It's well known that Dick and Heinlein were friends. On Dick's wikipedia article there is an extract from the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man in which Dick praises Heinlein for how he helped him during the tough times.

I've searched the internet for more info about their friendship and apart from the alleged present of a typewriter from Heinlein you don't find much.

This is history, as they say, and I'd like to learn more. Anyone can provide more details about the interaction of these two writers?

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    I'm one of the producers of independent film RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick. Writer/Director John Alan Simon is a PKD maven. There's ongoing discussions about Philip K. Dick on Radio Free Albemuth's facebook page. Try posting your query there. There's likely someone who can shed some light on PKD/Heinlein relationship.
    – user680
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 21:37
  • @Elizabeth Karr: Dying to get my hands on this film! I hope that you decide to take a more active role in our community. We can use the expertise, and it will help promote your film without the need to push it. Honestly, most of the Dickheads here have been following the film closely anyway.
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 11:16

5 Answers 5


I'd heard this story and quote elsewhere, and it turns out to have been quoted in Wikipedia:

In the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man, Dick wrote: "Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don't agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn't raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I'm a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love."

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    There is a longer version of the story in Requiem, in which PKD says he didn't even know how RAH learned that he was in financial trouble. The check just arrived in the mail out of the blue. Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 4:05

It may be hard to find public information on the private interaction of these authors. They were both dead long before the insta-media era and much like the apocryphal story about Heinlein and Hubbard having a bet to see who could first start a religion, these stories are very hard to separate fact from fiction.

However, you might ask some of the authors that knew one or both of them and see if you can at least get second hand stories.

Jerry Pournelle, for example, was good friends with Heinlein and might have some insights. You should be able to find a way to contact him via http://www.jerrypournelle.com/

He is an avid blogger and often appears on This Week in Tech.


There is a lot of information about this on Locus Online. See Surprising Sci-Fi Soul Brothers: Robert A. Heinlein and Philip K. Dick by Gary Westfahl. These are two of my favorite sci-fi authors.

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    I found that, but it's a literature piece with the author's personal views on their writings. I was more curious about their personal interaction.
    – Dr G
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 10:10

I just finished reading William Patterson's biography of Heinlein, and he mentions a few items about PKD and Heinlein from Heinlein's perspective. Heinlein knew of him as a writer, and PKD had even written Heinlein early fanboy letters.

For the typewriter incident, Heinlein apparently knew even less about PKD's dire financial straits than PDK thought. Heinlein just assumed that things might be a little tight, so he sent a nice letter with a check for staying afloat and a freakin' new typewriter because he considered PKD a skilled fellow artist and crafstman who should stay well and keep writing. In short, apparently because above all else Heinlein was a mensch.

It's interesting to read the Patterson bio on Heinlein and watch Heinlein gradually drift into politics I absolutely disagree with, while at the same time pushing completely laudable and charitable things like blood banks and pursuing the greatness of space travel with very agreeable zeal.

Humans are complex and beautiful.


I don't remember Dick being mentioned in the Patterson biography of Heinlein, and he's not listed in the index, so no help there -- but at least I've saved you the time of looking it up...

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    Remember Bill's bio vol 1 only goes to 1948, when PKD was 20 years old. Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 3:42

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