Speaking of mystics…

I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Heinlein lately. He really is an amazing science fiction writer, and his independent, productive, rational, and optimistic protagonists share many traits with the heroes of Ayn Rand. The only flaw I see in his writing is a pervading skepticism of all absolutes and ideals as such. His characters express their philosophy in specific (and usually true) “practical” principles like “Get the facts!” but never in terms of the broad abstract ideas needed to derive them. As such, they’re not the kind of individuals that could dedicate their lives to any idea (although a few do) or even one mate (Heinlen was a big fan of “free love” towards the end of his life). I think some of that came from his strong animosity towards any form of dogmatism, especially organized religion. His novels are full of lines like:

The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

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  1. Have you ever read any of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series? I don’t think his first four books were completely objective but in the last four have been. I think this is also when he discovered Ayn Rand but I’m not sure. The best parts in these books are when the main character (Richard) uses reason guide his actions.

    There was one thing that I did not like about the books and that is balance. Sometimes the characters have to do things out of their nature in order to create balance with their magic. For instance if a wizard kills other people he has a strong distaste for meat. (Also magic is not mystical but a skill used to improve life or destroy it in the books). But in the last book Richard changed that and is now only doing what he needs to survive and be happy. I think the author realized the mistake and is trying to fix it. Overall though the books are good.

  2. Sorry, I’ve never been into fantasy — not that I have anything against it per se, it’s just not my thing. I much prefer crazed robotos, sexy brain-eating alients, and giant blobs, although I admit that it can be just as fanstastic as fantasy.

  3. I guess Terry Goodkind is more of an Objectivist than I though. He’s even talking about getting out of fantasy to write “more contemporary novels”


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