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Robert A. Heinlein's Legacy
The Wall Street Journal ^ | July 26, 2007 | Taylor Dinerman

Posted on 07/26/2007 9:43:31 PM PDT by B-Chan

...As Arthur C. Clarke put it: "Almost every good scientist I know has read science fiction." And the greatest writer who produced them was Robert Anson Heinlein, born in Butler, Mo., 100 years ago this month.

The list of technologies, concepts and events that he anticipated in his fiction is long and varied...

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; US: Missouri
KEYWORDS: centenary; futurist; heinlein; sciencefiction; scifi; space
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Given the tragedy that occurred at Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo facility in Mojave today, this column is particularly meaningful. Ad Astra Per Ardua isn't just a pretty saying.
1 posted on 07/26/2007 9:43:34 PM PDT by B-Chan
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To: B-Chan

tanstaafl


2 posted on 07/26/2007 9:46:11 PM PDT by malamute
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To: B-Chan

We’ll get there, despite Islam...


3 posted on 07/26/2007 9:49:34 PM PDT by clilly54
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To: B-Chan
Heinlein is my favorite sc-fi author. I am working to complete my collection of all his books and short stories.

I had forgotten that this is his centennial year.

4 posted on 07/26/2007 9:51:54 PM PDT by Pablo64 (Ask me about my alpacas!)
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To: B-Chan
After Pearl Harbor, to his great disappointment, he was not called back into uniformed service. He ended the war at the Philadelphia Naval Aircraft Factory, working with fellow writers L. Sprague de Camp and Isaac Asimov.

I suspect those three threw around some mighty thought-provoking material in conversation.

In 1958, in response to what he saw as a liberal effort to weaken America's military.....

In '58? He's lucky he didn't live to see the mid-90s.

5 posted on 07/26/2007 9:52:37 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo (There are four types of homicide: felonious, accidental, justifiable, and praiseworthy)
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To: B-Chan
From the article:
...In 1958, in response to what he saw as a liberal effort to weaken America's military, he set aside the "Sex and God" book on which he had been working and wrote "Starship Troopers."

This was probably his most controversial book. In it he imagines a future society in which the right to vote must be earned by volunteering for service, including service in the military.

In response to claims that the book glorifies the military, he wrote: "It does indeed..."
R.I.P. RAH!
6 posted on 07/26/2007 9:55:29 PM PDT by RonDog
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To: B-Chan
Just curious if the comment I made regarding Starship Troopers on an earlier thread had anything to do with your finding this? We've had Heinlein's stuff sitting on the shelf since the 70s but I'd never gotten into it until I read a review in National Review on Starship Troopers (just in the past issue or two). Anyhow, I picked up the book since we already had it and started reading. Talk about prescient. The guy is incredible! He knew today's whiny liberal in 1959.
7 posted on 07/26/2007 9:56:05 PM PDT by Spyder
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To: RonDog
I would say that I have probably read Starship Troopers 10 or 12 times easily over the years. When my son is a little older I am going to require that he read it (we homeschool, so I can make it an assignment). Too many good lessons on honor and duty, etc., to let that one pass by.
8 posted on 07/26/2007 10:00:55 PM PDT by Pablo64 (Ask me about my alpacas!)
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To: B-Chan

He was an anti-communist. I had a collection of social commentary essays he wrote in the 50s. Good stuff, had a sense of humor too.


9 posted on 07/26/2007 10:02:58 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan (When toilet paper is a luxury, you have achieved communism.)
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To: B-Chan
One of my favorite quotes: "A government-supported artist is an incompetent whore!" Robert Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land

An apt description when it comes to government's funding of the NEA.

10 posted on 07/26/2007 10:11:41 PM PDT by Dave Olson
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To: Mr. Mojo

Starship Troopers made me join the Army and it was the best decision I ever made. Service for a significant chunk of time is GOOD for most youths. It makes them consider their politics, usefulness and possible influence on society while away from negative influences.

