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Robert A. Heinlein

From Academic Kids

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Heinlein autographing at the 1976 Worldcon

Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907May 8, 1988) was one of the most influential and controversial authors in the science fiction genre. He became the first science fiction writer to break into major general magazines in the late 1940s with true, undisguised science fiction, and the first bestselling novel-length science fiction in the 1960s. For many years he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the Big Three of science fiction.

The major themes of Heinlein's work were social: radical individualism, libertarianism, religion, the relationship between physical and emotional love, and speculation about unorthodox family relationships. His iconoclastic beliefs have led to wildly divergent perceptions of him. The novel Stranger in a Strange Land put him in the unexpected role of Pied Piper of the sexual revolution and 1960s counterculture, but he has also been cast as a fascist, based on the contemporaneous Starship Troopers. The English language has absorbed several words from his fiction, including "grok," meaning "to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes part of the observed."

Contents

Life

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Heinlein from the 1929 US Naval Academy yearbook

Heinlein was born on July 7, 1907 to Rex Ivar and Bam Lyle Heinlein, in Butler, Missouri. His father was an accountant. His childhood was spent in Kansas City, Missouri, where the family of seven lived in a two-bedroom house.Template:Ref The outlook and values of this time and place would influence his later works; however, he would also break with many of its values and social mores, both in his writing and in his personal life. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduated in 1929, and served as an officer in the United States Navy. He married his second wife, Leslyn Macdonald, in 1932. (Little is known about his first marriage.Template:Ref) Leslyn was a political radical, and Isaac Asimov recalled Robert during those years as being, like her, "a flaming liberal."Template:Ref In 1934, Heinlein was discharged from the Navy due to pulmonary tuberculosis. During his long hospitalization he mentally engineered the waterbed, and his description of it in two of his books later made it impossible for others to patent the idea. 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.

After his discharge, Heinlein informally attended a few weeks of graduate classes in mathematics and physics at the University of California, Los Angeles, quitting either because of his health or because of a desire to enter politics, or both.Template:Ref He supported himself working at a series of jobs, including real estate and silver mining. Heinlein was active in Upton Sinclair's socialist EPIC (End Poverty In California) movement in early 1930s California. When Sinclair gained the Democratic nomination for governor of California in 1934, Heinlein worked actively for the campaign (which was unsuccessful). Heinlein himself ran for the California state assembly in 1938, and was also unsuccessful.Template:Ref Heinlein kept his socialist past secret, writing about his political experiences coyly, and usually under the veil of fictionalization. In 1954, he wrote: "...many Americans ... were asserting loudly that McCarthy 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."Template:Ref

While not destitute after the campaign—Heinlein had a small disability pension from the Navy—he turned to writing to pay off his mortgage, and in 1939 his first published story, "Life-Line", was printed in Astounding Magazine. Heinlein rapidly became acknowledged as a leader of the new movement toward "social" science fiction. He began fitting his early published stories into a consistent future history (the chart for which Campbell published in the May 1941 issue of Astounding).

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Robert Heinlein, L. Sprague de Camp, and Isaac Asimov, Philadelphia Navy Yard, 1944.

During World War II he served with the Navy in aeronautical engineering, recruiting the young Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp to work directly for the Naval Aircraft Factory. As the war wore down in 1945, he began reevaluating his career. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the outbreak of the Cold War galvanized him to write nonfiction on political topics, and he wanted to break into better-paying markets. He published four influential stories for the Saturday Evening Post, leading off with "The Green Hills of Earth" in February 1947, which made him the first science fiction writer to break out of the pulp ghetto. Destination Moon, the documentary-like film for which he had written story, scenario, and script, and invented many of the effects, won an Academy Award for special effects. He also embarked on a series of juvenile novels for Scribner's that was to last through the 1950s. Heinlein was divorced from his wife Leslyn in 1947, and in 1948 married his third wife, Virginia "Ginny" Gerstenfeld, who probably served as a model for many of his brainy and independent female characters. In 1953-1954, the Heinleins took a trip around the world, which Heinlein described in Tramp Royale, and which also provided background material for science fiction novels such as Podkayne of Mars that were set aboard spaceships.

Heinlein's juvenile novels may have turned out to be the most important work he ever did, building an audience of scientifically and socially-aware adults. He had used topical materials throughout his series, but his juvenile for 1959, Starship Troopers, was regarded by the Scribner's editorial staff as too controversial for their prestige line and was rejected summarily. Heinlein felt himself released from the constraints of writing for children and began to write "my own stuff, my own way," and came out with a series of challenging books that redrew the boundaries of science fiction, including Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), which is his best-known work, and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966), which many regard as his finest novel.

