"Robert A. Heinlein"

A Biographical Sketch

©By Bill Patterson, July 1999

[This copyrighted article is reprinted with the author's permission from The Heinlein Journal, July 1999 (Issue Number 5). For proper citation, the article appears beginning at page 7 and continues through page 36. Page breaks in the orginal are indicated by brackets and bold type, thus: "[7/8]" which indicates the break between page 7 and page 8.The Heinlein Journal is published twice annually in July and January. For additional information about The Heinlein Journal contact its editor/publisher at bpral22169@aol.com or Bill Patterson, 602 West Glendora, CA 91741.]

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Stories that "live forever," Mark Twain noted, have an actual lifetime of about thirty years. Some of his, however, are working on their second century.

Robert A. Heinlein died in 1988, but he, too, continues to have a lively professional life. Stories he wrote in 1939 are still in circulation, sixty years later, and he continues to be sought after as a source of film projects. And his living legacy is gathering about it the product of popular and academic interest -- papers, memorials, and reminiscences. Heinlein's "forever," like Twain's, seems to have a few extra dimensions.

This (somewhat overgrown) biographical sketch came into existence because of a hole in a biographical sketch I had encountered one day on the internet. The entire middle of Heinlein's life was left to be finished later. I thought about the other biographical sketches I had read over the years and realized that none of them were really complete. All of them -- even the "definitive" sketch published by Virginia Heinlein in GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE -- glossed over years (sometimes decades) in a sentence or two. In a sense, Heinlein's policy of presenting a public biography that was false in significant degree and misleading in other significant elements "set up" this situation. Yet there were a number of public sources that shed light on those bypassed and misdirected periods -- comments from participants in some of the events were being published, as well as memoirs of Heinlein's friends and colleagues. The picture that is emerging is somewhat less bland than Heinlein would have us believe.

The scholarly work being done on Heinlein has provided us finally with a dependable chronology of the writing (as opposed to the bibliographical chronologies of publications, which are somewhat misleading for biographical purposes). There are several full biographies of Heinlein "in the works," but it will be some time -- possibly several years -- before they begin to come out. In short, it is time for as complete a biographical sketch of Heinlein as can be assembled from the fragmentary public sources now available.

This sketch makes use of all the unequivocally "public" sources I could lay hands on. The basic chronology is built around James Gifford's indispensable "New Heinlein Opus List" plus the fragments of letters, re-arranged into chronological order, published in GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE. To this I then add ed the comments and reminiscences from REQUIEM, EXPANDED UNIVERSE, TRAMP ROYALE, and TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT!, and from various memoirs -- including especially those of Asimov, Williamson, and Clarke -- plus such biographical information as I could glean from the overviews of Heinlein's work published by Sam Moskowitz, Alexei Panshin, H. Bruce Franklin, and Leon Stover, and the unusually information-dense article by the late Tom Perry, "Ham and Eggs and Heinlein."

Whenever possible, I duplicated these gentlemens' research, and I also developed some "new" public sources on my own. For example, checking Tom Perry's EPIC movement references led me to the Lilly Library's repository of Upton Sinclair's papers, which led in turn to a cache of Heinlein's correspondence with the late Anthony Boucher in the same repository; thence to a brief but illuminating correspondence with Boucher's wife, Phyllis White. Requests to the Nimitz Library at the Naval Academy at Annapolis resulted in a copy of Heinlein's Annapolis file. And so forth.

My work with The Heinlein Journal, too, has put me in the enviable position of having people in possession of an isolated fact or two coming to me in the hope that I can fit it into the multi-million fact jigsaw puzzle that is Heinlein's life. Sometimes I can; other times I cannot. The chronology of notes has now reached something more than three hundred pages and includes biographical facts about people whose life-courses interacted with Heinlein's -- such as L. Ron Hubbard and John Whitesides Parsons -- but the work cannot be said to be in any sense "complete." There is a conspicuous factual "gap" between roughly 1935 and 1939, and another hides the period from the end of World War II to about 1948. Research continues also on the internet, where new items of varying degrees of reliability turn up on an almost weekly basis. Some floating facts remain yet afloat, but the pattern itself grows ever more complete.

Because of the fragmentary state of factual research, this biographical sketch is somewhat "uneven." Where facts abound, it treats the events in detail; where facts are scant, it skims over periods -- though, it is to be hoped, in somewhat greater detail than is customary. No effort has been made to "cope" with this unevenness of treatment; it is a sketch that treats the factual background as I have found it at the moment, in an interim. This is a sketch, rather more complete than most, and not a work in any sense "finished."

I owe particular thanks to Virginia Heinlein (Mrs. Robert A. Heinlein), who [7/8] read and commented on the draft manuscript. She caught and helped me to correct a number of errors of fact and interpretation and gave additional, illuminating detail on a number of points of interest. This information, and some necessary inferences from other data, are the only exceptions to the rule that this sketch is drawn exclusively from "public" sources. Any errors that remain are mine own. They seem to breed and multiply like wire hangers in closets.

Heinlein is a principal builder of my own mind and spirit. Like many another, I think of him as my "intellectual father." The complexities of his actual life, the weaving together of his interests and activities, frame for me a context to his written words, distinct from the words themselves. Those words stand on their own, to be sure, but I view Heinlein's life as an "and I really meant it," worth studying for his example of a self continuously under construction. I corresponded briefly with him on two occasions and met him only once, in 1976, but he is a living influence on my daily life. For me, this sketch is a form of grokking together. I hope this biographical sketch will supply the needs of other of Heinlein's "children."


Carpentersville, IL

December 1998

-- Three Notes About This Publication --


1. Contrary to common practice, the stories, novels, and articles Heinlein was working on while the events under discussion were taking place are shown as interlineations on the page. These do not reflect the publication dates, which are sometimes out of sequence by years -- thirteen years in the most extreme case. GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE contains an excellent bibliography, compiled by Mrs. Heinlein.


2. The Index is intended as an aide memoire and so is indexed by key words and subjects as well as the more usual practice of listing only literal mentions in the text.


3. Since this publication is a sketch rather than a full biography, no attempt has been made to gather photographs and other incidentalia.

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Chapter 1

Birth, Childhood, Adolescence

Robert Anson Heinlein was born on 7 July 1907, in Butler, Bates County, Missouri, the third son of Rex Ivar Heinlein and Bam Lyle Heinlein. Heinlein had two older brothers -- Lawrence and Rex, Jr. He was succeeded by a sister -- Louise -- another brother -- Jesse -- and then two more sisters -- Rose Betty and Mary Jean, also called "MJ" -- seven children in all. At the time of Robert's birth, the family had been living with his maternal grandfather, Alva Lyle, M.D. A few months after Heinlein was born, his family moved from Butler to Kansas City, Missouri, where he was to grow up, but Heinlein vividly recalled the summers spent with Grandfather Lyle until his death in 1914. Tough- minded and pragmatic, Dr. Lyle embodied the qualities of Heinlein's "survivor type," and he is lovingly portrayed as Dr. Ira Johnson in TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE.

Heinlein was himself the kind of prodigy that shows up occasionally in his stories (cf. the baby in THE ROLLING STONES), though a neighbor remembers the entire family as brainy. His grandfather taught him to play chess at the age of four, and there is evidence that he was already to some degree conscious and thinking at that age.

Heinlein's childhood was unremarkable for the time. The family was large and relatively poor, unlike the well-to-do Smith family portrayed in TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE, for Rex Ivar was a clerk for a succession of companies instead of a mining engineer with his own consulting business. Heinlein said that his family had been active in local politics, and Virginia Heinlein reports in GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE that he had a PJG route (selling the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal and Country Gentleman) when very young, on which he delivered papers to the families of Jean Harlow and William Powell. From the proceeds of his PJG route he started buying his own clothing. With seven children, it was all his parents could do to put food on the table. The house had only two bedrooms, and young Robert slept on the floor on a pallet for years.

From the 1910 apparition of Halley's Comet, he was fascinated with the skies. By the time he entered Kansas City's Central High School in 1920, he had already read every book on astronomy in the Kansas City Public Library, imposing on his sisters and brothers to get the books for him so he would not be subject to the limits on his own library card. His ambition was to be an astronomer, and he was in some demand as a lecturer on astronomical subjects as a very young teenager. It is quite likely that he was already on a self-selected career path toward astronomical research. He studied mathematics on his own and followed some of the scientific debates taking place then about the nature of time and the re-casting physics as geometry of multiple dimensions. His fellow classmates at Central High School voted him "worst boy grind," and the tag under his picture in THE CENTRALIAN -- his 1924 high school graduating class yearbook -- says "He thinks in terms of the Fifth dimension, never stopping at the fourth." Although the scientific debate over the nature of time has faded out over the decades (without, be it noted, being resolved definitively one way or the other), his continuing interest in these subjects is reflected in many of his stories.

In addition to his mathematical interests, Heinlein participated in Central High's forensics program as captain [8-9] of the negative debate team and the school's theatrical society, the Shakespeare Club. He also served as Major in the local R.O.T.C.

Heinlein's intellectual growth during his high school years was explosive. In his freshman year (1920) he read Darwin's ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES and THE ASCENT OF MAN. Heinlein was profoundly affected by Darwin's evolutionary theory, and his science fiction writing has a strong Darwinian cast. The writings of Darwin's earliest and most effective disciple, T.H. Huxley, also affected him strongly, not alone for the Darwinian argument. Huxley presents the model of a liberal intellect able to accept a fact without editing it into comfortable clichés. A special tribute to Huxley's mind-opening influence is found in TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET.

As a young man, Heinlein encountered Jack London, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rudyard Kipling, Bellamy, and George Bernard Shaw, and the Oz books of L. Frank Baum, but he was most devoted to Mark Twain. Heinlein developed a serious bibliographical passion for Twain, and he tracked down all of Twain's diverse publications for his personal library. Twain is one of the strongest of all Heinlein's literary influences.

Heinlein has said that he read all the science fiction he could lay hands on from the age of 16 (1923). Hugo Gernsback had begun including it in the Electrical Experimenter magazine from 1911. The successor to that magazine, Science and Invention, published a special "scientific fiction" issue in 1923. Heinlein saw it on the newsstands while on his way back from a hiking trip to Colorado (to climb Pike's Peak), and bought the magazine instead of food for the return train trip. Thereafter, he tracked down science fiction stories in the pulp magazines of the day and in libraries. The cosmic romances of Olaf Stapledon affected him particularly. He read the first series of Tom Swift books, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. His special respect for H.G. Wells thus dates from the earliest days of Heinlein's intellectual life and may have spread from Wells' social and political philosophy to his science fiction, rather than the other way around. He had already acquired his copy of Wells' AN OUTLINE OF HISTORY in 1922. Wells' progressivist, Saint-Simonean (as opposed to Marxist) socialism colored all of Heinlein's attitudes until at least 1950.

As high school graduation approached (1924), he made an important life-path decision. His older brother Rex had gone on to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, and Heinlein elected the same future for himself, probably intending to wind up at the prestigious Naval Observatory (he put a character who did follow this career path into his story "Blowups Happen").

But he faced a serious obstacle in getting into Annapolis: it was unheard of for two members of the same family to be admitted to Annapolis in the same generation. In his senior year of high school, he set about to overcome this obstacle by industriously collecting letters of recommendation and sending them to his Senator, James A. Reed, a Pendergast man.

He attended one year of college at Kansas City Junior College while waiting for the results of his efforts. There, he remarks, he "studied philosophy under" Will Durant, who was later to become popularly famous for the multi-volume Outline of Philosophy he wrote with his wife, Ariel. Durant was a radical liberal who seems to have reinforced Heinlein's Wellsian left-wing tendencies.

In the meantime, Sen. Reed had received one hundred letters requesting appointments to Annapolis -- one each for fifty individuals and fifty for Robert A. Heinlein. Heinlein obtained the appointment to Annapolis.

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Chapter 2

An Officer and a Gentleman

Heinlein entered the Naval Academy in 1925. He was subjected to some unusual hazing by a First Classman over him: he was required to learn fifty 5-place log tables a day and to recite them on demand. He was also required to memorize the lengthy poem "Mary Glocester" and to recite it upside down in the shower. The First Classman passed out of the Academy, and things eased up somewhat. He competed in fencing and marksmanship and excelled in his academic studies, specializing in fire control and ordnance. He also took a hand-to-hand combat course that used elements of many different martial arts. In his final year, he was a member of the Maskeraders and worked on the Academy's yearbook THE LUCKY BAG -- a three-inch thick bound book. It would be interesting to identify some very early writing on Heinlein's part, but none of the descriptions of Academy events is credited to him. The writing for the fencing team is suspiciously more lively than the previous year's writeup -- and it mentions "the loss of Heinlein" for the first part of the season as a disappointment for the team. (He was in the hospital for the month of February 1929, undergoing treatment for weakness of the eyes). It was customary for roommates to write each others' graduating profiles, which would be printed on facing pages. So the 1929 profile of Seraphin Bach Perreault may be the earliest published specimen of Heinlein's writing.

Heinlein graduated in 1929, 20th in a class of 243, and was commissioned with the rank of Ensign. He actually stood fifth in academics in his class, but discipline considerations lowered his class standing to 20th. Of his time at the Academy he has said, "I stood quite high at the Naval Academy and would have stood much higher save [9-10] for a tendency to collect 'Black N's' -- major offenses against military discipline." These Black Ns were exceptional demerits awarded in Heinlein's case for being Absent Without Leave while on the Summer Practice Cruise in August 1927, which is, indeed, "a major offense against military discipline." For this offense, he was penalized two weeks of leave and confined to the Academy's Brig, the Reina Mercedes for those two weeks in September he would normally have taken as leave. This may have turned out to be advantageous, for the brig ship was then under the command of later Admiral "Bull" Halsey and being used as a headquarters for the Academy's first flight squadron. He had applied for flight training, but his depth perception wasn't good enough. Heinlein was to be associated in greater or lesser degrees with naval aviation throughout his career with the Navy. His second Black N was given for "shirking" (malingering) in August 1928.

At the Academy, Heinlein formed a close friendship with Caleb Laning, a fellow Twain enthusiast who in 1929 introduced him to James Branch Cabell's banned-in-Boston JURGEN: A COMEDY OF JUSTICE. Cabell's blend of irony, myth, delicately bent satire and screened-off low comedy appealed to Heinlein, and he returned to Cabell for inspiration periodically during his writing career. His satires owe much of their technical foundation to Cabell.

There is one last, unexplainable curiosity in Heinlein's Annapolis file: a carbon copy of a 1929 letter from the Academy submitting Heinlein's name in competition for a Rhodes Scholarship. The word "withdrawn" is scribbled across the face of the letter. There is a story in this mysterious letter, but no details about it have yet emerged.

Heinlein was assigned to the U.S.S. Lexington (the first true U.S. aircraft carrier), first in the Atlantic, and then in the Pacific. The first time he stood top watch, the Captain, E.J. King (later Admiral) came up behind him and asked how he felt. "A little nervous," Heinlein answered. "That's the way you should feel," said King, and went on.

Biographical details from this point until he began to write in 1939 are scanty and somewhat confused. The lost flyer episode involving Buddy Scoles which Heinlein told in the interstitial material of EXPANDED UNIVERSE occurred in 1931.

What is known from public records is that, on March 27, 1932, he married Leslyn MacDonald. Little is known about her aside from brief comments in various autobiographies of Heinlein's contemporaries. However, given that her wartime ambition was to be a "constricted space riveter" in the Philadelphia Naval Yards, it would probably not be amiss to characterize her as "spunky," and the intellectually alive woman characters of his early fiction (see especially, "Joan Freeman" of "Lost Legacy" and Helen Fisher of "Elsewhen") may be admiring portraits of Leslyn. Isaac Asimov, recalling her from the Philadelphia Naval Yard days, ten years later, characterized her as "small, dark, skinny, forty [actually, she was born in 1904, which would make her three years older than Robert, or 38 in 1942], and voluble," and noted that she chain-smoked.

