Friday, August 01, 2008

Johnathan Hoag & Robert Heinlein


"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" by John Riverside, pseudonym of Robert Heinlein, is a curiosity. Perhaps it was a coincidence in name choice of the the titled protagonist. The most famous Jonathan Hoag prvevious to this was Lovecraft's elder friend Jonathan E. Hoag?

Anecdotally, Heinlein denied that Lovecraft's Hoag was inspiration. However, both Kuttner and Moore knew Heinelin well. Could it have been subliminal? Or do we chalk it up to just one of those things.

Historically, this item was written when Heinlein's wife (Leslyn) was distressed that family members might be prisoners of war under the Japanese. Nearly at the same time, she had a gall bladder attack. The story goes that they drove cross country through bad weather, stayed with John Campbell, his editor in New Jersey. They needed money. In quick succession, between February and April 1942, Heinlein wrote both two stories, "Hoag" being one of them. Shortly after the operation he got a job as an engineer.

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