Tuesday, June 30, 2015

An early SF gatekeeper

One wonders how many more excellent SF juvenile novels Robert Heinlein might have written for Scribner had it not been for his editor Alice Dalgliesh's determination to meddle, in true SJW fashion, with the political ideology expressed in Red Planet. This was the first serious crack in the relationship between Heinlein and Scribner's, which eventually culminated in Scribner's rejecting Starship Troopers for publication. From Grumbles From the Grave.
April 19, 1949: Robert A. Heinlein to Alice Dalgliesh

The manuscript of Red Planet is being returned, through Mr. Blassingame.

You will find that I have meticulously followed all of your directions, from your letter, from your written notes, and from your notations on the manuscript, whether I agreed with them or not. I have made a wholehearted attempt to make the changes smoothly and acceptably and thereby to make the story hang together. I am not satisfied with the result, but you are free to make any additional changes you wish wherever you see an opportunity to accomplish your purposes more smoothly than I have been able to do.

Most of the changes have been made by excising what you objected to, or by minor inclusions and variations in dialog. However, on the matter of guns, I have written in a subscene in which the matter of gun licensing is referred to in sufficient explanatory detail to satisfy you, I think.

The balance of this letter is side discussion and is in no sense an attempt to get you to change your mind about any of your decisions concerning the book. I simply want to state my point of view on one matter and to correct a couple of points....

You and I have strongly different evaluations as to the best way in which to handle the problem of deadly weapons in a society. We do not seem to disagree in any important fashion as to the legitimate ways in which deadly weapons may be used, but we disagree strongly as to socially useful regulations concerning deadly weapons. I will first cite two points which sharply illustrate the disagreement. I have one of my characters say that the right to bear arms is the basis of all human freedom. I strongly believe that, but you required me to blue-pencil it. The second point concerns licensing guns. I had such licensing in the story, but I had one character strongly object to it as a piece of buttinsky bureaucracy, subversive of liberty—and I had no one defending it. You required me to remove the protest, then build up the licensing into a complicated ritual, involving codes, oaths, etc.—a complete reversal of evaluation. I have made great effort to remove my viewpoint from the book and to incorporate yours, convincingly—but in so doing I have been writing from reasons of economic necessity something that I do not believe. I do not like having to do that.

Let me say that your viewpoint and evaluation in this matter is quite orthodox; you will find many to agree with you. But there is another and older orthodoxy imbedded in the history of this country and to which I hold. I have no intention nor any expectation of changing your mind, but I do want to make you aware that there is another viewpoint that is held by a great many respectable people, and that it is quite old. It is summed up in the statement that I am opposed to all attempts to license or restrict the arming of individuals, such as the Sullivan Act of the State of New York. I consider such laws a violation of civil liberty, subversive of democratic political institutions, and self-defeating in their purpose. You will find that the American Rifle Association has the same policy and has had for many years.

France had Sullivan-type laws. When the Nazis came, the invaders had only to consult the registration lists at the local gendarmerie in order to round up all the weapons in a district. Whether the authorities be invaders or merely local tyrants, the effect of such laws is to place the individual at the mercy of the state, unable to resist. In the story Red Planet it would be all too easy for the type of licensing you insist on to make the revolution of the colonists not simply unsuccessful, but impossible.

As to such laws being self-defeating, the avowed purpose of such laws as the Sullivan Act is to keep weapons out of the hands of potential criminals. You are surely aware that the Sullivan Act and similar acts have never accomplished anything of the sort? That gangsterism ruled New York while this act was already in force? That Murder, Inc. flourished under this act? Criminals are never materially handicapped by such rules; the only effect is to disarm the peaceful citizen and put him fully at the mercy of the lawless. Such rules look very pretty on paper; in practice they are as foolish and footless as the attempt of the mice to bell the cat.

