Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein

Overview
Robert Anson Heinlein (ˈhaɪnlaɪn)(July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was one of the first science fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

in the late 1940s.
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Quotations

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?

"Doctor Pinero" in Life-Line|Life-Line (1939)

One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.

"Doctor Pinero" in Life-Line (1939)

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.

Logic of Empire|Logic of Empire (1941); this is one of the earliest known variants of an idea which has become known as Hanlon%27s_razor|Hanlon's razor.

An armed society is a polite society.

Beyond This Horizon|Beyond This Horizon (1942)

The whole principle is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak.

On censorship, in The Man Who Sold the Moon|The Man Who Sold the Moon (1949), p.188

Every law that was ever written opened up a new way to graft.

Red Planet (novel)|Red Planet (1949)

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do.

Waldo & Magic, Inc.|Waldo & Magic, Inc. (1950)

Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.

Assignment in Eternity|Assignment in Eternity (1953)

Take sex away from people. Make it forbidden, evil. Limit it to ritualistic breeding. Force it to back up into suppressed sadism. Then hand the people a scapegoat to hate. Let them kill a scapegoat occasionally for cathartic release. The mechanism is ages old. Tyrants used it centuries before the word "psychology" was ever invented. It works, too.

Revolt in 2100|Revolt in 2100 (1953)
Encyclopedia
Robert Anson Heinlein (ˈhaɪnlaɪn)(July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was one of the first science fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

in the late 1940s. He was one of the best selling science fiction novelists for many decades. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 and Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

 were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.

Heinlein was a notable writer of science-fiction short stories
Short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...

, and he was one of a group of writers who came to prominence under the editorship of John W. Campbell, Jr. in his Astounding Science Fiction magazine—though Heinlein himself denied that Campbell influenced his writing to any great degree.

Within the framework of his science fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

 and self-reliance
Self-Reliance
Self-Reliance is an essay written by American Transcendentalist philosopher and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson's repeating themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts...

, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress non-conformist thought. He also examined the relationship between physical and emotional love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

, explored various unorthodox family structures, and speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. His approach to these themes led to wildly divergent opinions on what views were being expounded via his fiction. The 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

is viewed by many as his seminal work, incorporating many of the aforementioned themes found in his literature. It also contains perhaps the clearest explication of Heinlein's metaphysical, and possibly spiritual, philosophy; encapsulated in the iconic phrase "Thou art god". This philosophy resonated greatly with readers in the counterculture at the time. Since its publication Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

has been a classic among counterculture readers. It has enjoyed widespread success; being one of the most popular science fiction books of all time, and is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Heinlein won Hugo Award
Hugo Award
The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was officially named the Science Fiction Achievement Awards...

s for four of his novels; in addition, fifty years after publication, three of his works were awarded "Retro Hugos"—awards given retrospectively for years in which Hugo Awards had not been awarded. He also won the first Grand Master Award
Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is an award given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. It is awarded to a living author for lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy. Officially, it is not a Nebula Award though it is awarded at the Nebula ceremony...

 given by the Science Fiction Writers of America
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or SFWA is a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. It was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. and it retains the acronym SFWA after a very brief use of the SFFWA...

 for his lifetime achievement. In his fiction, Heinlein coined words that have become part of the English language, including "grok
Grok
To grok is to intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. Author Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his best-selling 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In Heinlein's view, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that...

" and "waldo
Remote manipulator
A remote manipulator, also known as a telefactor, telemanipulator, or waldo , is a device which, through electronic, hydraulic, or mechanical linkages, allows a hand-like mechanism to be controlled by a human operator...

", and popularized the term "TANSTAAFL
TANSTAAFL
"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" is a popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing. The acronyms TANSTAAFL and TINSTAAFL are also used...

".

Life



Birth and childhood


Heinlein was born on July 7, 1907, to Rex Ivar Heinlein (an accountant) and Bam Lyle Heinlein, in Butler, Missouri
Butler, Missouri
Butler is a city in Bates County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,209 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Bates County.Butler was the first city west of the Mississippi River to have electricity.-Geography:...

. His childhood was spent in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

. The outlook and values of this time and place (in his own words, "The Bible Belt
Bible Belt
Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the southeastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average.The...

") had a definite influence on his fiction, especially his later works, as experiences from his childhood were heavily drawn upon both for setting and for cultural atmosphere in Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1973. The work was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1973 and both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1974.-Plot:...

and To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1987. It was the last novel published before he died in 1988....

, among others. However, he often broke with many of its values and mores
Mores
Mores, in sociology, are any given society's particular norms, virtues, or values. The word mores is a plurale tantum term borrowed from Latin, which has been used in the English language since the 1890s....

 — especially those concerning morality as it applies to issues such as religion and sexuality — both in his writing and in his personal life.

Navy


The military was the second great influence on Heinlein. Throughout his life, he strongly believed in loyalty, leadership, and other ideals associated with the military. Heinlein graduated from the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 in Annapolis in 1929, and served as an officer in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. He was assigned to the new aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2)
USS Lexington (CV-2)
USS Lexington , nicknamed the "Gray Lady" or "Lady Lex," was an early aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. She was the lead ship of the , though her sister ship was commissioned a month earlier...

 in 1931, where he worked on radio communications, then in its nascent phase, with the carrier's airplanes. The carrier's captain
Captain (naval)
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel....

 was Ernest J. King, who later served as the Chief of Naval Operations
Chief of Naval Operations
The Chief of Naval Operations is a statutory office held by a four-star admiral in the United States Navy, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Navy. The office is a military adviser and deputy to the Secretary of the Navy...

 during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Heinlein was frequently interviewed during his later years by military historians on Captain King and his service as the commander of the U.S. Navy's first modern aircraft carrier. Heinlein also served aboard the destroyer USS Roper (DD-147)
USS Roper (DD-147)
USS Roper was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy, later converted to a high-speed transport and redesignated APD-20.She was named for Lieutenant Commander Jesse M...

 in 1933 and 1934, reaching the rank of Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

. His brother, Lawrence Heinlein, served in the Army, the Air Force, and the Missouri National Guard and rose to the rank of Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

.

In 1929, Heinlein married Eleanor Curry of Kansas City in Los Angeles, but the marriage lasted only about a year. In 1932 he married Leslyn Macdonald, who was born 29 Aug 1904 in Massachusetts and died 13 April 1981 in California. MacDonald was a political radical, and Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 later recalled that Heinlein was, like her, "a flaming liberal."

California


In 1934, Heinlein was discharged from the Navy due to pulmonary tuberculosis. During a lengthy hospitalization, he developed the concept of the waterbed
Waterbed
A waterbed, water mattress, or flotation mattress is a bed or mattress filled with water. Waterbeds intended for medical therapies appear in various reports through the 19th century...

, and his detailed descriptions of it in three of his books constituted sufficient prior art
Prior art
Prior art , in most systems of patent law, constitutes all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent's claims of originality...

 to prevent a U.S. patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 on water beds when they became common in the 1960s.

After his discharge, Heinlein attended a few weeks of graduate classes in mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), but he soon quit either because of his health or from a desire to enter politics.

Heinlein supported himself at several occupations, including real estate sales and silver mining, but for some years found money in short supply. Heinlein was active in Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair
Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. , was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle . It exposed conditions in the U.S...

's socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 End Poverty in California movement
End Poverty in California movement
Standing for End Poverty in California, EPIC was an effort for well-known muckraking writer and former Socialist Upton Sinclair to implement socialist reforms through California's Democratic Party during the Great Depression by recruiting supporters into the party and then securing that party's...

 in the early 1930s. When Sinclair gained the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 nomination for Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 in 1934, Heinlein worked actively in the campaign. Heinlein himself ran for the California State Assembly
California State Assembly
The California State Assembly is the lower house of the California State Legislature. There are 80 members in the Assembly, representing an approximately equal number of constituents, with each district having a population of at least 420,000...

 in 1938, but he was unsuccessful. In 1954, he wrote, "...many Americans ... were asserting loudly that McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957...

 had created a 'reign of terror.' Are you terrified? I am not, and I have in my background much political activity well to the left of Senator McCarthy's position."

Author


While not destitute after the campaign—he had a small disability pension from the Navy—Heinlein turned to writing in order to pay off his mortgage. His first published story, "Life-Line
Life-Line
"Life-Line" is a short story by American author Robert A. Heinlein. Published in 1939, it was Heinlein's first published short story.The protagonist, Professor Pinero, builds a machine that will predict how long a person will live. It does this by sending a signal along the world line of a...

", was printed in Astounding Science-Fiction
Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science fiction magazine. As of 2011, it is the longest running continuously published magazine of that genre...

magazine in 1939. Originally written for a contest, he instead sold it to Astounding for significantly more than the contest's first-prize payoff. He was quickly acknowledged as a leader of the new movement toward "social" science fiction
Social science fiction
Social science fiction is a term used to describe a subgenre of science fiction concerned less with technology and space opera and more with sociological speculation about human society...

. He was the guest of honor at Denvention, the 1941 Worldcon
Worldcon
Worldcon, or more formally The World Science Fiction Convention, is a science fiction convention held each year since 1939 . It is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society...

