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Author Topic: The Number of The Beast by Hienlien  (Read 1966 times)
creagmor
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« on: April 29, 2014, 01:31:33 pm »

Recently finished reading The Number of the Beast yet again. One of my two favourite books by Robert A Heinlein. While there's really very little actual steampunk in the book, other than a steam powered "roadable" used by the British military on Mars, there is a device rather like the TARDIS in concept, except it can not only take to any time and place, but also allows you to visit "fictional" worlds as well. Among other places they visit Oz, and a brief stopover in the universe of the Grey Lensman, as well as the afore mentioned British Martian settlement, which serves as a penal colony.

The premise of the book is that a new universe is actually created when an author writes a story. with this idea in mind he created the term "pantheistic solipsism". If this kind of reality did exist then virtually anyone's concept of what constitutes steampunk would not only be equally valid; but a reality as well.

The title comes from a rather complicated idea that there are three time dimensions as well as three spatial ones. the resultant formula derived form all of this is six to the sixth power which is in turn raised to the sixth power, thus you have a form of 666, i.e. the Number of The Beast; and a humongous number of universes
which one can visit.
     
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2014, 02:32:40 pm »

This and Friday are my all-time favourite Heinlien novels Smiley I want a Gay Deceiver!
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 02:58:12 pm »

as well as the afore mentioned British Martian settlement, which serves as a penal colony.
    

Australia, you have been replaced by Mars...
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2014, 03:12:24 pm »

as well as the afore mentioned British Martian settlement, which serves as a penal colony.
    

Australia, you have been replaced by Mars...

Same red dust, slightly fewer lethal monsters...   Grin

Although, with colloquial changes to the English language, I'm not sure the name of the ship would have stayed the same.
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creagmor
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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2014, 04:29:26 pm »

As to the penal colony, unlike Australia The Brits on Mars had some very unfriendly Russians to deal with.

My other favourite Heinlein book is Glory Road another tale of parallel universe hopping. Starship Troopers also has some very good things in it. I really like the society that had evolved in that one.

By the way I was wondering how efficient ornithopters would be in comparison to airplanes.  I'm far from being an expert on the subject, but it seems to me they would require more energy than an airplane.
         
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pakled05
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2014, 04:45:14 am »

I've read 'em all over the decades, even For Us, The Living, which was never supposed to be released. He influences my own style a lot. If I was only 1% as good...Wink
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creagmor
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2014, 06:56:10 am »

I read For Us The Living some years ago, and if it is as I remember it seemed to be a bit preachy to me, but I still enjoyed it. I didn't always agree with the things he seemed to favour, as we have a different world/life view, but I appreciated what he had to say and the way he said it.

Of the films based on two of his books I only saw Starship Troopers. It's too bad it was not more faithful to the book. They excluded everything in the book that I liked. It goes without saying that this is a very common compliant about Hollywood, amongst those who have a propensity for reading. Of course, IMHO, the film industry is geared mostly towards the younger folks - those with the most disposable income - and they must have their action flicks. I like them as well, but I also long for those which cause me to think as well. Even if I disagree with their message, it forces me to re-evaluate - and occasionally modify - my position about things. Part of staying young is the ability to unlearn inaccurate information.

Another reason why I usually prefer the book version is that in that medium I can make up my own images, and not be limited by another's. Naturally there are exceptions of course.

As a brief aside, I get quite frustrated with those who see a film that purports to be historical and take it to be "the truth". I think back to They Died With Their Boots On. They portrayed Gen. Custer as a hero, but nowadays he is never depicted that way. Also, as I am a very distant relative of Wyatt Earp, to the best of my knowledge I have seen every movie there is about him. Without getting into the facts, I get amused at how many different way he has been translated onto celluloid. It Could Happen to You is another "based on a true story" film wherein the facts were totally butchered, but at least at the end they were honest enough give a brief account of what actually happened.    
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 07:01:08 am by creagmor » Logged
Prof Marvel
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2014, 07:27:29 am »

I am a great fan of Robert A. Hienlien  Heinlein, I grew up during The Golden Age of Science Fiction and cut my teeth
on  " The Moon Is  A Harsh Mistress" , followed by everything he wrote, including his "Juveniles".

I amn particularly enthralled with his "Lazuras Long" Chronicles. Some feel his last two or three books
were "too long" or "needed more editing", but since they were written after his "near stroke" medical event,
I feel that he decided he was feeling his mortatlity and  "wrote what he had to and let the editors be damned".

here is a great site on RAH

http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahfaq.html

yhs
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creagmor
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 04:56:15 pm »

Thanks for the site on RAH. As far as I know I've read everything he ever wrote and never felt that any of his works were too long. However I did recently buy a copy of the original version of Stranger in a Strange Land - published posthumously by his wife - and didn't really feel that the "new" material added anything.

