The Writer's Almanac...
It's the birthday of "the dean of science fiction writers," Robert Heinlein, born in Butler, Missouri, in 1907. He served in the Navy, but when he got sick and was discharged, he was too weak to get a normal job. So when he saw an ad in a pulp fiction magazine offering $50 for the best story by an unpublished author, he decided to give writing a try. In four days, he had finished a story about a machine that could predict a person's death. It was published in 1939, and he went on to write almost 100 novels and short stories, including his famous novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961).
Heinlein said: "I took up writing because I needed money. And I continued to write because it's safer than stealing and easier than working."
Notable Names Database (NNDB) offered...
Regarded as the most influential writer of modern science fiction, author Robert Heinlein is ranked as one of the four luminaries of the Golden Age of science fiction, along with Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, and A. E. van Vogt. He is also credited with evolving science fiction as a genre from the gee-whiz gadgetry obsessions of Hugo Gernsback and the testosterone soaked pulp fiction of Robert E. Howard into an impressively diverse and sophisticated literature. Under the influence of Heinlein science fiction became a recognized vehicle for exploring major themes of human existence and for describing not just new technologies, but whole new realities, all while telling gripping tales of mystery, romance, and adventure. Even the idea of creating "future histories" and laying out the political, technological, and historical development of peoples and worlds (i.e. "world building") -- as a prelude to writing the novels and short stories to be set there -- had its start with Robert Heinlein. In all of the above, Heinlein set the new standard and other writers strove to follow.
But Heinlein's influence was hardly limited to the genre of science fiction, or to his fellow writers. He also managed to insert himself into mainstream popular culture -- influencing language ("waldo" and "grok"), politics, sexuality, and even spirituality. His 1962 Hugo-winning Stranger in a Strange Land was not only a kind of guidance manual for the 1960s free love counterculture but it actually spawned a number of imitative churches. To a lesser but no less noteworthy extent his 1966 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is credited with drawing many young people to Libertarianism and to the Libertarian party itself.
Although Robert Heinlein was actually most prolific, and perhaps most influential upon the genre of science fiction, with his short fiction, he was also the first science fiction author to produce a best selling novel. Other long works of note include the Hugo Award winners Double Star (1956) and Starship Troopers (1959) as well as the thought provoking Methuselah's Children (1958), and Time Enough For Love (1973). Another groundbreaking novel I Will Fear No Evil (1970) is noteworthy for it's daring exploration of transexualism. Farnham's Freehold (1965), which deals with the futuristic racial oppression of white Americans by cannibalistic black Muslims, is considered by some to be one of the most controversial novels in the genre of science fiction. Finally, "For Us, the Living" (2004) was so scandalously racy that when Heinlein first sought publication for it in 1939, the book was deemed unpublishable. (Note that even if the book had been published at that time, it would have been illegal to ship it through the U.S. mail.)
Born in 1907 to Bam Lyle and Rex Ivar Heinlein in Butler, Missouri, Robert Anson Heinlein was the third of seven children. In 1910, when he was only a small child, the buzz over the approaching Halley's Comet sparked his interest in astronomy. By the time the young Heinlein had entered Kansas City's Central High School, in 1920, he had already read every astronomy book in the Kansas City Public Library. Similarly, by the age of 16 he had read every science fiction book he could get his hands on. Like many others of his age and era he devoured Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, Olaf Stapledon, and of course the Tom Swift books. But the greatest impact on the young Heinlein may have come from the works of H. G. Wells, whose urging to "domesticate the impossible hypothesis" would later form the backbone of Heinlein's own fiction, allowing him to depict alternative realities with conviction and believability.
Nonetheless, despite his interest in the stars and in science fiction, by the time Heinlein graduated high school in 1924, his burning ambition was to become a Naval Officer. Unfortunately for him, older brother Rex Heinlein had already entered the Naval Academy and regulations strongly discouraged having more than one family member enrolled at a time. So the pragmatic younger Heinlein enrolled himself instead at Kansas City Community College -- while he began an ambitious letter writing campaign. That year senator James A. Reed received a total of 100 letters requesting appointment to Annapolis; fully half of these were from one young man, Robert Anson Heinlein. Heinlein was admitted to the Naval Academy at Annapolis in June of 1925.
By 1929 he had graduated with the equivalent of a B.A. in Naval Engineering. He ranked fifth in his class academically, but unfortunately for Heinlein demerits for discipline issues (such as taking off on a self-declared holiday for two weeks) lowered his standing to 20th in his class of 243. Interestingly his records show that he was initially to be a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship, but the entry was crossed out, and no such honor was ever conferred.