, held in Denver. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he did aeronautical engineering for the U.S. Navy, also recruiting Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 and L. Sprague de Camp
L. Sprague de Camp
Lyon Sprague de Camp was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors...

 to work at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
The Philadelphia Naval Business Center, formerly known as the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and Philadelphia Navy Yard, was the first naval shipyard of the United States. The U.S. Navy reduced its activities there in the 1990s, and ended most of them on September 30, 1995...

 in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

. He also wrote for Boys' Life
Boys' Life
Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

in 1952.

As the war wound down in 1945, Heinlein began re-evaluating his career. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

, along with the outbreak of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, galvanized him to write nonfiction on political topics. In addition, he wanted to break into better-paying markets. He published four influential short stories
Short story
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...

 for The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

magazine, leading off, in February 1947, with "The Green Hills of Earth
The Green Hills of Earth
"The Green Hills of Earth" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein, and the title of a song, "The Green Hills of Earth", mentioned in several of his novels...

". That made him the first science fiction writer to break out of the "pulp ghetto". In 1950, the movie Destination Moon
Destination Moon (film)
Destination Moon is an American science fiction feature film produced by George Pal, who later produced When Worlds Collide, The War of the Worlds, and The Time Machine. Pal commissioned the script by James O'Hanlon and Rip Van Ronkel...

—the documentary-like film for which he had written the story and scenario, co-written the script, and invented many of the effects—won an Academy Award for special effect
Special effect
The illusions used in the film, television, theatre, or entertainment industries to simulate the imagined events in a story are traditionally called special effects ....

s. Also, he embarked on a series of juvenile S.F. novels
Children's literature
Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes...

 for the Charles Scribner's Sons
Charles Scribner's Sons
Charles Scribner's Sons, or simply Scribner, is an American publisher based in New York City, known for publishing a number of American authors including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Robert A. Heinlein, Thomas Wolfe, George Santayana, John Clellon...

 publishing company that was to last through the 1950s (at the rate of one book per year).

Heinlein and his second wife divorced in 1947, and the following year he married Virginia "Ginny" Gerstenfeld
Virginia Heinlein
Virginia "Ginny" Heinlein , born Virginia Doris Gerstenfeld, was the third wife of Robert A. Heinlein, a prominent and successful author once known as one of the "Big Three" of science fiction .Born to George and Jeanne Gerstenfeld, Virginia was raised in Brooklyn and had one brother, Leon...

, to whom he would remain married until his death forty years later. Shortly thereafter, the Heinlein couple moved to Colorado, but in 1965 her health was affected by the altitude. They moved to Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California in the US. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Santa Cruz had a total population of 59,946...

 while constructing a new residence in the adjacent Bonny Doon, California
Bonny Doon, California
Bonny Doon is a census-designated place in Santa Cruz County, California. Bonny Doon sits at an elevation of . The 2010 United States census reported Bonny Doon's population was 2,678....

. The unique circular California house, which, like their Colorado house, he designed with Virginia, and built himself, is on Bonny Doon Road 37°3′31.72"N 122°9′30.46"W.

Ginny undoubtedly served as a model for many of his intelligent, fiercely independent female characters. In 1953–1954, the Heinleins voyaged around the world (mostly via ocean liner
Ocean liner
An ocean liner is a ship designed to transport people from one seaport to another along regular long-distance maritime routes according to a schedule. Liners may also carry cargo or mail, and may sometimes be used for other purposes .Cargo vessels running to a schedule are sometimes referred to as...

 and cargo liner
Cargo liner
A Cargo liner is a type of merchant ship which carried general cargo and often passengers. They became common just after the middle of the nineteenth century, and eventually gave way to container ships and other more specialized carriers in the latter half of the twentieth...

), which Heinlein described in Tramp Royale
Tramp Royale
Tramp Royale is a nonfiction travelogue by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, describing how he and his wife, Ginny, went around the world by ship and plane between 1953–1954...

, and which also provided background material for science fiction novels set aboard spaceships on long voyages, such as Podkayne of Mars
Podkayne of Mars
Podkayne of Mars is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialised in Worlds of If , and published in hardcover in 1963...

and Friday
Friday (novel)
Friday is a 1982 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It is the story of a female "artificial person," the titular character, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans...

. Ginny acted as the first reader of his manuscript
Manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...

s, and she was reputed to be a better engineer than Heinlein himself.
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 believed that Heinlein made a swing to the right
Right-wing politics
In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects the egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming that the imposition of equality is...

 politically at the same time he married Ginny. Tramp Royale contains two lengthy apologias for the McCarthy hearings
Joseph McCarthy
Joseph Raymond "Joe" McCarthy was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957...

. The couple formed the small "Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry was an orator and politician who led the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia from 1776 to 1779 and subsequently, from 1784 to 1786...

 League" in 1958; and they worked in the 1964 Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

 campaign.

The Heinlein juveniles
Heinlein juveniles
"Heinlein juveniles" are the 12 novels written by Robert A. Heinlein and published by Scribner's between 1947 and 1958. The intended readership was teenage boys, but the books have been enjoyed by a wide range of readers...

, S.F. novels for young adults
Young adult literature
Young-adult fiction or young adult literature , also juvenile fiction, is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 21. The Young Adult Library Services of the American Library Association defines a young adult as "someone between the...

, are also considered to be an important part of his output. He had used topical materials throughout his series, but in 1959, his Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published as a serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published hardcover in December, 1959.The first-person narrative is about a young soldier from the Philippines named Juan "Johnnie" Rico and his...

was considered by the Scribner's editorial staff to be too controversial for their prestige line, and they rejected it; Heinlein found another publisher, feeling himself released from the constraints of writing novels for children, and he began to write "my own stuff, my own way", and he wrote a series of challenging books that redrew the boundaries of science fiction, including his best-known work, Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

(1961), and also The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966 science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth....

(1966).

Later life and death


Beginning in 1970, however, Heinlein had a series of health crises, broken by strenuous periods of activity in his hobby of stonemasonry
Stonemasonry
The craft of stonemasonry has existed since the dawn of civilization - creating buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone from the earth. These materials have been used to construct many of the long-lasting, ancient monuments, artifacts, cathedrals, and cities in a wide variety of cultures...

. (In a private correspondence, he referred to that as his "usual and favorite occupation between books.") The decade began with a life-threatening attack of peritonitis
Peritonitis
Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, the serous membrane that lines part of the abdominal cavity and viscera. Peritonitis may be localised or generalised, and may result from infection or from a non-infectious process.-Abdominal pain and tenderness:The main manifestations of...

, recovery from which required more than two years. As soon as he was well enough to write again, he began work on Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1973. The work was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1973 and both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1974.-Plot:...

(1973), which introduced many of the themes found in his later fiction.

In the mid-1970s, Heinlein wrote two articles for the Britannica Compton Yearbook. He and Ginny crisscrossed the country helping to reorganize blood donation
Blood donation
A blood donation occurs when a person voluntarily has blood drawn and used for transfusions or made into medications by a process called fractionation....

 in the United States, and he was the guest of honor at the worldcon for the third time at MidAmeriCon
34th World Science Fiction Convention
The 34th World Science Fiction Convention was named MidAmeriCon and was held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, 2–6 September 1976, at the historic Radisson Muehlebach Hotel and nearby Phillips House hotel. The convention committee was chaired by Ken Keller, who had also chaired the "KC in '76" bid...

 in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, in 1976. While vacationing in Tahiti in early 1978, he suffered a transient ischemic attack
Transient ischemic attack
A transient ischemic attack is a transient episode of neurologic dysfunction caused by ischemia – either focal brain, spinal cord or retinal – without acute infarction...

. Over the next few months, he became more and more exhausted, and his health again began to decline. The problem was determined to be a blocked carotid artery, and he had one of the earliest known carotid bypass operations to correct it. Heinlein and Virginia had been smokers, and smoking appears often in his fiction, as well as fictitious strikable self-lighting cigarettes.

Asked to appear before a Joint Committee
Joint committee
A Joint Committee is a term in politics that is used to refer to a committee made up of members of both chambers of a bicameral legislature. In other contexts, it refers to a committee with members from more than one organization.-Republic of Ireland:...

 of the U.S. House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 that year, he testified on his belief that spin-offs
Government spin-off
Government spin-off is civilian goods which are the result of military or governmental research. One prominent example of a type of government spin-off is technology that has been commercialized through NASA funding, research, licensing, facilities, or assistance. NASA spin-off technologies have...

 from space technology
Space technology
Space technology is technology that is related to entering, and retrieving objects or life forms from space."Every day" technologies such as weather forecasting, remote sensing, GPS systems, satellite television, and some long distance communications systems critically rely on space infrastructure...

 were benefiting the infirm and the elderly. Heinlein's surgical treatment re-energized him, and he wrote five novels from 1980 until he died in his sleep from emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

 and heart failure on May 8, 1988.

