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Expanded Universe

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,855 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews

The Wit and Wisdom of Robert A. Heinlein, author of multiple New York Times best sellers, on subjects ranging form Crime and Punishment to the Love life of the American Teenager; from Nuclear Power to the Pragmatics of Patriotism; from Prophecy to Destiny; from Geopolitic to Post-Holocaust America; fro the Nature of Courage to the Nature of Reality; it's all here and it's
Paperback, 592 pages
Published May 15th 1986 by Ace (first published October 6th 1980)
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Bob Rust
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Foreword (Expanded Universe) • (1980) • essay by Robert A. Heinlein
Life-Line • [Future History] • (1939) • short story by Robert A. Heinlein
Successful Operation • (1940) • short story by Robert A. Heinlein
Blowups Happen • [Future History] • (1940) • novelette by Robert A. Heinlein
Solution Unsatisfactory • (1941) • novelette by Robert A. Heinlein
The Last Days of the United States • (1980) • essay by Robert A. Heinlein
How to Be a Survivor • (1980) • essay by Robert A. Heinlein
Pie from the Sky • (1
Dec 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heinlein
Most of the short fiction in this volume I have read in other collections - so mainly I read this for the non-fiction. The stories are a little interesting, but for most people, feel free to skip this, unless you are super anal and have to read EVERYTHING by your favorite authors.

Most of the tales start out on one track, but devolve into a 70-something year old guy complaining - Todays kids are stupid, foreign countries try to rob tourists, money doesnt mean anything if not backed by gold, and e
Bob Holt
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Heinlein completist
Short stories and essays presented chronologically. A couple of short stories are hard to find elsewhere, but the best ones can be found in other volumes. The book is filled out with Heinlein's essays, which seem to get more and more out of touch as both he and the twentieth century age.
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Lots of fun miscellaneous writings from Heinlein, from a cabaret detective story to a boy scout lunar tale. There's quite a bit of nonfiction, mostly relating to nuclear power, nuclear armaments, patriotism, the armed forces, Russia, and the Cold War. A couple of essays detail the encounter with "pravda" ("truth") that Mr. and Mrs. Heinlein experienced in their trip to the Soviet Union in 1960. There are many prognostications, ranging from alarmingly accurate to quaint in showing their age.

Sep 28, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the Heinlein I have read, this was by far his weakest collection, and one of the worst books I've read. I'm so glad it was free, because if I'd paid even 10 cents for this book, I'd want my money back.
I just realized the irony of deciding to stop reading this on Memorial Day, given all of the pro-military jingoism on display in many of Heinlein's essays. I swear it wasn't intentional -- I just coincidentally figured out today that about half of these 500+ pages were ideologically conservative non-fiction instead of the sci-fi short stories I was expecting.

I have no personal need for that paranoid tripe, especially when a solid majority of Heinlein's political and technological predictions we
Nathan Titus
Mainly nonfiction and fairly uninteresting short stories. I never realized how much of a pro military pro police state neoconservative heinlein was.since the bulk of this book came from 5 hat perspective I found it quite unpleasant. I really liked the last part of the final essay, where he briefly switches to fiction and gas a president solve all the pathetic problems of the usa in just a few years with a radically common sense approach. Reading it, you almost think it could work. Ended the book ...more
The W
Nov 10, 2009 rated it liked it
W Rating : B

This was a fun book. This was Heinlein's Rivan Codex. Many non sci fi stories and papers Heinlein has written with his own personal comments throughout. Read if you like Heinlein and/or getting author jokes.
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of early stories and articles and commentaries on them. Shows the development of Heinlein as a writer.
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ian
Recommended to Valerie by: Mom
Although I do not usually read short stories, I will make an exception for Heinlein, now and then.
Scott Golden
It's a barrel-scraping exercise. Some of it is interesting; other items, not so much.
Olha Pankiv
50/100 Можна сказати що мене трусило від фразочок цитую дослівно "Аллан, загони баб в угол, чтобы под ногами не путались!", "в Аллане заговорил здравый смысл, -"бабам показывать не стоит, напугаются дуры"", а те як круті мужики вибирають собі самиць, і дають їм імена, або і не дають..не можу я таке сприймати і закривати очі. Мені все враження про книжку ця твердолобість зіпсувала!
Austin Wright
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considered Heinlein's greatest compendium. Spanning 1939-1980. Took me a month to go through the 600 pages.
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a bit dated. However, it gives good insight into the thinking about the A-bomb just after WWII.
Oct 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone. Citizens, Scientists, Soldiers, Pacifists,
I got my start on Heinlein when I was about ten years old, and sometime between ten and fourteen I picked up EU and then shelved it because the essays were not the action adventure and daring-do of Glory Road, or Tunnel in the Sky. The politics, philosophy etc. were lost on me at the time. This time around things are different.
I've read some of the previous reviews of this work, and am frankly disappointed that people who claim to be Heinlein fans, to appreciate Heinlein, would be turned off by
John Bruni
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book I've always wanted from Heinlein. Most of the pieces in here are essays, and they're full of such aggravation that I could read them forever. He was very progressive for his time, so it's interesting to read something from him that wasn't his usual Trojan horse into his readers minds. In these pieces, he flat-out speaks his mind, and it's an amazing thing to behold. My favorite has to be "Pie from the Sky," in which he once again tries to save the world from nuclear annihilation ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinlein Fans
I remember loving this book in my teens, and I still consider Robert A Heinlein one of my favorite authors, but if you’re not a fan already, I wouldn’t recommend this book to begin with. This contains 27 of Heinlein’s short pieces, of which about half are essays, but it’s not a collection of his best, nor one that say pulls together all his “Future History” stories such as The Past Through Tomorrow, which would make a good introduction. There are a few strong stories here. For a work published i ...more
Thom Dunn
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I recall, only the initial tale, "Universe" is any good, but it is a must-read for all those interested in the possibility of interstellar travel. Asimov thought we couldn't do it. Clarke came to believe that rapid interstellar travel remained a fantasy. Bradbury seemed not interested in the phenomenon. Stargate I, the TV sci-fi channel's uptake of Fred Pohl's Gateway concept, acknowledges by its silence on the matter the impossibility of "getting there" without taking advantage of some bridg ...more
Jul 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Expanded Universe is a collection of short stories and other publications. Some of the shorts have been published in other collections. Most of the other stuff I thought was just a little boring, although, probably more interesting during the time it was actually published. He writes a lot about Atomics and what-if scenarios for a WWIII situation. Most of these publications were written after WWII when Hiroshima was still on a lot of peoples minds. The two articles I believe are must reads are " ...more
Curt Jeffreys
Robert Heilnlein must've been a curmudgeonly old fart from the day he was born. A grandmaster of SF and a founding father of the genre, Heinlein loved to hear himself pontificate on the state of the country and the ills of society. His views on voting ( voting is not a right but a privelege that should be earned ) are particularly worrisome. As Isaac Asimov said, any system where a voter must prove himself worthy is problematic -just who decides whether you are worthy enough to enter the booth?

Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look back to see how RAH's outlook changed and didn't change over the years. Fascinating description of a Soviet trip. Some of the stories I already read in "The Past Through Tomorrow" . And a story about a black woman nominated to be eye candy for a presidential candidate, who wins. After the president is killed in the first 10 days of office, she takes over, to the chagrin of the "machine", and turns Washington DC upside down - and reinstates the gold standard. You could see this h ...more
Jes. Cavanaugh
This is a fun book that expands greatly on Heinlein as a writer. Most only know him for Stranger in a Strange Land and/or Starship Troopers, but the Expanded Universe shows him as writing in many more genres and being as much of a progressive (though possibly less of an activist) as Orwell.

I enjoyed his fiction much more than his (as we know now, post-Cold War) paranoid rantings about the impending destruction of the US by nuclear holocaust, but to see his dire warnings give an interesting pers
Zoffix Znet
This is a great book that contains both fiction and non-fiction stories. Each one has a foreword or an afterword that explains what compelled Heinlein to write it or how he felt about the story later. The book gives great insight into Heinlen's way of thinking and his beliefs; and—as a relatively young reader of 27—I found it also gives insights into the life and beliefs of people in the 50s–80s era; especially the non-fiction stories about Heinlen's experience during visits to the USSR> I hi ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Obviously not my first time through this book (well, obvious to me); it's been a good long time since I've re-read it in full. "Cliff and the Calories" is still my favorite and I wish that someone had put together that collection of Puddin' stories, if only for my teen-self. I laughed out loud when I realized that both my major and my minor at university were courses of study which Heinlein denounced (but leave it as an exercise to the reader to suss out what those might have been), but I think ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a greatest hits like The Past Through Tomorrow, from which 3 early stories are duplicated here, but a sampling of previously uncollected largely non-fiction pieces. This volume provided the first real glimpse of his breath of knowledge which informed his story writing. Some pieces are far more technical than you've been used to seeing from him, and those may cause the less informed in those areas to pass over parts. But nonetheless, an important piece of the puzzle was revealed within these ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I would recommend Expanded Universe for anyone wanting a collection of Robert Heinlein’s earliest work and to gain further insight into his thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics, from atomic bombs to zodiacs. Robert prefaces each story with a brief description of what he was doing at the time or what his inspiration was. A few of the articles are autobiographic such as “Pravda Means Truth”, and “Inside Intourist”. When read with “Grumbles from the Grave,” Expanded Universe provides the ou ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Some is quite good...the background parentheticals are always interesting, and the two essays on tourism in the USSR (really!) are brilliant reads. His early writings on the bomb are really clear and prescient and it's still amazing that we just sort of muddled through (and still haven't solved the problem). By the later essays he's gotten a fair bit bombastic and with an excessive confidence that mirrors his decrease in information. His projections of technology are one thing; the projections o ...more
Jul 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heinlein's science fiction is generally pretty great. I didn't realize this had an extensive collection of non-fiction in it as well. Some of those were great -- and being able to read something written in the 1940's can certainly give you some perspective of the mindset of a past era -- but some unfortunately are clearly dated as well. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read it when I was younger.
Allen Perry
Ok so as much as I love most of his writing I had a hell of a time getting through this one. The first stories were pretty good but the end is nothing but editorials on 1960 American life and not all that well written. If you are one of those people that can pick up a book and not feel that they must read it all the way through then pick this up and read through the first 3/4 of it. If you are like me and have to finish it then just leave this one alone.
Aug 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book if you want to get an idea of Heinlein's actual opinions. Most of the articles in the book are articles that Heinlein wrote on serious topics.

The stories it does contain are good, however I did get a bit tired of reading the same opinions over and over again. I see this more of an editing problem.

So I would recommend this book if you want to see what Heinlein thought instead of what people say he thought. Just know that the book is not a collection of short stories.
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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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“The 3-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with those three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots.” 29 likes
“I was there to see beautiful naked women. So was everybody else. It's a common failing.” 9 likes
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