Saothar


Luathshaothar, 1939–1960

Níor foilsíodh an chéad úrscéal le Heinlein, ''For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs'' (críochnaithe sa bhliain 1939) riamh roimh bhás an scríbhneora, ach sa bhliain 2003, cuireadh an lámhscríbhinn i gcló. Níl mórán maithe ann mar úrscéal, ós rud é nach úrscéal atá ann ach léachtóireacht faoi theoiricí an scríbhneora i dtaobh na sochaí. Mar sin féin, is díol suime é agus an léargas a thugann sé ar an dóigh ar fhorbair smaointeachas radacach Heinlein i dtaobh an duine mar ainmhí sóisialta, go háirithe an seasamh a ghlac sé i bhfách leis an tsaoirse chraicinn. Is féidir fréamha go leor téamaí dá chuid a aithint sa leabhar seo.

Dealraíonn sé go raibh Heinlein ag iarraidh na hidéil seo a chomhlíonadh ina shaol féin, fiú sna tríochaidí, agus gur fhág seisean agus an dara bean chéile a bhí aige, Leslyn, cead mídhílseachta dá chéile i gcúrsaí craicinn a fhad is a bhí siad pósta. Nochtaí a bhí ann freisin, agus is minic a chardálann sé cúrsaí an nochtachais ina chuid saothair. Nuair a bhí an Cogadh Fuar i mbarr a olcais, thóg sé foscadh buamála faoina theach, cosúil leis an gceann ar ar thrácht sé ina úrscéal ''Farnham's Freehold''.

I ndiaidh ''For Us, The Living'', chrom sé ar na gearrscéalta agus na húrscéalta a scríobh a bhaineann leis an Stair Todhchaí a bhí leagtha amach aige, agus na hathruithe polaitiúla, cultúrtha agus teicneolaíocha ag teacht sna sálaí ag a chéile dá réir. Leis an mbailiúchán ''The Man Who Sold the Moon'', chuaigh tábla i gcló ina dtaispeántar amlíne na staire seo ón mbliain 1950 go dtí an bhliain 2600, agus imeachtaí na scéalta, chomh maith le laethanta breithe agus báis na bpríomhlaochra, suite san fhráma seo. Tá scéalta na staire todhchaí seo díolamtha sa dá himleabhar úd ''The Past Through Tomorrow'' agus ''Orphans of the Sky''. Ina dhiaidh sin, rinne scríbhneoirí eile ficsin eolaíochta, go háirithe ''Larry Niven'', aithris ar an gcoincheap seo, agus iad ag postaláidiú stair todhchaí ar leith mar fhráma dá gcuid scéalta.

Sa ghearrscéal úd ''Solution Unsatisfactory'', a tháinig ar pár sa bhliain 1940, chuir Heinlein na tairngreachtaí seo leanas os comhair an scríbhneora: Sa bhliain 1941, chuirfeadh na Stáit Aontaithe tús le tionscadal rúnda mórscála chun armálacha núicléacha a chruthú agus a dhéanamh inúsáidte roimh dheireadh na bliana 1944. (I scéal Heinlein, ní buama a bhí ann ach dusta radaighníomhach, ach b'iad na himpleachtaí céanna straitéise a bhí ag dul leis.) Bhainfí úsáid as an arm núicléach le cathair mhór a chur de dhroim an domhain i gceann de stáit na Fearsaide (b'í Beirlín a bhí i gceist sa scéal, seachas Hiroshima agus Nagasaki). Chuirfeadh an beart sin deireadh leis an Dara Cogadh Domhanda, ach san am céanna, thosódh sé iomaíocht na n-armálacha idir na Stáit Aontaithe agus an tAontas Sóivéadach ("an tAontas Eoráiseach", mar a thugtaí air sa scéal). - I ngearrscéal Heinlein, phléasc cogadh amach sa deireadh, agus bhuaigh na Stáit Aontaithe é, ach de thoradh na teagmhála sin, tháinig rialtas míleata i gceannas ar an tír, agus rinneadh deachtóireacht di.

Tháinig cuid mhór de na tairngreachtaí seo isteach fíor, ach thairis sin, bhí Heinlein in ann meon na hAoise Núicléiche a chur os comhair an léitheora sula raibh an aois féin ann i gceart: rás na n-armálacha, an buille díoltais agus an comhdhíothú réamhchinntithe. San am céanna, ní raibh na polaiteoirí ná na ginearáil ach ag tosú ag déanamh a marana ar impleachtaí an chineál seo armálacha don tsaol ar fad.