Beginning in 1970, however, Heinlein had a series of health crises, punctuated by strenuous work. The decade began with a life-threatening attack of peritonitis, recovery from which required more than two years. But as soon as he was well enough to write, he began work on Time Enough for Love (1973). In the mid-1970's he wrote two Encyclopedia Britannica articles.Template:Ref He and his wife Virginia crisscrossed the country helping to reorganize blood collection in the U.S., and he was guest of honor at a World Science Fiction Convention for the third time at Kansas City in 1976. He became exhausted, his health began declining again, and he had one of the earliest heart bypass operations in 1978. Asked to appear before a Joint Committee of the U.S. House and Senate that year, he testified on his belief that spinoffs from space technology were benefitting the infirm and the elderly. His brush with death re-energized Heinlein, and he wrote five novels from 1980 until he passed away in his sleep on May 8, 1988, as he was putting together the early notes for his sixth World As Myth novel. Several of his works have been published posthumously.Template:Ref

Works

Early work, 1939–1960

Heinlein's first novel, For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs, was written in 1939 and not published until 64 years later, after a copy was discovered in the garage of Michael Hunter, who had been assigned to write about Heinlein as a student. Although a failure as a novel, being little more than a disguised lecture on Heinlein's social theories, it is intriguing as a window into the development of Heinlein's radical ideas about man as a social animal, including free love. 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; nudism and body taboos are frequently discussed in his work. At the height of the cold war, he built a bomb shelter under his house, like the one featured in Farnham's Freehold.)

After For Us, The Living, he began writing novels and short stories set in a consistent future history, complete with a timeline of significant political, cultural, and technological changes. Heinlein's first published novel, Rocket Ship Galileo, was initially rejected because going to the moon was considered too far out, but he soon found a publisher, Scribners, that began publishing a Heinlein juvenile once a year for the Christmas season.Template:Ref Some representative novels of this type are Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Farmer in the Sky, and Starman Jones. Template:Ref There has been speculation that his intense obsession with his privacyTemplate:Ref 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 he wrote for a young audience are a fascinating 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 experience. His protagonists are usually very intelligent teenagers who have to make a way in the adult society they see around them. On the surface, they are simple tales of adventure, achievement, and dealing with dumb teachers and jealous peers.

However, Heinlein was outspoken with editors and publishers (and other writers) on the notion that juvenile readers were far more sophisticated and able to handle complex or difficult themes than most people realized. Thus even his juvenile stories often had a maturity to them that make them readable for adults. Indeed, his last "juvenile" novel was Starship Troopers, which is also probably his most controversial work. Starship Troopers was written in response to unilaterally stopping nuclear testing. Even a relatively innocent book such as Red Planet portrays some very subversive themes, including a revolution by young students modeled on the American Revolution; his editor demanded substantial changes in this book's discussion of topics such as the use of weapons by adolescents and the confused sexuality of the Martian character.

Many readers may not realize that some of Heinlein's apparently clichd ideas, such as the voyage to the moon in Rocket Ship Galileo, were considered surprising at the time, and in fact helped to create the clichs in the first place. Another good example from this period is The Puppet Masters, which originated the idea of aliens taking over humans' bodies, as in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Mature work, 1961–1973

From about 1961 (Stranger in a Strange Land) to 1973 (Time Enough for Love) Heinlein wrote his most characteristic and fully developed novels. His work during this floruit explored his most important themes, such as individualism, libertarianism, and physical and emotional love. To some extent, the apparent discrepancy between these works and the more nave themes of his earlier novels can be attributed to his own perception, which was probably correct, that readers and publishers in the 1950s were not yet ready for some of his more radical ideas. He did not publish Stranger in a Strange Land until long after it was written, and the themes of free love and radical individualism are prominently featured in his long-unpublished first novel, For Us, the Living.Template:Ref

Although Heinlein had previously written a few short stories in the fantasy genre, during this period he wrote his first fantasy novel, Glory Road, and in Stranger in a Strange Land and I Will Fear No Evil, he began to mix hard science with fantasy, mysticism, and satire of organized religion.

Later work, 1980–1987

After a seven-year hiatus brought on by poor health, Heinlein produced a number of new novels in the period from 1980 (The Number of the Beast) to 1987 (To Sail Beyond the Sunset). These novels are controversial among his readers. Some feel that many of them were not up to the quality of his earlier work. The books sold well, however, and won a number of awards; many readers believe that those who criticize them are missing their irony and self-conscious parodying of both science fiction and literature in general.

