Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Heinlein, an Overview

Dear Minh (and Max),

I hope that, in the years coming towards us, you will not come to despise Heinlein simply because your father and I are so enamored of him. Heinlein, sometimes termed the dean of science fiction, had many fascinating stories. What I plan to catch your attention with are his series of young adult books. These feature teens most ordinary, who with work and a little confidence, start colonies on alien planets, make first contact with sentient species, and argue the case of humanity’s worth to intergalactic courts. Furthermore, he writes for an audience that he knows is young, but that he believes can be sophisticated and engaged. He includes detailed descriptions of atmospheric requirements for human space suits, a decent bit of astrophysics, and a distinctly atheistic bias.

As your mom, I think you’ll love and be interested in the science. Your dad loves the social engineering Heinlein added. In Heinlein’s first work, For Us, The Living, he envisions a logical, private society in which all basic needs are met by the government, and all citizens are free to do whatever work they find worthy. Many details are scooped out of this work and form a backdrop society in which the enterprising teens live. You’ll hear about free love in salacious detail, the spectrum of religions, various types of currency, and the economics of starships. And in the end, I would love to hear your review of Heinlein.



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