At that time, he had been putting together the early notes for another World as Myth
World as Myth
The idea of World as Myth was created by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in his book The Number of the Beast. According to this idea, myths and fictional worlds exist as an almost infinite number of universes which are parallel to our own...

novel. Several of his other works have been published posthumously.

After his death, his wife Virginia Heinlein
Virginia Heinlein
Virginia "Ginny" Heinlein , born Virginia Doris Gerstenfeld, was the third wife of Robert A. Heinlein, a prominent and successful author once known as one of the "Big Three" of science fiction .Born to George and Jeanne Gerstenfeld, Virginia was raised in Brooklyn and had one brother, Leon...

 issued a compilation of Heinlein's correspondence and notes into a somewhat autobiographical examination of his career, published in 1989 under the title Grumbles from the Grave
Grumbles from the Grave
Grumbles from the Grave is a posthumous 1989 autobiography of science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein collated by his wife Virginia Heinlein from his notes and writings.-Background:...

. Heinlein's archive is housed by the Special Collections department of McHenry Library
McHenry Library
The McHenry Library is the arts, humanities, and social sciences library of the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was named after the founding chancellor of the university, Dean E. McHenry...

 at the University of California, Santa Cruz
University of California, Santa Cruz
The University of California, Santa Cruz, also known as UC Santa Cruz or UCSC, is a public, collegiate university; one of ten campuses in the University of California...

. The collection includes manuscript drafts, correspondence, photographs and artifacts. A substantial portion of the archive has been digitized and is available online through the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Archives.

Series


Over the course of his career Heinlein wrote three somewhat overlapping series.
  • Future History series
    Future History
    The Future History, by Robert A. Heinlein, describes a projected future of the human race from the middle of the 20th century through the early 23rd century. The term Future History was coined by John W. Campbell, Jr. in the February 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction...

  • Lazarus Long series
    Lazarus Long
    Lazarus Long is a fictional character featured in a number of science fiction novels by Robert A. Heinlein. Born in 1912 in the third generation of a selective breeding experiment run by the Ira Howard Foundation, Lazarus becomes unusually long-lived, living well over two thousand years with the...

  • World as Myth series
    World as Myth
    The idea of World as Myth was created by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein in his book The Number of the Beast. According to this idea, myths and fictional worlds exist as an almost infinite number of universes which are parallel to our own...


Early work, 1939–1958


The first novel that Heinlein wrote, For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, written in 1938 but published for the first time in 2003...

(1939), did not see print during his lifetime, but Robert James later tracked down the manuscript and it was published in 2003. Widely regarded as a failure as a novel, being little more than a disguised lecture on Heinlein's social theories
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

, it is intriguing as a window into the development of Heinlein's radical ideas about man as a social animal
Social animal
A social animal is a loosely defined term for an organism that is highly interactive with other members of its species to the point of having a recognizable and distinct society.All mammals are social to the extent that mothers and offspring bond...

, including his interest in free love
Free love
The term free love has been used to describe a social movement that rejects marriage, which is seen as a form of social bondage. The Free Love movement’s initial goal was to separate the state from sexual matters such as marriage, birth control, and adultery...

. The root of many themes found in his later stories can be found in this book. It also contained much material that could be considered background for his other novels, including a detailed description of the protagonist's treatment to avoid being banned into Coventry
Coventry (short story)
"Coventry" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein and part of his Future History series. It was collected into the book Revolt in 2100.-Plot summary:The protagonist, David MacKinnon, is a romantic idealist up for trial for assault...

 (a place in the Heinlein mythos where unrepentant law-breakers are sent to experience actual anarchy).

It appears that Heinlein at least attempted to live in a manner consistent with these ideals, even in the 1930s, and had an open relationship in his marriage to his second wife, Leslyn. He was also a nudist
Naturism
Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement practising, advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism....

; nudism and body taboo
Taboo
A taboo is a strong social prohibition relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and or forbidden based on moral judgment, religious beliefs and or scientific consensus. Breaking the taboo is usually considered objectionable or abhorrent by society...

s are frequently discussed in his work. At the height of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, he built a bomb shelter
Air-raid shelter
Air-raid shelters, also known as bomb shelters, are structures for the protection of the civil population as well as military personnel against enemy attacks from the air...

 under his house, like the one featured in Farnham's Freehold
Farnham's Freehold
Farnham's Freehold is a science fiction novel set in the near future by Robert A. Heinlein. A serialised version, edited by Frederik Pohl, appeared in Worlds of If magazine . The complete version was published in novel form by G.P...

.


After For Us, The Living, Heinlein began selling (to magazines) first short stories, then novels, set in a Future History
Future History
The Future History, by Robert A. Heinlein, describes a projected future of the human race from the middle of the 20th century through the early 23rd century. The term Future History was coined by John W. Campbell, Jr. in the February 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction...

, complete with a time line of significant political, cultural, and technological changes. A chart of the future history was published in the May 1941 issue of Astounding. Over time, Heinlein wrote many novels and short stories that deviated freely from the Future History on some points, while maintaining consistency in some other areas. The Future History was also eventually overtaken by actual events. These discrepancies were explained, after a fashion, in his later World as Myth stories.

Heinlein's first novel published as a book, Rocket Ship Galileo
Rocket Ship Galileo
Rocket Ship Galileo is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, published in 1947, about three teenagers who participate in a pioneering flight to the Moon. It was the first in the Heinlein juveniles, a long and successful series of science fiction novels published by Scribner's...

, was initially rejected because going to the moon was considered too far out, but he soon found a publisher, Scribner's
Charles Scribner's Sons
Charles Scribner's Sons, or simply Scribner, is an American publisher based in New York City, known for publishing a number of American authors including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Robert A. Heinlein, Thomas Wolfe, George Santayana, John Clellon...

, that began publishing a Heinlein juvenile
Young adult literature
Young-adult fiction or young adult literature , also juvenile fiction, is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 21. The Young Adult Library Services of the American Library Association defines a young adult as "someone between the...

 once a year for the Christmas season. Eight of these books were illustrated by Clifford Geary
Clifford Geary
Clifford N. Geary was an American illustrator, noted for illustrating science books and science fiction novels, especially Robert A. Heinlein's "juvenile series" published by Scribner's from 1948 to 1956....

 in a distinctive white-on-black scratchboard
Scratchboard
Scratchboard or scraperboard is a technique where drawings are created using sharp knives and tools for etching into a thin layer of white China clay that is coated with black India ink. Scratchboard can also be made with several layers of multi-colored clay, so the pressure exerted on the...

 style. Some representative novels of this type are Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Farmer in the Sky
Farmer in the Sky
Farmer In The Sky is a 1953 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about a teenaged boy who emigrates with his family to Jupiter's moon Ganymede, which is in the process of being terraformed. A condensed version of the novel was published in serial form in 1950 in Boys' Life magazine , under...

, and Starman Jones
Starman Jones
Starman Jones is a 1953 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about a farm boy who wants to go to the stars. It was first published by Charles Scribner's Sons as part of the Heinlein juveniles series.-Plot summary:...

. Many of these were first published in serial form under other titles, e.g., Farmer in the Sky
Farmer in the Sky
Farmer In The Sky is a 1953 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about a teenaged boy who emigrates with his family to Jupiter's moon Ganymede, which is in the process of being terraformed. A condensed version of the novel was published in serial form in 1950 in Boys' Life magazine , under...

was published as Satellite Scout in the Boy Scout
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

 magazine Boys' Life
Boys' Life
Boys' Life is the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America . Its targeted readership is young American males between the ages of 6 and 18.Boys' Life is published in two demographic editions...

. There has been speculation that Heinlein's intense obsession with his privacy was due at least in part to the apparent contradiction between his unconventional private life and his career as an author of books for children, but For Us, The Living also explicitly discusses the political importance Heinlein attached to privacy as a matter of principle.

The novels that Heinlein wrote for a young audience are commonly referred to as "the Heinlein juveniles", and they feature a mixture of adolescent and adult themes. Many of the issues that he takes on in these books have to do with the kinds of problems that adolescents
Adolescence
Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development generally occurring between puberty and legal adulthood , but largely characterized as beginning and ending with the teenage stage...

 experience. His protagonist
Protagonist
A protagonist is the main character of a literary, theatrical, cinematic, or musical narrative, around whom the events of the narrative's plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to most identify...

s are usually very intelligent teenagers who have to make their way in the adult society they see around them. On the surface, they are simple tales of adventure, achievement, and dealing with stupid teachers and jealous peers. However, Heinlein was a vocal proponent of the notion that juvenile readers were far more sophisticated and able to handle more complex or difficult themes than most people realized. Thus even his juvenile stories often had a maturity to them that made them readable for adults. Red Planet
Red Planet (novel)
Red Planet is a 1949 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about students at boarding school on the planet Mars. It represents the first appearance of Heinlein's idealized Martian elder race...

, for example, portrays some very subversive themes, including a revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

 in which young students are involved; his editor demanded substantial changes in this book's discussion of topics such as the use of weapons by children and the misidentified sex of the Martian character. Heinlein was always aware of the editorial limitations put in place by the editors of his novels and stories, and while he observed those restrictions on the surface, was often successful in introducing ideas not often seen in other authors' juvenile SF.

