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The Menace from Earth

(Future History or "Heinlein Timeline" #18)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  6,226 ratings  ·  126 reviews
She was beautiful
She was smart
She was irresistible
She was after my boyfriend...

The Year of the Jackpot (1952)
By His Bootstraps (1941)
Columbus Was a Dope (1947)
The Menace from Earth (1957)
Sky Lift (1953)
Goldfish Bowl (1942)
Project Nightmare (1953)
Water Is for Washing (1947)
Mass Market Paperback, 271 pages
Published February 16th 1999 by Baen Books (first published 1959)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Start your review of The Menace from Earth (Future History, #18)
Another set of short stories by RAH & they're something he excelled at. They're kind of an odd collection, but good. Well narrated. Not as good as The Green Hills of Earth collection, although there are a few really good stories in this one.

"The Year of the Jackpot" is overshadowed now by Big Data, but still an interesting premise.

"By His Bootstraps" is too long, although that does help make the point. Time travel creates some interesting conundrums & this loop takes on a few of them.

"Goldfish B
General Greysorrow
A nice collection of science fiction short stories from one of my favorite authors (yes, I know how problematic his politics are, and I really don't care - one can love the art and not the artist). They range from the rather mundane to the downright terrifying...the imagery alone in "Water Is For Washing" is pure nightmare inducing horror, and "Goldfish Bowl" will remain in my psyche forever. The ending of "The Year Of The Jackpot" was depressing, whilst the one in "By His Bootstraps" was fiendi ...more
Mary JL
Nov 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: any science fiction fan
Recommended to Mary JL by: Fan of author--no reccommendation needed.
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
This is one of Heinlein's few story story collections. There are 8 short stories from the late 1940's and early 1950's.

The stories vary in quality--the title story "The Meance From Earth" is actually not bad--the descrition above does not do it justice.

It also contants two really good Heinlein short stories that are not well known, but are favorites of mine. One is "The Year of the Jackpot" and the other is "Goldfish Bowl".

I like Heinlein's early work much better than his later work. If you have
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is late fifties a collection of Heinlein short stories and a couple of novellas. Most of his better works were published in earlier collections such as "The Man who Sold the Moon" and "The Green Hills of Earth". Heinlein himself, might have called some of these, "stinkers", though I would not class any of these as "bottom of the barrel" as all of his work during this time is well above par.

The title story (1957) is a very good female lead role story - uncommon for its day.
"Goldfish Bowl" is
1943 Retro Hugo Finalist for Best Novelette

“Goldfish Bowl” by Anson MacDonald (Robert A. Heinlein) (Astounding Science Fiction, March 1942)

Available as a Hoopla audiobook*:

* It will be difficult to find this shortstory in that audiobook since Hoopla doesn't usually provide any bookmarks/table of contents links.

Contents (via ISFDB)

• The Year of the Jackpot • (1952) • novelette - Listened 4/11/18 am 3.5 stars
• By His Bootstraps • (1941) • novella (start at
Nick D
A collection of short stories/novellas by Heinlein between 1941 and 1957 (two years before Starship Troopers and four years before Stranger in a Strange Land).

The Year of the Jackpot - A mathematician studies minor peculiar events around the world and plots them to determine when the world will likely end. A good story.

By His Bootstraps - Published in 1941, this is a mind-boggling account of the realistic paradoxes of time travel. It's a formula that's been done to death now, but I can imagine t
Dhara (dha.raiter)
A book well-written but I was not in the mood to read about an obnoxious and conventional (and a bit sexist) teenage love in such a highly unconventional setting. It felt like an awesome world-building wasted.

P.S. It makes me wonder if Andy Weir lifted the idea for Artemis from this book because his setting and protagonist are eerily similar
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Includes some of Heinlein's best stories. My favorite is "By His Bootstraps," the best time travel yarn ever written, followed by "The Year of The Jackpot." The other stories are pretty good too. ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, sci-fi
A collection of mixed entertainment quality. Some very good short stories on the whole but I found the final few to have perhaps aged badly, being far more relevant to the period they were written than 2019.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Science Fiction Fans
With Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke I think their short stories are more impressive than their novels, and if I were to list my favorite short science fiction stories, Asimov and Clarke would crowd out almost everyone else in the top ten. With Heinlein I tend to think it's the reverse--that it's his long fiction that is the most memorable--stronger than that of Asimov and Clarke just as their short fiction is much more memorable than that of Heinlein. I just don't think any Heinlein short is ...more
A. Roy King
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
"The Menace From Earth" is a collection of short stories from the 1940s and 1950s by science-fiction master Robert A. Heinlein. Not surprisingly given the period of writing, the stories come across as dated, especially in attitudes toward women. Nevertheless, it's valuable to go back and read material from seminal SF writers like Heinlein (along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke).

One thing I'm struck by is the variety of story ideas represented in this collection. Most of these stories coul
Raymond Ford
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: old-time-sci-fi
I love science fiction short story collections, and this collection from Heinlein is a great example of how early sci-fi writers really let their imaginations go - something that is lost in today's sci-fi I think. Written from 1941-1957, it totally captures both the anxiety and possibilities of the era including the jargon and slang of the 1950's. We have nuclear end of the world stories with Project Nightmare and The Year of the Jackpot. We have teenage angst in a time when generations of peopl ...more
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
8 short stories published in the pulps between 1941 and 1957 are found in this 1959 compilation from the grandmaster Robert A. Heinlein. The quality of the individual stories varies, but the title story and 'By His Bootstraps' are worth the price of admission and show the imagination for which RAH is regarded as one of the all-time best SF authors.

