advent published the book in <pause to reach over to bookcase>
...in 1968.

Panshin had earlier published an article in a fanzine edited by Redd
Boggs (the LASFS's SHANGRI-L'AFFAIRES, I believe) that reportedly
first triggered Heinlein's anger. It concerned sexuality in Heinlein's
fiction, and came to the conclusion that Heinlein had trouble facing
up to adult sexuality. Boggs is supposed to be responsible for the
title, which was "By His Jockstrap" (mocking Heinlein's "By His
Bootstraps").

Panshin also acquired letters written by Heinlein to an ultraconservative
fan called "Sarge" Smith, who had been a machine-gunner in the Spanish-
American War. I believe his full name was Arthur George Smith, and
that he is the person to whom STARSHIP TROOPERS is dedicated. Panshin
says that (1) he wrote to Sarge Smith, as he did to many others who knew
Heinlein, asking for information; (2) his letter arrived shortly after
Smith's death, and (3) his widow wrote back offering Panshin the letters
that Heinlein had sent Smith. Panshin's account was reportedly disputed
by Mrs. Smith and by Heinlein. But Panshin did see the letters.
Heinlein's threat to sue Advent was (again, reportedly) based on the
fact that Panshin had seen these letters and might use quotes or information
from them. Panshin said he found nothing of interest in the letters and
returned them to Mrs. Smith. As noted above, there was apparently no
lawsuit.

Panshin's account of this can be found in Ed Meskys's fanzine NIEKAS,
issue #35, dated 1987; his article is entitled "Heinlein, Moskowitz and Me."
That article embodies one printed in the midsixties in the Coulsons'
fanzine YANDRO - the original article by which the controversy became
known to fandom. It will tell you lots more. So would Panshin, I
expect.

Pinning down Heinlein's part of it may be harder. The letter or letters
to Advent threatening legal action do not appear in GRUMBLES FROM THE
GRAVE, the posthumous book of the author's letters edited by his widow,
nor do any other letters on the subject. In 1990, a researcher at the
Heinlein archives at the University of California at Santa Cruz asked to
see letters about Panshin or his books and was told such files could be
seen only with Mrs. Heinlein's specific permission.

To relate this back to Heinlein's work, Panshin believes (with good reason,
I think) that he is the unforgiven critic mentioned in the last chapter of THE
NUMBER OF THE BEAST, and he wrote something in response in SF IN DIMENSION.

<snip>

I have seen somewhere a version of this Heinlein-Panshin meeting
that said Heinlein had warning that Panshin would come and try
to shake his hand. (The cur!) Part of the warning was a
description of Panshin, since Heinlein otherwise would not have
known him.

[I have a vague memory of having read this somewhere myself, later, but
can't vouch for it.--gf]

Panshin seemed to feel at that time that Heinlein had simply
been misinformed about the contents of his book - that if only
he knew that Panshin was for the most part a great admirer of
Heinlein's, he would act differently. Heinlein, for his part,
has been described as very hostile toward criticism of any kind.

Not surprisingly, Panshin has changed; his views on Heinlein are
now quite negative, I believe.

<snapped>

One thing you might want to add (or to know yourself): A picture
of Sarge Smith appears, without identication, in GRUMBLES FROM
THE GRAVE. In the photo on page 85, he's the bearded fellow
holding Heinlein's Hugo.

Bob Webber

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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In article <4bldvr$i...@knot.queensu.ca> Graydon,
saun...@qlink.queensu.ca writes:

>Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
>somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
>all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin
>is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.

Yes, but please note that neither Panshin nor Heinlein was living in
Heinlein's
universe: both were living in the same squalid space-time continuum as the
rest of us. As Gary noted, it is sad that Heinlein wouldn't be approached
for an apology and possible reconciliation.

>I'm not a particularly touchy person, but I would be hard pressed to think
>of a sufficent apology; to borrow a term from Tepper, such a person has
>just demonstrated themselves quite conclusively to be without bao. 'If
>you can't kill them, don't interact with them at all' is an _excellent_
>rule in such cases.

In response to your first comment (in my best Hope Leibowitz voice),
"Matthew
B. Tepper said that!?" Regarding your second comment, you appear to
believe
that killing people is better than ignoring them when they are "without
bao."

It always saddens me when people take such positions while arguing in
favour
of Heinlein, like the guy at Minicon who was zapping at everybody he
thought
didn't like Heinlein with a toy gun at a panel discussion. As pointed out
by Avram Grumer in another part of this thread, this is the same Heinlein
who referred to people who think that the laws of their tribe are the laws
of the universe as barbarians (through a character's mouth) and (in
"Coventry"?)
had a character state that she couldn't be insulted because the truth was
not insulting, lies were laughable.

How could Heinlein have thought that Panshin had demonstrated anything
"quite
conclusively" without talking to him in person? Why should he want to
kill
someone based on the reports of third parties? When I run across this
kind
of statement, I wonder how long the person making it would last in the
company
of _tMiaHM_ Loonies before being shown to an airlock.

Graydon

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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Bob Webber (web...@world.std.com) wrote:
: In article <4bldvr$i...@knot.queensu.ca> Graydon,

: saun...@qlink.queensu.ca writes:
: >Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
: >somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
: >all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin
: >is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.

: Yes, but please note that neither Panshin nor Heinlein was living in
: Heinlein's
: universe: both were living in the same squalid space-time continuum as the
: rest of us. As Gary noted, it is sad that Heinlein wouldn't be approached
: for an apology and possible reconciliation.

Everybody lives in the reality their mind creates (hopefully on the basis
of sensor input most of the time); I can't *imagine* reading Heinlein's
novels and expecting him *not* to go utterly ballistic over reading his
mail without permission. I really can't.

: >I'm not a particularly touchy person, but I would be hard pressed to think


: >of a sufficent apology; to borrow a term from Tepper, such a person has
: >just demonstrated themselves quite conclusively to be without bao. 'If
: >you can't kill them, don't interact with them at all' is an _excellent_
: >rule in such cases.

: In response to your first comment (in my best Hope Leibowitz voice),
: "Matthew
: B. Tepper said that!?" Regarding your second comment, you appear to
: believe
: that killing people is better than ignoring them when they are "without
: bao."

Sherri S. Tepper said that. (If you want the background, you want the
last Jinian book - :Jinian Star-eye: I think.)

And yeah, someone without bao is unable to live in society; either get
them into a different society (which is what ignoring them constitutes a
little of, by refusing them *your* society), or kill them. No really
obvious third option for a person of adult years; conversion experiences
of the neccessary magnitude are very, very rare.

: How could Heinlein have thought that Panshin had demonstrated anything


: "quite
: conclusively" without talking to him in person?

Something to do with actions speaking louder than words, and being held
accountable for one's deeds, I expect.