Service SHOULD equate Citizenship while liberals who won’t put their lives on the line should be excluded from major decisions.


11 posted on 07/26/2007 10:18:34 PM PDT by NewRomeTacitus
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To: B-Chan

“Door into Summer” bump!


12 posted on 07/26/2007 10:29:38 PM PDT by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken)
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To: B-Chan

Tunnel in the Sky - bump


13 posted on 07/26/2007 10:35:48 PM PDT by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken)
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To: B-Chan

Lazarus Long was one of the cooler characters in American fiction.


14 posted on 07/26/2007 10:42:03 PM PDT by joebuck
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To: higgmeister
The bulletin board outside lecture hall 1712-A of Patrick Henry High School showed a flashing red light. Rod Walker pushed his way into a knot of students and tried to see what the special notice had to say. He received an elbow in the stomach, accompanied by: “Hey! Quit shoving!”

“Sorry. Take it easy, Jimmy.” Rod locked the elbow in a bone breaker but put no pressure on, craned his neck to look over Jimmy Throxton’s head. “What’s on the board?”

“No class today.”

“Why not?”

A voice near the board answered him. “Because tomorrow it’s ‘Hail, Caesar, we who are about to die—’ ”

“So?” Rod felt his stomach tighten as it always did before an examination. Someone moved aside and he managed to read the notice:

PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL

Department of Social Studies

SPECIAL NOTICE to all students Course 410

(elective senior seminar) Advanced Survival,

instr. Dr. Matson, 1712-A MWF  1. There will be no class Friday the 14th.

 2. Twenty-Four Hour Notice is hereby given of final examination in Solo Survival. Students will present themselves for physical check at 0900 Saturday in the dispensary of Templeton Gate and will start passing through the gate at 1000, using three-minute intervals by lot.

 3. TEST CONDITIONS: (a) any planet, any climate, any terrain; (b) no rules, all weapons, any equipment; (c) teaming is permitted but teams will not be allowed to pass through the gate in company; (d) test duration is not less than forty-eight hours, not more than ten days.

 4. Dr. Matson will be available for advice and consultation until 1700 Friday.

 5. Test may be postponed only on recommendation of examining physician, but any student may withdraw from the course without administrative penalty up until 1000 Saturday.

 6. Good luck and long life to you all!

(s) B. P. Matson, Sc.D.

Approved:

j. r. roerich, for the Board

Rod Walker reread the notice slowly, while trying to quiet the quiver in his nerves. He checked off the test conditions—why, those were not “conditions” but a total lack of conditions, no limits of any sort! They could dump you through the gate and the next instant you might be facing a polar bear at forty below—or wrestling an octopus deep in warm salt water.

Or, he added, faced up to some three-headed horror on a planet you had never heard of.

He heard a soprano voice complaining, “ ‘Twenty-four hour notice!’ Why, it’s less than twenty hours now. That’s not fair.”

Another girl answered, “What’s the difference? I wish we were starting this minute. I won’t get a wink of sleep tonight.”

“If we are supposed to have twenty-four hours to get ready, then we ought to have them. Fair is fair.”

Another student, a tall, husky Zulu girl, chuckled softly. “Go on in. Tell the Deacon that.”

Rod backed out of the press, taking Jimmy Throxton with him. He felt that he knew what “Deacon” Matson would say . . . something about the irrelevancy of fairness to survival. He chewed over the bait in paragraph five; nobody would say boo if he dropped the course. After all, “Advanced Survival” was properly a college course; he would graduate without it.

But he knew down deep that if he lost his nerve now, he would never take the course later.
15 posted on 07/26/2007 10:43:35 PM PDT by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken)
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To: B-Chan

Decent article, though it glossed over the greatness of much of his work, not just the couple most famous ones. I grew up loving books like Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Tunnel in the Sky (read and re-read until it fell apart), The Door into Summer and one of my favorites (go ahead and snicker): Podkayne of Mars.