Heinlein himself never commented publicly on Leslyn or the later (1947) divorce, but the marriage certificate shows her working in the Music Department at Columbia Pictures in Hollywood. Curiously, it also shows Heinlein's marital status as "divorced," and this as his second marriage (her first). Nothing is known about a prior marriage.

Following his tour on the Lexington, in mid-1932 Heinlein was assigned to the destroyer U.S.S. Roper. It was common practice to rotate younger officers from vessel to vessel after a few years on each. The Roper was a smaller vessel than the Lexington, and, consequently less stable. The constant rolling of the destroyer caused Heinlein to be seasick much of the time, and late in 1933, he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis as a result of his weakened condition.

He spent months in hospitals recovering, spending some time at the Fitzsimmons Hospital in Denver, Colorado, and some time in a sanitarium in Monrovia, California (a suburb of Los Angeles), with Dr. Pottenger. It was at this time that he mentally worked out the details of what he would later write about as the water bed. It was also at this time that the details of the story "No Bands Playing" occurred (which may have contributed to his decision to move from Fitzsimmons to Monrovia). When he finally recovered, he was retired (August 1934) with the rank of lieutenant, junior grade, medically unfit for service "totally and permanently disabled." His first choice of careers was a washout. The disease and its complications were to plague him periodically for the rest of his life. He was cured, but he was always afraid of another outbreak of TB. Mrs. Heinlein remarks, "He would have said that it was 'arrested.'"

The end of his Naval career was no doubt in sight long before he was retired: while still in Colorado, he acquired an interest in the Shively and Sophie silver mines at Silver Plume, Colorado, under a bond-and-lease arrangement. This may have been more a Romantic evocation of Mark Twain's silver-mining days in Nevada than a serious attempt to make a living, but in any case, that occupation was cut short because his backer was machine-gunned before the operation could get under weigh.

Heinlein decided to take advantage of the opportunity to continue his education and moved to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in UCLA (the University of California at Los Angeles) to study advanced engineering and mathematics as a graduate student. He withdrew from UCLA after only a few weeks, ostensibly because of a tubercular relapse. But he could not have been seriously ill, for he almost immediately embarked on a second career. [10-11]

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Chapter 3

Political Animal

Heinlein's discharge was accompanied by a small pension, but he needed to supplement his income. It was the middle of the Great Depression, and he tried a number of jobs during this period. The chronology is obscure, but architecture and real estate have been mentioned in this connection. He also apparently continued to take extension courses, as he has mentioned enrolling in a life-drawing class toward the end of the decade. But what seriously occupied his time was politics: he would be a radical, left-wing reform politician.

Probably at Leslyn's urging (for her politics were, if anything, more conventionally left-wing radical than his), Heinlein had become active in California state politics, joining Upton Sinclair's EPIC ("End Poverty in California") grassroots organization in the months before Sinclair was defeated for the governorship in the November 1934 election.

Sinclair was a registered Socialist who had switched party affiliations in 1933 (at the invitation of a local -- Santa Monica -- Democrat organization) to run for governor as a Democrat on his EPIC platform. It should be noted that "Socialism" in the United States had not yet become completely wedded to Marxism. There were native Socialist traditions that had more in common with Saint-Simon, for example, and Sinclair was within these traditions, rather than the Marxist line of development. Heinlein's Wellsian progressivist socialism easily fit together with Sinclair's EPIC program, and his talents were rapidly recognized by the organization. He speaks in TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT! (written in 1946 but not published until 1992) of being drafted to manage seven precincts on his first day as a volunteer. "Six weeks later," he wrote -- which would have been roughly at the time of the election -- "I was a director of the local [Democratic Party] club."

Sinclair had publicly recast Socialism as "Democracy applied to business" and urged fellow Socialists to re-register and take over the moribund Democratic Party organization. Sinclair was defeated in one of the dirtiest political campaigns of the Twentieth Century, engineered by William Randolph Hearst's coalition of conservatives, United for California. Sinclair had only signed on for the one campaign -- he was a writer, after all, not a politician -- but he promised to turn over the gigantic campaign organization to a grassroots directorate, which Heinlein was drafted to help organize.

By 1935, Heinlein was listed as an Assembly District secretary and a member of the committee drawing up an EPIC Constitution for California. He has also said that he was involved in publishing in his spare time "a political magazine with a circulation of 2 million," identified as EPIC News, though his name never appeared on the masthead of the news-sheet and the publisher was shown as the End Poverty League.

Heinlein's politics at this period were decidedly left- wing, though his registration was with the Democratic Party. Almost all the events he recollects in TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT! took place between 1935 and 1938, and there are almost no other references to this period. His interest in Sinclair and the Social Credit movement, which was also active at the time of the EPIC movement, were to appear in later writings, particularly in the unusual economic theory that would shape BEYOND THIS HORIZON. It was not until recently known that in or about 1937, Heinlein wrote a cadet novel, his Opus 1, FOR US, THE LIVING (the title a quotation from The Gettysburg Address), highly influenced by Wells' THINGS TO COME, which had been released in 1936. Leon Stover discovered the existence of this unpublished novel while doing research for an authorized Heinlein biography. Its economic system is virtually the same as that portrayed in BEYOND THIS HORIZON. (Mrs. Heinlein reports that they destroyed all copies of this manuscript when they moved out of the Bonny Doon house in 1987.)

Heinlein had met his literary idol at a bookstore book signing party during Wells' 1935 American tour, when Wells stopped by to visit with his friend, Upton Sinclair. Heinlein got Wells' autograph on his personal copy of WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES, which he was later to call his "most treasured posses sion."

Heinlein has summarized his political activity during this period in a passage from TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT!:

"The volunteer organization with which I presently became affiliated recalled a mayor, kicked out a district attorney, replaced the governor with one of our own choice, and completely changed the political complexion of one of the largest states -- all within four years. I did not do it alone -- naturally not, nothing is ever done alone in politics--but it was done by a comparatively small group of unpaid volunteers almost all of whom were ignorant of politics at the start as I was."

In 1938, he ran as an EPIC-endorsed candidate to oust Republican incumbent Charles W. Lyon from the 59th Assembly District seat (Hollywood). Lyon had previously been targeted by the EPIC organization as particularly unacceptable to EPIC aims.

In order to establish residency and underwrite the expenses of the campaign, he took out a bank loan and purchased a home (which still exists and which is partially described in "Year of the Jackpot") on Lookout Mountain Avenue in the Laurel Canyon district of Los Angeles (literally a canyon in the mountains separating Los Angeles from the San Fernando Valley). Certain incidents of this campaign are retailed in "A Bathroom of Her Own," though Heinlein persistently refused to reveal which were autobiographical and which were fictional. Heinlein also put himself and the house whimsically into "'And He Built a [11-12] Crooked House'" as "the original Hermit of Hollywood," living across the street from architect Quintus Teal.

Heinlein lost the race at the Democratic primary in August 1938, even though he was running unopposed. His Republican opponent, taking advantage of a cross-filing provision of the election laws, had registered in the Democratic primary and polled more votes from Heinlein's fellow Democrats than Heinlein. Although it has been speculated that Heinlein lost because he would not endorse the "Ham and Eggs" pension plan that had a very large popular following at the time, it is at least equally probable that traditional Democrats were more interested in regaining control of their party apparatus and rejecting Sinclair Democrats. It was the twilight of the EPIC movement; even Epic News finally ceased publication at about the time Heinlein was defeated.

The failed campaign was a pivotal event of Heinlein's adult life. In the Fall of 1938, he was broke, with a new mortgage to support, and he had been crushingly and humiliatingly rejected in his second choice of career. This brilliant 31-year old had failed at everything he had tried to that point. In this depressing moment of his life, he decided to make a serious attempt at commercial writing.

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Chapter 4

Portrait of the Artist . . .

Heinlein had written fiction off-and-on for all of his adult life. There are short stories and poems in his files dating back to his Annapolis days, as well as a failed (science fiction) novel, his first serious writing, titled FOR US, THE LIVING, which is presumed to date from 1937. It is almost inevitable that when Heinlein decided to try commercial writing, he should turn again to science fiction.

The science fiction magazines had actually expanded their audience during the pulp magazine slump of 1937 and were at that time experiencing a boom, with six new magazines appearing in 1938 and 1939, all of them urgently needing new material. The more established magazines were feeling the pinch, as well. In October 1938, Thrilling Wonder Stories announced in its pages devoted to the Science Fiction League a policy encouraging submissions from new and unpublished writers. Thrilling Wonder had become something of a black sheep in the science fiction fold since its founder, Hugo Gernsback, sold the magazine to Standard Publications in 1936 and the new management had made a firm policy of not caving in to the fans' demands for better writing.

Although he probably did not at this time intend to make commercial writing his life's work, and his immediate goal, apparently, was simply to get out from under the mortgage, Heinlein's decision to pursue commercial writing in science fiction was not taken lightly or casually. Gradually he drew a veil concealing his previous life from his readership. He was later to concoct a highly fictitious anecdote about a "contest" and a $50 prize (probably as a compliment to Edgar Allen Poe who achieved his first fame in 1833 as the result of a $50 prize contest with "MS Found in a Bottle") which he combined with handwaving and plain misdirection to make up a phony professional biography.

It should be noted that this was not a particularly deceitful act on Heinlein's part; fictional professional bios were the stock in trade of public relations at the time and would be for thirty years. However, it was certainly the better part of discretion for him to dissociate himself from his left-wing past. As the country turned to the right, culminating in the McCarthy hearings in the early 1950's, associations with Upton Sinclair were looked upon with increasing disfavor (in the 1946 elections, for example, Richard Nixon defeated Jerry Voorhis partly because of Voorhis' connections with Sinclair). Heinlein was especially vulnerable because he was entering a commercial market predominantly made up of adolescent boys, and he was able to exploit the market's possibilities only because his radical past was hidden behind the curtain and the smoke and the mirrors.

Heinlein did not simply sit down one day and begin to churn out pay copy; he prepared extensively, outlining and possibly even drafting several stories. The historical details are obscured by the veil of Heinlein's phony professional biography, but it is likely, for instance, that the entire Future History (not just the first fifty years, as the Panshins indicate in THE WORLD BEYOND THE HILL (1989)) was carefully worked out before the first Future History story was put to paper. Certainly internal details of the first several stories suggest an order of composition different from the "official" sequence preserved in the opus system Heinlein used for his working files (a system created by Virginia Heinlein, in 1948) for his working files. He had worked out his basic theory, fictional technique, and approach on a conscious level: he would be a Wellsian writer, in the sense that he was following Wells' advice to "domesticate the impossible hypothesis" by imbedding imaginary materials in a matrix of recollected materials; and his "calling card" would be to bring the "big themes" -- particularly the classic tragedy -- to science fiction.

Heinlein also brought to science fiction other degrees of serious purpose. He may have gotten out of practical politics, but he did not abandon his social and political liberalism. Embedded in his first suite of stories are themes quite unusual for a science fiction writer. Philosophical themes (particularly speculative metaphysics) were often combined together with cutting edge science fact and [12-13] speculation in an advanced "holistic" synthesis that included spiritual elements as well. Sometime between 1932 and 1938 Heinlein had encountered two unlikely and unalike philosophers who were to profoundly influence his writing: P.D. Ouspensky and Alfred Korzybski. There are no contemporaneous records of his discovery of these two -- there are, indeed, few records of any kind relating to this period of his life -- but they appear in his writing, sometimes explicitly referenced by name, from the very beginning, in subtle and well-digested ways that imply Heinlein had been living with their ideas for some time. There are abundant references in Heinlein's writing to Korzybski's General Semantics, and it is possible to infer that he encountered SCIENCE AND SANITY in 1933, the year it was published (as he mentions in an interview having become acquainted with S.I. Hayakawa in that year). General Semantics provided some cutting-edge science, and Ouspensky (TERTIUM ORGANUM, 1912, and A NEW MODEL OF THE UNIVERSE, 1914) provided the philosophy (decades later, a 25-page treatment of religious principles from various world religions near the end of TERTIUM ORGANUM was to become the syncretic religion of the Church of All Worlds). While it is clear that Heinlein had read TERTIUM ORGANUM before 1939, as the book is referenced in "Else when,"written that year, the significance of Ouspensky to Heinlein is a matter of "probable inference," whereas the significance of Korzybski to Heinlein is a matter of "necessary inference."

Ouspensky and Korzybski are superficially unlikely to be combined together -- one a philosopher of religion, the other a philosopher of science -- but at times Korzybski sounds eerily like a gloss on Ouspensky. Together, they provided Heinlein with a consistent and above all contemporary worldview.

More of the science of the future was drawn from C.C. Furnas' THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS: THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF SCIENCE (1936), a book Heinlein kept close by him for the next fifty years, and Charles Galton Darwin's THE NEXT MILLION YEARS.

In any event, Heinlein was writing by mid-March 1939. Whatever the degree of his preparation, he worked through the process of learning to write astonishingly rapidly. Most writers take years to acquire the basic elements of their craft. Heinlein had arrived at the stage of being able to produce a professional quality story within three weeks. Over a four-day period in early April 1939, Heinlein wrote the story "Life-Line." Since the story is 7,200 words, Heinlein was working at a very fast pace (1,000 words a day for finished copy is considered a good pace for a professional writer; Heinlein is working at roughly twice that pace).



Spring 1939


"Life-Line" turned out very nearly perfect in terms of story structure and prosodic technique and a classical tragedy of a man who is martyred for Truth, his downfall bought about (with some slight misdirection) by his own tragic flaw. It was, by the standards of a later day, somewhat stiff, but Heinlein recognized that it was head-and- shoulders above the usual offerings of Thrilling Wonder Stories, so he sent it instead to John W. Campbell, Jr., at Astounding Science-Fiction.

Campbell was known within the science fiction community as an up-and-coming young super-science space opera writer who had also written a few "atmospheric" stories under the Don A. Stuart pen name. When he had been offered the editorship of Astounding in 1937, he decided to move the magazine away from the thud-and- blunder level of pulp writing dominated by two rather limited paradigms, which Robert Silverberg has characterized in REQUIEM as the "Tarzan paradigm" and the "Gernsback paradigm." Campbell wanted more, new, better paradigms and a more literate and realistic standard of prose. In this Campbell was well within the mainstream of science fiction fandom which was, at that time, far less polarized between writers and fans.

There were few pulp SF writers who could give Campbell the kind of material he needed, so he was in the process of raising up a stable of young writers -- Asimov, de Camp, Sturgeon, Van Vogt -- force-feeding them ideas and hammering at them until he got material he could use. A year earlier Campbell had participated in a science fiction convention panel by telegram, saying in essence that science fiction could explore paths or issue warnings more effectively than any other kind of literature, but that its message would not be read unless it were presented in "an entertaining human fashion." This was Campbell's programme for Astounding, but it was also Heinlein's personal agenda for his own brand of science fiction. "Life-Line" hit exactly the tone Campbell was trying to achieve, without any prompting at all. He bought it immediately (Heinlein's submission cover letter is dated April 10, 1939; Campbell's acceptance cover letter is dated April 19, 1939) and paid Astounding's full rate, $70 -- just double what Thrilling Wonder would have paid.



"Pied Piper"

"Lost Legacy"

"Beyond Doubt"

"'Let There Be Light'"


"My Object All Sublime"

"Successful Operation"

"'If This Goes On--'"

Spring-Summer 1939


By the time "Life-Line" appeared in the August 1939 issue of Astounding, Heinlein had sent half a dozen more stories to Campbell (which were rejected), but Campbell did buy "Misfit," requesting some revisions. Heinlein reworked the story over the summer and sold "Misfit" and "Requiem" [13-14] to Campbell in August.

Of this very early period Mrs. Heinlein wrote in an unpublished letter:

"In connection with his early stories, Robert once told me that he would go down and buy exactly as many sheets of paper as he would need for his next story. (I don't know how he knew how many pages it would run, but he was working on a very short shoestring.) During the depression, gas was five gallons for a dollar on the East Coast, and probably not much more, if not less, in CA. But all of us were used to getting along without much in those days. As a college graduate, I got $20 a week and lived on it. If you didn't live through the Depression, you can't imagine what it was like!"