: Why should he want to kill


: someone based on the reports of third parties? When I run across this
: kind
: of statement, I wonder how long the person making it would last in the
: company
: of _tMiaHM_ Loonies before being shown to an airlock.

I didn't say Robert Heinlein wanted to kill anybody; I was speaking for
myself there. If someone were to read my private correspondence to
someone without my permission, I would be most unlikely to speak to them
ever again, and I would certainly at least consider killing them. (There
area lot of good reasons not to, of course, but there can come times when
those reasons ring rather hollow.)

And if you don't think the Loonies had unbreachable social conventions,
you didn't read the book very carefully. Whether or not I'd be able to
deduce what those conventions were in sufficent time is something of a
moot point.

Mean Green Dancing Machine

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca>,

Graydon <saun...@qlink.queensu.ca> wrote:
>
>If someone were to read my private correspondence to
>someone without my permission, I would be most unlikely to speak to them
>ever again, and I would certainly at least consider killing them. (There
>area lot of good reasons not to, of course, but there can come times when
>those reasons ring rather hollow.)

Sorry, Graydon, but when you send something to someone else, you place
your trust in the person you sent the mail to, not in any third party.
To my mind, blaming a third party for the actions of a second is much
more reprehensible than virtually any possible action the third party
could take.
--
--- Aahz (@netcom.com)

Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6
Androgynous kinky vanilla queer het nipple boy

Fourth Virtual Anniversary: 6 days and counting

Ben Friedlander

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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>Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
>somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
>all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin
>is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.

Writers sell their manuscripts and correspondence to university archives all
the time, and rarely take the trouble to tell their correspondents that they
have. A poet I vaguely knew sold her archives to U.C. San Diego some years
back, and included in the files love letters from another poet, one I knew
a little better. I was visiting the university so I spent a few hours looking
at her papers. When I came across the love letters and realized what they were,
I put them aside in embarrassment (notwithstanding a reasonable amount of
curiosity!). Told my friend that his love letters were open to the public when
next I saw him, expressing surprise that they'd not been sealed. He was aghast.
And since then I've learned this is more common than uncommon.

Panshin as researcher ought to have a cleaner conscience than the recipent of
those letters, who allowed them to be seen. Unless Panshin actively sought
access. But of course, that was an earlier, perhaps more private era.

Ben F.

Seth Breidbart

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca>,
Graydon <saun...@qlink.queensu.ca> wrote:

> I can't *imagine* reading Heinlein's
>novels and expecting him *not* to go utterly ballistic over reading his
>mail without permission. I really can't.

This is the same Heinlein who wouldn't guarantee that a horse had a
leg at each corner, expecting that words wouldn't be read? That's
hard to believe.

Seth

Cecil Rose

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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av...@interport.net (Avram Grumer) wrote:

>In article <4ble81$5...@news2.delphi.com>, rc...@BIX.com (Rick Cook) wrote:

>> From Heinlein's point of view it was perfectly fair. Heinlein was very
>> much a reflection of the culture that reared him. That included certain
>> notions about what you did and did not do. If you transgressed on those
>> notions you were beyond the pale.

>Is this the same Robert Heinlein who opened _Glory Road_ with a quote from
>Shaw's _Caesar and Cleopatra_, defining a barbarian as one who "thinks
>that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature"?

Why should realizing that the customs of one's particular society are
not universal make one any less observant of those customs? After
all, it is the society you live in. And those customs exist because
the fulfill a need.

Cecil Rose
ala...@earthlink.net
Carson, California


Steve Simmons

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:

>Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
>somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
>all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin
>is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.

This misunderstands the issue of an apology. If both Panshin and Heinlein
felt that what Panshin did was wrong, then an apology was the correct
response. If Heinlein felt the offense was unforegivable, then refusing
the apology was the right thing to do. The actions of both parties makes
sense to me.

KFackler

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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In article <4bldvr$i...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca
(Graydon) writes:

>Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
>somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
>all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin

>is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.

This is especially interesting in the light of a viewpoint taken by Col.
Campbell
in tMiaHM, i.e., that an appropriate way to deal with rudeness is by
killing the
offender. Maybe Panshin should have counted himself fortunate. I bet RAH
was
a great shot!

WAYNE JOHNSON

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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Stevens R. Miller writes:
>
>In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> saun...@qlink.queensu.ca

(Graydon) writes:
>
>>If someone were to read my private correspondence to
>>someone without my permission... I would certainly at least consider
>>killing them.
>
>What is it about Heinlein that causes otherwise reasonable people to
>say things like this?

Interesting observation...perhaps it's the unabashed conservatism of
Heinlein. No other author, I believe, would consider the murder of a
person at his dinner table in a restaurant as simply an unforgivable
breach of manners; yet in The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, this is how
Colin Campbell saw it - and made it appear to be the most important
aspect of the incident.

It's the conservatism of feudal lords, concerned more with appearance
than actual need. Heinlein's outrage reminds me of the quote
attributed to Henry Stimson, who refused to aggressively use
intelligence information about Japanese diplomatic activity before WWII
on the grounds that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail."

The charm of such a quirky world view seems to rub off on Heinlein's
fans.

Wayne Johnson
cia...@ix.netcom.com

Stevens R. Miller

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:

>If someone were to read my private correspondence to
>someone without my permission... I would certainly at least consider killing
>them.

What is it about Heinlein that causes otherwise reasonable people to say
things like this?

--
Stevens R. Miller http://www.interport.net/~lex/

David G. Bell

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
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In article <4bldvr$i...@knot.queensu.ca>
saun...@qlink.queensu.ca "Graydon" writes:

> Gary Farber (gfa...@panix.com) wrote:
> : I'm certainly not trying to hold Panshin up as a saint to Heinlein's
> : demon. Panshin's views on Heinlein are most arguable, and fault can be
> : found with them. Heinlein's views on his privacy are well known (or they
> : were). But he was, among many other things, what I might loosely call "a
> : touchy guy." I am fairly sure that Panshin had tremendous love for
> : Heinlein's work, and no desire whatever to offend him.
>
> : This is why it strikes me as rather sad.
>

> Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
> somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
> all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin
> is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.
>

> I'm not a particularly touchy person, but I would be hard pressed to think
> of a sufficent apology; to borrow a term from Tepper, such a person has
> just demonstrated themselves quite conclusively to be without bao. 'If
> you can't kill them, don't interact with them at all' is an _excellent_
> rule in such cases.

The trouble is that Heinlein, from the accounts given, seems to have
jumped to a conclusion. And it isn't as if Panshin had been digging
into something totally private -- there was a public dedication of a
book to Sgt. Smith. So we have a situation where there is a clear
possibility that something in the relationship was important to the
book, and Panshin, as a critic, trying to track this down.

And, arguably, the widow, as much as Panshin, making a dreadful mistake.