Nobody wrote them like Heinlein did. Even when the story was not his best (Time Enough for Love comes to mind), the writing kept you riveted.


16 posted on 07/26/2007 10:44:29 PM PDT by irv
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To: B-Chan
I like his Coventry for thugs you don’t kill!
17 posted on 07/26/2007 10:47:01 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: higgmeister

Tunnel in the Sky - Lord of the Flies for humans.


18 posted on 07/26/2007 10:48:50 PM PDT by irv
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To: irv
I'll be honest: I only like his juveniles. Space Cadet and Citizen Of The Galaxy are probably my favorites, but I like them all. The stuff he wrote during his "dirty old man" period (i.e. post-Starship Troopers) leaves me cold.

It would have been neat if my high school had possessed an armory like Patrick Henry High did in Tunnel In The Sky...

19 posted on 07/26/2007 10:53:17 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: B-Chan

Lazarus Long BUMP


20 posted on 07/26/2007 10:53:36 PM PDT by philman_36
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To: RonDog
In it he imagines a future society in which the right to vote must be earned by volunteering for service, including service in the military.

A little bit misleading. IIRC, you did not have to serve in the military. It could be any form of civil service.

21 posted on 07/26/2007 10:55:45 PM PDT by killjoy (Life sucks, wear a helmet.)
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To: irv
The short story of “the man too lazy to fail” in “Time Enough for Love” is my favorite !
22 posted on 07/26/2007 10:58:25 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: higgmeister

I read everything Heinlein wrote, and ‘Tunnel’ is at the top of my list, followed (in no particular order) by ‘Puppet Masters’, ‘Sixth Column’, ‘Door into Summer’, ‘Starship Troopers’, ‘Double Star’, ‘Time for the Stars’, ‘Starman Jones’, ‘Farnham’s Freehold.... Ahh, what the heck - - ALL of them!


23 posted on 07/26/2007 10:59:16 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: B-Chan
Quotes from the Notebooks of Lazarus LongWhen a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
24 posted on 07/26/2007 11:01:14 PM PDT by philman_36
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To: B-Chan

BUMP to read later when I awake from this buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!


25 posted on 07/26/2007 11:03:07 PM PDT by Bender2 (A 'Good Yankee' comes down to Texas, then goes back north. A 'Damn Yankee' stays... Damn it!)
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To: RonDog

I propose that non-veterans still get to vote, but that veterans votes count twice, since they have served. Any comments?


26 posted on 07/26/2007 11:05:19 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum)
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To: Pablo64

I’ve read it twice. Once as a kid, and then as an adult, although that’s been a while now. I didn’t require my son to read it, but I did recommend it to him and he did read it, as far as I could tell.

I’ve always claimed it is the basis for the “drop” sequence in ALIENS, and I think this is when I reread it, and why my son got interested in it. I found out that the first chapter was 90% of what I remembered of the book, and the rest is incredibly talky, although I did remember various scenes.

His most amazing prediction : Sinead O’Connor

“But, do you know, once you get used to it, it’s rather cute. I mean, if a girl looks all right to start with, she still looks all right with her head smooth.”


27 posted on 07/26/2007 11:06:24 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: RonDog
I really loved that book, though I didn't pick it up until after the movie came out. But when I did discover it I read it over and over and over. Starship Troopers, Enders Game, Captain Blood, and the Count of Monte Cristo have to be the most read of my whole book collection.

He has this chanty used for saluting guns at the start of one of the chapters. Which I would say to myself when I was doing parades and they had the gun salutes.

"He's bound to be guilty 'r he wouldn't be here!
Starboard gun . . . FIRE!
Shooting' too good for 'im, kick the louse out!
Port gun . . . FIRE!"
- Ancient chanty used to time saluting guns I personally enjoyed the chapter "The man who was too lazy to fail" in his book "Time Enough For Love"
28 posted on 07/26/2007 11:30:36 PM PDT by Little_shoe ("For Sailor MEN in Battle fair since fighting days of old have earned the right.to the blue and gold)
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To: RonDog
I really loved that book, though I didn't pick it up until after the movie came out. But when I did discover it I read it over and over and over. Starship Troopers, Enders Game, Captain Blood, and the Count of Monte Cristo have to be the most read of my whole book collection.

