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Most significant Heinlein book

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message 1: by Brady (new)

Brady (Turambar047) | 1 comments This is such a tough question, especially considering that I've read so much of his work, but I'm going to say Starship Troopers. Not only does he turn a critical eye to political theory and the ethos of war, but he also single-handedly launched a whole genre of sci-fi combat. We're talking other books such as Forever War, Armor, and Old Man's War, all of the anime based on the Gundam stereotype, and multiple films from the original to a number of lesser known sequels and CGI movies. It's also ranked as the top Military Science Fiction book on at least one published list. I can't call you a true fan of the sci-fi combat sub-genre unless you've read the granddaddy of them all.


message 2: by Echo (new)

Echo (EchoGroks) | 6 comments My vote goes to Stranger in a Strange Land. It influenced the literary world, going as far as adding “grok” to the English dictionary. Stranger in a Strange Land also reached beyond the literary realm and gathered a notable cult following throughout the 60’s for its spiritual and social topics.
This book is a classic that has and will continue to help every generation to question the social structures they take for granted.



message 3: by Denise (new)

Denise Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love were the first two books of RAH that I ever read. I had made the stupid blanket statement to a guy I was dating that I hated Science Fiction. He brought me the above two books and I was hooked on Heinlein. I have read what I thought was everything (and own all the books that I have read of RAH) but recently found For Us, the Living A Comedy of Customs billed as Heinlein's first book. I am currently reading it. I am really getting bogged down in the rhetoric but I am getting the urge to re-read a bunch of his books.

Have either of you read "For Us, The Living"?



message 4: by Echo (new)

Echo (EchoGroks) | 6 comments I have not, though I will be looking for it at the library and used book store *now*. ;o) Is it a collection of short stories ? At what age did you discover RAH?


message 5: by Denise (new)

Denise Echo wrote: "I have not, though I will be looking for it at the library and used book store *now*. ;o) Is it a collection of short stories ? At what age did you discover RAH?"

No, For Us, the Living A Comedy of Customs is not a collection of short stories. Not to ruin the story for you but a guy gets into a wreck in 1938 (when RAH) wrote the book and wakes up in 2085. The character is helped by a woman and he has to learn all about what has happened in the world since 1938 and how to live in 2085. Basically it is a projection of what Heinlein thought the world would be like in 2085. He is quite a bit off on some things but of course we aren't up to 2085 yet so some of the stuff may still come to pass.

I was about 30 when I discovered RAH.

Sorry it took me so long to reply. I am house hunting in Phoenix and visiting with my girls, my grandkids, and my great grandbaby. I have been her for a couple weeks and won't be going home until Oct 13.


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael | 3 comments Mod
Heinlein was actually my first introduction into SF. My brother gave me Farmer in the Sky for my 10th birthday or something and I was hooked. RAH was the man who set my mind free to wander the stars.

For Us the Living was a little bit disappointing. I finally found it a few years ago while living in Japan, of all places. I finished it off in a couple of days and was left kind of wanting. It had an interesting premise and you can see the seed of a lot of the core beliefs that RAH espoused in his book but it felt unpolished.

How about, The unpleasant profession of Jonathan Hoag, as an obscure Heinlein story. Another short that I really enjoyed was his, We also walk dogs.


message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3 comments I just joined the group and want to say Hello! I would agree about Stranger in a Strange land, although I have not read many of the others so I am basing this on what I have so far.


message 8: by Michael (new)

Michael | 3 comments Mod
Well, I would definitely recommend that you keep on reading. Take a look at some of his older young adult fiction like 'Farmer in the Sky,' 'Starship troopers,' 'Have spacesuit, will travel.'


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3 comments I am reading The Cat Who Could Walk Through Walls now. I will get into the others after. Thanks for the tips.


message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael | 3 comments Mod
One really interesting thing you will notice the more you read his books is how Heinlein writes his characters into multiple stories and weaves together almost a complete universe. One of his books, The Number of the Beast, brings a lot of them together in a kind of buffet. Can't say it was his best book but it had its moments.


message 11: by Sun32146 (new)

Sun32146 parnell | 1 comments time enough for love. The concept of love, equality and how to see the world. His Utopian vision is wonderful but unfortunately unattainable. The ideas in this book run through a lot of other books. Only idiots know jealously or vengeance. If only it were that simply. Ok and I am biased cause I am a redhead and a cat lover.


message 12: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 1 comments It's hard to pick one that is most significant. One of my favorite things about Heinlein is that within the body of his work, there is likely something that will reach everyone. From his juvenile fiction primarily meant for boys (Red Planet) or girls (Podkayne from Mars) to his more well-known books (Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers), he stays true to his theories and beliefs about humanity and morality. It's tempting to say that For Us, The Living is the most significant, as it contains the roadmap for all of his other work. However, while parts of it are fascinating, it is also poorly developed and fairly contrived. So I guess that leaves Stranger in a Strange Land, as its mass appeal made it possible for Heinlein's theories to be disseminated to a large population. My husband argues in favor of Starship Troopers, but I think that ultimately it depends on whether you mean significant in terms of content or significant in terms of affect.


message 13: by Hodgesensei (last edited Apr 28, 2010 03:17PM) (new)

Hodgesensei | 1 comments Starship Troopers - the rest of it all is beating around the bush idealism. Starship Troopers provides a practical political format for society, where those who are willing die for their love of that society and civilization are given the ability to guide that society and civilization.