Some of the earliest manuscripts in the UC Santa Cruz special collections are typed on the back of flyers left over from Heinlein's 1938 political campaign. Perhaps the paper was bought only for submission final drafts.

His first long effort, "Vine and Fig Tree,"he finished in September, Campbell bought that, too, and scheduled it for publication as "If This Goes On--" in 1940, following E.E. "Doc" Smith's GRAY LENSMAN series -- the first of many editorial retitlings over the years. Smith was a writer Heinlein particularly admired, and to follow him in what turned out to be his greatest novel was especially gratifying.

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Chapter 5

His Particular Groove . . .

Heinlein was receiving an extreme degree of positive feedback that indicated he was in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing. Commercial writing so exactly suited Heinlein's needs as a person and as an artist that he never again, with the exception of technical war work and some brief forays into grassroots conservative politics in the 1950's and 1960's, seriously worked at any other profession. Nevertheless, he was not yet committed to writing as a life's work. He viewed the stories he was writing before World War II (with some exceptions) as trivial "entertainments." Campbell wrote glowingly to him about stories Heinlein regarded as only hackwork tricks.



August 1939


The Heinleins' social life seems to have followed Robert's new profession. Heinlein attended a few meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society (LASFS), which was the local chapter of Gernsback's Science Fiction League. Although Heinlein never seems to have been attracted to fandom, LASFSians were to show up periodically in his fiction -- as, for example, Forrest J. Ackerman provided the model for General Services in "'We Also Walk Dogs.'" Every Saturday night the Heinleins opened their Laurel Canyon home for the informal "at homes" Heinlein was later to call the "Mañana Literary Society," gatherings very fannish in style, of Heinlein's peers and colleagues who spent the evening drinking inexpensive dry sherry and talking sf. The list of regulars Jack Williamson recalls meeting in 1940 sounds like a Who's Who of the new generation of sf writers living on the West Coast: Anthony Boucher, Henry Kuttner and his wife C.L. Moore, L. Ron Hubbard, Roby and Elma Wentz (his only acknowledged collaborator -- until Rip van Ronkel for the original screenplay of DESTINATION MOON -- on the early Mu fantasy "Beyond Doubt"), Cleve Cartmill, Mick McComas (later co-editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction with Anthony Boucher) and his wife Annette, Leigh Brackett, and the 20- year old newspaperboy Ray Bradbury. Heinlein was later to give Bradbury short shrift as an importunate fan who inveigled him into writing free fiction for a fanzine ("Successful Operation" for Bradbury's Summer 1940 Futuria Fantasia). (Bradbury was not to make his first sale until 1941).

Heinlein also recruited new writers for Campbell, including, most prominently two liberal-progressive journalists he had met during his EPIC years, culminating in his campaign, Cleve Cartmill and the mystery writer "H.H. Holmes" -- William A.P. White, who used another pseudonym, "Anthony Boucher," for his science fiction writing. Phyllis White, his wife (who also writes well-regarded mysteries under the pseudonym "P.D. James"), recalls that Heinlein talked with Campbell often on the telephone and passed on tips as to what kind of material Astounding was buying at the moment.

"H.H. Holmes" wrote a fictionalized picture of Heinlein and the Mañana Literary Society habitues as they existed in about 1940 in his 1942 mystery novel, ROCKET TO THE MORGUE (re-issued in the 1970's in paper as by "Anthony Boucher"). Jack Williamson in his memoirs gave the key to this roman a cléf:

"He put our society into . . . ROCKET TO THE MORGUE. Heinlein is there as Austin Carter, a chief suspect. Hubbard is D. Vance Wimple and Campbell is Don Stewart. Ed Hamilton and I are combined into Joe Henderson. . . . . I remember Bruce Yerke, making himself pretty obnoxious with his way of twisting General Semantics into a device for putting people down, a habit that earned his role as model for the corpse [William Runcible] . . ."

The book also described Heinlein's writing studio and the Future History chart. Heinlein and friend Bill Corson created a loft studio in the high-ceilinged garage of the [14-15] house on Lookout Mountain Avenue. There was a steep staircase accessing it from the living room, and a small lavatory, which Heinlein plumbed himself. The renovation was unpermitted, and they had to sneak in materials for the construction. At night they cut into the outside walls for windows. A contemporaneous photo shows Heinlein seated at his desk in this studio, with the proof sheets of "'If This Goes On--'" on the wall beside him.

The first phase of Heinlein's writing career lasted until approximately mid-1941 and can almost be described as a honeymoon period between Heinlein and Campbell. Heinlein wrote pretty much what he wanted and as much as he wanted, and, with a few exceptions, Campbell bought everything Heinlein wrote, sometimes publishing two stories per month in Astounding (or its sister fantasy magazine Unknown), under Heinlein's own name or an unwieldy series of pseudonyms.


"The Roads Must Roll"


"Blowups Happen"

January-February 1940


Heinlein's own name was reserved for the Future History stories; "Anson MacDonald" (a combination of Heinlein's middle name with his wife's maiden name) was used for major stories that did not fit into the Future History. "Caleb Saunders" and "John Riverside" were each used only once, for fantasy stories ("Elsewhen" and "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag," respectively), and another pseudonym, "Leslie Keith," was discussed with Campbell but apparently never used. "Lyle Monroe" ("Lyle" and "Monroe" being last names of his mother's family, the Monroe family related to the President Monroe) was used to market the early stories rejected by Campbell which Heinlein came to think of as substandard. Some of them were, indeed, second-rate (or not even that good), but some of them were not; they were simply hard to market because they were far out of the mainstream of either science fiction or fantasy of the day. Heinlein was not drawing on the same sources as were his colleagues. His earliest stories show a mixture of Twain and Wells, Ouspensky and Korzybski, and various of the intellectual movements of the preceding twenty years that we would now regard as "New Age." An additional pseudonym, "Simon York," was used to market his mystery story, "They Do It With Mirrors," after World War II.

By February 1940, Heinlein had written fifteen stories and sold most of them, when Campbell bought "Blowups Happen," a story written from an idea Campbell had supplied. Street & Smith had forbidden Campbell to publish any more of his own stories. Campbell described over the phone the story of his now unpublishable novelette, "All," and suggested that if Heinlein re-wrote it, there would be enough money in it to buy a new car he wanted at the time. The result was the serial novel "Sixth Column," published in book form under that title but more often as THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. It was not a story Heinlein was ever fully satisfied with -- thirties-style super-science epics were not his thing -- but it allowed him to buy the car he wanted on a trip back east in the summer of 1940. The story of that purchase is the opening anecdote of Heinlein's admiring portrait of E.E. "Doc" Smith in "Larger than Worlds."

At any rate, Heinlein was able to retire the mortgage on his Laurel Canyon home. His income from writing thus far was about $1,400.00. The mortgage was the last connection with his failed attempt at politics, and Heinlein took the opportunity to re-evaluate what he was doing.


"Magic, Inc."

"How to Write a Story"


"Sixth Column"

Spring-Summer 1940


Although he had given it his best effort and achieved a satisfying result, Heinlein did not intend to make commercial fiction writing his life's work. His thinking on the subject is set out in a series of letters to Campbell, recorded in GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE: he might retire from fiction writing later that year "if the tripe continued to sell" or he might devote time to other writing projects -- quality magazine fiction ("the slicks"), book-length novels, popular expositions of General Semantics and "in particular a nonfiction book on finance and money theory." There were a few goodies he wanted -- a car and a trip back East in the summer, where he would meet and cement the friendship that was developing by way of long letters to and from Campbell, but would continue to write science fiction only as the spirit moved him. He set an "up or out" policy for himself: if ever he began to slip from top place in reader ratings or in payment rates or if he began to collect rejections, he would get out then, leave at the top.


"'And He Built a Crooked House'"

"Logic of Empire"


"Solution Unsatisfactory"

Fall-Winter 1940


And he was at the top. In fact, he was redefining the top with an unprecedented level of realism, breadth, and imagination. Just a year into commercial writing, he was already the acknowledged master of modern science fiction. He was asked to give the keynote/guest of honor speech at the second World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Denver over the Independence Day weekend of 1941, the "Denvention." (Worldcons are now held over the Labor Day weekend, but the tradition had not yet been established in 1941).

Eventually (mid-1941) Campbell did reject a Fortean story Heinlein considered a fairly important work, "Crea-[15-16]tion Took Eight Days." Heinlein took it as a sign and quietly retired, fiddling with photography and masonry, his favorite hobbies.


"'-- We Also Walk Dogs --'"


Future History Chart

"By His Bootstraps"


"Goldfish Bowl"

February -August 1941


The Denvention Guest of Honor speech, "Discovery of the Future" (a direct reference to a speech Wells gave forty years earlier) gave no direct evidence that Heinlein was retiring from science fiction . . . unless it was the emphasis on science and cultural matters rather than sf. He gave an interesting list of important books for building a general education, with heavy emphasis on the last of the list, Count Alfred Korzybski's SCIENCE AND SANITY.

Heinlein found that he could not stay retired. He had somehow acquired a permanent itch for writing and allowed himself to be talked back into it. Campbell accepted a revised version of the rejected story, published later under Heinlein's original working title of "Goldfish Bowl," and Heinlein started planning a serial novel that would combine the demands of commercial writing with his interest in economic theory.



September-December 1941


There was some urgency about this project. Heinlein expected we would be in the war almost immediately. The manuscript was finished up on December 6, 1941.

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Chapter 6

Wartime Interregnum

Heinlein had been following the war news from Europe with increasing unease: the lights of democracy were going out all over Europe and Asia (to both fascism and communism, which Heinlein, regarded as equally evil). A year and a half earlier he had written a short-short for a fanzine that tried, unsuccessfully, to waken science fiction fans to the Nazi extermination camps. Now the U.S. was involved in the war, and he immediately applied for active duty, but was rejected for medical reasons -- tuberculosis scars on his lungs and myopia (nearsightedness) "beyond the limits allowed even for the staff corps." But a Navy buddy Albert Scoles was in charge of the Materials Laboratory at the Naval Air Experimental Station at Mustin Field, near Philadelphia. Scoles was the aviator friend Heinlein had "talked in" by radio in 1931 while both were serving on the Lexington. The Materials Lab had begun a steady expansion when war broke out in Europe in September 1939. The U.S. involvement in the war would mean an explosive growth. Scoles was ready to take on Heinlein as a civilian engineer, and he was ultimately to solicit help from all the technically trained science fiction writers. Early in the spring of 1942, Scoles met in New York with Heinlein, Campbell (who had been trained as an electrical engineer), and L. Sprague de Camp. Campbell decided to continue editing Astounding and Unknown Worlds. Scoles would take de Camp on as soon as he finished Naval Training School at Dartmouth.

In the weeks before his appointment came through, Heinlein finished "Waldo" while living on John Campbell's couch (the proceeds of the sale paying off a hospital bill for Leslyn's gallstone operation), and "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag." Its appearance in Unknown Worlds in October 1942 was the last of his prewar fiction.

He and Leslyn found a house in Lansdowne, a suburb of Philadelphia, and Heinlein went to work on what he described as "the necessary tedium of aviation engineering." Although he was trained as a "mechanical engineer specializing in linkages," his slight experience with aircraft on the U.S.S. Lexington targeted him toward the Navy's aircraft program at a time when aeronautical engineering was separating off into a specialized discipline.



"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag"

Early 1942


Several of his friends have noted that he was so conscientiously close-mouthed that they never actually knew what kind of projects he was working on, but his one surviving piece of technical writing from the period (1944) is a report on developing plastics for aircraft canopies. He later spoke of helping to develop the high-altitude suit, the progenitor of today's space suits, using paradigms created by Edmond Hamilton for his 1930's space operas, and engineering details of the suit appear extensively in Heinlein's post-war fiction. He has also spoken of running a small brain trust out of his apartment after he and Leslyn moved from Lansdowne to downtown Philadelphia. As well as engineering, a supervisor at the Lab noted, he also served as "a sort of personnel man for the Laboratory." He persuaded Scoles to call up Isaac Asimov -- "practically kidnaped" is the way he puts it -- who was doing graduate work in biochemistry at Columbia University. He also functioned as "a kind of one-man grievance committee." Heinlein was particularly adept at defusing conflicts [16-17] between Naval and civilian personnel, whose ages, experience level, and Naval rank were not always well matched or even compatible. He was remembered as a constant stabilizing influence amid the chaos.


"Testing in Connection with the Development of Strong Plastics for Aircraft"



By later evidence, Heinlein must have used the war period to "invite his soul" and re-evaluate his life to date. Like Twain and Wells before him, he was coming late to writing, but it seemed to be his calling. During this period, he must have decided to make a commitment to writing as a profession but under the "up or out" terms he had set for himself in his correspondence with Campbell. If he was going to work seriously at writing, he was not going to limit himself to the pulps. He would get a good agent and hit every high-paying market he could think of. He would continue to write science fiction; it was to be the base of his professional career, and he considered himself a "professional prophet" but it was time to try writing for the hardcover market. Science fiction was essentially not published in hardcovers before World War II, and his previous novel-length work had been written as pulp magazine serials. He would also write for the high-paying quality fiction magazines, and possibly even for Hollywood. It is doubtful he expended any effort on this plan during the war, for his sense of dedication to war work was ironclad, but he kept new ideas on file, and when the war ended, he would be ready to attack his chosen life's work with vigor -- always assuming the country was not overrun.

With all the working sf writers around, the Heinleins were able to continue their Mañana Literary Society style of social life. The deCamps had lived with them in Landsdowne for a time, until they found a converted attic apartment a block away whose grounds were the site of Sunday picnics and strolls. The Heinleins and the deCamps shared rationed meals with other families in the neighborhood or occasionally drove into the city to visit with the Asimovs, though the requisite half-tank of gas had to be carefully saved up, at the cost of two-mile walks with the deCamp's toddler. Heinlein kept in touch with his friends. L. Ron Hubbard was stationed in the Pacific, but toward the end of the war he wound up in Philadelphia and was a participant in Heinlein's think tank.. In February 1945 when Sgt. Jack Williamson came through Philadelphia on his way to the Southwest Pacific, he was shown around the Lab and introduced to the staff, including a WAVE lieutenant j.g., Virginia Doris Gerstenfeld.

Virginia Gerstenfeld -- "Ginny" -- was no doubt an impressive human being. Heinlein would not have been drawn to a dishrag, and their subsequent history together demonstrates her intellect and strength of character. In his introduction for THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW, Damon Knight gave a brief sketch of her: "Ginny is a chemist, biochemist, aviation test engineer, experimental horticulturist (i.e., a gardener); she earned varsity letters at N.Y.U. in swimming, diving, basketball and field hockey, and became a competitive figure skater after graduation; she speaks [1967] seven languages so far, and is starting on an eighth." But her admirable qualities do not entirely account for what happened next: Heinlein fell profoundly in love with her, that kind of once-in-a-lifetime utter devotion that completely reshapes one's interior life around another. She was to become the central structure of his life from that time until he died, more than forty years later.

But Heinlein had made a life-commitment to Leslyn, and he would not renege on his commitment. He continued with his work and his marriage.

One of the more interesting aspects of his work was two letters written in the closing weeks of the war, formally urging the Navy to take up space exploration. One was killed at the Materials Laboratory. The other went up the naval hierarchy, finally reaching the level of Truman's cabinet. When the sponsoring officer was asked if these spaceships might be launched from the surface of a seagoing vessel, the proposal was officially turned down, and so the Air Force would later become the official "owner" of space exploration.

