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Heinlein Archives Put Online 242

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the plenty-to-read dept.
RaymondRuptime writes "Good news for fans of the late SF master Robert Heinlein, 2 months after his 100th birthday celebration. Per the San Jose Mercury News, 'The entire contents of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Archive — housed in the UC-Santa Cruz Library's Special Collections since 1968 — have been scanned in an effort to preserve the contents digitally while making the collection easily available to both academics and the general public... The first collection released includes 106,000 pages, consisting of Heinlein's complete manuscripts — including files of all his published works, notes, research, early drafts and edits of manuscripts.' You can skip the brief article and go straight to the archives."
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Heinlein Archives Put Online

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  • For real? (Score:2, Funny)

    by commlinx (1068272)
    Or was permission to publish just a Grumble from the Grave?
    • Re:For real? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arivanov (12034) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:40AM (#20694235) Homepage
      He realised the "value" of such archives much more than other people.

      Just read the Lazarus rant in "Time Enough for Love" when he understands for the first time that his pearls of wisdom are being recorded.

      So I think he is more likely laughing than grumbling. After all he said (though Lazarus): "Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil."
      • Re:For real? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728) on Friday September 21, 2007 @08:25AM (#20695303) Homepage Journal
        True.
        He also put in his bequeathing to UCSC that there was one work not to be published... Ever. I haven't the time to search the archive to see if it's there, and at the moment the title escapes me, so I'll have to dig in my annual collection and look up the title (My most prized copy of ?compton's SF? some rag that was carrying RAH's first serials.)

        Anyway, I hope they honor his wishes about this. He declared it his single worst story ever, never to be re-printed. He's fairly spot on in his assessment.
        -nB
  • I wish more writers' archives would just be put online, so we can just simply see what they left out or what work was unfinished at the time of passing without a plethora of new material for purchase. For those of us who loved Stranger in a Strange Land [amazon.com] as it was, the release of the uncut version turned something nice into something overlong. And don't get me started on the Dune sequels, where the notes of Frank Herbert, instead of just being shown as they were, were turned into dreck by his son and an airport paperback writer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And don't get me started on the Dune sequels, where the notes of Frank Herbert, instead of just being shown as they were, were turned into dreck by his son and an airport paperback writer."

      Does anyone have any proof that this "notes" actually exist? The prequels are so chock-full of contradictions with the original series and - to put it bluntly - flat-out stupidity that I've always suspected that the notes were either too scanty to form a full work; largely ignored by Herbert & Anderson in favour of

    • by mdm-adph (1030332)

      And don't get me started on the Dune sequels, where the notes of Frank Herbert, instead of just being shown as they were, were turned into dreck by his son and an airport paperback writer.

      THANK YOU. Thank god I wasn't the only one who noticed this -- the whole time I'm reading the few prequels that I actually did read, I'm thinking, "Man, it's like someone took a book that Frank Herbert had written and got some two-bit hack to copy it over, only he left out all the good bits."

      I always thought it amazing how I was able to read God Emperor of Dune in five days, yet Battle of Corrin took four frickin' weeks. The book was utter shite, and I'm being as nice as I can be in saying that.

      • by Reziac (43301) *
        Hear hear!! I'd read everything Frank Herbert wrote, including his non-SF. And then I came to the first Brian And Frank novel.... I could tell *to the word* where Frank left off and Brian began. Problem is, Brian Herbert is a DULL writer. Not so much bad as -- dull. It take serious effort to slog through his stuff. After several brave efforts, I gave it up.

    • by dargaud (518470)
      A little bit offtopic, but about the Dune prequels, I read the first one that came out and had to force myself to finish it. Never read the others. Awful stuff. Then I heard about the new sequel by the same two 'writers', supposedly based on good notes by Frank. Is that any better and worth reading ? I though the original Dune series ended with a nice if mysterious wrap-up. Some kind of liberation of the characters by their author into the world at large. Not sure if I want this spoiled...
  • TANSTAAFL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:22AM (#20693953)
    As usual.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by grimflick (947516)
      Electronic commerce! Sigh, I am only an EGG
    • Re:TANSTAAFL (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chapter80 (926879) on Friday September 21, 2007 @08:03AM (#20695067)
      Hilarious!

