Samiksha Jaiswal

The Robert Heinlein Omnibus

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Author  Robert A. Heinlein
Genre  Speculative fiction
Copyright date  1966
Similar  Robert A Heinlein books, Speculative fiction books

The Robert Heinlein Omnibus is an anthology of science fiction published in 1958, containing a novel, a novella and a short story by American writer Robert A. Heinlein:

  • Beyond This Horizon (1942)
  • "The Man Who Sold The Moon" (1950)
  • "The Green Hills of Earth" (1947)
  • Overview

    These stories each hold a special element that underpins the perception of Heinlein as a truly great SF writer. At the time of original publications of these stories, SciFi was the lunatic fringe of authorship, laughed at, at best, scorned and derided at worst. Consider though, the themes. Genetic engineering was not "invented" by Heinlein, stories of "Ubermensch" had been around for decades, but it was brought to the heart of a society for the first time by Heinlein. Harriman may be a mixture of Vanderbilt, Carnegie and Morgan, but can still be identified as having a much grander vision along with someone like Elon Musk. Music has always been a part of human culture. From the most primitive to the most sophisticated cultures, music can bind and identify a culture or sub-culture. In the future, perhaps the most rarified sub-culture will be the men and women who ply our spaceways, and who's to say there will not be a Rhysling who will give all the people of Earth a new anthem? It is the fact that Heinlein identified these common threads in all human societies that marks him out as a master of his craft.

    What really makes Heinlein stand out from the rest of the authors at the time, was his willingness to examine the sacred cows of societies, and slaughter them occasionally. These three stories each, in their own way, do just that, and while they may be overly sentimental in ways, or overly callous on other ways, they do not get caught up in trying to justify any particular social, scientific, political or economic view. Instead, they treat the reader to Heinlein's rather eclectic view of how things could be, not how they should be. Given the rather individualistic, pragmatic Heinlein, these stories present similar western social backgrounds, the mixture of individual effort with social dynamics but without a socialist perspective, tied in with eastern mysticism in unexpected ways. Again, Heinlein wasn't the first to do this, but he did make us sit up and take notice.

    References

    The Robert Heinlein Omnibus Wikipedia


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