Such is my thesis, that the licensing of weapons is subversive of liberty and self-defeating in its pious purpose. I could elaborate the arguments suggested above at great length, but my intention is not to convince, but merely to show that there is another viewpoint. I am aware, too, that even if I did by some chance convince you, there remains the unanswerable argument that you have to sell to librarians and schoolteachers who believe the contrary.
Heinlein knuckled under, but he was not happy about it. He was so unhappy about the forced change that he even tried to get Scribner's to put Dalgliesh's name on the cover as Red Planet's co-author, but the publishing house refused, as they believed it would hurt sales.
May 9, 1949: Robert A. Heinlein to Lurton Blassingame

As to the name on Red Planet ms., no, I’m not adamant; I’ll always listen to your advice and I’ll lose a lot of sleep before I will go directly against your advice. But I feel rather sticky about this point, as I hate like the deuce to see anything go out under my own name, without even sharing responsibility with Miss Dalgliesh, when said item includes propositions in which I do not believe. The matter of style, plot, and the effect on my literary reputation, if any, I am not adamant about, even though I am not happy about the changes—if you say to shut up and forget it, I’ll shut up. It’s the "Sullivan-Act-in-a-Martian-frontier-colony" feature that I find hard to swallow; from my point of view I am being required to support publicly a doctrine which I believe to be subversive of human liberty and political freedom.
The whole situation bothered Heinlein so much that when Dalgliesh's successor pitched Heinlein on returning to Scribner's, Heinlein flat-out refused to work with them again. Which is not terribly surprising, considering how he took the rejection of Starship Troopers, which involved not only the entire editorial board, but Charles Scribner himself.

"I do not know as yet whether I will do another juvenile book or not. If I decide to do another one, I do not know that I wish it to be submitted to Scribner’s. I have taken great pride in being a Scribner’s author, but that pride is all gone now that I have discovered that they are not proud of me."

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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Blogger JDC June 30, 2015 6:39 AM  

if you say to shut up and forget it, I’ll shut up.

SJW's always lie and they never shut up.

Blogger VD June 30, 2015 6:47 AM  

Heinlein shut up. But he didn't forget it.

Blogger Jack Ward June 30, 2015 6:50 AM  

Would you not love to see Heinlein operate in the looser environment of indie publishing today? The Man could have his own website and I would be there often with checkbook in hand.
As for scribners....need I say more?

Blogger JDC June 30, 2015 6:52 AM  

What do 1 million battered women have in common?

They wouldn't shut their yappers.

Anonymous Bz June 30, 2015 6:58 AM  

I'm dismayed by Dalgliesh, and also that I read Grumbles a long time ago and didn't remember this.

Any current authors have stories about heavy-handed editors with a political agenda? How is, say, PNH as an editor anyway? If we're supposed to vote for him, we need to know.

Anonymous Mike M. (Minion 315) June 30, 2015 7:04 AM  

Hint to corporate executives: SJWs are dangerous to your profit margins. Fire them at every opportunity.

Anonymous old man in a villa June 30, 2015 7:05 AM  

Alice Dalgliesh, yet another barren womb trying to infect the youth of America with her subversive politics.

Did I mention her love of cats?

Blogger Mr.MantraMan June 30, 2015 7:06 AM  

He tried to reason with her, what a waste of time. My guess that Ol' Alice was in the grip of PC hysteria and way, way beyond reason, just another cultist.

Anonymous John V. Marsch June 30, 2015 7:07 AM  

Well, there was a 10 year interval between the argument over Red Planet and Scribner's rejection of Starship Troopers (a juvenile? really??) during which he wrote and they published a further nine novels, from Farmer in the Sky to Have Space Suit -- Will Travel, via The Star Beast, Tunnel in the Sky, Citizen of the Galaxy [insert your own favourite]. It was hardly an unsuccessful or unproductive relationship.

Blogger Shimshon June 30, 2015 7:30 AM  

In 1949 they were already agitating for gun licensing. Wow.

