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Heinlein's Last Novel Coming in September 276

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pages-out-of-time dept.
Frightened_Turtle writes "Robert Heinlein's last novel, Variable Star , will be released in September. Completed by Spider Robinson at the behest of Heinlein's estate, the novel is based on the notes and outline created by Heinlein for the novel over 50 years ago. It was set aside and forgotten when Heinlein went to work on other projects. The story follows the life of Joel Johnston who — after having a fallout with his girlfriend and going on a bender — wakes up on a starship bound for the stars. Spider Robinson has done an excellent job maintaining Heinlein's style and flow throughout the novel. Want to check out the story for yourself? You can download the first eight chapters online from the 'Excerpts' link on the site as they are released over the next few weeks."
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Heinlein's Last Novel Coming in September

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  • Scared, I am... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:05PM (#16002007)
    While I haven't had the chance (obviously) to go read the first eight chapters of the book, these always feel to me like I'm going to end up with something like the recent "Tom Clancy" books -- some sort of author-inspired but mostly-ghost-written things that, despite being written in the STYLE of the autor, will just fall short.

    (Insert gratuitous joke about Tupac and Biggie albums here...)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anubis350 (772791)
      But unlike most ghost written crap, this is being finished by a very good author (and alumnus from my college :-p). I think Robinson's up to it, should be a good read (though it might contain some very bad puns)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Scrameustache (459504) *
        But unlike most ghost written crap, this is being finished by a very good author

        Very good authors have their own names on their books, not a famous corpse's.
        • Re:Scared, I am... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:42PM (#16002287) Homepage Journal
          Very good authors have their own names on their books, not a famous corpse's.

          No, very good authors have their own names on their books, though in some cases, a corpse's name may also grace the cover when said corpse worked on the book. Observe:

          http://variablestarbook.com/images/variable-star.j pg [variablestarbook.com]

          And if you're really digging into the history, such VGAs have existed before. Arthur C. Clarke is, for example, on that list, having co-written Richter 10 with the person that he initially farmed the idea out to, but who died before completing it.

          To boot, there are many who would argue that Spider Robinson (on the merits of the books that are purely his) is a better writter than Heinlein. I'm not sure if I'm one of them or not, as I enjoy both authors for different reasons.
          • I might just speaking from the repeated frustration of piking up an "Asimov" book, starting to read it, and 30 pages in, realising it's crap, checking the cover more carefully to find the small print "based on" or "inspired by"... if you have faith in this author, and you really think the book idea was abandoned beacause of outside factors and not a good judgement call from the author, then by all means, go ahead and enjoy :)
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Dr. Podkayne (987858)
              Scared, be not. Variable Star rocks, and reads like a classic juvenile. In the case of "For Us, The Living" (the only other posthumous Heinlein) after a couple of rejections Heinlein took it off the market. He then mined its ideas after he learned how to write stories and plot. While ultimately the author's intention was not to have the thing circulating, since he had submitted it at some point it was deemed morally fair game for the estate to publish. With Variable Star, there was a good half chapter
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by moggie_xev (695282)
            Spider Robinson is an excelent author in his own right. I own atleast 5 of his books and he is known to be an old time Heinlein fan. He is the best choice I can think of to do the job and I suspect it will be a good book. I not sure if they have the names the right way round on the cover though :)
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            FYI, Spider is as obsessive a fan of Heinlein as I have ever seen. If anyone could do this book, it would be him.
      • But unlike most ghost written crap, this is being finished by a very good author (and alumnus from my college :-p). I think Robinson's up to it, should be a good read (though it might contain some very bad puns)

        The words 'very good author' and 'Robinson' don't belong in the same sentence except where one is being indicated as not equivalent to the other.

        Robinson once had great promise - but he's never lived up to it. Instead, he's merely been writing and rewriting the same story with the same wood

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ltbarcly (398259)
          inability to go more than a page or two without repeating a cultural reference already made twenty seven times (either in that work or earlier) or superimposing his political or computer biases - even when such references or superimpositions have nothing to do with the story at hand.

          Sounds like Heinlein to me!

          Seriously, did you ever read any of his books? TANSTAAFL and free love and cat's are good and let's have sex with our mothers by using a time machine, and then space some slavers. Next we'll talk lik
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fermion (181285) *
        I think for the people who long for the books of the successful Heinlein, say 60's and 70', Robinson will be a good choice. He is very familiar with the works and continues to write in the relaxed, almost trivial, style of this time. This is not a bad thing, I have read the vast majority of both authors book, if not all of them, and have enjoyed them immensely.

