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The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  736 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Robert A. Heinlein, the dean of American SF writers, also wrote fantasy fiction throughout his long career, but especially in the early 1940s. The Golden Age of SF was also a time of revolution in fantasy fiction, and Heinlein was at the forefront. His fantasies were convincingly set in the real world, particularly those published in the famous magazine Unknown Worlds, inc
Hardcover, First Edition, 352 pages
Published November 15th 1999 by Tor Books (first published 1999)
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Nov 08, 2015 Alana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-story
I've reviewed each of the stories individually below, but my rating for the collection as a whole would be a 4/5, as most of the stories were very enjoyable, but also very thought-provoking. I am very interested in reading some of Heinlein's novels.

"Magic, Inc." 3/5
This isn't my favorite in the collection of short stories I've read by Heinlein, but it was interesting. It's a take on politics and political questions, but from a fantasy standpoint so he can cover whatever viewpoint he wants. He ev
Jul 10, 2015 Ian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Call me a rube, or a jerk, or whatever, but if these are Heinlein exemplars, I don't want to read his novels. In this book the longer stories just get soggier as they go on, the twists and turns seeming more like DETOUR signs. "Magic, Inc." reads like three stories mashed into one, and the shaggy-dog story about political process bloating out the middle wasn't worth the punchline. "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (what a great, anapestic title) could stand to lose thirty pages for sw ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Jessiqa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-but-unowned
My dad borrowed this book from the library and told me I would enjoy it. He gave it to me once he was finished, and had to renew it twice because of me. (In my defense, it's hard to find time to read during the holiday season.)

This is the first Heinlein book I've ever read, so I feel it was a good introduction to him. I enjoyed every story in this anthology. Some were funny; some were thrilling; and at least one brought a tear to my eye. Obviously, the anthology includes a wide variety of fantas
Thomas Fackler
A smattering of Heinlein's fantasy oeuvre. Of particular interest to me were The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, He Built a Crooked House, and Waldo. The first is interesting for its development of a character who knows nothing about himself. The second is great of its explanation and use of four dimensional geometry. The last is an intriguing thought-experiment in parallel universe.

The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag has the least number of cracks in its structure, but is the mos
Michael Emond
Dec 22, 2013 Michael Emond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Heinlein and this book helps complete my almost complete Heinlein collection. It was a pleasant surprise how much I enjoyed this collection of short stories and novellas and I will do a quick blurb on each one:
Magic Inc (novella): An interesting take on a world where magic is commonplace and practitioners of it are hired like skilled laborers. It is really a fantasy that is taking aim at the Mob and unionization with even a touch of Mr. Smith goes to Washington to lobby (and f
Sep 20, 2015 Avery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-books
I liked this a lot honestly, there are some great stories in here. My favorite was "And he built a crooked house--" because it was just so interesting. I'm all for strange things like that, and it reminded me of "Mimsy Were the Borogoves."

The only thing that really weirded me out was the last story. I watched the movie that was based on it before reading it, and the whole time I was just screaming in my head. As amazing as it was with plot twist after plot twist, I felt like they handled trans
Dec 19, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heinlein is a master chef. He mixes science fiction and fantasy so adroitly that those people who are fans of one but not the other are still able to appreciate his work. His comments on our society, (still valid from the 1940’s) are remarkable and given with so much humor that the required self reflection tastes less like medicine and more like a gourmet meal. This short story collection is awesome. I don’t know of other fantasy writers (other than Ursula Le Guin) of the time who sewed so many ...more
I am not a big one for science fiction or fantasy titles. However a friend of mine kept after me to try Heinlein ("you'll like him. He's awesome..") Found this book in the local library and boy am I glad. The book contains 8 short stories which were published anywhere from 1940 to 1959. They're not long, they're fun and they definitely have me wanting to read more Heinlein. If you were ever wanting to read Heinlein but were afraid to put in the time, start with this one. It's worth the time!
Leona Wisoker
Apr 17, 2010 Leona Wisoker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Allen Wold's "Star Gods" made me want to look back at my early favorites, but I've somewhat lost my taste for early sci-fi; so I picked this book off the shelf instead. Heinlein was a superb fantasy writer; from start to finish this book had me hooked all over again. It contains two stories I consider "classics": "--And He Built A Crooked House" (although, arguably, that should be sci-fi not fantasy), and "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (which I remember vividly but had to s ...more
Jul 10, 2016 Valleri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Heinlein was a very crafty author who often still takes the reader on fantastical journeys through time, space, and inverted self-exploration as well. Every story I've read of his has made me ponder over it's many implications for hours and sometimes days on end. I would recommend this collection of short stories to explorers bold enough to go where few dare to follow.
Cody Ray
Jan 27, 2014 Cody Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun quick reads. Heinlein can really bridge fantasy and science fiction. With such short stories, Heinlein jumps straight into the most interesting plot elements. Concepts range from magicians-for-hire to multiple dimensions/overlapping worlds to family happiness to god/satan to time travel and the beginning of the world. Some interesting concepts in here.
Sean Randall
A solid collection. I hadn't read Crooked House,Our Fair City or The Man who Traveled in Elephants, the former of which I enjoyed anew. I also quite like Hoag, but All You Zombies is probably my overall favourite even with the new stuff added in.
Stephen Beecroft
Apr 16, 2013 Stephen Beecroft rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding collection of Heinlein's short stories and novellas. "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" is just a gem; almost seventy years later, it stands up very well indeed. "Waldo" is an entertaining look at what the technological future seemed to hold two or three generations ago. "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" was sweet and surreal. I remember reading "...All You Zombies" in high school and found it chilling. Less so at 49, but still clever and creative. My fond memories of ...more
Mar 31, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
I've always been a fan of Heinlein - but until now I'd never read any of his short stories. To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy them, as I couldn't imagine Heinlein's genius being quite as powerful in short stories as in his novels. While it's true that the majority of these stories didn't delve as much into philosophical issues as his novels - they were still fantastic. Each one had it's own little moral, some are quite obvious and others left up to the reader to muse on. It's hard ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Darth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heinlein
This is some of the most mediocre / dated Heinlein out there.
I had to read it, there were 2 or 3 stories in there I had not read in any other compilations, so some of it was re-read too.