We don't know what was in the letters Panshin wrote, that Heinlein
apparently returned unopened. More important, Heinlein cannot have
known what was in an unopened letter. And even a short written
response, nothing more than "I cannot forgive what you did, and do not
wish to have any further contact with you," could have kept the whole
sad business private. Even if Panshin had later reported that, would it
have been any worse than what did happen?

Yet I have the niggling doubt that, just as Heinlein apparently made his
judgement based on hearing only one side of the story, we are not
hearing his side. We cannot. Were these letters the only such case?
Did Panshin really have all his letters returned unopened? All we
really know for sure was that Heinlein refused to speak to Panshin. We
think we know why, and that reason is consistent with what else is known
of Heinlein, but what are we missing? In these circumstances, can we
trust Panshin's account?

--
David G. Bell -- Farmer, SF Fan, Filker, Furry, and Punslinger..

Never criticise a farmer with your mouth full.

Graydon

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
Stevens R. Miller (l...@interport.net) wrote:

: In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:
: >If someone were to read my private correspondence to
: >someone without my permission... I would certainly at least consider killing
: >them.

: What is it about Heinlein that causes otherwise reasonable people to say
: things like this?

On the planet I'm from, _everybody_ is like this. Has nothing to do with
reading Heinlein.

Society doesn't survive if there are no consequences to breaking social
rules. Killing someone is an extreme response to most failures to observe
social rules, but there's nothing wrong with considering such an option.

Mean Green Dancing Machine

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bnr3v$1...@azure.acsu.buffalo.edu>,

Ben Friedlander <v080...@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu> wrote:
>
>Writers sell their manuscripts and correspondence to university archives all
>the time, and rarely take the trouble to tell their correspondents that they
>have. A poet I vaguely knew sold her archives to U.C. San Diego some years
>back, and included in the files love letters from another poet, one I knew
>a little better. I was visiting the university so I spent a few hours looking
>at her papers. When I came across the love letters and realized what they were,
>I put them aside in embarrassment (notwithstanding a reasonable amount of
>curiosity!). Told my friend that his love letters were open to the public when
>next I saw him, expressing surprise that they'd not been sealed. He was aghast.
>And since then I've learned this is more common than uncommon.

Side note on copyright: the possessor of a letter has the right to do
with it what zie will; however, the copyright still vests with the
author, and if someone other than the author publishes the letter, zie
can be sued.

Stevens R. Miller

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bo81n$a...@cloner2.ix.netcom.com> cia...@ix.netcom.com(WAYNE JOHNSON) writes:

>Stevens R. Miller writes:

>>(Graydon) writes:

>>>If someone were to read my private correspondence to
>>>someone without my permission... I would certainly at least consider
>>>killing them.

>>What is it about Heinlein that causes otherwise reasonable people to
>>say things like this?

>Heinlein's outrage reminds me of the quote


>attributed to Henry Stimson, who refused to aggressively use
>intelligence information about Japanese diplomatic activity before WWII
>on the grounds that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail."

>The charm of such a quirky world view seems to rub off on Heinlein's
>fans.

Yeah, that's as good a guess as any I've heard. It's a striking mix of
reserve and aggression that has more than mere shock value. One can imagine
being the life of the party for fifteen minutes by making remarks of this
kind, particularly if one is well dressed and holding a glass of Chivas.
The contrast between the appearance of sophistication and the claim of brutal
justice always gets an audience (for a short while). (Wonder what Stimson
would have said to the mothers of soldiers killed by his manners, though.)

In the vast majority of cases, the person who makes silly claims like this
will never be given the chance to act on them. That makes them cheap and easy
to say. I hear it all the time in my law practice (i.e., "if the courts can't
give me justice, I'll get it myself" <pats hip where imaginary gun keeps
speaker warm>). It's all bluster, of course. Even in Heinlein's case, he
seems to have been more talk than do, on the killing front (which, of course,
is to his credit). As Gary Farber has relayed, Heinlein threatened more suits
than he appears ever to have brought (and what an interesting sidebar that is,
given the CW that RAH detested legal process). I doubt that a man who would
refrain from suing over letters would ever actually resort to murder in the
same case.

Now, of course, the legions of wannabe Heinleiners will come forth to argue
that murdering the reader of your letter is somehow more noble or gentlemanly
or sensible than serving him with a summons and complaint. In advance, I will
ask them why their mentor never actually seems to have followed this rule.

David E Romm

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bp2l6$o...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca
(Graydon) wrote:

> Stevens R. Miller (l...@interport.net) wrote:
> : In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> saun...@qlink.queensu.ca

(Graydon) writes:
> : >If someone were to read my private correspondence to
> : >someone without my permission... I would certainly at least consider
killing
> : >them.
>
> : What is it about Heinlein that causes otherwise reasonable people to say
> : things like this?
>

> On the planet I'm from, _everybody_ is like this. Has nothing to do with
> reading Heinlein.
>
> Society doesn't survive if there are no consequences to breaking social
> rules. Killing someone is an extreme response to most failures to observe
> social rules, but there's nothing wrong with considering such an option.

You live on a different planet than most. Sorry, but reading
correspondence is simply not a killing offense, except to those car bomb
conservatives who don't allow any gray areas at all.

The main problem here is that Heinlein was wrong. Panshin, writing a
biography/critical work, is going to see various things Heinlein wrote
that Heinlein might not want to see print. And Panshin didn't print
them. By the descriptions here, Panshin behaved honorably and Heinlein
behaved like a six year old throwing a tantrum.

As Ahasueros noted, this minor peccadillo doesn't deminish Heinlein's
accomplishments. The unflattering incident shapes our view of Heinlein
the man, not necessarily Heinlein the writer.
--
Shockwave radio: Science Fiction/Science Fact
http://www.winternet.com/~romm
FAQ, Distribution Tapes, Top 11 Lists, scripts, sound files, more

Rick Cook

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
Avram Grumer wrote:
>In article <4ble81$5...@news2.delphi.com>, rc...@BIX.com (Rick Cook) wrote:
>
>> From Heinlein's point of view it was perfectly fair. Heinlein was very
>> much a reflection of the culture that reared him. That included certain
>> notions about what you did and did not do. If you transgressed on those
>> notions you were beyond the pale.
>
>Is this the same Robert Heinlein who opened _Glory Road_ with a quote from
>Shaw's _Caesar and Cleopatra_, defining a barbarian as one who "thinks
>that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature"?
>

Heinlein would NOT have claimed that his way was the only way. What we
would say is that it was HIS way. Want to interact with him? Play by his
rules. Choose not to and no general moral odium attaches. He just won't
interact with you.

There is a difference between recognizing that there are many possible
codes of behavior, each perhaps equally effective, and not having a code of
behavior of one's own.

