Friday, June 19, 2015

Bill Patterson spins in his grave

One of the enduring minor mysteries of the Puppies controversy is why these Heinlein-extollers didn't bother to nominate Volume 2 of William H. Patterson's comprehensive and respectful biography of their hero for the Hugo for Best Related Work. Volume 1 had been honorably on the final ballot in its year.

I may have the answer, or, more likely, a worthy candidate for an answer.

I was browsing through Volume 2 on a library shelf today and found a clinker, a clanger, a horror of a factual error in the index. I must presume that the index was compiled by some ignoramus, and can only hope that Bill, who died about two months before the book was published, never saw it. (But then, see the title of this post.)

What is it? There's an index entry for a person identified as
Robinson, Frank M. "Spider"
That's what. I don't need to tell anybody interested enough to have read this far that this entry conflates two entirely different people, as indeed you'll find if you look up the page references.

It's egregious because, long after having discussed Frank, Bill clearly introduces Spider as a different character as one of the "'new' colleagues" (Bill's words) whom Heinlein first met at the Nebula banquet in 1975. (The other was Joe Haldeman, whom I had best explain to the indexer is not to be confused with H.R. "Bob" Haldeman.)

I don't recall if anyone's previously noted this clanger. It was new to me, and it's painful to look at.

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