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Morning Must-Read: Lee Sandlin: Book Review: 'Robert A. Heinlein' by William H. Patterson Jr.

Lee Sandlin: Book Review: 'Robert A. Heinlein' by William H. Patterson Jr.: "Heinlein was the best sci-fi writer of all time and then mysteriously he became the worst:...

...Conviction... an intensely persuasive optimism... a radiantly hopeful vision of human prospects.... The novels for adults that followed were just as emotionally compelling.... 'Starship Troopers'... hurls the reader into its midst with such imaginative force that its rationale seems not only inevitable but somehow desirable. Many readers have been deeply moved... others have felt that they're being bullied by a brilliant piece of fascist propaganda... the most bitterly divisive book in the history of sci-fi.... 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' is a visionary epic of a lunar colony breaking free... and establishing an anarchist-libertarian utopia.... 'Stranger in a Strange Land'. Heinlein... was both amused and appalled when the hippies took it up, enchanted by his luxuriantly sybaritic portrait of a Martian free-love commune....
 
The novels he wrote in the 1970s and 1980s wholly lack his old persuasiveness. Nothing in them is real, nothing is at stake and nobody takes anything seriously... adolescent ribaldry and reams of metafictional banter, for which Heinlein has approximately zero gift.... The overall effect is so low-energy and stupefying that it's hard to believe it isn't somehow deliberate—as though Heinlein is out to... make sure no reader is inspired to take any action whatever...

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