Off Topic How many GI's are Robert Heinlein fans? I've run across quite a few, wonder if there is a "connection" : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Yes, maybe a silly question for Monday morning. However, Heinlein was a fanatical advocate of preparedness, self reliance, thinking for yourself, NOT following the herd, an armed citizenry, and the ability of reasonably intelligent people to learn to do almost anything well.

So, to me, those who found his writings (he published about 40 books, almost all of which are still in print, I think. I own everything he ever wrote.) entertaining seem to share many of his philosophy's.

I guess my second question is, did he affect your personal philosophy in any way? Or did you feel this way before you started reading his books?

This is not a "poll", just an "itch" I've wanted to scratch for a while. I look forward to your answers.

-- Jon Williamson (, August 02, 1999



Yes, I read all I could of Heinlein when I was a kid. I'm sure he influenced my thinking considerably. He was the best.

Bob P

-- Bob P (, August 02, 1999.

I am a fan of Heinlein. And I GROK what you are thinking.

-- lenny (, August 02, 1999.

Yup - a big influence.

-- Andy (, August 02, 1999.

more Herbert over Heinlein

-- zoobie (, August 02, 1999.

Heinlein played a huge part in how I view the world.

(OT: I sure wish they'd make a good Heinlein movie!)


-- Trevor St. Syn (, August 02, 1999.

Oh, yes!

-- Helen (, August 02, 1999.


Just loaned "Stranger in a Strange Land" to my brother-in-law this weekend. You may be onto something here Jon..... Also to Zoobie: Dune is one of my all-time favorites, ready for a re-read. It took me several tries to get started in it and then..... WHAM! I was hooked! Also loved Ann McCaffrey's dragon books (and most of the rest).... now that I think about these did open my mind early on to being prepared and responsible for myself.........

-- Kristi (, August 02, 1999.


Just loaned "Stranger in a Strange Land" to my brother-in-law this weekend. You may be onto something here Jon..... Also to Zoobie: Dune is one of my all-time favorites, ready for a re-read. It took me several tries to get started in it and then..... WHAM! I was hooked! Also loved Ann McCaffrey's dragon books (and most of the rest).... now that I think about it these did open my mind early on to being prepared and responsible for myself.........

-- Kristi (, August 02, 1999.

Oh Shards!!!! Sorry for the dbl. post..... Coffee..... I need more Coffee....

-- Kristi (, August 02, 1999.

I've read lots of Heinlein over the years.

For several years I was part of a "group marriage." 7 women and 8 men, in a larger community of about 30 people. It began before I joined it (20 years before), and continued after I left. I can't say particularly that it was inspired by Heinlein's group marriages, but there were people, (like me) who upon meeting these folks were able to understand what they were up to more easily having read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", "Stranger in a Strange Land", or any of those books that take place in that corner of Heinlein's universe. Some people, (like me) "Got It" clearly enough that we wanted to be a part of the story, a character in the book of Kerista. Believe me, this is only the tip of the iceberg. It was "communism" in its purest form...

-- A known regular (rather@not.say), August 02, 1999.

Yes, I've read everything he wrote, some of it a number of times.

-- Steve Heller (, August 02, 1999.

Many years ago, when I was very into Science Fiction & SF writers. Also liked Ursula Le Guinn (-1 sp) and Arthur C. Clarke's works. (Not to mention Tolkein and the classic "Lord of the Rings" for something different).

One short SF story I'll always remember, that has some relevance to Y2K and life today, was titled "The Marching Morons."


-- Diane J. Squire (, August 02, 1999.

Heinlein is my favorite author. He has had a major influance on how I percieve events.

-- John Beck (, August 02, 1999.

Heinlein, LeGuinn, Asimov, Clarke, Herbert (sorta), etc. My interest in SF "authors" dates approximately with my taste in music: 60's.

All that later ones are just "hacks", in it for the money, and have little or no talent (IMO). Much like musical "artists" of today.

Here's an interesting question: could it be that we, as fanatical readers of SF, have had our consciousness "stretched" to the point that we can understand how Y2K may go down?

Just a thought...

-- Dennis (, August 02, 1999.

For me, not Heinlein but Tolkien, CS Lewis, Asimov, Ray Bradbury --- especially the story about the book burning police.

Actually we could probably include George Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and others --- they all hadd the message you speak of. Only now are we so inindated by the "herd mentality" and "the govenment is God" philosophy (Not that this wasn't always present to some extent).

And of course George Orwell in "1984".

-- Jon Johnson (, August 02, 1999.

