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Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Heinlein

From LW Currey

Heinlein, Robert A[nson]. TYPED LETTER SIGNED (TLS). 3 pages, dated 15 January 1947, to William J. Holt, "Inside Information" Office, The Saturday Evening Post, signed "Robert A. Heinlein.". A fine and very amusing letter in response to Holt's letter to Heinlein dated 7 January 1947 [carbon included] noting "a rather surprising coincidence in the list of contributors to the February 8th Post. There were two writers making their first appearance, yourself and Vida Jameson. In the letter that Miss Jameson wrote to the magazine she had crossed out the 'Heinlein' letterhead but used the same address as yours. Sounds like there might be an interesting story for Inside Information there - if so we'd like to know about it." In his lengthy, informative and humorous reply, Heinlein writes that Vida Jameson, the daughter of the late Malcolm Jameson, is not one of his pen names, and "in truth, Miss Jameson and I are not even collaborators... The fact behind the coincidence is that two of the several writers whom my wife coaches, to wit, myself and Vida, happened to hit the Post at about the same time and at a time when Vida is living with us because of the well-known housing shortage. It's a darn good thing, incidentally, that my first sale to the Post antedated Vida's by a couple of weeks, or I would have gone into a permanent decline. I've been a professional writer for a good many years; Vida has been one for a matter of weeks - and made her first sale to the top magazine market. I am delighted that the kid sold to the Post, but, if, after plugging away for years, I had been beaten out in attaining this market, even by a matter of days, by a youngster and a beginner, I would have blown my top. I might even have taken a job... Don't get upset if you find that other writers claim 8777 as a mailing address... It is the western headquarters of the Manana Literary Society... In the course of the past year the house has sheltered a total of nine writers... Most are scattered by now and we are down to one house guest, a record for this course; but... quite a few of them still get mail here." 95 lines; approximately 1100 words. Good content. The 8 February 1947 issue of THE SATURDAY EVENING POST printed Heinlein's "The Green Hills of Earth," his first story to be published in the "slicks." Heinlein published no fiction in the years 1943-1946, "but in 1947 he expanded his career - and the potential reach of genre sf as a marketable literature - in two new directions: he sold a number of short stories to THE SATURDAY EVENING POST and other "slick" magazines; and he published - with Scribner's, a highly respectable mainstream firm - the first U.S. juvenile sf novel to reflect the new levels of characterization, style and scientific plausibility now expected in the field. ROCKET SHIP GALILEO (1947) is not an outstanding work... but it was the first in a series that represents the most important contribution any single writer has made to children's sf." - Clute and Nicholls (eds), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993), p. 555. Faint mailing folds, else fine. Accompanied by letters and letter carbons of others, including Heinlein's agent, Lurton Blassingame," regarding POST publicity and acquiring copies of the 8 February issue of the magazine. (#96353)

Heinlein, Robert A[nson]. TYPED LETTER SIGNED (TLS), one page, dated 15 July 1978, on his letter-size Santa Cruz County stationery, to "Dear Mr. Presser" (John Anthony Presser), signed "All good wishes, Robert A. Heinlein.". Heinlein dominated "hard" science fiction in the mid-twentieth century as no other figure did. The identity of Heinlein's correspondent is unknown (he lived in Visalia, in California's Central Valley, about 200 miles from Santa Cruz). A meaty letter attacking certain literary critical attitudes -- mainly that a writer's biography can be adequately inferred from his or her work -- and asserting that a "competent fiction writer" should be capable of creating and identifying with any kind of character. He blasts Alexei Panshin's 1968 study of his own work, HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION, the first book-length study of RAH, on these same grounds -- but also because, in effect, Panshin was not biographical (not to mention deferential) enough. "I did not want to read HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION because I have no wish to have a man who does not know me and who is considerably less than half my age tell me who I am, what I think, and what my evaluations are." The "intentional fallacy" that Heinlein endorses here (that the meaning of a work is owned and controlled by its author) is a common one among both the naive and the sophisticated. One characteristic of Heinlein's work that has been noted is its propensity for containing dualisms -- a propensity of which this letter is a good example. Old mailing folds, fine condition, with original envelope (a little smudged and stained). (#128340)

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