Episode 185: Heinlein, Awards and such

With awards season picking up, we try to avoid talking about them and pretty much fail. There is other stuff: on reading Heinlein today and the new bio that’s coming out, who would make the Big 5 in SF now etc.

It’s a bit rambly, it’s a bit Coode St. As always we hope you enjoy it!

8 thoughts on “Episode 185: Heinlein, Awards and such”

  1. But when is awards season, anyway? There’s something on the boil pretty much every month of the year.

    Having said that, I’m really looking forward to the Hugo shortlists, which I think will be out next weekend. I’m particularly interested in the 1939 Retro Hugo shortlist, because it will celebrate the works of 1938, a time when there was, to put it mildly, very much less in the way of recognition for the best works of the year.

    In fact, I’d love to see similar “retro” recognition at every Worldcon from now on (skipping, of course, the years that have been “done”). The timing is perfect, because every year for the next six years will be the 75th anniversary of a year in which there were no Hugos or Retro Hugos. And of course, these were the glory years of Campbell’s Astounding and Unknown, so they’re particularly interesting years. You know the people who have input into such things, Jonathan – tell ’em.

  2. Here’s my guess: Xenocide by OSC.

    Also: I’ve never read Heinlein. The SF writers that I perceived as a starting point when I was a teenager in Calif. in the late ’80s were Clarke and Asimov.

  3. My guess for unread Hugo novel – the pair of John W. Campbell Astounding editorial transcribers: Frank Riley & Mark Clifton “They’d Rather Be Right”.

  4. I agree that Nancy is a marvelous writer, and a very important one. I don’t know if she has the same stature as one of the old Big Four did, though. This is not a criticism – almost no one does.

  5. It’s almost impossible for there to be a “modern big 4” for the same reason that it’s almost impossible for there to be a “next Beatles”. Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke & Bradbury were literally creating the structure in which the rest of the science fiction field operated in. Later writers, no matter how good–and there have been many writers significantly better than all but the absolute best of those earlier writers’ work–are working around the framework of science fiction was built. Every writer since them has had to react to them, even if only to reject them; this makes the canon more central rather than less.

    This is a gross simplification, of course; for one thing, it overlooks the fact that the canonization of these writers mostly occurred later. In the 1940s, Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein weren’t consistently the most popular writers in Astounding–van Vogt, de Camp, and even Hubbard were often better sales drivers, and Astounding wasn’t the best-selling of the magazines of the 40s or 50s. But organized sf fandom coalesced around a self-built mythology of John W. Campbell and those three writers.

    As to awards: I don’t have any problem with you guys talking about the awards, since you generally avoid the two biggest problems of discussing awards. You don’t obsessively handicap the awards, and you don’t mistake the awards for Inherent Literary Value. Instead, you use awards as a structure for discussions of interesting works and of larger issues of literary interest. So, keep at it.

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