Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 5, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

HEINLEIN FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE....It appears that a Robert Heinlein scholar has located a complete manuscript of Heinlein's first, unpublished novel:

"For Us, the Living" was written by Heinlein about 1938-9, before he wrote his first sf short, "Lifeline." The novel, "For Us, the Living," was deemed unpublishable, mainly for the racy content. So racy is/was the content that in the 1930s the book could not even have been legally shipped through the US mail! For this reason, after a few publisher rejections, the novel was tabled by Heinlein, but the content was mined for his later stories and novels. A fellow named Nehemiah Scudder even appears in "For Us, the Living." It's important to point out that according to those favored few who have thus far read this long lost Heinlein novel, it did not go unpublished because it was bad--they say it's quite good, though clearly a first novel by the author (it has a two and a half page footnote!). It was unpublished because the mores and culture of the time would not allow it.

I have my doubts that the novel is actually very good, but it will surely be better than his final couple. And of course it has indisputable historic value given Heinlein's place in science fiction history.

It's due to be released November 28.

Kevin Drum 8:49 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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