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The Past Through Tomorrow

(Future History or "Heinlein Timeline" #1-21)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  16,113 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Here in one monumental volume are all 21 of the stories, novellas and novels making up Heinlein's famous Future History—the rich, imaginative architecture of Man's destiny that many consider his greatest and most prophetic work.

* Introduction - Damon Knight
* Life-Line
* The Roads Must Roll
* Blowups Happen
* The Man Who Sold the Moon
* Delilah and the Space-Rigger
* Sp
Mass Market Paperback, 830 pages
Published July 15th 1987 by Ace (first published March 28th 1967)
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Brian Huddleston Ha! Answered my own question - a publisher called "Gateway" has one published in 2014 - the Amazon link here on GoodReads just goes to a general listi…moreHa! Answered my own question - a publisher called "Gateway" has one published in 2014 - the Amazon link here on GoodReads just goes to a general listing for this title.(less)

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Start your review of The Past Through Tomorrow (Future History, #1-21)
Graeme Rodaughan
Mar 12, 2020 is currently reading it
Re-reading a classic from my youth. Proceeding with most recent read at the top of the list.

15/Jun/20: 9. Gentlemen, Be Seated: Up next...

15/Jun/20: 8. The Long Watch: Love and honor overcome a tyrant. Simple, moving, brilliant storytelling. 5 'Love before Dishonor,' stars.

15/Jun/20: 7. Requiem: A man finally achieves his life-long dream only moments before his death - and it is enough. 5 'life-fulfilled,' stars.

14/Jun/20: 6. Space Jockey: A cautionary tale about allowing bratty spoiled 13 year
Manuel Antão
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Conveyor Belts: "The Past Through Tomorrow" by Robert A. Heinlein

(Original Review, 1980-10-13)

People have complained about roads as conveyor belts as represented in Heinlein's THE ROADS MUST ROLL as being an inefficient means of transportation because of a number of reasons, some of those being energy efficiency and the problems of handicapped people using them. Instead of building them as a single conveyor belt, how about building the
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the afternoon of Saturday, October 4th, 1975, having just turned thirteen years old a few weeks before, I rode my bicycle about 2 1/2 miles to the nearest bookstore to my house that sold science fiction books--the long-defunct Books & Friends in Oakton, VA. I know this not because I remember the event, but because I wrote it in the back of a paperback copy of "The Past Through Tomorrow," an 830-page collection of Robert Heinlein's "Future History" stories. What I do remember is that I didn't ...more
Jason Pettus
Aug 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
I recently learned that back in 1966, when the attendees of the World Science Fiction Convention chose Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" books to receive a special Hugo Award for the best sci-fi series of all time, what came in second was Robert A. Heinlein's "Future History" series. For those who don't know, it's a collection of several dozen short stories and novellas that he published in random order and in a myriad of different magazines over twenty years, but that nonetheless are all set in the s ...more
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1paper, scifi, 2fiction
This is a compilation of 21 Heinlein short stories in his 'Future History'. If you've never read Heinlein & want a good introduction, this is probably the best single book of his works you can buy. You'll see quite a range of his best.

The paperback is as fat as one of Jordan's books & contains some novella length stories - two, "Revolt in 2100" & "Methuselah's Children" were published as novels. Others are title stories from other short story collections "The Green Hills of Earth" & "The Man Wh
Al "Tank"
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a huge tomb: 830 pages and and inch-and-three-quarters thick. It contains 21 stories, some of which are novel-length for that time (50,000 words). The last story, "Methuselah's Children" has been published as a stand-alone novel (yes, I have it).

I won't try to review all of the stories for fear of boring everyone. It's enough that most of them are highly entertaining, even by today's standards, and all fit within Heinlein's "future history" timeline.

Of the stories, "Methuselah's Children
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A worthy read for Heinlein's fans. The quality of the stories varies a bit, as they were written at different times, but having them in this collection and chronologically ordered helps keep the "future history" timeline straight.

The stories suffer from Heinlein's usual flaws (i.e. female characters) but also showcase his strengths (e.g. pushing new social and political ideas, a love and veneration of science). This collection is a good example of why Heinlein is considered one of the big three
This is probably one of Heinlein's greatest works in terms of weaving together many stories with a self consistent story line. In it he introduces his best known character, Lazarus Long. Probably his next best character in terms of references to the character in other stories, would be D.D. Harriman. And to be honest, in many ways Harriman was a more likable character than Lazarus Long. Lazarus Long is sexist (gets much worse in other books and isn't all that noticeable in this one), selfish, se ...more
Nicholas Whyte
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it

Heinlein's mammoth future history: 21 stories published as a collection in 1967, though in fact all but two originally came out between 1939 and 1949, outlining the future development of humanity through the coming centuries.

Heinlein misses a lot of things - notably the rise of information technology; his 23rd century spaceships are still running with slide rules. Some of these are a bit too sentimental, some based on concepts that don't really resonat
Russell Fletcher
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Past Through Tomorrow is a book of short stories by Robert A. Heinlein. It is my favorite science fiction book. (It may be my favorite book period.) Even though there are plenty of other things to read, I have to every year or two. The character D.D. Harriman is certainly an inventor ahead of his time, even though in his timeline he had different inventions to get into space.

Now for divergent thoughts not in this book but brought on by thinking about this book.
Speaking of inventors
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Though I greatly enjoy Heinlen's writing, I didn't think I'd read very many of his short stories. Surprisingly, I had read "Life-Line", which is the first story in this book. But I didn't mind re-reading it one bit! One thing I had not realized before was that it was the first short story Heinlen had ever submitted for publication. I think the book is worth getting for it alone.

