Robert A. Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of the genre.

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Who are 'The Four' in Space Cadet and why are they honoured?

In Heinlein's Space Cadet, there are four names added to every roll call, with others answering for them. Those names are Dahlquist, Martin, Rivera, and Wheeler. Dahlquist is the protagonist of The ...
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SF Story - Word emotional value

I know, this is too easy and the question might be too conversational. Still, it fascinates me, particularly since the concept was very insightful and prescient. I think it was Heinlein, in one of ...
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Heinlein's Influence on Avatar

There is a surprising similarity between the James Cameron's movie "Avatar" and Time for the Stars by Robert Heinlein. Both stories involve twin brothers, one of whom is crippled. Was Heinlein's ...
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181 views

Did Heinlein express an opinion on “non-traditional marriage” in real life?

Heinlein is known for sprinkling his books with less-traditional sexual dynamics shown positively (e.g. polyandry in "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress", general sexual freedom in "Stranger in a Strange ...
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802 views

How anticommunist was Robert Heinlein?

Robert Heinlein is often remembered as being far to the right of his fellow members of the Big Three, Asimov and Clarke. How accurate is it to portray Heinlein as an anticommunist?
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How do the roads in “The Roads Must Roll” work?

Robert Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" describes a future where roads are moving strips, with buildings and even towns permanently on the roads. I never understood quite how this worked. Aren't the ...
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What is the Significance of Mike “losing a finger”?

In Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, Jubal thinks he sees Mike cut off one of his fingers while cutting up an apple. He handed the glass to Anne, then took the fruit knife and sliced off a ...
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What's the book by Heinlein that contains all other books?

I remember a thread here in the SciFi Stack Exchange about the longest sci-fi series. Someone mention a standalone Heinlein book that seemed to somehow include all other books ever written in its ...
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Heinlein — long hair in 1958?

In Have Space Suit--Will Travel, by Robert Heinlein, the POV character Kip says, after spending some time immobilized in an alien hospital: There was a mirror ... It showed me with enough hair to ...
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326 views

What book did Philip K Dick dedicate to Heinlein?

There's a famous quote from Philip K Dick about Heinlein mentioned on the Philip K Dick Wikipedia page and on this question: One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn't raise it, ...
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Why couldn't she have told her minder about Clarke's note or simply called the police?

In Podkayne of Mars, we are informed that Venus is one of the safest places in the solar system as it is heavily policed. When Poddy finds that she is unable to reach Uncle Tom, the governor or his ...
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59 views

What happens to Girdie?

In Podkayne of Mars, Clarke leaves Poddy a cryptic note stating that he was going to rescue Girdie. Poddy is unable to reach Girdie and we find out later that she is not one of the kidnapped victims. ...
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Why were they kidnapped in the first place?

In Podkayne of Mars, we see Podkayne, her brother, and their uncle, Tom, kidnapped by a Mrs. Greer. What was the motive behind the kidnapping? Similarly, what was the idea behind smuggling a bomb onto ...
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121 views

How long was the boot training at Camp Currie?

Is there a good estimate based on the books of how long the Basic training at Camp Currie lasted?
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244 views

Are 2 boot camps for Mobile Infantry really enough to staff all of MI in the world of Starship Troopers?

All I can say to that is this: The next time I have to make a combat drop, I want the men on my flanks to be graduates of Camp Currie or its Siberian equivalent. Otherwise I’ll refuse to enter ...
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300 views

What is the size of Mobile Infantry in “Starship Troopers”?

Is there a way to estimate the amount of people in Mobile Infantry in "Starship Troopers"? I remember there was a discussion about the rank structure of MI, that indicated 10,800 men in an "ideal" MI ...
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236 views

Which of Heinlein's books involve anti-communist sentiment?

As I read Heinlein's books, I keep running into either an anti-communist agenda or casual jibes about communists. To illustrate, The Puppet Masters portrays slug-infested Americans as communists while ...
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How exactly are the slugs analogous to communists?

Heinlein's The Puppet Masters is generally regarded as a thinly veiled attack on communism. Its Wikipedia article reads: Heinlein's novel also repeatedly makes explicit the analogy between the ...
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Are the slugs a single entity? How are decisions made?

The slugs in Robert Heinlein's story The Puppet Masters appear to only be able to communicate via "conference". The delays in their strategy appears to suggest that it takes a while for information to ...
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What did the “Big Three” think of each other's work?

Do we know what the Big Three (Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein) thought of each other's writing? Did they have any favorite works of each other?
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151 views

What were the humans in the tanks used for?

When the Nivens visit the Titanian ship, they come across a tank full of humans who were alive. What were the slugs using them for?
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386 views

Who wrote about an energy free space elevator?

I seem to recall reading of a design by Robert Heinlein (but maybe Sheffield, Clarke or another scientific writer), where the energy cost of a space elevator was virtually nil, as descending loads ...
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340 views

How would one get onto a road in Heinlein's “The Roads Must Roll”?

I read Heinlein's The Roads Must Roll a few months ago. While I do remember that he provided a detailed explanation about how the system worked, I can't recall most of it. Specifically, how would one ...
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Did Heinlein invent the term “boot-chevrons” or did an actual military use it?

In Starship Troopers the recruits that are given leadership positions in boot camp are said to have boot chevrons. I've never seen the term used elsewhere until I read the Starship Trooper-esque A ...
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Was Mobile Infantry in Starship Troopers modeled on the Marines or the Army?

A comment on this question got me thinking - was Heinlein explicitly modeling Mobile Infantry on US Marines? Or More the Army? I'll accept either a word-of-god answer (e.g. sourced from Heinlein ...
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Does the number 31 hold special meaning in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers?

