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Dialogue around "To Sail Beyond the Sunset"

My Original Observations on "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" (10/21/1999)
Don't waste yer time...

I guess for continuity die-hards, this book rounds out the Lazarus Long genealogy. But My God-- it's one of the most incredibly boring reads I've had in a looonnnggg time. I think Heinlein tried to do a Dickens style novel, and failed miserably.

Oh yeah-- if you subscribe to any type of sexual morals, they get trashed methodically and categorically: pre-marital sex, adultery, incest, even bestiality. Didn't you know these things are cool, you closeted person you? (Please read that last sentence with sarcasm.) He also takes pot-shots at the Ten Commandments and refers to the Crucifixion as 'Cruci-Fiction'.

From style to story to content, it's quite a waste.

An anonymous visitor's response... (1/25/2000)
Dear Sir,
I have to say your reviews are neither extensive nor reflective enough to provide a qualified opinion. I note particularly, your review of "To Sail Beyond the Sunset".

You have not reviewed any of Heinlein's Lazarus Long-Future History, and I can only assume you haven't read them by your review of "To Sail Beyond the Sunset". This being probably his greatest collection of works, I find it surprising that you would deign to cast judgement upon the summation of an incredible series without having read any of it.

Additionnally I would note that predominately you have cited Heilein's immature and unphilosophical novels with higher rank than several of his greatest works. Which are not even reviewed. These are not BAD stories, Just in comparison an arnie action flic compared to a sundance festval Grand Jury

My recommendation to you is to become VERSED in the subject you are reviewing before you choose to give comment.

...and my reply (2/13/2000)
The writer's assertion that my reviews are "neither extensive nor reflective enough to provide a qualified opinion" is simply non sequitur. Upon even cursory perusal of any of my reviews, one can deduce that the scope of this site is not to give extensive and relective commentary, but merely light critical impression. And there is nothing wrong with doing that.

I did read several of the Lazarus Long books many years ago. I was not overly impressed with them then, and for that reason I have delayed re-rereading them for inclusion on this website. (For the same reason, I have not re-read nor reviewed "Stranger in a Strange Land".) This was my first, and probably last, visit to "To Sail Beyond the Sunset". That said, I will be sure to read and comment on the remaining Future History series shortly.

I find it odd that one would label some of Heinlein's less philosophical works as 'immature', as if lack of philosophy guided the definition of immaturity. In keeping with the emailist's analogy, I contend that the brilliant "Blair Witch Project" was comparatively unphilosophical when considered in the light of films such as "Life is Beautiful" and "Cinema Paradiso"-- yet Sundance applauded them each for what they were. Perhaps we should not compare apples and oranges.

I eventually intend to write a series on Heinlein's philosphies, but I realize I have much studying to do before I undertake that task. In the meantime, I will crudely opine that Heinlein's philosophical outlooks digress over time. He especially seemed to grow increasingly theophobic (or christophobic) and a-moralistic, as if he had a particular axe to grind against certain religious beliefs and practices. And just as Heinlein did not keep silent about his convictions, nor will I with respect to his writings. For the record, I might add that I do not review these books in a vacuum, but have several peers with whom I dialogue regularly about these and other things Science Fiction.

In closing, I wish to thank my anonymous friend for the criticisms. I welcome such remarks as I believe they serve to keep me honest, challenge me to rethink my positions, and provide engaging dialogue for helping to clarify certain viewpoints.



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