        However, for those us who long for Heinlein's later works, I am not sure that Robinson can make these happen. These works tended to that of a ex

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by L7_ (645377)
      same with the new Dune book... Hunters of Dune.

      We'll see if the authors can hold true to the Frank Herbert's legacy.
      • by mordors9 (665662)
        We don't have to wait. Kevin Anderson and Herbert's son have already done a trilogy. While it may have been okay, it was nowhere close to the original Dune Series.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by big-magic (695949)

        Not quite. The recent Dune books (prequels and sequels) were written by Brian Herbert (son of Frank Herbert) using notes left by this father. They do not claim to be written by Frank Herbert. Although I have not read them, my understanding is that the Dune books written by Brian Herbert received decent reviews.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fumblebruschi (831320)
      Especially since the reason Heinlein set aside the unfinished book and forgot about it was probably that he'd decided it wasn't any good. In the years after Hemingway died, his heirs kept publishing "new Hemingway novels" that were really just unfinished books he'd abandoned because he thought they weren't going anywhere. (The result being that future generations will think Hemingway didn't know the difference between his own good writing and his own bad writing.) In this case I can't see any grounds for
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by roystgnr (4015)
        see Robinson's embarrassingly bad article "Rah Rah R.A.H."

        It's up on the web here [heinleinsociety.org], for anyone who really does want to see for themselves. I think "embarassingly bad" is an undeserved insult, but "shameless fan-wanking" is pretty accurate so maybe I'm just splitting hairs.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by WillAffleckUW (858324)
        Especially since the reason Heinlein set aside the unfinished book and forgot about it was probably that he'd decided it wasn't any good.

        Not necessarily. Many times, authors start in on a book, or novella, and it just doesn't feel right, still unfinished, but one doesn't have a clue what to do with it. Best thing to do then is just put it on a shelf and let it sit for a while, IMHO. Sometimes, the time helps and you look at it again fresh, and it all comes together. Other times, as you suggest, you take
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wytcld (179112)
        Heinlein often moved notes and outlines to the back burner. Many of his strongest books, including Stranger in a Strange Land, were sitting in his files half-conceived for years before he finally wrote a finished draft and published. So when something was still in his files, it didn't always mean he thought it no good; sometimes he thought it so good that he felt himself not quite ready to do justice to it yet.
    • While I really liked Heinlein's older novels, his more recent output failed to impress me. The depth and suspense were simply not there anymore, at least not in the degree I was used from Heinlein.
      Same for Tom Clancy BTW, and for similar reasons.
      Now Spider Robinson is at least reasonably good at storytelling, and his version may actually be better than what Heinlein might have written in his old days.
      • by murdocj (543661) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @05:41PM (#16002884)
        While I really liked Heinlein's older novels, his more recent output failed to impress me. The depth and suspense were simply not there anymore, at least not in the degree I was used from Heinlein.

        I'd go even farther and say that Heinlein's last few novels were awful. As he went further along the protagonist became an older and older man who was having sex with younger and younger women. In my (humble) opinion he peaked at around "The Moon is Harsh Mistress".

        I loved Heinlein as a kid, but re-reading him as an adult, he's just too absolute, too certain... "this is the way things are, anyone who disagrees with me is a fool". If I want to see that, I can read slashdot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stevey (64018)

      I have the same fear, and by way of example I'm going to present the Dune Prequels.

      Good authors (apparently; I've not read their independant books) including the son of Frank Herbert, but the novels were just .. flat. Or outright "wrong".

      In fact it is hard to think of a good example of an estate/relative finishing off novels once the primary creator had died. The only one I can think of is Christopher Tolkien - and he faired only poorly in some areas. (Mind you the amount of papers that J.R.R Tolkien l

    • by winkydink (650484) *
      Those are "Tom Clancy" the brand, not Tom Clancy the author. The straight-to-paper books are more like designer clothing with the Clancy label.
  • Nice way to capitalize on the author's name though.
    • by IflyRC (956454)
      Even worse to capitalize on Peter Parker's unfortunate accident and call yourself "Spider".
  • Worth Buying (Score:5, Informative)

    by neonprimetime (528653) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:05PM (#16002012)
    The Variable Star project is intended to help the Heinlein Trust continue to fund the $500,000 Heinlein Prize [heinleinprize.com] for commercial manned spaceflight

    It's worth buying just for that!
    • Thanks for the link! I did not know about this prize. What a worthwhile use of the old man's fortune. What a pity he did not live to see Rutan's SS1 and so forth.
  • Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdotNO@SPAMexit0.us> on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:06PM (#16002017) Homepage
    I'm an unabashed Heinlein fan. I've read enough Spider Robinson to feel that he's up to the task.

