Robert Anson Heinlein

Robert Anson Heinlein  was his own man, that’s for sure. Invalided out of the US Navy with TB, he was an aeronautical engineer during WW2, but afterwards he turned to writing – and what writing. A stream of science fiction stories, some of them written specifically for boys ,but others of a decidedly erotic bent poured from his pen. He created many novels which he fitted onto a series of time-lines involving  parellel continua, colonization of the Moon (The Moon Is Harsh Mistress, my own favourite) and outer planets, the industrial use of magic, and many others. He believed in what he called ‘pantheistic solipsism’; this is the theory that a writer only has to envisage a world, and, somewhere it springs into being! For practical expression of this, consider the 1985 Woody Allen film ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’.

Sadly, Heinlein’s novels have not been served well by the film world. The two that have been shot, ‘Starship Troopers’ (1997) and ‘Puppet Masters’ (1994), were compromised in one case by an insufficiently large budget to provide for core portions of the plot (the powered suits and weaponry in ‘Starship Troopers’) and in the other by strange casting choices.

Despite dubious political stances and views on sexuality which were unconventional to say the least, Heinlein was a true master of science fiction. He died of emphysema in 1988.

One comment on “Robert Anson Heinlein”

  1. Pantheistic solipsism sounds like pure hogwash to me. It is suitable for science fiction but as far as I am concerned does not rate serious consideration. Multiple time line and alternate universe stories I have always enjoyed and as with you, I consider The Moon Is Harsh Mistress to be Heinlein at his best. As to the movies I must wonder if the producers ever actually read the books.

    Sincerely yours
    The Rational Anarchist
    P.S. You can probably tell from my signature how much I liked The Moon Is Harsh Mistress


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