He has this chanty used for saluting guns at the start of one of the chapters.
"He's bound to be guilty 'r he wouldn't be here!
Starboard gun . . . FIRE!
Shooting' too good for 'im, kick the louse out!
Port gun . . . FIRE!"
- Ancient chanty used to time saluting guns

When I was at the Academy during the parades I would repeat that to myself during gun salutes. I personally enjoyed the chapter "The man who was too lazy to fail" in his book "Time Enough For Love". It allowed me to see what the academy was like when he was going there back in the 1930s.
29 posted on 07/26/2007 11:34:56 PM PDT by Little_shoe ("For Sailor MEN in Battle fair since fighting days of old have earned the right.to the blue and gold)
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To: B-Chan

I have your take on Heinlein.

In his dotage he didn’t self edit as he wrote. Avoid all the thick books. Just read the normal size or slim ones is my advice.


30 posted on 07/26/2007 11:41:38 PM PDT by patriciaruth (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1562436/posts)
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To: Little_shoe

The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail concerns a 20th-century U.S. Navy cadet who manages to move up the ranks while avoiding any semblance of real work by applying himself wholeheartedly to the principle of “constructive laziness”. The events and descriptions parallel Heinlein’s own Navy career. After the Naval Academy the protagonist becomes rich by taking advantage of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which paid farmers not to farm their land. Heinlein disdained government interference in business, especially in the form of handouts, and the level of taxation necessary to sustain such programs.


31 posted on 07/26/2007 11:42:25 PM PDT by Little_shoe ("For Sailor MEN in Battle fair since fighting days of old have earned the right.to the blue and gold)
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To: B-Chan

Starman Jones

Between Planets

"Seems so real you almost catch yourself thinking you may take the next bus down to the spaceport." The New York Times review of Between Planets.

32 posted on 07/26/2007 11:43:31 PM PDT by Daaave ("You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes.")
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To: higgmeister

Puppet Masters bump!


33 posted on 07/26/2007 11:43:41 PM PDT by patriciaruth (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1562436/posts)
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To: higgmeister

Glory Road bump!


34 posted on 07/26/2007 11:44:21 PM PDT by patriciaruth (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1562436/posts)
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To: higgmeister

Double Star bump!


35 posted on 07/26/2007 11:44:50 PM PDT by patriciaruth (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1562436/posts)
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To: higgmeister

Time for the Stars (half bump, as it doesn’t have a good ending, but the rest is a lot of fun)!


36 posted on 07/26/2007 11:45:36 PM PDT by patriciaruth (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1562436/posts)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Ever read In the Wet by Nevil Shute?

He proposed that some people could get extra votes for various achievements. Can’t remember if military service was one of them.


37 posted on 07/26/2007 11:47:34 PM PDT by patriciaruth (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1562436/posts)
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To: Lancey Howard

Freehold is chilling in today’s Islamic light.


38 posted on 07/26/2007 11:58:23 PM PDT by 50sDad (Angels on asteroids are abducting crop circles!)
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To: dr_lew

At one point I had a long mental list of Heinlein ideas that rather blatantly slipped into Rodenberry’s Star Trek. I haven’t read RAH in years, so the list is lost to me now except for one item.

It seems obvious to me that Heinlein’s Flatcats became Tribbles.

I know there were plenty more. Anyone have any to share?


39 posted on 07/27/2007 12:02:00 AM PDT by WireAndWood (I want the Barbie twins to make me a sandwich.)
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To: WireAndWood

His 1958 juvenile title, ‘Have Spacesuit Will Travel’ had a very good depiction of early home built computing, some 20 years before Appple II, C64 and Atari.