--RC

Rick Cook

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
Bob Webber wrote:
>Yes, but please note that neither Panshin nor Heinlein was living in
>Heinlein's universe: both were living in the same squalid space-time
continuum >as the rest of us. As Gary noted, it is sad that Heinlein
wouldn't be approached
>for an apology and possible reconciliation.
>
However each was living by his own code of behavior. Under Heinlein's code
there was no excuse for what Panshin had done. Ergo, Heinlein didn't want
anything to do with him.

Personally I don't see this as sad at all.

--RC

Graydon

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
David E Romm (ro...@winternet.com) wrote:
: In article <4bp2l6$o...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca
: (Graydon) wrote:
: > On the planet I'm from, _everybody_ is like this. Has nothing to do with
: > reading Heinlein.
: >
: > Society doesn't survive if there are no consequences to breaking social
: > rules. Killing someone is an extreme response to most failures to observe
: > social rules, but there's nothing wrong with considering such an option.

: You live on a different planet than most.

No shit.

: Sorry, but reading


: correspondence is simply not a killing offense, except to those car bomb
: conservatives who don't allow any gray areas at all.

Piffle.

If you make the argument that correspondence is fair game (which it is
not, in law, wrt publication; Salinger got that one demonstrated pretty
solidly), you've asserted that society has no proper respect for a fairly
large are of personal privacy.

There are violations of privacy sufficently consequential to merit lethal
responses; they're very rare and somewhat pathological cases, but they
exist. (Making public something that the principals have privately dealt
with that will require the principals to resolve publicly to their great
detriment, for sufficently large values of 'detriment', for instance.)

: The main problem here is that Heinlein was wrong. Panshin, writing a


: biography/critical work, is going to see various things Heinlein wrote
: that Heinlein might not want to see print. And Panshin didn't print
: them. By the descriptions here, Panshin behaved honorably and Heinlein
: behaved like a six year old throwing a tantrum.

You're presuming that claiming the status of critic or biographer
entitles you to violate someone's privacy. This is not the only
reasonable view on the matter.

Barry DeCicco

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bp2l6$o...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:
|> Stevens R. Miller (l...@interport.net) wrote:
|> : In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:
|> : >If someone were to read my private correspondence to
|> : >someone without my permission... I would certainly at least consider killing
|> : >them.
|>
|> : What is it about Heinlein that causes otherwise reasonable people to say
|> : things like this?
|>
|> On the planet I'm from, _everybody_ is like this. Has nothing to do with
|> reading Heinlein.
|>
|> Society doesn't survive if there are no consequences to breaking social
|> rules. Killing someone is an extreme response to most failures to observe
|> social rules, but there's nothing wrong with considering such an option.
|>
|> --
|> saun...@qlink.queensu.ca | Monete me si non anglice loquobar.

I suggest that you get some help, or go back to the planet which you
cam from. In SOME societies, people are not to quick to go off
killing others, or even to publicly state that they are 'considering' doing
so.


Barry

Bob Webber

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> Graydon,

saun...@qlink.queensu.ca writes:
>And if you don't think the Loonies had unbreachable social conventions,
>you didn't read the book very carefully. Whether or not I'd be able to
>deduce what those conventions were in sufficent time is something of a
>moot point.

The Loonies also used judges, not involved in the affair in question,
to decide whether or not to kill someone. I don't recall that the
society in question was described as having strong correspondence
privacy conventions. My reading of the novel is that they would
have had a strong convention guarding against private killings
for motives which had not been revealed and adequately examined.

Shooting somebody down, without even knowing for sure what he
looked like, the first time you met him, based on your suspicion
that he had read your correspondence with somebody else (which
he claimed he was permitted to read)... Do the YMHAs on the
Moon have airlocks? I bet they have qualified judges and socially
concerned citizens with guns.

Bob

Bob Webber

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bp2l6$o...@knot.queensu.ca> Graydon,

saun...@qlink.queensu.ca writes:
>Stevens R. Miller (l...@interport.net) wrote:
>: In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:
>: >If someone were to read my private correspondence to
>: >someone without my permission... I would certainly at least consider killing
>: >them.
>
>: What is it about Heinlein that causes otherwise reasonable people to say
>: things like this?
>
>On the planet I'm from, _everybody_ is like this. Has nothing to do with
>reading Heinlein.

So what planet ARE you from? My guess would be that your remark
is hyperbole, that you're really from Earth, but I have to think
that you're not from Canada even though you post from a system there.

>Society doesn't survive if there are no consequences to breaking social
>rules. Killing someone is an extreme response to most failures to observe
>social rules, but there's nothing wrong with considering such an option.

What about the social rules that say that a person has a right
to a trial, a right to confront an accuser, a right to defend
her actions? Guess we'll just have to take ol' RAH out and
shoot him. He was a good dog, but then he started insulting people
in public and in writing...

James Nicoll

unread,
Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bpbs8$h...@news2.delphi.com>, Rick Cook <rc...@BIX.com> wrote:
>
>Heinlein would NOT have claimed that his way was the only way. What we
>would say is that it was HIS way. Want to interact with him? Play by his
>rules. Choose not to and no general moral odium attaches. He just won't
>interact with you.
>
>There is a difference between recognizing that there are many possible
>codes of behavior, each perhaps equally effective, and not having a code of
>behavior of one's own.

Hmmm. In _Space Cadet_, much is made of the correct set of manners
that all cadets are expected to learn, regardless of their home culture.
I can see a number of ways of looking at this part of the plot:

* It was Annapolis writ large, with the diverse cultures of the
world replacing those of the USA. The US of the first
half of the 20th century had an upperclass culture which
was the 'right' one*, so the world of the 21st century
had one, too.

* It was a method intended to deal with the problems of the diverse
cultures of the cadets by replacing them with a commen set
of rules and assumptions.

Any thoughts?
~r
James Nicoll
--
" The moral, if you're a scholar don't pick up beautiful babes on deserted
lanes at night. Real Moral, Chinese ghost stories have mostly been written
by scholars who have some pretty strange fantasies about women."
Brian David Phillips

Graydon

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
James Nicoll (jam...@coulomb.uwaterloo.ca) wrote:
: Hmmm. In _Space Cadet_, much is made of the correct set of manners

: that all cadets are expected to learn, regardless of their home culture.
: I can see a number of ways of looking at this part of the plot:

: * It was Annapolis writ large, with the diverse cultures of the
: world replacing those of the USA. The US of the first
: half of the 20th century had an upperclass culture which
: was the 'right' one*, so the world of the 21st century
: had one, too.

: * It was a method intended to deal with the problems of the diverse
: cultures of the cadets by replacing them with a commen set
: of rules and assumptions.

: Any thoughts?

