Fandom has had a chance to prove itself and it has failed. I find the mags crowded with escapism and other nonsense. . . . I find many other evidences of group paranoia and of psychotic infantilism---and unwillingness to face up to adult problems and to cope with them. . . . I am not generalizing; there are a few adults among them. . . . I do not indict any who are carrying their load. . . . A bunch of neurotic, selfish, childish, insensitive and unimaginative, vicious bunch of jerks! It is time you quit associating with them and tackled the problems of the real world.
The second job is, now and after the war, to see to it that it shall not happen again. There are many ways to do that and each must select his own---political activity of every sort, writing intended to stir people up, the willingness to combat race hatred, discrimination, limitations of civil liberty, generalized hates of every sort, whenever and wherever they show up.
I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don't think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can't save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!
Robert had talked about allowing posthumous publication of his real feelings about a lot of things that he didn’t feel comfortable to talk about while he was alive, and indicated that some of his private letters would be a source for the book. Then some posthumous book with that title did come out, and it was a great disappointment. Someone — it could have been only Ginny — had washed his face and combed his hair and turned whatever it was that Robert might have wanted to say into the equivalent of thank-you notes for a respectable English tea.
I know that Robert wrote some much more raunchy letters than any of those, because I myself got one or two. But all the raunch has been edited out. What’s left is actually rather boring and does a great disservice to the real Heinlein, whose physical person may have been embodied as a conventional hard-right conservative but whose writing was — sometimes vulgarly — that of a free-thinking iconoclast.
The romantic situation in this story is a very interesting, very odd one: it is nothing less than a mutual sexual interest between an engineer of thirty and a girl of twelve ('adorable' is Heinlein's word for her), that culminates in marriage after some hop-scotching around in time to adjust their ages a bit.
Imagine an eleven year old girl and a thirty year old uncle she has a crush on. Now imagine living through the next ten years as that girl growing up, never seeing him, knowing he’s waiting for you to be twenty-one, knowing you’re then going to marry him after a twenty year sleep. Imagine being twenty-one and lying down to cold sleep and giving them the instruction only to wake you if he shows up. It’s not beyond what people do, but it’s creepy and twisted and I can’t believe I ever thought it was sort of romantic or that Heinlein in 1957 bought into this “made for each other” stuff so much as to be comfortable with writing this.
Heinlein had to be praised at all times. He would arrive in Chicago without prior notice, phone me with an order loosely translated as, “I have arrived; bring acolytes and worship me in my ordained manner.”
He had this really peculiar tangentialness about himself as if he deliberately tried to set himself apart from all others. This was evident in his unusual choice of clothing (sitting around in silk pajamas and dressing robes), and in his imperial manner (never allowing anyone to sit higher than himself). He also paid fawning attention to females (with a sneer and a wink; they terrified him), and absolutely never ever permitted himself to hear a negative word associated with himself.
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