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#670 - 07/27/99 06:25 AM Re: Jack
Anonymous
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Interesting. Heinlein was an early favourite and I still have all his books. It also led to my cementing my closest friendship ( after my husband that is). We met at work and seemed to get on well but when we discovered we both read Heinlein we were delighted because until then neither of us had come across anybody else who had heard of him. I also love Asimov's Robot stories and one or two short stories but apart from that I prefer his non fiction. It is no wonder he was regarded as such a good lecturer whilst at the University.

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#671 - 07/27/99 09:31 PM Re: Jack
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
One of the first SciFi novels I ever read was Heinlein's "Universe" (I think it was called) about a space ship that had started out for Alpha Centauri, gone astray and been traveling around the galaxy for generations...so long that no one really remembered their true origins, and thought the ship was the total universe and God was the person who had launched it....until one of them encountered a mutant who lived in the outer part of the ship and had seen the stars....an altogether fascinating piece of work.

I can't say that I've liked everything I've read of his, though.
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#672 - 07/28/99 10:59 PM Re: Jack
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Damon Knight has started a discussion on Genie about Farnham's Freehold with an eye to trying to determine exactly how autobiographical the book is. I didn't read it, but what's been posted so far is that both Farnham and Heinlein were authoritarian (some say facist); both were ex-navy; the story was set in Colorado and written while Heinlein was living there (Colorado Springs, in the book "Mountain Springs"); both considered women the lesser half of the human race; both built bomb shelters. Farnham gets the girl and is shown to deserve her, while the older woman and the younger man in the story end up not looking so good.

One big difference, though: Farnham had children but Heinlein didn't. That seems to be significant, as many of Farnham's strong opinions have to do with the best way to bring up children. (Heinlein's last books kept hammering at the point that nothing was more important than the family, so long as a dominant male was at its head.)

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#673 - 08/23/99 09:45 AM Re: Jack
Anonymous
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I just finished reading Jack Be Quick over the weekend. My favorites were "Scat", "Diogenes", "Stet", and of course "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Corpse", which I had read before. But I enjoyed them all. I'm also looking forward to making Sloshed Chicken sometime.

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#674 - 08/23/99 03:00 PM Re: Jack
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Thanks, Vicki; that's nice to hear. "Stet" was a favorite? That surprises me, a little.

If you ever do try the Sloshed Chicken and use fresh rosemary, go easy on the rosemary; it's very strong and tends to overpower the chicken taste. But when you get the balance right...oh, is that yummy! (Dried rosemary has almost no taste, so don't bother with that.)

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#675 - 08/23/99 07:22 PM Re: Jack
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Before I do my travelogue bit (maybe tomorrow ... there was a lot of washing-up to do, as well as listening to Mahler's 3rd and the end of the Leeds/Liverpool game ...), I should say that Jack Be Quick was one of the books I took with me to read on my hols. I should also say that my copy was obtained through the good offices of Sue Tier - thanks a lot, Sue!

Well, I read through all the stories (in sequence) with great pleasure. Quite a mixed bag, but each very enjoyable in its own way. Thanks, Barbara.

On the whole, and especially not being a SF or True Crime person, I liked the lighter ones best - "Ho ho ho", "Portrait ..." and "Okay, Diogenes" - but that's me. Did I miss an explanation of the title of the latter?

As for Sloshed Chicken, I've got a bay tree in the garden, rosemary and sage bushes outside my front door and a pot of basil in the kitchen (no head buried under it, though), so all I need now is some chicken that tastes of something other than cardboard. Oh, and some beer.

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#676 - 08/24/99 09:40 AM Re: Jack
Anonymous
Unregistered


Why did it surprise you that "Stet" was a favorite? Is it not a particular favorite of yours? I guess I liked the satire on mystery publishing, especially "hard-boiled" mysteries with a tough male private eye who's always getting beaten to a pulp. That's one type of mystery that I especially dislike.

I also loved the combination of mystery and science fiction in "Play Nice". Well, I really enjoyed all the stories. I do have a question about "French Asparagus", though, but I'm sure it would be a spoiler. What's the rule on spoilers here? Or should I just e-mail you?

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#677 - 08/24/99 10:18 AM Re: Jack
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Actually I have/had a quation about "French Asparagus" too, so I'd welcome a spoiler-labeled discussion here.

Either it's a simpler story line than the others in the book (which is fine if true; I certainly enjoyed reading it, but it ended without complications that I expected), or there are subtleties that I missed (quite possible, I fear).

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#678 - 08/26/99 03:26 PM Re: Jack
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Again, my apologies for the slow response; reason posted elsewhere.

Vicki, about "Stet" -- I feel it's missing a couple of ingredients. There should have been an earlier "establishing" scene for the hardboiled writer, appearing before the one in which he accompanies the editor to the morgue. But I was under a length restriction for that story, and there simply wasn't room for such a scene. So instead I had to introduce him through the editor's thoughts as she was editing his manuscript. By the same token, the murder victim appears in the story only as a corpse. She should have had at least two appearances, however brief, before she was bumped off. I think the story would have been better if I could have made it a little longer.

Vicki and Jon, by all means go ahead and open a SPOILER topic for "French Asparagus" if you like -- but I feel I should warn you that that story is pretty much WYSIWYG. Same reason as above. "French Asparagus" was written for Murderous Intent, and the editor of that magazine won't print any story over 4000 words. For me, 4000 words is just a good introduction; I'm in awe of writers who can tell a good yarn in so limited a space. So it seemed to me I had a choice. I could make the story all plot with a number of complications, all acted out by stick figures. Or I could keep the plot as simple as I could manage, to allow for a little byplay among the characters. It's difficult to strike an exact balance between plot and characters even in an 8000-word story; it's much easier in novels. But I think I'm through with writing 4000-word stories.

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#679 - 08/27/99 09:44 AM Re: Jack
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
I guess the WYSIWYG answers it for me. I was enjoying the situation and characters, waiting for the plot to get rolling... and what I'd regarded as a minor complication was cleared up and the story was over. So be it; a different kind of piece, that's all.

What's the significance of French asparagus, though? (I know, I'm relentless.)

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