Some of these books, such as The Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, start out as tightly constructed adventure stories, but devolve into philosophical fantasias at the end. It is a matter of opinion whether this demonstrates a lack of craftsmanship or a conscious effort to expand the boundaries of science fiction into a kind of magical realism, continuing the process of literary exploration that he had begun with Stranger in a Strange Land.

The tendency toward authorial self-referentialism 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 all of Heinlein's strong female characters, appears to be based closely on his wife Ginny. The self-parodying element of these books keeps them from bogging down by taking themselves too seriously, but may also fail to evoke the desired effect in readers who are not familiar with Heinlein's earlier novels.

Ideas, themes, and influence

Politics

Heinlein's writing may appear to have oscillated wildly across the political spectrum. His first novel, For Us, The Living, consists largely of speeches advocating the social credit system, and the early story "Misfit" deals with an organization which seems to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps translated into outer space. Stranger in a Strange Land was embraced by the hippie counterculture, and Glory Road can be read as an antiwar piece, while Starship Troopers has been deemed militaristic, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset, published during the Reagan administration, is stridently right-wing, with, e.g., the sympathetically portrayed first-person character referring to illegal immigrants as "wetbacks."

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Starship Troopers cover

There are, however, certain threads in Heinlein's political thought that remain constant. A strong current of libertarianism runs through his work, as expressed most eloquently in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. His early juvenile novels often contain a surprisingly strong antiauthoritarian message, as in his first published novel Rocket Ship Galileo, which has a group of boys blasting off in a rocket ship in defiance of a court order. In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, the unjust Lunar Authority that controls the lunar colony is usually referred to simply as "Authority," which leads to an obvious interpretation of the book as a parable for the evils of authority in general, rather than the evils of one particular authority.

In contrast to the Christian right, Heinlein was opposed to any encroachment of religion into government, and pilloried organized religion in Job, A Comedy of Justice, and, with more subtlety and ambivalence, in Stranger in a Strange Land. His future history includes a period called the Interregnum, in which a backwoods revivalist becomes dictator of the United States. Positive descriptions of the military (Between Planets, Red Planet, Starship Troopers) tend to emphasize the individual actions of volunteers in the spirit of the Minutemen, while the draft and the military as an extension of government are portrayed with skepticism in Time Enough for Love and Glory Road.

Despite Heinlein's work with the socialist EPIC and social credit movements in his early life, he was an ardent lifelong anticommunist. In the political world of the 1930s, there was no perceived contradiction between being a socialist and being passionately anticommunist. Heinlein's nonfiction includes "Who are the heirs of Patrick Henry?," an anticommunist polemic, published as an ad, and articles such as "'Pravda' Means 'Truth'" and "Inside Intourist," in which he recounts his visit to the U.S.S.R. and advises western readers on how to evade official supervision on such a trip.

Many of Heinlein's stories explicitly spell out a view of history which could be compared to Marx's: social structures are dictated by the materialistic environment. Heinlein would perhaps have been more comfortable with a comparison with Turner's frontier thesis. In Red Planet, Doctor MacRae links attempts at gun control to the increase in population density on Mars. (This discussion was edited out of the original version of the book at the insistence of the publisher.) In Farmer in the Sky, overpopulation of Earth has led to hunger, but emigration to Ganymede only provides a "life insurance policy" for the species as a whole; Heinlein puts a lecture in the mouth of one of his characters toward the end of the book in which it is explained that the mathematical logic of Malthusianism can lead only to disaster for the home planet. A subplot in Time Enough for Love involves demands by farmers upon Lazarus Long's bank, which Heinlein portrays as the inevitable tendency of a pioneer society evolving into a more dense (and, by implication, more decadent and less free) society. This episode is an interesting example of Heinlein's tendency (in opposition to Marx) to view history as cyclical rather than progressive. Another good example of this is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in which a revolution deposes the Authority, but immediately thereafter, the new government falls prey to the inevitable tendency to legislate people's personal lives, despite the attempts of one of the characters, who describes himself as a "rational anarchist."

Race

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The cover of this edition of the book portrays Friday as white, although it is revealed late in the novel that she is dark-skinned.

