Monday, December 22, 2008

Author Profile: Robert A. Heinlein

(There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)

Heinlein, a four-time-Hugo Award winner, is respected as the father of hard science fiction – the kind of sci-fi that has accountability for the concepts that it uses to tell a story. Along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, he’s probably best known for revitalizing the genre. Here’s a selection of some of his most famous books for any reader interested in classic sci-fi, or in reading an author whose tales of liberty and self-reliance in the face of government control and interference have become famous, even after his death.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Originally serialized in Worlds of If magazine in 1965, the book version of “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” is separated into three ‘books’ – The Dinkum Thinkum, A Rabble in Arms, and TANSTAAFL! In 2075, when the story takes place, the moon has been colonized for use as a penal colony. The problem, of course, is once someone has spent a long time there, their bodies are unable to live anywhere else. The story becomes more interesting, though, when the computer that’s responsible for all of the systems on the Lunar Colonies because self-aware and intelligent. What follows is a revolution on two worlds, leading to Heinlein’s second Hugo Award.
Fic Heinlein ROG
SF Heinlein TPL UPL
Audiocassette available at SBL

Starship Troopers
Most people will know the title from the movie of the same name, made in the late 90’s. While the movie version was controversial at the time it was made, so was the book, with readers suggesting the promotion of militarism rather than social and political ideas, which were found in most, if not all, of Heinlein’s novels.
YA Heinlein LWM
SF Heinlein TPL RSV

Have Space Suit –Will Travel
The last of 12 YA/Juvenile novels that Heinlein wrote, Have Spacesuit follows a teenager named Kip, who wins a spacesuit in an advertising jingle contest. On one last trip out in the suit (intending to sell it for money to finance college), he gets drawn into an intense adventure that ends up with him pleading the case of the human race to an intergalactic tribunal.
J Hein SBL

If you’re looking to see if you like Heinlein before getting involved in any of his three well-known series (Lazarus Long, The World as Myth, and Future History) try one of his short-story collections, like “The Man Who Sold the Moon” or “The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag."

The Man Who Sold the Moon
SF Heinlein RSV

The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag
SF Heinlein RSV

Thanks to NB and PW for this author suggestion!

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