My William H. Patterson, Jr. Connection

The late William H. Patterson, Jr. is known in science fiction circles as the authorized biographer of Robert A. Heinlein. He wrote a 2-volume biography of Heinlein, the second volume of which was published posthumously. I haven’t yet read either volume, although I own the first. It’s one of those things that I want to read eventually, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

When I got off the plane in L.A. last week, I found an email from Mark McSherry, who was one of the great contributing commenters on my Vacation in the Golden Age posts. Mark informed me that Baen was putting out a e-book and trade paper edition of Heinlein’s Beyond This Horizon next year. The serial was originally published under Heinlein’s Anson MacDonald pseudonym. Patterson wrote the introduction to the new edition, and, Mark informed me, Patterson mentions one Jamie Todd Rubin in that introduction.

As it happens, the first 5 chapters of the book are available online through Baen’s website, and includes the introduction, and sure enough, within the intro is this passage:

The story is a post-utopia, a somewhat revolutionary form when it was published—and one reader-critic (Jamie Todd Rubin) called it “the first generally ‘post-Singularity’ story ever written in science fiction” (if we had not lost our faith in the American utopian vision, it might have had imitators instead of the wave after wave of dystopias we did get—and continue to get).

I was pretty stunned to see this, but of course delighted that Patterson had read what I’d written (Part 1 and Part 2) about Beyond This Horizon in my Vacation in the Golden Age series, and thought it worth quoting. So I hope you don’t mind that I’ve taken a moment to brag about it here.


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