Robert A. Heinlein (Robert Anson Heinlein) Biography
(1907–88), (Robert Anson Heinlein), The Past through Tomorrow, Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers
American writer, born in Missouri, educated at the University of Missouri and at Annapolis. After naval service was brought to an end by illness, he began writing science fiction; within a few years of publishing his first story in 1939 he became widely known, and for fifty years his work dominated American science fiction. His many novels and stories generally featured a series of ‘Competent Men’; argumentative, tough, numerate, and bright, they explored and exploited the solar system, against the constraints of timid bureaucrats. The future history Heinlein created in the 1940s for these heroes are collected in The Past through Tomorrow (1967) which provided a model for this imaginative domestication of the future. His Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) was the first science fiction novel to become a bestseller. It has been suggested that the series of children's novels culminating in Starship Troopers (1959) represented Heinlein at his best, but his adult novels, such as Double Star (1956), The Door into Summer (1957), and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966), are similarly accomplished. Among the many critical studies on the author is H. B. Franklin's (1982).