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View Diary: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Club: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (part 2) (125 comments)

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  •  Tim Minear, Firefly Tim Minear? (14+ / 0-)

    Now that would something to see!

    Blew through the missed portions last week and this week's installment. Now on chapter 21. Can't thank you enough for bringing this book up to a vote.

    I'm still having a hard time understanding how exactly the line marriage works as far as opting out and what that means for the family as a whole and what it means for those who leave (do they marry into another family or are they children who move out?).

    Lastly, I miss the conversations between Mike and Man. It was interesting to see how Mike transformed with the new responsibilities that he took on in cell communication but I wanted to know more about how he felt in having that much interaction with people.

    Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

    by yawnimawke on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 08:24:28 PM PDT

    •  Probably (5+ / 0-)

      I'm not familiar with the name; but since the screenplay was posted on a Browncoats website, I would guess that Tim Minear does have a connection with Firefly.

      I'm not clear on how opting out in Line Marriage Families works either.  I think it's probably children moving out once they reach adulthood; though in some families they may well be forced out: ("Yer big enough to fend fer yerself, Willie...").  There are certainly aspects of the Line Marriage that Heinlein glosses over or neglects.

      The section I covered this week to me seems like a montage sequence, as we get glimpses of stuff happening, but very few actual scenes.  Mostly it's Mannie telling us stuff happened rather than showing it happening.  The exceptions are the bit where Mike and Mannie decide to turn "Adam Selene" from an organizational figurehead into a Man of Mystery; and the chapter introducing Stu.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 08:36:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  montage is great way to put it. (5+ / 0-)

        I wasn't sure about Stu and was surprised how quickly Manny took to him. I was suspicious of him until later on.

        I guess I want to see if Mike is really enjoying himself in these various roles or does he become bored with the day to day gripes of cell members. I got a better idea in later chapters but up to this point, it would have been interesting to "hear" Mike's input on whether he was having fun (like with messing with the Warden and Alverez).

        I like Mike! What a great character!

        Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

        by yawnimawke on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 09:34:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Line marriage (17+ / 0-)

      It is THAT Tim Minear. I'm told it is "authentic;" Tim Minear really wrote it.

      Line Marriage: as Heinlein envisions it (in several books), a new spouse has to be approved by all current spouses before they can be added. Any children born to any spouse are raised by all adults (and other children may be adopted, or a grandchild might need care). When a child reaches maturity, that child is usually given startup money (sometimes including college money, sometimes not) and goes off into the world. The child is still loved and may visit/ask for help in emergencies, but is essentially independent. Children know that they will be independent when they are of age, so this is not unexpected. It is quite rare for a child to stay and marry into the birth family. It happens in one case in TMIAHM, but Heinlein is very careful to note that there is no genetic risk (Grandpa is too old).

      Although children would not inherit, we need to remember that most children in reality do not depend on an inheritance when they are young (or any age, really). In reality some parents can afford to help with college, some cannot. Some kids are eager to be on their own (more common in the US); others linger even after marriage (more common in Eastern Europe). Cultures differ.

      Opting out is essentially a divorce. In Wyoh's case, she divorced because she didn't want to risk birthing another "monster," which psychologically damaged her first marriage to two brothers. To opt out means that one spouse leaves the marriage permanently. Again, this is quite rare (and financially potentially complicated). Spouses can, however, take a "vacation" from the family, for weeks, months or years. Different rules for different families. Mannie has "permission" to have sex outside of the marriage; he just doesn't care to. Presumably, such rules are agreed on by all spouses.

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

      by Maggie Pax on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 08:45:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, Maggie (5+ / 0-)

        That's a good and fairly comprehensive overview of the Line Marriage.

        "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

        by quarkstomper on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 08:49:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe non-inheritance is a libertarian or... (3+ / 0-)

          ...Heinlein objective?

          It would be interesting to know more of his childhood but the web is (AFAICT) largely silent on that part of his life. One claims his family was relatively poor - Wiki gives scant notice though he did attend Annapolis which is the mark or a remarkable person and not likely poor.

          "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

          by TerryDarc on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:00:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Check out the new bio (5+ / 0-)

            The first volume of the Heinlein biography is out. Written by William Patterson, it covers the period from Heinlein's birth, time at Annapolis and military service, through the end of WWII and his marriage to Virginia. Volume II is in the editing stage and is expected next year (I hope).

            Another source for more information is the Heinlein archives. That site also has link to the Heinlein Prize/Trust. Yet another site for Heinlein fans is the page for The Heinlein Society.

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

            by Maggie Pax on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 12:15:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Heinlein's family was not wealthy (3+ / 0-)

              Business setbacks, the death of a sibling and the psychological toll it took on his parents meant that Heinlein's childhood was--in a financial sense--poor. He slept on the floor on a bedroll he had to put away each morning. He took after school jobs and and early morning paper route to help the family make ends meet. He worked his butt off. He was remarkable, but it was hard work and not privilege that made him successful.

