Monday, December 10, 2007

Asking the Wrong Questions

The LA Times, five months late, decides to honor Robert A. Heinlein's Centennial by talking to a bunch of people who don't like him and then determines that he's irrelevant.

Reading between the lines, you can see exactly what they're saying: the liberal intelligentsia, particularly that of California, is horrified by Heinlein. Assuming this means that the rest of the world agrees -- or that we should care, particularly, what California liberals think about one random dead guy -- is much shakier.

And the fact that all of these people do have an immediate opinion to the work of someone who's been dead for twenty years -- strong, vehement opinions -- implies something very different about Heinlein: he's still a writer anyone reading SF has to deal with. He's still the elephant in the room; modern SF was built around Heinlein.

(Also see my old post What's Good About Heinlein.)

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