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Grumbles From The Grave
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Grumbles From The Grave

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  1,757 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 22nd 1991 by Orbit (first published November 18th 1989)
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A fascinating look at the life and personality of RAH that confirms that he's actually as big an asshole as you'd think from his fiction writing.
I don't search out author biographies but happened to pick this one up at a library sale. Heinlein has been my favorite author forever but this book was a big disappointment. It was edited by his wife after he was dead so I must assume that she is the one who messed it up. It is like he left a box of letters (mostly to his agent) that he was saving for his memoirs, his wife tripped and scattered them all over the place and then published them in the order that she picked them up off the floor.

Reading books like these are almost like being a peeping tom... sometimes you get insights into their thinking process and sometimes you see things you wish you hadn't because it alters your perception of the writer.

I always figured Heinlein to be somewhat curmudgeony and this book confirms that. It shows that he was confident of his work almost to the point of arrogance and that Ginny probably tempered that quite a bit.

But RAH surrounded himself with competent people. He also never promised any
Mary JL
Feb 16, 2009 Mary JL rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinlein fans also sf fans
This book I enjoyed because I find Heinlein a fascinating individual. Whether you AGREE with Heinlein or not--I often do not--he does offer thught provoking ideas.

Also, never having written a book, I found it interesting to see the process as it were from concept to publication. The discussions and problems with various publishers was also interesting.

A must for any Heinlein fan, but I would also recommend it to any curious about the process of dealing with publishers, agents, etc.
Mike Kanner
I found this gem in my favorite used book shop, BARBED WIRE BOOKS in Longmont, Co. As a fan of Heinlein since high school, it immediately went to the top of my reading list.

Although I was familiar with his life story, it was fascinating to see his fights to have science fiction (which he called speculative fiction) accepted as quality literature as well as his fights to keep the text of his novels and stories intact. Reading about how he wanted to write about real issues in his 'Juveniles', you

Meh. Just use wiki.
This book contains numerous letters by Heinlein, or at least substantial excerpts from his letters. What struck me as very interesting, however, is the letters it did not include. Nine out of every ten letters seemed to be from Heinlein to his agent or editor. There were very few letters to him (by said agents or editors), and very few letters by his third wife Virginia. All letters were in some way on the subject of writing, with brief forays into the subjects of cats, housebuilding, travel, an ...more
By no means is this an exhaustive undertaking, in fact in many places it is disappointingly spare. It frankly seems a lot like Virginia had a specific picture she was intending to paint, and only included letters that worked to that end.

Still if you are a fan, this is an interesting collection, and has a few belly laugh moments - for example, while writing his agent about a person at Playboy who is trying to get him to write something for them with only an agreement over the phone, he says:

This book contains correspondence between Heinlein and his literary agent, mostly, plus a few assorted letters to and from other people. Also has photographs of Heinlein during several periods of his life, along with his wife, Ginny, and the tribe of cats they kept.

It provides valuable insight into RAH's way of thinking, his life in general, and the things that troubled and worried him. I can sympathize with one of his recurring concerns, that the USA is in a tailspin due to the increasing ignor
I am not normally one for biographies.. But this collection of letters between RAH and his Agent(mostly) with anecdotes from his wife as she edited this collection together - while not his biography - was very interesting reading.
It gave some great insights into the man and the legend behind some of the greatest classic scifi and speculative fiction. To get in with his thoughts and feelings re publishers (he really lays in at one point) - about his fans and his feelings on the war as it happene
André Beverage
Post mortum books are always strange too me this is no exception...
Noise Book
wonderful insight to Heinleins life. good fun read. contains spoilers of his works.
Steven Belanger
Some dated (and kinda sexist) stuff, but a great little book for aspiring writers in terms of dealing with editors, agents, contracts--and, most importantly, writing. Not a How-To, like On Writing or Bird by Bird, nor a memoir, but a collection of letters between Heinlen and others, published by his widow. Best piece of advice: produce copy, produce copy, produce copy.
A fascinating look into the mind of the author of some of my favourite stories.
Mostly a collection of Heinlein's letters to his publishers, and a biography.

The pay, time spent on a book, his houses, and various tidbits were interesting, but the amount he complained about the volume of fan mail put me off. Being mostly one-sided, perhaps a chronological order would have been better than by subject.
Jeff Yoak
This collection of Heinlein's letters and commentary provides a lot of insight into him as a person. Though Heinlein is the sort of author you feel that you get to know through his books, this look at business and personal dealings shows a deeper picture, probably interesting to serious fans.
I have never come to understand and feel sorry for my author friends than I have after reading this book. The chapters about dealing with fans and interruptions are fascinating.

Fans will also appreciate Mr. Heinlein's views on the writing profession, as well as what he thought of his stories.
Lostaccount Darkpool
Gave this a high rating because it was intriguing to read his letters, but I don't think publishing them has done his reputation any good. After reading them, especially his correspondence with Campbell, Heinlein comes off sounding like a bit of an A-hole. This book changed my view of him.
If you're a devoted Heinlein fan, invaluable insights, such as why "Glory Road" seems to trail on past the adventure stage and why "I Will Fear No Evil" doesn't quite live up to itself.

Almost anyone else would be bored out of their minds.
A biting and entertaining look at Heinlein's life as a writer and of the publishing industry. Recommended for fans of his work and for those who want to become writers.
If you're a Heinlein fan and are interested in the behind the scenes life of a writer you will like reading all of the correspondence that goes on.
Interesting for the Heinlein fan. Hear the Master's voice in his correspondence. It is as strong as those of his characters.
Letters showing what the dean of science fiction really thought, edited by the fabulous Ginny - what could be better?
The lawyers must still be sitting on Heinlein's portfolio. Much less than I had hoped for from this book.
Probably only interesting if you're a Heinlein fan, but quite interesting if you are one.
Zoe Sullivan
This is for the hard core Heinlein fan ;)
A hard book to stay with
Dennis Zachman
Dennis Zachman marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2015
Gaurav Srivastava
Gaurav Srivastava marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2015
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre
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“Winslow says I don't understand plotting and probably I don't - I have been congratulated many times on the skill shown in my plotting when I knew damn well that the story in question had not been plotted in advance at all. My notion of a story is an interesting situation in which a human being has to cope with a problem, does so, and thereby changes his personality, character, or evaluations in some measure because the coping has forced him to revise his thinking. How h copes with it I can't plot because that depends on his character, and I don't know his what his character is until i get acquainted with him. When I can "hear the character talk" then I'm all right - he works out his own salvation.” 1 likes
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