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Methuselah's Children (Future History or "Heinlein Timeline")

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  11,991 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Earth's Outcasts Members of the Families were ordinary human beings except for one disturbing trait: they were extraordinarily long-lived. And in the ultra-civilized year of A.D 2125 this distinction was intolerable. Hounded for a secret they did not knowingly possess, the Families were forced to choose -- torture and extinction by their jealous, short-lived fellow humans....more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 2nd 1960 by Signet (first published 1941)
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Adam
Methuselah's Children is an early sci-fi novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It originally appeared in three parts in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction, in the July, August, and September issues of 1941.

In 1958 it was published as a full-length novel, expanded somewhat by Heinlein. I don't know what was added or changed, but it can't have been that much, because it's still a very short novel, despite there being enough plot to fill a 1,000-page epic.

The story involves a group of "families" who en...more
Darth
Finally a "CLASSIC" that live up to the billing.
I had grown weary of the same old trite - "You HAVE to read"s - that just didnt live up to the billing.

Having read a lot of Larry Niven, and now starting on the Heinlein series', I think it is safe to guess Niven grew up on Heinlein, as I see some pretty serious similarities between Lazarus and Louis Wu, but since I have loved the Niven, it follows I loved the Heinlein.

I may have been aided in this by expecting to be let down after slogging thru th...more
Jim
This is an important book if you're in to the Heinlein universe. It is the first good introduction to Lazarus Long who is the central character in many of Heinlein's later books. Unlike his later books, this one is a short, fun read. The basic premise is an oppressed minority fleeing before the public & government can get their greedy hands on them. There are some interesting looks at aliens & human nature along the way.

This book has been included in a couple of his collections as it is...more
Tim
Yet another of my collection of "S-F from long ago." This one is from the mid-50's, and tells the story of a clan (the Howard Families) who tend to live a LOOOOOONNNNNG time), and who garner a LOT of negative attention from those who DON'T live a long time. The main character, Lazarus Long, is the oldest of them all, having lived some 375 or so years. Well, these people are given a choice: Be tortured until they give up their secret(there is none, it's just in the genes) or go off onto another p...more
Felix Dance
Yes, I do love Heinlein. I know, I know, super-right wing nutcase that he is. But this book seemed a bit of a mess – lurching between a hyper-intelligent and immortal sub-group of seemingly normal humans (almost all Heinlein’s books involve a secret group of super-men destined to become a new species of human, gradually finding each other and then scoffing together at the inferiority of the rest of humanity – it appeals to one’s sense of superiority, but is just soooo elitist), global persecutio...more
F.R.
Utopias in fiction are always supposed to fail. They’re either illusionary or they collapse on their own contradictions. Indeed the only successful utopia in fiction I can think of is the one Willy Wonka had going, and we have to face the unpalatable fact there that it was based on slave labour. No, the entire purpose of drama is conflict and so everyone living perfectly in a perfect world wouldn’t do much good. Just as Othello becomes a very dull play if the central character doesn’t exhibit an...more
Kat  Hooper
Originally posted at FanLit.

Methuselah’s Children introduces us to Lazarus Long, a popular character in several of Robert A. Heinlein’s books. Lazarus, who wears a kilt (but there’s guns strapped to his thighs!) and can’t remember how old he is, is descended from one of several families who, long ago, were bred for their health and longevity. Lazarus and his extended clan live very long lives — so long that they must eventually fake their own deaths and take new identities so that others don’t g...more
Red Siegfried
Heinlein details the exodus from Earth of the Howard Families, long-lived individuals who suddenly find themselves persecuted for not revealing their non-existent secret of longevity. Lazarus Long gets a lot of action here as the Howard Families hijack the the starship New Frontiers and look for a place to live out there ... they find that the galaxy is going to be a more challenging and ultimately, more rewarding place to live for this new breed of human. Much more will be revealed in Heinlein'...more
Andrew
I must admit there is something reassuring going back to an old favourite. Robert Heinlein was one of the authors I branched out in to in my early days of reading (let alone reading science fiction). Some years ago I had the lucky pleasure of working just outside London and spent every available weekend scouring the city looking for new titles (before the days of internet and Amazon). I spent most of my time hunting down the rare and obscure books from Heinlein's bibliography.
Periodically I go b...more
Alex Sarll
Reading old science fiction generally involves a certain disconnect - you've got people hopping back and forth to the Moon, yet still behaving in many ways like your grandparents' generation. Even beyond that, though, this one has problems. The premise: among normal humanity there live, semi-secretly, the Howard Families, who through selective breeding have massively expanded their lifespan, and spend those long lives at an age of their choosing. When the short-lived majority find out, they reac...more
Gerald Kinro
After freedom in America is won again during the Revolt of 2100, there is a group of humans who live extraordinary long lives while maintaining their youthful experiences. They have achieved this through selective mating and financial help from a foundation started by their ancestor, Howard. In 2125, the world discovers the group’s existence, and they are persecuted, all the world wanting their secrets of youth. Under extreme duress of jealousy arrest, torture, and murder, the group flees earth...more
Lucas Beechinor
1. It’s good, clean, science fiction fun.

