American science fiction writer
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  • Robert A. Heinlein

    Robert Anson Heinlein (7 July 1907 - 8 May 1988) was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre in his time. He set a standard for scientific and engineering plausibility, and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality.

    Images

    Robert Heinlein - The Advocates
    299x288 GIF, grayscale

    Awards Received

    1983 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, granted by Libertarian Futurist Society, Prometheus Hall of Fame Award
    For The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
    1987 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, granted by Libertarian Futurist Society, Prometheus Hall of Fame Award
    For Stranger in a Strange Land
    1996 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, granted by Libertarian Futurist Society, Prometheus Hall of Fame Award
    For Red Planet
    1997 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, granted by Libertarian Futurist Society, Prometheus Hall of Fame Award
    For Methuselah's Children
    1998 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, granted by Libertarian Futurist Society, Prometheus Hall of Fame Award
    For Time Enough for Love
    2003 Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, granted by Libertarian Futurist Society, Prometheus Hall of Fame Award
    For Requiem

    Web Pages

    Robert Heinlein - The Advocates
    Biography, picture and quotes
    "Depending on who you ask, science fiction grand master Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) was either a conservative, a fascist, or a left-wing hippie. But to those who knew him best -- and to those who read any of his 47 books -- Heinlein was a libertarian who glorified individualism, progress, honor, and responsibility."