An chéad úrscéal a tháinig i gcló ó pheann Heinlein, mar atá, ''Rocket Ship Galileo'', fuair sé eiteach ar dtús, ó bhí na foilsitheoirí den bharúil go raibh sé dochreidte go dtuirlingeodh aon duine ar an nGealach choíche. Sa deireadh thiar, áfach, bhí an teach foilsitheoireachta Scribner sásta é a chur i gcló, agus ón am sin i leith, d'fhoilseoidís úrscéal don aos óg le Heinlein uair in aghaidh na bliana, le haghaidh mhargadh na Nollag. B'é Clifford Geary a mhaisigh ocht gcinn de na leabhair seo, agus an stíl speisialta a bhí aige, é ag tarraingt línte bána ar chúlra dubh, mar a bheadh sé ag líniú ar chlár dubh. Is féidir ''Have Space Suit - Will Travel'', ''Farmer in the Sky'', agus ''Starman Jones'' a lua mar shamplaí den chineál seo scríbhneoireachta.

Bhí an-drogall ar Heinlein mionsonraí a shaoil phríobháidigh a nochtadh don tsaol mhór, agus bhí sé go mór in achrann le Alexei Panshin, léirmheastóir agus údar a scríobh ceann de na leabhair is tábhachtaí faoi shaothar an scríbhneora, ''Heinlein in Dimension''. Bhí eagla ar Heinlein go mbeadh an iomarca eolais den chineál seo le fáil sa leabhar. Is é an meas a bhí ag na daoine air san am seo ná gur scríbhneoir don aos óg ab ea é thar aon rud eile, agus is dócha go bhfuair sé deacair an ról poiblí seo a chur in oiriúint leis an gcineál saol príobháideach a bhí aige. D'fhéadfá a rá go raibh siabhrán príobháideachta air, agus bhí tábhacht na príobháideachta ar cheann de na clocha ba mhó ar a phaidrín polaitiúil freisin.

Na húrscéalta a scríobh sé do na léitheoirí óga, is féidir a lán téamaí fásta a aithint orthu chomh maith leis na téamaí a bhaineann leis an óige. Bíonn gnáthfhadhbanna na ndéagóirí á bplé iontu, agus sin go rábach raidhsiúil. Ógánaigh an-éirimiúla, an-intleachtúla iad a chuid laochra, agus iad ag streachailt a mbealaigh trí shaol na ndaoine fásta ina dtimpeall. An té nach n-aithníonn ach an dromchla, síleann sé nach bhfuil iontu ach scéalta simplí eachtraíochta faoi éachtaí an laoich agus faoin dóigh a ndeileálann sé le múinteoirí amaideacha agus le comhaoistí éadmhara.

Agus an méid sin ráite, ní mór cuimhne a choinneáil air go raibh Heinlein barúlach go raibh na déagóirí i bhfad ní ba sofaisticiúla agus ní b'ábalta téamaí casta a thuiscint ná a shíl an chuid ba mhó de na daoine. Mar sin, bíonn aibíocht ag baint le cuid mhór de na scéalta seo a fhágann inléite ag na daoine fásta féin iad. Mar shampla, ina úrscéal ''Red Planet'', tugann sé cur síos ar mhic léinn óga atá páirteach i réabhlóid agus ag baint úsáid as airm thine. An dóigh ar thrácht Heinlein ar shaol gnéis an phríomhlaoich, níor thaitin sé leis an bhfoilsitheoir ach an oiread. Bhí Heinlein riamh meabhrach ar na srianta a chuir riachtanaisí na hóglitríochta lena chuid scéalta, agus cé go raibh sé in ainm is a bheith ag urramú do na srianta seo, ba mhinic a d'éirigh leis smaointí agus idéanna a smuigleáil isteach nach bhfeicfeá go minic ar fhicsean eolaíochta na linne má bhí sé dírithe ar léitheoirí óga.

Is iomaí léitheoir a shíleann inniu nach bhfuil Heinlein ach ag tál sean''chlichés'' ar an léitheoir. Le fírinne, ba mhinic a chéadcheap seisean an príomhsmaoineamh ar baineadh an oiread sin athúsáide as i scríbhinní na n-údar eile go dtí go raibh meas an ''chliché'' ag na léitheoirí air. Na harrachtaigh ón spás a shealbhaíonn coirp na ndaoine ar an scannán úd ''Invasion of the Body Snatchers'', is dócha nach rithfeadh a leithéidí riamh le lucht déanta an scannáin, murach gur thug Heinlein isteach an idé ina úrscéal ''The Puppet Masters''.