Heinlein grew up in the era of racial segregation in the United States and wrote some of his most influential fiction at the height of the U.S. civil rights movement. Race was sometimes an important topic in his work. The most prominent example is Farnham's Freehold, which casts a white family into a future in which white people are the slaves of African rulers. Heinlein enjoyed challenging his readers' possible racial stereotypes by introducing strong, sympathetic characters, only to reveal much later that they were of African descent, e.g., in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Tunnel in the Sky,Template:Ref and Friday. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Podkayne of Mars both contain incidents of racial prejudice or injustice against their protagonists.Template:Ref In the context of science fiction before the 1960s, the mere existence of dark-skinned characters is a remarkable novelty; in the science fiction genre of that era, green occurred more often than brown. Heinlein repeatedly denounces racism in his non-fiction works, including numerous examples in Expanded Universe.

Asian civilization is sometimes treated negatively in Heinlein's work, as in his 1949 novel Sixth Column, in which the U.S. defends itself against invasion using a ray that only kills people with "asiatic blood"; the idea for the story was pushed on Heinlein by editor John W. Campbell, and Heinlein wrote later that he was embarrassed by it.Template:Ref Tunnel in the Sky and Farmer in the Sky both contain negative depictions of overpopulation in Asia. Some readers may mistake Heinlein's dislike of communist China for a dislike of Asians.Template:Ref Heinlein did include sympathetic Asian characters in several of his stories.Template:Ref

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Methuselah's Children
It is interesting, although perhaps risky, to interpret some of the alien species in Heinlein's fiction in terms of an allegorical representation of human races. Double Star, Red Planet, and Stranger in a Strange Land all deal with tolerance and understanding between humans and Martians. Several of his stories, such as "Jerry Was a Man", The Star Beast, and Red Planet, involve the idea of nonhumans who are incorrectly judged as being less than human. Although it has been suggested that the strongly hierarchical and anti-individualistic "bugs" in Starship Troopers were meant to represent the Chinese or Japanese, Heinlein wrote the book in response to the unilateral ending of nuclear testing by the U.S., so it is more likely that they were intended to represent communism. The slugs in The Puppet Masters are likewise clearly and explicitly identified as metaphors for communism. A problem with interpreting aliens as stand-ins for races of Homo sapiens is that Heinlein's aliens generally occupy an entirely different mental world than humans. For example, Methuselah's Children depicts two alien races: the Jockaira are sentient domesticated animals ruled by a second, godlike species. In his early juveniles, the Martians and Venerians are depicted as ancient, wise races who seldom deign to interfere in human affairs.

Individualism and self-determination

Many of Heinlein's novels are stories of revolts against political oppression, e.g.,

  • Residents of a Lunar penal colony, aided by a self-aware computer, rebel against the Warden and Lunar Authority (and eventually Earth) in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • Colonists rebel against Earth in Between Planets and Red Planet.
  • Secularists overthrow a religious dictatorship in "If This Goes On—".

But in keeping with his belief in individualism, his more sophisticated work for adults often portrays both the oppressors and the oppressed with considerable ambiguity. In Farnham's Freehold, the protagonist's son allows himself to be castrated in order to gain security. In The Star Beast and Glory Road, absolute monarchs are depicted positively. In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, prerevolutionary life under the Lunar Authority is portrayed as a kind of anarchist or libertarian utopia; projections of economic disaster are the only justification for the revolution, which brings with it the evils of republican government. Novels such as Stranger in a Strange Land and Friday revolve around individuals' rebellions against oppression by society rather than by government. The common thread, then, is the struggle for self-determination of individuals, rather than of nations. The ability of the individual to create himself is explored deeply in stories such as I Will Fear No Evil, and "All_You_Zombies". We are invited to wonder, what would humanity be if we shaped customs to our benefit, and not the other way around? In Heinlein's view, as outlined in For Us, the Living, humanity would not only be happier, but perceptually, behaviorally, and morally aligned with reality.

Philosophy

In his book To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Heinlein has the main character, Maureen, state that the purpose of metaphysics 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 for metaphysics, but answering them is not, because once you answer them, you cross the line into religion. Maureen does not state a reason for this; she simply remarks that such questions are "beautiful" but lack answers. The implication seems to be as follows: because (as Heinlein held) deductive reasoning is strictly tautological and because inductive reasoning is always subject to doubt, the only source of reliable "answers" to such questions is direct experience—which we don't have. Maureen's son/lover Lazarus Long makes a related remark in Time Enough For Love. 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's General Semantics and attended a number of seminars on the subject. His views on epistemology seem to have flowed from that interest, and (some of) his fictional characters continue to express Korzybskian views to the very end of his writing career. He was also strongly affected by the religious philosopher P.D. Ouspensky.Template:Ref

Influence

Heinlein is usually identified, along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, as one of the three masters of science fiction to arise in the so-called Golden Age of science fiction, associated with John W. Campbell, and his magazine Astounding Science Fiction. However, in the 1950s he was a leader in bringing science fiction out of the low-paying and less prestigious pulp ghetto.

