Does Heinlein Suck, Or is He Just Terrible?

Republibot 3.0's picture

Ok, I was deliberately trying to be funny with that title, but the subject of Heinlein has come up a lot lately, and I kinda' want to talk about him.

When I was a lad, he was HUGELY influential on me, then in late high school and college I started reading other stuff, and following the debacle that is "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" (I'd say it's the worst book ever written, but it's only the SECOND worst book Heinlein ever wrote), I was pretty much done with the guy. Still, I retained a fondness for him.

In the last year I've re-read two of his books, and both of 'em sucked. "The Past Through Tomorrow, Volume I" and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," both of which had serious, serious problems from pretty much any angle you wanna' tackle them from. Prior to that, I read "Starship Troopers" about 15 years ago, which was basically a didactic piece of crap with only the barest whisper of a story to keep it going (It was engaging crap, though), and I read "For us the living" when it was published (Which may not be the worst novel ever written, but it's certainly the worst novel Heinlein ever wrote). Prior to that, I think I read Number of the Beast, which, likewise, sucked.

So basically my last five experiences with the guy have all been fairly negative. Obviously my tastes and my exposure to other, better literature have changed my view of the guy, and whatever I got from him when I was 12 is no longer there.

So that's where I stand.

You folks? What have you got? What's your opinion?