    I'm really looking forward to this.

  • Plot line over 50 years old? Does that mean no sex scenes?

    ed
    • by mythosaz (572040)
      If my parents and grandparents are any indication, people were *probably* having sex 50 years ago.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You've obviously never read any Heinlein...
      • ...there were very few sex scenes in his novels prior to about 1968-ish. Then, it was like he was on literary Viagra.

        ed
        • by OzPeter (195038)
          I had the misfortune to read that first novel of his that was recently released (the one that kept getting rejected or what-not). That book was full of sexual tension all over the place and you can see the basis for all of his later stuff. After reading that I was more suprised that there wasn't any sex in a lot of his earlier works.

          • by Nimey (114278)
            By that time he was probably famous enough that he could demand his works not be edited. Boy was he wrong.
        • Well, a lot of his early work (although not everything by any means) was aimed directly at the Boy Scouts, for publication in their magazine. And back then, they weren't out, so pretty much no sex scenes.
          • by soft_guy (534437)
            He did a juvenile novel every year up until his publisher (Scribner's) rejected "Starship Troopers". His editor at Scribner's was apparently difficult to put up with and when the rejected ST, it was the last straw. After that he focused on writing for adults and had several huge break-out novels including Stranger in a Strange Land, Moon is a Harsh Mistress, etc. and his editors basically stopped editing him.
        • Re:*sigh*... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Demolition (713476) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:56PM (#16002410)
          ...there were very few sex scenes in his novels prior to about 1968-ish.


          Probably because his editor and/or publisher objected to them. Overtly sexual passages in fiction were frowned upon in the increasingly puritanical morality of the 1950s. Even subtle hints of sexuality were banished. This was done in the name of saving our innocent virgin minds from such filthiness.

          But, then the swinging 1960s rolled around and it wasn't such a concern, anymore. That attitude prevailed until the 1980s, when Heinlein really began to cut loose. As an example, "Friday" is probably the best-known Heinlein novel from the 1980s, and it's not because it was an outstanding literary work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jesdynf (42915)
      Am I the only one who read Heinlein's later novels?

      If Mr. Robinson stays "true to form", it's going to be all 12-year-olds trying to get into the grizzled old man's pants.

      Look, nobody cares about Piers Anthony, he can get away with -- with -- with whatever he wants to, twice, chocolate-covered. It always amazes me that Heinlein gets a pass on the latter end of his Future History.
    • by Anubis350 (772791)
      hmmm, I'm not so sure... havent you heard of viagra? Even a dead man will get stiff! The sex scenes may be forced underground in the book though...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Moofie (22272)
      Yeah, because Heinlein never wrote about sex. Or drinking.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:32PM (#16002219) Homepage
      Nobody seems to get the joke, which is that Heinlein's earlier books were more-or-less sex-free, or at least keeping it to a minimum, while his later books got more and more randy and referenced group sex, underage sex, incest, and other taboos. I'm not Heinlen-ologist, but it seems the turning point was Stranger in a Strange Land, which was an excellent book. Some of the later ones seem to be more dominated by the sex themes, and very light on substance. In other words he slowly transitioned from young serious author to mature exploratory author to dirty old man.
    • by Quadraginta (902985) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:43PM (#16002301)
      Heinlein put plenty of sex into his adult novels (his teen novels are another thing). But he didn't seem to feel the need to describe it. Perhaps he felt that if you were old enough you could supply the details from your own experience, and if you were young enough, encouraging your fantasies would only distract you from the novel.

      He didn't even spend much time describing his men and women sexually. Few female characters were introduced with a description of their breasts, for example, although you might learn about their cup size by and by, somewhat incidentally. It's like the way you only learn late in the books and somewhat incidentally that Dr. Richard Ames is black and Lieutenant Rico is Hispanic.

