enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Robert A. Heinlein, For Us, the Living

I read this book about 25-Dec-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2004. This note was last modified Wednesday, 20-Jan-2016 15:28:14 PST.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


Yes, I'm finally getting to this. This is actually Heinlein's first novel—written in late 1938 and barely slopping over into 1939. Before even "Lifeline" was written and sold. I was delayed because I couldn't buy it for myself when it came out; I had to wait to give people a chance to give it to me for Christmas.

Needless to say, a "new" Heinlein novel is pretty exciting, especially one which comes from the good end of his career. I imagine this is going to be pretty lengthy.

I've read a bunch of the discussion about this book, I'm not coming at it completely cold.

I'm going to make a bunch of individual notes this time through, I think. Then maybe rework some of them if they're interesting, or maybe preserve the notes regardless and write more on some of them that turn out to be interesting.

I see now why the picture on the jacket shows him with a chess board (and it's a picture I haven't seen before). His play-at-home macroeconomic model uses a chess board (and poker chips and playing cards). I haven't bothered to try the game. What I really want to do is see how valid it's thought to be by today's standards. That'd be a lot like work, though.

I wonder why there are so few photos of him around? He attended several worldcons (more than just the two he was guest of honor at), and I know at least at Midamericon a lot of people took pictures. I got quite a few myself. I can see that the family snapshots might not get out. He might also be in snapshots by a lot of other writers, he wasn't a hermit particularly so far as I can tell.

I dunno if this will be interesting or not, but I'm going to build a table of specific future-historical predictions. Not social change stuff, but specific events or inventions. People have been talking about it a lot.

Prediction Page Disposition
48 states in the union in 2086 9 Oops
LaGuardia serves two terms as president 9 Oops
Television will be important 9 Spot-on
Sinclair Lewis writes The Gallion of God 10 Hopeless
Tube delivery 11 Damn shame
Televuestat (fax) 11 Yes
Phone ordering 10 Yes (probably already done in 1938?)
Seedless watermelons 48 Getting there
Blackberries still have seeds, however
Computer-generated custom clothing 50 Yes
Roosevelt fails of reelection in 1940 52 Oops
Outlawing the communist party 53 Spot on
America stays out of WWII 56 Nope
United Europe 56 Working on it
Asiatic economies bad 64 Oops
2010 US population 180 million 79 Badly low
2010 US value of goods produced 540 billion 79 Badly low
Rolling roads 99 No way

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David Dyer-Bennet