Who is Robert Anson Heinlein?June 26, 2021
Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often described as “the veteran of science fiction writers,” Heinlein was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial writers of the hard science fiction genre.
It helped raise the standards of plausibility in terms of science and engineering in works of science fiction and increased the literary quality of the genre. In the 1940s, he was the first writer to infiltrate mainstream journals such as The Saturday Evening Post with his plain science fiction works. He was one of the first authors to produce novel-size bestselling works of science fiction in the contemporary mass-marketing era. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke have for many years been referred to as the “grand trio of science fiction.”
There were some social themes frequently used in the science fiction works produced by Heinlein: the importance of individual freedom and self-confidence, the duties of individuals towards society, the effect of organized religion on culture and government, the suppression of thoughts that do not fit into the general views of the society, etc. He also covered topics such as the relationship between physical and emotional love, unusual family relationships, and the impact of space travel on cultural practices. His handling of these issues contrary to established ideas caused his works to be perceived in very different ways and even to suggest that they were sometimes contradictory with each other. For example, the 1959 novel Starship Troopers has been viewed as a defense of militarism, and to some extent even fascism. However, there were many parts in the novel about the immutability and stupidity of pure militarist thinking. On the other hand, the 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land led to Heinlein being unexpectedly regarded as a pioneer of the sexual revolution and the counterculture movement, popularizing the concepts of polyamory or responsible polygamy.
Heinlein has won four Hugo Awards for his novels. Fifty years after their publication, three more of his novels were awarded the “Retro Hugo” award, given retrospectively for years that had not been awarded in the past. Heinlein was also the first recipient of the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement.
After his death, his wife, Virginia Heinlein, compiled the author’s letters and notes to create a kind of autobiographical career review. This work was published in 1989 as Grumbles from the Grave.
Some terms and words that Heinlein used in his works, such as “grok”, “TANSTAAFL” and “waldo” later became part of the English language.
His first story “Life-Line” was published in 1939.