      I saw your acronym, and (once again, clueless me) I had to look it up in Wikipedia. [wikipedia.org] And it's a Heinlein reference!

      TANSTAAFL is an acronym for the adage "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch," popularized by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, which discusses the problems caused by not considering the eventual outcome of an unbalanced economy. This phrase and book are popular with libertarians and economics textbooks. In order to avoid a double negative, the acronym "TINSTAAFL" is sometimes used instead, meaning "There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch".
      I take it they are charging for access?
  • by pla (258480) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:28AM (#20693969) Journal
    You can skip the brief article and go straight to the archives.

    ...Where you can add any of Heinlin's works to your cart, for a low, low price. They take Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover.

    Hey, if I link to the "complete" works of another great author on Amazon, can I make FP too? Or does it have to belong to some "special" collection selling out?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ThirdPrize (938147)
      No one said anything about being free or public domain.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by pla (258480)
        No one said anything about being free or public domain.

        When someone describes the works of a dead author going online in some archival form, "in an effort to preserve the contents digitally while making the collection easily available to both academics and the general public", the idea of "for free" implicitly tags along for the ride.

        If you want to "preserve" an intangible and/or make it "easily available" to everyone, you don't charge for it. You give it away to anyone who will take it.



        Furthermore
    • by derrickh (157646) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:56AM (#20694305) Homepage
      Why does it have to be free? If you want to read Stanger in a Strange Land for free, whats stopping you from going to the library? If the $21 price tag on the Starship Troopers opus is too much, then head over to Amazon and get the novel for $5.
      This whole 'everything should be free' movement is weird.

      D
      • by badfish99 (826052) on Friday September 21, 2007 @06:16AM (#20694373)
        The whole paying money to a dead author thing is even weirder.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by hercubus (755805)

          The whole paying money to a dead author thing is even weirder.


          dead authors may have live heirs who need the money

          it would be nice to think that one's work could benefit one's children for some time

          OTOH, current corporate perversions attempting to lock revenue streams in perpetuity are abominations

          OTTH, Admiral Heinlein, I salute you sir!

          • by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Friday September 21, 2007 @08:26AM (#20695321) Homepage Journal

            dead authors may have live heirs who need the money

            Such weak BS.

            If an artist wants to take care of their heirs, they need to do like the rest of us and take care of their heirs with the money they earn while they are still alive.

            Untimely accident? TFB, death sucks for all of us.

            I just don't see what gives artists the right to continue to profit from their works after they die. No one else has that "right".

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by hercubus (755805)

              Such weak BS. If an artist wants to take care of their heirs, they need to do like the rest of us and take care of their heirs with the money they earn while they are still alive. Untimely accident? TFB, death sucks for all of us. I just don't see what gives artists the right to continue to profit from their works after they die. No one else has that "right".

              you can't see it because you're myopic. consult an optometrist

              also, consider the life gamble someone like Heinlein makes. part of why he conc

          • Given that he was born 100 years ago, and has been dead for 20, his kids would be about 70 and grandkids 40. Everyone has heirs who need money. Why, I'll have you know that my grandfather put the plumbing in the demolished building across the street, and I could certainly use money.
          • by j-pimp (177072)

            The whole paying money to a dead author thing is even weirder.

            dead authors may have live heirs who need the money

            it would be nice to think that one's work could benefit one's children for some time

            OTOH, current corporate perversions attempting to lock revenue streams in perpetuity are abominations

            OTTH, Admiral Heinlein, I salute you sir!

            Ok here's an idea. How about we limit copyright to a period of lets say 20 years, and if authors want to take care of there kids they have to invest a portion of their income during that 20 years. I work for the man, and thats how I plan on taking care of my kids. Of course I specifically don't want to help them too much after college. I believe in making them go out on there own, and charging rent that is cheaper than market value but not insignificant if they wish to remain living with me.