We would all do well to review "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"

-- pinkrock (, August 02, 1999.

yes, a big fan of RAH. i'm sure his influence helped me become a writer.

as he said of writing 'I don't write because I want to, I write because I have to. I never do it in public, and I always wash my hands afterward.'

-- Cowardly Lion (, August 02, 1999.


Have you tried David Gerrold? IMHO a worthy sucessor to Heinlein.

-- John Beck (, August 02, 1999.

Guilty! RAH and Clarke,

-- Living in (, August 02, 1999.

Yes. Heinleinites tend to move toward being self sufficient, and toward understanding and taking control of any situation that they encounter (hence, taking GI seriously, even if chances aren't 100%). Farnham's Freehold is one of my favorites. They tend to be generalists, leaders, and not oriented towards insignificant detail -- take care of the important, and use duct tape for the rest. I've been a long time (March 98) lurker, and this is my first post. When I first read RAH, I knew I'd found a home. I believe in serious liberty, and loathe the thought of being restricted on choices because the majority of the world simply won't have good manners. Rah, rah, RAH!

-- KsBob (rah@rah.rah), August 02, 1999.

Have always been an avid reader, adore science fiction, especially Heinlein, Bradbury. Enjoyed all of the Dune books. Have early memories, pre-school, of my mother reading chapters to me each night from Robinson Crusoe and have always liked stories of self-reliance and survival.

As soon as I learned about Y2k (fall 1998)... I GOT IT!

-- Tee (, August 02, 1999.

Yeah! Guilty! I started reading him in the 50's-paper backs and the original SF book club. "Glory Road" is still one of the best. "An armed society is a polite society." Great Stuff until Stranger in a strange land. Original filth but still filth.

-- lew (, August 02, 1999.

Yep, big Heinlein fan. In fact, the first science fiction book I ever read as a child was Tunnel In The Sky.

-- Jim Morris (, August 02, 1999.


Wouldn't surprise me at all if speculative fiction (SF/fantasy) fans in general comprised a larger-than-average slice of the "GI" pie.

Regarding your specific question though, one of the best short stories that I ever read was Heinlein's "Green, Green Hills of Earth" (at least I think that was the title, it was a long time ago). The protagonist in that tale is not unlike the average IT grunt: just a regular guy down in the trenches doing the hard work and often treated as an annoying but tolerated "necessary evil" by The Powers That Be.... until TSHTF, anyway! Great read.

-- M.C. Hicks (, August 02, 1999.

I like Heinlein, but Ray Bradbury is my favorite. Especially Farenheit 451 (hope I got that right. I'm totally against censorhsip, and that book is the perfect example of what happens when someone decides what we should and should not read. All that's left is spin, propaganda, doubt and lies.

Arthur Clarke is also good. I especially liked Childhood's End.

-- gilda (, August 02, 1999.

Another Heinlein fan here but I was interested in all SiFi.

That is untill it occured to me that fact is stranger than fiction.


I remember March of the Morons, thats a classic short story and someone was timeplanted into the future and the people were "stupidly encouraged" I seem to remember a part in the story about the powers that be setting the speedo's in cars up by a large margin just so the public thought they were going faster. It reminded me of Canada going to metric.

Something like that anyway.

-- Brian (, August 02, 1999.

I have enjoyed Heinlein's character, "Lazarus Long." (See above link.) A great "afternoon" book is "Starship Troopers." The people responsible for the recent movie should suffer mightily.


-- Mr. Decker (, August 02, 1999.

Heinlein and AC Doyle dramatically influenced my worldview. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress remains my all time fav book.

Very interesting question, Jon.

and one day, when I'm rich and leisurely, I'm gonna get a precision gyroscope and apply equal force simultaneously on each axis just to see what happens...(remember "The Number of the Beast"?)

-- Lewis (, August 02, 1999.

I write SF, have one book out--not under this name--and tons of stories. My near-term, speculative novel about the ecological debacle never sold. Funny that I never imagined that it could be the computers! I'm not a Heinlein or L. Ron Hubbard fan though. Ursuka LeGuin, somewhat... I write mysteries, too.

-- Mara Wayne (, August 02, 1999.

In addition to RH, Joseph Heller is one of my favorites. What about movies with this kind of slant? THX 1138 is a good one, whichhappens to be George Lucas's first movie.