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

              by Maggie Pax on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 12:19:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So it might be understandable that inheritance... (3+ / 0-)

                ...was not on the top of RAH's list of priorities. Unfamiliar as I am with doctrinal libertarianism or Randism, anybody care to speculate if the three differ?

                "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

                by TerryDarc on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 12:56:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Heinlein's estate (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  quarkstomper, TerryDarc

                  A good deal of Heinlein's estate went to fund the Heinlein Trust. "The purpose of the Heinlein Prize is to encourage and reward progress in commercial space activities that advances Robert and his wife Virginia’s dream of humanity’s future in space. Efforts include: the Heinlein Prize for Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities, the Microgravity Research Competition, the  Heinlein Commercial Space Activity Prize, the “Flight Into the Future” international contests, the Have Spacesuit — Will Travel educational program, and the online Heinlein Archives." via the Heinlein Trust website (see above).

                  There were also some sentimental bequests, but I am not privy to all of the details.

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

                  by Maggie Pax on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:27:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  yikes! first I've heard of a new bio - (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Maggie Pax, quarkstomper, TerryDarc

              many thanks for mentioning it!

          •  Non-inheritance is key to many philosophies (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quarkstomper, Transactivist

            All the serious "merit-based" philosophies, except the bigoted ones, require it, actually.  For obvious reasons.  Which covers a huge range.

            Andrew Carnegie backed it.

            I haven't looked into Heinlein's views on the topic, but I'd expect him to disapprove of inheritances.

            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

            by neroden on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 01:25:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The "Death Tax" ;-) (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quarkstomper, Transactivist

              (This IS dKos, after all and poking a bit of fun at the morons who come up with tags like that and the even stupider people who suck into it.)

              Inheritance tax = Death Tax? What a morbid bunch or creeps they are to say that and yet no one challenges them!

              "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

              by TerryDarc on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 01:57:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Then again, maybe not (5+ / 0-)

        "Opting out" may refer to the kids reaching majority; I'll have to double check. But it is generally not an option; grown kids are expected to fend for themselves at some point and eventually marry elsewhere.

        The stilyagi are the equivalent of high school drop outs; gangs of young men who don't have/can't get education or employment, and so have a hard time marrying into a good family. We have our share.

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

        by Maggie Pax on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 08:54:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the words "opt out" are what I think I'm (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quarkstomper, ER Doc, Transactivist

          having the problem with. The two boys who were working the Davis farm "opted out" and then the Davis family recruited another boy who "opted in". So, were they husbands or children from the marriages? I assumed they were children that decided to leave the family fold as opposed to being pushed out. But with Manny working so much in regards to his normal job, the revolution, he then had to take on additional work on the farm because they were shorthanded, if they were children (or rather adult age kids) of the family and their labor was needed, they would not necessarily be pushed out. I couldn't figure out was was going on there.

          It seems that it would be more desirable to keep the male children around not only to attract new women to the line but to keep the line going? Ack! I have a hard time understanding marriage in reality as it is so this may be too much for my little brain to grasp!

          Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

          by yawnimawke on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 09:26:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A trial period (9+ / 0-)

            Since everyone has to agree before a new spouse is added, the marriage would need some sort of courtship period, a time to "audition" potential new members to see if it is a good fit. Some people would make the cut; some wouldn't; some would decide line marriage is not for them. Maybe the time before opting is like a courtship/engagement. Mannie's family expansion is explained a bit more in later chapters when a new spouse is formally added to the clan. No spoilers! Mannie's family usually alternates between male and female, and keeps a mix of ages, not a cluster.

            Other families on Luna make other arrangements. The first generation of Lunies were convicts, dumped to live or die. Early marriages were probably informal. Think of our own prisons: heavily racially imbalanced, far more men than women convicted of violent crime. Or consider the convicts sent to Australia. Different cultures develop differ mores, but aim to care for children until they are adults, and keep the spouses relatively happy in the process.

            Heinlein is raising important questions. Why marry at all? What is the purpose of marriage? What should we expect of ourselves and our spouse(s)? The answers are personal and cultural. But if we want marriages to be successful, then we should think about them logically and objectively before we make an emotional or culturally mandated decision.

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

            by Maggie Pax on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 09:49:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A lot was cut (4+ / 0-)

              I haven't read the original manuscript. I wonder if more details about the option (and the young boys who opted out) was part of the material that he choose to cut. Interesting research topic. Hmmmmm.

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

              by Maggie Pax on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 09:57:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But Isn't The Essential Thing Of "Line Marriage" (5+ / 0-)

                That it is voluntary, optional, temporary, a personal choice. That sounds pretty libertarian to me. Societies may develop better if marriages are more permanent but I'm pretty sure RAH couldn't have given a rat's patootie about that.

                I figure the inheritance issue would be clarified if we knew more about his childhood. He certainly didn't come from a rich family (where inheritance might have been more a serious issue).

                All the same, we don't expect s/f authors to solve all the minutiae that they raise. Raising the possibility is more important than writing the legal code for how it would play out after all.

