Re: Sixties Science Fiction (fwd)

Ben Friedlander (
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 08:27:25 -0400

> Sender: "Henry C. Beigh" <>
> Heinlein was a very conservative fellow, making
> Ghengis Khan appear to be compassionate and sensitive. Another of his
> books from the sixties is "Farnhams Freehold" having to do with the cold
> war nuclear holocaust scenario.

Heinlein was more or less a libertarian, which meant that his social
attitudes and politics veered crankily back and forth across the
left-right spectrum, often in the course of a single book. (Actually, I
find his books most interesting when they do veer back and forth--which
is how I remember _Glory Road_ [1963]). _Farnham's Freehold_ (1964) is
hard to take: a post-nuke world in which blacks are on top, making life
miserable for the white protagonists flung far forward in time while hiding
out in their handy-dandy bomb shelter. (There's a John Christopher
novel--can't remember the title--which handles the same scenario much
more sensibly, minus the bomb shelter: a new ice age sends Europeans
south to Africa, fundamentally altering the balance of power between the
races.) Then, of course, there's _Stranger in a Strange Land_ (1961),
Heinlein's "counterculture" novel, about a martian who preaches free love.
The only other Heinlein novel from the '60s is _The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_
(1966), about a revolution fought between the moon and earth. Not a bad
microcosm of the decade's issues, actually: free love, war in Southeast
Asia, nuclear holocaust, race, revolution.

Ben Friedlander
SUNY Buffalo