Although Heinlein received the rank of Ensign and entered service after graduation, his naval career was soon cut short by a bout of pulmonary tuberculosis; he recovered but was left permanently weakened. Shortly after, he began to experience chronic sea sickness, which further weakened his physical state. He was granted early retirement, with the rank of lieutenant, in 1934. Meanwhile Heinlein had two years earlier married feisty would-be riveter Leslyn MacDonald Heinlein, who may have been the role model for many of his early science fiction heroines. With Leslyn by his side he tempered his need for rest and recuperation, with his efforts to find a new career. They traveled to Colorado where Heinlein tried silver mining, but soon quit the venture when his financial backer was gunned down. He then enrolled at UCLA's graduate school for Advanced Engineering, Mathematics, and Architecture, but left after several weeks.
Then in 1938 his work with EPIC (End Poverty In California), and Socialist politician Upton Sinclair, led Heinlein to consider becoming a politician. He had strong ideals and a lot of powerful notions about the proper relationship between citizen and government (many of them embodied in his posthumously published For Us the Living), but he lost his bid for the 59th District California State Assembly seat to incumbent Republican candidate Charles W. Lyons. He may have lost because the EPIC movement, with which he was associated, was simply losing its following -- but he was not helped by the fact that the wily and more experienced Lyons had cross-filed his name on the Democratic ticket.
It was sometime after the election, as the defeated Heinlein was struggling to scrape by on his meager retirement salary -- while also making payments on a new house -- that he read about a short story contest offered by Thrilling Wonder Stories. A prize of $50 awaited the author of the best short story, and amateurs would be allowed to contribute. Feeling he could surely turn out something as good as the pulp schlock printed in Thrilling Wonder, the determined Heinlein sat down and began writing. But when he was done he found he had surpassed his goal. The story, "Life Line", seemed too good for the likes of Thrilling Wonder. Instead he decided to send it off to the better caliber Astounding Science Fiction, where he met success at last. Not only did editor John W. Campbell Jr. publish the story (it appeared in August, 1939), but also he paid Heinlein a handsome $70. Furthermore, he saw Heinlein as being just the sort of writer he had been looking for -- someone with the imagination, talent, and class to take science fiction stories to the next level -- and he encouraged him to write more.
Over the next 10 years Campbell published most of Heinlein's work (including longer, serialized works, such as Methuselah's Children). In fact, at one point, so much of Robert Heinlein's fiction filled the magazine that Campbell had to print some of the stories under aliases. Among the more noteworthy stories from this period include "Solution Unsatisfactory" (May 1941), which foreshadowed the nuclear stalemate; "By His Bootstraps" (October 1941), a story which is still considered one of the most ingenious of all time travel tales; and "Universe" (May 1941), the story that introduced the concept of generation starships.
So rapid and thorough was Heinlein's rise in popularity during this period that in July of 1941 he was the Guest of Honor at the 3rd annual World Science Fiction Convention -- even though his first story had only been published a couple years earlier. (His speech at the convention was entitled "The Discovery of the Future".) Ironically it was in mid-1941 that Heinlein, discouraged over Campbell's rejection of a fairly important story, decided to leave the field. Following on his earlier promise to quit while on top, Heinlein quietly retired to fiddle with his hobbies -- photography and masonry. Fortunately he was soon coaxed back to writing, but in December of 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Heinlein was eager to support the American war effort, but his attempt to re-enlist was denied, due to his myopia and previous health difficulties, but he found work as a civilian engineer at the Naval Air Experiment Center in Philadelphia.
Here he managed to finagle work for writer friends Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp. Although he was trained as a "mechanical engineer specializing in linkages", Heinlein's earlier experience with aircraft on the U.S.S. Lexington geared him toward work in the Navy's aircraft program -- which is where, while working in close proximity with two other of science fiction's most fertile minds, Robert Heinlein hatched the notion that the Navy should branch out into space exploration. He submitted two formal letters on the topic (one of which actually made it all the way to Truman's cabinet), but the proposal was ultimately killed. No one believed that space ships could be launched from seagoing vessels.
Heinlein's interest in spaceflight and his fears of Nazis gaining supremacy on the moon would later find expression in Young Atomic Engineers, finally published in 1947 as Rocket Ship Galileo. (It was incidentally his first book for young people. His second juvenile novel, Space Cadet, would go on to become the inspiration for the 1950s TV series Tom Corbett: Space Cadet.) Ironically these very novels and programs would inspire many of the young people that later peopled the American space program.
Meanwhile, one Heinlein concept the Navy, and other branches of the service, did latch onto was the "waldo". Although it's uncertain whether Heinlein was really the inspiration for the first of these devices, he certainly did furnish their name. Borrowed from a novel finished just before the war, the waldo was "a mechanical agent, such as a gripper arm, controlled by a human limb." The waldo's most important application was in the nuclear industry that sprang up during WWII.
After the war, Heinlein returned full time to writing. And not only did he successfully branch out into the juvenile market (with Rocket Ship Galileo), publishing at least a dozen stories over the next decade, but he also broke into mainstream magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post and Colliers -- an unheard of accomplishment for a science fiction writer. Meanwhile however, Heinlein's relationship with wife Leslyn was deteriorating. She was sinking deeper into alcoholism, possibly further fueled by hereditary schizophrenia. The situation culminated in Heinlein moving out (aided by a young Navy WAVE named Virginia "Ginny" Gerstenfeld) and Leslyn filing for divorce. Strangely the divorce papers show that Heinlein had already been married and divorced prior to the marriage to Leslyn; the identity and fate of the first Mrs. Heinlein have remained a closely guarded secret.
Meanwhile, one year later, Heinlein married Gerstenfeld. Holding B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Psychology from N.Y.U., she had also earned varsity letters in swimming, diving, basketball, and field hockey, and in her spare time she was a competitive skater. She had served three years in the WAVES (she would serve 9 more as a reservist), and had worked as an aviation test engineer -- all of this destining her to inspire a slew of superachiever science fiction heroines. As his wife, she was Heinlein's business manager, secretary, story collaborator, first reader, and -- as his health failed in later life -- his caregiver, helping him pull forth his last novels.
Seeking a quiet spot, far from nuclear targets (other world powers were now racing to build the bomb), the couple relocated to Colorado, where Heinlein designed and built his own home and bomb shelter. The 1950s were to prove a fruitful era for the author: his books were appearing at the rate of three or four a year. But fate had an ironic twist in store for Heinlein. Only a decade after he had built his own personal Farnham's Freehold, NORAD began building its Cheyenne Mountain installation, the number one nuclear target in the United States, practically in his backyard. The bitter icing on the cake was that the Heinleins were forced to admit that a "strange illness" afflicting Ginny for the last several years was actually altitude sickness.
They began to search for a new home and, in the mid 1960s, relocated to Bonny Doon, California, just north of Santa Cruz and on the fringe of a constellation of hippie communes leaking south from San Francisco. Yet little did Heinlein suspect that the 1963 reprint of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land would become a hippie "bible", and a best seller. The novel's protagonist Valentine Michael Smith, an earthling raised by Martians, ultimately evolves into on a Jesus-like persona and starts a new church. The members of "The Church of All Worlds", who live together in a "nest" or commune practice nudity and free love as they seek to grok each other ("to understand, to love, to be one with") and pursue deeper mystical understanding and psychic powers.
The novel's success in the 60s was largely the result of a synchronistic meshing between the ideas and lifestyles depicted in the book and those that were beginning to find prominence in the counter-culture. Eerily, in the 1980s astute Stranger readers noticed the synchronistic similarities between characters and situations in the novel and an unfolding drama in the Reagan Whitehouse. On 11 May 1988 San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen commented on the similarity, saying:
That was an amazing coincidence on the front pages yesterday -- the spread on Nancy Reagan's professional stargazer, S.F.'s Joan Quigley-Wiggly, and the obituary of the great science fiction writer, Robert A. Heinlein, who died in Carmel at the age of 80. In his best-known book, Stranger in a Strange Land, published in 1961, Heinlein writes about the leader of the free world, Joseph E. Douglas, who bases all his decisions on advice his wife receives from her astrologer, a San Francisco woman named Becky Vesant. As if that weren't close enough to the mark -- in fact, Joan Quigley lives VERY close to the Mark -- Heinlein describes the leader of the free world as "a smiling nincompoop." Science fiction indeed.
In another vision of the future, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966) imagines the Earth overrun with a dysfunctional totalitarian socialism while a colony on its moon boasts a society with virtually no government and no taxes. It the lunar culture, social security is replaced by group marriages in which newer members look after their elders. Although many readers took Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land as depicting the wonders of the communal life, there is actually reason to believe Heinlein intended the book more as a warning -- about the dangers of giving up personal power to the group or to a charismatic leader; in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, the message is made larger and bolder to the point of being unmistakable. Large numbers of white middleclass teenage boys, still the biggest demographic of science fiction readers, embraced Heinlein's ideals of personal freedom and minimal governmental control. As a result many of them also joined the Libertarian party.
From the socialism he embraced in the late 1930s to the Libertarianism and conservative Republicanism he embraced in the late 1960s and 70s was a big shift, one which offended those who agreed with the free love socialism in some of his novels. Suddenly, Heinlein was a conservative old fart: his female characters were not believable, and of course his seemingly pro-conservative works were "preachy".
On the surface, many of these complaints seem true. Heinlein's women differ from what we expect of women characters nowadays. Yet it is worth remembering that for roughly three or four decades they were light years ahead what anyone else had imagined for women. Heinlein's fictious women were smart, aggressive, and not ashamed of their sexuality. True, they were generally what Robert Heinlein found appealing in a woman, as opposed to representative of what women thought about themselves. But then Heinlein was fairly disgusted with what most women in the 50s thought about themselves. He thought they should aspire to be more than domestic serfs and housewives.
As for conservative, Heinlein never gave up writing about people with innovative relationships and frank sexuality. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress depicts a matriarchy with multiple mates. In I Will Fear No Evil, a man finds his brain surgically transplanted into a female body and eventually develops romantic relationships with men. Heinlein's personal literary influences had been men like Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, Alfred Korzybski (intellectuals dedicated to breaking out of the mental straitjackets imposed by conservative society), as well as the more mystical Peter D. Ouspensky and others. Heinlein was himself a nudist and a believer in self-determination. He relished living his own individualistic, idiosyncratic life -- and allowing others to do the same.
In 1987 Heinlein abandoned his peculiar self-designed round house in Bonny Doon and moved across the bay to Carmel, where he could have immediate access to medical facilities. On 8 May 1988 he suffered a heart attack during a morning nap. His body was eventually cremated and his ashes scattered over the Pacific from the deck of a warship.
In addition to the legacy of 46 novels and scores of short stories, Robert Heinlein also inspired a number of film and television productions: Destination Moon (1950), Project Moonbase (1953), Ring Around the Moon, The Brain Eaters (1956), Uchu no senshi (the Japanese anime version of Starship Troopers, 1989), Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters (1994), Robert A. Heinlein's Red Planet (1994), Starship Troopers (1997), and Roughnecks: The Starship Trooper Chronicles (2000).
As is appropriate for a man who inspired so many in NASA, Heinlein has been memorialized by the naming of various hunks of space property in his honor. The crew of the Apollo 15 mission acknowledged him during their 1971 mission and named a lunar crater, the Luna Rie Rhysling Crater, after a Heinlein character in The Green Hills of Earth. And in 1994 a small crater on Mars was named for Heinlein.
Author of books:
Beyond this Horizon (1948)
Sixth Column (1949)
The Puppet Masters (1951)
Double Star (1956)
The Door Into Summer (1957)
Starship Troopers (1959)
Stranger in A Strange Land (1961)
Glory Road (1963)
Farnham's Freehold (1964)
The Moon is A Harsh Mistress (1966)
I Will Fear No Evil (1970)
The Number of the Beast (1979)
J.O.B. A Comedy of Justice (1984)
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)
To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987)
For Us The Living (2004)
The Man Who Sold the Moon (1950, Anthology)
The Green Hills of Earth (1951, Anthology)
Revolt in 2100 (1953, Anthology)
Methuselah's Children (1958)
Orphans in the Sky (1963, Anthology)
The Past Through Tomorrow (1967)
Time Enough for Love (1973)
Rocket Ship Galileo (1947, Juvenile)
Space Cadet (1948, Juvenile)
Red Planet (1949, Juvenile)
Farmer in the Sky (1950, Juvenile)
Between Planets (1951, Juvenile)
The Rolling Stones (1952, Juvenile)
Starman Jones (1953, Juvenile)
The Star Beast (1954, Juvenile)
Tunnel in the Sky (1955, Juvenile)
Time for the Stars (1956, Juvenile)
Citizen of the Galaxy (1957, Juvenile)
Have Space Suit Will Travel (1958, Juvenile)
Podkayne of Mars (1963, Juvenile)
And this from The Vintage Library...
Robert A. Heinlein is universally recognized as a Grand Master and a Founding Father of American Science Fiction. Heinlein began his career writing for the emerging SF pulp fiction magazines of the late 1939 and the 1940s. During this time many of his stories are loosely associated in what is his Future History. Starting in 1947 and through 1958, Robert Heinlein had written a number of best selling science fiction stories aimed at the Juvenuile/Young Adult market.
During the 1960s Heinlein then transitioned to the Adult SF category and created a number of classics including four Hugo award winning novels. Heinlein continued to write through the 1970s, publishing non-fiction as well as revisiting his Future History series that he had begun 30 years earlier.
"Robert Anson Heinlein may have been the all-time most important writer of the Science Fiction genre, though not its finest writer in strictly literary terms; his pre-eminence from 1940 to 1960 was both earned and unassailable. For half a century he was the father -- loved, resisted, emulated -- of the dominant U.S. form of the genre. " ---- The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John Clute and Peter Nichols
"Following World War II Robert A. Heinlein emerged as not only America's premier writer of speculative fiction, but as the greatest writer of such fiction in the world. He remains today as a sort of trademark for all that is finest in American imaginative fiction." --- Stephen King
Robert A. Heinlein and Pulp Fiction
Before there were paperbacks, comic books, and television, it was left up to the pulp fiction magazines, to provide most of the available entertainment for the masses. Radio provided an escape and the weekly Saturday movie matinee was also an occasional option, but it was the pulp fiction magazine that fueled the imaginations. During the troubled years of the Depression and WWII, many looked to the pulps for the wild stories that would lift them to imaginary worlds.
Pulp magazines, named after the cheapest paper (pulpwood) the publishers could find, printed sensationalist stories catering to every possible type of reading interest. This format created hundreds of speciality magazines which offered opportunities to struggling new authors. In this climate, the sci-fi genre was born.
The pulp magazines turned into proving grounds for many famous authors to began their careers: Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, Dashiell Hammett, Carroll John Daly, to name just a few. Visit our Pulp Fiction Central section for more on this incredible genre.
Often times, these pulp magazines would offer writing contests to attempt to attract new writers. In 1939, Robert Heinlein noticed such an ad and sat down and put down on paper his first short story, Life Line.
Realizing that his story was worthy of acceptance on its own merits, he sent it to a different magazine, Astounding Science Fiction which accepted it.
Over the next fours years, until his military service in WWII, Mr. Heinlein would write over thirty short stories and three novels for the pulps. He quickly became one of the most popular writers for Astounding earning the highest rates in the business.
The pulps encouraged an entertaining and action oriented style. Whether the pulps had an effect on Mr. Heinlein or rather his style was perfectly suited for that format, the fans loved it.
His stories have stood the test of time and are still enjoyable today. Currently, Expanded Universe offers a number of his pulp stories including Life Line his first. Also, Revolt in 2100 offers a number of his Future History series.
In novellas, we have the Sixth Column plus two novellas were combined into one novel entitled Waldo and Magic, Inc.
Robert A. Heinlein's Pen Names
During the pulp era, many writers turned to pseudonyms as a matter of course. Business necessity often dictated it in that pulp magazines would not normally carry two stories with the same by line in any one issue.
Mr. Heinlein was no exception and is known to have worked under the following pen names: Anson MacDonald, Lyle Monroe, John Riverside, Leslie Keith, and Caleb Saunders.
He reserved both his real name and Anson MacDonald for his top tier work and closely guarded his reputation under both of these names. Stories under these names, he would demand top dollar. In the pulp days, top dollar was 1.5 cents per word. When he had material that was either rejected from the top markets or of questionable value, he would use the other names.
Robert A. Heinlein's Future History
During his pulp fiction career many stories had a loose connection which tied them together. These short stories and novellas became known as the future history series. These stories are often singled out as some of the best work in his illustrious career.
Mr. Heinlein would return to this story line some thirty plus years later with complete novels further detailing the characters, most notably Lazarus Long.
Robert Heinlein's Juvenile/Young Adult Novels
The juvenile novels were a unique aspect of Mr. Heinlein's career. Every December, between 1947 and 1958, a new science fiction novel specifically written for the teenage reader was published. These stories generally focused on a young hero or heroine dealing with a world where space travel and exploration was more than speculation.
These stories were incredibly popular with teenagers and libraries everywhere. Combining young heroes in positions where their courage and character would be tested, with the fantastical emerging possibilities of space travel proved to be inspirational to a generation of young readers. A decade later, many of these young readers would go on to participate in America's Space Program where space travel migrated from fiction to fact.
