Heinlein, R.A.

Robert Heinlein and Women

Robert Anson Heinlein, (1907-1988) is widely acclaimed as “The Dean of Science Fiction”. A title he richly deserved, after 48 years of high quality imaginative writing.

In more recent times Heinlein has been accused of being sexist or mysogynist but these claims are groundless. Both male and female characters are treated equally; as well rounded individuals with individual differences in character and capabilities.


As in real life, they have their faults too. This isn’t sexist! Indeed, several of his novels have strong female lead characters; there’s the eponymous Poddie Fries in Podkayne of Mars, Friday Jones in Friday and Maureen Johnson in To Sail Beyond The Sunset.

Characters and events in books do not necessarily reflect the author’s beliefs and own character, folks! Only if you believe that the only purpose of writing fiction is to impose your political views on others could you imagine that is the case.

Not a murderer

This is not the same as exploring ideas about characters and doesn’t mean that Heinlein does not expouse his ideas in his work; just that you can’t make a blanket assertion about all he or anyone else writes.

Portraying a criminal or murderer doesn’t mean that the writer believes in law breaking and killing anyone who gets in their way, or every crime writer in the world would need to go to jail)

Let’s take a look at these books:

Podkane of MarsThe January 1970 reprint of the March 1969 edition.


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He drew a deep breath. "Well I'm Back" he said*

Continuing personal events meant that I didn't post at all last Tuesday, but to make up for it today I've published my longest post so far, Robert Heinlein on Friday.

It will be just below this one unless you've come here via my archives, in which case please click here.

Normal service has been resumed.


* This is the very last line in a well known book first published in 1955. No, I'm not going to tell you which book. That would be a spoiler, and we can't have that. You'll just have to look out for it. : )


Robert Heinlein on Friday

Friday Heinlein cover

I bought my copy of Robert Heinlein’s book Friday in 1985, and I’ve read it at least once every year since then. Heinlein is one of my favourite authors. Let me show you why.

From the start of chapter 1:
“As I left the Kenya Beanstalk capsule he was right on my heels. He followed me through the door leading to Customs, Health, and Immigration. As the door contracted behind him I killed him”

“I have never liked riding the Beanstalk. My distaste was fullblown even before the disaster to the Quito Skyhook. A cable that goes up into the sky with nothing to hold it up smells too much of magic. But the only other way to reach Ell-five takes too long and costs too much; my orders and expense account did not cover it.

“So I had been edgy even before I left the shuttle from Ell-Five at Stationary Station to board the Beanstalk capsule… but, damn it, being edgy isn’t a reason to kill a man. I had intended only to put him out for a few hours.

(But) “the subconscious has its own logic…”

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