Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Who Served in the Military, and How it Changed Their Work
io9 ^ | January 30, 2013 | Charlie Jane Anders

Posted on 01/31/2013 11:27:48 AM PST by EveningStar

So much of science fiction's core topics intersect with war, one way or the other. Rapid social change and technological innovation both get supercharged during wartime, and some of our greatest explorers are also warriors. So it's not surprising that many of science fiction's most well-known authors served in the military at some point — especially during the era when we had a compulsory draft.

But how did serving in the military shape these writers' books? Here's a look at 15 of the authors who served in the armed forces, and how their work reflects that experience.

(Excerpt) Read more at io9.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; History; Military/Veterans; Society
KEYWORDS: arthurcclarke; cordwainersmith; cyrilmkornbluth; daviddrake; elizabethmoon; elizabethscarborough; fantasy; generoddenberry; genewolfe; isaacasimov; jackvance; jerrypournelle; joehaldeman; johnringo; kurtvonnegut; lspraguedecamp; pages; roalddahl; robertaheinlein; rodserling; sandramcdonald; sciencefiction; scifi; theodoresturgeon; war

1 posted on 01/31/2013 11:28:01 AM PST by EveningStar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Borges; KevinDavis

ping


2 posted on 01/31/2013 11:31:30 AM PST by EveningStar ("What color is the sky in your world?" -- Frasier Crane)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

This article, I think, forgot to mention Rod Serling, whose experiences in war as a paratrooper in combat profoundly affected his writings and stories, many portrayed in the Twilight Zone episodes


3 posted on 01/31/2013 11:34:11 AM PST by wetgundog (" Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is no Vice")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

I’m glad they cite Gene Wolfe. It would be interesting to know if the authors of sci/fantasy that served fall on more of the conservative side of things or more liberal, or an even distribution.

Jack Vance served in the merchant marine in the pacific, I think Theodore Sturgeon was as well.

Freegards


4 posted on 01/31/2013 11:38:23 AM PST by Ransomed
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

Yeah they didn’t mention Issac Anstirov also Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry I THINK he serve too


5 posted on 01/31/2013 11:39:11 AM PST by SevenofNine (We are Freepers, all your media bases belong to us ,resistance is futile)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

Another more contemporary writer is former naval officer John Hemry..aka Jack Campbell. His Lost Fleet series is one of the most (IMHO) scientifically realistic description of space battle and for that matter just a plain old fashion great read.


6 posted on 01/31/2013 11:45:16 AM PST by MarketR
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar
Robert Heinlein.

If you've never read Starship Troopers, do so. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the film of the same name.

7 posted on 01/31/2013 11:46:13 AM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

Apparently the Navy made L. Ron Hubbard want to become a megalomaniac cult leader?


8 posted on 01/31/2013 11:52:53 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

Robert Heinlein, L. Sprague de Camp, and Isaac Asimov, Philadelphia Navy Yard, 1944. All three worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during the War. De Camp is the only one in Uniform. De Camp had an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech and an MS from Stevens. He served as a Lt. Cmdr during the War, although he is a Lt. SG in this picture.


9 posted on 01/31/2013 11:59:19 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (What word begins with "O" and ends in economic collapse?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oberon

I <3 Heinlein!


10 posted on 01/31/2013 12:02:53 PM PST by GraceG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog

The Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition and the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition showed such tendency was already there.


11 posted on 01/31/2013 12:04:06 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (I think, therefore I am what I yam, and that's all I yam - "Popeye" Descartes)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: GraceG

I love Heinlein’s work too, but not without some reservations. His later work seemed to be all about sexual freedom, which is a topic that interests me little.


12 posted on 01/31/2013 12:05:58 PM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Oztrich Boy; Buckeye McFrog
LOL!

The "Church" of "Scientology" is running TV ads in the Washington, DC area touting ElRon's great achievements as a naval officer (navel ossifer?), explorer, scientist, and inventor.

It's pathetic, amusing, and disgusting ...

And it makes me want to steam some clams.