In stories like Methuselah’s Children, a reader can read into the book as much as he/she wants to and still walk away from the story feeling good about the whole experience. The book will challenge readers in its ability to make them think critically about a society’s will to accept change, and accept differences. It takes a stab at political authority under mob rule, but it also shows how differences can be reconciled without hella (yes, I said hella) bl...more
Judy

Heinlein returns to writing for adults here with the expansion of a story originally serialized in Astounding Science Fiction in 1941.

The Howard Families are descended from a man who got rich during the California Gold Rush and left his money to be used for research into the prolongation of life. This goal was realized by his trustees providing financial encouragement to the grandchildren of long-lived persons to marry and have children. By the 22nd century, descendants have a life expectancy of...more
David
Lazarus Long is a character not easily forgotten. I read this quite a few years ago, and I loved it so much I never forgot parts of it. Heinlein is among my favorite sci-fi writers, along with Asimov and Bradbury and Clarke and Dick....the list just goes on too long.

Take the premise that it might be possible to breed a strain of humans that would live for a very long time. Heinlein was wise enough to know that natural selection does not play any role in such a choice because most species breed e...more
Yukino
*** Attenzione: di seguito anticipazioni sulla trama (SPOILER) ***

Questo libro mi è piaciuto a tratti.

Parla di questo gruppo di umani che ha una longevità a dir poco strabiliante grazie alla scoperta di alcuni soggetti con un dna particolare che accoppandosi hanno reso la vita dell'uomo mooolto più lunga, sui 200 anni e forse più. Sono nascosti tra la popolazione, hanno false idenità e ogni tot anni cambiano posto nome, cambiano vita.

Ad un certo punto decideno di venire allo scoperto pensando ch...more
Nuno Magalhães
Neste livro, Robert A. Heinlein apresenta-nos uma reflexão fascinante sobre a longevidade humana. Partindo da hipótese que existiria uma "família" de seres humanos que possuem características genéticas que lhes permitem atingir idades invulgarmente avançadas, mantendo no entanto a frescura da juventude ao longo de vários séculos de existência, o autor constrói uma história que nos permite vislumbrar o futuro da raça humana, incluindo a sua expansão para outros mundos, o encontro com outras espéc...more
Olethros
-Los bellacos encantadores no dejan de ser bellacos, por muy encantadores que sean-.

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. La muerte prematura del magnate Howard provocó hace más de dos siglos la creación de la Fundación que lleva su nombre, que a partir de los fondos y deseos del potentado investigó en el aumento de la esperanza de vida. En la actualidad, los aproximadamente 100.000 descendientes de ese proyecto, y que han ocultado su longevidad al resto de la humanidad durante mucho tiemp...more
Matus
There are many things I like about Heinlein, and it's the promise of potentially really liking an entire book he puts out that keeps me attempting them.

