My Review of Heinlein in Reflection

Heinlein in Reflection: Robert A. Heinlein in the 21st Century by Christopher G. Nuttall

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am big fan of Heinlein dating from my earliest memories of reading his juvenile books when I was a kid. And I did get recruited by Bill Paterson to manage the web site of the Heinlein Society for a short period, before someone with better skills took it over. So I have bona fides with respect to Heinlein. That said, I can be critical. Some of his stuff is not terribly good (e.g. I Will Fear No Evil; Farnham’s Freehold). And I got this book because I am interested in the critical literature on Heinlein. So, how did I like it? There was a lot of stuff I disagreed with, and a lot I agreed with. And I think a lot of this hinges on the tension between extreme individualism and social responsibility. Nuttall falls in the camp of “SJW is destroying America”, which is pretty weird to me, although it is arguably something Heinlein might have agreed with. Where I think Nuttall does a good job is in looking at Heinlein in terms of the time he was writing, and the constraints he was working under. Writing books for adolescent boys in the 1950s, there were things you could not say directly, but could only hint at obliquely. If you are a big Heinlein fan you might enjoy this book, but if you haven’t read all of his books I doubt you will enjoy this volume; it really presumes a strong familiarity with his work. But I have that familiarity, and I mostly enjoyed it.

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