It's quite possibly both; The Patrol is definately an American institution
in its antacedents, with some remarkably American purposes (suppressing
all warfare for the benefit of commerce). So I can easily see that it
would inherit the institutional manners of its institutional predecessors
(because they were 'right'), and that it involved a deliberate attempt to
create its own culture, both because of its mission and for the ussual
institutional reasons.

Also note that :Farmer in the Sky: makes it clear that the Patrol
eventually failed, in the face of extreme population pressure.

Matt Hickman

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
7In <DK67s...@world.std.com>, Bob Webber <web...@world.std.com> writes:
<snip>

> it is sad that Heinlein wouldn't be approached
>for an apology and possible reconciliation.
<snip>

It seems to me that an apology is something like a 'gallant proposition.'
Whether is is received with welcome acceptance or a cold stare and a
brush off is entirely up to the individual being approached.

We can second guess the principals involved all we want. But we
cannot know know all that they knew or their thought processes. For
example, there could be other factors than the Sarge Smith letters involved.
According to another post in this thread, Smith's widow disputed Panshin's
version of how he got the letters. It is conceivable that there was a
misrepresentation on the part on Panshin in getting the letters, or
perhaps a perception that Panshin took undue advantage of a widow in
mourning. And if Panshin was sincere in his wish to apologise why didn't
he take the next step and do it publically in the _SFWA Journal_ or _Locus_?

My feeling is that Heinlein was entirely within his rights to refuse to talk to
Panshin under these or any other circumstances. And I do not feel qualified to
sit in judgement regarding an incident over twenty years in the past, with only
second hand information and no input from at least one of the principals. Others
may judge or not judge as they wish.

Matt Hickman bh...@chevron.com
OS/2 Systems Specialist, Chevron Information Technologies Co.
(Henry Kiku to Betty) "Young lady, you have the morals of snapping turtle
and the crust of a bakery pie."
Robert A. Heinlein (1907 - 1988)
_The Star Beast_ c. 1954

Ken Arromdee

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <romm-26129...@ppp-66-87.dialup.winternet.com>,

David E Romm <ro...@winternet.com> wrote:
>The main problem here is that Heinlein was wrong. Panshin, writing a
>biography/critical work, is going to see various things Heinlein wrote
>that Heinlein might not want to see print.

Why should the fact that he is a critic have any effect on whether he was
wrong in reading the letters?
--
Ken Arromdee (arro...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu, karr...@nyx.cs.du.edu;
http://www.cs.jhu.edu/~arromdee)

"Any creature who would disguise itself as a bone, obviously has no sense of
fair play!" -- Superboy Annual #1

Rick Cook

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
WAYNE JOHNSON wrote:
>Interesting observation...perhaps it's the unabashed conservatism of
>Heinlein. No other author, I believe, would consider the murder of a
>person at his dinner table in a restaurant as simply an unforgivable
>breach of manners; yet in The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, this is how
>Colin Campbell saw it - and made it appear to be the most important
>aspect of the incident.
>
>It's the conservatism of feudal lords, concerned more with appearance
>than actual need. Heinlein's outrage reminds me of the quote

>attributed to Henry Stimson, who refused to aggressively use
>intelligence information about Japanese diplomatic activity before WWII
>on the grounds that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail."
>
Hogwash.

Or more correctly, an extremely parochial perspective. Because you don't
understand a set of customs makes them neither wrong nor laughable.

--RC

Rick Cook

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
David E Romm wrote:
>The main problem here is that Heinlein was wrong. Panshin, writing a
>biography/critical work, is going to see various things Heinlein wrote
>that Heinlein might not want to see print. And Panshin didn't print
>them. By the descriptions here, Panshin behaved honorably and Heinlein
>behaved like a six year old throwing a tantrum

The main problem is that you simply can't grasp customs and outlooks
significantly different from your own.

Heinlein had a very different take on the matter than either you or
Panshin. Which does not make him right any more than it makes you or
Panshin wrong. However he had every right to act on on it to the extent
that he did. (Shooting someone for such an action is obviously something
else again. Note that Heinlein never even suggested it in this case.)

You may disapprove of his actions. But that doesn't make him wrong either.

Personally the only thing I find astonishing about the matter is that
Panishin was so utterly dense that after studying Heinlein for years and
writing a book about him he was completely unable to understand the
perfectly obivous outcome.

--RC

Rick Cook

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
Graydon wrote:
>
>If you make the argument that correspondence is fair game (which it is
>not, in law, wrt publication; Salinger got that one demonstrated pretty
>solidly), you've asserted that society has no proper respect for a fairly
>large are of personal privacy.
>
>There are violations of privacy sufficently consequential to merit lethal
>responses; they're very rare and somewhat pathological cases, but they
>exist. (Making public something that the principals have privately dealt
>with that will require the principals to resolve publicly to their great
>detriment, for sufficently large values of 'detriment', for instance.)
>
Now you're setting yourself up as the judge of what is proper social
behavior. Heinlein, please note, didn't do this. He simply decided what was
right for him and lived it.

--RC

P Nielsen Hayden

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bpnvf$2b...@news-s01.ny.us.ibm.net>,
rrs...@ibm.net (Matt Hickman) wrote:

>My feeling is that Heinlein was entirely within his rights to refuse to talk
>to Panshin under these or any other circumstances. And I do not feel
>qualified to sit in judgement regarding an incident over twenty years in the
>past, with only second hand information and no input from at least one of the
>principals.

Excuse me while I get control of my eyebrows again. Are these two sentences
from the same post?

-----
Patrick Nielsen Hayden : p...@tor.com


Graydon

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
Rick Cook (rc...@BIX.com) wrote:
: Graydon wrote:
: >There are violations of privacy sufficently consequential to merit lethal
: >responses; they're very rare and somewhat pathological cases, but they
: >exist. (Making public something that the principals have privately dealt
: >with that will require the principals to resolve publicly to their great
: >detriment, for sufficently large values of 'detriment', for instance.)
: >
: Now you're setting yourself up as the judge of what is proper social
: behavior. Heinlein, please note, didn't do this. He simply decided what was
: right for him and lived it.

Sure.

Nor am I saying that I think I'm the proper judge of social conduct; I
was making a statement on the basis of what I'm, personally, willing to
put up with. If society disagrees, well, bad things happen to me.

I also think it is difficult to read Heinlein's actions in this matter as
*not* containing a moral judgement; I don't doubt that he would not have
presented it as the only possible moral judgement, but I can't see a line
of convincing argument that would suggest that he didn't make one.