B'é an t-úrscéal deireanach a scríobh Heinlein don aos óg ná ''Starship Troopers''. Bhí sé go tréan in aghaidh chinneadh an Uachtaráin Eisenhower éirí as na tástálacha núicléacha, agus b'é an cinneadh sin a thug spreagadh dó an leabhar áirithe seo a scríobh. B'é príomhsmaoineamh polaitiúil an leabhair nár chóir coinscríobh a bheith ann, ach gur chóir an ceart vótála a theorannú dóibh siúd a mbeadh dhá bhliain seirbhíse náisiúnta curtha isteach acu go saorthoilteanach.


An Saothar Aibí, 1961–1973

Sna blianta ó 1961 (''Stranger in a Strange Land'') go dtí 1973 (''Time Enough for Love'') a scríobh sé na húrscéalta ab aibí leis. An saothar a bhaineann leis an tréimhse seo, déanann sé trácht agus taighde ar na téamaí is tábhachtaí ina chuid scríbhneoireachta, ar nós an indibhidiúlachais, an liobrachais, agus an ghrá, idir chraiceann agus mhothúcháin. Tá an luathshaothar ag breathnú an-shaonta i gcomparáid leis na leabhair aibí, agus is dócha go raibh an ceart aige nuair a shíl sé nach raibh léitheoirí ná foilsitheoirí na gcaogaidí ar aon leibhéal leis an gcuid ba radacaí de na hidéanna a bhí aige. Níor fhoilsigh sé ''Stranger in a Strange Land'' ach roinnt mhaith ama i ndiaidh dó é a chríochnú, agus bhí ceisteanna na saoirse collaí agus an indibhidiúlachais radacaigh á bplé go flúirsiúil sa chéad úrscéal nár tháinig i gcló lena lá, ''For Us, The Living''. Is iomaí léitheoir a deir gurbh é ''The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'' an t-urscéal ab fhearr a tháinig óna pheann riamh. Is é is ábhar don úrscéal seo ná an cogadh a chuireann muintir na gcoilíneachtaí ar an nGealach lena saoirse a bhaint amach ón Domhan.

Cé go raibh Heinlein i ndiaidh cupla gearrscéal fantaisíochta a chumadh cheana féin, ba sa tréimhse seo a scríobh sé an chéad úrscéal den chineál sin, is é sin, ''Glory Road''. Sna húrscéalta ''Stranger in a Strange Land'' agus ''I Will Fear No Evil'', arís, thosaigh sé ag meascadh téamaí eolaíochta agus fantaisíochta, misteachas, agus aoir ar an reiligiún. Creideann léirmheastóirí áirithe, ar nós William H. Patterson, Jr., agus Andrew Thornton, go raibh sean-naimhdeas fealsúnta an scríbhneora i leith an phosaitíbheachais ag teacht chun solais sna leabhair seo. Dúirt Heinlein féin gurbh é saothar James Branch Cabell a chuir an cor seo ina chinniúint liteartha. Maidir le ''I Will Fear No Evil'', an dara húrscéal is déanaí sa tréimhse seo, is é an breithiúnas a thug an léirmheastóir James Gifford ná gur teip liteartha ar fad a bhí ann, agus gurbh é an peireatóiníteas a bhí ag luí ar an scríbhneoir faoin am sin a chaill an leabhar.

An Saothar Deireanach, 1980–1987

Chaith Heinlein an peann i leataobh go ceann seacht mblian, agus an drochshláinte a bhí air. Nuair a fuair sé biseach, áfach, chrom sé ar an scríbhneoireacht arís. Sna blianta ó 1980 (''The Number of the Beast'') go dtí 1987 (''To Sail Beyond the Sunset''), scríobh sé cúig úrscéal nua. Feictear na pearsana céanna sna leabhair seo, agus baint ag na himeachtaí is na háiteanna le chéile. Cuirtear fealsúnacht agus tuairimí pearsanta an scríbhneora i leith rudaí ar nós an rialtais, cúrsaí craicinn, agus an reiligiúin os comhair an léitheora go hoscailte, go leadránach fiú, dar le cuid de na léirmheastóirí. Níor thabhaigh na leabhair seo duaiseanna do Heinlein riamh, agus is minic a deirtear gurb é an taom a bhuail é sa bhliain 1977 a chuir ó mhaith é mar scríbhneoir. Ón taobh eile de, tá siad ann a deir gurb iad na leabhair dheireanacha na cinn ab fhearr a scríobh sé riamh. Cé go raibh cuid de na léirmheastóirí ag cáineadh na leabhar seo, bhí an-ghal orthu ag na ceannaitheoirí, agus is dóigh le cuid de na léitheoirí nár thuig na léirmheastóirí go raibh Heinlein d'aonturas ag iarraidh scigaithris a dhéanamh ar an bhficsean eolaíochta agus ar an litríocht féin mar rud.