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Chapter 7

A Cautionary Propagandist

Within a week of the end of the war, Heinlein resigned and returned, with Leslyn, to Los Angeles, where he began to implement his writing plan with an important addition. The atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki galvanized him. They were not the complete surprise to him that they were to the rest of the world, for he had been following developments in what came to be known as nuclear physics since Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner had discovered fission in 1939. One of his proteges, Cleve Cartmill, had worked out the math for a fission bomb for a 1944 short story, "Deadline," that nearly landed him and John Campbell in prison for stealing the nation's atomic secrets. Atomics were a genie that could not be kept in the bottle. It was necessary -- utterly, urgently necessary -- to awaken his fellow citizens to the danger confronting them. He would write hortatory and persuasive articles about the meaning of the atomic age, as well as fiction.

L. Ron Hubbard had introduced Heinlein to Lurton Blassingame, a prominent New York literary agent who would have the clout to get Heinlein's material into the markets he wanted to penetrate. Heinlein liked Blassin-[17-18]game, and they rapidly developed a solid working and personal relationship that was to last until Blassingame's death in the 1970's.

Some time in 1945, Heinlein had been approached by "a Philadelphia publisher" to do a "boy's book," that is, a publisher's category of commercial fiction now more commonly called a "juvenile." The juvenile market was slightly younger than his usual target market in the science fiction magazines, but a new series of the Tom Swift books he had read and loved as a teen-ager in the 1920's were being issued, so he felt on familiar ground. It suited his "propaganda" purposes, and friends thought it was a good idea: Cleve Cartmill encouraged him in that direction, as well as filmmaker Fritz Lang. He outlined a slam-bang boy's action novel that would be the first of a series using the same cast of characters. Heinlein's THE YOUNG ATOMIC ENGINEERS was to be patterned closely on the Tom Swift books. He began writing early in 1946, even before his editor approved the outline.

In March 1946, as Heinlein turned the manuscript over to his agent, Virginia Gerstenfeld was released from the Navy, on "inactive duty." She came to Los Angeles and enrolled in the advanced degree program at UCLA, on Robert's suggestion.

The Philadelphia publisher turned down THE YOUNG ATOMIC ENGINEERS: Atomic rockets and rogue Nazis on the moon were too "out there" for his line. Blassingame took the manuscript to Scribners, where Alice Dalgliesh, the editor for the juvenile division, recommended they buy it, though she did not like the serial novel genre and considered Tom Swift and the like "cheap." Heinlein's book was scheduled for release in 1947 under the title ROCKET SHIP GALILEO.


"How to be a Survivor"

"Pie from the Sky"

"The Last Days of the United States"



"Free Men"

"Dance Session"

"Back of the Moon"

"They Do It With Mirrors"

"Columbus Was a Dope"

"Jerry Was a Man"

"The Witches' Daughters"

"The Green Hills of Earth"

"Space Jockey"

"'It's Great to be Back'"



Since the Scribner's contract contained an option for Heinlein's next juvenile book, this purchase set up an annual series of enduringly popular boys' books and gave Heinlein the income and market presence he was looking for. He wrote five popular articles on the impact of atomic weaponry (three of which he later published in EXPANDED UNIVERSE). He wrote a topical how-to book, titled, straightforwardly, HOW TO BE A POLITICIAN -- he wanted an aware electorate to take control of their government. There were no takers. As the international situation continued to deteriorate, he gave up the effort. Except for a speculative article co-written with his friend, Caleb Laning for Colliers, "Flight Into the Future," he was never able to sell any of his cautionary writing for adults. Much of the setup of the Space Patrol as it appears in the 1948 novel SPACE CADET was put into this article.

What was selling was the fiction. He was cracking every fiction market he targeted, from true confessions to mystery to the optimistic near-future stories he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, then the highest-paying and most prestigious general-public market in the country. His Post stories were set in a common background (compatible with the Future History) during the coming period of exploration and settlement of the solar system, which he optimistically saw as well under way by the end of the century. He made the possibility of Luna City as real to people as the New World used to be for relatives in The Old Country.

In this he was not merely pioneering new markets for his colleagues and peers waiting under the wings of the pulp ghetto, he was also, quite consciously, taking on an important role as an educator and public moralist. His annual series of boys' books, timed to hit the Christmas market, provided him with an educational platform of unprecedented power. Heinlein immediately shed the genre pattern of the Tom Swift and Frank Reade books and devised his own form of storytelling, that owed more, perhaps, to Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI and ROUGHING IT -- altogether stronger models to work from. In marketing Heinlein's juveniles, Scribners sold the values of the American Way. As Heinlein grew into his calling, he was becoming more and more like his literary idol, Mark Twain, who wrote many serious works, disavowed any serious purpose, and lamented (but not too hard) that he was only wanted as a professional funnyman.


"The Black Pits of Luna"

"Water is for Washing"

"A Bathroom of Her Own"

"On the Writing of Speculative Fiction"

"No Bands Playing"

"Flight Into the Future"

"Gentlemen, Be Seated"

"On the Slopes of Vesuvius"

"Poor Daddy"

"Our Fair City"

"Ordeal in Space"




All the writing of this period (1945-1947) was produced under difficult and trying circumstances for Heinlein, because his personal life was going to hell. The relationship with Leslyn, his wife of 15 years, had disintegrated in alcoholism and what sounds from the descriptions of [18-19] friends like hereditary schizophrenia, beyond any possibility of repair. But even with good health and the best of wills, separation was inevitable, for Heinlein's emotional ties now lay elsewhere. In 1947 he moved out while Leslyn applied for a divorce. Ginny has said that he called and asked her to help him move out. His mailing address for this period is a commercial office building on the corner of Fairfax and Santa Monica, in what is now West Hollywood. He went off to Ojai to get some writing done.

In those days before no-fault, there was a one year cooling off period before the final decree of divorce, the decree nisi, was granted. During this time, presumably from October 1947, Heinlein was still considered legally married to Leslyn and could have been seriously compromised if discovered living with (or even dating) another woman. The prudishness of those days is now hard to imagine, but Heinlein had definite reason to be cautious. Cohabitation was illegal and, particularly in Hollywood, susceptible to exposure. A public scandal would not merely have been embarrassing at that time, it would have destroyed his ability to sell to the juvenile market, which was at that time controlled by old-maid librarians typically born or educated in the Mauve Decade. Heinlein and Virginia were discreet and continued to be discreet for the remainder of their lives. They were married in October 1948, discreetly after the decree nisi was entered.


"The Man Who Traveled In Elephants"


"Nothing Ever Happens on the Moon"

"Deliah and the Space Rigger"

"The Long Watch"



The new Heinleins would shortly relocate to Colorado. Heinlein has spoken of his search for a place that would avoid fall-out from the major atomic targets on the coasts, and the area around Denver seemed ideal. It was also ideal for making a break from his past. He finished up work with Alford "Rip" van Ronkel on their "spec" screenplay for DESTINATION MOON and chose Colorado Springs as a likely location, sheltered by Cheyenne Mountain. He would eventually build a home -- but a number of projects were coming to fruition, and they would probably have to be in Hollywood in the spring or summer of 1949.

As 1948 ran down and Heinlein started writing RED PLANET, his third juvenile for Scribners, John Campbell received a fan letter with an intriguing "gimmick": it commented on the contents of an issue of Astounding that would not appear for a year yet, in November 1949. Mrs. Heinlein has written:

"Robert and John made a date to talk by radio from a man's house in north Colorado Springs. (John was a ham at that time.) And Robert had read the letter from the fan. (John must have published it.) So Robert suggested that they [turn that small joke back on itself and make that issue a reality -- the "time travel" issue of November 1949], and he was in for "Gulf." Most of the writers agreed to their assignments, but one didn't. In any case, in due course, the time-travel issue was produced. Robert wrote "Gulf," and aside from one or two other special cases, Robert didn't write for JWC. But they remained friends in spite of that."

Indeed, Astounding was no longer one of his primary markets. By 1948, his principal markets were the high-paying slicks -- the Post, Town & Country, Argosy -- and his own name, once regarded by both Campbell and Heinlein as almost an Astounding property, was appearing in lesser magazines -- Startling Stories, Weird Tales, even Thrilling Wonder Stories.



"The Man Who Sold the Moon"




"Baedecker of the Solar System"



Finding a story to go along with the title and, moreover, one which could be written at novel length in the few months he had available was a problem. Robert and Ginny brainstormed the problem one evening in the fall of 1948.

Ginny was already an integral element of Heinlein's professional life, having organized and vetted his working files into the "opus system" Heinlein described for L. Sprague de Camp's 1949 THE SCIENCE FICTION HANDBOOK and she would continue to be an important part of his creative and business process for the rest of his life. On this occasion, one of the ideas she threw out was a twist on Kipling's THE JUNGLE BOOK -- a kind of Martian Mowgli, a human raised by Martians. Heinlein liked -- loved -- was galvanized by -- the idea, but thought it would take longer to develop than he had available to write it (as, indeed, it did). They passed on to other ideas, and "Gulf" turned out a very short novel on the superman/next-step-in-evolution theme that was popular just then -- or perhaps it was a longish novelette, just long enough to break into two segments to qualify as a serial.

But the Mowgli idea fascinated him. Overnight he drafted 14 pages of single-spaced questions and comments about his Martian named Smith. It is not surprising that there were elements of the same influences here: Ouspensky's superman, observations on the subject of religion from TERTIUM ORGANUM, Stapledon's Odd John and a little bit of Philip Wylie's GLADIATOR, as well. But his plate was full at the moment, so he put the material aside for awhile to ferment while other matters occupied his attention. [19-20]

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Chapter 8

Hollywood Beckons: DESTINATION MOON

The Scribner's contract was not turning out an unalloyed success. His juvenile editor, Alice Dalgliesh, had liked his conventional Tom Swift-like first juvenile, and SPACE CADET, his second, was a familiar enough type of a sanitized adventure story. But his boys' book for 1949, RED PLANET, stepped over the line into new territory -- which he was to do repeatedly in the future -- and raised a real stink: Dalgliesh would not hear of boys carrying and using weapons and the possible interpretation of Martian sex life didn't bear examining. Heinlein ultimately gave in to her demands, for the pragmatic reason that Scribner's had to sell the book to librarians who were extremely sensitive on these points. But he didn't like it, and he later took his revenge by sneaking in a name from LADY CHAT TERLY'S LOVER, the most celebrated literary "pornography" of the century (until William S. Burroughs' books began coming out), into THE STAR BEAST. This kind of subtle revenge was very characteristic of Heinlein.

In the meantime, Heinlein cracked the last of the major markets he had targeted in his wartime plan. His 1948 script for DESTINATION MOON (co-written with Alford "Rip" Van Ronkel) was purchased by George Pal and scheduled for production in the spring of 1949. Pal was looking for "something different," and the documentary of the future they had written looked different enough. Robert was hired to do technical direction on DESTINATION MOON. The Heinleins duly set off for Hollywood, but the production was delayed and delayed again.

By the time the contract had been signed and the Heinleins arrived from Colorado, the producer had a change of heart about the script. It was too different. So he set about to conventionalize it. He hired his favorite screenwriter, James O'Hanlon, to "humanize" the script. O'Hanlon added a family life for one of the four leads, and put in a trio of hepsters, and changed the character of one of the four leads -- making him into comic relief. The script was re-written and rewritten. Toward the end, Heinlein has remarked, "the bankers and their catamites" had more influence about what went into their script than he did. Then Irving Pichel was hired to direct, and he re-wrote the script yet again. Heinlein wrote his fourth Scribner's book, FARMER IN THE SKY, the first to be serialized (in Boy's Life, as SATELLITE SCOUT) before release of the book, thereby opening up another source of revenue (essentially selling the same book twice).

The movie was eventually made. Pichel came to rely on Heinlein's sense of what was both technically accurate and filmicly possible -- his son was a rocket scientist and seconded all of Heinlein's suggestions -- so Pichel did it Heinlein's way, and DESTINATION MOON turned out a great success for Pal -- though not in financial terms for Heinlein. In an unpublished letter, Mrs. Heinlein comments:

"We most definitely did not get rich from it! George Pal had borrowed money from N. Peter Rathvon to make two films, and DM was cross-collateralized with the squirrel picture, starring Jimmy Durante [THE GREAT RUPERT] The squirrel picture bombed -- and DM paid its expenses. In all, we received $10,000 (less agency fees) for the script, and we were paid off around $800 (again less agency fees) in take from the picture after it began to make money. At that point, the writers were cut off, and the banker got all the royalties afterwards. I heard (but can't prove) that George Pal mortgaged his house to pay part of the expenses. I believe that he lost out on that one. I also heard that the agent who handled the sale had a piece of the picture. But perhaps the worst thing was that someone on the picture leaked everything about it, and a quickie film called ROCKET SHIP XM was sneaked into markets before DM, and skimmed the cream off the market. The advertising budget was $1,200,000 -- the cost of the first print was only $600,000. It was a case of we wuz robbed -- but we didn't want to fight it. Robert believed that he could make more money by writing more books, so he did that."

Heinlein wrote an article on the project, "Shooting DESTINATION MOON" for Astounding, though the short story written from the treatment (in the entertainment industry, a "treatment" is an outline or description of the story in narrative, rather than script, format) appeared in Short Story Magazine. DESTINATION MOON is considered the first modern science fiction film. It was nominated for an Oscar in three categories (Art, Direction, Set Direction, and Special Effects) and won the Award for its Special Effects.

Money was coming in almost faster than they could spend it, but fate, in the shape of the Korean Conflict, took care of that. As they finally began to build their Colorado Springs house in 1950, shortages of labor and materials caused costs to increase enormously. Robert was afraid that Virginia would be called up from inactive duty and he would have to go back to war work research. But that did not happen, and a new clutch of contracts including an adaptation of his second juvenile for Scribner's, SPACE CADET, to become the television series TOM CORBETT, SPACE CADET, allowed them to finish the house without taking on a new mortgage. It was once rumored that Heinlein wrote scripts for TOM CORBETT but would not allow his name to be used for screen credit. The inference seems to have been drawn from the script writing that went on as a plot element in THE ROLLING STONES, but there is no evidence to support this, and Mrs. Heinlein confirms that he did no scriptwriting for the series -- noting that

"what happened was even better -- we were paid a fee for each appearance of the show on the air. A tidy amount, about equal to Robert's Navy pension . . . . He never wrote [20-21] a script, he never made a suggestion to the people who made those TV films. And presently, he decided that this was the best way for him to handle those matters -- 'take the cash and let the credit go.'"

Certainly Heinlein did not think highly of the show, as he remarks that Alice Dalgliesh would not care to have the Scrib ner's name associated with it.


"Pandora's Box"



"Cliff and the Calories"



Also in 1950, Campbell began publishing the series of Dianetics articles by Heinlein's close friend, L. Ron Hubbard, after they had been rejected by the Journal of the American Medical Association. While writing the Old Doc Methuselah stories, and after serving as a magickal assistant for one of Aleister Crowley's most promising American disciples, Jack Parsons, in The Babalon Working, Hubbard developed a "new" theory of the mind based on his observations (and, some say, secret doctrines of Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientalis, or "O.T.O.") rather than on psychiatric theory. Hubbard's "Dianetics" was to be a "scientific" replacement for the pre-scientific Freud. Dianetics monitoring, using a psionic device called the E-meter (psionics devices -- machines that interacted directly with the mind -- were Campbell's new passion in the 1950's), became something of a fad in the science fiction community, but Hubbard was running into stiff resistance from the convention-minded medical community, who were inclined to become nasty about Dianetics monitors practicing medicine without a license. Heinlein had told Hubbard in conversations in Philadelphia during World War II that a religion could successfully front anything in the U.S.

Hubbard followed Heinlein's now ten-year old advice, abandoning Dianetics. The Founding Church of Scientology opened in January 1955 in Washington D.C. and in New York. Heinlein's advice to Hubbard had allowed him completely to bypass the medical opposition; for the next fifteen years, Hubbard's principal bêtes noirs would be the Internal Revenue Service (but Heinlein was right: the IRS was never able to prove Scientology a fake religion under U.S. law, and they eventually gave up after being defeated in decision after decision).



