Picture a Saturday morning during one of those endless summers of the late 1950s and early ’60s. A boy climbs on his red Schwinn bicycle and rides like the wind to the public library, then to several drugstores and thrift shops. He is on a mission. He is looking desperately for a book, any book, by Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988), the greatest science-fiction writer in the world.
The greatest? Back then, few adolescent sf readers would have seriously questioned such a cosmic truth. Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation Trilogy” was certainly cool (Hari Seldon! Psychohistory!), and Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” could be poetic, scary and ghoulish almost at the same time, and, yes, Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination” just might be the single best sf novel of them all, but Heinlein was … Heinlein….
[William H.] Patterson even asserts – and will presumably discuss more fully in Vol. 2 – that Heinlein “galvanized not one, but four social movements of his century: science fiction and its stepchild, the policy think tank, the counterculture, the libertarian movement, and the commercial space movement.”
I hope you can join us on October 21, or watch it streamed on the web.