Talk:Starman Jones

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A Real Problem With this whole set of articles on novels[edit]

The whole notion of presenting "plot summaries" is not only childish, but very likely a violation of copyright laws and rules. It is unencyclopedic, too, and I don't think that it should be done at all. (talk) 01:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The present complaint about things "reading like a book review" is quaint and quare, because a book review is a much more mature expression of writing about a book, and they are allowed by the copyright laws. So, the complaints and flags about book reviews are really backwards. It is "plot summaries" that ought not to be allowed. They're childish, too. (elementary school level in the United States) (talk) 01:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Orientation ability[edit]

"Inability to get lost"? That happened in Glory Road, but I don't think it happens in Starman Jones. Michael Hardy 01:33 Apr 27, 2003 (UTC)

Yeah Jones can get lost... if he couldn't see where he was going or even if he didn't just concentrate. He had to concentrate & look around a lot while they were taking him away. And then he had to concentrate when returning. Shonsu 08:40, 3 December 2005 UTC


I wonder though... early on in the book "IIRC", Jones said "Praise Allah!" [or something Allah...(I think)]. I was wondering if maybe he intended for Jones to be black, but the editors cut it out? Shonsu 08:40, 3 December 2005 UTC

Forgive me for not knowing "IIRC" and for jumping in in the middle, but Max Jones can get lost and he certainly never says anything like "Praise Allah", and if he had, it would have meant he was Middle Eastern (in a very wide sense; compare Muslims in other Heinlein juveniles like Space Cadet), not a black American. Zaslav 06:05, 19 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Heinlein described a society where also people of completely non-Russian origin speak a languague with many Russian words and grammatical forms. Similarly, he may have in this book posited a society where also non-Muslims adopted the Muslim word for God. (Adam Keller) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:24, 2 March 2006 UTC


The list of Heinlein novels belongs in the Heinlein page, not in the article on any one novel.

The comparison with Gulliver's Travels is original research and should appear elsewhere despite being quite interesting. I have not removed it because Wikipedians should think this over. Zaslav 03:00, 4 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm commenting backwards! Yay for being sleepy. Anyway, re: "Allah", Heinlein has Lazarus Long, at least, refer to Allah in the same way in Time Enough For Love, and I want to say that comes up in other novels. I think it's more an attempt to show multiculturalism than anything else, as I get the impression from reading that Heinlein wasn't a huge fan of Christianity, but that's just my opinion. KathL 13:57, 5 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion of corrections[edit]

"Heinlein - like many other science fiction writers of the time - had a weak grasp of Special Relativity's statement of the impossibility of acclerating (sic) to the speed of light." I don't believe this is true. First of all, there is no mention that the ship had to reach the speed of light before entering the congruence. Secondly, in Time for the Stars (written a few years later), Heinlein demonstrates a reasonably good layman's understanding of special relativity.

On a side note, when I was an undergrad in the late 70's, I took an electronics course where (among other things) I had to program a PDP8(?) minicomputer in the manner described by Heinlein, e.g. entering binary numbers via switches, with lights indicating the settings, so he wasn't totally off base with his predictions. Clarityfiend 18:18, 2 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is rather silly to say that Heinlein didn't understand Special Relativitiy. After all, Heinlein was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and even back in the 1920s, ALL Naval Academy students studied physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering, and Heinlein was also a widely-read man in the the sciences and engineering. He also worked as an aeronautical engineer for the Philadelphia Naval yard during WW II. (talk) 01:04, 29 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just finished reading the novel (Sept. 1 2008), it is about the 6th or 7th time I have read it since I did first in 1954. About that "computer", it is there, but almost un-described. Heinlein would have been aware of the vacuum tube monsters that existed in 1952 and 1953, however this one is small enough to fit into the "worry room". On the other hand it is hard to tell exactly what it does! Astrogation in Starman Jones is a human-machine "symbiosis" quite cleverly worked out by Heinlein, though some of the Astrogator's work seems more theoretical physics than engineering physics, me-thinks that it would be the other way around. On, well, Heinlein does the science fiction "gold standard" of showing us how star travel is done and not giving us techno-bable about what is going on. (The "field effect" acceleration generators are about the only "poetic license" technology that Heinlein lets stick out). There is the interjection of real observational instrumentation: stellar spectra, Doppler shifts, and radar (for planetary approach) enough to make things sound tenable. I would think if someone made a film of this story all the "super science" that Heinlein uses could be easily doctored to make it sound less anachronistic. (Cordwainer Smith had similar human-assisted Faster Than Light travel in his stories with the GO Captains and Stop Captains, dispensing with computers altogether.)--aajacksoniv (talk) 18:51, 1 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't know what Heinlein's grasp of special relativity was - certainly it was better than mine which falls somewhere above absolute zero, ha, ha - but I do know from reading biographies that he spent a lot of time researching his theories on space travel in terms of mathematics (there are references to him and Ginny doing massive calculations on rolls of butcher paper), so I imagine his grasp of it was as good as or better than anyone's of the period. Also, the statement that most of his stories had weak or rushed endings is, well, weak. Normally I would say examples of weak/rushed endings should be provided but I believe that would fall under original research, so this ought to be backed up with citations of such criticism. I'm just doing a bit of bedtime reading here, so I won't attempt a rewrite but I'll flag the page and try to come back to it. 13:51, 5 July 2006 (UTC) The above is me being lame and forgetting to log in. KathL 13:52, 5 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The whole idea of deep discussions of the reasons or mechanisms of interstellar travel are besides the point. This is science fiction, after all, and the author can postulate such things any way he wants to in order to make the story work. Note such works as the novel and the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and the novels of Isaac Asimov, which never go into the details of how the "engines" are supposed to work - but rather, they just do work. Asimov mentions making a "jump through hyperspace", and that's all he says about getting from here to there. Likewise, in the Star Wars movies by George Lucas, they "jump through hyperspace" and that's all. (talk) 01:35, 29 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The only reason why Heinlein dealt with the space travel mechanisms, and the only reason why he even bothered to do so, is that he was writing a series of juvenile books for teenagers and younger. So, he included childish discussions for childish books, and such things should be ignored by adults. Their details are beside the point. It is also true that the plots and settings are usually childish ones, too, which all does surprise my why the Wikipedia even bothers with them. "Starship Troopers" is an exception, but as we know the Scribner's company rejected that one on the grounds that it dealt with too many adult-level concepts and ideas - and I mean nothing about XXX-rated stuff. Just, material that is suitable for grown-ups, like political ideas. (talk) 01:41, 29 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Section removal[edit]

