Sunday, March 8, 1970

Author - Heinlein, Robert A.

Birth: July 7, 1907.

Death: May 8, 1988.

Comments: Robert A. Heinlein was one of the "Big Three" of science fiction along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. He is also one of the most polarizing figures in science fiction, mostly as a result of the book Starship Troopers, but also because of books like Stranger in a Strange Land and Friday. Heinlein graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929, and served in the U.S. Navy until 1934 when he was discharged for pulmonary tuberculosis. After trying his hand at several occupations, including a turn as a silver miner and a run for the California State Assembly in 1938 as part of Upton Sinclair's socialist political movement, he turned to writing as a means of making money to supplement his Navy pension. Heinlein quickly became one of the most prominent authors in the science fiction field. Heinlein was so prolific as a short story writer that he adopted several pen names - Anson MacDonald, Lyle Monroe, John Riverside, Caleb Saunders, Simon York - at least in part so that pulp magazines could avoid the embarrassment of having every story in their pages under the same byline.

During World War II, Heinlein worked for the Navy as an engineer, recruiting Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp to work with him (apparently he also wanted Murray Leinster to join his working group, but the Navy refused, citing Leinster's lack of formal education). Following the war, Heinlein continued writing science fiction, and began writing for Boys' Life as well, which led to his writing the work that he is probably most popular for: The Heinlein juveniles, including Red Planet, Between Planets (which was later published in Boys' Life in the form of a serialized cartoon), Farmer in the Sky (serialized in Boys' Life as well), Have Spacesuit - Will Travel, Citizen of the Galaxy, and several others. His run of juvenile-aimed science fiction ended when his publisher refused to publish Starship Troopers and he found another publisher who would. He then produced the counterculture classic Stranger in a Strange Land and eventually went on to write a number of works with political and eventually sexual themes.

Heinlein is one of the most honored writers in science fiction. He won numerous Hugo and Nebula awards, including four Hugo awards for Best Novel (for Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress). A lot of fans associate Heinlein with various political ideologies ranging from libertarianism (based upon works like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress) to fascism (based upon works like Starship Troopers). His actual political activity seems to have been much more mixed than any of the labels people want to slap on him, and he probably would have found many of the "fans" who espouse ideologies in his name to be somewhat distasteful.

Heinlein was married three times. He married Eleanor Curry in 1929, although that marriage ended quite quickly. He married Leslyn Macdonald in 1932, but they divorced in 1947. In 1948 Heinlein married Virginia "Ginny" Gerstenfeld, and from that point forward his books featured feisty red-haired female characters. During the 1970s Heinlein began having health troubles, and there have been some rumors that Ginny assisted substantially in the writing of some of the books he produced in that time period. Heinlein and Ginny heavily promoted blood donation, and the Heinlein Society still promotes blood drives as a regular feature of science fiction conventions.

My reviews of Robert A. Heinlein's books:
Double Star
The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
For Us, the Living
Variable Star (with Spider Robinson)

Other books by Robert A. Heinlein that I have read but not reviewed:
Assignment in Eternity
Between Planets
Beyond This Horizon
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
Citizen of the Galaxy
The Day After Tomorrow
The Door into Summer
Expanded Universe
Farmer in the Sky
Farnham's Freehold
For Us, the Living
Glory Road
The Green Hills of Earth
Grumbles from the Grave
Have Space Suit - Will Travel
I Will Fear No Evil
Job: A Comedy of Justice
The Man Who Sold the Moon
The Menace from Earth
Methuselah's Children
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Number of the Beast
Orphans of the Sky
The Past Through Tomorrow
Podkayne of Mars
The Puppet Masters
Red Planet
Revolt in 2100
Rocket Ship Galileo
The Rolling Stones
Sixth Column
Space Cadet
The Star Beast
Starman Jones
Starship Troopers
Stranger in a Strange Land
Time Enough for Love
Time for the Stars
To Sail Beyond the Sunset
Tomorrow, the Stars
Tramp Royale
Tunnel in the Sky
Universe (double novel with Dean Ing's Silent Thunder)
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag
Waldo & Magic, Inc.
The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein

Short fiction by Robert A. Heinlein appearing in works that I have reviewed:
'-All You Zombies-' found in The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
'-And He Built a Crooked House-' found in The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
The Man Who Traveled in Elephants found in The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
Our Fair City found in The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag found in The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein

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