'The Year of the Jackpot', end of the world romance.
'By His Bootstraps', ingenious time travel yarn.
'Columbus Was a Dope', cute short.
'The Menace F
Jeff Yoak
I re-read the title essay again today. While the story is great either on paper or in traditional narration, I have a copy produced by The Atlanta Radio Theater Company that is my favorite. It's a short but sweet example of Heinlein's amazing style... and the end turns me into a great big crybaby. :-)

2012: This is actually the first of Heinlein's I made it through with Alex (6). He was incredibly touched by the story. Heinlein tends to have a vocabulary that is still just a little bit tough for
May 07, 2010 rated it liked it
This is the first R.A.Heinlein book I ever read, and I must say it was great. Looking back some of the stories weren't nearly as good as some of his other works, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.
The story that really got me hooked onto Heinlein was "By His Bootstraps", I saw the ending coming, but I didnt really mind that much. The book is a great read with lots of fun, charm, and memorable stories.
There is an interesting story "Fish Bowl" which posses some interesting concep
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are two stories in this collection that have stuck with me since I was about ten: The Year of the Jackpot and The Menace from Earth. I still reread them on occasion. Jackpot is the scariest story I've ever read since it starts off as a tale about oddball happenings that seem statistically impossible, moves onto nuclear war and then to the sun going supernova.

'Menace' I always loved because as a geeky awkward girl that there it a future of being smart and striving for achievement would not
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
After the seriousness of the last couple of stories in the Future History timeline, this is a more light-hearted read as a young woman on the Luna colony struggles with the fact that a beautiful tourist from Earth seems to be trying to steal her boyfriend. it ends in a bit cheesy/cliche way, but as i said, it's a more comedic read compared to some of the other stories in this collection. ...more
Jeff Yoak
This is a charming little story wherein immediately after discovering telekinetics in the world, they're used to avoid nuclear bombs being exploded in the United States. It's a typical Heinlein short story, but with surprisingly little re-readability. ...more
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heinlein's short stories can be a hoot. Sometimes they're smart; sometimes they fail, but at least they're more worthy of my time than most of the novels I've reread by him. ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Heinlein's stories from the 1940's & 1950's which I read back in the early/mid 1960's. "By His Bootstraps" is the one I remember best, a time travel story with a seeming paradox. ...more
Michael O'Donnell
This collection of short fiction by Robert A. Heinlein, first published in 1959, collects eight stories from various sf magazines of the forties and fifties. The stories are as follows:

‘The Year of The Jackpot’ — a statistician’s graphs of unrelated phenomena, from stock market prices and rainfall to people stripping in public, all point to a peak on the same date, and indicate that the whole world is in for a bad year. Unfortunately, there also seems to be something wrong with the Sun.

‘By His B
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book, first thing I did when I finished it was to lend it someone else to share the joy. I say joy but the book is actually rather grim, very dark in fact - some of the stories do have a positive aspect to them but it is a small part of the story, if at all! I think fans of horror would really like this sci-fi book given its dark aspect. Although the stories within the book are quite bleak and sad at times it is fascinating stuff and it really made me think and I loved that a ...more
Brian Grouhel
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is something to be said for going back and reading again a favourite story or book. For the longest time now I have been wanting to read again the story of Potiphar Breen and Meade Barstow and The Year Of The Jackpot. It's a great story of a statistician who has been compiling a record of strange events and weird behaviours who rescues the girl in the middle of one of those behaviours. In fact all of the stories in this volume are excellent as are all of Robert Heinlein's short stories. It ...more
Joseph F.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I surprised myself by giving this little collection of sci fi tales 5 stars. But the beauty and inventiveness of the stories really got to me.

The title story is an endearing young adult one.
Sky Lift is a nail biting number concerning what out bodies might have to face with super fast space flight.
The fact that we are not the most advanced species on earth is taken up in The Goldfish Bowl.

All the tales are good, and the last one, Water is for Washing, is not so much a science fiction story, but
May 26, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strong collection of stories that I find more enjoyable than most of Heinlein's full-length novels. "The Year of the Jackpot" is probably my favorite Heinlein story, and "By His Bootstraps" is a classic, and very satisfying, time travel story. The eponymous story is memorable for its smart, tomboy main character and scenes of low-gravity flying as a sport on the moon. "Project Nightmare" and "Water Is for Washing" are also quite good. ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This short story is a Heinlein tearjerker with some usual tropes--bad guy with a heart of gold, etc. And there's some unbelievable prejudice, way beyond political incorrectness, but that's because it was written in 1947. Our hero overcomes this, as all heroes should.

It's not really SF, but has an apocalyptic feel. It'd been on my "to find" list, and I found it in a book of Heinlein stories called "The Menace from Earth." Once I found it, I realized I had read it years ago.

Worth reading for an
These stories don't age that well. Heinlein is creative in his thinking about the future. But in his older/earlier writings, he doesn't break free of the character stereotypes of the era, also of his writing. 8 short stories: 1 had a nice twist at the ending, 1 was so convoluted that I gave up on it. I really liked the Year of the Jackpot; it spoke of the current situation of the coronavirus. ...more
Mike Drinkard
Apr 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
When I bought the book (in a Heinlein lot on eBay) , I didn’t know it was a collection of short stories. But I love Heinlein’s writing and enjoyed reading through these tales. He creates wonderful characters quickly and you’re rooting for them after the second or third page. These are character-driven stories that I enjoyed.
Absolutely wonderful set of exciting short stories. This collection was better than The Green Hills of Earth in my opinion. To be quite honest, this was probably the first time that the story was the best part. Usually Heinlein has solid characters, but not only were the characters great, but the stories were exciting and complete.
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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
  • Let There Be Light
  • 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

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