Heinlein On The Puppies

Since he’s the writer they seem to cite most often (for example Correia’s “even Starship Troopers wouldn’t win if it came out today”), this quote from him about critics he dislikes seems apropos:

He will permit any speculation at all — as long as it is about gadgets only and doesn’t touch people.He doesn’t care what mayhem you commit on physics, astronomy, or chemistry with your gadgets… but the people must be the same plain old wonderful jerks that live in his Home Town. Give him a good ole adventure story any time, with lots of Gee-Whiz in it and space ships blasting off and maybe the Good Guys (in white space ships) chasing the Bad Guys (in black space ships) but, brother, don’t you say anything about the Methodist Church, or the Flag, or incest, or homosexuality, or teleology, or theology, or the sacredness of marriage, or anything philosophical! Because you are just an entertainer, see? That sort of Heavy Thinking is reserved for C. P. Snow or Graham Greene. You are a pulp writer, Bud, and you will always be a pulp writer even though your trivia is now bound in boards and sells for just as much as Grace Metalious’ stories… and you are not permitted to have Heavy Thoughts. Space Ships and Heavy Thinking do not mix — so shut up and sit down!

The rule is: Science Fiction by its nature must be trivial.
This of course rules out… a large fraction of my work — and all my future work, I think.

(Via C.A. Bridges in the comments on Scalzi’s latest post)

Proper post tonight.

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4 Responses to Heinlein On The Puppies

  1. Mary Lea says:

    That quote reminds me of Sinéad Ó Connor’s comments on how the music industry treats women. Not allowed to have a political opinion, or indeed any opinion at all – just keep looking pretty, and sing what you’re told. Or, as she put it, the industry demands an oxymoron: ‘Shut up and sing.’

  2. Pingback: Final Puppy Thoughts » Death Is Bad

  3. Lindsey says:

    I was curious about the context of that quote and so found the page in Google books–the internet is marvelous really–and Heinlein was feeling fairly put-upon by a lot of the science fiction field and talking to Theodore Sturgeon about it.

    It’s page 185 in Google’s version of Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Vol. 2- The Man Who Learned Better, 1948-1988 , the Heinlein biography the Puppies shut out of the Related Work category with their shenanigans.

  4. Charcoal Chicken says:

    Yeah. I think the Puppies are more L Rob Hubbard than Heinlein.

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