In 1957, James Blish
James Blish
James Benjamin Blish was an American author of fantasy and science fiction. Blish also wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen-name William Atheling, Jr.-Biography:...

 wrote that one reason for Heinlein's success "has been the high grade of machinery which goes, today as always, into his story-telling. Heinlein seems to have known from the beginning, as if instinctively, technical lessons about fiction which other writers must learn the hard way (or often enough, never learn). He does not always operate the machinery to the best advantage, but he always seems to be aware of it."

1959–1960: the seminal years


Heinlein decisively ended his juvenile novels with Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published as a serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published hardcover in December, 1959.The first-person narrative is about a young soldier from the Philippines named Juan "Johnnie" Rico and his...

(1959), a controversial work and his personal riposte to leftists calling for President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 to stop nuclear testing in 1958.

"'The "Patrick Henry" ad shocked 'em,' he wrote many years later. "Starship Troopers outraged 'em."

Starship Troopers is a coming-of-age story about duty, citizenship, and the role of the military in society. The book portrays a society in which suffrage
Suffrage
Suffrage, political franchise, or simply the franchise, distinct from mere voting rights, is the civil right to vote gained through the democratic process...

 is earned by demonstrated willingness to place society's interests before one's own, at least for a short time and often under onerous circumstances, in government service; in the case of the protagonist, this was military service. Later, in Expanded Universe, Heinlein said that it was his intention in the novel that service could include positions outside strictly military functions and such as teachers, police officers, and other government positions. This is presented in the novel as an outgrowth of the failure of unearned suffrage government and as a very successful arrangement. In addition, the franchise was only awarded after leaving the assigned service, thus those serving their terms—in the military, or any other service—were excluded from exercising any franchise. Career military were completely disenfranchised until retirement.

Middle period work, 1961–1973


From about 1961 (Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

) to 1973 (Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1973. The work was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1973 and both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1974.-Plot:...

), Heinlein explored some of his most important themes, such as individualism, libertarianism
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

, and free expression of physical and emotional love. Three novels from this period, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966 science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth....

, and Time Enough for Love, won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, designed to honor classic libertarian fiction, from the Libertarian Futurist Society. Jeff Riggenbach described The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as "unquestionably one of the three or four most influential libertarian novels of the last century" in the Mises Daily
Ludwig von Mises Institute
The Ludwig von Mises Institute , based in Auburn, Alabama, is a libertarian academic organization engaged in research and scholarship in the fields of economics, philosophy and political economy. Its scholarship is inspired by the work of Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises...

.

Heinlein did not publish Stranger in a Strange Land until some time after it was written, and the themes of free love and radical individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 are prominently featured in his long-unpublished first novel, For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, written in 1938 but published for the first time in 2003...

. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966 science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth....

tells of a war of independence waged by the Lunar penal colonies, with significant comments from a major character, Professor La Paz, regarding the threat posed by government—including republican types—to individual freedom.

Although Heinlein had previously written a few short stories in the fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

, during this period he wrote his first fantasy novel, Glory Road
Glory Road
Glory Road is a fantasy novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published in hardcover later the same year...

, and in Stranger in a Strange Land and I Will Fear No Evil
I Will Fear No Evil
I Will Fear No Evil is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialised in Galaxy and published in hardcover in 1970...

, he began to mix hard science with fantasy, mysticism, and satire of organized religion. Critics William H. Patterson, Jr., and Andrew Thornton believe that this is simply an expression of Heinlein's longstanding philosophical opposition to positivism. Heinlein stated that he was influenced by James Branch Cabell
James Branch Cabell
James Branch Cabell, ; April 14, 1879 – May 5, 1958) was an American author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries, including H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when his...

 in taking this new literary direction. The penultimate novel of this period, I Will Fear No Evil, is according to critic James Gifford "almost universally regarded as a literary failure" and he attributes its shortcomings to Heinlein's near-death from peritonitis
Peritonitis
Peritonitis is an inflammation of the peritoneum, the serous membrane that lines part of the abdominal cavity and viscera. Peritonitis may be localised or generalised, and may result from infection or from a non-infectious process.-Abdominal pain and tenderness:The main manifestations of...

.

Later work, 1980–1987


After a seven-year hiatus brought on by poor health, Heinlein produced five new novels in the period from 1980 (The Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast (novel)
The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980. The first edition featured a cover and interior illustrations by Richard M. Powers...

) to 1987 (To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1987. It was the last novel published before he died in 1988....

). These books have a thread of common characters and time and place. They most explicitly communicated Heinlein's philosophies and beliefs, and many long, didactic passages of dialog and exposition deal with government, sex, and religion. These novels are controversial among his readers and one critic, Dave Langford, has written about them very negatively. Heinlein's four Hugo awards were all for books written before this period.

Some of these books, such as The Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls: A Comedy of Manners is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1985. Like many of his later novels, it features Lazarus Long and Jubal Harshaw as supporting characters.-Plot summary:...

, start out as tightly constructed adventure stories, but transform into philosophical fantasias at the end. It is a matter of opinion whether this demonstrates a lack of attention to craftsmanship or a conscious effort to expand the boundaries of science fiction, either into a kind of magical realism
Magic realism
Magic realism or magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world. The story explains these magical elements as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the "real" and the "fantastic" in the same stream of...

, continuing the process of literary exploration that he had begun with Stranger in a Strange Land, or into a kind of literary metaphor of quantum
Quantum
In physics, a quantum is the minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction. Behind this, one finds the fundamental notion that a physical property may be "quantized," referred to as "the hypothesis of quantization". This means that the magnitude can take on only certain discrete...

 science (The Number of the Beast dealing with the Observer problem, and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls being a direct reference to the Schrödinger's cat
Schrödinger's cat
Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, usually described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be...

 thought experiment). Most of the novels from this period are recognized by critics as forming an offshoot from the Future History series, and referred to by the term World as Myth.

The tendency toward authorial self-reference begun in Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love becomes even more evident in novels such as The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, whose first-person protagonist is a disabled military veteran who becomes a writer, and finds love with a female character who, like many of Heinlein's strong female characters, appears to be based closely on his wife Ginny.

The 1982 novel Friday
Friday (novel)
Friday is a 1982 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It is the story of a female "artificial person," the titular character, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans...

, a more conventional adventure story (borrowing a character and backstory from the earlier short story Gulf, also containing suggestions of connection to The Puppet Masters
The Puppet Masters
The Puppet Masters is a 1951 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein in which American secret agents battle parasitic invaders from outer space...

) continued a Heinlein theme of expecting what he saw as the continued disintegration of Earth's society, to the point where the title character is strongly encouraged to seek a new life off-planet. It concludes with a traditional Heinlein note, as in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Time Enough for Love that freedom is to be found on the frontiers.

The 1984 novel Job: A Comedy of Justice
Job: A Comedy of Justice
Job: A Comedy of Justice is a novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1984. The title is a reference to the biblical Book of Job and James Branch Cabell's book Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice...

is a sharp satire of organized religion.

Posthumous publications


Several Heinlein works have been published since his death, including the aforementioned For Us, The Living
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, written in 1938 but published for the first time in 2003...

as well as 1989's Grumbles from the Grave
Grumbles from the Grave
Grumbles from the Grave is a posthumous 1989 autobiography of science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein collated by his wife Virginia Heinlein from his notes and writings.-Background:...

, a collection of letters between Heinlein and his editors and agent; 1992's Tramp Royale
Tramp Royale
Tramp Royale is a nonfiction travelogue by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, describing how he and his wife, Ginny, went around the world by ship and plane between 1953–1954...

, a travelogue of a southern hemisphere tour the Heinleins took in the 1950s; Take Back Your Government
Take Back Your Government
Take Back Your Government!: A Practical Handbook for the Private Citizen Who Wants Democracy to Work was an early work by Robert A. Heinlein. It was published in 1992 after his death in 1988....

, a how-to book about participatory democracy written in 1946; and a tribute volume called Requiem
Requiem (book)
Requiem: New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein and Tributes to the Grand Master is a retrospective on Robert A. Heinlein , after his death, edited by Yoji Kondo.- Table of Contents :...

: Collected Works and Tributes to the Grand Master
, containing some additional short works previously unpublished in book form. Off the Main Sequence
Off the Main Sequence
Off the Main Sequence: The Other Science Fiction Stories of Robert A. Heinlein is a collection of 27 Robert A. Heinlein short stories, including three that Heinlein never collected in book form.- Table of contents :...

, published in 2005, includes three short stories never before collected in any Heinlein book (Heinlein called them "stinkeroos").

Spider Robinson
Spider Robinson
Spider Robinson is an American-born Canadian Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author.- Biography :Born in the Bronx, New York City, Robinson attended Catholic high school, spending his junior year in a seminary, followed by two years in a Catholic college, and five years at the State...