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Heinlein crater on Mars.

He was at the top of his form during, and himself helped to initiate, the trend toward social science fiction, which went along with a general maturing of the genre away from space opera to a more literary approach touching on such adult issues as politics and sexuality. In reaction to this trend, hard science fiction began to be distinguished as a separate subgenre, but paradoxically Heinlein is also considered a seminal figure in hard SF as well, due to his extensive knowledge of engineering, and the careful scientific research demonstrated in his stories. He was awarded five Nebula awards and seven Hugos.

Outside the science fiction community, several words coined by Heinlein have passed into common English usage: waldo, TANSTAAFL, and grok. He was influential in making space exploration seem to the public more like a practical possibility. His stories in publications such as the Saturday Evening Post took a matter-of-fact approach to their outer-space setting, rather than the "gee whiz" tone that had previously been common. Many of the astronauts and others working in the U.S. space program grew up on a diet of the Heinlein juveniles, as shown by the naming of a crater on Mars after him, and a tribute interspersed by the Apollo 15 astronauts into their radio conversations while on the moon.Template:Ref

Bibliography

Heinlein's fictional works can be found in the library under Library of Congress PS3515.E288, or under Dewey 813.54.

Known pseudonyms include Anson MacDonald, Lyle Monroe, John Riverside, Caleb Saunders, and Simon York.Template:Ref

Novels

Novels marked with an * are generally considered juvenile novels, although some works defy easy categorization.

