enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: William H. Patterson, The Martian Named Smith

I read this book about 2-Aug-2001. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2001. This note was last modified Saturday, 10-Jul-2010 09:16:26 PDT.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


Hmmm; first non-fiction since I've started doing these booknotes. I wonder if I'll be lead to completely revamp the system? I'm already in trouble over multiple author names (this is by William H. Patterson Jr. and Andrew Thornton).

I've marked this "no spoilers"; since it's not a work of fiction, and it's not structured around rhetorical surprises, I don't think the concept applies. I do give away some things said in the book.

It's from Jim Gifford's Nitrosyncretic Press, following their release last year of Robert A. Heinlein: A Reader's Companion. And I'm sorry to say that just now neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble seem to have it listed. But you can buy it direct from Jim, following the link above, so don't let that worry you.

Jim tells me this book started life as a PhD dissertation, but that it's been extensively altered to his requirements and now reads very like a book. I wouldn't disagree. I successfully avoided exposure to literature and criticism in college (literature courses looked like they'd take 5 times the work of a math course and would cut into my reading time, plus I'd be competing head-to-head with english majors for my grades), and I'm finding this easy enough to follow so far. Of course I'm getting brief twinges of urge to go read Nietzsche, and Korzybski, and Benedikt, and Cabell, and Eliade. I'll go lie down until the feeling passes.

One traditional part of a work of criticism is the ritual demolition of your predecessors. In this case, the fannish writers (Blish, Panshin) come off better than the academics (Slusser, Garr, Plank). I'm not sure that Panshin actually claims that the three "stages" of the Heinlein individual are passed through in order by each; and if not, the lack of examples of any transition into the third stage (elder statesman, as Lazarus Long, Jubal Harshaw, or Prof. De La Paz) is not a serious blow against the model.

And I learned a bit about American Socialism and Calvinism.

The cover credits the book to William H. Patterson Jr. and Andrew Thornton. The copyright is by William H. Patterson Jr. and Andrew Peterson. I should ask Jim what's going on with that; probably nothing that interesting, but it got me curious. And the library of Congress database has "Bill Patterson".

If you're interested in where Stranger in a Strange Land came from and something about how Heinlein did it, this book has a lot to offer.




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David Dyer-Bennet