Cuid de na leabhair seo, cosúil le ''The Number of the Beast'' agus ''The Cat Who Walks Through Walls'', is scéalta eachtraíochta iad ar dtús, agus iad ag iompú ina bhfantaisíochtaí fealsúnachta ag druidim chun deireanais dóibh. Tá an dá bh'fhéidir ann, cé acu a theip a scileanna ceirde ar Heinléin nó a bhí sé d'aon ogham ag féachaint le srianta an fhicsin eolaíochta, mar ghné liteartha, a shíneadh amach le sórt réalachas draíochtúil a dhéanamh de, cosúil leis an dóigh a ndearna sé san úrscéal ''Stranger in a Strange Land''.

An claonadh chun féintagarthachta a thosaigh sna húrscéalta úd ''The Stranger in a Strange Land'' agus ''Time Enough for Love'', mhéadaigh air sna leabhair dheireanacha, ar nós ''The Cat Who Walks through Walls''. An fear atá ina phríomhlaoch agus a insíonn an scéal sa leabhar sin, is iarshaighdiúir é a chuaigh chun pinn i ndiaidh dó dul ar pinsean ar chúiseanna easláinte, agus é ag titim i ngrá le bean atá an-chosúil le Ginny, mar is dual do na mná láidire i scéalta Heinlein. Ní théann na húrscéalta seo in abar leis an bhféintagarthacht seo, ó tá an oiread sin féin-scigaithrise agus íoróine ag dul léi, agus an scríbhneoir ag magadh faoi féin. San am céanna, is dócha nach dtéann siad i bhfeidhm ar an dóigh ba chóir ar an léitheoir nach bhfuil eolach ar na húrscéalta a scríobh Heinlein roimhe sin. Is iomaí léitheoir fosta nach bhfuil sásta leis an gcineál tráthúlacht cainte a chleachtann sé, go háirithe i gcomhrá na laochra: cibé cérb as do na carachtair éagsúla, bíonn siad uile ag labhairt sa stíl chéanna agus ag tagairt do na himeachtaí céanna - is é sin, tá canúint an Lár-Iarthair acu ar fad, agus iad fáiscthe, mar phearsana, as na blianta i ndiaidh ghéarchéim eacnamaíochta na dtríochaidí. Bíonn léitheoirí áirithe cineál faoi dhraíocht ag an gcineál seo macántachta, agus léitheoirí eile den tuairim go bhfuil an easpa sofaisticiúlachta ag cur as dóibh.

Maidir le ''Job: A Comedy of Justice'', is aoir é ar an gCríostaíocht Shoiscéalach agus baint aige leis an ngearrscéal úd ''The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag'' a tháinig óna pheann sa bhliain 1942. Níl baint ag ''Job'' ná ag ''Friday'' leis an trí cinn eile de na húrscéalta "féintagartha". Tá ''Friday'' bunaithe ar dhomhan agus ar imeachtaí an scéil úd ''Gulf'' a scriobh sé sa bhliain 1953.

Na Foilseacháin Iarbháis

Foilsíodh ceithre leabhar le Heinlein i ndiaidh a bháis. Tráchtadh ar ''For Us, the Living'' cheana féin. Sa bhliain 1989, cuireadh bailiúchán de litreacha leis i gcló faoin teideal ''Grumbles from the Grave''. Trí bliana ina dhiaidh sin, foilsíodh ''Tramp Royale'', a thugann cur síos ar an turas timpeall an domhain a rinne seisean agus Ginny sna caogaidí. Thairis sin, chuir Yoji Kondo agus Ginny in eagar roinnt scéalta le Heinlein sa leabhar ''Requiem'' nach raibh foilsithe faoi chlúdach leabhair roimhe sin. Leabhar ceiliúrtha ab ea é ''Requiem'', mar a thugann an teideal le fios ("Éagnairc"), leabhar a foilsíodh in ómós do Heinlein, agus is iad cuimhní cinn a chuid cairde agus aistí na scríbhneoirí a d'admhaigh a thionchar an chuid lárnach sa leabhar.