, a colleague, friend, and admirer of Heinlein, wrote Variable Star
Variable Star
Variable Star is a 2006 novel written by Spider Robinson based on the surviving seven pages of an eight-page 1955 novel outline by the late Robert A. Heinlein. The book is set in a divergent offshoot of Heinlein's Future History and contains many references to works by Heinlein and other authors...

, based on an outline and notes for a juvenile novel that Heinlein prepared in 1955. The novel was published as a collaboration, with Heinlein's name above Robinson's on the cover, in 2006.

A complete collection of Heinlein's published work, conformed and copyedited by several Heinlein scholars including biographer William H. Patterson is being published by the Heinlein Trust as the "Virginia Edition", after his wife.

Views


Heinlein was criticized for some of the representations in his works related to gender, race, politics, and the military.

Politics


Heinlein's political positions evolved throughout his life, though he was always strongly patriotic and firmly supported the military. Heinlein initially considered himself a liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

. His first novel, For Us, The Living, consists largely of speeches advocating the Social Credit
Social Credit
Social Credit is an economic philosophy developed by C. H. Douglas , a British engineer, who wrote a book by that name in 1924. Social Credit is described by Douglas as "the policy of a philosophy"; he called his philosophy "practical Christianity"...

 system, and the early story Misfit
Misfit (short story)
Misfit is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein. It was first published in the November 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction...

deals with an organization that seems to be Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D...

 translated into outer space.

In 1934 he worked actively for the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 campaign of Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair
Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. , was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle . It exposed conditions in the U.S...

 for Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

. After Sinclair's loss, Heinlein became an anti-Communist Democratic activist. He made an unsuccessful bid for a California State Assembly
California State Assembly
The California State Assembly is the lower house of the California State Legislature. There are 80 members in the Assembly, representing an approximately equal number of constituents, with each district having a population of at least 420,000...

 seat in 1938.

His juvenile fiction of the 1940s and 1950s, however, began to espouse conservative  virtues. After 1945, he came to believe that a strong world government was the only way to avoid mutual nuclear annihilation. His 1949 novel Space Cadet
Space Cadet
Space Cadet is a 1948 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about Matt Dodson, who joins the Space Patrol to help preserve peace in the Solar System. The story translates the standard military academy story into outer space: a boy from Iowa goes to officer school, sees action and adventure,...

describes a future scenario where a military-controlled global government enforces world peace. Heinlein stopped considering himself a Democrat in 1954.

Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

was embraced by the hippie
Hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 counterculture
Counterculture
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior...

, and libertarians
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 have found inspiration in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966 science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth....

. Both groups found resonance with his themes of personal freedom in both thought and action.

Race


Heinlein grew up in the era of racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States
Racial segregation in the United States, as a general term, included the racial segregation or hypersegregation of facilities, services, and opportunities such as housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation along racial lines...

 and wrote some of his most influential fiction at the height of the US civil rights movement
African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)
The African-American Civil Rights Movement refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights to them. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1955 and 1968, particularly in the South...

. His early juveniles were very much ahead of their time both in their explicit rejection of racism and in their inclusion of non-white protagonists—in the context of science fiction before the 1960s, the mere existence of non-white characters was a remarkable novelty, with green occurring more often than brown. For example, his second juvenile, the 1948 Space Cadet
Space Cadet
Space Cadet is a 1948 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about Matt Dodson, who joins the Space Patrol to help preserve peace in the Solar System. The story translates the standard military academy story into outer space: a boy from Iowa goes to officer school, sees action and adventure,...

, explicitly uses aliens as a metaphor for minorities. Heinlein challenges his readers' possible racial preconceptions by introducing a strong, sympathetic character, only to reveal much later that he or she is of African or other descent; in several cases, the covers of the books show characters as being light-skinned, when in fact the text states, or at least implies, that they are dark-skinned or of African descent. Heinlein repeatedly denounced racism in his non-fiction works, including numerous examples in Expanded Universe.

Race was a central theme in some of Heinlein's fiction. The most prominent and controversial example is Farnham's Freehold
Farnham's Freehold
Farnham's Freehold is a science fiction novel set in the near future by Robert A. Heinlein. A serialised version, edited by Frederik Pohl, appeared in Worlds of If magazine . The complete version was published in novel form by G.P...

, which casts a white family into a future in which white people are the slaves of cannibalistic black rulers. In the 1941 novel Sixth Column
Sixth Column
Sixth Column, also known under the title The Day After Tomorrow, is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, based on a story by editor John W. Campbell, and set in a United States that has been conquered by the PanAsians, a combination of Chinese and Japanese...

(also known as The Day After Tomorrow), a white resistance movement in the United States defends itself against an invasion by an Asian fascist state (the "Pan-Asians") using a "super-science" technology that allows ray weapons to be tuned to specific races. The book is sprinkled with racist slurs against Asian people, and blacks and Hispanics are not mentioned at all. The idea for the story was pushed on Heinlein by editor John W. Campbell
John W. Campbell
John Wood Campbell, Jr. was an influential figure in American science fiction. As editor of Astounding Science Fiction , from late 1937 until his death, he is generally credited with shaping the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction.Isaac Asimov called Campbell "the most powerful force in...

, and Heinlein wrote later 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." (However, the novel prompted a heated debate in the scientific community regarding the plausibility of developing ethnic bioweapon
Ethnic bioweapon
An ethnic bioweapon aims to harm only or primarily persons of specific ethnicities or genotypes.- History of ethnic bioweapons :One of the first fictional discussions of ethnic weapons is in Robert A...

s). Heinlein reveals near the end of Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers
Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published as a serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published hardcover in December, 1959.The first-person narrative is about a young soldier from the Philippines named Juan "Johnnie" Rico and his...

that the novel's protagonist and narrator, Johnny Rico, the formerly disaffected scion of a wealthy family, is Filipino
Filipino people
The Filipino people or Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines. There are about 92 million Filipinos in the Philippines, and about 11 million living outside the Philippines ....

 and speaks Tagalog in addition to English.

Some of the alien species in Heinlein's fiction can be interpreted in terms of an allegorical representation of human ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s. It has been suggested that the strongly hierarchical and anti-individualistic "Bugs" in Starship Troopers were meant to represent the Chinese or Japanese, but Heinlein claimed to have written the book in response to "calls for the unilateral ending of nuclear testing by the United States." Heinlein suggests in the book that the Bugs are a good example of Communism being something that humans cannot successfully adhere to, since humans are strongly defined individuals, whereas the Bugs, being a collective, can all contribute to the whole without consideration of individual desire.

Individualism and self-determination


In keeping with his belief in individualism, his work for adults—and sometimes even his work for juveniles—often portrays both the oppressors and the oppressed with considerable ambiguity. Heinlein believed that individualism was incompatible with ignorance. He believed that an appropriate level of adult competence was achieved through a wide-ranging education, whether this occurred in a classroom or not. In his juvenile novels, more than once a character looks with disdain at a student's choice of classwork, saying "Why didn't you study something useful?" In Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1973. The work was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1973 and both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1974.-Plot:...

, Lazarus Long
Lazarus Long
Lazarus Long is a fictional character featured in a number of science fiction novels by Robert A. Heinlein. Born in 1912 in the third generation of a selective breeding experiment run by the Ira Howard Foundation, Lazarus becomes unusually long-lived, living well over two thousand years with the...

 gives a long list of capabilities
Competent man
In literature, the competent man or competent woman is a stock character who can do anything perfectly, or at least exhibits a very wide range of abilities and knowledge, making him a form of polymath. While not the first to use such a character type, the heroes of Robert A...

 that anyone should have, concluding, "Specialization is for insects". The ability of the individual to create himself is explored in stories such as I Will Fear No Evil
I Will Fear No Evil
I Will Fear No Evil is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialised in Galaxy and published in hardcover in 1970...

, "—All You Zombies—", and By His Bootstraps
By His Bootstraps
"By His Bootstraps" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein that plays with some of the inherent paradoxes that would be caused by time travel. It was originally published in the October 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction under the pen name Anson MacDonald...

.

Sexual issues


For Heinlein, personal liberation included sexual liberation, and free love
Free love
The term free love has been used to describe a social movement that rejects marriage, which is seen as a form of social bondage. The Free Love movement’s initial goal was to separate the state from sexual matters such as marriage, birth control, and adultery...

 was a major subject of his writing starting in 1939, with For Us, The Living
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, written in 1938 but published for the first time in 2003...

. During his early period, Heinlein's writing for younger readers needed to take account of both editorial perceptions of sexuality in his novels, and potential perceptions among the buying public; as critic William H. Patterson has put it, his dilemma was "to sort out what was really objectionable from what was only excessive over-sensitivity to imaginary librarians".
By his middle period, sexual freedom and the elimination of sexual jealousy were a major theme of Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

(1961), in which the progressively minded but sexually conservative reporter, Ben Caxton, acts as a dramatic foil
Foil (literature)
In fiction, a foil is a character who contrasts with another character in order to highlight particular qualities of another character....

 for the less parochial characters, Jubal Harshaw
Jubal Harshaw
Jubal Harshaw is a fictional character featured in Stranger in a Strange Land, a novel by Robert A. Heinlein. He is described as: "Jubal E. Harshaw, LL.B., M.D., Sc.D., bon vivant, gourmet, sybarite, popular author extraordinary, neo-pessimist philosopher, devout agnostic, professional clown,...

 and Valentine Michael Smith (Mike).

