14 October 2009

Suggested Reading : "The Menace From Earth" by Robert Heinlein

Free Speculative Fiction short stories online.

Read it here: "The Menace From Earth"
By Robert Heinlein
In Webscription.net

One of the great things about this story is the afterword by Eric Flint which describes exactly the problem of choosing a story by Heinlein that best represents his work. Robert A Heinlein was a huge name in the SF field, but while his work for the Young Adult market (as it is now known) were ripping good yarns, some of his stories for older readers, which were attempting to break down some social taboo or other, had a sniggering schoolboy quality about them. I say 'some', not 'all'. There will always be certain books we feel fond of no matter what.

"The Menace From Earth" is love triangle story set on the moon. Holly is an independent young woman with plans to have a career designing spaceships with her partner, Jeff. Being young, she isn't yet ready to work out how to fit romance and career into her life.

To me, what makes this story interesting is how antiquated it is. It was obviously written back in a time when a woman's "vital statistics" (remember those? Her bust, waist and hip measurements which were once given as a matter of course until feminists were finally able to get the message across that these were neither vital nor relevant to what women wished to say) were given thought, when women were presumed to be in rivalry over men (as opposed to seeking love) and Holly assumes that career and marriage (despite the example of her parents) are mutually exclusive.

Morva Shepley

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