"The Bulletin Board"


"Year of the Jackpot"

"Project Nightmare"




For a short time, Campbell was a Dianetics convert, and his attempts to interest Heinlein in this enthusiasm contributed to the final tailing off of their personal friendship.

The 1950's were a vintage era for the Heinleins, as for the rest of the country. Robert's health continued to hold up, as did Virginia's except for a series of minor but nagging complaints. As late as 1963, Robert was speaking of it as a "mysterious malady," but he must have known very early what was the problem: his 1950 Scribner's juvenile, FARMER IN THE SKY, dramatizes altitude sickness. Virginia Heinlein simply did not thrive at Colorado Springs' high altitudes.

But the problem was long in emerging, and they had other occupations. Virginia had introduced Robert to figure skating. In 1952 they began traveling, with a tour of the National Parks. In 1953, they took a six-month round--the-world tour, and Robert wrote a kind of fascinating travel-diary called TRAMP ROYALE, but again there were no takers. It was shelved until after his death, but they continued to delight in world travel. The Heinleins were a gregarious and outgoing couple, entertaining houseguests, sometime for weeks at a time, between jaunts.

Heinlein was becoming a public figure in the wider sense of someone known to the general public, instead of simply a favorite genre writer. As his name became increasingly well known, the volume of his fan correspondence began to grow out of control, and too much of his time was taken up with requests to address conventions and write material that can only marginally be considered promotional -- free writing, essentially. Gradually he imposed limits on his uncompensated and nonfiction writing. Nor was the correspondence the worst of it: his fans wanted to meet him. He had a hard time turning down a civil request and not all the requests were so civil: once, Virginia Heinlein went into a bathroom with a view window overlooking an arroyo to find a pair of fans, Curtis Casewit and his girlfriend, peering in. Even the friends and relatives took up writing time.


"This I Believe"

"Ray Guns and Rocket Ships"

"Sky Lift"




One consequence of his increasing fame he found flattering, if distracting: in 1952, he was invited to be a guest speaker on Edward R. Murrow's "This I Believe" program for CBS radio. He scripted a kind of credo for the post-war period, which was published in GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE and in REQUIEM.

Still, Heinlein managed to push out two novels in most years, one for the Scribners juvenile line, the other for the adult market. And there were his own collections to assemble and edit, as well as one notable anthology of Fortean stories for which he wrote the introduction, TOMORROW THE STARS, plus short stories in the intervals between major projects. Little of this output was shown to [21-22] Campbell any longer, for Campbell would bounce the manuscripts with long and irritating explanatory letters of rejection. Only gradually did Heinlein accept his agent's gentle insistence that Astounding was still a legitimate market for him. Science fiction was booming in the 1950's. Toward the end of the decade, there were more than thirty-five magazine titles, all of them hungry for copy. It was a very good time to be a science fiction writer.









In 1953, Heinlein made a series of adaptations of some of his own stories for an anthology television series that never materialized. Heinlein was to become extremely disenchanted with film and television works, lumped together as "Hollywood," because of the many false starts and waste of his productive time, and this anthology series illustrates why he came to this conclusion. When the series went into "development," Heinlein invested a great deal of effort writing scripts for the first few half-hour episodes, drafts and sketches for several others, and treatments for the rest. Altogether there were 14 hour-long episodes planned. Most of them were transcriptions of Heinlein's short stories -- such as "Life-Line" and "Misfit," but there were also three completely new stories -- the pilot, "Ring Around the Moon," plus two episodes, "Home" and "The Tourist."






After the hour-long pilot was filmed (actually 48 minutes, to leave time for commercials), his producer, Jack Seaman, decided to capitalize on the sudden craze for science fiction films (in part brought about by the success of DESTINATION MOON). Without Hein lein's knowledge or consent, he shot a small amount of new material and cut the pilot into a 63-minute film for theatrical release. PROJECT MOONBASE did not do well at the box-office -- it was a frankly awful film -- and the premature release of its story materials killed any chance of a television network buying the series. Mrs. Heinlein writes:

"We went downtown to see it in Colorado Springs and were horrified. TV is one thing, a movie is another, and it's still around, and someone else has the copyright on it. Not to mention that the other stories can't be used because they're tied up by contract!"

The two other original stories were never published.




"The Third Millennium Opens"



Heinlein was disenchanted, but he knew that nobody would put the creative control over millions of dollars in his hands, even though he also knew that was what would be necessary to have the project come out all right. Writing in his 1967 accession notes for the Special Collections of the University of California, Santa Cruz, he remarked that the money for motion pictures or television does not constitute a real attraction; a steady-selling novel produces more cash in the long run.



"The Menace from Earth"

"Tenderfoot in Space"




"Side Note -- motion picture writing, despite high salaries, is the poorest paid by the hour of any form of commercial writing. Deus volent, I will never write another script, either MP or TV - R.A.H.)

"Science Fiction: Its Nature, Faults

and Virtues"




One truly awful B picture made in 1958, THE BRAIN EATERS, simply pirated his 1950 THE PUPPET MASTERS. Heinlein sued and the producers settled just before the trial would have commenced. The settlement included an unknown amount in monetary damages and the right to specify cuts in the movie.

The most obviously stolen elements were eliminated from the film before its release (The film continues to have a certain curiosity value because it included an early appearance by Leonard Nimoy) .

But there were other rewards and awards for him during this period: In 1956, Heinlein was given his first Hugo, the award given by science fiction fans at the annual World Science Fiction Convention, for DOUBLE STAR, which had been published in 1955. He was ultimately to have four -- the largest number of any SF writer (for novels) -- and joked that his wife was tired of dusting all of them. [22-23]

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Chapter 9


One project Heinlein continued to work on periodically was the Mowgli satire he and Virginia had come up with in 1949. Apparently he continued to collect notes and drafts of fragments until well into 1952. He tried again in 1953, but was not satisfied with the result and shelved the project. In 1955, he was 43,000 words into the manuscript of A MARTIAN NAMED SMITH, but it did not jell. Mrs. Heinlein has noted that he put the manuscript aside several times and picked it up where he had left off, rather than re-drafting it.

On April 5, 1958, Heinlein was again working on the Mowgli story -- this time titled THE HERETIC -- when a full-page ad appeared in the local newspaper, sponsored by the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, urging the U.S. to suspend nuclear testing unilaterally. Outraged by what they considered a major blunder in the Cold War's international brinksmanship so severe as almost to constitute treason, the Heinleins jointly prepared a responsive full-page counter-ad, whose text Heinlein preserved in EXPANDED UNIVERSE as "Who Are the Heirs of Patrick Henry," and encouraged others around the country to do the same. The Patrick Henry ad became a small political campaign, totally grassroots, with a strong conservative flavor. The one-time radical reform politician again addressed meetings and raised funds for weeks. The issue was eventually mooted when President Eisenhower unilaterally suspended nuclear testing. And Heinlein found himself attacked by his colleagues in the science fiction community for excessive conservatism.

Over the years, Heinlein had become disenchanted with Wellsian socialism, gradually reformulating his abiding concerns and priorities in terms of conservative politics. It should be noted that American liberal politics was itself detaching from the American liberal tradition at the time and aligning itself with the European social-democrat philosophy which characterizes contemporary "liberalism." Heinlein's apparent movement consisted in large part of maintaining his traditional patriotic and liberal-progressive values while politics around him changed. The same process was happening to millions of others as American liberals abandoned American liberalism and forced liberal-progressives into Conservativism.

The process may have started as early as World War II, though Heinlein continued to draw inspiration from Wells until about 1950 (the Space Patrol, for instance, seems to have been drawn from a remark by Wells in a 1946 radio speech). The timing suggests that Ginny, whom Heinlein met while at Mustin Field, may have been a key figure in this evolution, though she notes the he was pretty well formed as an adult by the time of their marriage. "We did discuss politics, but on the whole we agreed on most things in that line."

By 1958, the evolution toward conservatism must have been nearly as complete as it was ever to become. Following the Patrick Henry campaign, he went back to writing, but not to THE HERETIC. Instead, he wrote STARSHIP TROOPERS, with a strong anti-communist message, and shocked the science fiction community silly.


"Who Are the Heirs of Patrick Henry?"

"All You Zombies"




There is no doubt whatsoever that Heinlein knew exactly what he was doing with STARSHIP TROOPERS. It was a book which could not conceivably have been accepted by Scribners for its juvenile line, and when they rejected it, that would break their string of options. Heinlein had decided years before that it was more trouble to write for children (or, more precisely, for childrens' editors) than the money merited. This was simply the opportunity he needed to do what he wanted. He would no longer write or edit down to somebody else's idea of what was appropriate for a given market (though he always remained ready to take the advice of a professional editor on matters that would affect the marketing of his story).

STARSHIP TROOPERS was serialized as STARSHIP SOLDIER in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in October and November 1959, and the book was released by G.P. Putnam's Sons in December. Predictably, the reaction of critics has been one of spluttering indignation, but STARSHIP TROOPERS does what science fiction does best when it is at its best: it challenges the reader to re-think his basic assumptions. Nor, despite the volume of noise, was Heinlein's reputation in science fiction fandom diminished: STARSHIP TROOPERS won the Hugo Award at the 1960 World Science Fiction Convention, Heinlein's second, and he was invited to be the Guest of Honor at the 1961 World Science Fiction Convention, "Seacon," exactly 20 years (plus two months, since the convention had been moved to the Labor Day weekend) after his last Guest of Honor appearance at the Denvention. (Seacon was Ginny's introduction to science fiction fandom).

And then Heinlein went back to work on THE HERETIC. This time he wrote through the huge novel, working title THE MAN FROM MARS, and finished it in spring 1960. It was 800 pages and 220,000 words (an "average" novel is about 80,000 words and 300 pages in manuscript). Heinlein sent the manuscript out to be professionally typed while he and Virginia left for a tour of the Soviet Union. THE MAN FROM MARS was unlike anything Heinlein had let himself do before, an amazingly iconoclastic and complex satire of sex and religion, with clever name games and private jokes [23-24] embedded in the story (for example, the Martian artist who discorporated during the composition of an epic and thus produced a work of art partly the product of an adult and partly of an Old One, is Heinlein referencing himself starting the book in 1949 at age 42 and finishing it in 1960 at age 53). It might be difficult to market -- it might not sell at all.

In 1959-60, the sf market was in a major slump. Of the thirty-five sf magazines on the market two years earlier, only six were left. Heinlein had nothing to lose by writing to the general fiction market rather than the genre market. He repeated to himself advice Murray Leinster had given him years before: there is always a market for a good story. He put the matter out of his mind.






The trip to the Soviet Union turned out to be stressful and demanding and not a little dangerous. Virginia had been preparing for two years, learning Russian by the immersion method -- time and effort well spent, as it made them somewhat independent of their Intourist guides/ chaperons.



"'Pravda' Means 'Truth'"

"Inside Intourist"



On May 1, 1960 -- International Workers Day, a national festival of the Soviet Union -- a U.S. reconnaissance jet (spy plane) piloted by Gary Francis Powers came to ground 1,500 miles inside the Soviet borders. The Kremlin had been incensed by these U-2 overflights for four years -- a situation exacerbated by the U.S. pilots who routinely broadcast a mocking hyena laugh at the Soviets when they failed to shoot down the jets. This time, something went wrong, and plane and pilot were captured. For five days, Premier Khrushchev debated how to handle the incident. It was a major international propaganda opportunity, and he would exploit it for all it was worth. The Heinleins were at Alma-Ata in Kazakhstan, near the Chinese border. Heinlein has recorded their reactions in "'Pravda' Means 'Truth,'" written after they left the Soviet Union (published in EXPANDED UNIVERSE). They finished their tour in the Scandinavian countries and were back in Colorado by August.

Lurton Blassingame sent THE MAN FROM MARS manuscript first to Putnam's because they had an option on Heinlein's next novel. They wanted to publish it -- but without the sex and religion. What would have been left, Heinlein pointed out, was not a publishable book. Eventually, Putnam's agreed to accept the kind of book Heinlein had written. Heinlein edited the manuscript down to 160,000 words, and it was published in 1961 as under an editor's title of STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. Sales were initially no more than satisfactory -- 5,000 copies in the first 2_ months -- before going to a Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club edition, but Heinlein had proved that he could write and sell his kind of fiction, regardless of genre category.

Part of the hesitation on Putnam's part may have been because they were hoping for a juvenile book that would do for them what Heinlein's juveniles did for Scribners. Heinlein did write a juvenile for Putnam's, in 1962: PODKAYNE OF MARS, a science- fictionalized version of his "Puddin'" girls' stories. But even this was not to be a conventional "formula" juvenile. In Heinlein's original version, Podkayne is killed, and, from this experience, her sociopathic younger brother takes the first step toward learning how to be a human being. The ending was too dark for Putnam's, and they insisted that it be lightened, with the implication that she might recover.





"All Aboard the Gemini"

Playboy Interview

"Appointment in Space"




In 1962, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND received Heinlein's third Hugo Award.

Heinlein's next books were wild zigs for him, starting with a full-bore exploration of the sword-and-sorcery epic that was just coming back into vogue: GLORY ROAD with a "turn," drawn from Cabell, in the last hundred pages that refreshed the possibilities of the genre.

The Cold War was threatening to boil over. The Cuban Missile Crisis (October 22-28, 1962) was such a nerve-wracking near-miss that it undoubtedly influenced Heinlein's next choice of subject. GRAND SLAM was a very uncharacteristically pessimistic book, with the protagonist tossed from situation to situation and having no control over his own destiny. It was written at astonishing speed -- 25 days for a 500 page typescript (about 150,000 words, or nearly 6,000 words per day) -- probably the only way Heinlein could have sustained the dark mood.






In 1963, sales of the Avon paperback issue of STRANGER suddenly took off, for no apparent reason. The book had been "discovered" by what would become the "counterculture," and Heinlein found himself elected a personal guru for people he had never met. The dynamics of an [24-25] intellect that looks at "conservative" issues with a liberal-progressive sensibility makes this antinomy possible.

He was also sought after in Hollywood. His experience with TOM CORBETT and the abortive 1953 anthology series had soured him on the way business is done (or not done) in Hollywood, and he did not intend to get involved with film or television again. But in August 1963, he was contacted by Howie Horwitz and William Dozier with a project for a prospective Screen Gems television series, CENTURY XXII. Having no interest in getting involved in film and television work again, Heinlein set an unreasonable condition: they must come to him, rather than dragging him to Hollywood. Howie Horwitz showed up in Colorado, and Heinlein allowed himself to be talked into scripting the pilot.

The Heinleins traveled to Hollywood early in 1964 for re-writes on CENTURY XXII. Almost as soon as the pilot was re-written to the producer's satisfaction, a management reorganization at Screen Gems caused the script to be shelved. But Heinlein had been paid for his work, and that was what counted. The producers went on to another studio to do BATMAN.


"The Happy Road to Science Fiction"

"Science Fiction: the World of 'What If'"



As the 1964 presidential campaign got under way, Heinlein again found himself involved in politics. Virginia had helped to open a fundraising office in Colorado Springs. "Gold for Goldwater" was Ginny's project; Robert had no real intention of getting involved . . . but the political inactivity got to him after a while, and again he found himself attending political dinners and making speeches and creating innovative fundraising gimmicks. But this time, it was clearly a lost cause. As the campaign wound down to Goldwater's defeat by incumbent President Johnson, the Heinleins prepared for a trip to South America. Later in the year, GRAND SLAM, retitled FARNHAM'S FREEHOLD, was serialized in Worlds of If science fiction magazine and then publish ed in hardcovers by Putnam's.

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Chapter 10

The Return and the Fallow Years

By 1965, the Heinleins had outgrown the Colorado Springs house; Ginny's health problems relating to altitude sickness had gone from intermittent to chronic; and the original rationale for choosing Colorado -- to be away from nuclear targets and out of the fallout drift patterns -- was long gone. In 1957, the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) set up its headquarters to correlate data from the Arctic Distant Early Warning (DEW) line at nearby Ent Air Force Base, then the Air force opened the U.S. Air Academy nearby, and, to put a cap on it, NORAD was building into Cheyenne Mountain, virtually in Heinlein's back yard, construction to be completed in 1966. Colorado Springs had become the #1 nuclear target in the U.S. -- a fact Heinlein's friends lost no opportunity to rib him about. Heinlein took his revenge by pounding Cheyenne Mountain flat in THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS.