                "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

                by TerryDarc on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 10:11:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  makes total sense now! thanks for (3+ / 0-)

              taking the time to explain it to me. I am familiar with the addition to the family and now get the engagement theory you have discussed. Did not put that together, at all! It's safe, i think for me to say, that the women can then bring in men they have an interest in and keep the line going that way. That makes sense to me. (slapping head)

              Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

              by yawnimawke on Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 11:02:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  More detail from a different Heinlein book (6+ / 0-)

        In "Friday", the heroine (a genetically-engineered "artificial person" who tried to pass as a regular human) was originally marrying into a clan or line marriage prototype in New Zealand.  She had to pay a rather large amount of capital to enter into the marriage, but part of the reason for keeping the capital up was to provide a stake to the children from the marriage.  A major plot element in the book is when one of the children decided to marry a maori.  The racism of Friday's fellow spouses came out, and when Friday objected, she ended up revealing he real status.  As "artificial persons" had no legal rights, she was also kicked out of the marriage and the marriage fell apart shortly after.  Not the best advertisement for the line marriage that manny espouses, but the education and support of the kids was probably in the Davis family rules and customs.

        The Scout Law (trustworthy, loyal, helpful...) is a GREAT liberal manifesto.

        by DaytonMike on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 01:53:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I saw this ugly little incident (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrJayTee, neroden, quarkstomper, TerryDarc

          as evidence of Heinlein's ability to grow and change. He had spent a number of earlier books poking and prodding at conventional forms of marriage. In these, he often seemed to idealize alternatives by way of contrasting them with unthinking monogamous convention.

          And then "Friday" -- a later effort -- instead features the passage you describe, where even the unconventional alternative is fraught with pitfalls due to imperfect human nature.

          •  No one is perfect (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quarkstomper, prfb, TerryDarc

            And logically no one form of marriage is perfect, either. The success of any marriage depends on the people involved, and since people are flawed, marriages of any sort may fail.

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

            by Maggie Pax on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 04:29:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course! My point was that Heinlein seemed to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Maggie Pax, quarkstomper

              realize this well after he had thought his way all around some of the novel forms that "marriage" might take. His insight grew as his career continued. Not all authors -- even some very good ones -- can make that claim...

              •  Heinein's Three Marriages (0+ / 0-)

                Still RAH's marriages were conventional. Here's what I gleaned from Wiki:

                "In 1929, Heinlein married Eleanor Curry of Kansas City in Los Angeles, but the marriage lasted only about a year. In 1932 he married Leslyn Macdonald, who was born 29 Aug 1904 in Massachusetts and died 13 April 1981 in California. MacDonald was a political radical, and Isaac Asimov later recalled that Heinlein was, like her, "a flaming liberal."

                Heinlein and his second wife divorced in 1947, and the following year he married Virginia "Ginny" Gerstenfeld, to whom he would remain married until his death forty years later. Shortly thereafter, the Heinlein couple moved to Colorado, but in 1965 her health was affected by the altitude. They moved to Santa Cruz, California…"

                It further mentions that Heinein's swing to the right politically happened after his marriage to Ginny and that she served as a model for his later women:"intelligent, fiercely independent female characters..."

                "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

                by TerryDarc on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 07:21:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Conventional is not the word I would use (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  prfb, quarkstomper

                  Although they were conventionally "legal" (one wife at a time), Heinlein and his current spouse were not necessarily monogamous. Read the first volume of the bio I mentioned elsewhere, and hang onto your hats when vol. 2 comes out.

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

                  by Maggie Pax on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 09:16:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nor were RAH's Marriages Line Marriage... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    quarkstomper

                    ...nor polygamy, etc. I'm unlikely to come by his biography but feel free to share any details free of charge, Maggie.

                    I think Heinlein might have been as exploratory in his social setting as in his science.

                    "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

                    by TerryDarc on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 01:20:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Not mine to share (0+ / 0-)

                      Well, not what I was told about volume 2. But in volume one, Patterson makes it clear that the first two Heinlein marriages were not exclusively monogamous. His first marriage was brief, but he and his wife remained friends, and she was known and welcomed by his family. His second marriage was what we would today call an open marriage. As for his third and final marriage to Virginia, read vol. 2!

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

                      by Maggie Pax on Tue Aug 09, 2011 at 07:10:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh! which Firefly actors would you cast (5+ / 0-)

      as which TMIAHM characters?

      So much fun!

      •  mal would be manny, of course! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quarkstomper, Transactivist

        shepard would be prof, kaylee would be wyoh (imo), stu would be wash or badger...thats my starting list! I would love to see this happen!

        Earth: Mostly harmless ~ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (revised entry)

        by yawnimawke on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 01:35:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Casting characters =/= casting the actors (4+ / 0-)

          You need somebody who's a sort of tannish color, I think. Remember Manny's remark (re Wyoh, who's nearly-pure Cauc) about colors not staying that clear past the first or second generation (and the implications regarding his own family tree).

          If Harsh Mistress ever gets made, it should be a field day for Latino/a and mixed-race actors. Not that I expect them to be that authentic!

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Mon Aug 08, 2011 at 02:35:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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