Alexei Panshin's The Abyss of Wonder
In 1957, the summer before I started
my last year of high school, I wrote a fan letter to Robert
He was my favorite science fiction writer, and I wanted to tell him
I said that his stories seemed like steak next to everybody else's
Even though I had said that he needn't bother to answer, Heinlein replied with a postcard. He said that my letter was a pleasure to answer. It was a thrill for me to hear from him.
The following year, I lined up a summer job with the Forest Service in Oregon. I wrote to Heinlein in the spring saying that I would be traveling west, and I asked whether it would be possible to stop and meet him.
This time, however, I didn't get an answer -- which I took for an answer.
me about Heinlein was the individuality
of his voice. Nobody else sounded quite like him.
I loved science fiction. I wanted to understand what it really was beyond what it was said to be. And I wanted to write it myself.
To do either one of these meant that I had to study Heinlein closely, and also find my distance from him.
It took me awhile to do that.
The first paper
I was asked to write during
my freshman year at the University of Michigan was for an introductory
psychology course. The teacher told us to do some
compare the representation of a piece of psychological research in the
popular press with what psychologists themselves had to say about
Renshaw and the Tachistoscope (and Heinlein too)
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