As we stand on the cusp of a new American society, where the non-taxpayers (47%) can vote to derive direct benefits from the burdens on the backs of the taxpayers (53%), Heinlein's message is especially lucid.


message 14: by Jenn (new)

Jenn | 1 comments Hands down Stranger in a Strange Land. It was my first RAH book and I stumbled across it in a library about 12 years ago. I now own both Stranger in a Strange Land and the Cat Who Walks Thruogh Walls (RAH's other book featuring Jubal Harshaw) and am highly impressed with Heinlein's ideas brought forth in both.
Since then, I have read numerous RAH books, too many for me to remember.
I loved Glory Road and the concept of how we are going to colonize planets in the future.
For Us, the Living was fascinating in the layout of his ideas for future books. Found it a little dry and lacking in the fleshing out of his characters.
Due to the reccomendations from this group I think I may read (re-read?) Time Enough For the Living.
Thanx guys!
Oh, anybody read, Job A...?


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim | 3 comments Just got a collection of stories called Requiem. Has some previously unavailable stories (one that was only printed in Boys' Life 50 some odd years ago). It has been a interesting read so far.


message 16: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) hope someone is around. Looking for an answer for a friend. I loved the Heinlein books I have read, my first and favorite was Stranger in a Strange Land. I liked Time Enough for Love and there was one other I liked a lot, something to do with a replica/clone John F. Kennedy and I believe it also involved changing history but it's been so long since I read it.

Anyway didn't he write one about traveling in space that had a cat? If I remember correctly, the cat seemed to appear and disappear a lot like the cheshire cat. If you know the title please let me know. Thanks


message 17: by Phaedrus (new)

Phaedrus (Phaed10) | 2 comments Karen B wrote: "hope someone is around. Looking for an answer for a friend. I loved the Heinlein books I have read, my first and favorite was Stranger in a Strange Land. I liked Time Enough for Love and there wa..."

Hi Karen,

The book about an actor doubling for the President was "Double Star". It wasn't John Kennedy, though.

The cat book was "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls".

Phaed


message 18: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) Did you read "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls"? I think I want to try it. My brother keeps wanting me to read something with the rolling stones.


message 19: by Phaedrus (new)

Phaedrus (Phaed10) | 2 comments Hi Karen,

Yes, "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" is good. It's part of the series that began with "Time Enough for Love". Each novel in the series stands alone, but ends up being connected to the others in some way.

"The Rolling Stones" is one of Heinlein's juveniles.

Have you read "The Door Into Summer"? I thought that one was very good for a pre-"Stranger" novel.

Phaed


message 20: by Karen B. (new)

Karen B. (raggedy11) No, I don't think I have. I will have to check the summary, because I was reading Heinlein about 35 years ago, and I don't remember a lot of the titles. I think I would enjoy it though.
For some reason my brother thought "The Rolling Stones" was very funny or something. I didn't realize "Time Enough For Love" was part of a series; guess I'll have to get caught up on my Heinlein.


message 21: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments Hello group! Just joined and have re-discovered RAH after decades. I read many of his juvenile books in HS, but Starship Troopers stands out. After I finish a book I am reading now I have earmarked Stranger in a Strange Land to read.


message 22: by Tim (new)

Tim Asbury | 2 comments Just found this group! The book that made a big impact on me was "Job:A Comedy Of Justice". His views on religion affected me in a profound way.


message 23: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments Tim wrote: "Just found this group! The book that made a big impact on me was "Job:A Comedy Of Justice". His views on religion affected me in a profound way."

Tim, welcome to the group, I'm new myself. I read that one and enjoyed it but it is so different from his other work I don't think it is representative. Still very good and could be his most significant, cannot argue there.


message 24: by Tim (new)

Tim Asbury | 2 comments Thanks Lyn. My others would be Stranger In A Strange Land and Time Enough For Love.


message 25: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments I am going to start Stranger in a Strange Land this week. TEFL is a Lazarus Long novel and so I want to read some of those too. Have recently rediscovered RAH and the whole genre after decades.


message 26: by Echo (new)

Echo (EchoGroks) | 6 comments Lyn wrote: "I am going to start Stranger in a Strange Land this week. TEFL is a Lazarus Long novel and so I want to read some of those too. Have recently rediscovered RAH and the whole genre after decades."