      Indeed, I think one of the reasons Heinlein is popular among geeky types is because he emphasized the sexual attractiveness of mind, character, and accomplishment. The fastest way to a Heinlein heroine's heart was witty repartee or a devastatingly clever and insightful argument...you know, the /. ideal for comments, +5 Sexy, that kind of thing.
      • OK, brain fart, Rico is Filipino. Oops.
      • by jgrahn (181062)
        He didn't even spend much time describing his men and women sexually. Few female characters were introduced with a description of their breasts, for example, although you might learn about their cup size by and by, somewhat incidentally.

        I take it you haven't read Number of the Beast ...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        Indeed, I think one of the reasons Heinlein is popular among geeky types is because he emphasized the sexual attractiveness of mind, character, and accomplishment. The fastest way to a Heinlein heroine's heart was witty repartee or a devastatingly clever and insightful argument...you know, the /. ideal for comments, +5 Sexy, that kind of thing.

        Personally, across my 4+ decades spent going around the Sun - I've found that women who aren't attracted to witty repartee or a devastatingly clever and insightful a

  • by UR30 (603039) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:08PM (#16002036) Homepage
    A new play by Shakespeare? Poems by Poe? Nonfiction by Carl Sagan?
    • by revlayle (964221)
      Non-fiction by Carl Sagan? *Now* you just joking.
      • by identity0 (77976)
        Non-fiction by Carl Sagan? *Now* you just joking.

        Why, of course not, dear sir!

        With the help of my able assistant John Edwards and a Ouiji board, we at the Church of Christ, Scintificologist, have recovered Carl Sagan's last, lost book, "The One True Faith: Scientologism". In it, Saint Sagan through his chosen medium Mr. Edwards, describes how he met the late L. Ron Hubbard in Heaven and converted to his world-changing gospel, Scientificalism.

        As St. Sagan describes it, "I realized I had been wrong all this t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OzPeter (195038)
      On a similiar note, one of the few sc-fi/fantasy novels that I have kept and re-read is "The witches of Karres" by James Schmitz. Recently I found out that there was a sequel wrtten by a bunch of writers (Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer). When I saw it on the shelves I heard warning bells going off in my head which I should have heeded. They had the same characters and a similiar plot to the first book, but managed to totally miss what made the original (IMO) a great yarn. I also remember se
      • by geekoid (135745)
        "... as I haven't read andy of Spiders work,"
        I about sprayed soda. Your missing out. IMO.
      • by david.given (6740)

        When I saw it on the shelves I heard warning bells going off in my head which I should have heeded.

        If you thought that was bad, you should read Dragon Lensman some time. It's about the adventures of Worsel, our favourite Velantian, and it's one of the worst books I've ever read (and I've read some really bad books in my time --- anyone ever heard of Saul Dunn?). Hell, the author doesn't even get how many legs Worsel's got right.

        Oh, god. I've just discovered that it was actually the first in a series. N

      • by Anubis350 (772791)
        The wonderful thing about anything published by Baen is that free samples are almost always available. For example, the book you are talking about, you could have read the first 9 chapters of to see if you liked here [webscription.net]. baen.com [baen.com] will give you links to their publishing sched, samples from almost all their books, and a number of free books curtesy of Baen's Library (tm)...
    • A new play by Shakespeare? Poems by Poe? Nonfiction by Carl Sagan?


      Puh-leeze.

      We'll get another Tupac album first.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:12PM (#16002072)
    So it will be full of gratuitous sex in every possible combination of the following?

    Hetrosexual
    Homosexual
    Incest
    Self
    2-way
    3-way
    Orgy

    And occur with in the realms of:
    This universe (now)
    This universe (time travel, forward and backward)
    Parallel universes

    Between people who are:
    Real
    Imagined
    Living
    Life-After-Death
    Multiple people sharing the same skull

    And that's just with the human characters. Heaven knows what interpsecies liasons will occur.

    Boy did I read too much Heinlein when I was young.
    • LOL too true!
      You can factor out most of the weirdest stuff by pretending that "The Number Of The Beast" and "To Sail Beyond The Sunset" were written by somebody else.
      • by tnk1 (899206)

        You can factor out most of the weirdest stuff by pretending that "The Number Of The Beast" and "To Sail Beyond The Sunset" were written by somebody else.

        No... no, you really can't.

