July 9th, 2010

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

This morning I finished reading a lesser novel called The Defection of A. J. Lewinter by Robert Littell. It's a spy novel, almost funny, and sad. A US scientist working on the MIRV weapon system defects to the Soviet Union, and everything happens from there. Not a keeper...

(no subject)

I thought I'd updated a lot more recently but then, when I went back and poked about, I realized that the reason I hadn't was because I didn't much feel like writing another post complaining about Heinlein. The boyfriend and I tried to discuss my violent reaction to Heinlein's females while we were on vacation about a week ago, but I found that the conversation itself annoyed me to the point of inserting stress into what was, otherwise, a supremely peaceful retreat, so eventually we dropped it. The boyfriend's point (against which I was having trouble finding a suitable counter-attack, which caused the stress) was that Heinlein's women are all very intelligent and, honestly, very independent, but that they exist in this world of pure sexual liberation. He (the boyfriend) says that women like to be complimented and, in such a world, sexual compliments would be as flattering as (if not more than) the sorts we have floating about today. He said that, since Heinlein designed his male leads to be his notion of Ideal Men, and because all of the women were sexually liberated and, if they were in it to produce offspring, of course they'd want to breed with Ideal Men, it was inconceivable that the women would NOT flop over immediately for the protagonist. It fit with the world Heinlein had designed, he said, though it was not realistic.

The problem is that my irritation with Heinlein's attitude toward his female characters has exceeded the bounds of rationality so, even if the boyfriend is making a good point, I'm already too pissed off to deal with it. It's quite possible that the boyfriend is right, but I'm no longer objective enough to think about it.

That said Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein was, by and large, quite lovely science fiction, though the ending was sort of vague, as if he didn't really know what to do with it (I don't get the impression that Heinlein's very good with endings). It was short enough that I expected I'd be safe (I've yet to come across a main female character in his shorter novels) but all the tension and irritation that built up when I was reading Job: A Comedy of Justice ended up getting set off by two little bits that, otherwise, probably wouldn't have bothered me (one where a character says that something's "The silliest thing since God invented women," and another where someone says something like "Boys here become men as soon as they can shoot a gun and defend their families, and girls are women as soon as they can cook.") Something in my brain just exploded and I found myself quivering with rage and wishing desperately for the zombie apocalypse so I could shoot Zombie Heinlein in the face. ("How's THAT for defending my family, mother[expletive]!")

Yes, I realize that he was a product of his times, and yes, I realize the unfairness of wanting to shoot Heinlein but wanting to hug Edgar Rice Burroughs. A good chunk of me thinks the boyfriend's probably right (though the "silliest thing" quote still niggles), but I really can't think about it for a while longer. So I've written this post and I'm not going to touch Heinlein again for at least a year, until I've had a chance to decompress. By then, at least, I hope my complaining will feel new again, instead of more "Oh God, she's whining about Heinlein AGAIN."

That takes me up to 57/105. I'll have to post about the others I've read later.