Anonymous Peter Garstig June 30, 2015 7:32 AM  

Well, there was a 10 year interval between the argument over Red Planet and Scribner's rejection of Starship Troopers (a juvenile? really??) during which he wrote and they published a further nine novels, from Farmer in the Sky to Have Space Suit

He was probably just being a man that was honoring his contract...but I can't tell as I don't know.

Still strange that he had to give in _so much_ to the editors demands. Is this part of the contracts nowadays? Was it back then? I mean, we are speaking fiction here. Again, I have no idea about the details, I'm just wondering.

Blogger VD June 30, 2015 7:33 AM  

It was hardly an unsuccessful or unproductive relationship.

Not at all. I would even argue that the strictures that Scribner's imposed upon him were very beneficial to his books; only Stranger in a Strange Land is as memorable as any of his subsequent books.

And perhaps the bitterness of the Starship Troopers experience would have been enough to end the relationship anyhow. But the point is that a proto-SJW editor unnecessarily poisoned the publishing house's relationship with its top author over her stubborn insistence in pushing her political ideology.

So the suggestion that it has been a serious problem in recent years is hardly outlandish.

Anonymous IsMise June 30, 2015 7:35 AM  

I, vaguely, recall he wrote of how she bitched and moaned about the lack of female lead characters. So Heinlein created the popular Puddin' stories, and with all due malice shopped them to a competitor.

Blogger pbuxton June 30, 2015 7:38 AM  

Any work on getting Red Planet restored to the original?

And yes, I know: aside from one or two bits, the original "condensed" edition of Stranger in a Strange Land was superior to the uncut version: Heinlein really trimmed the fat and made it a better book.

Nevertheless, getting his stories closer to the original MSS would be worth risking a bit of fat.

Coincidentally, I've been reading Panshin's Heinlein in Dimension and wow, I really want to write Panshin in Four Dimensions and tear that thing apart. 30% cool, 30% wrong and 40% oh-my-God-how-can-he-write-this-without-laughing?

Blogger pdwalker June 30, 2015 7:41 AM  

but that pride is all gone now that I have discovered that they are not proud of me

Wow. History repeats itself. Again.

Blogger Nate June 30, 2015 7:56 AM  

it occurs to me that the defining characteristic of the SJW is the inability to seperate the personal and the political, from the professional.

This of course means they are unemployable... by definition.

Anonymous Stephen J. June 30, 2015 7:57 AM  

It's interesting to watch the manifestation of the beliefs, too. Dalgliesh's first change, I might have bought if the argument had been, "It's not about what I believe, it's about a piece of soapboxing I think will put off the readers and lose some of your audience," because that is in part a publisher's job and they have an interest in that. But toning down soapboxing is one thing; putting in your own opposed soapboxing is quite another.

Which suggests an interesting insight into why SJWs always double down; the defining characteristic of the modern radical is the desire to see change as soon as possible, so that it can be personally enjoyed, because as secular gnostics not really interested in the future or having descendants themselves the notion of working for a future their grandchildren can enjoy doesn't really resonate. So if you don't go for the brass ring now you may never get it; better to go for the full mile even if all you're offered is an inch.

Blogger Salt June 30, 2015 8:02 AM  

That's as damning about the SJWs as anything I have read. Given how far down the rabbit hole we've gone, #RabidPuppies for the win!

Blogger Cail Corishev June 30, 2015 8:02 AM he was unfailingly polite and tried to reason with her, while giving in to all her demands and even compromising on important principles to please her; and she did not respond with greater respect and by reconsidering the extremity of her position and meeting him halfway?

How is this possible?

Anonymous Stephen J. June 30, 2015 8:10 AM  

Why should she have compromised? She got what she wanted and what she wanted was right. Extremism in the enactment of social justice is no vice. /sarc

Anonymous rienzi June 30, 2015 8:12 AM  

Mr. Shakespeare, as Master of the Revels, I must insist that the character of Shylock in your play "The Merchant of Venice" be chanced. It is the considered opinion of this office that your character is a great calumny on the Hebrew tribe. You will change the character to a protestant, and give him a suitably northern European ancestry.

