Tuesday, July 07, 2009
If he were still alive, he'd be 102. Robert Anson Heinlein was born on July 7th, 1907. It seems like he should be 102, doesn't it? It would be apt for Heinlein to live as long as Lazarus Long.
Heinlein was my first favorite writer. After moving up from things like Doc Savage books, I discovered Heinlein's books for young people, starting with Have Space Suit, Will Travel. I still adore that book with all my heart. I love them all, but my favorites are it and Farmer in the Sky, Starman Jones, Time for the Stars and Space Cadet.
As I matured I moved on to Heinlein's more mature books. Stranger in a Strange Land was heady stuff for my preteen sensibilities, but I loved it. Time Enough For Love was my favorite of the later books.
And then there were his early books like The Puppet Masters and The Door Into Summer. Both of these are so beautifully written.
The short stories! Who can forget such masterpieces as The Man Who Sold The Moon, Requiem, The Long Watch, "It's Great To Be Back!", Logic of Empire, Misfit and so many others?
I haven't kept up with modern science fiction, but I don't care how good the writers are. None will ever top RAH in my mind. His writing was so personal, so intimate. It felt like I knew him personally and that he was a mentor to me. More than a mentor, a father figure. I learned so much from Heinlein's work. Things that have helped me survive and to maintain what decency I have.
His books, his legacy, shall remain with me always. And I'm gratified that new generations continue to discover him and his work continues to instigate controversy.
By the way, Heinlein's books have had countless printings, but the cover images I've used here are the ones from the editions I originally read. Just seeing them makes me feel like a starstruck kid again. His powerful imagination, his wisdom, his wit and his vision will remain inspirational to me until the day I join him.