Unfortunately, like many of his other books, this one ran into many of my "Heinlein peeves". The two main ones are (1) his obsession with having clean solutions to problems (in terms of plot), and (2) his obsession with having a handful of capable/competent characters, and basically the rest of the human race is a bunch of whiny sheep. These two...more
S.D. Morgan
Sadly this was my first Heinlein book, and it should've been my tenth, or ten years ago at least. I was very impressed with his writing. There was some stilted dialog, and some confusing aspects to the plot and character development, but the overall package is just profound.

I found the philosophical considerations subtle and important. Evolution equipped us with a strong will to survive. Our big brains helped us figure out ways to make survival assured (for most of us), and continue to develop...more
Leew49
Methuselah's Children are The Families, people who have uncommonly long life spans, some of them many times that of a normal human. For centuries they have kept their secret, but in what they believe to be an enlightened future, some of them decide to reveal themselves to society. The outcome is anger, prejudice, and mob panic, and Methuselah's Children are force to flee from earth. Led by their eldest member, Lazarus Long, and aided by a sympathetic and (uncharacteristically) self-sacrificing p...more
Lyn
Bravo! This is classic, well written science fiction, Heinlein at his best. Scaled down, lean and aggressive, bereft of the heavy, introspective reticence that weighed down Time Enough For Love, this is simply a good Sci Fi adventure with Heinlein's signature technical attention to detail. The origin of Lazarus Long and the adventure referenced in Time Enough For Love, including Andy Libby and the beginning of interstellar exploration, great read!
Jeff Yoak
I just loved this book silly. It's early Heinlein packed with adventure and excitement. Two of my favorite characters, Lazarus and Libby are front and foremost in this story, and it provides a lot of color and background for the Howard families. I read this story after others that are chronologically prior in the Future History, and it works either way. This would be a great starter book for new Heinlein exploration.
Leisa Corbett
This is the first of three books in which the character, Lazarus Long appears. Lazarus is over four hundred years old but has the body and appearance of a man in his 30s. The adventures of Lazarus allow Heinlein to comments on science, politics, social hypocrisy, sex, manners and women. It's lots of fun.
Kurt
Heinlein, great ideas and straight-up terrible writing; this one's no different. sorry, can't review more, not worth it, read Stranger in a Strange Land or Number of the Beast instead.
Bushrod
people are bred for longevity and then some of them live for like, hundreds of years. consternation results!
Sheri
not his greatest work, but fills in part of the future history. besides, i love lazuras long :)
Ed
Grandmaster Robert A. Heinlein introduces Lazarus Long, an unnaturally long lived individual, who will appear in his fiction over the next thirty years.

SciFi - The Howard Families, led by Lazarus Long, flee persecution from the belief that they hold a secret to long life. They steal a starship and visit two distant civilizations before deciding to return to Earth, where 75 years has passed. They are welcomed back because science has now found the secret to long life. Lazarus Long and Andy Libby...more
Ippino
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matteo Pellegrini

Prodotti da un esperimento genetico, i "figli di Matusalemme" sono centenari e ultracentenari che nel 2125, dopo aver nascosto al resto del mondo la propria lunghissima vita, decidono di rivelarsi e di stabilire rapporti amichevoli con le persone "normali"; ma a chi è destinato statisticamente a non andare oltre l'ottantina, quei longevi non vanno giù. Per evitare arresti, torture e deportazioni i centomila arzilli vecchietti riescono a scappare fortunosamente con un'astronave abbastanza capient

...more
Aries
Leggere “I figli di Matusalemme” dopo aver letto “Lazarus Long, l'immortale” è come mangiare un antipasto dopo aver fatto un'abbuffata della portata principale: buono, certo, ma non quanto lo sarebbe stato mangiandolo per primo.
Purtroppo la situazione delle pubblicazioni in Italia è tale che per leggere “Lazarus Long” ho dovuto dannarmi e procurarmelo su Ebay, mentre “I figli di Matusalemme” è stato appena ripubblicato in Italia da Mondadori.
Se non si fosse capito, questo romanzo è il primo che...more
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What's The Name o...: Solved - Longer life through selective breeding [s] 4 70 Jun 11, 2013 11:57AM  
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre...more
More about Robert A. Heinlein...
Stranger in a Strange Land Starship Troopers The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Time Enough for Love (The World As Myth) The Puppet Masters

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