13 posted on 01/31/2013 12:06:44 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: SevenofNine

Gene Roddenberry was a bombadier on a B-17 Flying Fortress with a 10 man crew in the SW Pacific in WWII. I think that is why the dynamics of how starship crews interact is such a dominant theme in his woirk.


14 posted on 01/31/2013 12:09:43 PM PST by DMZFrank
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Oberon

I love Heinlein’s work too, but not without some reservations. His later work seemed to be all about sexual freedom, which is a topic that interests me little.

Very Much true!

I think Heinlein’s prophecy about the moon (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) may eventually come true.

I think someday the overbearing spcialist earth gov may find itself facing down some rocks moving towards it at 25,000mph... :)


15 posted on 01/31/2013 12:12:42 PM PST by GraceG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

Glad to see J.R.R. Tolkien topped the list!


16 posted on 01/31/2013 12:17:49 PM PST by Old Sarge (We are officially over the precipice, we just havent struck the ground yet...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oberon

Yeah, I loved Starship Troopers and its ideals. Maybe someday they will become a reality.


17 posted on 01/31/2013 12:19:43 PM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Fluffy Was Shocked To Find That Not Only Could He Eat A Mouse, He Could Use One


Click The Pic To Donate

Support FR, Donate Monthly If You Can

18 posted on 01/31/2013 12:25:42 PM PST by DJ MacWoW (My faith and politics cannot be separated)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: struggle

Is that the book where only farmers can be citizens, because wihtout them the world would starve?


19 posted on 01/31/2013 12:26:39 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin

Nah, it’s the novel where only military veterans can vote because they’re the only one’s that have proven they will sacrifice themselves for their country.


20 posted on 01/31/2013 12:43:58 PM PST by struggle (http://killthegovernment.wordpress.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: SevenofNine
You mean Isaac Azimov (don't know this Astrinov fellow)? But I did come across this picture of L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1944 (where Azimov was a civilian worker). Heinlein was a 1920 Annapolis graduate and De Sprague was a Naval Reserve officer.


21 posted on 01/31/2013 12:53:41 PM PST by katana (Just my opinions)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

ping - and thanks


22 posted on 01/31/2013 12:56:21 PM PST by Phlyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oberon

Absolutely. Movie was a travesty.


23 posted on 01/31/2013 1:08:39 PM PST by jagusafr (the American Trinity (Liberty, In G0D We Trust, E Pluribus Unum))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: ArrogantBustard
touting ElRon's great achievements as a naval officer

Inspired Tim Conway's character on McHale's Navy?


24 posted on 01/31/2013 1:09:20 PM PST by Buckeye McFrog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

bump


25 posted on 01/31/2013 1:09:37 PM PST by DoodleDawg
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: struggle; BenLurkin
Nah, it’s the novel where only military veterans can vote because they’re the only one’s that have proven they will sacrifice themselves for their country.

And we know that works, because the author SAID SO.

Authors of fiction have immense, godlike powers ...

Must be nice.

26 posted on 01/31/2013 1:13:39 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog
He sank a midget sub, doncha know ...
27 posted on 01/31/2013 1:15:33 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

Good to see David Drake and John Ringo listed. They write some of the best military SF out there. The Posleen War series is excellent. Just about anything by Drake is worth reading.


28 posted on 01/31/2013 1:37:52 PM PST by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DMZFrank

OH really

I didn’t know about that

I hear about ROd Serling reason that he did TZ is get war demons out of his system created good TV programming too


29 posted on 01/31/2013 1:40:32 PM PST by SevenofNine (We are Freepers, all your media bases belong to us ,resistance is futile)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Ransomed

Jack Vance is actually still alive. He turned 96 in August.


30 posted on 01/31/2013 3:08:34 PM PST by Borges
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

I have always been fond of A. Bertram Chandler’s John Grimes stories - I believe he was Aussie Navy.


31 posted on 01/31/2013 3:25:03 PM PST by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

Thanks! I’ve read all these authors but I didn’t know about Tolkien’s experience. Hammer’s Slammers, great stuff.


