Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Favorite Authors Part 1

Long before it was called “Young Adult” literature, Robert Heinlein was writing fantastic sci-fi stories that would appeal to teenagers and adults.
I discovered him when I was in High School, devouring every book I could get my hands on.  There was a used book store in downtown Pasadena and John and I would go there once or twice a week and peruse the musty back room, for treasures that we could acquire for cheap.  While searching through boxes I noticed that there were a lot of titles by Robt. Heinlein.  I figured he must be pretty good if he had published so many books, so I gave him a try.  In those days I was reading a book every two days.  Heinlein became one of my best friends, and I chewed through everything I could find of his and then read them over and over again.
I won’t go into his bio here (If you are interested you can Google him) but I will say he was an engineer and a very free thinker.  His attitudes in regards to sex, marriage and society were as progressive as his take on technology, religion and politics.
One of his YA novels, Waldo & Magic, Inc., showed a world where manufacturing was accomplished mainly by giant robot arms that he called “Waldo’s.”  Sound familiar?  He wrote about automated factories……In THE 50s.  He was truly a man with vision, imagination and talent.
His YA books like Have Spacesuit, Will Travel and Red Planet, Starman Jones, were light and exciting Sci-Fi tales that would thrill young readers while still holding the interest of seasoned adults.  It was his more Adult offerings that really grabbed me.  Stranger In A Strange Land is probably his most famous and most controversial.  Door Into Summer, Starship Troopers, (much better than the movie) Glory Road, Puppet Masters (again better than the movies) I Will Fear No Evil, and Revolt in 2100, also push the boundaries of what is and was considered taboo subjects in the mid 20th Century America, when they were first published.
The underline theme of all of Heinlein’s novels was always, Peace And Love, will solve all of problems, either personally or globally.  He had a glass half full view of the world.  He was not blind to the problems we face as a nation and a planet, but he recognized that the same people that made the mess had the ability to fix it.   We need his message today more than ever.
If you have never read a book by Robert Heinlein get ye to a bookstore (online is fine) and pick one up.  I suggest you start with the YA tales and work your way up to the more Adult novels.  You may not agree with all of his politics, religion and/or sex philosophies (they are pretty radical even by today’s standards) but it makes for interesting reading. You won’t be sorry, and I am sure you will be hooked the same way I was in the 60s.  If you have read his work, then you Grok what I’m saying.


  1. Did you read FRIDAY? I think it was the first one of Heinlein's I ever read. Picked it up in a bookstore, read the first couple lines and bought it on the spot. Still have it, in fact.

  2. Yes, I have. One of my favorites too. I have a hardbound version, rare these days :)