Gary Westfahl points out that "Heinlein is a problematic case for feminists; on the one hand, his works often feature strong female characters and vigorous statements that women are equal to or even superior to men; but these characters and statements often reflect hopelessly stereotypical attitudes about typical female attributes. It is disconcerting, for example, that in Expanded Universe Heinlein calls for a society where all lawyers and politicians are women, essentially on the grounds that they possess a mysterious feminine practicality that men cannot duplicate."

In books written as early as 1956, Heinlein dealt with incest and the sexual nature of children. Many of his books (including Time for the Stars
Time for the Stars
Time for the Stars is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published by Scribner's in 1956 as one of the Heinlein juveniles. The basic plot line is derived from a 1911 thought experiment in special relativity, commonly called the twin paradox, proposed by French physicist Paul Langevin...

, Glory Road
Glory Road
Glory Road is a fantasy novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published in hardcover later the same year...

, Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1973. The work was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1973 and both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1974.-Plot:...

and The Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast (novel)
The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980. The first edition featured a cover and interior illustrations by Richard M. Powers...

) dealt explicitly or implicitly with incest, sexual feelings and relations between adults and children, or both. The treatment of these themes include the romantic relationship and eventual marriage (once the girl becomes an adult via time-travel) of a 30 year old engineer and an 11 year old girl in The Door into Summer
The Door into Summer
The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published in hardcover in 1957. It is a fast-paced hard science fiction novel, with a key fantastic element, and romantic elements...

or the more overt inter-familial incest in To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1987. It was the last novel published before he died in 1988....

and Farnham's Freehold
Farnham's Freehold
Farnham's Freehold is a science fiction novel set in the near future by Robert A. Heinlein. A serialised version, edited by Frederik Pohl, appeared in Worlds of If magazine . The complete version was published in novel form by G.P...

. Peers such as L. Sprague DeCamp and Damon Knight
Damon Knight
Damon Francis Knight was an American science fiction author, editor, critic and fan. His forte was short stories and he is widely acknowledged as having been a master of the genre.-Biography:...

 have commented critically on Heinlein's portrayal of incest and pedophilia in a light-hearted and even approving manner.

Philosophy


In To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset
To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1987. It was the last novel published before he died in 1988....

, Heinlein has the main character, Maureen
Maureen Johnson (Heinlein character)
Maureen Johnson Smith Long , most often referred to as Maureen Johnson, is a fictional character in several science fiction novels written by Robert A. Heinlein. She is the mother, lover and eventual wife of Lazarus Long, the longest-living member of Heinlein's fictional Howard Families...

, state that the purpose of metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 is to ask questions: Why are we here? Where are we going after we die? (and so on), and that "you are not allowed to answer the questions". Asking the questions is the point of metaphysics, but answering them is not, because once you answer this kind of question, you cross the line into religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. Maureen does not state a reason for this; she simply remarks that such questions are "beautiful" but lack answers. Maureen's son/lover Lazarus Long
Lazarus Long
Lazarus Long is a fictional character featured in a number of science fiction novels by Robert A. Heinlein. Born in 1912 in the third generation of a selective breeding experiment run by the Ira Howard Foundation, Lazarus becomes unusually long-lived, living well over two thousand years with the...

 makes a related remark in Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love
Time Enough for Love is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1973. The work was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1973 and both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1974.-Plot:...

. In order for us to answer the "big questions" about the universe, Lazarus states at one point, it would be necessary to stand outside the universe.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Heinlein was deeply interested in Alfred Korzybski
Alfred Korzybski
Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski was a Polish-American philosopher and scientist. He is remembered for developing the theory of general semantics...

's General Semantics
General Semantics
General semantics is a program begun in the 1920's that seeks to regulate the evaluative operations performed in the human brain. After partial program launches under the trial names "human engineering" and "humanology," Polish-American originator Alfred Korzybski fully launched the program as...

 and attended a number of seminars on the subject. His views on epistemology seem to have flowed from that interest, and his fictional characters continue to express Korzybskian views to the very end of his writing career. Many of his stories, such as Gulf
Gulf (Heinlein)
Gulf is a novella by Robert A. Heinlein, originally published as a serial in the November and December 1949 issues of Astounding Science Fiction. It concerns a secret society of geniuses who act to protect humanity...

, If This Goes On—, and Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

, depend strongly on the premise, related to the well-known Sapir–Whorf hypothesis
Linguistic relativity
The principle of linguistic relativity holds that the structure of a language affects the ways in which its speakers are able to conceptualize their world, i.e. their world view...

, that by using a correctly designed language
Constructed language
A planned or constructed language—known colloquially as a conlang—is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary has been consciously devised by an individual or group, instead of having evolved naturally...

, one can change or improve oneself mentally, or even realize untapped potential (as in the case of Joe Green in Gulf).

When Ayn Rand's novel "The Fountainhead" was published, Heinlein was very favorably impressed, as quoted in "Grumbles...". Heinlein made quick work of altruism as a false virtue in Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

and mentioned John Galt--the hero in Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"--as a heroic archetype in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966 science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth....

. He was also strongly affected by the religious philosopher P. D. Ouspensky
P. D. Ouspensky
Peter D. Ouspensky , , a Russian esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915.He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with...

. Freudianism
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

 and psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 were at the height of their influence during the peak of Heinlein's career, and stories such as Time for the Stars
Time for the Stars
Time for the Stars is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published by Scribner's in 1956 as one of the Heinlein juveniles. The basic plot line is derived from a 1911 thought experiment in special relativity, commonly called the twin paradox, proposed by French physicist Paul Langevin...

indulged in psychological theorizing. However, he was skeptical about Freudianism, especially after a struggle with an editor who insisted on reading Freudian sexual symbolism into his juvenile novels
Young adult literature
Young-adult fiction or young adult literature , also juvenile fiction, is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 21. The Young Adult Library Services of the American Library Association defines a young adult as "someone between the...

. Heinlein was fascinated by the social credit
Social Credit
Social Credit is an economic philosophy developed by C. H. Douglas , a British engineer, who wrote a book by that name in 1924. Social Credit is described by Douglas as "the policy of a philosophy"; he called his philosophy "practical Christianity"...

 movement in the 1930s. This is shown in Beyond This Horizon
Beyond This Horizon
Beyond This Horizon is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It was originally published as a two-part serial in Astounding Science Fiction and then eventually as a single volume by Fantasy Press in 1948.-Overview:The novel depicts a world where genetic selection for increased health,...

and in his 1938 novel For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs
For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, written in 1938 but published for the first time in 2003...

, which was finally published in 2003, long after his death. He was strongly committed to cultural relativism
Cultural relativism
Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual human's beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual's own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and...

, and the sociologist Margaret Mader in his novel Citizen of the Galaxy
Citizen of the Galaxy
Citizen of the Galaxy is a science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in Astounding Science Fiction and published in hardcover in 1957 as one of the Heinlein juveniles by Scribner's...

is clearly a reference to Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead
Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s....

. In the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 era, cultural relativism was the only intellectual framework that offered a clearly reasoned alternative to racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

, which Heinlein was ahead of his time in opposing. Many of these sociological and psychological theories have been criticized, debunked, or heavily modified in the last fifty years, and Heinlein's use of them may now appear credulous and dated to many readers. The critic Patterson says "Korzybski is now widely regarded as a crank", although others disagree.

Influence


Heinlein is usually identified, along with Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 and Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

, as one of the three masters of science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 to arise in the so-called Golden Age of science fiction
Golden Age of Science Fiction
The first Golden Age of Science Fiction — often recognized as the period from the late 1930s through the 1950s — was an era during which the science fiction genre gained wide public attention and many classic science fiction stories were published...

, associated with John W. Campbell
John W. Campbell
John Wood Campbell, Jr. was an influential figure in American science fiction. As editor of Astounding Science Fiction , from late 1937 until his death, he is generally credited with shaping the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction.Isaac Asimov called Campbell "the most powerful force in...

 and his magazine Astounding.
In the 1950s he was a leader in bringing science fiction out of the low-paying and less prestigious "pulp
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

 ghetto". Most of his works, including short stories, have been continuously in print in many languages since their initial appearance and are still available as new paperbacks decades after his death.

Robert Heinlein was also influenced by the American writer, philosopher and humorist Charles Fort
Charles Fort
Charles Hoy Fort was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort's books sold well and are still in print today.-Biography:Charles Hoy Fort was born in 1874 in Albany, New York, of Dutch...

 who is credited as a major influence on most of the leading science-fiction writers of the 20th-century. Heinlein was a lifelong member of the International Fortean Organization
International Fortean Organization
The International Fortean Organization is a network of professional Fortean researchers and writers. John Keel, author and parapsychologist, in both his writings and at his appearances at INFO's FortFest, says "the International Fortean Organization carries on Charles Fort's name as successor...

 also known as INFO
Info
Info is a common shortening of information.It may also refer to:* .info, a generic top-level domain* info:, a URI scheme for information assets with identifiers in public namespaces* .info , a computer magazine...

