The Robert Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana

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9781584450153: The Robert Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana

In 1975, Robert A. Heinlein was sixty-six, at the height of his literary career; J. Neil Schulman was twenty and hadn't yet started his first novel. Because he was looking for a way to meet his idol, Schulman wangled an assignment from the New York Daily News--at the time the largest circulation newspaper in the U.S.--to interview Heinlein for its Sunday Book Supplement. The resulting taped interview lasted three-and-a-half hours. This turned out to be the longest interview Heinlein ever granted, and the only one in which he talked freely and extensively about his personal philosophy and ideology.

"The Robert Heinlein Interview" contains Heinlein you won't find anywhere else--even in Heinlein's own "Expanded Universe." If you wnat to know what Heinlein had to say about UFO's, life after death, epistemology, or libertarianism, this interview is the only source available.

Also included in this collection are articles, reviews, and letters that J. Neil Schulman wrote about Heinlein, including the original article written for The Daily News, about which the Heinleins wrote Schulman that it was, "The best article--in style, content, and accuracy--of the many, many written about him over the years."

This book is must-reading for any serious student of Heinlein, or any reader seeking to know him better.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Publisher:

Our Dutch Uncle

Foreword by Brad Linaweaver

"He is in our heads." So writes J. Neil Schulman about his hero, Robert A. Heinlein. My friend of thirty years, Bill Ritch, has used the same phrase as long as I’ve known him. But just who is the "our?" Do Neil and Bill mean the community of science fiction professionals? Do they mean the fans? I think not.

The "our" refers to an area where two special interests meet: science fiction and libertarianism. For science fiction enthusiasts who are not libertarians (the majority), Heinlein is an important figure in the field and an influence on many writers. For libertarians who are not science fiction readers (the majority), Heinlein is an interesting footnote in the literature of liberty. But for those of us who combine these two passions and have optimism in the future, Robert Anson Heinlein is God.

We have needed this book for a very long time. As Mrs. Heinlein says in her endorsement, this interview will appeal both to readers of science fiction and to libertarians. But for those of us who burn for technological marvels and want freedom to enjoy them instead of being slaves to a technocratic Big Brother, Heinlein created the blueprint that may get us to a better world. Not Utopia, because he taught us that

The Robert A. Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana such a dream truly is nowhere. A better world, on the other hand, is not impossible. It is simply hard to achieve.

When he died, the larger world paid attention to his impact on us; yes, on those of us who take The Moon is a Harsh Mistress seriously! As I wrote in New Libertarian, the Associated Press mentioned his libertarianism.

The science fiction press did its best to ignore the same thing. I was annoyed at the time. Now I see that the SF world was trying to do him a favor by ignoring his politics. They gave him a vacation from their usual slanders and libels.

Now with the Hollywood blockbuster of Starship Troopers, the SF community is back to normal; back to calling Heinlein a fascist. And what of his defenders? They know full well that the limited government model of liberty is every bit as objectionable to today’s totalitarians as is any anarchy. Those who call Heinlein a fascist know that they are lying. Those who deny Heinlein’s libertarianism from the other direction know they are lying, too.

In this, the best interview with Heinlein, Neil Schulman inspired the following comment from his hero: "I would say that my position is not too far from that of Ayn Rand; that I would like to see government reduced to no more than internal police and courts, external armed forces — with the other matters handled otherwise. I’m sick of the way the government sticks its nose into everything, now." Also: "The justification for free enterprise is that it’s free."

There is only one kind of mentality in this sorry world that describes such expressions of American individualism as fascist: the Marxist mind. That this discredited mode of thought dominates science fiction criticism is no surprise. It still holds sway in New York and Hollywood. It may be finished in Moscow but it’s doing fine at Harvard and Yale.

That is why we need this book. Robert A. Heinlein is our Dutch Uncle. Maybe the American family is falling apart for lack of decent father figures but at least we still have the voice of one sane man who tells us to be the best we can be and expects even more than an Army recruitment ad. (Besides, he’s Navy!)

The United States of America beat its greatest enemies of the century. Heinlein was there in the fight against fascism (and its virulent mutant form of Nazism) as well as in the 75-year-long struggle against Soviet Communism. We defeated these monsters and now our reward seems to be domestic tyranny at the hands of our worst elements, true parasites of the soul.

Naturally such people cannot stand the work of Robert A. Heinlein. Naturally they accuse the man of propagating what is actually their own evils.

The trouble for them is that Heinlein won’t go away. They can’t let him go away. The kind of totalitarian who gravitates to the arts needs to steal from somewhere— even from our Dutch Uncle, who was a superb entertainer. But they make sure to leave out his philosophy.

Buy multiple copies! Tell your friends! This one book will answer for all time what Heinlein’s positions really were.

The answers are not good for the enemies of freedom.

December 27, 1998

From the Author:

Author's response to some reviews:

"Rife with typos"
JNS: Fewer typos than my books from major NY publishers.

"Big typeface"
JNS: Eyestrain improves a book? "Too short"
JNS: The book's 40,000 words, 25,000 in interview itself.

"Libertarian agenda."
JNS: Probably the main reason Heinlein, also a libertarian, was willing to spend hours talking with a 20-year-old.

"Shallow questions."
JNS: Like, "How do you know what you know?" "Do you believe time travel is possible or is it merely a fictional device?" "What is science fiction?" Real Enquirer stuff!

"RAH's own works give a better idea what he believed."
JNS: Try to find Heinlein's on-the-record thoughts on UFO's, the incompetence of NASA PR, life after death, epistemology, or what other authors he was recommending anywhere else than my interview.

"The interview was unedited."
JNS: The interview was edited first by me, then by Heinlein, himself.

"More about Schulman than Heinlein"
JNS: I challenged Heinlein with my own views ... which drew him out at great length to refute me. By making myself a personal presence, Heinlein opened up to me more than any previous interviewer.

"Download it from Pulpless.Com for free"
JNS: The book has never been published for free download -- at least legally. An authorized excerpt is published online as a teaser.

"Interview doesn't draw anything new out of Heinlein"
JNS: Find me where in Heinlein's own books he painted a word picture of his house in Santa Cruz, or his belief in survival of the soul, or religious faith, or what he actually thought of the revolution in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Yeah. I got nothing out of him. :-)

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Book Description Pulpless.com. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 204 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 6.0in. x 0.7in.In 1975, Robert A. Heinlein was sixty-six, at the height of his literary career; J. Neil Schulman was twenty and hadnt yet started his first novel. Because he was looking for a way to meet his idol, Schulman wangled an assignment from the New York Daily News--at the time the largest circulation newspaper in the U. S. --to interview Heinlein for its Sunday Book Supplement. The resulting taped interview lasted three-and-a-half hours. This turned out to be the longest interview Heinlein ever granted, and the only one in which he talked freely and extensively about his personal philosophy and ideology. The Robert Heinlein Interview contains Heinlein you wont find anywhere else--even in Heinleins own Expanded Universe. If you wnat to know what Heinlein had to say about UFOs, life after death, epistemology, or libertarianism, this interview is the only source available. Also included in this collection are articles, reviews, and letters that J. Neil Schulman wrote about Heinlein, including the original article written for The Daily News, about which the Heinleins wrote Schulman that it was, The best article--in style, content, and accuracy--of the many, many written about him over the years. This book is must-reading for any serious student of Heinlein, or any reader seeking to know him better. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781584450153

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