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View Diary: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Club: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (part 1) (216 comments)

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  •  hmmmm (0+ / 0-)

    I don't have that forgiving an eye.  Certainly no queer kid who reads it at the age I did will be particularly reassured by the "poor in-betweeners" who he vanishes as a matter of rightness in the universe.  Might as well fuckin' kill yourself, right?  He wasn't all the way along at that point, but he grokked their wrongness.

    In some ways the unforgivingly harsh view of gays makes the later sexual freedom "OK" to a straight audience.  I'll grant more than a little ambiguity in the subtext, but the ground has been cleared for the straight people beforehand.

    I love many many things about RAH.  My youth and young adulthood would have been much poorer without his books.  Neither his background nor politics predisposed him toward queer rights.  But I don't look to him for liberality on this.    I will always thing "stranger in a strange land" belongs in the pile of books I'd hand the younger me, with a smile.  But there would be Nicola Griffith and Elizabeth A. Lynn there too.  

    There's some critical grace to this.  I'm trans, I spend my life being grokked as wrong.  So maybe there are some limits to grokking generally, shy the Old Ones of Mars comin' round anytime soon.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 09:59:14 AM PDT

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    •  Grok it. (2+ / 0-)
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      jessical, quarkstomper

      I understand. I can see how that particular passage (and others) caused you and others pain.

      I would be interested in learning what you thought of I Will Fear No Evil, if you read it. It's generally considered one of his lesser novels. Written while Heinlein was ill, Virginia did a quick edit. It's about a dying, old, white man, Johann Sebastian Bach Smith, who is too rich to be allowed to die. In an attempt to circumvent his lawyers and estate managers, he has a brain transplant into the first available body with the right rare blood type--it turns out to be his young, beautiful, black secretary, a woman.

      Shortly upon awakening, he begins to "hear" his secretary talking to him, giving him tips on how to be a woman. Is this "new" person male or female? Gay, straight, or bi? What is the nature of the mind-body connection? Who are we really?

      Although the book is clumsy in many respects, a number of people in the gay/bi/trans community found the book a powerful acknowledgement of the complex nature of human sexuality. Written during the summer of '69, few sf writers had examined human sexuality in such a way.

      As I said, the book is not his best. But it does show that the later Heinlein was trying to understand the full variety of human sexuality, and to expand beyond his own provincial upbringing. That does not excuse his earlier failures, by any means.

      "Shared pain is pain lessened; shared joy is joy increased."--Spider Robinson

      by Maggie Pax on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 05:25:31 PM PDT

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      •  Yeah I read it (2+ / 0-)
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        quarkstomper, Maggie Pax

        Years ago.  As a kid, to my eye it felt like something about him, in a way that was smaller than the books by him I'd loved.  So it didn't really speak to me, it was about whatever he was working out, and didn't have my full attention.

        He was a remarkable fellow.  A few years ago, I really enjoyed the book Spider Robinson wrote with Virginia's permission and a sheaf of original notes.  It was an elegant and very humanistic echo of the juveniles, and I thought it was a joy.

        When I was that age...really sucking down the RAH...let's see.  I was also reading Doris Lessing, who really couldn't stand gay men (and that was as far toward queer as she went)...Joanna Russ was supposed to speak to me but didn't (though it does now).  But Elizabeth A. Lynn and Sardonyx Net!    Now that was something a melodramatic teenager could roll with :}  Now of course you'd have Nicola Griffith and a host of other great stuff.  

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 07:04:35 PM PDT

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