Furthermore, as His Majesty is in diplomatic negotiations with the Venetian Republic at this time, you must change the setting of the play. May I suggest Antwerp.

Unless these changes are made for the good of the realm, your play will not be allowed to be produced.

God Save the King!

Neville Fotheringslosh-Twitnham
Master of the Revels

Blogger bearspaw June 30, 2015 8:15 AM  

Lurton Blassingame?! Seriously?

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 30, 2015 8:15 AM  

By the admission of this story, it proves that literature, of any type, teaches. Literature of any type is a soapbox.

Here, Dalgliesh accomplished getting her message out thru a WASP male.

Concept precedes knowledge and this incident tells me that all is not so innocent in any field. Every thing has a program behind it. Interesting.

Anonymous Jourdan June 30, 2015 9:10 AM  

@Shimshon- Oh, this particular church has been around a long time, and as ever it is its church ladies that are the worst.

It's a long story--and sadly for my people uniquely American, though by the power she obtained post WWII it has become others' problem as well: after all, without our progressive church bestriding the world why would Oslo become Muslim?

To cut it dow to its core it is: good-works protestanantism becomes Unitarian Universalism becomes the Old Left meets German philosophy driven from Europe becomes New Left becomes global universalism.

The key book to read to understand this isn't even obscure; it was a best-seller.

The Closing of the American Mind by Professor Allan Bloom.

Blogger AmyJ June 30, 2015 9:11 AM  

The anti-puppies will read this exchange and see nothing amiss, as this is the whole thrust of the struggle we are going though now.

Anonymous Viking June 30, 2015 9:12 AM  

So Scribner rejected Starship Troopers huh. I wonder if they would have changed there mind knowing how popular and lucrative it would be.

Sounds like they didn't deserve the success.

Blogger Salt June 30, 2015 9:27 AM  

The anti-pups will experience emotional pleasure, the colorful feelz-good of pride, at Heinlein's discomfort. They easily imagine a social justice warrior boot stomping on a human face forever.

Anonymous Felix June 30, 2015 9:32 AM  

Seems that lots of people still believe that financial profit is the ultimate driver in what is produced in today's world. It's not. There is another mechanism that explains the overarching scope of the anti-human SJW narrative. The real power on this planet is not concerned with profits. They are concerned with maintaining and increasing their power and control over the minds and actions of the masses.

They could create and staff a new publishing house or movie studio overnight if they felt the need. And they don't care about profits as long as these vehicles serve their primary purpose, hog the airwaves and clog the innerwebs with SJW poison to overwhelm all ideological opposition and capture the critical mass of mind-share in the West. They measure their success not in dollars, but in the attitudes, platitudes, anti-values and misplaced-priorities they successfully plant in the minds of their consumers. They are creating an environment where they will be able to do whatever they want without the possibility of resistance. Everything else is a side-show leading up to that main event.

Blogger B.J. June 30, 2015 9:43 AM  

Wow. It seems totally crazy to force an author to add gun licensing to his novel. I mean, really? Come on.

Heinlein sucks it up and does as he is told. No doubt this was a "think of the children" moment. In the modern era the editor would have likely just thrown him under the bus. She would tweet complaints about how he was an oppressor and privileged and her army of sycophant followers would hound him out of the business.

Blogger dc.sunsets June 30, 2015 9:45 AM  

That's as damning about the SJWs as anything I have read.


Blogger Alexander June 30, 2015 9:54 AM  

Why should financial profit be a motivator when if the right group fails to make a profit, you can just extract it from the group that does?

Blogger grendel June 30, 2015 9:57 AM  

[B]In 1949 they were already agitating for gun licensing. Wow.[/B]

Gun rights died with the National Firearms Act of 1934. All the infringements since then are just necrophilia.

Blogger borderwalker June 30, 2015 9:57 AM  

Jeebus, has anybody else looked at the picture on Ms. Dalgliesh's Wikipedia page?

