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Heinlein's Shorts

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message 1: by Jonathan (last edited Jun 12, 2016 11:13AM) (new)

Jonathan (jsharbour) The grand master was helpful to the early success of Astounding, edited by John W. Campbell. (If you're interested in this early period, see the two-volume biography by William H. Patterson Jr., the first of which is titled Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1: Learning Curve 1907-1948).

Since Heinlein was so prolific and the field was so new, his early ideas were also new at the time. Not to take away from his genius, but when a field is relatively new, anything done within it will be precedent-setting. Many of Heinlein's ideas were foundational and we take them for granted as clichés today, but they can be traced back to him. Many famous authors basically pilfered Heinlein for their success, like Card, Niven, Haldeman, Scalzi. There are a few who genuinely do original work, like Vinge, though that's a rare bird indeed.

Have you read any of his short story collections?

A recent collection contains several of his shorts, titled Expanded Universe. In this volume is Heinlein's first-ever story, Life-Line, published in 1939 in Astounding. I so enjoyed this story that I wrote my own version of it with a new ending.

Inspired by Life-Line with a modern setting, different characters, and a different ending. Emulation is flattery, right? I freely admit this is "my version" of his classic short and don't try to pass it off as solely my own. I've titled it The Light of Truth. You may download a free copy Kindle/PDF here: The Light of Truth. I would love to hear your opinions of the story! I thought the Galileo argument and the ending were "Heinlein-esque".

If you like hardcovers (they make great shelfies) then you might consider picking up these 6 volumes containing Heinlein novellas and shorts. I'll just list them without comment. It's terrific to have them reprinted in such quality HC volumes! This is about as good as it gets unless you have $1,500 to spare for the Virginia Edition set.

Off the Main Sequence: The Other Science Fiction Stories of Robert A. Heinlein

Infinite Possibilities

Outward Bound

To The Stars

The Past Through Tomorrow

Four Frontiers

Now, those volumes contain novellas, as I recall. If you just want short stories, the two volumes of Expanded Universe is what you want.

Also, take a look at Requiem: New Collected Works and Tributes to the Grand Master. This is my favorite HC collection! Contains comments by other authors on how Heinlein inspired them. Authors like Greg Bear, Jerry Pournelle, Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clarke. It's such an enjoyable read for a Heinlein fan. Must read!


message 2: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 7 comments Expanded Universe is an old favorite of mine. I still recall how startled (and charmed) I was when I read "Cliff and the Calories" - he did a wonderful job with the voice of Puddin'. I'd always hoped he'd written more stories, and had resigned myself to just one existing, when I came across Requiem and its two additional stories. Pure delight!


message 3: by Brent (new)

Brent Butler | 14 comments I've read everything Heinlein ever wrote that I could reasonably get my hands on. My favorite short by far is "By His Bootstraps".


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