    Articles

    Lunar prisoners fight for freedom in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Howard Baetjer, 1 Feb 2017
    Discusses Heinlein's (and professor Bernardo de la Paz's) views on government and anarchism in the title book, with several excerpts, and ending with "Don't miss it"
    "In the year 2076, the inhabitants of a prison colony on the moon rebel and demand their freedom, sparking a war for independence against all of Earth. This is the story of Robert Heinlein's classic novel, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. ... [It] was published in 1966, when the despots in and apologists for the Soviet Union were still claiming the productive superiority of Marxist 'scientific' central planning, five year plans, conscript labor, indoctrination, and collectivization. Heinlein scorned it all."
    Related Topics: Anarchism, Government
    Robert A. Heinlein: the universe as fiction, by William H. Duquette, ex libris reviews
    Short reviews on some favorites, such as Glory Road, Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land, and list of others with links to longer reviews
    "Robert A. Heinlein is sometimes referred to as the Master by his fans, and the title is only deserved. Heinlein's career began during the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction in the 1940's and continued until his death some four decades later. Moreover, even the more dated of his books are still quite readable. He's best known for his 1960's work Stranger in a Strange Land, and through that book and others has been remarkably influential."
    Robert A. Heinlein - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    "Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988), the science fiction writer who showed all the other science fiction writers How To Do It, was all about competence. Facing reality. Getting things done. Moving ahead. Not moping. Complaining was okay, and Heinlein did his share. He had lots of health problems, for one thing. And he didn't always like how things were going in the world, for another thing. But then came optimism."
    Robert A. Heinlein's Soaring Spirit of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jul 1997
    Biographical essay, including multiple quotes from fellow authors and significant excerpts from Heinlein's novels and stories
    "A pioneering master of speculative fiction, Robert Heinlein has captured the imagination of millions for liberty. Five of his novels chronicle rebellion against tyranny, other novels are about different struggles for liberty, and his writings abound with declarations on liberty. ... 'When the Science Fiction Writers of America began to hand out their Grand Master Awards in 1975, Heinlein received the first by general acclamation,' noted Isaac Asimov, himself the respected author of more than 300 books, including much science fiction. "
    Was Robert A. Heinlein a Libertarian?, by Jeff Riggenbach, 2 Jun 2010
    Biographical essay, focused on attempting to answer the title question; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" of 18 May 2010
    "Heinlein, who was born in 1907 in Butler, Missouri, a small town about 65 miles south of Kansas City, had been in poor health for most of his adult life. ... Isaac Asimov, who knew Heinlein from the mid-'30s on, was convinced that his personal political views were largely a function of the woman he was married to at the time. ... Whether he was personally a libertarian or not, all those of us who are libertarians owe him a profound debt for writing The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. For that book alone, Robert A. Heinlein has earned a place in the libertarian tradition."
    What is grok? - Definition from Whatis.com
    "To grok (pronounced GRAHK) something is to understand something so well that it is fully absorbed into oneself. In Robert Heinlein's science-fiction novel of 1961, Stranger in a Strange Land, the word is Martian and literally means 'to drink' but metaphorically means 'to take it all in,' to understand fully, or to 'be at one with.'"
    35 Heroes of Freedom: Celebrating the people who have made the world groovier and groovier since 1968, Reason, Dec 2003
    List of individuals who, according to Reason editors, have "have made the world a freer, better, and more libertarian place by example, invention, or action" (includes the unknown martyr of Tiananmen Square and a generic "The Yuppie")
    "The author of compelling science fiction with individualist themes was the entry point for millions of readers into rabid, late-night arguments about rights, responsibilities, the state, and really alternative sexual practices."
    Jeff Riggenbach on Samuel Edward Konkin III, by Jeff Riggenbach, Freedom Network News, 2004
    Lengthy biographical and memorial essay
    "One of Heinlein's novels in particular had impressed him – The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966) – in which a group of rebellious colonists on the Moon, under the leadership of a renegade computer and a white-haired political philosopher named Bernardo de la Paz, who advocates something he calls "Rational Anarchy," foment a successful revolution."
    Samuel Edward Konkin III, by Jeff Riggenbach, 29 Jul 2010
    Biographical essay; including examination of Konkin's ideas on the Counter-Economy; transcript of "The Libertarian Tradition" podcast of 20 July 2010
    "He had already discovered the science fiction of Robert A. Heinlein, and when the mass-market paperback edition of Heinlein's 1966 novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress was published in 1968, Sam picked up a copy as quickly as he could manage it and sat down to read. This new Heinlein tale, in which colonists on the moon — Luna — stage a libertarian revolution against the tyranny of politicians on Earth, captured Sam's imagination in a way none of Heinlein's other books ever had."
    TANSTAAFL, There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, by David R. Henderson, 3 Mar 2014
    Explains the two meanings of TANSTAAFL: the scarcity of economic resources (and the need for tradeoffs) and the expectation of some kind of reciprocity when something is offered for "free"
    "At the start of every class I teach, I give my students what I call 'The Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom.' ... None of the pillars, of course, is original with me. ... Pillar #1 is 'TANSTAAFL.' It stands for 'There Ain't No Such Thing As a Free Lunch.' Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein popularized the acronym in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Of course, to be grammatically correct, it should be 'TINSTAAFL': There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch."
    The Right to Life Equals the Right to Possess Firearms, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jun 1994
    Discusses U.S. legislation or proposals to restrict, register, license or ban gun ownership, countering that these controls go against the basic right of self-defense, itself a corollary of the right to life
    "'An armed society,' wrote libertarian science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein, 'is a polite society.' An armed people is a people who have taken a personal interest in keeping their society civil. David Kopel reports that 81 percent of the good Samaritans' who help victims of violent crime are gun owners."
    Total Victory: How Sweet It Is! [PDF], by Murray N. Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, 1983
    Lengthy account and commentary on the 1983 Libertarian Party presidential convention
    "In this connection, Robert Heinlein has written a highly perceptive analysis of the difference between old-fashioned pols, who stress loyalty and integrity, and ideologue 'reformers', who are far more dangerous."
    Vonnegut, Heinlein, Kipling, and Others Battle It Out for a Libertarian Award, by Jesse Walker, 17 Jan 2017
    Discusses the LFS Hall of Fame awards and lists the 2017 finalists with brief descriptions of each
    "'Coventry,' by Robert A. Heinlein (first published 1940 in Astounding Science Fiction) envisions the Covenant, a social compact under which breaking the law, as such, cannot be punished unless actual harm to someone has been demonstrated. The story contrasts that society with a lawless 'anarchy' into which those who break the covenant are sent."

    Videos

    NewRobert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, by William H. Patterson, Jr., 21 Oct 2010
    Introduced by David Boaz, William H. Patterson discusses his biographical book Robert A. Heinlein Journal: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1, 1907-1948: Learning Curve
    "Robert A. Heinlein is regarded by many as the greatest science fiction writer of the 20th century. He is the author of more than 30 novels, including Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and the libertarian classic The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. According to biographer William H. Patterson Jr., Heinlein's writings 'galvanized not one, but four social movements of his century: science fiction and its stepchild, the policy think tank; the counterculture; the libertarian movement; and the commercial space movement.'"

    The introductory paragraph uses material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.