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Heinlein, Robert

(US, 1907–88)

Heinlein was a graduate of the US Navy but had to retire, disabled, in 1934. He then read mathematics and physics at the University of California and began writing in 1939, becoming a pioneer of the ‘future history’ in science fiction. Heinlein's early novels tended to be rites of passage, typically depicting young men on some kind of frontier, undergoing ordeals which eventually produce adulthood and a poised narrative calm. In the futuristic Starship Troopers (1959) an army recruit is put through the toughest boot-camp known to man, before going into battle against a breed of giant cockroaches. When the book was adapted for the screen in 1997 by director Paul Verhoeven, its comparisons between Americanized gung-ho militarism and 1930s Nazi Youth caused a stir. But this was minor compared to the controversy surrounding Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) in which a Martian's perspective pokes a satirical finger at the materialism of human society—a tale said to have inspired the mass-murderer Charles Manson.

Arthur C. Clarke, John Wyndham, Brian Aldiss. See SCIENCE FICTION  RP

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ha-Ke)