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Rereading Stranger - Mo's Journal
May 28th, 2008
10:29 am

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Rereading Stranger

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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:May 28th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
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I've been waiting for your take on Stranger. I haven't read it for about 10 years now, but I recognize most of your references.

What I remember best is that I liked the first part and got silly-bored once Heinlein turned it from a "stranger in a strange land" to the stranger as prophet. Msaking fun of religion, etc. was all quite radical (to me), but once they created their own cult, it went boring for me -- too obviously a series of political/cultural lectures and FAR too subject/object, where the subject (Mike) was still a Heinlein puppet, not a character, and the objects... well, as you said, the women were objects.

Did you notice what I was saying about its fascistic base? Rigid roles, high authority, the view of anyone coming to the group as a flawed person who can be saved, and anyone outside the group as more than flawed? (With very special exemptions for Heinlein's own Marty Stu.) Killing as a natural right (was it burglars Mike just disappeared?) so long as the Good Guys do it? Agggh. I never liked that book,not even at 14. And the unedited version is worse.
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From:mofic
Date:May 29th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
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I thought the thing about Mike killing the people was just shallow. At first he doesn't really understand what he's done - he just made them go away. Martians don't have a sense of life and death like we do. So I wanted him to have to really grapple with what he'd done, but then Heinlein just gives earthlings immortality, too, and says killing people is just "removing them from the game for unnecessary roughness" and their souls start all over again. Too pat and too sunny and too unmessy for me.

I didn't think it was authoritarian society; I felt it was much more communitarian but not in a real way with the real struggles people have in trying to live communally. He should have spent some time on a kibbutz or something.

I bet the unedited is worse. mamajoan quoted me one paragraph from each (well, I think it was two sentences in my edited version and two long paragraphs in the unedited one) and it was just way too long-winded.
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:May 29th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)
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I've never seen Heinlein actually write a story where they hero really grappled with anything I'd call an important ethical dilemma. But you're a more careful reader than I am, so possibly it just floated away from me.

I have an uneasy feeling I write like Heinlein at my (and his) worst, and hope Gates finds a decent editor or agent or whomever it was who cut that book in half. It's at 195,000 words at the moment, and half a new chapter to go. Every time I cut stuff, it gets longer.

I'm stalling by bringing it up, because I have been searching for the last two HOURS to find a map of DC which shows me clearly what the river/bay/ocean situation is around it, with a distance legend, and not a million streets aggravating my anxieties. It doesn't seem to exist. Before that, an hour or so playing with a map showing what parts of cities are going to be underwater if the sea level rises. I'm not sure, but I think you might have to move. (If you're still around in 200 years.)
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From:mofic
Date:May 29th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
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I think Thorby in Citizen of the Galaxy really grapples with ethical dilemmas. Don't you? LOL on Gates getting longer every time you cut it. I think you need to start sending it out, don't you?

I am in the coastal flood plain and may have to move, even before 200 years are up (and of course I expect to live that long). Being in Emergency Management I know such things.
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