David MacLean

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <DK7It...@world.std.com>

Bob Webber <web...@world.std.com> wrote:
>In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca> Graydon,
>saun...@qlink.queensu.ca writes:
>>And if you don't think the Loonies had unbreachable social conventions,
>>you didn't read the book very carefully. Whether or not I'd be able to
>>deduce what those conventions were in sufficent time is something of a
>>moot point.
>
>The Loonies also used judges, not involved in the affair in question,
>to decide whether or not to kill someone. I don't recall that the
>society in question was described as having strong correspondence
>privacy conventions. My reading of the novel is that they would
>have had a strong convention guarding against private killings
>for motives which had not been revealed and adequately examined.
>

Actually, I was just rereading tMiaHM when your post appeared. The
appropriate section comes when Mannie is talking with Stu after
the "trial" and after Slim and Tish leave. It starts with a question
from Stu:

"Mannie, you're telling me that I can murder a man and settle the matter
merely with money?"

"Oh, not at all! But eliminating isn't against some law; are no laws -
except Warden's regulations - and Warden doesn't care what one Loonie does
to another. But we figure this way: If a man is killed, either he had it
coming and everybody knoes it - usual case - or his friends will take care
of it by eliminating the man who did it. Either way, no problem. Nor many
eliminations. Even set duels aren't common."

The point is that loonies don't use judges regularly; in fact, it was
pointed out that "After he lost a leg, he set up as a judge and was
quite successful; was not another judge in L-City at that time who did
not have side business, at least make book or sell insurance."

And in the case of Stuart Rene LaJoie versus the stilyagi, it was pointed
out:

"And pack of boys set upon him and roughed him up. Then decided he had
to pay for his "crime" - but do it correctly. Find a judge.

Most likely they chickened. Chances are not one had ever dealt with an
elimination. But their lady had been insulted, had to be done."

Judges were used only when the "plaintiff" was not 100% sure that he/she
was right, and had to have his beliefs confirmed by some authority.
Witness the stilyagi who were erecting a temporary airlock as an exercise
and were heckled. They took the heckler out and dumped him in vacuum.
No trial! And the talk after the event was over the thought that they
had been "hasty", not over whether they were "wrong".

It is my reading of the novel that those who heard of a "killing" with
little or no word on motive decided that it was none of their business;
either there was adequate motivation, or, if there was not, the person
that did the killing would be taken care of, probably by himself being
killed.


>Shooting somebody down, without even knowing for sure what he
>looked like, the first time you met him, based on your suspicion
>that he had read your correspondence with somebody else (which
>he claimed he was permitted to read)... Do the YMHAs on the
>Moon have airlocks? I bet they have qualified judges and socially
>concerned citizens with guns.

That would depend on what you mean by "qualified" judges. It appears
that in the novel, a person is qualified to do something if he does
it and is successful. Mannie goes to a "practical doctor", and judges
make book or sell insurance on the side.

I would wager that Heinlein's idea of a "socially concerned" citizen and
your idea of a "socially concerned" citizen are poles apart. Heinlein
had a streak of MYOB a mile wide, where as I find, from your post,
a willingness to accept outsiders sticking their noses into somebody
else's business when that business has little or nothing to do with
that outsider.

--
***************************************************************************
David E. MacLean dmac...@tibalt.supernet.ab.ca
***************************************************************************


David E Romm

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bppsi$c...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu>,
arro...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu (Ken Arromdee) wrote:

> In article <romm-26129...@ppp-66-87.dialup.winternet.com>,


> David E Romm <ro...@winternet.com> wrote:
> >The main problem here is that Heinlein was wrong. Panshin, writing a
> >biography/critical work, is going to see various things Heinlein wrote
> >that Heinlein might not want to see print.
>

> Why should the fact that he is a critic have any effect on whether he was
> wrong in reading the letters?

Panshin was doing research. The letters were sent to him, the person they
were addressed to had died; he had permission to read them from his
widow. Are you suggesting that he shouldn't read his mail? I can show
you letters other people wrote me. It wouldn't be wrong of you to read
them, but it would be wrong of you to publish them. Panshin didn't
publish the letters. Panshin did the right thing. If Heinlein was going
to be mad at anyone, it should have been Mrs. Smith.


--
Shockwave radio: Science Fiction/Science Fact
http://www.winternet.com/~romm

"Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much of life. So aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something." -- Thoreau

David E Romm

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bprvc$k...@news2.delphi.com>, rc...@BIX.com (Rick Cook) wrote:

> David E Romm wrote:
> >The main problem here is that Heinlein was wrong. Panshin, writing a
> >biography/critical work, is going to see various things Heinlein wrote

> >that Heinlein might not want to see print. And Panshin didn't print
> >them. By the descriptions here, Panshin behaved honorably and Heinlein
> >behaved like a six year old throwing a tantrum
>
> The main problem is that you simply can't grasp customs and outlooks
> significantly different from your own.
>
> Heinlein had a very different take on the matter than either you or
> Panshin. Which does not make him right any more than it makes you or
> Panshin wrong. However he had every right to act on on it to the extent
> that he did. (Shooting someone for such an action is obviously something
> else again. Note that Heinlein never even suggested it in this case.)
>
> You may disapprove of his actions. But that doesn't make him wrong either.

Perhaps it's Heinlein who couldn't grasp customs and outlooks
significantly different than his own...

> Personally the only thing I find astonishing about the matter is that
> Panishin was so utterly dense that after studying Heinlein for years and
> writing a book about him he was completely unable to understand the
> perfectly obivous outcome.

I suspect that at the time, Panshin worshipped Heinlein as a hero, and
simply couldn't believe Heinlein would be that unreasonable.


--
Shockwave radio: Science Fiction/Science Fact
http://www.winternet.com/~romm

"Every person takes the limits for their own field of vision for the limits of the world." -- Arthur Schopenhauer

Ulrika

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca
(Graydon) writes:

>And yeah, someone without bao is unable to live in society; either get
>them into a different society (which is what ignoring them constitutes a
>little of, by refusing them *your* society), or kill them. No really
>obvious third option for a person of adult years; conversion experiences
>of the neccessary magnitude are very, very rare.

This, of course, supposes that there is such a thing as a single,
monocultural, doxically homogenous "society" available to dictate
the fact of the matter with respect to being without bao. If there is
no such monoculture, if the society is doxically heterogenous,
then there is no fact of the matter. In the 1970s it was already
the case that there was no doxic monoculture, thus no fact of the
matter. Heinlein was behaving precisely like his own vision of a
barbarian, but then, he does not seem to have been a man known
for his flexibility.

--Ulrika

Ulrika

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca
(Graydon) writes:

>And if you don't think the Loonies had unbreachable social conventions,
>you didn't read the book very carefully. Whether or not I'd be able to
>deduce what those conventions were in sufficent time is something of a
>moot point.

Yes, it is open to debate, isn't it?

--Ulrika

Richard Newsome

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Dec 26, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/26/95
to
In article <4bprvc$k...@news2.delphi.com> rc...@BIX.com (Rick Cook) writes:
>
>Personally the only thing I find astonishing about the matter is that
>Panishin was so utterly dense that after studying Heinlein for years and
>writing a book about him he was completely unable to understand the
>perfectly obivous outcome.

