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April 2018

Thanks, Mum

Simpler times at Brighton                        Summer 1962

This is me and my Mum at Brighton, in simpler times. Mum loved to read, and she encouraged my love of reading too. I'd read everything of interest in the children's section of the local library in the small town I grew up in, so she let me use her adult library card; I was much too young to apply for one. Perhaps this blog wouldn't have happened without her.

Thanks, Mum.

Wasn't Me!

Typepad, who provide the platform for this blog, have been doing lots of planned maintenance work. If you’ve tried to visit and couldn’t get here, that’s probably why; you might have seen a "Origin DNS Error” message instead.

Typepad tend to start this at 8pm Central Time, USA; that's three in the morning for us UK bods, and work usually runs on ‘till breakfast time here.

I’m a regular at The Online Photographer, another Typepad blog that’s well worth a visit. He has also been affected.

Robert Heinlein and Women

Robert Anson Heinlein, (1907-1988) is widely acclaimed as “The Dean of Science Fiction”. A title he richly deserved, after 48 years of high quality imaginative writing.

In more recent times Heinlein has been accused of being sexist or mysogynist but these claims are groundless. Both male and female characters are treated equally; as well rounded individuals with individual differences in character and capabilities.


As in real life, they have their faults too. This isn’t sexist! Indeed, several of his novels have strong female lead characters; there’s the eponymous Poddie Fries in Podkayne of Mars, Friday Jones in Friday and Maureen Johnson in To Sail Beyond The Sunset.

Characters and events in books do not necessarily reflect the author’s beliefs and own character, folks! Only if you believe that the only purpose of writing fiction is to impose your political views on others could you imagine that is the case.

Not a murderer

This is not the same as exploring ideas about characters and doesn’t mean that Heinlein does not expouse his ideas in his work; just that you can’t make a blanket assertion about all he or anyone else writes.

Portraying a criminal or murderer doesn’t mean that the writer believes in law breaking and killing anyone who gets in their way, or every crime writer in the world would need to go to jail)

Let’s take a look at these books:

Podkane of MarsThe January 1970 reprint of the March 1969 edition.


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Long Distance Plumbing

      Round the bend
      I heard a tapping noise coming from upstairs. I went to investigate. I opened the bathroom door and looked round the corner at the toilet bowl. The lid was lifting slightly with every tap.
      I thought there must be some sort of blockage or water pressure problem so I carefully lifted the lid. Standing in the bowl was a creature something like a pug dog and something like an octopus. It was blue.
      “Hey”, it said.

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