i.e. Ben Burgis: Musings on Speculative Fiction, Philosophy, PacMan and the Coming Alien Invasion

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Starship Vampires

Well, I did end up cashing the Walking Bones check (after photocopying it for nostalgic reasons--first ever payment for writing) and spending the $20 at Barnes & Noble. Since I haven't been able to do this in a while, I picked up two paperbacks in the guilty pleasure category and a cappocino and cookie at the cafe.

One of the books was "Dead to the World," the fourth volume in Charlaine Harris's southern vampire series. The other one was "Starship Troopers," which is of course Robert Heinlein's classic paen of praise to the joys of obedience and killing things. Now, to put it mildly, as you may have picked up from that description, Heinlein's politics are not my politics, which contributes to the "guilty pleasure" description. It is, however (like most of Heinlein's books) intsensely entertaining as sheer escapist entertainment, quasi-fascist underlying values nonwithstanding, and the controversy that surrounds the most appalling ones (Farnham's Freehold, Starship Troopers) just makes them more interesting. In this case, the bit I've read so far reminds me of a sort of perfect cross between "Platoon" and "Ender's Game."

In any case, the two books have nothing in common except being fun, somewhere in the very broad category of speculative fiction and things that I've vaguely wanted to read for a while. Given that, the following is sort of interesting, particularly because I only noticed it after buying them. Heinlein's dedication is:


Now, this is entertaining and ridiculous and unsurprising, just Heinlein being Heinlein, only more so, like a movie villain twirling what he knows is a very evil-looking mustache.

Meanwhile, I turned to the opening pages of Charlaine Harris's novel, and found the following dedication:

"Though they'll probably never read it, this book is dedicated to all the coaches--basketball, volleyball, football, soccer--who've worked through so many years, often for no monetary reward, to coax athletic performances out of my children and to instill in them an understanding of the game...."

These are, I should say, also the only two books I have ever read in the last, I don't know eighteen years or so of reading sf ever to be dedicated to some category of professionals encharged with whipping young men into shape. Now, for two books in wildly different subgenres, written forty six years apart and paired together more or less randomly in my purchasing of them yesterday, you've got to admit that this is a bizarre parallelism in dedications.

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