(Austin Powers: "That's a man, baby!")

Anonymous Not-So-Merry zen0 June 30, 2015 9:59 AM  

At one point, Dalgliesh asked Heinlein to have (in her words) "a good Freudian" look at his novels to point out what she viewed as undesirable psychosexual symbology in his work for juveniles.

Finally, during the editing of Heinlein's The Rolling Stones, Heinlein subjected Dalgliesh's own children's novel Along Janet's Way to the same analysis of her text for psychosexual symbology she used to object to the "Martian flat cats" - to show her how (in his words) "it is impossible to write any story in such a way that it will not bring a knowing leer to the face of (in Heinlein's words) "a good Freudian."[19]

SJWs always project.

Blogger borderwalker June 30, 2015 10:04 AM  

"In 1949 they were already agitating for gun licensing. Wow."

The "Sullivan Law" to which Mr. Heinlein refers was a New York City law passed in 1911 that required a police-issued license for any firearm small enough to be concealable.

It was aimed primarily at immigrants and Tammany Hall's political opponents. The first man arrested and charged under the Sullivan Act was an Italian immigrant, and perusal of the records indicates that more than 80% of those arrested and charged with a Sullivan violation had Italian last names.

This law also led directly to corrupt cops "planting" weapons on suspects. And murders went up after it was passed.

Go figure.

Anonymous Joe Wooten June 30, 2015 10:13 AM  

In 1949 they were already agitating for gun licensing. Wow

Look up Eleanor Roosevelt's letter to the DNC about the Battle of Athens TN in 1946. She did not outright call for confiscation of guns, but she implied that the dhimmicraps needed to disarm the peasants.

Anonymous Porky June 30, 2015 10:17 AM  

How could a lonely, childless spinster not love Martian flat cats?

Anonymous The other robot June 30, 2015 10:19 AM  

Damn. When I claimed that Heinlein was the first SJW I did not realize that his editor was forcing so much shit on him. I will have to get Grumbles from the Grave. It is available from Baen for $6.

The book the Rolling Stones seems to have all the modern SJW stuff.

Anonymous Sam the Man June 30, 2015 10:24 AM  

As regards the 1949 gun licensing:

Most folks are not aware of it, but during the reign of Harry Truman, the US Government was pretty anti-gun. As proof:

1) During the Korean war there were no bringing back of war trophies from 1950 to spring of 1953

2) The full-bore National matches, which had been halted in 1940 were not begun again until 1953 .

3) The DCM was cut back in 1949 and the sales of M1917 rifles halted, as was the sales of low number M1903 rifles, leaving only a few M1903 rifles to be sold off. M1 rifles and M1 carbines were not sold until 1957.

4) The mere procession of am M1 Garand of M1 carbine was illegal, none were rereleased for sale nor was import allowed. if you read gun books from this era you will note that none of the authors thought that self loading US arms would be allowed to civilians any time in the future.

Truman favored licensing. It was the loss of congress in the 1946 elections that halted those plans. licensing of handguns had been a part of the 1934 NFA, which is why they regulated short rifles and shotguns, so that no substitution arms could be sold. Of course they could not get that part of the legislation through, but it was part of the democratic game plane from 1934 and still is 90 years later.

It was not until the election of Eisenhower in 1953 that the anti-gun tendencies reversed themselves. Starting in 1954 the full-bore national matches were restarted, in 1955 if you went as a civilian you could borrow an M1 rifle, use it in the matches and then buy it. In 1957 the sale of surplus M1 carbines stared (250,000 released for sale) and in 1958 the first imports of M1 rifles were allowed by the state department. Had Eisenhower not made these steps the US gun market would look a lot different today.

Anyway I do not mean to divert this thread, just point out the editor reflected the wishes of the liberal elite back in 1949.

Anonymous Steve June 30, 2015 10:25 AM  

So Scribner rejected Starship Troopers huh. I wonder if they would have changed there mind knowing how popular and lucrative it would be.