My favourite character in that book was Jubal Harshaw. I wish I had 10% of his guts and creativity. Although I admire his independence, I wouldn't want to live the hermit life he did.
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pakled05
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 05:40:34 pm »

As for movies, Heinlein worked on one in the 50s, don't recall the name (something about the Moon). They did make The Puppet Masters into a movie, back around the 80s/90s. Should be in IMDB

Wonder what he'd think of the two three sequels to Starship Troopers? (2 live, 1 animated)
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grimnir
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 01:10:37 am »

As far as the Starship Troopers movie is concerned I think Verhoeven glanced at the cast names, saw the word bugs and threw the rest of the book away! The movie totally disregarded everything of worth in the novel and turned it into Robocop with bugs Sad

I would love to see Number of the Beast, Space Family Stone or Friday get done by someone like Whedon.
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pakled05
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 04:16:05 am »

Yeah, I have to agree. Anyone who can make a movie about topless dancers and bore me has real talent...or something...Wink Actually, the story I heard is they wanted to make a 'bug movie' and this was their choice. I hate to say it, but I think the animated one was the best, though the one with T'Pol in it had some moments...Wink

Friday
would be a good one, though The Moon is a Harsh Mistress has possibilities.
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creagmor
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 05:56:22 am »

It took me a while but I believe the movie RAH worked on was called From The Earth to The Moon. My first choice for a film adaptation would be Glory Road.

I remember when they were filming Starship Troopers, they shot some footage not far from where I used to live at a place called Mile Square Park, in Huntington Beach CA. It was supposed to be for some boot camp scenes but I don't remember seeing anything that looked like that in the movie.

By the way, I don't know if you are aware of it or not, but Celtic Woman once did a song titled, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; nothing to do with the book except the title. That spicy little fiddler gets my steam up every time I watch one of their DVDs. Also Neil Diamond recorded one called Glory Road; again no connection but the name.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 05:59:27 am by creagmor » Logged
Prof Marvel
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2014, 05:01:23 am »

As for movies, Heinlein worked on one in the 50s, don't recall the name (something about the Moon). They did make The Puppet Masters into a movie, back around the 80s/90s. Should be in IMDB

Wonder what he'd think of the two three sequels to Starship Troopers? (2 live, 1 animated)

I felt that Puppet Masters, with Donald Sutherland, was quite well done and true to the book!

yhs
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pakled05
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2014, 05:16:15 pm »

Actually, Starship Troopers did follow the book, though more like a three-year-old following directions...Wink Reportedly, I seem to remember Voerhoven (sp?) wanted to do a 'bug movie' and this was available (possibly optioned, I dunno...Wink
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grimnir
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2014, 05:00:27 am »

Actually, Starship Troopers did follow the book, though more like a three-year-old following directions...Wink Reportedly, I seem to remember Voerhoven (sp?) wanted to do a 'bug movie' and this was available (possibly optioned, I dunno...Wink

Erm, no. No, it definitely did NOT follow the book. Dizzy Flores, the 'love interest' in the film? A guy who dies in the opening sequence of the book. The love interest was Carmen, the pilot.

 The constant exhortations to sign up to the military? Nothing remotely like the book where Heinlein was exploring the societal structure of a military command structure in civilian life. Anyone could join up but most only did it because they wanted to be Citizens (vets) rather than Civilians (no military service), which gave better employment options, more rights and a better standard of living. Many of Heinleins novels were like this, using the story to explore different societal structures. In this they actively discouraged people from signing up to keep the numbers of citizens down.

As for the 'mobile' infantry, they were a complete bust. They were supposed to have exo-suits packing everything up to and including a peewee nuke, which was why they were called Mobile infantry. They were fired out of the ships like so many cannon balls, the dropships were just for recovery.

And the bugs? Terrible. Nothing like the highly advanced race seen in the book.

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pakled05
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2014, 05:40:10 am »

ok, then. Well, I did spend most of the movie with the phrase 'bringing a knife to a gun fight' in mind...Wink Then again, then next time Hollywood actually follows a book correctly will be the first...Wink
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creagmor
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2014, 09:11:43 pm »

What really retracted me to Star Troopers in the first place was the the was the way the society and government was organized. As for the "knife to a gunfight" metaphor, i was of the same opinion as well.

By far the preachiest of his works was For Us The Living. From what I understand Heinlein didn't want this published, and I can see why. It was mostly a philosophical treatise draped over a rather flimsy skeleton of a story. While I didn't agree with everything in it, IMHO, this would have been more readable as a simple essay.          
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« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2014, 10:29:28 pm »

as well as the afore mentioned British Martian settlement, which serves as a penal colony.
    

Australia, you have been replaced by Mars...

... I say chaps whatever will the accent sound like!
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2014, 04:42:37 am »

Botany Bay!? Botany Bay! - Chekhov...Wink
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