After some surgery and a brief scouting trip to the Seattle area, they found a wooded lot in the Bonny Doon area of the mountains close to the ocean near Santa Cruz, California, and Heinlein began the tortuous two-year process of designing and building an ultra-modern house. The house was customized to the Heinleins' lifestyle, all the furniture either built-in or on castors so it could be moved. The structure was circular in plan, giving all the bathrooms direct access to the pool area outside, so that nobody would have to track through the main part of the house. And he added a cat-free guest house to accommodate houseguests such as the de Camps, with cat hair allergies.

The first years at the Bonny Doon house (the house did not have a name -- though Mrs. Heinlein says she favored "Eccentric Manor" "but Robert would have none of that." It is sometimes referred to as Bonny Doon because of its address on Bonny Doon) were occupied by other matters than writing. A new series of collections appeared, culminating in the 1967 omnibus of the Future History stories, THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW, which had been in the works since 1963. In that year also, he won his fourth Hugo Award, for THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, an anarchist novel which has probably endured in mainstream popularity because it reflects Heinlein's loyalty to traditional liberal-American values. It won the Hugo in 1966.

As STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND continued to defy the laws of publishing and become overwhelmingly popular, Heinlein received several requests for the film rights, none of which ever came to anything. Heinlein himself worked with Ned Brown on a screen adaptation of GLORY ROAD, but, again, nothing came of it. (This should not be surprising: less than 1% of all film projects are ever completed).

Heinlein's working files had become so voluminous that they decided to make a gift of them to the University of California, Santa Cruz. They carefully sorted and arranged the material for appraisal and accession. Heinlein's accession notes for each manuscript and file are valuable sources [25-26] of information about his working life. Alexei Panshin did not have access to these accession notes when he published his idiosyncratic survey of Heinlein's writing, HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION, in 1968.

When the collection was appraised, the Heinleins were astonished at the $30,230 value placed on the partial collection that was then (1968) in the University's possession. The high appraisal valuation was in part due to the fact that Heinlein had become a pop culture icon as a result of STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. Heinlein's neologism "grok" was popping up all over -- a magazine of pop criticism, telephone company ads, buttons. He was greatly in demand as a speaker, but he had made a discreet resolution many years earlier never to lecture about his own work or comment on that of his colleagues, and he was not a natural public speaker, so he was reluctant to engage in the extensive preparation that took him away from his writing. If the work does not speak for itself, it cannot be explained; and explanations and commentary limit the meaningfulness. He accepted very few speaking engagements, though widely hailed as a "personal guru." One exception, in March 1969, was a guest of honor address at a film festival in Rio de Janeiro, which was largely a tribute to Irving Pichel, his director for DESTINATION MOON.

July 20, 1969, is probably the most important day in human history -- the day men from Earth first set foot on another planet, Earth's moon. Robert Heinlein was a guest commentator (along with Arthur C. Clarke) with Walter Cronkite on this historic occasion. He managed to reduce Cronkite to a state of spluttering indignation at the suggestion that women should have been included in this mission. (the text of the out-take is preserved in Leon Stover's monograph for Twayne's United States Authors series, ROBERT A. HEINLEIN).





His next novel must have been nearly ready: In January 1970, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL was in the initial stages of cutting when Heinlein developed a perforated diverticulum. By the time it was discovered, seventeen days later, peritonitis had set in, and he very nearly died. All the business affairs, including getting the new book ready for publication, fell on Ginny's shoulders, with only the barest minimum of feedback from a man sometimes too weak to manage more than a nod or a word or two in response to questions. Recuperating from major illnesses was always a full-time job for Heinlein, and this one took the better part of two years, since the peritonitis was followed by a bout of shingles (a painful but not serious viral illness), and then in 1971 a long delayed gall-bladder removal. During this period, Heinlein gave a few interviews, but it was not until 1972 that he was back to strength for writing.

Thus Heinlein was medically incapacitated when the Tate-LaBianca murders hit the news early in January 1970. He had met Sharon Tate at the 1969 Rio de Janeiro Film Festival. She had flown in to be with her husband, director Roman Polanski, who was the Guest of Honor at the Festival, and struck up an acquaintance with Heinlein. She was probably already pregnant. The brutal murder in October 1969 shocked the nation, and Heinlein had special reason to be shocked, but it was followed by an even unkinder cut. Taking its cue from an un-bylined (staff-written) article in the San Francisco Examiner, Time Magazine told America that Charles Manson killed following a "blue-print" provided by Heinlein's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. The allegation had no basis in fact, as the District Attorney assigned to prosecute Charles Manson discovered, but it was perpetuated in the media and in a book written in 1972. Even as late as 1995, the Manson murders were spoken of in an academic publication as directly caused by STRANGER.

Heinlein had received a plea for help from someone who turned out to be one of the Manson girls during the time the Manson "family" was being rounded up -- a process that, according to THE FAMILY and HELTER-SKELTER, had them moving from location to location to avoid arrest -- and called the local county sheriffs in the area to see why they were chasing those people around. They told him drugs were not an issue, and he dropped the subject.

Although several members of Manson's Family had read STRANGER and privately used water-ritual jargon, Manson later told an inquirer (J. Neil Schulman) that he had never read STRANGER.

Heinlein ultimately decided not to speak out about the subject. No statement was ever issued. Since denial is never as effective as rumor, and it is well known that nobody has ever won a mudslinging contest, this was undoubtedly the best tactic -- though also undoubtedly the most difficult.

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Chapter 11

Those Fabulous 70's

Heinlein's near-brush with death kept him busy just surviving for nearly two years. There were few projects -- a few interviews in 1970 and 1971. He was approached by Don Ellis, a composer with a commission from the Hamburg Opera Company, to do a libretto based on THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. Heinlein doubted the book could be compressed into the scope of an opera and started instead on a dramatic treatment of "The Green Hills of Earth." Ellis did not like "Green Hills," so it was put aside, unfinished. By 1972 he felt well enough to write and started TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE.

He made an exception to his rule against accepting [26-27] speaking engagements when he was invited to deliver the 1973 James Forrestal Memorial Lecture to the Brigade of Midshipmen by his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis -- a very great honor for a most irregular alumnus. Heinlein would be only the second Academy graduate (after Adm. Zumwalt), to appear in this annual series. Half the speech, at the request of the audience, dealt with freelance writing, and half with expounding a view of the social role of the values they had been taught at Annapolis. The "Channel Markers" portion of the Lecture was published the following January as an Editorial in Analog Science-Fact, Science-Fiction, (John Campbell, who changed the name of Astounding to Analog in the early 1960s, had died the year before and the magazine was continuing under the editorship of Ben Bova) and then "Politics of Pragmatism" was published in EXPANDED UNIVERSE.





In 1973, the first issue of a new SF magazine appeared, Vertex, with a transcription of Heinlein's 1941 Denvention Guest of Honor speech. Forrest Ackerman had sold them his mimeographed transcription made from Walt Daugherty's phonograph disks, without consulting Heinlein. The original publication had not been copyrighted, and Heinlein was furious at Ackerman using his name and reputation for his own ends. He demanded and got all the money received from Vertex (and donated it to a charity). Vertex obtained a copyright for the speech and assigned it to Heinlein. Perhaps in return for the courtesy, Heinlein pulled an unsold curiosity written in 1947 out of his files "No Bands Playing" and allowed them to publish it in their second issue. This was the first appearance of a "new" Heinlein short story since 1966, when "Free Men" (written in 1946 from materials originally intended for one of the "stories never written" on the Future History chart -- "The Stone Pillow" -- appeared as a sweetener in the collection WORLDS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEIN.


James Forrestal Memorial Lecture



In the middle of the year, Heinlein gave a long telephone interview to 20-year old J. Neil Schulman for a 1,500 word piece commissioned by a newspaper. The interview was eventually published in its entirety in New Libertarian Notes and then collected with other of Schulman's letter and reviews and published first on the internet, and then, reversing the usual process, in 1999, as a trade paperback, THE ROBERT HEINLEIN INTERVIEW AND OTHER HEINLEINIANA.

Heinlein spent the next several years engaged in public works. He wanted to take a break from fiction to catch up on developments in earth sciences and biological sciences. He produced two intensively researched articles for the COMPTON [ENCYCLOPEDIA] YEARBOOK in 1975 and 1976.

He was awarded the first SFWA Grand Master Nebula Award in 1975 at the historic Algonquin Hotel. The years of 1976 and 1997 were spent organizing blood drives, particularly among science fiction fans, tied in with his appearance as Guest of Honor for the third time at a World Science Fiction Convention, "MidAmeriCon," in Kansas City, Missouri, over the Labor Day weekend of 1976.


"Paul Dirac, Antimatter, and You"

"Are You a Rare Blood?"

"A U.S. Citizen Thinks About Canada"



In 1976 also, Heinlein's mother died, at the age of 97. His father had passed away in 1959, after a long illness, at the age of 82), as did his oldest brother, Rex. Heinlein continued to write during these years, but for one reason or another, he decided not to publish the work.

At the end of 1977, exhausted by the ongoing effort of the blood drives, Robert and Ginny took a vacation to the South Pacific. Early in 1978, they were walking on a beach at Moorea, Tahiti, when he had a Transient Ischemic Attack, a brief blockage of blood to his brain that can be a precursor to a cerebral stroke. A CAT scan ruled out a brain tumor, but the flow of blood to his brain continued to decrease. Only two months into a six month regime of medication he was "dull-normal, slipping toward 'human vegetable,'" sleeping 16 hours a day and barely functional the rest of the time. A heart catheterization for angiogram -- which procedure he got to watch -- revealed that his left internal carotid artery was completely blocked, too high for surgery. A carotid bypass operation restored oxygen flow to his brain. Three months later he was well enough to grant a day-long interview to H. Bruce Franklin, a Marxist scholar who had been asked to write a monograph on Heinlein's work for the Oxford University Press Science-Fiction Writers series. Heinlein might have granted the interview anyway, but Franklin represented himself as a former SAC bomber pilot, and Heinlein wanted to question him on that subject. Ginny, however, had a firm grasp on the man's politics: she pointedly left the house by the back door as Franklin arrived.

Heinlein made a policy of not discussing his own work, and he did not generally comment on the work of his colleagues. He therefore never responded to any critics or appeared to pay any attention at all to the scholarly work that began to appear during his lifetime.

The process had begun innocently enough with a biographical and bibliographical sketch written by Samuel Moskowitz and collected into his 1966 SEEKERS OF TOMORROW. Moskowitz had requested biographical information from Heinlein and received an eight-page letter, which Heinlein asked him not to print until after his death (Heinlein's literary estate withdrew the permission, and the letter is now believed destroyed). A few years later (1968), [27-28] Alexei Panshin, an egocentric fan, published a full-length study of all Heinlein's body of work to date, titled HEINLEIN IN DIMENSION. It was eagerly greeted, for there had been nothing like it, and it set the terms for future discussion of Heinlein's work. While the book contains some interesting interpretive schemes, it has been criticized quite accurately for want of critical method and for excessive subjectivity. In 1976, Panshin raised subjectivity to a matter of dogma in his Heinlein chapters of SCIENCE FICTION IN DIMENSION -- one of them a long discussion of what TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE might be about, based only on a publisher's advance announcement of title, length in pages, and span of time.

A Cliff's Notes of Heinlein's work appeared in 1975, written by Baird Searles, and a short pamphlet by George Edgar Slusser appeared in 1976 titled ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, STRANGER IN HIS OWN LAND, followed in 1977 by THE CLASSIC YEARS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEIN -- but Slusser seemed to be discussing some other Heinlein of a not-quite parallel universe.

Franklin's monograph for the Oxford University Press, ROBERT A. HEINLEIN: AMERICA AS SCIENCE FICTION, was to be the second full-length study of Heinlein, appearing in 1978.

In the same year that Franklin's monograph appeared, a collection of critical essays on Heinlein's work was brought out by Taplinger, edited by Joseph D. Ohlander and Martin Harry Greenberg. This collection, called simply ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, reflects the complexion of academic criticism of Heinlein's work -- a mix of genuine scholarship on the various levels to be expected of scholarship, with a liberal sprinkling of what can only be characterized as malicious sniping without actual foundation in the body of Heinlein's work.

As soon as he was able to work, Heinlein started writing THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST, a book almost universally recognized as the most irritating of all his novels. An abridgement was published in Omni Magazine, and the advance paid by Fawcett/Columbine was a record-breaking $500,000.

In July 1979, Heinlein was requested to give testimony in Washington d.c. before a joint session of the House Committee on Aging and the House Committee on Science and Technology, on the subject of applications of space technology for the elderly and the handicapped. It was not a subject on which he had expert knowledge but any opportunity to promote the Space program called for superhuman effort. As a NASA functionary's testimony covered the technical material in depth, on July 19, he gave a performance testimony drawing extensively on his own high-tech carotid bypass operation more than a year previously. This would be another eerie parallel of his life with Mark Twain's, for Samuel L. Clemens had given testimony in 1888 on the subject of copyrights.

1979 was also the year Heinlein provided new material for the 1966 collection WORLDS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEIN. The book had been a steady producer for Ace Books during a long period in which Ace was in decline. When Jim Baen joined Ace, he noticed that Ace's only Heinlein title had an unaccountably low royalty. He persuaded the management to double the royalty. Baen was able to march up to Heinlein at the Fountainbleu (this would be the Worldcon in 1977), tell him, and march away. Heinlein appears to have been impressed by Baen's thoughtfulness . . . or perhaps it was his chutzpah. Some time later, Heinlein came to Baen with a proposal for an expanded version of the collection, with a very low purchase price -- a sweetheart deal for a favored editor. And he spent an additional fifty hours on the phone with Baen, creating Forewords and Afterwords. Altogether there was an additional 84,000 words of new material for EXPANDED UNIVERSE. It was the making of Jim Baen in the publishing industry. But that is not the only exemplary use Heinlein made of this project: The Science Fiction Writers of America had drawn up a model contract, from the writer's point of view, but were never able to get it used by a publisher. Heinlein insisted on the SFWA Model Contract for EXPANDED UNIVERSE. The Model Contract was signed and then immediately renegotiated upward (to Heinlein's benefit).




"The Happy Days Ahead"

"Larger Than Worlds"




Much of EXPANDED UNIVERSE shows Heinlein talking to his "children" and fellow citizens like a Dutch uncle. This is not an accident. Heinlein thought of the book as a kind of legacy -- advice given about dirty laundry inside the family; he prohibited publication of the book outside American soil (except for Canada). By doing this, he severely and voluntarily limited his potential royalties from foreign sales. By this he also makes it impossible to doubt his earnest intentions in warning us of the consequences of our own follies. Mrs. Heinlein notes in GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE that EXPANDED UNIVERSE has generated more fan mail than any other of his books --a tribute to his personal allotment of the "horse sense" with which he invested his fiction.

One feature of the "interstitial" material that has not received much attention is the number of minor inconsistencies with Heinlein's public biography. He had, for instance, maintained for decades that he sat down at a typewriter in April 1939 and tossed off his first story. Here he says that he started writing in "mid-March 1939." Discrepancies appear throughout the material. Possibly they are due to the material being derived from telephone interviews and not subjected to Heinlein's usual careful self-editing; but just as likely, Heinlein had begun to tire of the artful public biography he had constructed for himself. [28-29]

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Chapter 12

Another "Second Wind"

The decade of the 1980's started out well enough -- the town of Butler, Missouri, Heinlein's birthplace (though he lived there for only a few months), celebrated "Robert A. Heinlein Day" on April 17, 1980.

In 1981 Heinlein had to give up all non-writing work except an occasional participation in the grassroots space movement.