, the successor to the original Fortean Society
Fortean Society
The Fortean Society was started in the United States in 1931 during a meeting held in the New York flat of Charles Hoy Fort in order to promote the ideas of American writer Charles Fort. The Fortean Society was primarily based in New York City. Its first president was Theodore Dreiser, an old...

. Heinlein's letters were often displayed on the walls of the INFO offices, and his active participation in the organization is mentioned in the INFO Journal.

He was at the top of his form during, and himself helped to initiate, the trend toward social science fiction
Social science fiction
Social science fiction is a term used to describe a subgenre of science fiction concerned less with technology and space opera and more with sociological speculation about human society...

, which went along with a general maturing of the genre away from space opera
Space opera
Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities. The term has no relation to music and it is analogous to "soap...

 to a more literary approach touching on such adult issues as politics and human sexuality
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

. In reaction to this trend, hard science fiction
Hard science fiction
Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both. The term was first used in print in 1957 by P. Schuyler Miller in a review of John W. Campbell, Jr.'s Islands of Space in Astounding Science...

 began to be distinguished as a separate subgenre, but paradoxically Heinlein is also considered a seminal figure in hard science fiction, due to his extensive knowledge of engineering, and the careful scientific research demonstrated in his stories. Heinlein himself stated—with obvious pride—that in the days before pocket calculators, he and his wife Virginia once worked for several days on a mathematical equation describing an Earth-Mars rocket orbit, which was then subsumed in a single sentence of the novel Space Cadet
Space Cadet
Space Cadet is a 1948 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about Matt Dodson, who joins the Space Patrol to help preserve peace in the Solar System. The story translates the standard military academy story into outer space: a boy from Iowa goes to officer school, sees action and adventure,...

.

Heinlein has had a nearly ubiquitous influence on other science fiction writers. In a 1953 poll of leading science fiction authors, he was cited more frequently as an influence than any other modern writer. In 1974, he won the first Grand Master Award
Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is an award given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. It is awarded to a living author for lifetime achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy. Officially, it is not a Nebula Award though it is awarded at the Nebula ceremony...

 given by the Science Fiction Writers of America
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or SFWA is a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. It was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America, Inc. and it retains the acronym SFWA after a very brief use of the SFFWA...

 for lifetime achievement. Critic James Gifford writes that "Although many other writers have exceeded Heinlein's output, few can claim to match his broad and seminal influence. Scores of science fiction writers from the pre-war Golden Age through the present day loudly and enthusiastically credit Heinlein for blazing the trails of their own careers, and shaping their styles and stories."

Outside the science fiction community, several words and phrases coined or adopted by Heinlein have passed into common English usage: waldo, TANSTAAFL
TANSTAAFL
"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" is a popular adage communicating the idea that it is impossible to get something for nothing. The acronyms TANSTAAFL and TINSTAAFL are also used...

, moonbat
Moonbat
Moonbat is a term used in United States politics as a political epithet referring to progressives or leftists.-Etymology:According to a 2006 article by New York Times self-described "language maven" William Safire, the term was first used by science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein in 1947...

, and grok
Grok
To grok is to intimately and completely share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. Author Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his best-selling 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In Heinlein's view, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that...

.

In 1962, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart
Oberon Zell-Ravenheart
Oberon Zell-Ravenheart is a co-founder of the Church of All Worlds, as well as a writer and speaker on the subject of Neopaganism. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in 1965...

 (then still using his birth name, Tim Zell) founded the Church of All Worlds
Church of All Worlds
The Church of All Worlds is a neopagan religious group whose stated mission is to evolve a network of information, mythology, and experience that provides a context and stimulus for reawakening Gaia and reuniting her children through tribal community dedicated to responsible stewardship and...

, a Neopagan religious organization modeled in many ways after the treatment of religion in the novel Stranger in a Strange Land. This spiritual path included several ideas from the book, including polyamory
Polyamory
Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved....

, non-mainstream family structures, social libertarianism, water-sharing rituals, an acceptance of all religious paths by a single tradition, and the use of several terms such as "grok", "Thou art God", and "Never Thirst". Though Heinlein was neither a member nor a promoter of the Church, it was done with frequent correspondence between Zell and Heinlein, and he was a paid subscriber to their magazine Green Egg
Green Egg
Green Egg is a Neopagan magazine published by the Church of All Worlds from 1968 through 1976 and 1988 through 2000, and restarted in 2007. It was created and edited for most of its existence by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart....

. This Church still exists as a 501(C)(3) religious organization incorporated in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, with membership worldwide, and it remains an active part of the neopagan community today.

He was influential in making space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

 seem to the public more like a practical possibility. His stories in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post
The Saturday Evening Post is a bimonthly American magazine. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1969, and quarterly and then bimonthly from 1971.-History:...

took a matter-of-fact approach to their outer-space setting, rather than the "gee whiz" tone that had previously been common. The documentary-like film Destination Moon
Destination Moon (film)
Destination Moon is an American science fiction feature film produced by George Pal, who later produced When Worlds Collide, The War of the Worlds, and The Time Machine. Pal commissioned the script by James O'Hanlon and Rip Van Ronkel...

advocated a Space Race
Space Race
The Space Race was a mid-to-late 20th century competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in space exploration. Between 1957 and 1975, Cold War rivalry between the two nations focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national...

 with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 almost a decade before such an idea became commonplace, and was promoted by an unprecedented publicity campaign in print publications. Many of the astronauts and others working in the U. S. space program grew up on a diet of the Heinlein juveniles
Young adult literature
Young-adult fiction or young adult literature , also juvenile fiction, is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 14 to 21. The Young Adult Library Services of the American Library Association defines a young adult as "someone between the...

, best evidenced by the naming of a crater on Mars after him, and a tribute interspersed by the Apollo 15
Apollo 15
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous...

 astronauts into their radio conversations while on the moon.

Heinlein was also a guest commentator for Walter Cronkite
Walter Cronkite
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years . During the heyday of CBS News in the 1960s and 1970s, he was often cited as "the most trusted man in America" after being so named in an opinion poll...

 during Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
Neil Alden Armstrong is an American former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon....

 and Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history...

's Apollo 11
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

 moon landing. He remarked to Cronkite during the landing that, "This is the greatest event in human history, up to this time. This is -- today is New Year's Day of the Year One."

Main-belt
Asteroid belt
The asteroid belt is the region of the Solar System located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets...

 asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 6312 Robheinlein
6312 Robheinlein
6312 Robheinlein is a main-belt asteroid discovered on September 14, 1990 by H. E. Holt at Palomar.- External links :*...

 (1990 RH4), discovered on September 14, 1990 by H. E. Holt, at Palomar was named after him.

In 2001 the US Naval Academy created the Robert A. Heinlein Chair In Aerospace Engineering.

There was an active campaign to persuade the Secretary of the Navy to name the new Zumwalt class destroyer
Zumwalt class destroyer
The Zumwalt class destroyer is a planned class of United States Navy destroyers, designed as multi-mission ships with a focus on land attack. The class is a scaled-back project that emerged after funding cuts to the larger DD-21 vessel program. The program was previously known as the "DD"...

 DDG-1001 the USS Robert A. Heinlein; however, DDG-1001 will be named USS Monsoor, after Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in Iraq.

Inventions presaged



In Heinlein's works (and those of other writers of the period), there are many concepts that have become actual products. What follows is a partial list.
  • Automatic light switches (from The Man Who Sold the Moon
    The Man Who Sold the Moon
    The Man Who Sold the Moon is a science fiction novella by Robert A. Heinlein written in 1949 and published in 1950. A part of his Future History and prequel to "Requiem", it covers events around a fictional first Moon landing, in 1978, and the schemes of Delos D...

    )
  • Hand dryers (from "Coventry
    Coventry (short story)
    "Coventry" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein and part of his Future History series. It was collected into the book Revolt in 2100.-Plot summary:The protagonist, David MacKinnon, is a romantic idealist up for trial for assault...

    ")
  • Drafting software (from The Door Into Summer
    The Door into Summer
    The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published in hardcover in 1957. It is a fast-paced hard science fiction novel, with a key fantastic element, and romantic elements...

    )
  • Dictation software, including practical details (from The Door Into Summer
    The Door into Summer
    The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published in hardcover in 1957. It is a fast-paced hard science fiction novel, with a key fantastic element, and romantic elements...

    )
  • Robotic vacuum cleaner (from The Door Into Summer
    The Door into Summer
    The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published in hardcover in 1957. It is a fast-paced hard science fiction novel, with a key fantastic element, and romantic elements...

    )
  • Mobile phone
    Mobile phone
    A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

    s (from Space Cadet
    Space Cadet
    Space Cadet is a 1948 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about Matt Dodson, who joins the Space Patrol to help preserve peace in the Solar System. The story translates the standard military academy story into outer space: a boy from Iowa goes to officer school, sees action and adventure,...

