Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science-fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", his controversial works continue to have an influential effect on the genre. Heinlein became one of the first science-fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s. He was one of the best-selling science-fiction novelists for many decades, and he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the "Big Three" of science fiction authors. A notable writer of science-fiction short stories, Heinlein was one of a group of writers who came to prominence under the editorship of John W. Campbell, Jr. at his Astounding Science Fiction magazine—though Heinlein denied that Campbell influenced his writing to any great degree. Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974. He won Hugo Awards for four of his novels; in addition, fifty years after publication, five of his works were awarded "Retro Hugos"—awards given retrospectively for works that were published before the Hugo Awards came into existence. In his fiction, Heinlein coined terms that have become part of the English language, including "grok", "waldo", and "speculative fiction", as well as popularizing existing terms like "TANSTAAFL", "pay it forward", and "space marine". He also anticipated mechanical Computer Aided Design with "Drafting Dan" and described a modern version of a waterbed in his novel The Door into Summer, though he never patented or built one. In the first chapter of the novel Space Cadet he anticipated the cell-phone, 35 years before Motorola invented the technology. Several of Heinlein's works have been adapted for film and television.

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