Time Enough for Love

Time Enough for LoveThe Capstone And Crowning Achievement Of Heinlein S Famous Future History, Time Enough For Love Follows Lazarus Long Through A Vast And Magnificent Timescape Of Centuries And Worlds Heinlein S Longest And Most Ambitious Work, It Is The Story Of A Man So In Love With Life That He Refused To Stop Living It Was Robert A Heinlein a dirty old man Yes But he was also a visionary who saw the trends of Western Civilization and expounded out into a foreseeable future, not just in terms of science fiction but also in regard to cultures, morals, sociology and ideology Time Enough for Love demonstrates the fundamental attractiveness of science fiction, the eternal hope that things will get better Dystopian fantasies aside, science fiction deals with the future, and that there are people in the future still carrying on everyday lives At its heart, science fiction is about hope, hope that we ll see a few years ahead Time Enough for Love goes one step further and introduces us to Lazarus Long though he was in prior Heinlein novels as the oldest living human, over 2,000 years old Thus, Heinlein allows us to imagine an almost eternal existence, and without the need to live at night and drink blood I like reading Heinlein because I like Heinlein, chauvinistic and militaristic as he may be he is also a libertarian humanist who loves life and tells a good story He s not misogynistic, he clearly loves women and sees them as capable and wonderful people Heinlein s voice, whether Lazarus Long, or Jubal Hershaw, is that of Heinlein himself, his experience is cast upon science fiction of the future The best thing about Heinlein is that he is a good writer, a great writer of science fiction And that is demonstrated both in the positive and negative in TEFL When he is telling a story, it is very good, but in the in between sections it drags poorly The best section is the story about Lazarus and his marriage to short lived Dora and their pioneer life If RAH made the Tale of the Adopted Daughter a full length novel, cutting out about 300 pages, this would have been a very good story Ultimately, it s just too long, Heinlein is too ambitious and throws too much in and it collapses under it s own weight. Mr Lazarus Long, since you happen to be passing through the early twenty first century, could you give us a few priceless gems of homespun wisdom for the Goodreads membership to marvel at Gosh darn it, when I see all the cute females on this site, how can I say no Could you just pass me the cuneiform tablets Papyrus rolls Parchment Oh yes, laptop Sorry, hard to keep things straight So1 If you re a tired SF hack who s completely run out of ideas, don t worry Just recycle the old ones, and pretend nothing s wrong.2 You may imagine that the books will come out painfully thin Far from it They ll be thicker than ever.3 Next time someone calls you a motherfucker, simply take them at their word Of course, a time machine is useful here.4 Don t make these lists too long By the time you ve got half a dozen items, everyone will already be yawning.5 Er6 That s it Done Now, surely there s some gorgeous woman here who s dying to have sex with me If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Competent Man Time Enough for Love by Robert A Heinlein A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly Specialization is for insects In Time Enough for Love by Robert A HeinleinThis my favourite Heinlein quote.I really am the competent man the only thing from Heinlein s Dictum that I cannot and have not done, is conn a spaceship, and butcher a hog but I have seen it being done I don t know about the part of dying gallantly I ll tell you afterwards I wasn t brought up on a farm or in the middle of nowhere I m from a large town, Lisbon It s about learning and honing skills, and treating every opportunity as a chance to try them out For example, I learned the praxis of trigonometry not just the theoretical part before I learned it in high school It s all very well just knowing it but to be a capable man you need to go further. People seem to have a love it or hate it kind of relationship with Heinlein s Time Enough for Love And I ve gotta say I m strapped firmly to the former bandwagon Granted, I can see why some of the negative Nancy s are getting their panties in a knot okay, maybe the incest theme goes a little far , but Heinlein s weirdness just doesn t bug me And I think some critics have missed the mark entirely, by focusing on the wrong stuff Which is fully within their rights, of course, and an opinion is only an opinion Blah blah blah Here s my two cents on why they re wrong Time Enough for Love is set up as a series of tales told by the oldest living man in the universe, Lazarus Long Lazarus is confined to a rejuvenation clinic, where he is being held against his will by a team of people dedicated to preserving his knowledge You see, they ve rescued Laz from attempted suicide, in order to record his life s story and hopefully glean some of the wisdom he s accumulated in over two thousand years of life And Lazarus has agreed not to try to take his own life again, until he s told them about the most important lessons learned in his long life Time Enough