          • by vrmlguy (120854)

            OTTH, Admiral Heinlein, I salute you sir!
            I suspect you meant to say, "OTGH [wikipedia.org]". This, BTW, is an especially appropriate reference since LN made him an Admiral in "The Return of William Proxmire".
          • by badfish99 (826052) on Friday September 21, 2007 @09:18AM (#20695917)
            dead authors may have live heirs who need the money
            My grandfather is dead, but I am his heir. He did some good work 70 years ago but I am quite poor. Everyone must send me $10.

            it would be nice to think that one's work could benefit one's children for some time
            I would like that too. But my employer has told me that my pay will be stopped when I die. Evidently I am in the wrong industry.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by hercubus (755805)

              my employer has told me that my pay will be stopped when I die. Evidently I am in the wrong industry

              okay, so what industry are you in? should your heirs be paid for your enduring work at the Walmart checkout? at the Ford assembly plant? well, probably not. at Microsoft? hmm, maybe not. in your studio creating a new genre of painting / literature / music? yep, that's how we've been doing it for a while

              what if you author an enduring work that continues to benefit society and parenthetically conti

        • by db32 (862117)
          Oh come off it. Look, I think its a little jacked up that so many things get tied up like this, however, if the original author wants it to be handled differently that is what a will is for. So when a parent dies who owns a business all the people off the street should be able to walk in and take whatever they want instead of the ownership of that business transfering? Please...this extremist view is just getting tired and only encourages the people with the power to fix things to not listen to such luna
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bit01 (644603)

        Why does it have to be free?

        By putting a price of even a buck on it you cut out the majority of the world's population.

        If you want to read Stanger in a Strange Land for free, whats stopping you from going to the library? If the $21 price tag on the Starship Troopers opus is too much, then head over to Amazon and get the novel for $5.

        You're being parochial. The US is less than 5% of the world's population. The european population is more than double that but the entire western world is still less t

  • No Free Lunch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by norm1153 (222156)
    Yeah, how depressing. Somehow from the news releases I also thought it'd be a freebie. After all, it's a publicly funded institution...

    Grumble, mumble mumble.

    Shoulda known.

    • It's privately funded, mostly through sales of Heinlein's works.
    • From the site [heinleinprize.com]:

      Fees for receiving documents average $.01 per page across the collection. Academics interested in writing on Robert A. Heinlein's work for publication may apply for a research grant and, if approved, can receive the documents they require at no charge.

      About the Heinlein Prize Trust

      The Heinlein Prize Trust (www.heinleinprize.com) also awards the Heinlein Prize, a $500.000 prize rewarding individuals for making practical contributions to the commercialization of space. The first Heinlein

  • Copyright concerns (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rhinobird (151521) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:42AM (#20694043) Homepage
    To avoid another Scribd-like fiasco, do they have permission from Heilien's estate to do this?
  • by Rick Richardson (87058) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:24AM (#20694169) Homepage
    Though the Archives is provided online for research and academic purposes, The Heinlein Prize Trust, Robert and Virginia Heinlein's estate, who made the online Archives possible is not a non-profit organization. Just as Heinlein always said he wrote for money (something you'll find is true if you read through his correspondence), the Trustees have a responsibility to not only maintain, but increase the income of the Heinleins' estate. This benefits us all as the mission of the Heinlein Prize Trust is to not only preserve Heinlein's legacy through projects such as this online Archives, but to support and encourage the human (that's us) expansion into space through commercial endeavors. The first Heinlein Prize of $500,000 was awarded to Peter Diamandis for just such commercial space endeavors.
     
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bit01 (644603)

      ... This benefits us all...

      No, this benefits only those who accidentally happen to have objectives similar to those of the trust.

      ---

      Like software, intellectual property law is a product of the mind, and can be anything we want it to be. Let's get it right.

      • No, this benefits only those who accidentally happen to have objectives similar to those of the trust.
        No, this benefits those who purposely have objectives similar to those of the trust as well.

        Just for the sake of completeness... :)
  • I'm a fanboy but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Mutant (167716) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:35AM (#20694213) Homepage
    I fear this is for the hard core only.

    I was hoping to get downloadable versions of all his books that I read as a kid, especially some of the more obscure titles, and as I read them.

    Don't get me wrong - this is very cool, but we're not talking the finished product here, but all drafts leading up to the galley that was submitted to the publisher.

    So this would be very good to see how the plot, characters & books were developed. But you're not gonna curl up with one of these. I suspect they'll be dense reads.

    And expensive! The complete, seven parts of Starship Troopers [heinleinarchives.net] will set you back $21!!
    • by Catbeller (118204)
      Well, you could hit the torrent or eMule downloads, as the books have been scanned years back for your pleasure. Then you could curl up with your Touch iPod or iPhone and read the -- D'OH! They won't let us have an eBook reader app other than Web 2.0.