32 posted on 01/31/2013 3:36:28 PM PST by dljordan (Voltaire: "To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Buckeye McFrog
Apparently the Navy made L. Ron Hubbard want to become a megalomaniac cult leader?

There's some interesting stuff about L. Ron and friends in Wm. Patterson's Heinlein biography. (Only the first volume is out now, covering RAH's life up to when he married Ginny after WWII.) They were all part of or associated with, for a while, Jack Parsons' little wannabe Crowley-ite cult. (Old Aliester didn't think much of them.)

Google up "Babalon working".

33 posted on 01/31/2013 3:49:29 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Oberon
I love Heinlein’s work too, but not without some reservations. His later work seemed to be all about sexual freedom, which is a topic that interests me little.

Read Patterson's biography. RAH was a sexual libertine his whole life, just very private about it.

34 posted on 01/31/2013 3:51:31 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Old Sarge
Glad to see J.R.R. Tolkien topped the list!

C. S. Lewis could be in the list too. He was a WWI vet.

35 posted on 01/31/2013 3:52:39 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: katana
Heinlein was a 1920 Annapolis graduate and De Sprague was a Naval Reserve officer.

Pretty awful young, given that he was born in '07. (I think he was class of '28 or '29. Spent a few years in the Navy before catching TB and being retired.)

36 posted on 01/31/2013 3:54:44 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Lee N. Field

Not surprising. I’d already figured as much from his later books.


37 posted on 01/31/2013 3:54:53 PM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Some Fat Guy in L.A.
I have always been fond of A. Bertram Chandler’s John Grimes stories - I believe he was Aussie Navy.

British, Australian & New Zealand Merchant Navy (The British MN would have included war service)

38 posted on 01/31/2013 4:07:22 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (I think, therefore I am what I yam, and that's all I yam - "Popeye" Descartes)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Borges

I know, the cool thing is he has been giving interviews in the last few years to sci-fi bloggers.

He really has some awesome stories. Like he was really good buddies with Herbert when he was coming up with Dune, but that he has never read it. He still plays kazoo and banjo, but has been blind since the early 90’s.

Jack Vance is very under rated, he is awesome. Michael Chabon and Dan Simmons are huge fans, Chabon said ‘“Jack Vance is the most painful case of all the writers I love who I feel don’t get the credit they deserve. If ‘The Last Castle’ or ‘The Dragon Masters’ had the name Italo Calvino on it, or just a foreign name, it would be received as a profound meditation, but because he’s Jack Vance and published in Amazing Whatever, there’s this insurmountable barrier.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/magazine/19Vance-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Here’s his fairly new website:

http://www.jackvance.com/

Freegards


39 posted on 01/31/2013 5:16:32 PM PST by Ransomed
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: zeugma

Ringo wrote a great book “The Last Centurion” about the post apocalyptic world. Wonderful reading.


40 posted on 01/31/2013 5:24:42 PM PST by LexRex in TN ("A republic, if you can keep it.......")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: EveningStar

bookmark


41 posted on 01/31/2013 11:31:13 PM PST by Hetty_Fauxvert (FUBO, and the useful idiots you rode in on!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ransomed

I'm sure it's not at my Dad's anymore, but back in high school ('72-ish) I had that exact pairing as an Ace Double (2 books, bound back to back. Flip it over for the other.)

42 posted on 02/01/2013 5:56:50 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Lee N. Field

Yeah, the ace doubles are great. I have several for Vance, but not the Dragon Masters/Last Castle split.

Freegards


43 posted on 02/02/2013 7:19:18 AM PST by Ransomed
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: Ransomed
I was beginning to wonder if I'd misremembered, but Wikipedia's list of Ace Doubles shows: "16641 SF Jack Vance The Dragon Masters / The Last Castle (April 1973)". So, I even got the time right.

I'll have to root through Dad's attic, to see if it turns up. So much has wandered away, over the years.

44 posted on 02/02/2013 7:42:56 AM PST by Lee N. Field ("You keep using that verse, but I do not think it means what you think it means." --I. Montoya)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Lee N. Field

BTTT


45 posted on 08/24/2013 2:29:27 PM PDT by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson