OH! I almost missed his Birthday! Rah-Rah-Rah for R.A.H.! Heinlein! YAYYY!

There are only 4 Science Fiction Authors that are truly Immortal:

[li]Jules Verne[/li][li]H.G. Wells[/li][li]Issac Asimov[/li][li]Robert A. Heinlein.[/li][/ol]

ROBERT ANSON HEINLEIN is a favorite of mine, and July the 7th is his birthday.

A bold writer & a true visionary, he was a devoted advocate of personal liberty.

He also mainstreamed Science Fiction, perhaps his greatest contribution.

I enjoyed–
[li]The Rolling Stones[/li][li]Farmer In The Sky[/li][li]The Door Into Summer.[/li][/ul]

Tell me about your Heinlein favorites/memories.

Any Dopers ever meet him?

I think I’ll watch Starship Troopers this weekend to celebrate. Damn, I love that movie.

What about Ray Bradbury

I am a big fan of the book Starship Troopers. I have only read a few of his other books.

Holy hell, I hope you are being sarcastic.

Have you read Double Star? That would make an excellent movie, but how unlikely is it, with an ethical politician? :smiley: Just kidding. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is also fantastic, one of my favorites.

I just wish that when his books are made to movies they didn’t screw them up so badly. Starship Troopers is another book that’s at the top of his list, but the movie sucked so badly, twisting the politics and storyline.

For his short stories my favorite, one of the “desert island variety” is “The Man Who Traveled in Elephants” I cry a little every time I read that story, not at the ending, but when the veterans are passing in parade, some riding because “merciful Heaven forgive us, they could not walk”

Robert Heinlein is, bar none, my favorite author. More than that, he was actually a role model in my life. Growing up without a dad, I spent many nights as a young teen hiding away in my room reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading every Heinlein book I could get my hands on. A significant part of my personal ethics and notion of proper conduct was absorbed from Mr. Heinlein, through his books, into my fevered adolescent brain. I’m sure I would be a very different person today had I not discovered Heinlein.

My favorite childhood memories are those nights when I sat up until the wee hours, reading such great books as Citizen of the Galaxy, Starman Jones, Have Space Suit - Will Travel, Tunnel in the Sky, The Door into Summer, Double Star, and many more.

Heinlein was unique among science fiction writers in that his ‘voice’ was so strong that I believe he truly changed the lives of a lot of people. Other great writers wrote great fiction and made you think, but Heinlein could get into a young boy’s skull and make him really examine his soul. He shared a lot in common with Ayn Rand in this regard, although Heinlein was by far the smarter of the two, the better story teller, and better person.

A lot of his stories really got under my skin because I could identify so strongly with the protagonists. Older boys and young men from difficult backgrounds who learn right and wrong, responsibility and honor, and become men. They didn’t become men just through heroic deeds, but by understanding things like personal virtue, the importance of keeping your word, education, courage, honesty, and a willingness to do the hard things when it’s right to do them. Strong stuff for a young kid without parental role models to teach him how to be a grownup.

The only anecdote I can offer was some correspondence I had with Virginia Heinlein. When I was in my late teens, I decided to write a letter to Heinlein thanking him. By this time, he was becoming infirm, and Virginia was answering all his correspondence. And even though I’m sure she was absolutely inundated with letters like mine, she wrong a very long, very personal handwritten letter back to me, asking for personal details about my life, what was I going to study in college, etc., and inviting me to write her back. So I did, and as I recall we exchanged one or two other letters after that. Unfortunately, they were lost in one of my many moves during college.

Happy Birthday, Mr. H.

Whenever I hear someone whine about how unfairly life is treating them I remember a certain scene in Tunnel in the Sky. The young people who are about to go on a serious survival test are having an informal seminar with their instructor. One young man complains about the test conditions, about how it isn’t fair that they aren’t more informed about what environment they will be dumped in. The instructor fails him on the spot, saying that “anyone who expects life to be fair isn’t ready for this test.”

Happy birthday, where ever you are…

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is probably my favorite, and one of the few books I’ve probably read a dozen times or more. (But that was probably obvious from my screen name, wasn’t it? :smiley: )

Spider Robinson’s story “True Minds”, another one of my favorite short stories, used Heinlein’s definition of love as a major plot point. Not too surprising, as Robinson was one of his biggest fans.

Not only all of that, but Heinlein (unlike most (but not all) authors long dead) has a new novel coming out! :slight_smile:

I remember thinking, upon hearing of his death, “what am I going to read for the rest of my life?”

Happy Birthday, Mr. H… Your writing taught me much.

And see Spider Robinson’s classic essay on Heinlein! :slight_smile:

I like what Robinson had to say about librarians “they’re a little like crack dealers when it comes to addicting children.” I love that essay, and the followup one he wrote after Heinlein’s death.

I love Heinlein, after Tolkien, he is my favorite Author. But please for the love of Science Fiction, add Arthur C. Clark to your list. There is a reason why they were always referred to as the Big THREE of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. :slight_smile:

I can only think of one Heinlein book I do not love, so it is easier to list the **Sixth Column ** as the only Heinlein Science Fiction books/Story I do not love.

I know this is not popular and I know it is a red button issue for one of our posters, but I actually enjoyed Starship Troopers. It took many liberties but it captured much of the gung ho flavor of the book that I enjoyed. It was a fun movie. Now the movie of **Puppet Masters ** just made me angry.
Last year I had a fun little thread about whether they will ever make a really good movie of one of his stories. It seemed like most people were hoping that the would make a really high quality version of Moon is a Harsh Mistress.


Sorry for the double post, but you reminded me of when Heinlein died.
I was serving in the Navy at the time; I was the center of a large group of D&D playing, Science Fiction reading enlisted men. My one friend and I chose to wear a black armband in remembrance of his life and after we explained it to our friends about two-dozen others did the same.
Now it is not really allowed to wear armbands on our own when we are in uniform but the inquiries into what was going on, made it up to the XO and I had to explain why we were wearing the armbands. I explained how Heinlein was retired Navy and had served in Reagan’s special Space consulting group and the XO gave us official permission to wear the armbands for the next week. He then admitted that Heinlein was probably his favorite author and was glad I was able to provide an acceptable Navy reason for us to show honor to him. I would say that in all, out of 5000 sailors on the boat, maybe 100 of us wore black armbands for that week.


Some of the advice is timelessly wise, I find. From Tunnel in the Sky (I’m pretty sure), something along the lines that the best way to solve a difficult problem is to solve the parts you can solve, then look at the problem again. Invaluable.

Heinlein was the free thinker, agnostic, but nevertheless… from Stranger in a Strange Land, the observation that just possibly, a little friendly fornication is perhaps not as great a problem as a society where a person like Jesus could get himself killed simply for preaching without a police permit. I do sweat over that, instead.

Heinlein paperbacks take up about five feet of my bookshelves. Even I Will Fear No Evil gets reread, though only about 1/4 of it.

Gently picking a nit, but the scene is from “Have Spacesuit, Will Travel,” page 65 in my well-thumbed Ace paperback edition. Peewee says to Kip:

“Daddy says, in a dilemma, it is helpful to change any variable, then reexamine the problem.”

I don’t remember the “break down” quote from Tunnel in the Sky, but I suppose RAH might have used it there as well. I remember it from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Manny explains that that was one of the things that Professor de la Paz taught him, as a way to solve a problem. It’s a slightly different technique than the “change the variable” quote.

The “break-down” technique assumes that what looks like a Big Ugly is actually composed of Little Probs, and both psychologically and theoretically it’s easyier to deal with Little Probs.

The “change the variable” technique assumes that you are faced with a single problem, and that changing the way you are thinking about that problem may show you a solution to it.