The stories are the kind that feel very much from the era they were written, which is not JUST to say they were dated, they were. But also, they give a kind of nostalgia for an era I never knew - kind of like playing a game of fallout 3 and listening to the music while running around in the wastes - somehow it gi
Apr 22, 2009 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heinlein short stories. Some appear in other collections: Magic, Inc.; "-And He Built a Crooked House;" Waldo; The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathon Hoag; Our Fair City; and The Man Who Traveled in Elephants. Always a pleasure to revisit old friends. Two stories were new to me: "-They" and "-All You Zombies-". Both were less than 15 pages and not as much fun as most Heinlein. (The first was on a Truman-Show theme, the second involved time travel and paradoci.) And certainly not worth purchasing ...more
This was all right -- I think Heinlein's fantasy stories are probably as good as his science fiction. Most of the pages in this one are occupied with three novellas. The first is worth its space (Magic, Inc.) because of the good job Heinlein put into his world building, making it seem like people had gotten fully used to the existence of magic. The second (Waldo) drags after a while, and the third (The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag) should really have been a short story, especially sinc ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Elisabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd gone off Heinlein, for his cold-war crazy, low opinion of my half the species, and tendency to front-load his stories with politics. But I am very glad I read this collection. Even the annoying stories are pretty good, and a couple of them are wonderful. The Man who Traveled in Elephants is a sweet, touching, delightful story; Our Fair City is hilarious; The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag is a nutty Nick and Nora style detective story; All You Zombies is some time-travel twistiness. ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Elad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally had only planned to read this for the "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" because I had heard so much about it and I'd been told to read it over the years - plus it was just recently announced as an upcoming film adaptation. I had already cracked open the book, there was no way I could stop myself from reading the other stories.

Little did I know I would end up enjoying the other stories more than "TUPoJH".
Steven Keith
Jan 28, 2013 Steven Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I had read all these stories, in one collection or another but not in the last 20 or 30 years.

All read differently at this stage of my life.

It is interesting how many of these stories have inspired other authors ("All you Zombies" core developed by David Gerrold into "The Man who Folded Himself").

I had new appreciation for "Magic. Inc." showing the protagonists dabbling in that blackest of Dark Arts - politics.
Lis Carey
Feb 20, 2011 Lis Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf
A very nice collection of Heinlein's fantasy stories. I had never read "The Man Who Trave led in Elephants" or "Our Fair City" before. "Magic, Inc.," "Waldo", and "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" are all well worth rereading. I will confess that I find "--All You Zombies--" a little bit more annoying every time I read it, but hey, it's only one story, and the last one in the book.

Benjamin Kahn
Some of these stories were excellent - funny, enthralling - and some were just so-so. The best of the stories "And he built a crooked house-", "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" were great, but some of the others were predictable or just average. I'd read the book for the two aforementioned stories and possibly "Our Fair City" but not bother with any of the other pedestrian fair in this book.
I think I would have found the stories to be more enjoyable if they didn't all have the theme of paranoid schizophrenia running through them. That being said, The Man Who Dealt in Elephants was very touching, if obvious; All You Zombies blew my fucking mind. I listened (audiobook version) to it three times to really wrap my poor, blown apart mind around it. Most excellent stuff in that story.
Andrew Bunyea
Some stories were better than others. Really liked Waldo, All You Zombies, and Magic, Inc.
Jan 19, 2014 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only bought this book as it was the only place you could find Magic Inc &Waldo at the time. Quite good stories and I'm glad I finally got to read them.
May 22, 2011 Lafcadio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Been wanting to read Waldo for quite some time. Not really what I expected, but interesting nonetheless. Also, Magic had some charming connections, unexpectedly. Nice collection of short and longer stories.
Feb 12, 2012 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Good stories. Fun to read, but they'll make your head hurt if you think too hard. The on about the house was my favorite. I'll have to check out his novels. Farmer in the Sky looks promising.
Apr 06, 2010 Fred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even in his fantasy/supernatural fiction, Heinlein approaches everything as an engineering problem. This is also my main criticism of Asimov's Foundation series.
Nov 13, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it
Wonderful stories. He never disappoints. A couple of the stories ran on a little long, but all were worth the time. Read Heinlein whenever you can.
Jun 18, 2010 Benjamin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
A little bit of hit-and-miss. Some where better than others, but I ended up skimming through half of the stories because they just weren't interesting me.
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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
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