First, there's the 31 ways to get kicked out: About the only thing we noticed, if we noticed anything, was what we called "the thirty-one ways to crash land." ... The "crash landings" were a ...
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Was Verhoeven's Starship Troopers intended to be a satire on war or a parody of the book? Was it authorised to be such?

From WP's page on the film: Director Verhoeven says his satirical use of irony and hyperbole is "playing with fascism or fascist imagery to point out certain aspects of American society... of ...
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Did Heinlein intentionally hide Rico's ethnicity until the very end? Why?

Did Heinlein intentionally hide Rico's ethnicity in Starship Troopers until the very end? If so, why? Even his name is something of a slow reveal:
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What do we know about the Skinnies?

The Skinnies are allies of the Bugs in Heinlein's Starship Troopers. What do we know about them and their alliance with the Arachnids?
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Is there a generally accepted critical and/or feminist response to Heinlein's work?

I personally enjoy reading Heinlein, but the argument has been made to me that "All of his women are basically men." I have also heard it said that he basically tried to write forward-thinking ...
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237 views

Is there a summary/map somewhere of the geo-political breakdown of the world in Heinlein's Friday

I'm reading Robert Heinlein's Friday and having a little bit of trouble keeping all the geo-political breakdowns clear in my head, especially the North American ones. Is there a list or a map ...
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Does Lazarus Long have a beard?

I'm putting the finishing touches on a Lazarus Long Halloween costume, and I've run into a bit of a question. I have a vague recollection of one of Heinlein's books stating that Lazarus never grew a ...
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Did Heinlein advocate the apparently militaristic, if not fascist society of Starship Troopers?

In the classic 1959 Sci-Fi novel Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein lays out a view of the future where only the military is allowed full citizenship and suffrage. He presents democracy as ...
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Were there any “Starship Troopers” comics closer to the spirit of the book than the movie?

I know there there were several different publishers that put out "Starship Troopers" comics. Some of those comics seem to be full movie tie-ins (2 were actual "comicalization" of the movie). Since ...
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Classified project during WWII involving Asimov and Heinlein

During WWII, a group of science fiction writers, Robert Heinlein & Isaac Asimov prominent among them, were involved in a classified project for the US government. Isaac Asimov mentioned this ...
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875 views

Reasons for Mike's loss of personality at end of Moon is a Harsh Mistress

I re-read Moon is a Harsh Mistress over the weekend and remembered that I was always puzzled by Mike's behavior over the last pages. Prior to Prof's death, Mike was both a friend to Man and Wyoh as ...
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359 views

In 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' what are Garrison didos?

In numerous locations in Heinlein's Moon he refers to Garrison orbits or Garrison didos. Based on context I've always interpreted dido as DIrect De-Orbit but having searched for a better definition ...
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191 views

Was 'The Bad Place' inspired by All You Zombies?

In Robert A. Heinlein's “—All You Zombies—” involves time travel and some fairly weird paradoxes. One of which is the self-fertilization by an intersex individual, a concept shared by Dean Koontz's ...
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The fate of the crew of the Envoy in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

It's been a while since I have read Stranger in a Strange Land, but was the
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What is the complete list of all “Starship Troopers” comics?

Wiki states: Comics Dark Horse Comics, Mongoose Publishing and Markosia have held the license to produce comic books based on Starship Troopers. Over the years they have been written by writers ...
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Who was the “Starship Troopers” representative who appeared in “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls”?

From "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" Wiki article: During a meeting of the Council of the Time Scouts, representatives from every major time line and setting written by Heinlein appear, ...
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387 views

Is it ever specified why/how Mike (HOLMES IV) achieved self-awareness in “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress”?

In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, is it ever specified why/how Mike (HOLMES IV) achieved self-awareness? (Since Mike also figures in "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls", the answer may come from either ...
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What exactly are the proposed influences of “Starship Troopers” on “Ender's Game”?

From "Starship Troopers" Wiki: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is also thought by many to have been either a direct response to or influenced by Starship Troopers. Card has flatly denied this, ...
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Is there any reference/mention of Ayn Rand/objectivism in Heinlein's books?

Heinlein is considered a fairly "libertarian-leaning" author. Were there many mentions or references in his his works of either Ayn Rand, her works/heroes, or Objectivism (explicit mentions, not ...
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In the Starship Troopers movie, what remains of Robert A. Heinlein's original novel?

I enjoyed watching the movie Starship Troopers and the issues it "addresses" (to use the term lightly). However, Wikipedia says: The film diverged greatly in terms of the themes and plot of the ...
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608 views

Have any of Heinlein's (then) fictional inventions been developed into actual ones?

I'm not a smoker, but I thought that Heinlein's self-lighting cigarette idea is a darn good one. Are any of his fictional inventions actually being produced or researched in the real world?
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Were Gnostics/Gnosticism a recurring religion in Heinlein's work?

Jelly glanced over at Sergeant Migliaccio, first section leader. "Five minutes for the Padre," he stated. Some of the boys dropped out of ranks, went over and knelt in front of Migliaccio, ...
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432 views

In Starship Troopers, why was the Surgeon NOT making a drop?

... He stopped by the man in front of me, pressed the button on his belt that gave readings on his physicals. "Fall out!" "But, Sarge, it's just a cold. The Surgeon said -- " Jelly interrupted. " ...
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635 views

Where did Heinlein get the name Podkayne?

Does the name have an origin prior to Podkayne of Mars? A meaning?