Early Heinlein novels

Mature Heinlein novels

Late Heinlein novels

Short fiction

"Future History" short fiction

Other short fiction

Collections

Nonfiction

Spinoffs

Filmography

See also: List of Robert Heinlein characters

External links

Template:Wikiquote

Notes

  1. Template:Note http://members.aol.com/agplusone/robert_a._heinlein_a_biogr.htm
  2. Template:Note Heinlein's biography, as given on the Heinlein Society web site, endorsed by his estate, says about his first wife, "We do know her name and other information on her life (we helped track down her and her fate) but are withholding it until Bill Patterson presents the material in his upcoming biography on Heinlein (so don't ask, we won't tell)." See also the biography at the end of For Us, the Living, 2004 edition, p. 261.
  3. Template:Note Isaac Asimov, I, Asimov
  4. Template:Note Afterword to For Us, the Living, 2004 edition, p. 245.
  5. Template:Note Heinlein was running as a left-wing Democrat in a conservative district, and never made it past the Democratic primary because of trickery by his Republican opponent (afterword to For Us, the Living, 2004 edition, p. 247). Also, an unfortunate juxtaposition of events had Konrad Henlein making headlines in the Sudetenlands.
  6. Template:Note Tramp Royale, 1992, uncorrected proof, ISBN 0-441-82184-7, p. 62
  7. Template:Note On Paul Dirac and antimatter, and on blood chemistry. A version of the former, titled "Paul Dirac, Antimatter, and You," was published in the anthology Expanded Universe, and demonstrates both Heinlein's skill as a popularizer and his lack of depth in physics; an afterword gives a normalization equation and presents it, incorrectly as being the Dirac equation.
  8. Template:Note An experimental novelization of an outline and notes created by Heinlein in 1958 is now being written by Spider Robinson. His posthumously published nonfiction includes a selection of letters edited by his wife, Virginia, his book on practical politics written in 1946, a travelogue of their first around-the-world tour in 1954. Podkayne of Mars and Red Planet, which were edited against his wishes in their original release, have been reissued in restored editions. Stranger In a Strange Land was originally published in a shorter form, but both the long and short versions are now simultaneously available in print.
  9. Template:Note Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe, foreword to Free Men, p. 207 of Ace paperback edition.
  10. Template:Note Many of these were first published in serial form under other titles, e.g., Farmer in the Sky was published as "Satellite Scout" in the Boy Scout magazine Boy's Life.
  11. Template:Note The importance Heinlein attached to privacy was made clear in his fiction (e.g., For Us, the Living), but also in several well known examples from his life. He had a falling out with Alexei Panshin, who wrote an important book analyzing Heinlein's fiction; Heinlein stopped cooperating with Panshin because he accused Panshin of "[attempting to] pry into his affairs and to violate his privacy." Heinlein wrote to Panshin's publisher threatening to sue, and stating, "You are warned that only the barest facts of my private life are public knowledge...." [1] (http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/StoryHiD/HiDF.htm). In his 1961 speech at WorldCon, where he was guest of honor, he advocated building bomb shelters and caching away unregistered weapons,[2] (http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/Perry/perryA.htm) and his own house in Colorado Springs included a bomb shelter.[3] (http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/FAQrah.html) Heinlein was a nudist, and built a fence around his house in Santa Cruz to keep out the counterculture types who had learned of his ideas through Stranger in a Strange Land [4] (http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/FAQrah.html). In his later life, Heinlein studiously avoided revealing the story of his early involvement in left-wing politics,[5] (http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/Perry/perryA.htm), and made strenuous efforts to block publication of information he had revealed to prospective biographer Sam Moskowitz.[6] (http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/Perry/perryA.htm)
  12. Template:Note The story that Stranger in a Strange Land was used as inspiration by Charles Manson appears to be an urban folk tale; although some of Manson's followers had read the book, Manson himself later said that he had not. It is true that other individuals formed a quasi-religious organization called the Church Of All Worlds, after the religion founded by the primary characters in Stranger, but Heinlein had nothing to do with this, either, so far as is known. (see http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/faqworks.html)
  13. Template:Note The reference in Tunnel in the Sky is subtle and ambiguous, but at least one college instructor who teaches the book reports that some students always ask, "Is he black?" (see [7] (http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/faqworks.html)). The Cat Who Walks Through Walls was published with a dust jacket painting showing the protagonist as pale-skinned, although the book clearly states that he is dark-skinned; this was also true of the paperback release of Friday.
  14. Template:Note The Moon is a Harsh Mistress includes an incident in which the protagonist visits the Southern U.S., and is briefly jailed for polygamy, later learning that the "...range of color in Davis family was what got judge angry enough..." to have him arrested. Podkayne of Mars deals briefly with racial prejudice against the protagonist due to her mixed-race ancestry.
  15. Template:Note Heinlein later wrote that he had "had to reslant it to remove racist aspects of the original story line" and that he did not "consider it to be an artistic success." Robert A. Heinlein, Expanded Universe, foreword to Solution Unsatisfactory, p. 93 of Ace paperback edition.
  16. Template:Note Sixth Column concentrates more on the Japanese, and was first serialized in 1941, the year of the Pearl Harbor attack, although it was not published in book form until 1949, the year of the revolution in China. Tunnel in the Sky and Farmer in the Sky were both written after the revolution.
  17. Template:Note The protagonist in Starship Troopers is Filipino, and "Tiger" Kondo in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is a cameo appearance by Yoji Kondo, a NASA scientist of Heinlein's acquaintance who also edited the tribute volume Requiem. A Japanese-American character plays a pivotal role in Sixth Column.
  18. Template:Note http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahfaq.html
  19. Template:Note http://members.aol.com/agplusone/robert_a._heinlein_a_biogr.htm
  20. Template:Note http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/a15.clsout3.html#1675120

References

Critical

A critique of Heinlein from a Marxist perspective. Somewhat out of date, since Franklin was not aware of Heinlein's work with EPIC_Movement. Includes a biographical chapter, which incorporates some original research on Heinlein's family background, but contains many of the same omissions and inaccuracies as other 20th-century bios of Heinlein.
A comprehensive bibliography, with roughly one page of commentary on each of Heinlein's works.

Biographical

  • Robert A. Heinlein. 2004. For Us, the Living. New York: Scribner. ISBN 074325998X.
Includes an introduction by Spider Robinson, an afterword by Robert H. James with a long biography, and a shorter biographical sketch.
A lengthy essay that treats Heinlein's own autobiographical statements with skepticism.
  • The Heinlein Society (http://www.heinleinsociety.org/) and their FAQ (http://www.heinleinsociety.org/rah/faqworks.html). Retrieved May 30, 2005.
Contains a shorter version of the Pattersion bio.
  • 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.
  • Robert A. Heinlein. 1980. Expanded Universe. New York: Ace. ISBN 0441218881 .
Autobiographical notes are interspersed in the anthology.
Reprinted by Baen, hardcover October 2003, ISBN 0743471598
Reprinted by Baen, paperback July 2005, ISBN 0743499158
Electronic edition available at: webscription.net (http://www.webscription.net/baen/order_singles.asp?filter=Robert%20A.%20Heinlein) (not free)bg:Робърт Хайнлайн

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