Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: 1948-1988 The Man Who Learned Better
I enjoy reading Biographies, and Robert Heilein was one of the big three of Science Fiction writers. (The others being Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov) I’ve read most everything Heilein wrote, sometimes more than once. This biography was a good read but not a great read. Patterson made me feel like I knew the man, but there wasn’t all that much to know? The book is built from correspondence which gives it a rather narrow scope even if it does cover many different aspects of Heilein’s life. I started with Volume 2, because I wanted to read about Heilein’s career and then if the Biography was good, only then would I read Volume 1.
Patterson covers more of Robert’s health issues, and that of his wife Virginia, than it does of Heilein’s creative life, which I found disappointing. From the letters it sounds like Heilein preferred to let his works do the talking for him. Robert Heilein comes across as fussy, but generous. He was a national treasure but at the time Science Fiction, or the fiction he wrote, wasn’t held in the sort of acclaim it should have been. Volume One awaits. But I think I would rather read, or re-read Heilein’s works instead.
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