Jesse, Maissa Bessada, and Evan Lampe talk about Orphans Of The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
Talked about on today’s show:
two novellas, Universe and Common Sense, in Astounding, May and October 1941, astounding, the back half of this book barely needs to exist, the ending, a tearjerker, a wifejerker, Jesse’s guess, Heinlein’s like: “sure”, good things, things that are missing, the environmental angle, the ship would be reducing furnishings, they would have a lot less stuff in their ship, keep feeding the converter, back in my day we had more material goods, there used to be paintings on the walls, the ship’s boat, books, feed the books or one of his wives in, the unnamed wife lost a tooth, he might have hit her, misogyny, she doesn’t even have a name, other than threatening to throw her in the converter…, the women are very non-existent, a girl he likes, the first mutant was female, no wonder he hates girls, the four armed knife-making lady, good eating, making swords, a widow who got to keep her name, so generous, real world, if they had a replicator, he’s inventing quite a bit of stuff, the matter converter thing, before nuclear bombs, let those mutants breed (to feed the converter), if you lived in a school for 20 years, the ship is made of metal, is there are room full of iron bars?, stripping off hinges and door panels and lockers, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, all the interesting thematic stuff was in Universe, longer than the first part, how are we gonna do this?, confirmed, a few allusions going on, one for all and all for one, Alexander Dumas, organizing the re-mutiny, we should get the women too, the mutiny on the Bounty, Pitcairn’s Planet, reverse, the ship’s boat went with Bligh, explains the misogyny, Fletcher Christian etc., kidnapping a bunch of ladies, Heinlein indicating, they found a box of books that boys always somehow find, that’s really sad then, the Sabine women, start your civilization with patriarchy, a general cruelty everywhere, sympathizing with Bobo, Joe-Jim, Hugh, a wife-beater, lots of good things in here, done so you might not notice it as much, he needs to indicate he is being cruel, slavery, genocide, crazy religion, so good, the Bible, and yet it moves!, Galileo, Universe is an allegory for the scientific revolution, Common Sense is an allegory for the Mutiny On The Bounty, the society is backwards, a fundamentalist religion that they call science, imagine Heinlein wrote a colonial rebellion set during the American Revolution, the British are coming, having an ultimatum-off, he wouldn’t have any illusions they were general bastards (but not focus on it), he would tip his hand, Evan is going through Ben Franklin, a very sympathetic character, a dynamo, different from the other founding fathers, going with the flow, Joe-Jim is never show as three or four times older, reading for several generations, he seems like a guy, figuring out what the pronouns were, Joe-Jim is a him (not a them), a real phenomenon, people sometimes have two heads, little bit of bickering, fun to experience, a two headed friend, chess or checkers, when one of those heads dies, the other dies quick thereafter, other guy same person, control of limbs, highly coordinated, hims share an ability to control his body, it just flows, this two headed person plays chess and checkers with himself, too hard, our infodump old man character, two guy in one body, hims figured out that the ship was not the whole, two heads are better than one, call yourself on your own bullshit, Zaphod Beeblebrox, forgettable, seeing Bobo get killed felt bad, sacrifice himsself, an emotional catharsis, kinda sweet but unneeded, thinking about the title, orphans in space, they don’t know who they are, who are the real orphans of the sky at the end of the book, orphans from Earth, leftbehind and purposeless, was there only one ship’s boat?, stuck there forever, heat death of the physical ship Vanguard, the really cool thing about Universe, an allegory for the human condition, a hard SF story, a retelling of us on Earth, the purposelessness, they have their culture, they have the genocides they need to do, a very destructive element, an intellectual revolution, Heinlein’s on the side of Hugh here, the scientistic world view, sweeps everything under the rug (then don’t look under the rug), to Far Centaurus, your head was too big, learn to read, gravitation is metaphorical, super-fun stuff, crazy people, literally true at all points vs. metaphorical at all points, metaphorical explanations and poetry and lists of people, The Iliad, every town in Greece gets its own hero, the hometown hero, an artifact of that, all the electrical stuff is all true, the gravitational stuff is all metaphor, this guy in the sky is watching you, have a revelation, no big guy in the sky, having literal wars over who’s going to be in charge, not hitting you over the head with it, it makes great SF, good eating is the purpose, when you take away the light, eating and making sex, and killing, the Chief Engineer, no art, they don’t even understand fiction, they didn’t know that this fiction, like Galaxy Quest (historical fiction), Universe is terrific soft science fiction and terrific hard SF, more backstory, why Jordan?, D.D. Harriman, a company?, a corporation?, Time Enough For Love, New Frontiers, the Methuselah’s Children people, flourishing as savages on a planet called Pitcairn Island, a massive decline, we need to right the ship, get high up in the position, die and freeze to death, they were wrong, that is the point, we have other environmental problems, fossil fuels to shove, rewriting this book starting earlier, years with Joe-Jim, kidnapped