for Love is like Arabian Nights, but in reverse Laz is telling his stories for his right to die.So the structure necessitates a kind of bracketing set up, wherein Lazarus tales are divided by his present experiences in the rejuvenation clinic And I ve got to admit, Lazarus voice is where Heinlein s storytelling excels I sometimes had to restrain myself from skipping forward until the next story, although, in the end I m glad that I did restrain myself, that is Heinlein brings everything together nicely once Lazarus regains an interest in life and goes on to set up his free lovin hippie commune on the planet Boondock, and all of a sudden his present becomes the next tale.The number one complaint that I ve noticed in other reviews is with Heinlein s apparent preoccupation with incest But I think that, unusual as the theme is in modern writing, it has a place in the story and is essential to Lazarus character First and foremost is the fact that Lazarus Long is completely obsessed with genetic purity As one of the first long lifers on Earth, he was contractually obligated to reproduce only with other long lifers in order to preserve the longevity they had acquired Then, there is the fact that old Laz, being nearly three thousand years old, is the great to the nth degree grandfather of nearly everyone in the universe, so the older he gets the harder it is for him to find partners with whom he is genetically compatible not being related to them is virtually impossible.Lazarus comes to view the appropriateness of sexual pairings solely through the lens of healthy reproduction and then, only if reproduction is the goal in the most extreme example view spoiler Lazarus travels back in time and accidentally falls in love with his mother, an affair that is able to be consummated only because his mother is already pregnant and therefore won t become pregnant by Laz hide spoiler There is plenty of Heinlein s reshaping questioning of social s in Time Enough for Love much like Stranger in a Strange Land however, without the driving force of Stranger s narrative behind it, Time Enough mostly feels disjointed and long winded The novel begins with a recalling of adventures from the oldest man alive There are some interesting stories here including one involving colonization on a primitive planet and time travel to one s own youth however, the developed stories occur very late in the novel Throughout the book, his spokesman makes interesting observations on life and love but some of that is undermined by Heinlein s patriarchal tone, preoccupation with incest and his seeming belief that most women want to have lots and lots of children The biggest problem, though, was lack of a sustained narrative I will read Heinlein, but this one didn t quite do it for me. Read the other reviews for plot summaries No point in rehashing Heinlein has profoundly influenced my thinking and life since I was but in my early teens, so I guess this review isn t exactly impartial Still, there are books of his that bored me, among them Stranger in Strange Land In other words, I know the man s limitations.With all this said, I still think that TEFL qualifies as a curmudgeonly masterpiece, and it banged my head against a wall again and again and said Get a life, man Get a sense of perspective about what matters and what doesn t For that s what it s all about Quoting the man himself May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live It was YB Yeats who wrote that Sex and death are the only things that can interest a serious mind While that almost covers it, and while it s a very Heinleinian thing to say even though it came from Yeats , I suspect that Heinlein would have replaced the word sex by love , with a particular emphasis on the romantic kind In TEFL, like in other novels, Heinlein cut through taboos and especially those relating to sex and its many expressions with gusto He had the audacity and it still scandalizes a lot of people today, as evidenced by the comments on this book to assert that all taboos are social construct which they self evidently are with possibly a biological basis e.g incest but when that basis disappears then screw the taboos Move on and get a life The biggest one of these taboos is incest I wonder how long it ll take until, for example, consenting, non child issue sex between consenting adult siblings will be decriminalized and destigmatized, and become so accepted that the ick factor disappears from people s knee jerk reactions Anybody reading TEFL has to confront this issue and their own reactions to it The point is that Heinlein shows the breaking of these taboos not as something to be disgusted about, or as something that has terrible social consequences, which is the usual way of representing it in almost all fiction, but rather as no biggie at all About that other subject of the Yeats quote above It s been said that TEFL is Heinlein s personal fantasy about immortality, written at a time when he was pretty much staring his own death in the face Sure, that s what TEFL is also all about A very thoughtful treatise on human life beyond the boundaries currently imposed on it And along the way, for those who think about the potential for significant human longevity