        Heinlein wrote some good stories, but dude, his characters had a habit of fucking anything that moved (or were about to move, or might be moving in an overarching multiverse), and some things that didn't move. Kinda makes me glad I somehow missed his books when I was a teenager. My head probably would have spun off my neck

        • by sammy baby (14909) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:41PM (#16002285) Journal
          Heinlein wrote some good stories, but dude, his characters had a habit of fucking anything that moved (or were about to move, or might be moving in an overarching multiverse), and some things that didn't move. Kinda makes me glad I somehow missed his books when I was a teenager. My head probably would have spun off my neck like a top.


          Are you kidding? That's why I was thrilled to find his stuff as a teenager.
    • by kalirion (728907) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:28PM (#16002191)
      Wait, are we talking about Piers Anthony now?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Red Flayer (890720)
        Nah, he's referring to what would happen if William S. Burroughs had actually written everything written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Except he left out the drugs.
    • by owlnation (858981)
      You forgot to add a little spanking too.
    • by grappler (14976)
      Hetrosexual
      Homosexual
      Incest
      Self
      2-way
      3-way
      Orgy ...
      Multiple people sharing the same skull


      yikes!
    • by mdielmann (514750)
      Boy did I read too much Heinlein when I was young.

      Too much? You make it sound like you read a lot of his stuff. You can complete that list in, what, 2 or 3 books?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by C. Alan (623148)
      You forgot with a Cat.

      "The cat whom walked through walls"

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      It'll also star a man who looks and acts remarkably like Heinlein himself, yet is surrounded by millions of dollars and beautiful women at all times. Strange how that works in almost all his novels...
  • What's the odd of someone screwing up a relationship, going on a bender, and ending up on a starship?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Maelwryth (982896)

      "What's the odd of someone screwing up a relationship, going on a bender, and ending up on a starship?"


      They must be fairly low. I've never ended up on a star ship.
  • Here's hoping (Score:3, Interesting)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:14PM (#16002095)
    I'm the biggest Heinlein fan ever, but "To Sail Beyond The Sunset" left a pretty bad taste in my mouth as his last novel. Maybe this one (even though he wasn't really involved) will help me remember him more fondly. (although there's always Lazarus...)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MasterThis (903688)
      That's what I'm wondering -- is this the early/mid Scifi Heinlein, or the late (post "Moon is a Harsh Mistress") new age Heinlein?
  • by aralin (107264) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:37PM (#16002256)
    The one thing I am afraid of is that the story outline is usually just 20% of why Heinlein books were so great. He used the story and the environment it created for the characters to really present some new ideas and concepts and make the reader think about it. Heinlein books are often filled by strong ideas and concepts one appearing right after another, keeping your brain working all the time. I often found myself not remembering what the last 5 pages were about, because my mind run away with one of those ideas. He is so unlike other authors in this aspect. For most authors, the story outline would be enough for another writer to finish the book, since the main idea is usually also the only idea in the book and the rest is just sauce and random words and maybe nice story.

    So I am really sceptical this would reach the quality of other Heinlein's books.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dracphelan (916527)
      I completely agree with you. Some of his greatest novels dealt troubling or taboo subjects involving human nature. Some examples are: Farnham's Freehold - Racism A Stranger In A Strange Land - Religion The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress - Government Time Enough For Love - Mortality, Love The Long Patrol (may not be remembering the title right) - Duty What I have always loved most about Heinlein's work is that it was never really about the technology. It was about people and how they interact. It was about what
  • Is it just me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Robotech_Master (14247) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:38PM (#16002260) Homepage Journal
    ...or does this sound a lot like the premise behind the TV show Red Dwarf [wikipedia.org]?
    • I was thinking the same thing, but Lister went on a bender and ended up on a spaceship _before_ he had a falling out with his girlfriend.

      Actually, if memory serves, he ended up on a different planet, and took the job to get back ... then met his girlfriend, and they had a falling out, and ended up millions of years from Earth.

      So yes, all of the elements are there, but in a different order.
    • by ultramk (470198)
      it's just you.

      Red dwarf was about a guy already working on a spaceship who gets tossed into suspended animation for a very long time, just before a freak accident kills all the crew. He wakes millions of years later, to find he's all alone (more or less).