I don't dislike Alexei Panshin, and I think it is a loss to the field
that he doesn't write very much anymore. However, I think that ultimately
the real cause of his problem with Heinlein was the fact that Panshin did
NOT understand Heinlein very well. Try reading _Heinlein in Dimension_
some time and see if you don't agree -- Panshin was trying to squeeze
Heinlein into a pigeonhole designed for some other writer of the older
generation, or maybe for a father Panshin feared and resented. Panshin's
comments on Heinlein do not map very well to the real Heinlein, in my
opinion -- they appear to be aimed at some straw man he's invented.

Panshin had the right idea in thinking that he needed to dig more deeply
into Heinlein's background -- had he gotten farther in his researches I
suspect he would have seen the contradictions between the real Heinlein
and the crude working hypotheses Panshin was trying to project onto him.


Kevin B. O'Brien

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
Our correspondent in Tierra del Fuego reports that
saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon), wrote:

>If you make the argument that correspondence is fair game (which it is
>not, in law, wrt publication; Salinger got that one demonstrated pretty
>solidly), you've asserted that society has no proper respect for a fairly
>large are of personal privacy.

Not at all. If you turn the question around, this becomes more
apparent. Suppose I mail you something. By your logic, I have just
imposed an obligation on you to keep it private, which by your logic I
can enforce with the death penalty. You have no say in the matter at
all.

Odd planet you live on.


Kevin B. O'Brien
ko...@ix.netcom.com
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest."
Mark Twain

Rick Cook

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
James Nicoll wrote:
> Hmmm. In _Space Cadet_, much is made of the correct set of manners
>that all cadets are expected to learn, regardless of their home culture.
>I can see a number of ways of looking at this part of the plot:
>
> * It was Annapolis writ large, with the diverse cultures of the
> world replacing those of the USA. The US of the first
> half of the 20th century had an upperclass culture which
> was the 'right' one*, so the world of the 21st century
> had one, too.
>
> * It was a method intended to deal with the problems of the diverse
> cultures of the cadets by replacing them with a commen set
> of rules and assumptions.
>
I'd say correct in both cases. Heinlein had experienced the advantages of
having a common set of behavior and expectations for groups like military
officers. In a real sense "Space Cadet" is simply Annapolis moved to the
21st Century -- or perhaps more realistically, one of those boys books
about military cadets moved into the 21st Century.

I think Heinlein also understood the problems with that approach, although
he usually dealt with them only peripherially in his books.

--RC


Ahasuerus the Wandering Jew

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
Michael R Weholt (awnb...@panix.com) wrote:
> ulr...@aol.com (Ulrika) wrote:

> >saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon) writes:
> >> Whether or not I'd be able to deduce what those conventions were in
> >> sufficent time is something of a moot point.
> >
> >Yes, it is open to debate, isn't it?
>
> Ah! At last! A kindred spirit who knows what "moot" actually means!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, folks, but I am afraid all of you are
right :-)

moot adj
1a: open to question : DEBATABLE
1b: subjected to discussion : DISPUTED
2 : deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic

--
Ahasuerus http://www.clark.net/pub/ahasuer/, including:
FAQs: rec.arts.sf.written, alt.fan.heinlein, alt.pulp, the Liaden Universe
Biblios: how to write SF, the Wandering Jew, miscellaneous SF
Please consider posting (as opposed to e-mailing) ID requests

Rick Cook

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
Graydon wrote:
>I also think it is difficult to read Heinlein's actions in this matter as
>*not* containing a moral judgement; I don't doubt that he would not have
>presented it as the only possible moral judgement, but I can't see a line
>of convincing argument that would suggest that he didn't make one.
>
Hmm. Slight difference in terminology here. Say rather Heinlein did not see
his actions as containing a *universial* moral judgement. They most
certainly reflected a judgement on his part, but for Heinlein that was
personal matter.

--RC

Rick Cook

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
David E Romm wrote:
> Panshin didn't
>publish the letters. Panshin did the right thing. If Heinlein was going
>to be mad at anyone, it should have been Mrs. Smith.

I'd suggest you're taking a much too narrow a version of the matter.
Heinlein's objection wasn't just to Panshin reading personal letters.

--RC

Rick Cook

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
David E Romm wrote:
>
>Perhaps it's Heinlein who couldn't grasp customs and outlooks
>significantly different than his own...

The evidence is quite otherwise.

Again, you confuse understanding different customs and outlooks and
choosing to live by them. Utterly different things.

>> Personally the only thing I find astonishing about the matter is that
>> Panishin was so utterly dense that after studying Heinlein for years and
>> writing a book about him he was completely unable to understand the
>> perfectly obivous outcome.

>I suspect that at the time, Panshin worshipped Heinlein as a hero,

I suspect there is a lot of truth in this.

> and simply couldn't believe Heinlein would be that unreasonable.

Proving once again that 'worship' and 'understanding' are not at all the
same thing. Heinlein was not being at all unreasonable by his standards and
his likely reaction was anything but a secret to anyone who had actually
understood what he was reading when he read Heinlein.

Heinlein seems to suffer from misunderstanding by both his defenders and
detractors.

--RC


Rick Cook

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
Ulrika wrote:
> Heinlein was behaving precisely like his own vision of a
>barbarian, but then, he does not seem to have been a man known
>for his flexibility.

Utterly wrong. Heinlein was behaving precisely like his own vision of a
gentleman.

You don't need a monolithic standard of societal behavior in order to have
your own standard of behavior.

--RC

Graydon

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
Kevin B. O'Brien (ko...@ix.netcom.com) wrote:
: Our correspondent in Tierra del Fuego reports that

: saun...@qlink.queensu.ca (Graydon), wrote:
: >If you make the argument that correspondence is fair game (which it is
: >not, in law, wrt publication; Salinger got that one demonstrated pretty
: >solidly), you've asserted that society has no proper respect for a fairly
: >large are of personal privacy.

: Not at all. If you turn the question around, this becomes more
: apparent. Suppose I mail you something. By your logic, I have just
: imposed an obligation on you to keep it private, which by your logic I
: can enforce with the death penalty. You have no say in the matter at
: all.

With the provisio that I think killing someone is overreacting unless the
revalation in the correspondence is truly significantly damaging, that's
exactly how I view letters. (Ever letter of personal correspondence I've
ever recieved is in a heavy steel filing cabinet. :)

I'm also pretty darn careful what I put in letters to people who *don't*
think that way.

: Odd planet you live on.

So I'm told.