Tá an leabhar ''Robert A. Heinlein's Variable Star'' le teacht amach i Mí Dheireadh Fómhair, 2006. Spider Robinson a chuir in eagar í. Scríbhneoir ficsin eolaíochta is ea é Robinson ar imir saothar Heinlein an-tionchar ar a chuid saothar.



Téamaí agus Tionchar


Polaitíocht

Is é an chuma atá ar an scéal ná go raibh scríbhneoireacht Heinlein ag luainiú ó cheann go ceann an speictrim pholaitiúil. An chéad úrscéal a scríobh sé, mar atá, ''For Us, The Living'', tá sé ag cur ar son chóras na Cairde Sóisialta, agus sa ghearrscéal luath úd ''Misfit'', bhí sé ag trácht ar eagraíocht a bhí cosúil le ''Civilian Conservation Corps'' Franklin Delano Roosevelt agus é aistrithe go dtí an spás. Thug na Grágánaigh sna seascaidí an-taithneamh do ''Stranger in a Strange Land'', agus is féidir an chiall frithchogaidh a bhaint as ''Glory Road''. Ón taobh eile de, is iomaí léirmheastóir a chuir míleatachas i leith ''Starship Troopers'', agus maidir le ''To Sail Beyond the Sunset'', scríobh Heinlein an ceann seo i mblianta an Riagánachais, agus blas na heite deise comhaimseartha ar an smaointeachas atá ann.

Tá claontachtaí áirithe i saothar Heinlein, áfach, a mhaireann gan athrú ó thús deiridh a chaithréime scríbhneoireachta. Is féidir, ach go háirithe, an liobrachas (lánsaoirseoireacht) a aithint ar gach rud dár tháinig óna pheann, ar ''The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'' ach go háirithe. Na húrscéalta a chum sé don aos óg, is ábhar iontais é chomh tréan a lochtaíonn siad gach sórt údaráis. Is féidir ''Rocket Ship Galileo'', an chéad úrscéal leis a chuaigh i gcló, a lua: grúpa de bhuachaillí óga atá ann a shealbhaíonn long roicéid i ndiúnas ar ordú cúirte. Tugann an gearrscéal úd ''Requiem'' cur síos ar eachtra den chineál chéanna, mar atá, turas go dtí an Ghealach beag beann ar ordú cúirte. San úrscéal úd ''The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress'', arís, tá muintir na Gealaí faoi bhráca Údarás na Gealaí, nach dtagraítear dó ach mar "Údarás" rud a thugann le tuiscint go bhfuil an leabhar ceaptha mar ionsaí pinn ar an údarás mar rud, seachas ar an údarás áirithe seo.

Bhí Heinlein in aghaidh chúngú an reiligiúin ar an rialtais. Chaith sé anuas ar an reiligiún mar rud sna leabhair ''Job: A Comedy of Justice'' agus ''Stranger in a Strange Land''. Maidir leis an stair fhicseanúil a scríobh sé faoi imeachtaí na todhchaí, bhí a leithéid de thréimhse ann agus an t''Interregnum''. Le linn na tréimhse sin, bhí na Stáit Aontaithe á rialú mar dheachtóireacht ag fanaiceach reiligiúnach ó na cúlriasca. Positive descriptions of the military (Between Planets, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Red Planet, Starship Troopers) tend to emphasize the individual actions of volunteers in the spirit of the Minutemen, while the draft and the military as an extension of government are portrayed with skepticism in Time Enough for Love, Glory Road, and Starship Troopers as being a poor substitute for the volunteers a free society should be defended by.
Despite Heinlein's work with the socialist EPIC and Social Credit movements in his early life, he was an ardent, lifelong anti-communist. In the political world of the 1930s (and other times), there was no perceived contradiction between being a socialist and being passionately anti-communist. Heinlein's nonfiction includes Who are the heirs of Patrick Henry? (an anti-communist polemic published as an advertisement) and articles such as Pravda Means Truth and Inside Intourist, in which he recounted his visit to the USSR and advised western readers on how to evade official supervision on such a trip.
Many of Heinlein's stories explicitly spell out a view of history which could be compared to Marx's: social structures are dictated by the materialistic environment. Heinlein would perhaps have been more comfortable with a comparison with Frederick Jackson Turner's frontier thesis. In Red Planet, Doctor MacRae links attempts at gun control to the increase in population density on Mars. (This discussion was edited out of the original version of the book at the insistence of the publisher.) In Farmer in the Sky, overpopulation of Earth has led to hunger, and emigration to Ganymede provides a "life insurance policy" for the species as a whole; Heinlein puts a lecture in the mouth of one of his characters toward the end of the book in which it is explained that the mathematical logic of Malthusianism can lead only to disaster for the home planet. A subplot in Time Enough for Love involves demands by farmers upon Lazarus Long's bank, which Heinlein portrays as the inevitable tendency of a pioneer society evolving into a more dense (and, by implication, more decadent and less free) society. This episode is an interesting example of Heinlein's tendency (in opposition to Marx) to view history as cyclical rather than progressive. Another good example of this is The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, in which a revolution deposes the Authority, but immediately thereafter, the new government falls prey to the inevitable tendency to legislate people's personal lives, despite the attempts of one of the characters, who describes himself as a "rational anarchist."
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Race