      Not really anything like this at all.

      m-
  • Spider (Score:3, Funny)

    by KingEomer (795285) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:39PM (#16002270) Homepage
    I guess that Spider Robinson truly groks Heinlein... Has anyone checked his corpse lately?
  • by VAXcat (674775) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @04:50PM (#16002355)
    Of the dozen or so Heinlein style writers extant today, it's a shame they picked the feckless hippy of the lot, Spider Robonson. I'd have vastly preferred one of the hard science Heinlein style writers (such as Varley, or maybe VInge) to the hippy dippy, dated, peace love dove style of Robinson, who wouldn't know real knowledge of physics if it knocked the bong out of his hand and spilled it all over his hand knotted macrame rug, inside his dome house.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Varley is a Heinlein fan but he only writes Varley books. I think its too late in his career for him to write a good Heinlein novel.

      But the title of the article is wrong. This is not Heinleins last novel, its almost his first novel. That should make it easier to write because the early Heinlein had a much more stable, better understood (stereotyped?) style. This sounds a bit like Citizen of the Galaxy or Between Planets.

  • by kinglink (195330) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @05:31PM (#16002775)
    First it was Douglas Adams' Salmon of Doubt, where in Douglas Adam's own words his final manuscripts were published.

    Then it was the final book of the true dune series that was originally envisioned by Frank Herbert is now published (I don't know the name but I've heard more then enough about it).

    And Now we have this.

    What is it with people who have now basically gone around and robbed the grave? I mean Douglas Adams' salmon of doubt wasn't good but it was at least his work. Frank Herbert's son basically is robbing the grave here, and of course now this person's estate is now just asking for more money. It would be one thing if the person was dying and needed the money to go to a fund to save him from some sickness or cure other people, but in the end it's really just greed. I will give props to Brian Herbert, he at least has worked in his father's universe long before the final book was released, but even then his work has been far below his father's that to see him work on his father's last manuscript must be like watching a guy who shoots paint from his butt touch up a Picasso.

    It's not that these people arn't well intentioned, they want to be loving with their work, but the fact is they will always change the work that they work on because it's the nature of the creative process.

    Every time I see a post mortem release, whether it be a play (of course the script not being good enough or not being finished at the time of his death), a movie, a Cd, or even a book, I always feel a little sick and a little disgusted at the ultimate greed of man, especially when it's one of those platnium covered memorial copies that some groups try to sell fans.
  • So that means he's not going to write anymore books?
  • "For US, the Living" www.heinleinsociety.org/newsFUTL.html Very interesting, with a forward by Spider, and an afterward by Robert James. You can definitely see the seeds of many of his best works in this novel - highly recommended...
  • by tillerman35 (763054) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @06:02PM (#16003088)
    In no particular order (except that #1 is the one thing I hate the most):

    1. Posthumous "collaborations." I make a very small exception for Chrisopher Tolkein's scholarly works. Otherwise, it's just crap they think they can sell. Sadly, there are enough idiots buying the crap that they continue to make it.

    2. "collaborations" with elderly authors. Yah, maybe Andre Norton or Marrion Zimmer Bradley wrote part of that book. Maybe all she did was nod off during plot discussions. Honestly, it's hard to tell. Seems there are a few authors who are so crappy that they can't come up with ideas on their own.

    3. Trade paperbacks. I'd mind less if they would get together and decide on a single standard size! As an owner of thousands of books, I have a real need to keep size to a minimum. If I have to adjust my shelves to buy your book, I'm not buying your book. My "oversize" storage has gone from four or five shelves to a whole stack, and it's really pissing me off.

    4. Cover blurbs comparing every fantasy novel to Lord of the Rings. If I wanted to read another Lord of the Rings, I'd read Lord of the Rings again. Ditto for every Harry-Potter wannabe ripoff with cover blurbs claiming it's just like Harry Potter. Frankly, if I saw a book with a cover blurb that went "nothing like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Interview with the Vampire or any other commercially viable work," I'd have that thing at the register in ten seconds.

    5. Cover blurbs from authors who are too old to wipe their own asses. Maybe that drooling nod meant "Most promising young author since Harry Potter!" Or maybe it just meant "I've soiled myself and you have to take care of it." Either way, it's a crappy recommendation.

    6. Listing authors "other works" but leaving out works done with another publisher and/or distributor.

    7. Massive series based on popular movies. Just because you can hire 10,000 monkeys to write Star Wars "novels" (and I use the term with much more generosity than they are due) doesn't mean it's right to do so. When an entire 1/3 of the book store's sci-fi shelving is wasted on this kind of crap, it makes me wonder how many good new authors could have their works on that 300 linear feet of retail space.

