Robert Anson Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein has been one of the most influential science fiction writers throughout history. Throughout his glorious career, Robert Heinlein has been an influential source of inspiration, and has shown the world his views on many important areas. His ideological presumptions have been a constant source of debate and controversy. This one man has changed the course of history through his writings repeatedly.
Robert Heinlein was born in Butler, Missouri on July 7, 1907 (Shulman; Nicholls 277; Banks 105). He was born into a large family, which had traced its roots back to a Bavarian-German ancestor who had immigrated to America in 1756 (Shulman 277). He was educated at the University of Missouri, then transferred to UCLA to study physics. Later he went to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis (Nicholls 277). His naval career was cut short, however, due to a case of tuberculosis


(Banks 105). It was at this time that he began to write.
His first market was pulp magazines, which constrained him to short stories and
novella-length serials (Slusser 4). Robert Heinlein's early stories placed current science technologies in future settings, creating a realistic view of the future (Banks 105). His first story, "Lifeline" (1939), appeared in Astounding Science Fiction, a magazine with which he was closely associated (Nicholls 278). He rapidly gained fame and un-precedented influence in the science fiction field with the strength of such stories as "Requiem" (1940), "The Roads Must Fall" (1940), "Blowups Happen" (1940), and the short novel "If this goes on..." (1940, rev. 1953) (Nicholls 278).Robert Heinlein gained his initial success because he wrote in a style which blended slang, folk aphorism, and technical jargon in a convincing way. Above all, Robert Heinlein gave the appearance of taking the future for granted; he avoided long descriptive passages and explanations, and insinuated information through dialogue and the depiction of action. His clever understatement, apparent casualness,!
and a concentration on people rather than gadgets made his stories more realistic than those of any other science fiction writer (Nicholls 278). The switch to novels during the war, due to financial motives, demanded that he adopt the street formulas and conventions


imposed by his market- in this case, juvenile adventure (Slusser 4).This period begins
with his first full-length novel, the space epic Rocketship Galileo (1947), and continues through Starship Troopers (1959). The juvenile adventure novels mostly consist of initiation to manhood, in which a boy comes of age in outer space (Slusser
4).
Robert Heinlein moved away from writing young adult novels in the early
1960's, and wrote several controversial books. His focus shifted from science and technology to social changes (Banks 105). In contrast to the juvenile novels, few of his early narrations have a tight construction, or even contain a "plot" at all (Slusser 4). These adult novels are novels of political intrigue, but they are also, in a sense, stories of initiation (Slusser 4). A fascination with politics and intrigue is constant throughout Robert Heinlein's career, but the most interesting and dynamic works are the curious adventure novels written during the middle period of his writing.
During his career, Robert Heinlein has won various awards. He is the only man to have won over four Hugo awards for best science fiction novel of the year. These were won for Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and for The moon is a Harsh Mistress (Slusser 6). He has repeatedly been voted "best all-time


author" in readers' polls such as those taken by Lotus magazine in 1973 and in 1977.
In 1975 he was recipient of the First Grand Master Nebula award, which is presented only to those who have dedicated their lives to science fiction (Nicholls 279). Robert Heinlein was also the guest of honor at the world science fiction conventions three times, in 1941, 1961, and in 1976, a feat which no other science fiction author has yet accomplished (Nicholls 279).
In addition to winning these prestigious awards, Robert Heinlein was an influential force in shaping the science fiction genre, as well as bringing it to a larger
readership (Banks 107) According to the critics, his "science, mystery, and strong ethical concepts (in Citizen of the Galaxy) give the book sure appeal to devotees of science fiction"(qtd.