On August 17, Tor Books will publish the first half of William H. Patterson Jr.’s two-volume authorized biography of Robert A. Heinlein, Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1, 1907-1948: Learning Curve. In commemoration of this, we’ve convened a kind of online panel discussion of Heinlein and of the biography—of his work, his methods, and his legacy, and of what light the biography sheds on all of those.
Kicking things off will be longtime fan, Heinlein reader, and tech-industry journalist Mitch Wagner, followed by award-winning novelist (Tooth and Claw; Farthing) and prolific Tor.com blogger Jo Walton. Over the next several days, possibly as soon as today, we’ll also be hearing from John Scalzi (author of Old Man’s War and several other SF novels), Pamela Dean (author of Tam Lin and the Secret Country trilogy, and several other works of fantasy), Charles Stross (author of Halting State, the Merchant Princes series, and the Laundry series), and Sarah Hoyt (author of Ill Met by Moonlight, Death of a Musketeer, Draw One in the Dark, and many other works of SF, fantasy, and historical romance).
|The Heinlein children, 1910 or 1911: Larry (tallest), Rex Ivar (middle), Louise, and Robert (seated). Courtesy of Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust|
All of our panelists are people who’ve been reading and thinking about Heinlein for a long time, and all of them have read Patterson’s book in advance of its publication. Once they all get past their initial statements, we hope to see them start batting notions back and forth between one another. And if you want to nudge the discussion in a direction that particularly interests you, don’t be shy—post in the comment section. We’ll be paying attention.
Follow the conversation so far:
- Robert A. Heinlein: A real-life Forrest Gump by Mitch Wagner
- “Out far, and onward yet!” Heinlein’s future history stories of the thirties and forties by Jo Walton
- Heinlein: Strangely Human by John Scalzi
- Coming Home by Sarah A. Hoyt
- Tomorrow Through the Past by Pamela Dean
- Patterson Heinlein biography: Not to be trusted on details by Jo Walton
- Through a backward telescope: Heinlein’s context by Charlie Stross
- The right kind of girl by Jo Walton
- Heinlein: Forward-looking diversity advocate or sexist bigot? Yes by Mitch Wagner
- Heinlein’s contradictory views on race by Mitch Wagner
- Heinlein and The Saturday Evening Post by John Scalzi
- Some responses to the opening posts of the Heinlein discussion by Pamela Dean
- The Customs Of His Tribe by Sarah A. Hoyt
- Heinlein Biographer Tells All by Mitch Wagner
- A brief thought about why Heinlein discussions frequently become acrimonious by Jo Walton
- American, Like Me by Sarah A. Hoyt
- The Undead Robert Heinlein by John Scalzi
- What Do Heinlein Women Want? by Sarah A. Hoyt
- Robert A. Heinlein’s technical prophecies by Mitch Wagner
- The Church of Heinlien (mildly) Reformed by Sarah A. Hoyt
Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a senior editor at Tor Books and, with Liz Gorinsky, one of the two fiction editors of Tor.com. Read more about him on the Tor.com About Us page.