|August 26th, 2008|
I just finished reading Saturn’s Children,and enjoyed it quite a lot — Charlie Stross manages to nail the late Heinlein voice quite thoroughly, and although some of the late Heinlein books are vilified in some quarters, I liked quite a lot of them. Here Stross is clearly going after Friday.
There’s quite a lot of Heinlein’s children around these days; not just stuff like the recent Variable Starposthumous collaboration, but also stuff like Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” books (the latest of which, Zoe’s Tale, I haven’t read yet), and of course the outright homages than John Varley has been writing ever since Steel Beach.
Now, Charlie dedicates Saturn’s Children to both Heinlein and Asimov, and it made me wonder — who is writing the Asimov homages? I mean, aside from a few of Cory Doctorow’s short stories (thinking here of “I, Rowboat,” one of my favorites of his shorts, though of course “I,Robot”, also in that book, is a more direct homage), it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of folks who consciously work in this mode. Charlie is after exploring Asimovian ideas, just in Heinleinian dress, but you don’t see Asimovian dress these days.
I grew up reading them both. I fact, I make the claim to having read everything of Heinlein’s — yes, even Take Back Your Government and Tramp Royale, every short story, everything; and every scrap of Asimov fiction, even all the Lucky Starr books and all the Black Widowers (though I think I may prefer The Union Club Mysteries), even Murder at the ABA (reading all the non-fiction being unattainable).
To me, they have always represented two poles of SF. Is the Asimovian style simply more dated, or is it that the other influences of Heinlein, such as his politics and quotability, have made him more prominent in an Internet-based world and culture?
BTW, Charlie swears to me that few people get the terrible terrible pun about the chicken. Keep an eye out, and don’t be drinking something when you reach the page with the chibi dwarf ninja attack.