If the (multiple) rejections of Dune was science fiction publishing's equivalent of turning down The Beatles, this was like RSO Records knocking back a group of punky young Irish boys performing under the name "U2".

I don't know the sales numbers for Starship Troopers, but it's been in print for six decades now. Translated into at least a dozen languages. It's still in the top 3500 on Amazon's sales rank. Old Man's War - written half a century later - is at 6793. (Interestingly - given that Tor recently went "all in" on Mr Scalzi - Lock In, which came out less than a year ago, is sitting at 17697.)

Furthermore, while you can't monetise cultural influence, Starship Troopers is the fountainhead of modern military science fiction. John Steakley's 'Armor', Joe Haldeman's 'Forever War', John Scalzi's 'Old Man's War', John Ringo's 'Legacy of the Aldenata' series, and many other popular books - not to mention films, TV shows, and games - were directly inspired by Troopers.

Very few novels - even hit novels - have that sort of reach. Starahip Troopers is one of those rare books, like Lord of the Rings, that has influenced an entire genre.

Blogger ScuzzaMan June 30, 2015 10:29 AM  

"and murders went up after it was passed."

Yeah, but think how high they would have gone without it!!!

Anonymous BGS June 30, 2015 11:07 AM  

And they don't care about profits as long as these vehicles serve their primary purpose, hog the airwaves and clog the innerwebs with SJW poison to overwhelm all ideological opposition and capture the critical mass of mind-share in the West

When you can make $9 billion in 4 hours by stabbing America's credit rating in the back you can afford to spend $33 million supporting Ferguson protesters.

Anonymous Jourdan June 30, 2015 11:12 AM  

@ Felix

Seems that lots of people still believe that financial profit is the ultimate driver in what is produced in today's world. It's not.

This is correct, largely because when one controls all the means of productions, profits follow as night follows day. Every once in awhile, some independent with menas will force their way in, but they won't have the staying power to compete, especially since legislation and regulation is crafted to keep the cost of entry into an industry prohibitive.

The ruling class also has a very, very good nose for the enemy and its works.

Since we're been talking Starship Troopers let's take that as an example.

Can anyone think of a more accessable book for 15-year old young men that not only makes the case of our side but does so effectively and entertainingly, while at the same time skewering the mushy-headed rhetoric of the enemy?

THIS, and precisely THIS, is why it was made into a movie which ensured its name would become associated with "joke" by the non-literate masses. This was done entirely on purpose, profits and losses be damned.

If you don't believe me, research for some interviews with the left-wing European nobody who directed the "film." He knew exactly what his job was and why, and he performed it exactly to specifications.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 30, 2015 11:34 AM  

In 1949 they were already agitating for gun licensing. Wow.

Sure. It had been 16 years since they'd been cut off from their fix of bossing people around by banning alcohol. They needed something to satisfy their thirst. As Sam pointed out, they got rolling with this immediately after Prohibition ended. The war years must have been sheer torture for them - so much opportunity to order people around, but most of their ideas would have been rejected as unhelpful for the war effort. I'm sure they managed to eek out a few local authoritarian gigs, blackout wardens, ration board slots, that sort of thing, but the sight of so much authority being wielded by (mostly conservative) men in uniform with guns... drove them bonkers most likely.

Blogger Maple Curtain June 30, 2015 11:50 AM  

Alice Dalgliesh would have been the first woman to ask where all the (unarmed) men were when that Tunisian beach was being shot up this week. This is a great post for those who think that PC thought-policing is something new that arose from the 60s or the Boomers.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 30, 2015 12:12 PM  

This is a great post for those who think that PC thought-policing is something new that arose from the 60s or the Boomers.