THX 1138 is set in the 25th century. The title character is only one of thousands of nameless, faceless workers in a huge underground colony. He works a shift in a robot factory and then goes home to his roommate, LUH 3417, to take the government-controlled sedatives and watch midlessly violent hologram programs. LUH, however, has somehow seen through the clean, peaceful exterior, and knows what their society really is. She switches THX's usual sedatives for stimulants, and they begin to fall in love and engage in illegal sexual activity. Meanwhile, SEN 5241 has a plan of his own to switch the computed roommate matching system so that he ends up roommate to THX and LUH is conveniently cast aside. Tampering with the computer system is as illegal as having sex, and all three are eventually turned in and found guilty for their crimes. THX is taked to a seemingly endless white holding place and conditioned by the very law-enforcement robots he had helped to build.

Eventually, he meets up with SEN and several other outcasts who constantly plot getting out, but are too frightened to actually try anything. THX and SEN are fed up with this and head for escape on their own. On the way, they meet up with a "hologram", one of the black actors who served on the holographic television. He helps them to escape, and they realize that the exit was never far away and that it was only their own fear keeping them in the holding area.

As they escape, SEN is frightened by the prospet of living away from the controlled environment and rushes back, choosing safety and predictability over freedom. THX and the hologram push on toward the outside. They steal two abandoned cars and race for the exit, pursued by the robots the whole time. The hologram's car crashes, leaving THX alone. What follows is a desperate chase with a uniquely modern ending...

-- Tim (, August 02, 1999.

Mara Wayne wrote: I write SF, have one book out--not under this name--and tons of stories. My near-term, speculative novel about the ecological debacle never sold.

All right, Mara, you've certainly piqued my interest... Come clean, what is the title of this SF book you wrote? Inquiring minds want to know... :-)

-- Jim Morris (, August 02, 1999.

I'm a late-comer to Sci-Fi reading, other than childhood experiences with Lord of the Rings, LeGuinn's Earthsea Trilogy, Donaldon's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever & a couple Ray Bradbury works. When I began considering putting together a Y2K library last fall, Sci-Fi immediately came to mind. I've since purchased more than one hundred used paperbacks from this genre.

I read Stranger in a Strange Land late last year & was hooked. I'm now working through Fred Pohl's Gateway series. Good stuff!

There's a RAH thread in the archives somewhere from last year. Anyone care to go digging?

Best Wishes,

-- Bingo1 (, August 02, 1999.

Dennis said: "Here's an interesting question: could it be that we, as fanatical readers of SF, have had our consciousness "stretched" to the point that we can understand how Y2K may go down?"

I don't know about the "fanatical" part, but I do read more than the average person (which is zero). I've read a number of authors, including Heinlein. BTW, one VERY APPLICABLE TO Y2K PREPARATIONS and TEOTWAWKI scenarios is "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

-- A (, August 02, 1999.


The only problem with using that book as a model is the massive physical destruction caused by the comet.

Actually, IMHO, Purnelle/Niven's "Footfall", with the aliens methodically destroying the infrastructure of transportation, communication, power generation, etc., provides a better metaphor. Without the aliens, please.

That single, massive moment of destruction just influences the other book too much.

-- Jon Williamson (, August 02, 1999.

I definitely see a pattern here.

You read to much Sci-Fi and you begin to confuse it with reality.

Don't get me wrong, I love sci-fi. And yes, I know a few of the gizmos on the early Star Treks were actually used in the design of some of the gizmos we have today.



-- Deano (, August 02, 1999.


Excuse me?

I asked specifically about a particular author whom I have found has a philosophy which has had a lot of attraction to strong individualists.

*Please*, what in the world does that have to do with gadgets on a TV series?

-- Jon Williamson (, August 02, 1999.

Actually, I read as much (or more) history, current events, sciences, and what have you anymore than I read Sci-Fi. My "age" is showing, they don't write it "like they used to". [BG]

-- Jon Williamson (, August 02, 1999.


Not directed at you. Your thread evolved into a sci-fi readers forum. Someone said that reading sci-fi will give you insight to where Y2K will take us. I was only trying to point out that sci-fi is someone's imaginination.

Nothing more, nothing less.


-- Deano (, August 02, 1999.

Ah, my kinda OT thread...

I've read almost every book RAH ever wrote, starting way back when I was 10 (1964) with The Star Beast. Heinlein is one of my all-time faves in SF, along with Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula LeGuin (with whom I had the pleasure of sharing some tea and conversation many years ago), and Frank Herbert.

Did you know that RAH built and stocked a bomb shelter in the late '50's (no doubt providing some detail for Farnham's Freehold)? He had come to the conclusion that the Russians and their Cuban allies presented a significant threat, and he took such steps as he deemed prudent. No doubt many of his neighbors laughed at him for being such a "doomer".