by the muties, apprentice to this wizard, where does the mutie food come from?, how many people live on the Vanguard?, at least three women, 4 or 5 maybe 6 and a couple of guys, what the farms are like, more on industry and food distribution, is there taxes?, only two hours, who else can do something that much in that short?, an explanation for the swearword Huff, to huff with you, a drib and a drab, the audio drama is a bit different, no Joe-Jim, barely a sketch, Dimension X and X-Minus One, half hour adaptations of classic science fiction stories, a Heinlein thingy, Brave New World, Bernard Marx is an accident they let go, Winston in Nineteen Eighty Four, a standard character, how this idea has evolved, not hard enough, all about the ecology, the first one, the idea had been around since the 1920s, developed so well by other writers, Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, how it is sustained, going deeper into the purpose of this, explore the frontier, mid-20th century stuff, Philip K. Dick, very American, fascist imperialists who wanted to conquer another planet, an expansionist culture, re-read Aurora, how many Universes inside of Aurora, Robert J. Sawyer, as more trilogies piled up, so amazing, Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer, centrifugal force, accelerate half way there and decelerate half way, a constant 1g with one day where everybody is floating around, the narrator is the ship’s computer, its a murder mystery, the computer did it!, a little bit clunky handling humans, his humans are robotic, a metaphor for us here, we are on the starship earth, there have been many mutinies, and all we recognize is good eating, those poor plebs on the ground, as the captain gets fat and closes our door, Evan is correct, you need to know that you can create something, is good eating a bad purpose, the best adaptation of this is the Star Trek episode For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky, a generation starship inside of an asteroid, then instruction manual for the universe, disobey the high priestess, brain pain and then a stroke, put them on the right course, an evil computer to Kirk, free choice, high technology, McCoy is dying, packing a lot into 50 minutes, The Orville one: If The Stars Should Appear, opening a canopy, cultural revolution, understanding their purpose, the minds of the people, the plot summary, suffering from a fatal disease just for this episode, xenopolycythemia, high priestess, Yanada, 10,000 years ago, all it takes is a commercial break to fall in love, an instrument of obedience, take a Christian cookie and drink the blood of Christ (to obey the pope), activated, deal with the oracle, behind the altar, a cure for McCoy’s condition, there version of Common Sense, Thomas Paine, a revolution, Ptolemy is common sense, Copernicus is common sense, Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, her slave knew, the experiment on the boat, an allegory, Aristotle’s explanation, it seems round, the words turn up in the text, new purpose, Paine’s pamphlet, the common sentiment, a trick we do on ourselves, where on the globe do you live?, they all know the Earth is round, the Earth orbits the sun, flat-earthers, contrary, Heinlein’s having it both ways, a revolutionary guy, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, why the universe is the universe, an attack on the phrase, “It’s just common sense” <- you haven't actually thought about it, looked at the evidence, what the common perception is, whoever is spending the most money to do the most speech, propaganda and advertising, bougie colleagues ordering from uber eats on a rainy day, blocking out ads, cellphone ads, it is common sense that an island shouldn't rule a continent, Evan loves Tom Paine, if you don't agree with me you're an idiot, follow through with evidence, the reason Paine left England, I must bring down the British Empire at all costs, a historical figure, marshaling whatever arguments are available, Ben Franklin brought Paine to America, Evan's headcanon: Ben Franklin Is A Time Traveler, shows up in Philadelphia, if you take him out the American Revolution doesn't happen, he knows where to be at the right time, a historical fiction to be written, Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, a real dynamo, The Sea Wolf by Jack London, people are demanding Evan’s Star Trek book, cut it off after Voyager, so sexless, gender politics, Rite Gud, Raquel S. Benedict, Everyone Is Beautiful No One Is Horny, sexless films, frustrated at the lack of sex in Star Wars, Obi Wan should be sleeping with sandpeople, he abandoned his Jedi ways he should get a girlfriend, 1990s direct to video, hey that’s random, Lethal Weapon is a buddy cop movie with a sex scene, seeing Mel Gibson’s ass, heightened experience of all things, this no sex thing is spinning in Maissa’s head, bathing suits, they recycled their clothes, sacred texts, acid free paper, a lot of bindings to break, computers, scribes, no moving parts in the computer, so hidden, operating the ship, the way you control the ship is you put a hand over a sensor, fiber optic, the light is blocked, bowl-shaped ruts in the hallways, visualizing the things that are there that they are not talking about, light and heat, florescent tubes, more meetings more soviets in Aurora, talking with computers, Kim Stanley Robinson likes his meetings, giant chunky novels, too many meetings, Evan is like an Ent, liking ideas, 50 pages of people talking about their values, Slavoj Žižek, anarchists, workers councils, debt or medical bills, there’s pleasure to be had in working out your ideas, people sitting around and talking about things, too big of a class, co-workers