PC thought-policing has been around a very long time, and (as is the case with the Dalgliesh broad) usually driven by butt-ugly women (cf. Nation, Carrie) and enabled by gammafied men. There's probably a case to be made against allowing low-SMV individuals to have any authority in society. People who are failures with the opposite sex shouldn't be given the opportunity to take their frustrations out on the rest of society.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 30, 2015 12:18 PM  

Jourdan, about the ST movie, that's all true; he was openly trying to do a satire of patriotism and all things military. The Rifftrax guys have a lot of fun with that: "Even I get the heavy-handed Nazi imagery, and I'm Denise Richards!" But the funny thing is, no matter how hard he tried to make it look bad, themes like camaraderie and honor and bravery still come through, and many viewers assumed it was playing it straight and loved that -- and all the bug-killing, of course. From what I heard, it did inspire some young people to enlist, even though the director was trying to make that look idiotic.

I mean, the movie is dumb as hell, but maybe some truths are too solid to be satirized effectively. The movie also conveys (surely unintentionally) some blunt manosphere truths: Johnny has a bad case of one-itis for a girl who's not that into him; even though he's a hunky sports hero his neediness turns her off (when he badgers her into saying "I love you" it's cringe-making); he gets butthurt when she flirts with another guy, which pushes her further; she dumps him for a "career" as soon as she's able; and she starts eyeing him again as soon as he finally gets another girl and moves on.

Blogger Anthony June 30, 2015 12:24 PM  

pbuxton, re Panshin, it's been done. Go find Spider Robinson's "Rah, Rah, R.A.H.".

And go read Heinlein's biography - Panshin was an annoying twerp to Heinlein from day one.

Anonymous John V. Marsch June 30, 2015 12:29 PM  

I hold no particular candle for Alice Dalgliesh, who seems to have been a bossy editor, but Heinlein certainly respected her skills, allowing her to edit him for 10 years in a way he refused to allow anyone in the adult publishing world to do. (See his letter in Patterson, vol 2, p.143.). She also wrote to him agreeing with his "Who Are The Heirs of Patrick Henry?" campaign (ibid, pp.154 and 545) and obviously used her knowledge of the censorious library market of the time to allow him to say as much of what he wanted to say and remain on the shelves. They fought a lot, true, but the crucial factor in his break with Scribner's appears to have been Charles Scribner's personal role in rejecting Starship Troopers, and his failure to write to Heinlein personally, which he (RAH) regarded as unpardonable rudeness. I think Miss Dalgliesh deserves to be applauded for her key role in birthing the novels we have today, rather than pilloried for some of her incidental opinions.

Anonymous Steve June 30, 2015 12:45 PM  

Count me as a fan of the Starship Troopers film.

It wasn't a good adaption of the book by any stretch of the imagination, but it was big dumb fun.

Paul Verhoeven's movies all take the piss, but RoboCop and Total Recall are still classic sci-fi action flicks with some unforgettable scenes.

In Starship Troopers, he thought he was satirising militarism by putting good-looking young American kids in Space Nazi costumes. But it just made them look badass.

If he'd made that film in 2015 rather than 1997, the SJW's would be screaming about him turning all the characters into blue-eyed white Americans.

Anonymous Jourdan June 30, 2015 12:56 PM  

I am near speechless that there are people here who think the Starship Troopers film was in any way good.

Gentlemen, you have come as close as any other human beings on the planet to retiring me from the Internet.

Anonymous Curious but not an SJW June 30, 2015 1:29 PM  

When the Indo-Europeans swept down from the Steppes and destroyed the Celtic goddess worshiping cults, they obviously missed some of the Celts.

Anonymous Steve June 30, 2015 2:05 PM  

Jourdan - You're crazy. How can you hate a film that included a cameo from Rue McClanahan?

Blogger Cail Corishev June 30, 2015 2:22 PM  

How can you hate a film that included a cameo from Rue McClanahan?

Not to mention it has the guy who played the Kurgan, throwing a knife through the hand of Jake Busey! How can that not be awesome?

I mean, it's no Road House, but it's still pretty great.