FRIDAY appeared in 1982 and was immediately hailed as a return to the master storytelling of his adventure-writing days. But there is no sacrifice of subtlety in FRIDAY: it is a powerful and complex examination of prejudice on many levels.





In 1983, the Heinleins took a long-delayed trip to Antarctica, the only continent they had not yet visited. Heinlein came home and wrote JOB: A COMEDY OF JUSTICE, another great departure, for Job is a deliberate evocation of James Branch Cabell, one of Heinlein's earliest models. Cabell's huge novel series "Biography of Manuel" may also have influenced Heinlein's next two multiverse novels taking off from the discoveries and inventions of THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST.





Heinlein was still actively participating in the space movement in the early 1980s. On December 8, 1984, a Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy met at the home of science fiction writer Larry Niven in Tarzana, California, to discuss the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars"). Heinlein was one of about forty people present when his longtime friend, Arthur C. Clarke, was invited to address the group on the subject. Clarke had recently published an article in Analog skeptical of SDI -- "War and Peace in the Space Age" (March 1982). Clarke had perpetuated the article in his non-fiction collection 1984: SPRING.

Clarke came in for a great deal of criticism. He conceded the main point (his mathematics had been somewhat off), but at the lunch break, a personal confrontation took place between Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein -- who had been fairly close friends since Clarke's American tour in 1951. Heinlein was furious over Clarke's skeptical remarks, which he thought were arrogant and meddling. G. Harry Stine, who had become acquainted with both men in the early 1950's, recalled "Robert Heinlein lit into him [Clarke] verbally. He just took Arthur apart." Clarke tried to make amends, but Heinlein was furious.

They did reconcile -- after a fashion. Through the intercession of friends, they exchanged some letters -- which is to say, Clarke sent letters and Ginny responded to them.

One more major survey of Heinlein's work was to appear during his lifetime, though just barely. Professor Leon Stover, a scholar fully as distinguished as Franklin, produced a monograph titled simply ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, for Twayne's United States Authors series, drawing largely on materials derived from an afternoon interview in 1984. Despite a number of factual errors and an exposition of the Calvinist interpretation Slusser had proffered years before that Heinlein told Stover after publication was "all wrong," Stover's monograph is almost unique in making a genuine penetration of Heinlein's intellect. Stover, unlike Franklin, Slusser, or Panshin, seems to understand the kind of human being Heinlein was. They kept up a friendship by telephone. When, after Heinlein's death, Dr. Stover applied for an authorization from Heinlein's literary estate to write a biography, Mrs. Heinlein issued the authorization, in spite of Heinlein's disagreement with many of Stover's interpretations.





On Heinlein's 80th birthday, June 7, 1987, Putnam's published what would be his last novel, TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET, sending balloons and chocolates to Bonny Doon.

Heinlein's health had been worsening over the years. By 1987 he needed rapid access to advanced medical facilities. He and Ginny gave up Bonny Doon and found a place in nearby Carmel. He was in and out of the hospital four times in his last year.





On May 8, 1988, he died peacefully in his morning nap, and thus left an unfillable void in the lives of millions. His body was cremated, his ashes strewn in the Pacific from the deck of a warship. He has returned to the elements from which we all came: If we want to take his body to the stars, it will have to be in a jar of seawater. Heinlein would probably find that appropriate.[29-30]

"So do you be sensible about it . . . if there indeed stay any root of intelligence in you. And do you henceforward live more fittingly, as a credit to your wife's family. And do you put out of mind those cinders and those ashes and those clinkers that were the proper sport of your youth. Such is the end of every wise person's saga."
-- James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion, Book IX, Chapter LXIV, Sidvrar Vafudir to Donander Veratyr

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Heinlein has been dead for more than ten years, but he continues to have an active professional life. In October 1988 he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal in a ceremony at which Ginny read aloud his 1952 credo written for Edward R. Murrow's "This I Believe" radio program. Program participants grokked Heinlein together, and their recollections and remarks are gathered into REQUIEM, published in 1992. A selection of his letters, heavily edited by Virginia Heinlein, was released in 1989 as GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE, a title Heinlein thought up in the 1970's in imitation of the intention -- never fulfilled -- of his literary idol Mark Twain, to tell off everybody that had irritated him during his lifetime (quite a long list).

Leon Stover was authorized to write a biography, but later (November 1989) the authorization was withdrawn. Several biographies are "in the works," though none has the cachet -- or access to records -- of an authorized biography. Heinlein's correspondence is under a 50-year seal at the University of California, Santa Cruz. There will be no Albert Bigelow Paine for Robert Heinlein.

In 1990, restored versions of RED PLANET, THE PUPPET MASTERS, and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND were issued. In 1992, Jim Baen and Jerry Pournelle caused Heinlein's 1946 HOW TO BE A POLITICIAN to be published as TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT! They intended it to be seen as part of the campaign of H. Ross Perot for president. Heinlein's 1954 travel diary, TRAMP ROYALE was also issued. Although both books are vintage Heinlein, well-written and interesting, they did not sell well; neither went into a second printing, and they both are on their way to becoming bibliographic rarities.

In 1996, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction published a short fragment that purported to be some manuscript pages of "The Stone Pillow" found behind a file cabinet when Analog moved out of its Lexington Avenue offices, but the setup for the story contains material that would have fit better into "The Sound of His Wings" and was too crudely written even for the very earliest of Heinlein's prose. Undoubtedly there does exist outlines for some of the "stories never written," as Heinlein termed the stories dealing directly with the Theocracy and Nehemiah Scudder, but F&SF's "The Stone Pillow" is a hoax, not genuine Heinlein of any vintage.

Most of Heinlein's collections have been withdrawn from the market, though THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW and EXPANDED UNIVERSE continue to enjoy brisk sales. The business affairs of Heinlein's literary legacy is managed jointly by Virginia Heinlein and Robert's post-Blassingame agent, Eleanor Woods, and the Vincinanza Agency.

An interesting, though not completely faithful, film version of THE PUPPET MASTERS was released in 1994, and an almost completely unfaithful film version of STARSHIP TROOPERS, directed by Paul Verhoeven, was released in 1997. For a time in 1998, there were no less than four Heinlein properties "in development," as they say in Hollywood: FRIDAY (with a hearty fan endorsement for THE X FILES' Gillian Anderson to play the lead), THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, THE STAR BEAST at Disney's Dreamworks, and Paramount, who has held the film rights for years, tried again to mount a production of STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND with an overage and improbable Tom Hanks in the role of Valentine Michael Smith and Sean Connery signed to play Jubal Harshaw. So far, industry insiders say, Hanks has resisted the lure of cash to act in the production -- but his enthusiastic and accurate productions of APOLLO 13 and a miniseries for television on the Apollo program indicate that he might be an exceptionally good choice to direct or at least produce STRANGER. By 1999, all four projects had fallen through (not surprising -- for every picture that is made, there are a hundred that never make it through the process). Even an option for ORPHANS OF THE SKY was not renewed.

The academic field of Heinlein Studies is supported by The Heinlein Journal, founded on July 7, 1997, Heinlein's 90th birthday. The Heinlein Society was founded on July 4, 1998, and is currently in a careful process of formation.

There are more than a dozen unpublished works in the files, and with the publication of biographies in preparation, we can look forward to another decade or more of new material from the marvelous brain of Robert A. Heinlein.

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Index (page numbers refer to the printed edition)


Academy -- See, Naval Academy

Accession notes, 22, 25

Air Academy -- See, U.S. Air Academy

Academy Award, 20

Ace Books, 28

Ackerman, Forrest J., 14, 27

Alcoholism, 18

Algonquin Hotel, 27

"All Aboard the Gemini," 24

"All You Zombies," 23

Alma Ata, Khazakstan, 24

Altitude sickness, 21, 25

Analog Science Fact, Science Fiction, 27, 29, 30

Anarchism, 25

"And He Built a Crooked House," 11-12, 15

Anderson, Gillian, 30

Angiogram, 27

Annapolis -- See, Naval Academy [30-31]

Antarctica, 29

Anthology tv Series, 22, 25

APOLLO 13, 30

"Appointment in Space," 24

Architecture, 11, 25

"Are You a Rare Blood?" 27

Argosy, 19

THE ASCENT OF MAN (see Darwin, Charles), 9

Asimov, Isaac, 7, 10, 13, 16, 17

Assembly District 59 (Hollywood), 14


Astounding Science-Fiction, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 22, 27

Astronomy, 8

Atomic weaponry, 17-18, 22

Authorized biography, 11, 29, 30

Aviation engineering, 16-17

The Babalon Working, 21

"Back of the Moon," 18

"Baedecker of the Solar System," 19

Baen, James, 28, 30

"A Bathroom of Her Own," 11, 18


Baum, L. Frank, 9

Bellamy, Edward, 9


"Beyond Doubt," 13, 14


Black N's (AWOL, Shirking), 9-10

"The Black Pits of Luna," 18

Blassingame, Lurton, 17-18, 24, 30

Blood Drives, 27

"Blowups Happen," 9, 15

Bonnie Doon, 25, 29

Boucher, Anthony -- Pseudonym of White, William A.P., q.v.

Bova, Ben, 27

Boys' books -- See Juveniles.

Boy's Life, 20

Brackett, Leigh, 14

Bradbury, Ray, 14


Brain Trust ("think tank"), 16

Brown, Ned, 25

"The Bulletin Board," 21

Burroughs, Edgar Rice, 9

Butler, Missouri (birthplace) 8, 29

"By His Bootstraps," 16

CBS Radio, 21

Cabell, James Branch, 10, 24, 29

California, 10, 25

Campbell, John W., 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 27

Carmel, California, 29

Carotid bypass operation, 27

Cartmill, Cleve, 14, 17, 18

Casewit, Curtis, 21

CAT Scan, 27

Catheterization (heart), 27


Central High School, K.C.MO, 8

THE CENTRALIAN (high school yearbook), 8


"Channel Markers," 27

Chess (at age 4), 8

Cheyenne Mountain, 19 25


Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy, 29

Clarke, Arthur C., 7, 26, 29


Clemens, Samuel L. -- See Twain, Mark

"Cliff and the Calories," 21

Cliffs Notes, 28

Cold War, 23, 24

Colliers, 18

Colorado, 9, 10, 12, 19, 24, 25

Colorado Springs, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25

Columbia Pictures, 10

"Columbus Was a Dope," 18

"Common Sense," 16

Communism, 16, 23


Connery, Sean, 30

Conservative politics, 23, 25

Constricted Space Riveter, 10

Corson, Bill, 14

Counterculture, 24

"Coventry," 15

"Creation Took Eight Days" -- See "Goldfish Bowl."

Cronkite, Walter, 26

Cross-filing, 12

Crowley, Aleister, 21

Cuban Missile Crisis, 24

Dalgliesh, Alice, 18, 20, 21

"Dance Session," 18

Darwin, Charles, 9

Darwin, Charles Galton, 13

Daugherty, Walt, 27


de Camp, L. Sprague, 13, 16, 17, 19

"Deadline," (by Cleve Cartmill), 17

Debate team, high school, 9

decree nisi, 19

"Delilah and the Space Rigger," 19

Democratic politics, 11-12, 14

Denvention (1941), 15, 16, 23, 27

Denver, Colorado, 10, 15

Depression -- See Great Depression

DESTINATION MOON, 9, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26

DEW (Arctic Distant Early Warning), 25

Dianetics, 21

"Discovery of the Future," (speech), 16, 27

Disney, 30

Distinguished Public Service Medal (Posthumous), 30

Divorce -- from Leslyn (1947-48),10, 18-19



Dozier, William, 25

Dreamworks, 30

Durant, Will (& Ariel), 9

Durante, Jimmy, 20

Economics. See also Finance and money theory, 11, 13, 15

Electrical Experimenter, 9

Ellis, Don, 26

"Elsewhen," 10, 13

Ent Air Force Base, 25

EPIC ("End Poverty in California"), 11-12, 14 [31-32]

EPIC News, 11, 12

Evolutionary theory, 9

EXPANDED UNIVERSE, 10, 18, 23, 24, 27, 28, 30

Extension courses, 11

Fallout, 19, 25


[The Magazine of] Fantasy and Science Fiction, 23, 30

FARMER IN THE SKY, 19, 20, 21


Fascism, 16

Fawcett/Columbine, 28

Fencing, 9

Figure skating, 21

Film Festival -- See Rio de Janeiro Film Festival

Fiscal and money theory, 11, 13, 15

Fire control and ordnance, 9

Fisher, Helen (Character in "Elsewhen," possibly patterned after Leslyn MacDonald Heinlein), 10

Fitzsimmons Hospital, 10

"Flight Into the Future," 18

Forrestal, James -- See, James Forrestal Memorial Lecture to the Brigade of Midshipmen

Fortean (referencing Charles Fort), 15-16, 21

FOR US, THE LIVING (Opus 1) (1937), 11, 12

Founding Church of Scientology, 21

Fourth dimension, 8

Frank Reade books, 18

Franklin, H. Bruce, 17, 28

"Free Men," 18, 27

Freeman, Joan (Character in "Lost Legacy," possibly patterned after Leslyn MacDonald Heinlein), 10

"Frenching" (AWOL), 10

FRIDAY, 29, 30

Fries, Clarke (Character in PODKAYNE OF MARS), 24

Fries, Podkayne (Character in PODKAYNE OF MARS), 24

Furnas, C.C., 13

Future History, 14, 18

Future History chart, 12, 14, 16, 27

Futuria Fantasia (Summer 1940), 14

Gall bladder removal, 26

Gallstones (Leslyn), 16

General Semantics, -- see also, Korzybski, Alfred, 13

General Services, 14

"Gentlemen, Be Seated," 18

Gernsback, Hugo, 9, 12, 13, 14

"Gernsback paradigm," 13

Gerstenfeld, Virginia Doris -- see Heinlein, Virginia

The Gettysberg Address, 11

Gifford, James, 7

GLADIATOR (Wylie), 9

GLORY ROAD, 24, 25

Gold for Goldwater, 25

"Goldfish Bowl," (retitled from "Creation Took Eight Days"), 15-16

Goldwater, Sen. Barry, 25

Grand Master -- See, SFWA Grand Master Award


Great Depression, 11, 14


Greenberg, Martin Harry, 28

"The Green Hills of Earth," 21


Grok, 26

GRUMBLES FROM THE GRAVE, 7, 8, 15, 21, 28, 30

Guest of Honor

-- Denvention (1941), 15, 16, 23, 27

-- Seacon (1961), 23

-- Rio de Janeiro Film Festival (1969), 26

-- MidAmeriCon (1976), 27

"Gulf," 19

Hahn, Otto, 17

Halley's Comet, 1910 apparition, 9

Halsey, Adm. "Bull," 10

"Ham and Eggs and Heinlein" (Perry), 7

Ham and Eggs pension plan, 12

Hamilton, Ed, 14, 16

Hand-to-hand combat, 9

Hanks, Tom, 30

"The Happy Days Ahead," 28

"The Happy Road to Science Fiction," 25

Harlow, Jean, 8


Hazing, 9

Hayakawa, S.I., 13

Hearst, William Randolph, 11, 26

Heart catheterization, 27

The Heinlein Journal, 7, 30

The Heinlein Society, 30

Heinlein, Bam Lyle (mother), 8, 27

Heinlein, Jesse (younger brother), 8

Heinlein, Lawrence (older brother), 8

Heinlein, Leslyn MacDonald, 10, 11, 16, 18-19

Heinlein, Louise (sister), 8

Heinlein, Mary Jean (sister), 8

Heinlein, Rex Ivar (father), 8, 27

Heinlein, Rex, Jr. (oldest brother), 8, 9, 27

Heinlein, Robert A.