becoming a reality fairly soon, it gives us a lot of food for thought Because if human life expectancy is, indeed, extended on a large scale to possibly hundreds of years, all bets are off, and the rules of society and personal life as we know them now are going to go out the window But if we re still wanting to be human , despite our longevity, and if we continue to be driven by our basic human urges, how will we cope with that Heinlein is the only author I know of who had probed this in sufficient depth, both intellectually and emotionally and for that alone we should look to this novel as a guide into a possible future by a visionary and passionate humanist who was many decades ahead of his time.But in the end, TEFL is really about the central story, the tale of the adopted daughter, which is still one of the most touching stories I ve ever read It s about love and death and being human and what it all means what it all can mean, if it s to mean any damn thing at all And can you really ask for than that from a storyteller This is one of those books that I wanted to stop reading, but I persevered in the hopes that something would redeem it by the end There was no redemption only sadness and a burning expletive on the end of my tongue In a book with over 20 characters, the only one I enjoyed was a talking mule In a book with nearly 600 pages, only 30 of them contained a story I cared about view spoiler The author s command of the English language was acceptable, but there were a few spelling errors that made me stumble, not to mention irritating characterization of everyone but the main character affecting nearly all of the females While Heinlein is fully capable of stringing together a coherent sentence, his inability to SHOW and not TELL leaves the story to drag on quite painfully for nearly 600 pages.The first issue I have with this story is the disturbing lack of conflict, which is what usually drives the characters and plot forward Unfortunately, the main character, Lazarus Long LL , is written as a God character, used as a vehicle for Heinein to self insert and fantasize about impregnating women These God type characters, also known as a Marty stus male or Mary sues female , are most often found in fanfiction, but not exclusive to that medium Their purpose is to be amazing, receive compliments and attention from other characters, and to breeze through conflicts while demonstrating how fantastic they are Lazarus Long fits this description perfectly he is ornery, has an answer to everything, lectures everyone about how they are wrong and he knows everything, everyone is drawn to him and fights to keep him alive and works together to make him happy Anytime there is a hint of conflict, where I wondered how will they get out of thi it was quickly solved by LL s all knowingness Of course, LL isn t 100% perfect, as he suffers from an unnamed condition that is evident by how many women beg him to impregnate them This is typically triggered whenever he announces he is going anywhere, which usually involves women asking for his babies and then crying when he denies their request, which results in him impregnating them He has been approached by every woman in the story NOT ONE WOMAN has been able to resist his allure, and this is a story that includes a computer inserted into a cloned human body, twin female clones of LL himself, and his mother His mother didn t beg for babies, though, but she made up for it with her bawdy comments and advances She was conveniently able to sleep with LL without guilt because her husband knows that she is lustful and would not be able to control herself while he was in the army, and so trusted her good judgment to sleep with a man she liked and then tell him all about it after This book is rife with incest, or at the very least, emotional incest, where LL becomes romantically and or sexually involved with a woman he s raised from childhood While I m not a prude when it comes to this topic, I felt disturbingly numb to the concept by the end of the book when LL declared he was IN LOVE with his mother In her defense, she didn t know he was her son, simply believing him to be a distant relative, or, at worst, her brother Five hundred pages of emotional incest had dulled my senses to genetic incest.In addition to incest, the women do not behave as real women do They seem to enjoy being flirtatious and affectionate to a fault, existing only to warm men s laps, make men feel better, have floppy breasts, get pregnant and then on one occasion flippantly discuss aborting their fetuses if the gender is not female Protip even if a woman chooses to abort her baby, she is not flippant about it, nor does she joke about it with her friends This book is not ergonomically safe and I do not recommend it to anyone who has issues with their eyes I suffered repetitive strain injury from rolling my eyes usually triggered when someone begged for LL s babies Sadly , this is an unfinished story In the middle of one of the two action scenes in the whole book LL is shot and then supposedly killed The next few pages show an almost epilogue style scene where LL is magically back on a spaceship, saved by his Tetrius family aka the hippie love family and brought