Blogger Marissa June 30, 2015 2:29 PM  

I'm not sure anyone here is saying Starship Troopers is a good movie, but it is outrageously entertaining. I could say so much about it: Caspar van Dien's wooden acting, Gary Busey's son with all those teeth, Doogie Howser "it's afraid, it's AFRAID!", so much memorable cheese to sink one's rotten teeth into.

Would you like to know more?

Anonymous Krul June 30, 2015 2:36 PM  

Cail Corishev - "Not to mention it has the guy who played the Kurgan, throwing a knife through the hand of Jake Busey!"

That scene has a pertinent lesson for those who want to understand 4GW, I think. "Medic!"

Blogger Danby June 30, 2015 3:19 PM  

Talk about adopting the enemy's propaganda. Gambutas has been largely discredited. She created a prehistory out of wholecloth in order to suit her politics.

Anonymous Curious but not an SJW June 30, 2015 4:17 PM  

Talk about adopting the enemy's propaganda. Gambutas has been largely discredited. She created a prehistory out of wholecloth in order to suit her politics.

I guess you have been reading Genetiker and not the more recent findings on this subject.

In the same way that Temujin swept all before him, others before him did as well. Lactase persistence follows the language flows.

Blogger ray June 30, 2015 10:39 PM  

Well, somebody made this all up, and the correspondence must be forged. Because I've already been told by a VERY informed authority that there was no SJW activity taking place in the Seventies or Eighties. Much less in 1949!


Anonymous Robin July 01, 2015 12:32 AM  

That is utterly disgusting. I haven't observed anything in quite some time that I could object to more than what I read in that missive.

Blogger Jim July 01, 2015 1:47 AM  

But the funny thing is, no matter how hard he tried to make it look bad, themes like camaraderie and honor and bravery still come through, and many viewers assumed it was playing it straight and loved that

This tends to be a pattern with military SJW movies that break into popular culture: they're self-defeating. No one gives a damn about Tom Cruise's character from A Few Good Men. We all remember Col. Jessup's wall speech, though, and at the end of it, we've forgotten whatever the hell it was he was on the stand for: we want him back there. Or take Patton. The movie was intended to tear the General down, but it only built him up. Starship Troopers is the same. People either hate it because of Verhoeven's cynicism, or love it despite it. Not a single person likes it because of Verhoeven's message.

Every time art mocks truth, art loses, because truth outshines art.

Blogger Technomad July 01, 2015 2:47 AM  

Heinlein put up with Dalgliesh because, at that time, book sales were largely to libraries, and most librarians (particularly children's librarians) were maiden ladies with very circumscribed views of what was "proper." If they could have seen the works of, e.g, Judy Blume, they'd have had heart attacks and conniption fits, and made durn sure those books were not bought. Heinlein was a commercial writer in a time where limits were tighter.

Blogger jon spencer July 01, 2015 8:30 AM  

Starship Troopers has several good points and most of them are in the shower scene.
It is not a bad movie (not a good movie either) as long as one does not compare it to a book of the same name.

Anonymous Mark McSherry July 01, 2015 9:01 AM  

From the January 2001 HEINLEIN JOURNAL, Jane Davitt's article, "Red Planet - Blue Pencil", compares the text from the original 1949 RED PLANET with the restored version first published in 1990---

Blogger Bogey July 01, 2015 1:37 PM  

Heinlein shut up. But he didn't forget it.
He was a team player, but when his contract was up he left for another team.

Blogger Eskyman July 01, 2015 6:23 PM  

I love RAH and especially Starship Troopers; I've never seen the film because I heard that the director was not just anti-Heinlein, but contrived to make his film the complete opposite of the book on which it is based.

Some of the above comments cause me to rethink; I guess now I'll have to watch that movie after all. "Outrageously entertaining" huh.

Cape to the bull stuff, ain't it.

Oh, one film that does pay some attention to its origin is the animated "Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)" which I very much enjoyed. Has anyone else seen it that would care to comment?


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