WAYNE JOHNSON

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
In <4bpruv$k...@news2.delphi.com> rc...@BIX.com (Rick Cook) writes:
>
>WAYNE JOHNSON wrote:
>>Interesting observation...perhaps it's the unabashed conservatism of
>>Heinlein. No other author, I believe, would consider the murder of a
>>person at his dinner table in a restaurant as simply an unforgivable
>>breach of manners; yet in The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, this is
>>how Colin Campbell saw it - and made it appear to be the most
>>important aspect of the incident.
>>
>>It's the conservatism of feudal lords, concerned more with appearance
>>than actual need. Heinlein's outrage reminds me of the quote
>>attributed to Henry Stimson, who refused to aggressively use
>>intelligence information about Japanese diplomatic activity before
>>WWII on the grounds that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail."
>>

RC:


>Hogwash.
>
>Or more correctly, an extremely parochial perspective. Because you
>don't understand a set of customs makes them neither wrong nor
>laughable.
>
>--RC

I find it very interesting that you presume to understand my "parochial
perspective", and my ignorance of customs. In fact, after reading my
post above, I fail to see where I consider either the feudal lord,
Heinlein, or Stimson's perspective as "laughable".

Such customs were and are a product of an age where appearance and
comportment were the difference between life and death. Privacy in the
transmission of messages was important enough to have messenger's
tongues torn out, or their eardrums punctured, etc., to insure privacy
of transmission.

In an era when the king's seal on a bit of wax was insurance that even
a blood enemy would not break it, honor - and the appearance thereof -
had a practical side. In Stimson's era, it was important that
diplomacy had the same honorable stance. To "cheat" and read the
contents of diplomatic pouches would ultimately render the diplomats
useless - this in an era with slow delivery of messages, and encryption
methods that were fallible.

Heinlein was of that era. Our own age sees the howling over privacy in
issues like the Clipper chip, PGP, and other issues. Privacy is
important; if entrusted with private data, the notion that being bonded
or otherwise being trustworthy is of paramount importance.

You should know that I am a computer consultant. As such, my clients
trust me with extremely confidential information - private matters,
corporate matters, tax matters, etc. If ever I was put under suspicion
of not holding such a confidence, my livelihood as well as my personal
honor would be in jeapoardy.

My attitude, therefore, is very much like Heinlein's; and your
outrageous assumption that I view his attitude as, and I quote,
"extremely parochial", is utterly intolerable.

My seconds shall see yours, sir, with your choice of weapons. Of
course. At dawn? Try not to be late.

Wayne Johnson
cia...@ix.netcom.com

Graydon

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
Ulrika (ulr...@aol.com) wrote:
: In article <4bnn2k$1...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca
: (Graydon) writes:

: >And yeah, someone without bao is unable to live in society; either get

: >them into a different society (which is what ignoring them constitutes a
: >little of, by refusing them *your* society), or kill them. No really
: >obvious third option for a person of adult years; conversion experiences
: >of the neccessary magnitude are very, very rare.

: This, of course, supposes that there is such a thing as a single,
: monocultural, doxically homogenous "society" available to dictate
: the fact of the matter with respect to being without bao. If there is
: no such monoculture, if the society is doxically heterogenous,
: then there is no fact of the matter.

If so, how could I talk about getting the person into a different society?

One judges by one's own standards by necessity; just because there are
societies in which you could not own property you are not obligated to
respect the opinion that it is an offence before god for you to buy a car.

Graydon

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
Rick Cook (rc...@BIX.com) wrote:

I cavail at the insistence that a moral has to be a universal (since so
far as I can tell they're always personal in practice) but that's a
phrasing I can accept.

James Nicoll

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
In article <4bpnpd$9...@knot.queensu.ca>,
Graydon <saun...@qlink.queensu.ca> wrote:

snip

>Also note that :Farmer in the Sky: makes it clear that the Patrol
>eventually failed, in the face of extreme population pressure.

Are _Farmer in the Sky_ and _Space Cadet_ in the same universe?
I thought the juveniles were in similar but different universes. Anyway,
in FitS, it is *predicted* that the Patrol will fail but it had not done
so at that point AFAIR.

One wonders why increasing pre-capita wealth hadn't shriveled the
gonads of the humans in that future the way it does now.

James Nicoll
--
" The moral, if you're a scholar don't pick up beautiful babes on deserted
lanes at night. Real Moral, Chinese ghost stories have mostly been written
by scholars who have some pretty strange fantasies about women."
Brian David Phillips

Gary Farber

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
James Nicoll (jam...@coulomb.uwaterloo.ca) wrote:
: Are _Farmer in the Sky_ and _Space Cadet_ in the same universe?

: I thought the juveniles were in similar but different universes. Anyway,
: in FitS, it is *predicted* that the Patrol will fail but it had not done
: so at that point AFAIR.

I think it's a mistaken assumption to even ask this question. Heinlein
wrote individual books, and made the choices while writing them that he
deemed best at the time for the book. This often made for inconsistencies
in similar references. It didn't seem to bother him, and I don't see why
it should bother anyone else.

He also dealt with this to an extent in NUMBER OF THE BEAST, of course.

So I'd say you are right: each book is its own universe, but many have
overlapping assumptions and backgrounds. Overlapping: not identical.

The question of "writing in the same universe" didn't really arise very
much in sf until the last couple of decades, and is partially a *result*
of Heinlein's "Future History." This is entirely different from series
work, or stories as part of a series, such as Foundation. IMHO.

--
-- Gary Farber gfa...@panix.com
Copyright 1995 Brooklyn, NY, USA

Julian Treadwell

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95
to
kfac...@aol.com (KFackler) wrote:
>In article <4bldvr$i...@knot.queensu.ca>, saun...@qlink.queensu.ca
>(Graydon) writes:
>
>>Whyever would you expect that there _is_ an adequate apology for reading
>>somene else's private correspondence without the explicit permission of
>>all the parties involved? At least in Heinlein's universe, which Panshin
>
>>is in a terrible moral position to claim this much ignorance of.
>
>This is especially interesting in the light of a viewpoint taken by Col.
>Campbell
>in tMiaHM, i.e., that an appropriate way to deal with rudeness is by
>killing the
>offender. Maybe Panshin should have counted himself fortunate. I bet RAH
>was
>a great shot!

(a) I think you mean TCwWtW;
(b) He was a great shot, or at least good enough to be a firearms
intructor in the military; however I think the only thing he ever shot
was a feral cat which was harrassing his own cats;
(c) Just because RAH could appreciate the positive aspects of a system of
honour which allows a transgression of good manners to be redressed by
affirmative action with a lethal weapon doesn't mean he would
personally act thus in our society which forbids such (sensible)
retaliation. He was the one who frequently pointed out the dangers of
arousing the ire of Mrs Grundy, remember; he fully appreciated the
need to follow the mores of the culture you live in, regardless of
whether or not they are based on common sense. I mean, would you walk
around the streets of Peking eulogising democracy, for instance?

Ulrika

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Dec 27, 1995, 3:00:00 AM12/27/95