40 posted on 07/27/2007 12:20:59 AM PDT by Company Man
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To: B-Chan

I always thought RAH jumped the shark with STRANGER, but his “juveniles” shaped my political thinking, and will be strewn temptingly around our house when my children are of an age to read and get hooked on them!


41 posted on 07/27/2007 12:33:56 AM PDT by Hetty_Fauxvert (Kelo must GO!! ..... http://sonoma-moderate.blogspot.com/)
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To: WireAndWood
It seems obvious to me that Heinlein’s Flatcats became Tribbles.

Yes, and if you compare Heinlein's ROLLING STONES with the Star Trek TRIBBLES episode, you will see that it even contains "The bombastic Harcourt Fenton Mudd" in the form of an asteroid miner.

42 posted on 07/27/2007 12:35:12 AM PDT by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

I own every book he wrote, had the honor of a brief e-mail exchange with Virginia before she died (I had some questions about his archives at the college), and reread his books frequently. I see his influence everywhere.

The best thing anyone ever wrote about him, is along the lines of “He did’nt bother you with paragraphs of how stuff worked, it was just there. Another writer would describe an automatic door in glorious description, RAH would simply write “the door irised behind him.” It may have been Niven who said that, and it’s too true - while I’d kill to get a better idea of what his armored suits in Starship Trooper looked like in his mind, he only teased us with vague descriptions, mostly as they were used.

I agree his later stuff is talky, but there’s some incredible stuff - The Number Of The Beast, Friday, Tha Cat Who Could Walk Through Walls - I dare anyone to pick up Cat, read the first paragraph, and not be hooked on the story.

He did have some stinkers, like I Will Fear No Evil, but when you consider his output, he had nothing to be ashamed of.

And of course, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. I envy those who havent read it, because of the fun you’ll have the first time. The truths he wrote about in that book are so relevant now, and I’d love to start “delivering” some rocks to a few particular people and institutions.

RIP, RAH. I never knew you, but you’ll be remembered in another 100 years, and I’ll never forget you.


43 posted on 07/27/2007 12:58:36 AM PDT by ByDesign
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To: B-Chan

I’ve found Heinlein’s “juveniles” to be better than most of the “adult” SF being published now. I hated Stranger in a Strange Land, though.

His short stories were also marvelous reading—lots of great exploration of ideas, where the juvies were great explorations of character.


44 posted on 07/27/2007 2:47:43 AM PDT by Darkwolf377 (Pro-Life, Pro-Legal Immigration, Pro-Victory Bostonian atheist)
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To: B-Chan

Odd how his biggest defender is ultra-liberal Spider RObinson. I believe he reworked a Heinlein novel published this year, which includes an explicit anti-WOT paragraph.


45 posted on 07/27/2007 2:48:30 AM PDT by Darkwolf377 (Pro-Life, Pro-Legal Immigration, Pro-Victory Bostonian atheist)
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To: higgmeister

“Star Beast” bump!


46 posted on 07/27/2007 3:14:28 AM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: ByDesign

Thoughts for the ‘08 election:

“Any man who asks for greater authority
does not deserve to have it”
- Xavier Harkonnen


47 posted on 07/27/2007 4:02:29 AM PDT by Diogenesis (Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum)
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To: higgmeister

That’s a great story. I read it in 7th grade.


48 posted on 07/27/2007 4:25:29 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: B-Chan

Heinlein ping.....

He could stare outward and actually see the future.

Great mind.


49 posted on 07/27/2007 4:29:53 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Happiness is a down sleeping bag)
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To: Company Man

“Have Space Suit Will Travel” wow! just hearing that made me have goosebumps! That was the first science fiction book I ever read (4th grade), been hooked ever since. It was so good I was sad when the book was over. I didnt know there were books like that.

I have “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” sitting on my bookcase at work. I think one of my all time favorite books. Ive read it probably 10 times.


50 posted on 07/27/2007 5:21:14 AM PDT by Harry Pothead (One issue voter, who wil kill islamofacists?)
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