Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Concerning Stories Never Written II

In his "Postscript: Concerning Stories Never Written," Robert Heinlein says that the unwritten story, "Eclipse," would have dealt with the Martian and Venerian colonies becoming independent. He adds that this story will probably never be written because:

"...I have dealt with the themes involved at greater length in two novels which were not bound by the Procrustean Bed of a fictional chart; it would be tedious for both you and me to deal with the same themes again."

Which two novels? I know of three possible candidates:

Red Planet, a Scribner Juvenile and a volume of the Juvenile Future History;
Between Planets, a Scribner Juvenile, not part of the Juvenile Future History, e. g., different races of Martians and Venerians;
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, an adult novel which, like both Future Histories, has a family called Stone on the Moon.

It would be possible to extend Heinlein's Future History Time Chart by adding a column for parallel timelines. Several works have features in common with the Future History although they do not fit into that History. Podkayne Of Mars has a Venusburg on Venus but its Martians and Venerians are different again from those in the two Future Histories. The Postscript bestows on the readers auctorial permission to read at least two (or three?) of those works with the knowledge that events like these, the gaining of colonial independence, also occurred within the Future History.

Thus, read the History, then read the supplementary volumes.

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