Prophets of Science Fiction: Robert Heinlein

On Wednesday, February 29, at 10:00 PM, the Science Channel will present its program, Prophets of Science Fiction, with my favorite science-fiction author, Robert Heinlein, as the subject of that evening’s program.  I will be in Florida, hopefully snoozing after a busy, busy day in the Epcot Center.  But for anyone who is interested in learning about the role Robert Heinlein played in the development of science-fiction writing, this will be the program to see.

Robert Heinlein wrote many science-fiction short stories, at the beginning of his career, for magazines such as Amazing Stories, a pulp sci-fi magazine of the forties and fifties.  He later switched to novels, of which he wrote 34, for which he received five Hugo award nominations, 4 more Hugo Awards, and the Nebula Award.  These placed him solidly in the pantheon of science-fiction super-authors.

 Other important authors who have been documented in this series include Philip K. Dick, (who wrote the story on which Total Recall was based;) Isaac Asimov, the very prolific author of many kinds of fiction and non-fiction, who had a special talent for science fiction, and wrote the Foundation series; and Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.  The series is narrated by Ridley Scott, director of such science-fiction classic movies as The Andromeda Strain, and Blade Runner, considered by many to be the best ever science-fiction movie of all time.  He does a great job of narrating the programs with a flair for the dramatic, which seems appropriate when discussing science-fiction authors.  The detail with which the life of each featured author is presented makes for a very interesting program.

Anyway, I’ll be gone, but if you want to know something about who I am, you would likely do well to watch this program.  And then, hopefully, I can see it in a rerun.

Of science-fiction and science-fact

I’ve been watching a lot of programs about the universe on TV.  This is a subject that has fascinated me since we got back from Turkey, and saw our first moon landing.  (Apollo 12, I think.)  I didn’t really have much interest in science-fiction then, but as the years went by, my imagination began to wander further and further away from our Solar System.

At first, I was a sci-fi lightweight — as an example, Robert Heinlein was one of the first science-fiction authors I read.  Very interesting, but far less technical than much of the genre.  And while he is still a favorite of mine, I moved on to Ender’s Game, and then The Foundation series.  That was about as far as I got before I reverted to Raymond E. Feist, (whose fantasies I also love,) and back to Heinlein to re-read, and re-read.  That is a bad habit of mine — I don’t read many new books; mostly I revisit books I’ve read before.  In fact, I’m the same with movies.  What does that mean?  Any ideas?

Before I got to writing about books I love, I meant to say how fascinated I am by science-fiction concepts which have become, or are becoming, science-fact.  One good example is the original Star Trek communicator.  Think about it — you flip it open, you can talk to almost anyone.  Sound like something we carry around in our pockets?  And now scientists are talking about transporters and warp drive as real possibilities.  How wacky and wonderful is that?

Really not too focused in this post, but I’m just so interested in the progress of humans as regards space.  Or lack of progress, maybe, although the ISS is an accomplishment.  We should never have stopped moon exploration, as far as I’m concerned.  And I’d like to see us go back while I’m still alive.  Or, who knows, maybe I’ll win the lottery and buy a ticket on Virgin Airline’s first private trip to the moon!