In case any of you would like to refresh your memory of The Grandmaster's books, here's a helpful link: Heinlein Books at "Two Moons"

Here's another link to The Official Robert A. Heinlein Home Page. Archives, links, quotes, even has some WAV files from a few Heinlein speeches.

And Mr. Decker, I concur completely. Starship Troopers is one of my favorite Heinleins, and Paul Verhoeven managed to ruin it so thoroughly that it seemed intentional, and as I later learned, it was. Verhoeven is quoted as saying that he based the movie on his own experiences as a child in WWII in Nazi-occupied territory. So we got Nazi-inspired uniforms and behavior instead of power-suits/battle-armor and believable military training and tactics, machine guns instead of state-of-the-art future arms, and high-tech propaganda with no equivalent in the book. In short, a war movie (based on a deeply pro-military-service book) which apparently has little understanding of and even a strong dislike for the military. Ain't Hollywood grand?

"What are the facts? Again and again and again--what are the _facts_? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what 'the stars foretell,' avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable 'verdict of history,'--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your only clue. Get the facts!"

-- Lazarus Long

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), August 02, 1999.


It did kind of drift a bit, didn't it?

-- Jon Williamson (, August 02, 1999.

Stranger in a Strange Land is on my list of all time favorites. Not much of a fiction reader, but luckily there's a bit of non-fiction that manages to give the ol'Contemplator a good s-t-r-e-t-c-h, too.

Been thinking, though, about the short story where the two guys in the cave have the last phonograph record and record player. Was it called "The Phonograph"?

-- Faith Weaver (, August 02, 1999.

Sweetie has a vast collection of science fiction so, yes, I have read many of Heinlein's books. I read anything when I'm out of earth-bound mysteries, so started on Sweetie's library during a drought of James, Paretsky, Grimes, et al. What do you know--I discovered I like science fiction! So I buy them for myself now.

-- Old Git (, August 02, 1999.


I also enjoyed "The Marching Morons" but Heinlein didn't write it. I believe Cyril Kornbluth wrote that one.

Some recent authors like Charles Sheffield, David Brin, David Drake, John Stith, Alan Steele, Walter Jon Williams, and recent L.E. Modesitt SF (not fantasy) also have a lot to offer. Dan Simmons is one of the best of them all.

-- Flint (, August 02, 1999.

My wife is a fanatic reader of RAH's books. I like his pre-1960 books. According to a close friend of mine who was told this by Harlan Ellison at a sci-fi convention, after that period his wife began increasingly doing the actual writing of the books appearing under his name. I give you Starship Troopers (the book, not the piece of %@#%& movie) as IMHO his greatest work.

my website:

-- MinnesotaSmith (, August 02, 1999.

I still dream about Friday just about every week or so and I have read all of Heinlein's books at least once. But the one thing that will stand me in good stead into the year 2000 is all the Louis Lamour books I have read. Besting the bad guys and whipping the wild Indians are the secrets to survival next year!

-- Roger (, August 02, 1999.

Absolutely. His writings have influenced both my world view and my politics. I was introduced to his works by a truly remarkable Librarian in grade school. She knew about young people and the power of imagination. I consider his books to be the best Libertarian Primers extant (although L.Neil Smith's books are good, too.)

-- Greg Lawrence (, August 03, 1999.

Heinlein has been my favorite author since 6th grade when i read "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel"

my favorite Heinlein quote is used as a signature line on my email account, because of it's applicability to Y2K:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -- Robert A. Heinlein

-- andrea (, August 03, 1999.

John W. and all -- yeah, "Footfall" might be more applicable to our possible situation. For some reason, it didn't imprint my memory as much as "Lucifer's Hammer", but your point prods me to consider giving it another look.

-- A (, August 03, 1999.

Bingo. I think my Libertarian self was born in reading Heinlein. Now my son is reading them ( I pick which ones he can read the others when he's alittle older) as he's only 13. So far his favorite is "Tunnel in the Sky ", not bad reading actually for survival information.

-- kozak (kozak@formerusaf.guv), August 03, 1999.

Response to Off Topic How many GI's are Robert Heinlein fans? I've run across quite a few, wonder if there is a "connection"

While we're at it: an Asimov short story, 'Nightfall,' anticipating the response of a society when, for the first time in its history all the suns set, is as Y2K-apropo as they get. What happens when darkness falls? The people go mad and burn the cities to the ground.

-- Spidey (in@jam.commie), August 03, 1999.

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