    8. Collections of short stories, in which one is set in a universe from one of the author's popular series, marketed as a part of that series. If you're such a great author, your short stories won't need the prop. If you're not, don't bother writing them. Moron.

    9. Collections of short stories, in which one is written by the author and set in a universe from one of the author's popular series, and in which the rest are written by other (sometimes wannabe) authors. If you can't find the time to write your own stories, don't make some talentless schlob do it for you.

    10. Direct-from-publisher "signed" editions. Do they really think we're that stupid? Those signatures are about as original as a painting from the Thomas Kinkaid "gallery" next to Sears. I'm not going to pay you $10 extra so that Skippy the Intern and his sidekick Amazing Pantograph Bob can crank out ten of these at a time. Especially when you sell it in size-of-the-month-club trade paperback form.
  • I think its interesting to task why Philip K. Dick's books have been made into movies in recent years, but Heinlein's seem to have languished on the shelf (the pseudo-parody Starship Troopers notwithstanding).

    Dick's characters were ordinary men and women muddling through the bizarre situations they found themselves in. Large organizations -- the military, the state, corporations -- were blindly sinister. Dick also understood (perhaps because of his mental health issues) the media saturated world before it
  • by doobie (2546) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:00PM (#16003476)
    I really really did not believe I wouldd read this book and think "wow this is a Heinlein novel." I never liked the NY Times quote "I'd nominate Spider Robison as the new Robert Heinein." quote. I did not fully believe John Varley's quote that it Robert Heinlein was at Spider Robinson's side.

    It is now obviously I was wrong; very very very very wrong. I would put more very's in but it wouldn't get to the point. Heinlein outlined the journey; Spider followed it. Only a few points disappointed me (IMO Heinlein never pun'd that much; and I didn't like reading 'googled around' 2 or 3 times).

    The following is early spoilerish material

    The book is a story of a boy, Joel, who was in love with a girl, Jinny. They complete junionr college and start planning for the future. She wants to marry him, he wants to finish college to support her. When he finally accepts that he would marry her if he can support her, she takes him to "her home". Turns out this is a hidden house buried in a glacier. The house is home to Conrad of Conrad (I don't recall this in other Heinlein novels, but from what I can gather think Harriman Enterprises, but bigger; much bigger). After meeting Conrad of Conrad and telling him where to go stick his money/fortune/plans for Joel's with Jinny, he escapes back to his apartment with the help of Jinny's little cousin Elelyn.

    After a major bender, he is reminded of a ship leaving to start a colony on a distant planet. He spends the last of his money to ge to FL and tries to get on. He's told that he's too drunk to make the decision but he could come back in a few days if he's sober and still wants to go. He of course returns and gets on the ship. This is where most of the story happens. I'm not going to get into many of the details because that would spoil the fun. There is talk of line/group marriages; there's music; there's science; there's romance and despair, and of course there's hope when all hope is lost.

    Some of you may hate me for saying this, but if Heinlein had written this book he would have had a hard time improving on what was written.
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Tuesday August 29, 2006 @07:24PM (#16003609) Homepage
    In the Future History timeline, there was one unwritten novel, "The Sound of His Wings", the story of the rise of southern backwoods preacher Neremiah Scudder to the Presidency of the United States, whereupon he suspended the Constitution, declared himself dictator under God's Law and declared himself the First Prophet.

    Heinlein decided not to write the novel because he detested the bastard. But the fall of the U.S. into religious dicatorship (written in 1941!) as chronicled in "If This Goes On --" and subsequent FH stories needs to be completed, I've thought, since I first read it in 1976. Hell, it let me recognize Jerry Falwell and Robertson in 1977 in their march on Washington for what they were. Heinlein grew up in Missouri and knew what the people he came from were capable of. The story is being written every day, as preachers get special White House briefings and all personnel in the WH are expected to attend Bible class every day. Bush's core 30 percent truly believe he was selected by God (as Bush himself has stated, although more guardedly that his supporters) to convert the US to a Christian nation and prepare the way to the end of days as described by St. John of Patmos in the Book of Revelations. The US as always been primed for a religious dictatorship, and will be so even after this bunch of clowns are voted out. This tendency needs a good thrashing out in a novel.

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