[conspire] OT: Science Fiction, places to start

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Aug 5 12:12:59 PDT 2011

Quoting Don Marti (dmarti at zgp.org):

> Speaking of Stross (former Linux columnist and web
> developer made good):
>   San Francisco, Borderland Books
>   Saturday August 6th at 3pm
>   http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2011/08/atent-dead-yet.html

I'm going to make every effort to be there.

> If I had to put one Stross *novel* on an intro list it would be
> _Glasshouse_, but if you can get a copy of the collection _Wireless_,
> that has a bunch of his best shorter stuff in one place.

I have to confess that, even though I did read _Accelerando_ (both in
short-story pieces and as an eventual novel-length story), I haven't yet
read _Glasshouse_.

> (And Rick, great list, but _one_ Heinlein?  For those who like John
> Scalzi, it's worth getting _Starship Troopers_ and _Friday_.)

There's a hidden cunning plan behind my mentioning _one_ Heinlein, and
specifically mentioning _The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_.  

In part, it concerns some notoriously odd aspects of Heinlein that
Should Not Be Raised Lest They Overwhelm the Internet Again.  The novel
I mentioned is widely considered the most winning, most groundbreaking,
best written one (not counting a number of his excellent juveniles, or,
as they're called these days, novels for the YA market) with the lowest
percentage of content calculated to motivate at least 60% of readers to
throw the book against the wall in fury and then post to Internet forums
the suggestion that Heinlein's body be dug up so we can kill him some

By naming the best, most accessible, least flamewar-shrouded Heinlein, I
give people a way to see if they might be interested in more and other

If I had to cite _two_ Heinlein novels, the second would probably be
_Starship Troopers_, or maybe _The Cat Who Walked Through Walls_ or
_Glory Road_.  I'd have to think about it.

_Friday_ had many superb things about it, but central extreme
psychological ugliness that goes right to the core of many people's
Heinlein-hatred, and especially one early and critical scene that
impelled yr. humble servant, among many others, to throw the book
against the wall in fury, and then _briefly consider_ posting to
Internet forumsthe suggestion that Heinlein's body be dug up so we can
kill him some more, before thinking better of it.

Deirdre and I often attend Bay Area Science Fiction Association
(www.basfa.org) meetings on Monday evenings in Sunnyvale.  One of the
features at every meeting is an auction of things people bring, and
there's a standing gag of auctioning, over and over, a certain paperback
copy of _Friday_ to members, so they can take it with them to run it
over with their cars.  

Honest, I'm telling you that anecdote straight.  There is such a copy,
and that's the purpose for which it keeps being re-auctioned.

[1] The resulting flamewars are the stuff of legend, because of
energetic Heinlein defenders who make Randroids look like pikers.

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