-- Assembly District 59 Campaign, 11-12

-- Authorized biography, 29, 30

-- Birth, birthdate -- (July 7, 1907), 8

-- Blood Drives, 27

-- Commentator, Lunar Landing Day, 26

Heinlein, Robert A., Continued

-- Commercial writing, 12,-13, 15, 17

-- Conservative politics, 14, 23, 25

-- Cremation, 29

-- Critical and Scholarly work about, 27-28, 29

-- Death, 29

-- Democrat politics, 11-12, 14

-- Distinguished Public Service Medal (Posthumous), 30

-- Diverticulum, perforated, 26

-- Divorce (from Leslyn), 10

-- Ensign, 9

-- Estate, 27, 29

-- Family, 8

-- Fan mail, 21

-- Fencing, 9

-- Gall bladder removal, 26

-- Hermit of Hollywood, 12

-- Hobbies, 16

-- Hospitalization, 69, 10, 29

-- Interviews, 26

-- Liberal politics, 12, 23

-- Marksmanship, 9

-- Marriages (first, unknown), 10 [32-33]

(second, Leslyn), 10

(third, Virginia), 19

-- Mortgage, 11, 12, 15

-- Myopia, 9, 16

-- Naval Academy, 9-10, 27

-- Naval rank, 9

-- Pension, 11, 20-21

-- Peritonitis, 26

-- Posthumous Awards and Publications, 30

-- Professional biography, 17, 18, 28

-- Propaganda purposes, 18

-- Public figure, 21

-- Pseudonyms, 15

-- Retirement (from Navy), 10

(from writing), 15

-- Shingles, 26

-- Social life, 17, 21

-- Speaker, 26

-- Surgery, 26

-- Testimony before Congress, 28

-- Up or out policy, 15, 17

-- Wellsian writer, 12

-- Working files, 12

-- Writing, commitment to, 15, 17

Heinlein, Rose (sister), 8

Heinlein, Virginia Doris (Gerstenfeld) (third wife), 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30




Hermit of Hollywood, 12

High-altitude suit, 16

Hollywood, 7, 11, 19, 22, 25, 30

Holmes, H.H. -- Pseudonym of White, William A.P., q.v.

"Home," 11

Horowitz, Howie, 25

House Committee on Aging, 28

House Committee on Science and Technology, 28


"How to be a Survivor," 18

"How to Write a Story," 15

Hubbard, L. Ron, 7, 14, 17, 21

Hugo Award, 22, 23, 24, 25

Huxley, T.H., 9


"'If This Goes On -- ,'" 13, 14, 15

"Inside Intourist," 24

"'It's Great to be Back!,'" 18

JAMA -- Journal of the American Medical Association, 21

James Forrestal Memorial Lecture to the Brigade of Midshipmen, 26, 27

Jenkins, Will F. ("Murray Leinster"), 24

"Jerry Was a Man," 18


Johnson, Ira, M.D. (Character in TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE patterned after Alva Lyle), 9

Johnson, President , 25

Johnstone, Don (Kansas City neighbor of Heinlein family), 8

THE JUNGLE BOOK (Kipling), 19, 22


Juveniles, 18, 21

Kansas City, Missouri (family home), 8, 27

Kansas City Junior College, 9

Kansas City Public Library, 8

Keith, Leslie (pseudonym), 15

Khazakstan, 24

Khruschev, Premier, 24

King, Adm. E.J., 10

Kipling, Rudyard, 9, 19

Knight, Damon, 17

Korean Conflict, 20

Korzybski, Alfred, 13, 15, 16

Kuttner, Henry, 14


Lang, Fritz, 18

Laning, Caleb, Adm., 10, 18

Lansdowne, PA -- See, Philadelphia

"Larger than Worlds," 15

LASFS -- see "Los Angeles Science Fiction Society"

"The Last Days of the United States," 18

Laurel Canyon home, 11-12, 14, 15

Left-wing politics, (see also Socialism), 9, 11-12, 23

Leinster, Murray -- See, Jenkins, Will F.

"'Let There Be Light,'" 13

Lexington -- See, U.S.S. Lexington

Liberalism, 9, 11-12, 22

Librarians, 19, 20

Life drawing course, 11

"Life-Line," 13, 22, 18


Lilly Library, 7

"Logic of Empire," 15

London, Jack, 9

"The Long Watch," 19

Lookout Mountain house, 11-12, 14-15

Los Angeles, California, 10, 17, 18

Los Angeles Science Fiction Society (LASFS), 14

"Lost Legacy," 10, 13

THE LUCKY BAG (Naval Academy yearbook), 9

Luna City, 18

Lunar Landing (commentator for CBS), 26

Lyle, Alva, M.D. (Maternal grandfather, d. 1914), 8

"Lyle Monroe" (pseudonym composed of maternal grandparents' last names) See, Monroe, Lyle

Lyon, Charles W., 11

MacDonald, Anson (pseudonym), 15

MacDonald, Leslyn -- See Heinlein, Leslyn MacDonald

"Magic, Inc." (published as"The Devil Makes the Law"), 15


"The Man Who Sold the Moon" (novella), 19, 21

THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON (collection), 21

"The Man Who Traveled in Elephants," 19

Mañana Literary Society, 14, 17

Manson, Charles, 26

Marksmanship, 9


(First - Unknown), 10

(Second - Leslyn MacDonald), 10

(Third - Virginia Gerstenfeld), 19

Martial arts, 9


Marxism, 9, 11, 27

Maskeraders, 9 [33-34]

Materials Laboratory -- See Naval Air Experimental Station

Mathematics (self-study), 8

McCarthy hearings, 12

McComas, Annette, 14

McComas, Mick, 14

Meitner, Lise, 17

"The Menace from Earth," 22, 23

Metaphysics -- See Speculative Metaphysics


MidAmeriCon, 27

"Misfit," 13, 22

Monroe, Lyle (pseudonym), 15

Monrovia, California, 10


Moore, C.L., 14

Moorea, Tahiti, 27

Mortgage, 11, 12, 15

Moskowitz, Sam, 7, 27

Mowgli, 19, 22

Mu, 13, 40

Multiverse -- See, World as Myth

Murrow, Edward R., 21, 30

Mustin Field -- See Naval Air Experimental Station

"My Object All Sublime," 13

Myopia, 9, 16

National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy -- See, SANE

National Parks tour, 21

Naval Academy (Annapolis), 9-10, 27

-- Hazing at, 9

Naval Air Experimental Station (Mustin Field), 10, 16-17, 23

Naval aviation, 10

Naval Observatory, 9

Naval rank, 9

"New Age," 13

New Heinlein Opus List (Gifford), 7

New Libertarian Notes, 27




Nimoy, Leonard, 22

1984: SPRING (Clarke), 29

Niven, Larry, 29

Nixon, Richard, 12

"No Bands Playing," 10, 18, 27

NORAD (North American Air Defense Command), 25

"Nothing Ever Happens on the Moon," 19

Nuclear testing, 23


O'Hanlon, James, 20

ODD JOHN (Stapledon), 43

Ohlander, Joseph D., 28

Ojai, California, 18

Old Doc Methuselah stories (Hubbard), 21

Omni Magazine, 28

ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES (see also Darwin, Charles), 8

"On the Slopes of Vesuvius," 18

"On the Writing of Speculative Fiction," 18

Opus 1 -- See FOR US, THE LIVING

"Ordeal in Space," 18

Ordnance (and fire control), 9


Oscar -- See, Academy Award

OTO (Ordo Templi Orientalis), 21

Ouspensky, P.D., 13, 15, 19

"Our Fair City," 18


Oxford University Press, 27, 28

Oz books (see Baum, L. Frank), 9

Pal, George, 20

"Pandora's Box," 21

Panshin, Alexei, 12, 26, 28, 29

Parsons, Jack (John Whitesides ~), 21


Patrick Henry Ad -- See, "Who Are the Heirs of Patrick Henry?"

"Paul Dirac, Antimatter, and You," 27

Pension, 11, 20-221

Perforated Diverticulum, 26

Peritonitis, 26

Perot, H. Ross, 30

Perreault, Seraphin Bach, 9

Perry, Tom, 7

Philadelphia, 16, 17, 22

Philadelphia Naval Yards -- See Naval Air Experimental Station

Philosophy, 9

Pichel, Irving, 20, 26

"Pie from the Sky," 18

"Pied Piper," 13

Pike's Peak, 9

PJG route, 8

Playboy interview, 24


Poe, Edgar Allen, 12

"The Politics of Pragmatism," 27

"Poor Daddy," 18

Post -- See Saturday Evening Post

Pottenger, Dr. (Tuberculosis sanatarium), 10

Pournelle, Jerry, 30

Powell, William, 8

Powers, Gary Francis, 24

"'Pravda' Means 'Truth,'" 24

Prejudice -- See, Racism

Prize contest, 12


"Project Nightmare," 21

Pseudonyms, 15

Psionic devices, 21

Public figure, 21, 26

"Puddin'," (Character in several girls' stories), 24

Pulmonary Tuberculosis -- see Tuberculosis

Pulp sf, 12



G.P. Putnam's Sons, 23, 24, 25

Racism, 29

Rare Blood types, 27

"Ray Guns and Rocket Ships," 21

Reade, Frank -- See, Frank Reade

Real estate sales, 11

RED PLANET, 19, 20, 30

Reed, Sen. James A., 9

Reina Mercedes (Naval Academy Brig), 10

"Requiem," 14 [34-35]

REQUIEM, 13, 21, 30


-- from Navy, 9, 10

-- from writing, 15

REVOLT IN 2100, 22

Rhodes Scholarship (1929), 10


Rio de Janeiro Film Festival, 26

Riverside, John (pseudonym), 15

"The Roads Must Roll," 15

Robert A. Heinlein Day, 29

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN (ed. Olander and Greenberg), 28

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN (Stover), 26, 29








R.O.T.C., 9

ROUGHING IT (Twain), 18

Saint-Simon, 9, 11

S[trategic] A[ir] C[ommand], 27

SANE (National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy), 23

San Francisco Examiner, 26

Santa Cruz, California, 25


Saturday Evening Post, 18, 19

Saunders, Caleb (pseudonym), 15

Scholarly and academic criticism, 27, 28, 30

Schulman, J. Neil, 26, 27

Science and Invention, 9


Science Fiction Book Club, 24

Science Fiction conventions, 13, 15, 22, 23, 27



"Science Fiction: Its Nature, Faults and Virtues," 22

Science Fiction League, 14

"Science Fiction: The World of 'What If,'" 25

Scientology, 21

Screen Gems, 25

Screenwriting, 20, 21, 22

Scribners, Charles & Sons, 20, 21, 23

Scripts -- See, Screenwriting

Scoles, Albert "Buddy," 10, 16

Scudder, Nehemiah (Character in the Future History series), 30

SDI -- see Strategic Defense Initiative

Seacon (1961 World Science Fiction Convention) GoH, 23

Seaman, Jack, 22

"Searchlight," 24

Searles, Baird, 28


SEP -- see, Saturday Evening Post

S[cience] F[iction] W[riters of] A[merica], Grand Master Award, 27

SFWA Model Contract, 28

Shakespeare Club, 9

Shaw, George Bernard, 9

Shingles, 26

Shively & Sophie Lodes, 10

"Shooting DESTINATION MOON," 20, 21

Short Story Magazine, 20

Silver mining, 10

Silver Plume, Colorado, 10

Silverberg, Robert, 13

Sinclair, Upton, 11, 12

"Sixth Column," 15

"Sky Lift," 21

Slicks, the, 17, 18

Slusser, George Edgar, 28, 29

Smith, E.E. "Doc," 14, 15, 28

Smith, Valentine Michael (Character in STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND), 30

Smith Family - of TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE, 8

Social Credit movement, 11, 15

Socialism -- Wellsian, Saint-Simonean, 9, 11, 23

"Solution Unsatisfactory," 15

"The Sound of His Wings," 30

Soviet Union -- See, USSR

Space movement, 29


Space exploration, 17, 18

"Space Jockey," 18

Space Patrol, 18, 23

Space Suit -- High Altitude Suit, 16

Speculative Metaphysics, 12

"Spinoff," 28

Stapledon, Olaf, 19


"Star Wars" -- See, Strategic Defense Initiative





Startling Stories, 19

Stine, G. Harry, 29

"Stinkeroos," 14

"The Stone Pillow," 27, 30

[Concerning] Stories Never Written, 30

Stover, Leon, 11, 26, 29, 30

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30

Strategic Air Command ("SAC"), 27

Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), 29

Stuart, Don A. -- Pen name of John W. Campbell, Jr., q.v.

Sturgeon, Theodore, 13

"Successful Operation," 13, 14

Suncon (1977), 28

Superman, 19

Swift, Tom -- See, Tom Swift

Tahiti, 27


Taplinger, 28

"Tarzan" paradigm, 13

Tate-LaBianca murders, 26

Teleplays -- See, Screenwriting

Television -- See, Screenwriting

"Tenderfoot in Space," 22


"Testing in Connection with the Development of Strong Plastics for Aircraft" (1944), 16, 17

"They," 15 [35-36]

"They Do It With Mirrors," 15, 18

THINGS TO COME (1936), 11

"The Third Millennium Opens," 22

"This I Believe," 21, 30

Thrilling Wonder Stories, 12, 13, 19

TIA -- See, Transient Ischemic Attack

Time, nature of, 8

Time Magazine, 26

TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE, 8, 26, 27, 28





Tom Swift, 9, 13, 18, 20

"The Tourist," 22

Town & Country, 19

Tragedy, 12, 13

TRAMP ROYALE, 21, 22, 30

Transient Ischemic Attack, 27

Truman, President, 17

Tuberculosis, 10, 16


Twain, Mark (pseudonym of Clemens, Samuel L.), 7, 9, 10, 15, 17, 18, 28, 30

Twayne's United States Author Series, 26

U-2 Incident (1960), 24

UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles), 10, 18

UCSC (University of California at Santa Cruz), 26, 30

U.S. Air Academy, 25

"A U.S. Citizen Thinks About Canada," 27

U.S.S. Lexington, 10, 16

U.S.S. Roper, 10

U.S.S.R., 23-24

United for California, 11

"Universe," 15

Unknown (Unknown Worlds), 15, 16

"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag," 15, 16


Up or out policy, 15, 17

Van Ronkel, Alford "Rip," 19-20

Van Vogt, A.E., 13

Verhoeven, Paul, 30

Verne, Jules, 9

Vertex, 27

The Vincinanza Agency, 30

"Vine and Fig Tree," see "'If This Goes On --'"

Voorhis, Jerry, 12

"Waldo," 16

"War and Peace in the Space Age" (Clarke), 29

Water bed, 1=

"Water is for Washing," 18

"-- We Also Walk Dogs --," 14, 16

Weird Tales, 19

Wells, H[erbert] G[eorge], 9, 11, 15, 17, 23

Wentz, Elma, 14

Wentz, Roby, 14

West Hollywood, California, 19


White, William A.P. ("Anthony Boucher" and "H.H. Holmes"), 14,

White, Phyllis, 7

"Who Are the Heirs of Patrick Henry?" 23

Williamson, Jack, 14, 17

"The Witches' Daughters," 18

Woods, Eleanor, 30

World as Myth books, 29


Worldcon -- See, World Science Fiction Convention

World Science Fiction Convention

-- "Denvention" (1941), 15, 16, 23, 27

-- "MidAmeriCon (1976), 27

-- "Seacon" (1961), 23

-- "Suncon" (1977), 28

World War II, 16-17, 23


Worlds of If Magazine, 25

Wylie, Philip, 19


"Year of the Jackpot," 21

Yerkes, Bruce ("Tubby"), 14

York, Simon (pseudonym), 15


Zumwalt, Admiral, 27

Return to Main Page


Why this is a "sketch," rather than a biography:

"What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible, thin crust of his world, with its scattered snow summits and its vacant wastes of water -- and they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hidden -- it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night or day. They are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written. Every day would make a whole book of eighty thousand words -- three hundred and sixty-five books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man -- the biography of the man himself cannot be written."

-- Mark Twain --

MARK TWAIN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Volume 1. Albert Bigelow Paine, ed.

(New York: Harper & Brothers Company, 1924), p. 21:2