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Robert A Heinlein

Robert A Heinlein was one of the most influential and controversial science fiction authors of the 20th Century. Incredibly popular, he set very high standards of literary quality and scientific plausibility and he was one of the first writers of his genre to break into the mainstream market.

Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and Robert A Heinlein were known as the "big three" of science fiction and even today, more than 20 years after his death (1988) his influence is still seen in the science fiction genre.

Robert A Heinlein integrated recognisable social themes into much of his writing, self-reliance and individual liberty, the influence of religion on culture and government and the relationship between emotional and physical love. He was never afraid to push the boundary's of acceptability and courted controversy with tales of sexual revolution, polyamory (Stranger in a strange land) and fascist militarism (Starship Troopers), although his iconoclastic approach has led to many divergent and alternative interpretations and in many cases contradictory labels on his works.

Such was Robert A Heinlein's influence that after the publication of his most (in)famous novel - Stranger in a Strange Land, a religion was formed (Church of all worlds) from the religion of the primary characters within the novel. It's difficult to imagine many people who have had that level of influence. Stranger in a Strange Land was originally edited with 60,000 words removed as being considered too shocking at the time (1961). Many argue that this edited version is a better novel than the full un-cut version (released in 1991).

Robert A Heinlein has won a total of 7 Hugo Awards (three retrospectively), he was the very first "Grand Master" of the Science Fiction Writers of America and many of his written concepts have since become science fact. The concepts include the Automatic Light switch (from the novel The Man who sold the Moon), Electric Hand Dryers (from the novel Coventry), Mobile Phones (From Space Cadet and Assignment with Eternity) and Screensavers (Stranger in a strange land).

In his life time he has published 32 novels, 59 short stories and 16 collections. Four films, two TV series and several Radio broadcasts have been made from his literature.

Review by Phil Wing

I stumbled across your site as I was doing some more research on Iain Banks as I have first editions of all of his works. I was looking round the rest of your site and was just reading you Robert Heinlein reviews. Methusalahs Children was the second Lazarus Long book after Time Enough For Love which is an epic tale covering hundreds of years (and pages). It introduces the whole of the original history of Long and the family, and is a masterpiece. I picked up Methusalehs Children as part of a double book set including Revolution which is the follow up to Stranger in a Strange Land, another masterpiece. Stranger was to be made in to a movie with Tom Hanks in the lead and whilst not really a Lazarus Long story you can see some of the Long character in it. If you want a brilliantly witty Heinleing book then try Job: A comedy of errors. It's a re-telling of the Bibles book of Job but with Heinleins excellent sense of mischief and desire to re-examine his religious beliefs.
- Phil Wing, London


    • Rocket Ship Galileo (1947)
    • Beyond This Horizon (1948)
    • Space Cadet (1948)
    • Red Planet (1949)
    • Sixth Column (1949)
    • Farmer in the Sky (1950)
    • Between Planets (1951)
    • The Puppet Masters (1951)
    • The Rolling Stones (1952)
    • Starman Jones (1953)
    • The Star Beast (1954)
    • Tunnel in the Sky (1955)
    • Double Star (1956)
    • Time for the Stars (1956)
    • Citizen of the Galaxy (1957)
    • The Door into Summer (1957)
    • Have Space Suit?Will Travel (1958)
    • Methuselah's Children (1958)
    • Starship Troopers (1959)
    • Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
    • Podkayne of Mars (1963)
    • Orphans of the Sky (1963)
    • Glory Road (1963)
    • Farnham's Freehold (1965)
    • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
    • I Will Fear No Evil (1970)
    • Time Enough for Love (1973)
    • The Number of the Beast (1980)
    • Friday (1982)
    • Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)
    • The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)
    • To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987)
    • For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs (2003)
    • Variable Star (2006)
    Short Fiction
    • Life-Line (1939)
    • Let There Be Light (1940)
    • And He Built a Crooked House (1940)
    • Misfit 1939)
    • The Roads Must Roll (1940)
    • Requiem (1940)
    • If This Goes On (1940)
    • Coventry (1940)
    • Blowups Happen (1940)
    • Magic, Inc. (1940)
    • Solution Unsatisfactory (1940)
    • Let There Be Light (1940)
    • Successful Operation (1940)
    • They (1941)
    • And He Built a Crooked House (1941)
    • By His Bootstraps (1941)
    • Lost Legacy (1941)
    • Elsewhen (1941)
    • Beyond Doubt (1941)
    • Universe (1941)
    • We Also Walk Dogs (1941)
    • Common Sense (1941)
    • Methuselah's Children (1941)
    • Logic of Empire (1941)
    • The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (1942)
    • Waldo (1942)
    • My Object All Sublime (1942)
    • Goldfish Bowl (1942)
    • Pied Piper (1942)
    • Free Men (1946)
    • Jerry Was a Man (1947)
    • Columbus Was a Dope (1947)
    • On the Slopes of Vesuvius (1947)
    • Space Jockey 1947)
    • It's Great to Be Back! (1947)
    • The Green Hills of Earth (1947)
    • Ordeal in Space (1948)
    • The Long Watch (1948)
    • Gentlemen, Be Seated! (1948)
    • The Black Pits of Luna (1948)
    • Our Fair City (1948)
    • Gulf (1949)
    • Nothing Ever Happens on the Moon (1949)
    • Delilah and the Space Rigger (1949)
    • Destination Moon 1950)
    • The Man Who Sold the Moon (1951)
    • The Year of the Jackpot (1952)
    • Project Nightmare (1953)
    • Sky Lift (1953)
    • Tenderfoot in Space (1956)
    • The Man Who Traveled in Elephants (1957)
    • The Menace From Earth (1957)
    • All You Zombies (1959)
    • Searchlight (1962)
    • The Man Who Sold the Moon (1950)
    • Waldo & Magic, Inc. (1950)
    • The Green Hills of Earth (1951)
    • Assignment in Eternity (1953)
    • Revolt in 2100 (1953)
    • The Robert Heinlein Omnibus (1958)
    • The Menace From Earth (1959)
    • The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (1959)
    • Three by Heinlein (1965)
    • A Robert Heinlein Omnibus (1966)
    • The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein (1966)
    • The Past Through Tomorrow (1967)
    • The Best of Robert A. Heinlein (1973)
    • Expanded Universe (1980)
    • A Heinlein Trio (1980)
    • The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein (1999)
    • Infinite Possibilities (2003)
    • To the Stars (2004)
    • Off the Main Sequence (2005)
    • Four Frontiers (2005)
    • Outward Bound (2006)
Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.
- Kurt Vonnegut

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The Man who never was