Heinlein grew up in the era of racial segregation in the United States and wrote some of his most influential fiction at the height of the U.S. civil rights movement. His early juveniles were very much ahead of their time both in their explicit rejection of racism and in their inclusion of non-white protagonists -- in the context of science fiction before the 1960s, the mere existence of dark-skinned characters was a remarkable novelty, with green occurring more often than brown. For example, his second juvenile, the 1948 Space Cadet, explicitly uses aliens as a metaphor for human racial minorities: "That's just race prejudice. A Venerian is easier to like than a man." "...that's not fair...Matt hasn't got any race prejudice...Take Lieutenant Peters--did it make any difference to us that he's as black as the ace of spades?" In this example, as in books written throughout his career, Heinlein challenges his readers' possible racial stereotypes by introducing a strong, sympathetic character, only to reveal much later that he is of African descent (a technique later used also by Ursula K. Le Guin). This also occurs in, e.g., The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and Tunnel in the Sky; in several cases, the covers of the books show characters as being light-skinned, when in fact the text states, or at least implies, that they are dark-skinned or of African descent.[21] The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Podkayne of Mars both contain incidents of racial prejudice or injustice against their protagonists.[22] Heinlein repeatedly denounced racism in his non-fiction works, including numerous examples in Expanded Universe.
Race was a central theme in some of Heinlein's fiction. The most prominent example is Farnham's Freehold, which casts a white family into a future in which white people are the slaves of Black rulers. In the 1941[23] novel Sixth Column (also known as The Day After Tomorrow), a resistance movement defends itself against an invasion by an Asian fascist state (the "Pan-Asians") using a "super-science" technology that allows ray weapons to be tuned to specific races. The idea for the story was pushed on Heinlein by editor John W. Campbell, and Heinlein wrote later that he had "had to reslant it to remove racist aspects of the original story line" and that he did not "consider it to be an artistic success."[24] Some readers may mistake Heinlein's dislike of communist China for a dislike of Asians,[25] or misinterpret negative depictions of overpopulation in Asia in Tunnel in the Sky and Farmer in the Sky as general criticism of Asian civilization. Good and bad people are to be found among all races in Heinlein's fiction. For example, in Sixth Column, a Japanese-American heroically sacrifices himself in the fight against the invaders.[26] In The Star Beast, a harried African bureaucrat is sympathetically portrayed as the behind-the-scenes master of the world government, while a white judge in the rural Rockies is parochial and prejudiced.[27]