I deleted the Rags to Riches section as original analysis, after giving the main contributor plenty of time to respond to my objection or provide sources (fan reviews are not acceptable). Clarityfiend 17:51, 13 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scientific Extrapolation[edit]

"The "transitions" that transport a ship from one star system to another are effected by accelerating the ship until it reaches precisely the right location and reappears at a "congruent" location that may be hundreds of light years away in ordinary space. The idea of "congruence", nicely explained by Max using a folded scarf, is sound mathematics (though it is not known physics)."

The above statement in Literary significance and criticism is a bit wrong.

This section of the novel and the "worry hole" expositions are quite extraordinary. It's not that "star gate" concepts had been rare in prose science fiction by 1953. Heinlein's extrapolation of multiply-connected topology (Homotopy was a known mathematical concept in 1953) for star flight is the height of sophistication. Though the Einstein-Rosen "bridge" (see wormhole), had been known since the 1930s, it's mysterious diffusion into SF is quite extraordinary. It is hard to know if Heinlein had first-hand knowledge of it, though knowing the people he knew, it is not a surprise. One notes there is indeed a computer in the star ship's control room, never fully described, but the man-machine interface shades more towards the "man". Here we get a superb example of modern SF's clever verisimilitude that is realized in the modern physics of General Relativity of the 1960's and 1970's and even to the present ideas of Interstellar Travel. Even though the technological realization of the process described is some what problematic, the clever use of physics, the starship "Asgard" is a "field effect" ship (a common idea in SF by the 1950) but used by Heinlein to great effect. The "Asgard" can apparently do nearly 30 gravities (of acceleration) while maintaining a one g environment inside. It never exceeds the speed of light, though one needs to be near it to cross a "congruency". When the "Asgard" makes a bad transition, Heinlein even discusses the idea of the multiverse - this is amazing. Heinlein must have been extrapolating from parallel universe theory because the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics would not be presented for four more years! So the basic mathematics and physics existed in 1953 for Heinlein to make his extrapolations and is even better defined these days see faster-than-light, its the technology that is unknown and may lay so or may be in the far, far, distant future. --aajacksoniv (talk) 13:51, 1 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Benevolent trucker in Heinlein novels?[edit]

The line "(The trucker who gives rides to down-and-out hitchhikers is a recurring element in Heinlein's books.)" seems like original research and not particularly valid. Anyone agree/disagree? -- Rydra Wong (talk) 05:45, 25 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This claim has its thumb out, but I don't see anybody stopping to pick it up (although Thorby does get a r-e-a-l-l-y long ride from this nice, big, freight-carrying vehicle). Clarityfiend (talk) 06:29, 25 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not going to stop to give it a lift either; the article will read better without it. -- Rydra Wong (talk) 23:53, 25 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eldreth or Ellie?[edit]

A very minor point, but Eldreth suddenly becomes Ellie after two mentions. I know they are the same person, but my copy of the book, an ancient paperback with the great Worry Hole drawing on the cover, is falling apart from too many readings. A HeinNewb might not know. (talk) 22:03, 23 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fixed. Clarityfiend (talk) 19:17, 24 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Did anyone else notice that the young woman called Ellie Coburn becomes Ellie Coburg in the translation into German? (talk) 03:18, 2 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]