back to life FIN What happens next I don t know I wanted nothing than for this book to END, but when it finally did, I grudgingly noted that it required 50 pages to actually tie up its loose ends Even at the end, when I should have been happy that I wouldn t have to read any , Heinlein has robbed me of any satisfaction in knowing things are wrapped up I m now plagued by wandering thoughts about what happened next It is a cheap trick to make readers think of a Marty stu character when they should have been able to put his existence out of their minds.I hope the same trick is not used in Heinlein s other books Against my better judgment, I m allowing my significant other to convince me to read them Perhaps they will improve my opinion of Heinlein hide spoiler I have a love hate relationship with Heinlein Some of his stuff is great Some of it, like Farnham s Freehold, which I reviewed here, I simply hate However, I like enough of his work that I seek This was a book that took me a long time to get through, but when I got done, it was well worth it I read it back in 2002 From my journal back then I found it to be a book that makes you think I thought the opening was a bit slow, but once the narrative was set up, it got interesting I found that reading the book in segments, a part here and a part there, worked better for me.One of my favorite parts was the Notebooks of Lazarus Long, a section of maxims full of common sense I also enjoyed the tale of Dora very much, a moving tale of how Lazarus fell in love with an ephemeral woman and their life together til death did them part I also recall the ending for having a nice twist I am not saying, go read it instead This is a book about a rascal, a picaro to borrow the Spanish word, which is so much better than just saying rascal, if nothing else It integrates different genres In some ways reminded me of works like One Thousand Nights and a Night and Don Quijote not the Man of La Mancha s idealism, but the novel s integration of different genres and elements This has become one of my favorite books. What would you do if you could live 4,000 years Try out every profession at least once Make enough babies to populate a planet Travel as far as the galaxy goes Lazarus Long has done all that and He s about to die peacefully when he s kidnapped and rejuvenated and coerced to tell his memoirs I could read stories about Lazarus life for months, but unfortunately this book only contains two The rest is action in the present 4272 Gregorian , and at the end, an account of Lazarus trip back in time to visit his first family parents, brothers and sisters, grandfather This is the first of the last four books Heinlein wrote, and it was clear he was nearing the end of his life, looking mortality straight in the face and writing his fantasy of living forever Lazarus shares his collected wealth of knowledge and wisdom, although he d insist he s got nothing to say of any worth, and much of it is the best advice I ve ever heard.Those not familiar with Heinlein might find his morals a little depraved, especially the sexually straight laced, although science fiction often contains stories of societies whose taboos are not our own, and would be scandalized by ours The only complaint I have about the book is how annoying that is that certain parts are omitted , then return to the story in the middle of the sentence It s not smooth, and although the omissions are mostly for brevity s sake, I felt like I missed something important I wish I had access to the complete memoirs of Lazarus Long, but unfortunately they won t be available for a couple thousand years, and I m pretty sure I m not going to live that long. I love Lazarus Long That is all.I think RAH transcends mere sexuality or he s a horny old goat, one and winds a tale in his future history series that is unlike anything else I ve ever read IOW, I don t think he could have quite told the tale without sorta getting rid of standard morals about sex and love.This IS one of my favorites of the series, but I ve got to re read it to remember why I was left with such strong sentiment about this particular book It, along with Number of the Beast, has gag worthy sex scenes if that sort of thing bothers you, but I think the sex scenes were really meant to put away the sex and create a new reality I generally wasn t interested in the um, scientific improbabilities or the morals, of the strange sex scenes I found I could get through them by trying to find metaphor where, okay, MAYBE he meant to write soft porn and I was looking past it too much, heh If anything bothered me about this super human incestuous bunch of long lifers, it was that I was concerned that they were too cocky, maybe too TOO removed from humanity, that if one of them were raped or hurt during one of their myriad adventures, the typical fare of a silly kiss and or strange sex or medicine wouldn t quite patch them up If one killed themselves, they probably all would IOW, they started to seem cult like with no leader Which I d imagine was NEVER RAH s intention I love Lazarus Long, cranky old coot who needed to be put in his place and that place, at least in part, is in part in my consciousness Which put these books on my Favorites List.