Now, not only is this book just an incredible collection of plain good 'ole fashioned story-telling at it's best, but t
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
This is the first Heinlein book I ever read, and I have never looked back since. A fantastic collection of thought-provoking and interconnected stories made for a very excellent read. Personal;ly, my favorite stories were 'Requiem' and 'The Man who sold the Moon'. 'Methuselah's Children' is also part of this collection, introducing you to the Howard Families (and Lazarus Long) ...more
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best of Heinlein's classic future history short fiction. Arguably the best single-author collection of science fiction ever. I'd say that these stories did more to shape modern sf than any other works. ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a collection of twenty-one vintage Heinlein short stories with a wide variety of plots. This is a great read for the science fiction fan. There are several classics in the collection. Inludes the novel METHUSELAH'S CHILDREN. ...more
Jessica Zoop
Entertaining on the whole but Heinlein's high handed opinion of men, coupled with his disdain /annoyance of women, children, and parents got old. It feels like SciFi based Ayn Rand diatribe with a hatred of heavy handed government meddling in the affairs of get-the-job-done men. ...more
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I got this for a song at the roadside. I never knew that it was a compendium of stories describing Heinlein's future universe: its development through time and space. Very enjoyable reading. ...more
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think Heinlein was a better SF writer at shorter lengths, though this book is over 800 pages long. Methuseluh's Children is the best of them. ...more
Michael Battaglia
I don't know if Robert Heinlein had the first "future history" as we (and John Campbell) understood it, although he was probably one of the more extensive ones that had come down the pike thus far in the world of SF. While other writers may have written stories that appeared to happen in the same universe, no one had really taken a series of stories spread out chronologically over hundreds of years and explicitly set them in the same timeline (the closest I can think of is maybe Olaf Stapleton b ...more
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heinlein
This is a collection of the core Short Stories & Novellas that are collectively known to make up Robert Heinlein's "Future History"

Since these were written in the early days (many in the 1940's and 50's) much of the "future" part is now past tense at least in terms of the year on the calendar. Also, most of these have that feeling to them I would describe as pulpy, which I think most people would consider fair, since they were actually first published (not all but many) in magazines.

You hear a T
Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This, along with "Time Enough for Love" (currently reading) is Heinlein's magnum ous. This volume has some 800 pages of small-type stories, novellas and novels, culminating in '"Methuselah's Children" (which I have already read - see my review- and found out subsequently that there was a great number of stories that antedated that novel. These are published in this volume in the order given in a table close to the beginning of "Methuselah's Children" but somewhat out of order in terms of publica ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is probably the third time I have read this book, but it has been many, many years since the last read. What I found most interesting is...the stories were written in the 30's and 40's. The science was different then but so was the attitude towards women...and ethnic groups...and smoking! Overall this bunch of stories is very good for a lot of reasons. They certainly speak to how people generally interacted with each other. If you have a bit of a scientific bend...then all the references wi ...more
Carena Wood beimler
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Some of the stories are better than others, what I really enjoyed about this was that the books and short stories were in chronological order, so the young fellow wanting to go to the moon many pages ago eventually invents space flight, and then several stories later does get to go. It makes you feel like you have more invested in the series, as well.
One day I want to own all of the books and to read them all in linear order.
Always amusing to go back and read classic sci-fi and see which predictions were far-seeing and which ones failed to pan out. I understand why highways were never replaced with "rolling roads", but someone tell me why we haven't colonized the moon yet? ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
99% of the characters are human. The most far out technology is the drive mechanisms on the rockets. One whole story was about financing a rocket venture - dreadfully boring. On the plus side this is not fantasy and there are no swords, dragons, or horses.
Oct 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone at all
Shelves: sf, short-stories
Heinlein's "Future History" all wrapped up in one volume. An important starting point for Time Enough For Love and pretty much all of his later books. ...more
Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
Spider Robinson be damned, RAH is a closet misogynist and male chauvinist pig, and his later stuff doesn't change that. ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Another of my all-time favorites. Heinlein,while not as famous as Asimov, is at least his equal. The stories in this book, written over decades, paint a galaxy that is fascinating and complex.
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All 21 of his 'Future History' short stories in one volume. It's another pandemic re-read. His set of short stories to novellas where he envisions a human history up to interstellar travel. In many ways it's very dated, such as the constant smoking, but that's no surprise. Still, much of it holds up.

For instance, his view of women is typically brief and simplistic, and in many of his other books they end up barefoot and pregnant. Still, in "Delilah and the Space-Rigger", even with the senseless
Austin Wright
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In 1966, the Hugo Awards presented a one-time award for "Best All-time Series. The 5 candidates were:

"Foundation" by Isaac Asimov
"Barsoom" by Edgar Rice Burroughs
"Future History" by Robert A. Heinlein
"Lensmen" by E. E. Smith
"The Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien

Foundation won.

I pick up this book and was pleasantly surprised to find that it had almost the entire collection of "Future History" (it is missing 3 stories totaling about 130 pages).

There were some jaw-dropping amazing mome
Michael Norwitz
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Over a period of more than 20 years, Robert Heinlein had in mind a future history of Earth, and he wrote 21 stories (not sequentially) which took place in this history (before it resolved into the Lazarus Long/Howard Families series of novels). This collection completes that series, finalising with "Methuselah's Children." Unfortunately I suspect most of it will be harder going for many readers ... his style and characterisation (particularly of women, before he catches up with feminism) will st ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Future History or "Heinlein Timeline" (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • Life Line
  • The Roads Must Roll
  • Astounding Science Fiction, September 1940
  • The Man Who Sold the Moon
  • Delilah & The Space Rigger
  • Astounding Science Fiction, January 1940
  • The Long Watch
  • Gentlemen Be Seated
  • The Black Pits of Luna
  • It's Great to Be Back!

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