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The Menace from Earth

(Future History or "Heinlein Timeline" #18)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,859 ratings  ·  87 reviews
She was beautiful
She was smart
She was irresistable
She was after my boyfriend...


· The Year of the Jackpot · nv Galaxy Mar ’52
· By His Bootstraps [as by Anson MacDonald] · na Astounding Oct ’41
· Columbus Was a Dope · ss Startling Stories May ’47
· The Menace from Earth · nv F&SF Aug ’57
· Sky Lift · ss Imagination Nov ’53
· Goldfish Bowl [as by Anson MacDonald
Paperback, 271 pages
Published February 16th 1999 by Baen Books (first published August 1st 1959)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,859 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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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.

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
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
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
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
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
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
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
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.
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
M.M. Strawberry 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.
Read Ng
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A bit less condescending toward the female heroine for the time period it was written. This book is more along the lines of a pre-teen love interest. It was just a brief foray into the world of romance for this author? I did like the glimpses of everyday life in a moon habitat.

Have a GoodReads.
Cristian Iorga
An OK short story collection with few interesting ideas. However, all that I will remember is how ridiculous women are portrayed in these stories.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heinlein fan since 1964.
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wikipedia cites "Year of the Jackpot," the first story featured in The Menace from Earth, as the first usage of the word "geek" to mean someone with a specialized knowledge. In reality, it only appear in the brief epithet, "The poor geek!" In context, the definition is hardly clear, given the older meaning of fool, freak, or weirdo.

Though "Year of the Jackpot," is an interesting look at the possibilities statistics might offer on a truly grand scale, it very well might be the weak link in the co
I had previously read the title story in the collection The Past through Tomorrow and it stuck with me more than 20 years later: geeky girl who wants to be a spaceship designer and isn't spending all her time looking for a boyfriend. I still really like it. Although the relationship issue does become part of the story, it doesn't have the focus on sexuality that Heinlein's later female characters have, but neither does it relegate girls/women to second place. If I were just rating that story, it ...more
Morgan Dhu
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it
The stories collected in The Menace from Earth can be divided loosely into two groups. Some of the stories are part of the Luna City cycle, including the story that gives the collection its name. In these stories, one sees the same focus on the spirit of exploration as in the other stories set in this particular timeline and frequently set in, or referencing, Luna City, most if which are collected in The Green Hills of Earth. Some of the stories - “ Columbus Was a Dope,” “The Menace from Earth,” ...more
Norm Davis
Aug 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinlein fans.
Recommended to Norm by: Michael Fales
I have to round down on this 3.5 (☆ ☆ ☆) book of short stories. Actually I'm rounding up from 2.5. It is a assemblage by grandmaster Robert A. Heinlein. I expected a novel. Surprise. Why surprise you ask? I saw a paperback edition in my garage, dusted it off a little and read the back cover.

Shortly I checked my Calibre brand ebook library collection to find I had obtained this book at some point. Thinking I must have read it and loved it since it is still hanging around, I put it on the “curren
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
ahhh, vintage sci-fi!
Some of the language is a bit dated, quite a lot did not age well. Still, nice to see where some of our fav tropes came from & a neat lil late-40s~early 50s timecapsule of Science Fiction

The Year of the Jackpot - end of the world predictions but with statistics!
ok, Fallout games have ruined me, as this entire thing read like it was about to lead into the game! Hell, when it name-drops Sierra Madre my brain queued up NewVegas music
By His Bootstraps - mobius strip of a ti
Mark R.

This collection features seven stories from Robert A. Heinlein, written between 1941 and 1957. A couple are excellent, and none are boring.

"The Year of the Jackpot"--An actuary scientists discovers, through his various calculations and graphs, that all of the craziness going on in the world is leading up to its demise.

"By His Bootstraps"--A confusing tale about time travel, in which a man comes across three different versions of himself, all of whom travel through time, from the 1950's th
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Menace of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein is a short story about life on the moon. It’s a typical story, a girl is friendly with a boy, but the boy falls for someone else. From that short synopsis the story is a little obvious, but what isn’t obvious is the journey. Rather than trying to make the love story the strongest point, Heinlein once again transplants the typical story to the moon to explore the enviornment.

We get a better view of how life is on the moon, but more important we see lunar
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
As a collection of shorts from Heinlein's early years, The Menace from Earth offers a wide range of stories touching on space science fiction, natural disasters, nuclear destruction, and more. What I especially enjoy about these stories is the fact that most are quite dark. Death, loss, and loneliness are common themes. Fans of deep space stories should love "Sky Lift," a short but interesting look at the possible consequences of long-term, high acceleration resulting from rapid space travel. Th ...more
Timothy Darling
Heinlein is a master of short fiction. This collection is a little off the beaten Heinlein fan path in that it is not completely a Future History sequence collection. A large portion of these stories stray very far indeed and in the process reveal an empathy that is far beyond the technical correctness of some of his harder science fiction, or as RAH preferred, speculative fiction. I confess to loving the title story as well as a couple others. The Year of the Jackpot is wonderful, though it end ...more
Occasionally, classic sci-fi has me scrambling to check original publication dates to justify blatant and horrifying racism. The appropriate date isn't an excuse, but it is a reason.

For future reference (in order to qualify as a decent human being), if you're rapidly escaping imminent death from some ridiculous sci-fi threat and you stop to save a white child, you can't not stop to save the non-white child. Insert racial slur here. To be fair, the protagonist eventually saves the non-white child
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
While I love Heinlein as a novelist, I find that his short stories are hit-or-miss. This collection leads off with my favorite Heinlein short of all, The Year of the Jackpot. It's exciting. It's original. And like all of Heinlein's best, it makes you think. The namesake story is excellent as well: how many teens have not felt the angst of a loved one taken under the spell of a witch? Except this teen's got class and character!

The other stories, unfortunately, are mediocre at best. While I recomm
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly depressing stuff, partly because this is around where the timeline reaches Scudder and the general decline of the US, even if most of the stories are apart from the main Future History. The brighter stuff stands out. The titular short would be great except that RAH can't write teenage girls at all. By His Bootstraps is another fine time-travel story. Project Nightmare maintains a really good tension. Columbus Was A Dope is short, direct, and good for a grin, if a bit too smug in its cleve ...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" (6 books)
  • The Man Who Sold the Moon
  • Requiem
  • The Green Hills of Earth
  • Methuselah's Children
  • Orphans of the Sky
  • The Past Through Tomorrow (Future History, #1-21)