Robert A. Heinlein quotes
Robert A. Heinlein
Birthdate: 7. July 1907
Date of death: 8. May 1988
Other names: Robert Heinlein, Роберт Энсон Хайнлайн
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", his sometimes controversial works continue to have an influential effect on the genre, and on modern culture more generally.
Heinlein became one of the first American science fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s. He was one of the best-selling science fiction novelists for many decades, and he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the "Big Three" of English-language science fiction authors. Among his most notable works are Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, which helped create the space marine and mecha archetypes, and the libertarian novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
A writer also of numerous science fiction short stories, Heinlein was one of a group of writers who came to prominence under the editorship of John W. Campbell at his Astounding Science Fiction magazine; however, Heinlein denied that Campbell influenced his writing to any great degree.
Within the framework of his science fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices.
Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974. He won Hugo Awards for four of his novels; in addition, fifty years after publication, five of his works were awarded "Retro Hugos"—awards given retrospectively for works that were published before the Hugo Awards came into existence. In his fiction, Heinlein coined terms that have become part of the English language, including "grok", "waldo", and "speculative fiction", as well as popularizing existing terms like "TANSTAAFL", "pay it forward", and "space marine". He also anticipated mechanical computer aided design with "Drafting Dan" and described a modern version of a waterbed in his novel The Door into Summer, though he never patented or built one. In the first chapter of the novel Space Cadet he anticipated the cell-phone, 35 years before Motorola invented the technology. Several of Heinlein's works have been adapted for film and television.
Quotes Robert A. Heinlein
Part of the secret "call and response" codewords by which members of the long-lived Howard Families can identify others:
: Life is short.
But the years are long.
Not while the evil days come not.
Methuselah's Children (1958)
Source: Time Enough for Love (1973)
"Jubal Harshaw" in the first edition (1961); the later 1991 "Uncut" edition didn't have this line, because it was one Heinlein had added when he went through and trimmed the originally submitted manuscript on which the "Uncut" edition is based. Heinlein also later used a variant of this in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls where he has Xia quote Harshaw: "Dr. Harshaw says that 'the word "love" designates a subjective condition in which the welfare and happiness of another person are essential to one's own happiness.'"
Source: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961; 1991)
Source: Starship Troopers
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Source: Time Enough for Love
„I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.“
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
Time Enough for Love (1973)
Logic of Empire (p. 335); this is one of the earliest known variants of an idea which has become known as Hanlon's razor.
Short fiction, The Past Through Tomorrow (1967)
Source: The Green Hills of Earth
„There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.“
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
Source: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
„As for libertarian, I've been one all my life, a radical one. You might use the term "philosophical anarchist" or "autarchist" about me, but "libertarian" is easier to define and fits well enough.“
1975 Statement to Judith Merrill, who had called herself a democrat and a libertarian, stating that such terms described him as well, as quoted in Robert A. Heinlein : In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better | 1948-1988 (2014), p. 389
Context: I think that describes me, too — still a democrat not because I love the Common Peepul and not because I think democracy is so successful (look around you) but, because in a lifetime of thinking about it and learning all that I could, I haven't found any other political organization that worked as well.
As for libertarian, I've been one all my life, a radical one. You might use the term "philosophical anarchist" or "autarchist" about me, but "libertarian" is easier to define and fits well enough.
This I Believe (1952)
Context: I believe in — I am proud to belong to — the United States. Despite shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.
And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red, brown — in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability … and goodness …. of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth, that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth — but that we will always make it … survive … endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes, will endure — will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets, to the stars, and beyond, carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage — and his noble essential decency.
This I believe with all my heart.