Even though these stories were written for a younger reader, one of the principle tenets of the juvenile stories was that if an adult would not be interested in the story, neither would the young reader. Generally, these stories had a simplified moral theme and no sexual innuendo, but plenty of action and adventure.
But even today, ignoring the technical facts that may have become outdated, these stories are enjoyable for all readers for the interesting characters, plots, and themes that we have come to expect from Mr. Heinlein.
The Juvenile Novels
1947 -- Rocket Ship Galileo
1948 -- Space Cadet
1949 -- Red Planet
1950 -- Farmer In The Sky
1951 -- Between Planet
1952 -- The Rolling Stones
1953 -- Starman Jones
1954 -- The Star Beast
1955 -- Tunnel in the Sky
1956 -- Time for the Stars
1957 -- Citizen of the Galaxy
1958 -- Have Space Suit -- Will Travel
1963 -- Podkayne of Mars
Robert Heinlein's Adult Fiction
With a hugely successful series of short stories completed and a major contribution to children's literature underway during the 1950's, adult novels was the next frontier to be conquered.
Although some of Mr. Heinlein's short stories were later expanded into novels, for the most part, his adult novels began with The Puppet Masters in 1951.
The 1950's, even though pre-occupied with delivering a yearly juvenile story, resulted in some of his best work in the pure sci-fi genre.
In 1959, his Starship Troopers proved to be a turning point in his career as well as an incredibly controversial novel and a commercial success. With this story we begin to hear Mr. Heinlein's political and philosophical voice.
This success allowed him to return to a plot outline that he drafted in 1949. He felt confident enough to write the kind of stories that he wanted to tell. In 1961, he published Stranger in a Strange Land which grew into an underground classic that contributed to the culture of the 1960's. Even today, Stranger appears to be the most popular and well known RAH novel.
During the 1960's, three more novels appeared with the third, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, receiving considerable attention as possibly his best novel.
The 1970's and 1980's brought a return to the Lazarus Long character first introduced in the Future History series of the 1940's. Plus a number of other novels that touched on fantastical science fiction concepts.
The Adult Novels
1949 -- Sixth Column
1951 -- The Puppet Masters
1956 -- Double Star
1957 -- The Door Into Summer
1959 -- Starship Troopers
1961 -- Stranger in a Strange Land
1963 -- Glory Road
1965 -- Farnham's Freehold
1966 -- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
1970 -- I Will Fear No Evil
1973 -- Time Enough For Love
1979 -- The Number of the Beast
1982 -- Friday
1984 -- Job: A Comedy of Justice
1985 -- The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
1987 -- To Sail Beyond the Sunset
Robert A. Heinlein and the Hugo Awards
Every year, science fiction fans who attend the annual World Science Fiction Convention, vote for their favorite science fiction stories. With a number of different categories, the Hugo Award recognizes outstanding efforts in many different areas.
Mr. Heinlein, as of this writing, currently holds the record for most Hugo Awards in the category of Best Novel. Four novels have been recognized for this award. Had the Hugo Awards been created earlier than 1953, Mr. Heinlein might have been recognized for some of his earlier material as well.
The award is named in honor of Mr. Hugo Gernsback, (a writer, publisher, and editor) who in 1926, created Amazing Stories which was the first true science fiction magazine ever. Also, he coined the term scientification which later was shortened to science fiction, then on to SCI-FI.
The Hugo Award Winning Novels
1956 -- Double Star
1960 -- Starship Troopers
1962 -- Stranger in a Strange Land
1967 -- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Robert A. Heinlein's Non-Fiction
As a professional writer, Mr. Heinlein had outlined plans for a number of non-fiction based projects. However, only a few actually made it to print.
Tramp Royale is an interesting account of Robert and Virginia's trip around the world in 1953. For those interested in that time period and the places they visit, this will prove to be a good read.
Also, Grumbles From the Grave is a collection of his letters to various publishers and agents which offer a unique into the writing profession. Plus, it offers many insights into the various novels and stories.
And finally, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long is a collection of comments from the novel Time Enough for Love. Although this may be technically fiction, the words of wisdom will be thought provoking and controversial to anyone living in our non-fictional world.
Two dramas from X Minus One...
The Green Hills of Earth
Robert A. Heinlein [Wikipedia]
Robert A. Heinlein website
Notable Names Database (NNDB)