Some of the alien species in Heinlein's fiction can be interpreted in terms of an allegorical representation of human ethnic groups, but this is often risky. Double Star, Red Planet, and Stranger in a Strange Land all deal with tolerance and understanding between humans and Martians. Several of his stories, such as Jerry Was a Man, The Star Beast, and Red Planet, involve the idea of nonhumans who are incorrectly judged as being less than human. Although it has been suggested that the strongly hierarchical and anti-individualistic "bugs" in Starship Troopers were meant to represent the Chinese or Japanese, Heinlein wrote the book in response to the unilateral ending of nuclear testing by the U.S., so it is more likely that they were intended to represent communism. Indeed, Heinlein suggests in the book that the bugs are a good example of communism being something that humans cannot adhere successfully to, since humans are of individual minds, whereas the bugs, being a collective, can all contribute to the whole without consideration of individual desire. The slugs in The Puppet Masters are likewise explicitly and repeatedly identified as metaphors for communism. A problem with interpreting aliens as stand-ins for races of homo sapiens is that Heinlein's aliens generally occupy an entirely different mental world than humans. For example, an alien race depicted in Methuselah's Children, the Jockaira, are sentient domesticated animals ruled by a second, godlike species. In his early juvenile fiction, the Martians and Venerians are usually depicted as ancient, wise races who seldom deign to interfere in human affairs.
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Individualism and self-determination
Many of Heinlein's novels are stories of revolts against political oppression, for example:
Residents of a lunar penal colony, aided by a self-aware computer, rebel against the Warden and Lunar Authority (and eventually Earth) in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
Colonists rebel against Earth in Between Planets and Red Planet, and in the back story to Podkayne of Mars.
Secularists overthrow a religious dictatorship in "If This Goes On—".
A group of soldiers take on the mantle of power after the governments of the world break down as part of the back story in Starship Troopers.
But in keeping with his belief in individualism, his more sophisticated work for adults often portrays both the oppressors and the oppressed with considerable ambiguity. In Farnham's Freehold, the protagonist's son accepts the security that comes with being castrated. In Glory Road, a monarch is depicted positively, and in The Star Beast, a publicity-shy bureaucrat is sympathetically portrayed as the behind-the-scenes decision-maker behind the planetary government. In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, prerevolutionary life under the Lunar Authority is portrayed as a kind of anarchist or libertarian utopia; projections of economic disaster are the true (and secret) justification for the revolution, which brings with it the evils of republican government. Novels such as Stranger in a Strange Land and Friday revolve around individual rebellions against oppression by society rather than by government.
Heinlein believed that individualism did not go hand-in-hand with ignorance. He believed that an appropriate level of adult competence was achieved through a wide-ranging education, whether this occurred in a classroom or not (as in Citizen of the Galaxy). In his juvenile novels, more than once a character looks with disdain at a student's choice of classwork, saying "Why didn't you study something useful?" In Time Enough For Love, Lazarus Long gives a long list of capabilities that anyone should have, concluding, "Specialization is for insects."
The common thread, then, is the struggle for self-determination of individuals, rather than of nations. The ability of the individual to create himself is explored deeply in stories such as I Will Fear No Evil, "—All You Zombies—", and By His Bootstraps. We are invited to wonder, what would humanity be if we shaped customs to benefit us, and not the other way around? In Heinlein's view, as outlined in For Us, The Living, humanity would not only be happier, but perceptually, behaviorally, and morally aligned with reality.
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Sexual liberation
For Heinlein, personal liberation included sexual liberation, and free love was a major subject of his writing starting from the 1939 For Us, The Living. Beyond This Horizon (1942) cleverly subverts traditional gender roles in a scene in which the protagonist demonstrates his archaic gunpowder gun for his friend and discusses how useful it would be in dueling — after which the discussion turns to the shade of his nail polish. "—All You Zombies—" (1959) is the story of a person who undergoes a sex change operation, goes back in time, has sex with herself, and gives birth to herself.
Sexual freedom and the elimination of sexual jealousy are a major theme of Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), in which the straitlaced nurse Jill acts as a dramatic foil for the less parochial characters Jubal Harshaw and Mike. Over the course of the story, Jill learns to embrace her innate tendency toward exhibitionism, and to be more accepting of other people's sexuality (e.g., Duke's fondness for pornography). As discussed in more detail in the book's article, two negative references to homosexuality have been interpreted by some readers as being homophobic, but both deal with Jill's hang-ups, and one is a discussion of Jill's thoughts. It is therefore unclear if they reflect Heinlein's point of view. In addition, homosexuality is ill-regarded, but accepted as necessary in an overwhelmingly male society, by the point of view character in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Homosexuality is treated with approval — even gusto — in books such as the 1970 I Will Fear No Evil, which posits the social recognition of six innate genders, consisting of all the combinations of male and female with straight, gay, and bisexual.
In later books, Heinlein dealt with incest and the sexual nature of children, topics that, Freud notwithstanding, touch a raw nerve with many readers. In Time Enough For Love, Lazarus Long uses genetic arguments to dissuade a brother and sister he's adopted from sexual experimentation with each other (and later arranges for them to be married), and consummates his strong sexual attraction to his own mother, whom he goes back in time to rescue. In some of Heinlein's books, To Sail Beyond the Sunset for instance, a young woman climbs into her father's lap or bed, but he kicks her out. Later in the same book, when the same woman is unable to dissuade two of her teenage children from having a sexual relationship, she washes her hands of them, sends them to their father (from whom she has separated), and never mentions them again. The protagonist of The Cat Who Walks Through Walls recalls a homosexual experience with a Boy Scouts leader, which he didn't find unpleasant. In Heinlein's treatment of the possibility of sex between adults and children, some readers may feel that he dodges many of the valid reasons for the taboo by portraying the sexual attractions or actual sex as taking place only between Nietzschean supermen, who are so enlightened that they can avoid all the ethical and emotional pitfalls.
Perhaps the greatest form of sexual liberation found in Heinlein's work, from first to last, was his treatment of females. Beginning with For Us, the Living and Life-Line, Heinlein's female characters of all ages were generally competent, intelligent, courageous, powerful and in control of their lives and situations to whatever extent the circumstances permitted. Those few of his female characters who were weak or helpless are held in contempt by other characters (including other females).
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Philosophy
In To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Heinlein has the main character, Maureen, state that the purpose of metaphysics is to ask questions: Why are we here? Where are we going after we die? (and so on), and that "you are not allowed to answer the questions". Asking the questions is the point for metaphysics, but answering them is not, because once you answer them, you cross the line into religion. Maureen does not state a reason for this; she simply remarks that such questions are "beautiful" but lack answers. The implication seems to be as follows: because (as Heinlein held) deductive reasoning is strictly tautological and because inductive reasoning is always subject to doubt, the only source of reliable "answers" to such questions is direct experience — which we do not have. Maureen's son/lover Lazarus Long makes a related remark in Time Enough For Love. In order for us to answer the "big questions" about the universe, Lazarus states at one point, it would be necessary to stand outside the universe.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Heinlein was deeply interested in Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics and attended a number of seminars on the subject. His views on epistemology seem to have flowed from that interest, and his fictional characters continue to express Korzybskian views to the very end of his writing career. Many of his stories, such as Gulf, "If This Goes On—", and Stranger in a Strange Land, depend strongly on the premise, extrapolated from the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, that by using a correctly designed language, one can liberate oneself mentally, or even become a superman. He was also strongly affected by the religious philosopher P. D. Ouspensky.[1] Freudianism and psychoanalysis were at the height of their influence during the peak of Heinlein's career, and stories such as Time for the Stars indulged in psychoanalysis. However, he was skeptical about Freudianism, especially after a struggle with an editor who insisted on reading Freudian sexual symbolism into his juvenile novels. He was strongly committed to cultural relativism, and the sociologist Margaret Mader in his novel Citizen of the Galaxy is clearly a reference to Margaret Mead. In the World War II era, cultural relativism was the only intellectual framework that offered a clearly reasoned alternative to racism, which Heinlein was ahead of his time in opposing. Many of these sociological and psychological theories have been criticized, debunked, or heavily modified in the last fifty years, and Heinlein's use of them may now appear credulous and dated to many readers. The critic Patterson says "Korzybski is now widely regarded as a crank,"[28] although others disagree.
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Influence
Heinlein is usually identified, along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, as one of the three masters of science fiction to arise in the so-called Golden age of science fiction, associated with John W. Campbell and his magazine Astounding. However, in the 1950s he was a leader in bringing science fiction out of the low-paying and less prestigious pulp ghetto. Most of his works, including short stories, have been continuously in print in many languages since their initial appearance and are still available as new paperbacks years after his death.

