The Crazy Years: Reflections of a Science Fiction Original
Reviewed: March 21, 2006
Publisher: Benbella Books
294 pages, $20.95
The late Robert A. Heinlein is Spider Robinsonís hero. In 1939 Heinlein began
work on a massive future history of the world from the point of view of how
he thought things might go from his vantage point in the 1940s through the
1980s. There was a period early in the timeline that he left deliberately
vague, except to suggest that his nation was overtaken by a right wing evangelical†
forces and made to behave against its true nature.
He called the time period the Crazy Years, and wrote mostly about what came
later on. That time period is now.
From 2001-2004 Spider Robinson wrote a column for the Globe and Mail
and based it on the assumption that Heinlein had got it right. Being a science
fiction writer and social observer, Robinsonís column featured a mixture of
social trends and technology.
A former smoker, he wrote about how the the new puritanism of the antismoking
movement was almost enough to make him light up again.
A former US resident, he wrote with some passion about the country of his
birth and why he preferred to live in this one.
An early convert to the Macintosh computer, he wrote about its superiority
to the competition and lamented the fact that it didnít get even better, introducing
his readers to Jef Raskin, the fellow who actually developed the Mac for Apple
Computers and went on to develop an even better user interface that doesnít
get used much of anywhere yet.
He wrote about 9-11, terrorists, the erosion of freedom, the decline of the
US space program, intellectual property, the importance of clear language
and free speech, television interviewers (good and bad), and all sorts of
It was a good column. I read one a day in the traditional place where such
short items can be read, usually just before I went to bed. The Globe and
Mailís budget cuts are our loss.