- Books, Literature, and Writing
Robert Heinlein Books
My favorite books from this favorite author...
I was introduced to the works of Robert Heinlein by a friend when I was 17. In short order I was reading every one I could get my hands on. Some of them are older, and long out of print, so I has become a life-long habit to search libraries and used-book stores as I travel around, hoping to spot a prize.
Heinlein wrote dozens of books, so I am still discovering one that I haven't read, but on this page you'll find the ones that I read over and over. These are the favorites that I keep coming back to, and that I recommend most often to others.
Time Enough for Love
'Time Enough for Love' is the story of Lazarus Long, the oldest man alive. It is part of Heinlein's "future history" series. The book starts out set in the very real history of Kansas City in 1916, but when Heinlein runs out of "real" history for his characters, he starts inventing what *could* happen.
Lazarus is part of a breeding program, geared to producing humans that live a long time. Ira Howard, a wealthy man who died of "old age" at barely 40, earmarked his estate to be used for this, and the executors of his estate set it up like a stock-breeding experiment; encouraging people who lived a long time to marry other long-lived people, and hoped that their children live even longer as the gene was reinforced. After enough generations, they expected to have people that routinely lived for hundreds of years.
In the first years of the project, something unexpected happened. It produced a man you couldn't seem to die! 'Time Enough for Love' is the story of the 2356 years of Lazarus Long's life. The book is filled with wisdom, taken in part from Heinlein's own life and travels.
This is a long book, 589 pages in paperback, but every time I read it I'm sad at the last page page because I want it to keep going on!
"Time Enough for Love" for Kindle
This version of "Time Enough for Love" is for the KINDLE!!
The Star Beast
John Thomas Stuart XI has a pet; a huge extraterrestrial creature left to him by a (now-dead) space-faring relative. The creature, which is already the size of a small dragon, gets bigger whenever it eats metal, (and it thinks that used cars are a snack!) When the creature becomes a nuisance, the court orders it destroyed, and John Thomas runs away with it in an attempt to save its life.
Meanwhile, representatives of an advanced and powerful alien race appear on Earth, demanding the return of their "lost child". It takes the Earth diplomats a while to make the connection between the creature and the aliens, because she has been accidentally overfed all these years. She's only supposed to be the size of a dog! Also, she doesn't want to go home. She wants to stay on Earth and continue her favorite hobby, "raising John Thomases".
The part about "raising John Thomases" is my favorite bit. The idea that the creature was super-intelligent all along, and thought that John was *her* pet, while John was none-the-wiser just tickles me!
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
This is the story of how a Lunar penal colony established its independence. It introduces some of the characters that will later appear in books of Heinlein's "World as Myth" series. One of my favorites is the computer known as Mycroft Holmes ("Mike"). Mike as acquired so much information and so many extensions that he becomes sentient. Mike is the main computer for all the government, but he takes the side of the revolutionists!
I love computers with personalities, and I like to root for the underdogs, so I really enjoy this book. It is also peppered with Heinlein's political views, which are always interesting.
This is the book that first publicized the acronym TANSTAAFL ("There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"), a phrase which Heinlein's characters quote throughout his later books, and one which I still quote often.
More books by Heinlein
Read the ones you've missed!
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