complained about Evan, feed me with your insight, Evan wants you to correct him, in comparison, you didn’t take the minutes properly, a 600 page book, there’s a dozen major characters vs. having two characters with one torso, Star Trek or Doctor Who, one guy represents the whole planet, character interaction stuff, characters are there to deliver the ideas, we don’t need more wife-abuse, we need to know that these guys are jerks, The Orville episodes that are just their version of Star Trek episodes, the social media planet episode was novel, time loop thing, the Kaylon invasion arc, standalone is good, Strange New Worlds, a robot suicide, Isaac kills himself, a depressed robot, Sisko’s girlfriend tries, The Orville has sex, Rob Lowe as blue alien, some alien takes over people, flashfoward three time to Pike’s a mummy who can beep, he’s going to be a beeper later, bad writing, it took them a long time to get to the planet, Prodigy as Teletubbies Star Trek, sex in Lower Decks, back on the bridge Kirk smiles at McCoy and Spock looks insulted, a little button, an old Heinlein story rehashed, back to episodic, they’re trying, Picard is a total disregard for everything that was supposed to be Star Trek, old Star Trek canon, inner eyelids and pon fars, saddled with endless lore, why is Spock’s girlfriend in this?, that’s not science fiction, Captain Pike meets young Picard and introduced him to Earl Grey tea, Earl Grey decaf! Star Trek’s back!, just words, more stuff thrown into the converter and rebel against the masterminds of the ship who are driving us off course, The Integral Trees by Larry Niven, 240 page slim volume, a ring around a neutron star, Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer, Sawyer was influenced by Heinlein, the Quintaglio Ascension, miniature dinosaurs on a moon of a Jupiter-like planet that is tidally locked and the main character is a tiny Tyrannosaurs Rex Galileo perhaps from Earth from a generation starship from Earth, a Voyager that’s a rip-off of a Robert J. Sawyer [“Distant Origin“], a bizarre accident or suicide or murder?, pretty amazing, later works, definitely early Sawyer, malevolent AI, the AI did it, but why?, a second mystery, The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett, The Shining by Stephen King, bringing my microphone to America, Binary by Michael Crichton, eventually Michael Crichton will be much appreciated, trying to kill the Republicans, two cylinders of gas, doing some writer stuff, together they are the book, a writerly trick, a dynamo of thinking in writing, responsible for a lot of cool books, on IMDB, directed the TV movie, Sphere, Congo, a white ape movie, everything Crichton was huge in the late 80s, Westworld, Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland in The Great Train Robbery, a beautiful movie, natural scientist, Oscar Isaac, a real person, becoming Christian, this woman’s a witch, desexed Hypatia, a fictionalized biopic, pretty good script, spending time in that weird old place that nobody filmed stories in, 4th or 5th century, darkish ages, the Library of Alexandria, also destroyed, what we have left, kind of a downer, really nice to see, a love triangle and no sex, a terrible title, 2009, a Spanish movie, figuring out heliocentricism is basically a sex scene, sensawunda as orgasm, The Physician (2013), Avicenna, medicine stuff, join The Sea Wolf party, when was Will’s last tweet?, on vacation, Disney stuff, Scrooge McDuck, thinking about thinking about what Will would have thought of this book, The Star King by Jack Vance, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, re-re-read The Shining again, Black House is amazing, a blind DJ, Peter Straub, beer brewing philosophy grads, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, 625 pages and a sequel, connected to The Dark Tower too, a murder mystery kind of thing, The Talisman, a third book, 40 and a retired cop, this 4 hour book was twice as long as it needed to be, 10 hours longer than The Shining, Evan’s Price Is Right guess was off, Martin Eden is 14 hours, a bird’s eye tour of the setting, zoom in on different characters, John Barleycorn is only 6 hours, space these things out, Vernon Lee’s Prince Alberic And The Snake Lady, sell it more, Violet Paget, “only a few marble animals about the porphery rhinocerous”, a weird tale of some kind, William Morris’ weird fantasy, the language and the experience of it, to H.H. the Ranee Brooke of Sarawak, queen or princess, controlling pirates, Mens’ adventures pulp magazine covers, a Malysian state in Borneo, the Sultan of Brunei, richest person on the planet, the first white Rajah of Sarawak, a fun very weird history, really nice and weird, the Bruneian empire, 1841-1946, a little piece of Malaysia that got turned into a little piece of Europe, I wanna do colonialism too, a mini-viking story, it was in The Yellow Book magazine, a selling point, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Weird Tales, committing to late August, why Heinlein is good (and bad), bad instincts, John W. Campbell’s bad influence seems likely, we can imagine a happier ending, the women were suddenly liberated, suddenly some sentience, why they get smacked in the face and loose a tooth, lots of stabbings, into the matter converter with you, being a bad slave or having a wrong thought, who is the strawman character in this book?, the engineer, the captain, setup only to be easily confuted, Jesse is easily confuted, lazy, indecisive and not thoughtful, a criticism of religion and politicians, we think Biden and Justin have the reins and are well informed, the captain didn’t do anything, prepared to listen to arguments, ignorant and easily manipulated.