    , Between Planets
    Between Planets
    Between Planets is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in Blue Book magazine in 1951 as "Planets in Combat". It was published in hardcover that year by Scribner's as part of the Heinlein juveniles.-Plot summary:...

    , Friday
    Friday (novel)
    Friday is a 1982 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It is the story of a female "artificial person," the titular character, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans...

    and Assignment in Eternity
    Assignment in Eternity
    Assignment in Eternity, is a collection of four mixed science fiction and fantasy novellas by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in hardcover by Fantasy Press in 1953, with some of the stories somewhat revised from their original magazine publications, as follows:* Gulf .* Lost Legacy...

    )
  • Waldoes
    Remote manipulator
    A remote manipulator, also known as a telefactor, telemanipulator, or waldo , is a device which, through electronic, hydraulic, or mechanical linkages, allows a hand-like mechanism to be controlled by a human operator...

     (remote manipulators) (from "Waldo")
  • Teleconferencing (from "Waldo")
  • Screensaver
    Screensaver
    A screensaver is a type of computer program initially designed to prevent phosphor burn-in on CRT and plasma computer monitors by blanking the screen or filling it with moving images or patterns when the computer is not in use...

    s (from Stranger In A Strange Land
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. The novel explores his interaction with—and...

    )
  • Waterbed
    Waterbed
    A waterbed, water mattress, or flotation mattress is a bed or mattress filled with water. Waterbeds intended for medical therapies appear in various reports through the 19th century...

    s (from Double Star
    Double Star
    Double Star is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first serialized in Astounding Science Fiction and published in hardcover the same year...

    , Stranger in a Strange Land, Beyond This Horizon, and "Waldo")
  • Vehicle remote keyless system
    Remote keyless system
    A remote keyless system is a system designed to permit or deny access to premises or automobiles. While the "remote" system is portable and has locking capabilities, the exact phrase "keyless entry" is solely reserved for the numeric dials or keypads that are located on or near the driver side door...

     (called a "magic wand" in The Number of the Beast
    The Number of the Beast (novel)
    The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980. The first edition featured a cover and interior illustrations by Richard M. Powers...

    )
  • Online newspapers (from Beyond This Horizon)
  • Designer babies and Genetic counseling
    Genetic counseling
    Genetic counseling or traveling is the process by which patients or relatives, at risk of an inherited disorder, are advised of the consequences and nature of the disorder, the probability of developing or transmitting it, and the options open to them in management and family planning...

     (from Beyond This Horizon)
  • Radio-synchronized clock
    Radio clock
    A radio clock or radio-controlled clock is a clock that is synchronized by a time code bit stream transmitted by a radio transmitter connected to a time standard such as an atomic clock...

    s (from "Blowups Happen")
  • Individual battlefield tactical displays (from Starship Troopers
    Starship Troopers
    Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published as a serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published hardcover in December, 1959.The first-person narrative is about a young soldier from the Philippines named Juan "Johnnie" Rico and his...

    )
  • A GPS navigation device
    GPS navigation device
    A GPS navigation device is any device that receives Global Positioning System signals for the purpose of determining the device's current location on Earth...

     in Gay Deceiver (the hero's flying car
    Flying car (fiction)
    In fiction, a flying car is a car that can be flown in much the same way as a car may be driven. In some cases such flying cars can also be driven on roads....

    ), which speaks directions aloud (in The Number of the Beast
    The Number of the Beast (novel)
    The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980. The first edition featured a cover and interior illustrations by Richard M. Powers...

    )

See also



Other sources


Critical
  • H. Bruce Franklin
    H. Bruce Franklin
    Howard Bruce Franklin is an American cultural historian who has authored or edited nineteen books on a range of subjects. As of 2011, he is the John Cotton Dana Professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. He first attained prominence as a Melville scholar...

    . 1980. Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    . ISBN 0-19-502746-9.
A critique of Heinlein from a Marxist perspective. Somewhat out of date, since Franklin was not aware of Heinlein's work with the EPIC Movement. Includes a biographical chapter, which incorporates some original research on Heinlein's family background.
  • James Gifford. 2000. Robert A. Heinlein: A Reader's Companion. Sacramento: Nitrosyncretic Press. ISBN 0-9679874-1-5 (hardcover), 0967987407 (trade paperback).
A comprehensive bibliography, with roughly one page of commentary on each of Heinlein's works.
  • Alexei Panshin. 1968. Heinlein in Dimension. Advent. ISBN 0-911682-12-0. Online edition at
  • William H. Patterson, Jr. and Andrew Thornton. 2001. The Martian Named Smith: Critical Perspectives on Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Sacramento: Nitrosyncretic Press. ISBN 0-9679874-2-3.
  • Powell, Jim. 2000. The Triumph of Liberty. New York: Free Press. See profile of Heinlein in the chapter "Out of this World".
  • Tom Shippey
    Tom Shippey
    Thomas Alan Shippey is a scholar of medieval literature, including that of Anglo-Saxon England, and of modern fantasy and science fiction, in particular the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, about whom he has written several scholarly studies. He is widely considered one of the leading academic scholars...

    . 2000. "Starship Troopers, Galactic Heroes, Mercenary Princes: the Military and its Discontents in Science Fiction", in Alan Sandison and Robert Dingley, eds., Histories of the Future: Studies in Fact, Fantasy and Science Fiction. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 0-312-23604-2.
  • George Edgar Slusser
    George Edgar Slusser
    George Edgar Slusser , is an American scholar, professor and writer.Along with publisher/editor Robert Reginald, he is one of the co-founders and Curator Emeritus of The J...

     "Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in his Own Land". San Bernardino, CA: The Borgo Press; The Milford Series, Popular Writers of Today, Vol. 1.
  • James Blish
    James Blish
    James Benjamin Blish was an American author of fantasy and science fiction. Blish also wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen-name William Atheling, Jr.-Biography:...

    , writing as William Atheling, Jr. 1970. More Issues at Hand. Chicago: Advent:Publishers, Inc.
  • Ugo Bellagamba and Eric Picholle. 2008. Solutions Non Satisfaisantes, une Anatomie de Robert A. Heinlein. Les Moutons electriques (Lyon, France). ISBN 978-2-915793-37-6.


Biographical
  • William H. Patterson, Jr. 2010. "Robert A. Heinlein in Dialogue With His Century - 1907-1948 Learning Curve" An Authorized Biography, Volume I. Tom Doherty Associates. ISBN 0765319608
  • Robert A. Heinlein. 2004. For Us, the Living. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-7432-5998-X.
Includes an introduction by Spider Robinson
Spider Robinson
Spider Robinson is an American-born Canadian Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author.- Biography :Born in the Bronx, New York City, Robinson attended Catholic high school, spending his junior year in a seminary, followed by two years in a Catholic college, and five years at the State...

, an afterword by Robert E. James with a long biography, and a shorter biographical sketch. Also available at Robert A. Heinlein, a Biographical Sketch. Retrieved June 1, 2005.
A lengthy essay that treats Heinlein's own autobiographical statements with skepticism.
Contains a shorter version of the Patterson bio.
  • Robert A. Heinlein. 1997. Debora Aro is wrong. New York: Del Rey.
Outlines thoughts on coincidental thoughts and behaviour and the famous argument over the course of three days with Debora Aro, renowned futurologist.
  • Robert A. Heinlein. 1989. Grumbles From the Grave. New York: Del Rey.
Incorporates a substantial biographical sketch by Virginia Heinlein, which hews closely to his earlier official bios, omitting the same facts (the first of his three marriages, his early left-wing political activities) and repeating the same fictional anecdotes (the short story contest).
  • Elizabeth Zoe Vicary. 2000. American National Biography Online article, Heinlein, Robert Anson. Retrieved June 1, 2005 (not available for free).
Repeats many incorrect statements from Heinlein's fictionalized professional bio.
Autobiographical notes are interspersed between the pieces in the anthology.
Reprinted by Baen, hardcover October 2003, ISBN 0-7434-7159-8.
Reprinted by Baen, paperback July 2005, ISBN 0-7434-9915-8.
  • Stover, Leon: Robert Heinlein. Boston: Twayne, 1987

External links




Biography and criticism
  • Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award—Also see Damon Knight's biography of Charles Fort
    Charles Fort
    Charles Hoy Fort was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort's books sold well and are still in print today.-Biography:Charles Hoy Fort was born in 1874 in Albany, New York, of Dutch...

    .
  • Frederik Pohl
    Frederik Pohl
    Frederik George Pohl, Jr. is an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning over seventy years — from his first published work, "Elegy to a Dead Planet: Luna" , to his most recent novel, All the Lives He Led .He won the National Book Award in 1980 for his novel Jem...

     on Working with Robert A. Heinlein


Bibliography and works
For bibliography links see also the Robert A. Heinlein bibliography
Robert A. Heinlein bibliography
The science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein was productive during a writing career that spanned the last 49 years of his life; the Robert A. Heinlein bibliography includes 32 novels, 59 short stories and 16 collections published during his life. Four films, two TV series, several episodes of a...

.