Re: lib fic
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 14:06:20 -0500 (Anton Sherwood):

>With the reissue of _The Probability Broach_, everyone has had a new
opportunity to say how wonderful it is. I found it deeply flawed.
Here are the gripes that I remember after ~13 years:

- All female characters are Heinlein heroines.
- The goodguys survive because the badguys never use their guns.
- Unable to stop the badguys' evil plan preemptively (because that
would be coercive), our heroes blow them up accidentally.
This is described as a triumph of free will.
- As is Bear's double existence, as if gametes were chosen consciously.
- Griswold's chilling reputation is presented but never justified.
- I can accept a talking gorilla. I can accept a gorilla with an English
surname. But a gorilla with an English *hyphenated* surname?
(And does the wrist-gadget pronounce it Fanshaw?)

Am I alone in my opinion? Did I misread or misremember?
Are some of the flaws corrected in the new edition?

I just re-read it an enjoyed it. I don't agree with all of
your criticisms... BUT...A few things I found bothersome: the
New-Agey concept of intelligent apes and dolphins, under the
supposed premise that even in *our* world these animals are
really intelligent if we only knew how to communicate with

The idea that it was impermissible to take a preemptive strike
against the Hamiltonians' plan to conquer and possibly nuke
the Confederacy.

The idea that the bad-earth people would be farther ahead in
nuclear weapons technology than the good-earth guys, who are
so much richer, more advanced technologically--and also big
weapons fanatics.

If I recall right, the good guys helped install a broach, with
the help of Vaughn Meiss (get it, von Mises...) on the bad
earth. But later on an accident occurred when Win Bear went
through the broach--some guy got caught in it and it caused a
big explosion on the other side (the bad earth side). They
admitted that if more of the guy's mass had been on the other
side of the broach, the entire city or country could have been
blown up. Where is the responsibility here? Is this itself
not an act of aggression against all the bad-earth Americans
who were almost killed due to a scientific experiment of the
good guys?

The implausibility of the history: even if Jefferson had been
able to abolish slavery, it is my understanding that he wanted
to ship the blacks to Africa to avoid racial conflict etc.,
since he thought the blacks inferior and that they would never
be able to live in harmony with whites. Apparently, after
Jefferson freed the slaves, they were allowed to stay. But
this is admittedly a pretty minor matter.

I also thought Smith's list of presidents interesting--Rand,
Spooner, Hospers, etc., but very unrealistic, since most of
these people were thinkers but not necessarily political