He was at the top of his form during, and himself helped to initiate, the trend toward social science fiction, which went along with a general maturing of the genre away from space opera to a more literary approach touching on such adult issues as politics and human sexuality. In reaction to this trend, hard science fiction began to be distinguished as a separate subgenre, but paradoxically Heinlein is also considered a seminal figure in hard science fiction, due to his extensive knowledge of engineering, and the careful scientific research demonstrated in his stories. Heinlein himself stated - with obvious pride - that in the days before pocket calculators, he once worked for several days on a mathematical equation describing an Earth-Mars rocket orbit, which was then subsumed in a single sentence of one of his short stories.
Heinlein influenced many other authors of genre fiction, including Stephen King,[29] Tom Clancy, and science-fiction writers John Ringo, Eric Flint, and David Weber.
Outside the science fiction community, several words coined or adopted by Heinlein have passed into common English usage: waldo, TANSTAAFL, and grok. He was influential in making space exploration seem to the public more like a practical possibility. His stories in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post took a matter-of-fact approach to their outer-space setting, rather than the "gee whiz" tone that had previously been common. The documentary-like film Destination Moon advocated a Space Race with the Soviet Union almost a decade before such an idea became commonplace, and was promoted by an unprecedented publicity campaign in print publications. Many of the astronauts and others working in the U.S. space program grew up on a diet of the Heinlein juveniles, as shown by the naming of a crater on Mars after him, and a tribute interspersed by the Apollo 15 astronauts into their radio conversations while on the moon.[30] Heinlein also was guest commentator for Walter Cronkite during Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 moon landing.