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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How a dead author continues to shape my view of the world

This post by Eric Burns contains a lengthy but really good discussion of Robert A. Heinlein's "first" book, which was actually discovered and published only a couple years ago, long after his death. It's not a fantastic book, but Burns' summation of its premonition of Heinlein's later work is masterful.

But more importantly, Burns begins his post by recounting the time in his youth when he first became a Heinlein fan. And it is so prfoundly similar to my own experience that I practically could have written it myself.

"...He shaped my early political and sociological opinions. This meant I went through the Libertarian phase almost every Heinlein fan passes through (and a good number never come out of, and there's nothing wrong with that). It also meant that my concepts of personal honor, of liberty coupled with responsibility, of duty, of sin and of love were shaped in part by Heinlein's writings. As I later entered a moderate and then liberal phase of my thoughts, I still found much of who I was shaped by Heinlein and his own evolving beliefs..."

If you know me at all, you know that this one author had an extremely deep influence on nearly every aspect of my social and political beliefs, from early adulthood through today. If you've never read any Heinlein, or ? like a few of my friends ? you've tried to, Burns' synopsis might give you a glimpse of a few of the reasons why I, like so many other people, find Heinlein's works so compelling.


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