      Almost there, almost there.
  • hrmph. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Friday September 21, 2007 @05:44AM (#20694261)
    I like Heinlein.

    I have all his books, even the one finished by Spider Robinson.

    But when I can buy an copy off the 'net for less then a scanned, no doubt DRM'd, electronic copy - I have to wonder who the target of this website is.

    Bottom line - If you want to impress people donate the collected works to the Gutenberg archive.

    But of course that is not a money spinner. Hardcore fans only indeed - though I am not knocking this as a source for historical research for the academics.
    • by praxis (19962)
      While I am not completely aware of what's available in published form, I did take a look at what you get for your $38.00 to download the Stranger in a Strange Land files. I was impressed. You get scans of the original manuscript, drafts, edits, letters he wrote and recieved about that work, and other interested tidbits. Hence, the archive seems pretty well poised for the academic and research crowd, where getting a behind-the-scenes look is actually now afordable. No more flying down, staying in a hotel
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209)
      Your last line answered it: Hardcore fans and academics.

      While I love to read, I have very little interest in HOW a book is written. I mean, I kind of care, but not enough to sift through tons of notes and try to recreate his thought process on a book that took him months or years to write. I simply don't have enough time to care.

      On the other hand, if I were looking at writing my first book, I'd be sorely tempted to take a look at the process a master used, and see what could help me along.

      And if I lived
  • In other news, Playboy Magazine recently launched Playboy.com, which allows the worlds premier men's magazine to be made available online! You can skip the brief article, and go straight to the archives [NSFW] [playboy.com].
  • Job: A comedy of Justice, new on Amazon... $7.99
    Job: A comedy of Justice, used on Amazon... $0.01
    Job: A comedy of Justice, digitized... $33.00?!?
    • by VAXcat (674775)
      ...plus, Job: A Comedy of Justice, is really really bad! One of his worst works, and I say this as a lifelong devoted RAH fan. This (along with "I Will Fear No Weevils") is one of the RAH books I have only read once...and just barely made it through.
      • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Friday September 21, 2007 @10:55AM (#20697351)
        I think the title originally was "I Will Fear No Editor" (okay, I joke) but it read like that, too. Not one of his greatest works. However his artery blockage problem was kicking in around then.

        I'll stick my two cents in here. Heinlein's juveniles and many other works (up until the period when the transition in quality coming from his cerebral artery problem deeply hurt his work) all celebrated the human condition, and the ability of man to rise to noble heights. They also were cracking good stories, too. Heinlein does not deserve the denigration coming these days from academic hacks and people unable to understand what he was really getting at. He wrote of man's responsibility to society, over and over again, and I find it offensive when some dimwitted, unimaginative 'publish or perish' academic arrogantly demeans him.

        In his time - a span of decades overlapping WWII - Heinlein was a giant and an inspiration to many engineers and scientists; any current critic dismissing him as a totalitarian Nazi is getting it completely wrong. His goal was to make money entertaining, true, but he aimed to inspire, he aimed at noble mores. He was not a literary cheat or a fraud and tried to give good value for the money. He was human and he made some mistakes in later years. But overall he saluted the best in man, championed the competent man in his stories. He was in favor of can-do, and held whiny slackers in disdain. If someone finds fault in that, the problem is with them, not him. His Starship Troopers was about genuine duty to man, unlike many of today's shallow military porn 'Sci-Fi" novels. (The movie adaptation was not his fault.) His Door Into Summer inspired me as a budding engineer. Today's lightweight bookstore rack-space fillers, by contrast, are shallow and disposable. I don't see many of them lighting the right sparks in growing minds like Heinlein did.

    • by shilly (142940)
      Don't be silly. This isn't a bookshop, it's an archival store. You're buying not just the finished version of the book, but the associated working papers. The smaller potentail audience and high production costs account for the relative pricing.
  • The last entry in the archive seems to indicate that he was preparing a new book: "Once upon a time a very large meteorite was heading directly for SCO. It was like a million miles across and filling the sky. Even then Darl didn't notice as he was too bust trying to kick the company server back to life ..." It ends there but there's a footnote: "This will undoubtably destory my Santa Cruz Library archive too but it's a price worth paying". It's amazing how he could predict the future with such accuracy.

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