Robert Heinlein

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1907 - 1988

Robert Heinlein was a famous and prolific science fiction writer, reknowned for his fast-paced writing and often left-of-centre views. He is one of the most influential, popular and controversial authors of sci-fi and is credited as the first sci-fi author to bring the genre into the mainstream. He often incorporated themes of individual responsibility, freedom of non-conformist thought, and religious influence into his stories.

Heinlein won 4 Hugo Awards for his novels (Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress) as well as 3 Retro Hugos (Farmer in the Sky, The Man Who Sold the Moon, Destination Moon) awarded for years in which the Hugo was not given. Two of Heinlein's works have also been made into major films (Puppet Masters, Starship Troopers).

During his lifetime, Heinlein was described as a fascist, humanist, militant, or free lovin' hippie, based on the various strong and sometimes contradictory themes in his books. He justifiably remains one of the most intriguing and influential sci-fi writers of all time.


"How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?"

"You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity."

"An armed society is a polite society."

"Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal."

"The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed."

"Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."

"I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."

"A generation which ignores history has no past — and no future."

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

"All men are created unequal."

"A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill."

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."

"Delusions are often functional."

"Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events."

"Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so."

"Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks."

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity."

"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh."

"Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated out of nothing, "blasphemy"is the most amazing — with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for second and third place."

"Sex should be friendly. Otherwise stick to mechanical toys; it's more sanitary."

"The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history. The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful."

"There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. But there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know. So why fret about it?"

"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once."