Waiting is (nerve-wracking)

I've discovered that I can distract myself from pressing problems that can only be solved by waiting (and, subsequently, seeing) by reading the science fiction of my youth. Over the last couple of days I re-read Stranger in a Strange Land, and, seriously, I love Heinlein. It's the self-insertion. I can't recall a single one of his books that didn't contain at least one Gary Stu -- a crusty old libertarian male genius with beautiful young female genius companionship -- but Stranger has got to be the pinnacle of his craft.

Jubal is not only crusty, old, libertarian, male and a genius, he's also a writer (as well as lawyer, doctor, etc.) who has three beautiful young secretaries who kiss his bald patch and, in short order, welcome an attractively distraught nurse to the harem, too. He doesn't care about money, but he has so much that he can laze by the pool all day dictating fiction to his staff -- because, yes, he makes enough as a writer to maintain a full-time, in-house staff of five people. He cuts deals with the head of the One World Government, mercilessly cuts down various sneaky foreign governments, and, of course, becomes a beloved and respected father figure to Mike, the Man from Mars himself.

All of this is at least physically possible, but what I find most endearing about the Jubal character is that he is the only human who can think like a Martian and understand grokking without actually learning Martian. The only one. We get this on authority from Mike himself. This is straight-up magic, and it catastrophically undermines the whole "grok" thing. But I guess poor old Heinlein just couldn't resist.

I love that guy.

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