For many decades I have remembered reading a science fiction story that I had thought was A Canticle for Leibowitz. Having just watched an Extra Credits video about that novel, I realized I have been incorrect, and I'll need to read it. In the first place, the story is barely like I remembered, and in the second, I think the story I remember is by Robert Heinlein. It turns out Canticle was by Walter M. Miller.

My memory of the story is vague. What I think I remember involves monks in a dystopian future. I'm pretty sure that the protagonist, a monk, at one point plants evidence about himself that he gambled or some such violation. He may have been guided by a mentor to do so. It would not be good for the corrupt leadership to think of you as a totally pure man. Having a known weakness would actually avoid undesired focus on you.

I skimmed through a list of Heinlein Story names, but nothing rung a bell. Does anyone know the story I am partially remembering?


Possibly Heinlein's If This Goes On—.

The hero isn't exactly a monk, but lives a rather monkish life as part of a military order who provide guards for the Prophet Incarnate, a religious dictator.

At one point,a more experienced and cynical character slips an incriminating note to the hero, but fears he may have let the eye (read CCTV) see it. He discreetly substitutes another note containing a scheme for winning at dice — also an offence, but far less serious than subversion. He advises the hero that if he thinks he is under suspicion, always try to make the evidence point to a lesser offence, rather than trying to prove lily-white innocence as "human nature being what it is" his chances are better. It is later revealed that the authorities did indeed spot the note, and he gets a fatherly warning from his CO about the perils of gambling.

  • 2
    Yes, that is it. Thank you. I should re-read this, perhaps all his "future history" stuff.
    – RichF
    Jun 12 '19 at 3:39
  • Yes. Looking at current US affairs, I sometimes wonder if parts of the Future History might be coming true - though President Trump is perhaps more akin to Bork Vanning in Methuselah's Children.
    – Mike Stone
    Jun 13 '19 at 5:36
  • 1
    Found in my library -- The Past Through Tomorrow by Robert A. Heinlein, Future History Stories Complete in One Volume, Berkely Medallion Edition, 1975, 830 pages, $1.95. The anthology includes 21 short short stories, novellas, and ends with the Methuselah's Children novel. I've got some reading to do! Carefully though; the pages are discolored and probably fragile.
    – RichF
    Jun 13 '19 at 5:54
  • Sounds like my old copy of Revolt In 2100.
    – Mike Stone
    Jun 13 '19 at 6:56
  • @MikeStone - It is. But it's been included in some omnibus books, too. Jun 13 '19 at 17:32

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