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Encyclopedia > Sixth Column

Sixth Column, also published under the title The Day After Tomorrow, is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, set in a United States that has been conquered by a foreign invader. Originally published as a serial in 1941, it was collected as a novel in 1949. It centers on the activities of a research lab hidden in the Colorado mountains, which is the last remaining outpost of the United States Army after its defeat by the PanAsians. The PanAsians are a combination of the Chinese and Japanese. The conquerors had absorbed the Soviets after an attack by them and had gone on to amalgamate India as well. The invaders are depicted as ruthless and cruel - for example, they crush an abortive rebellion by killing 150,000 American civilians as punishment. Front cover of The Sixth Column by Robert A. Heinlein, ISBN 0-671-65374-1 This image is a book cover. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... DeFoes Robinson Crusoe, Newspaper edition published in 1719 A novel (from French nouvelle, new) is an extended fictional narrative in prose. ... Heinlein autographing at the 1976 Worldcon Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most influential and controversial authors in science fiction. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) is a common year starting on Saturday. ... State nickname: The Centennial State Official languages English Capital Denver Largest city Denver Governor Bill Owens (R) Senators Wayne Allard (R) Ken Salazar (D) Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 8th 269,837 km² 0. ... US Army Seal HHC, US Army Distinctive Unit Insignia The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces that has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... State motto (Russian): Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Transliterated: Proletarii vsekh stran, soedinyaytes!) (Translated: Workers of the world, unite!) Capital Moscow Official language None; Russian (de facto) Government Federation of Socialist republics/ Communist state Area  - Total  - % water Largest on the planet 22,402,200 km² ?% Population  - Total  - Density 3rd before collapse 293,047,571 (July...


The book is notable for its frank and controversial portrayal of racism. The Pan-Asian conquerors regard themselves as a chosen people predestined to rule over lesser races, and they refer to white people as slaves. "Three things only do slaves require: work, food, and their religion." They require outward signs of respect, such as jumping promptly into the gutter when a member of the chosen race walks by, and the slightest hesitation to show the prescribed courtesies earns a swagger stick across the face. One character is Frank Mitsui, an Asian American man whose family was murdered by the invaders because they did not fit in the new PanAsiatic racial order. The Americans in the novel respond to their conquerors' racism by often referring to them in unflattering terms, such as "flat face", "slanty" (a derisive reference to the epicanthal folds typical of Asian genetics), and "monkey boy". An African-American man drinks out of the colored only water fountain at a racially segregated streetcar terminal in the United States in 1939. ... A swagger stick is a short stick similar to a cane or riding crop, usually carried by a uniformed person as a symbol of authority. ... An Asian American is a person of Asian ancestry or origin who was born in or is an immigrant to the United States. ... An epicanthal fold, epicanthic fold or epicanthus is a skin fold of the upper eyelid (from the nose to the inner side of the eyebrow) covering the inner corner (medial canthus) of the eye. ...


Sixth Column and Farnham's Freehold, another novel by Heinlein, both center on the issue of race. Whereas some people perceive Sixth Column as racist, Farnham's Freehold turns the tables by reversing the racial stereotypes. The original idea for the story of Sixth Column was proposed by John W. Campbell, not by Heinlein himself, and Heinlein later wrote that he had "had to reslant it to remove racist aspects of the original story line" and that he did not "consider it to be an artistic success."[1] It was written in the same year as the attack on Pearl Harbor. A more complete discussion of race in Heinlein's fiction is given in the main article on Heinlein. Farnhams Freehold is a science fiction tale set in the near future by Robert Heinlein. ... An African-American man drinks out of the colored only water fountain at a racially segregated streetcar terminal in the United States in 1939. ... John Wood Campbell, Jr. ... Combatants United States of America Empire of Japan Commanders Husband Kimmel (USN) Walter Short (USA) Chuichi Nagumo (IJN) Strength 8 battleships, 8 cruisers, 29 destroyers, 9 submarines, ~50 other ships, ~390 planes 6 aircraft carriers, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, 9 destroyers, 8 tankers, 23 fleet submarines, 5 midget submarines, 441... Heinlein autographing at the 1976 Worldcon Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most influential and controversial authors in science fiction. ...


Plot summary

The remote mountain lab is a scene of turmoil as the novel begins. All but 6 personnel have died suddenly, due to mysterious forces generated by an experiment operating within the magneto-gravitic or electro-gravitic spectra. The scientists at the lab soon learn that they can selectively kill people by releasing the internal pressure of their cell membranes. They discover other awesome forces, yet their challenge is this: how can a handful of men throw off an invasion force, when all their communications have been severed and it is a crime to print a word in English? Noting that the invaders have allowed the free practice of religion, the Americans set up a church of their own, and begin acting as Priests of Mota in order to build up a resistance - which Major Ardmore, the protagonist of the book, refers to as as the Sixth Column.


Notes

  1. ^  Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe, foreword to Solution Unsatisfactory, p. 93 of Ace paperback edition.

Editions

  • February 1, 1983, New Amer Library, paperback, ISBN 0451121392 (This edition was published under the title The Day After Tomorrow. All the other editions listed were entitled The Sixth Column)
  • January 2, 1988, Baen, paperback, ISBN 0671653741
  • May 1, 1990, Baen, paperback, 256 pages, ISBN 0671720260
  • March 1993, Baen Books, paperback, ISBN 5555716141
  • July 1, 1996, Simon & Schuster (Trade Division), paperback, ISBN 0671851055
  • August 1, 1999, Baen, paperback, 256 pages, ISBN 067157826X

  Results from FactBites:
 
Robert Heinlein's Sixth Column--James W. Moore (1332 words)
But this would not be a fifth column of traitors, bent on paralyzing a free country, but the antithesis of that, a sixth column of patriots whose privilege it would be to destroy the morale of invaders, make them afraid, unsure of themselves."
In Sixth Column the Americans are clearly not very fond of their PanAsian masters, and sometimes engage in the use of racial slurs.
In addition to being an adventure story, Sixth Column is a powerful allegory regarding the horrors of World War II and slavery in general.
Sixth Column - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (635 words)
Sixth Column, also published under the title The Day After Tomorrow, is a science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein, set in a United States that has been conquered by a foreign invader.
Sixth Column and Farnham's Freehold, another novel by Heinlein, both center on the issue of race.
The original idea for the story of Sixth Column was proposed by John W. Campbell, not by Heinlein himself, and Heinlein later wrote that he had "had to reslant it to remove racist aspects of the original story line" and that he did not "consider it to be an artistic success."
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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