I keep returning to Stranger in a Strange Land, pretty much every decade. How many times have you read Stranger in a Strange Land? Do you have a favorite part?


message 27: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments That was the first time I had read it. I read a few RAH books in high school, 25 years ago, and have just started again. Really enjoyed SIASL, understand what all the fuss is about, bad and good, great novel. I liked when Smith "woke up" or evolved, or advanced and began learning to be a human.


message 28: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Hi all, can I have a bit of help please trying to locate a particular Heinlein novel for my nephew? He describes the story line as
"...one of Heinlein's books (I forget which one) uses the idea of mathematically-based teleportation to fuel the plot. Things go wrong when the ship's captain accidentally turns a plus into a minus and sends the ship wildly off course into uncharted space... "

Any ideas please?


message 29: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments Sounds like Starman Jones?


message 30: by Echo (new)

Echo (EchoGroks) | 6 comments Gumby-Maggie wrote: "Hi all, can I have a bit of help please trying to locate a particular Heinlein novel for my nephew? He describes the story line as
"...one of Heinlein's books (I forget which one) uses the idea of ..."


I would have to agree with Lyn; Starman Jones.


message 31: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Lyn wrote: "Sounds like Starman Jones?"

Thanks for your help Lyn and Echo. Will pass it on to my nephew.


message 32: by Timothy (last edited Nov 24, 2011 04:58AM) (new)

Timothy Darling | 5 comments I'm in a constant toss up between and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and The Door into Summer. Though I sympathize much with those who like Double Star (which, by the way, I have on good authority is being included in Library of America this time next year).


message 33: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments I still need to read Door into Summer.


message 34: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Darling | 5 comments I guess I didn't really approach the question right. I spoke of my favorites, but significant is different. Stranger in a Strange Land had a huge impact on society and The Past Through Tomorrow was very influential on the SF genre, since till that time the future history time-line was something of an innovation.


message 35: by Tom (new)

Tom Emerson | 4 comments No doubt, Starship Troopers!


message 36: by Tom (new)

Tom Emerson | 4 comments Phaedrus wrote: "Hi Karen,

Yes, "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" is good. It's part of the series that began with "Time Enough for Love". Each novel in the series stands alone, but ends up being connected to the ..."


... go back further in time, Methuselah's Children, I think this is the book that introduced our hero Lazarus Long.


message 37: by Clay (new)

Clay | 3 comments I would have to say Stranger in a Strange Land would be my pick. Followed closely by his later works such as Friday, Number of the Beast, Time Enough for Love, all of the Lazarus Long books, etcetera.


message 38: by Clay (new)

Clay | 3 comments You are correct, Tom. That is the first book where Lazarus Long appeared.


message 39: by Linda (new)

Linda Hanson (TexasMom) | 2 comments My favorite is The moon is a harsh mistress. I mean a computer with more humanity than a lot of people. The planning of a revolution love it. Not to mention alternate forms of marriage the use of rus
sian syntax.


message 40: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments Moon is a Harsh Mistress is my favorite. I am going to read Number of the Beast soon, anyone have thoughts on that book?


message 41: by Brent (last edited Jun 27, 2013 12:37AM) (new)

Brent Butler (BrentButler) | 3 comments In looking for the most significant Heinlein novel, I'd have to cast a vote in a direction that might surprise most people: "Farmham's Freehold".

FF was written during the tumultuous height of the Civil Rights movement, and it was a strong statement about the ignorance and sociopathy that leads to bigotry.

It wasn't an accident that novel appeared at that time, with that strong indictment against bigotry. It was a courageous move by both Heinlein and the publisher, because while many people incorrectly think of bigotry as a regional issue, it exists nationwide ... world-wide ... and always has.


message 42: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (Lyn37167) | 8 comments Brent, good pick, I liked FF and recognize RAH's courage and vision writing it


message 43: by Angus (new)

Angus (thermopylae) | 1 comments Orphans of the Sky is significant because it's a likely metaphor for the society we currently live in, where mutiny killed common sense and we're now on a crash course with a bunch of idiots in charge.

Heinlein has always been critical of the direction society was heading for, though he always beat around the bush. The political climate was particularly oppressive in the post war world and this continues today, forcing critical writers to use extensive metaphors or have their work rejected.


message 44: by Clyde (new)

Clyde (wishamc) | 9 comments I have to go with Starship Troopers as RAH's most significant book. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress would be a close second.


message 45: by Brian (new)

Brian Newman | 1 comments Believe it or not, I have to say, Farnham's Freehold. Now I do understand that all of you are going to go with Rico or Lazarus, but for me it was Farnham. I was about mid-teens when I picked this book up. I had no idea what it really was, it was just a book I could afford at that age. His discussion in it (sub-text) really explores a possible future and how fragile social rules really are. I also love his sarcasm. Rarely do you read a book where you really get a sense of who the author really is.


message 46: by John (new)

John Rasmussen (gemlover) Farnham's was a very good presentation of racism and Heinlein's hatred of it.


message 47: by Jonathan (last edited Sep 15, 2014 11:18AM) (new)

Jonathan S. Harbour (jsharbour) I re-discovered Heinlein this year. So many authors writing rubbish these days who I have slogged through, and I pick up anything from Heinlein and sigh with relief, as it's eminently readable--even his poorest effort tops most other authors in the genre, some from whom I can't bear to read another word.

Started off first with The Puppet Masters, then Starship Troopers, Friday, and currently Time Enough for Love. I have his entire body of work on my to-read list, catching up after decades spent on lesser authors.

Having not read enough to form an opinion on his best work, I can only say Starship Troopers was the most significant so far--having launched a genre and much copied over the years.


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