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ROBERT ANSON HEINLEIN

Robert Anson Heinlein was regarded "the most important science fiction writer since H.G. Wells." He mostly wrote "about man's relation to technology, society and the universe." Commentator Joseph Reedy observed, "Science fiction writers live in a different world. While the rest of us worry about bills, cars, television and other earthly matters, sci-fi creators are concerned with planets, space travel, time travel and other secrets of the universe." On reflection, "They have to be. To piece together books that are purely the product of imagination, totally concerned with space-age philosophies, these writers must immerse themselves in a pool of thought and emerge with their ideas intact, their reasoning steady." 

'I Will Fear No Evil' was published in 1970. Malcolm Foster summed up: "'I Will Fear No Evil' is set in the 21st century, in a United States divided into armed compounds for the fortunate and sprawling slums for the illiterate majority that are virtually 'free-fire' zones, where riots, murders, muggings, rapes and violence of all kinds are an accepted way of life, in a polluted world whose population continues to grow like a cancer despite laws controlling pregnancies. 

"Its central figure is the billionaire Johann Sebastien Bach Smith, a half-dead relic of the 20th century who, to escape a life kept going by the 'miracles' of medicine, opts for a brain transplant that he expects will fail and will kill him. But it doesn't. It works, and Smith finds his nonagenarian (a person aged between 90 and 99) brain is alive in a 28-year-old body. But the body is that of a young woman." 

Charles Brown believed Bob Heinlein who was born in 1907, "one of the most important writers of the 20th century. He defined what science fiction was between 1939 and 1941." His "science fiction explored the future while questioning the morals and beliefs of the present." Lester del Rey remarked, "Heinlein wrote about worlds that people believed in. He made them seem real and solid, real lived-in worlds." 

'Friday' was published in 1982, about Friday Jones, an artificial person, created in a laboratory using genes from selected people. Jack Lessenberry told readers, "If you miss this one, you're cheating yourself. Anyone who knows anything about science fiction knows that, probably more than any other writer, Robert Heinlein helped make science fiction what it is today (in 1982)." 

According to Christine Schillig, Bob Heinlein "was a 50-year influence on the genre. He was one of the original writers who created from vision what the future should be, what it might be." Isaac Asimov added, "Robert Heinlein has been writing science fiction now for 48 years (1940-88) and from the very start he was recognized as a grand master. In 1975 the Science Fiction Writers of America set up just such an award, and he was the first to get it. There was no argument, much like George Washington becoming the first President." 

Bob Heinlein's 1961 book, 'Stranger In A Strange Land' became a "hippie's bible". He also invented a new word "grok" (a Martian word for "understand") defined by the Webster's dictionary as "to understand thoroughly because of having empathy with." Jack made the point, "Heinlein has the foresight to show that race, prejudice, fanaticism, and other 20th century problems will still be around, in older or newer forms, in the world of the future." 

In the 'Friday' book, Jack noted, "Friday's America is fragmented into numerous states and city states of all political complexions and there are also 'corporate states' like IBM and MasterCard, which are more powerful than the geographic states. Some cities we think of as flourishing today (in 1982), including New York and Seattle, are extinct or destroyed in Friday's world. Detroit, on the other hand, is a leading manufacturing center for APs (artificial persons). Socially and economically, most of these states are a usual Heinleinian combination of welfare state and free-booting, laissez-faire capitalism; the more of the latter, the better, so far as libertarian but undogmatic Heinlein is concerned." 

"In his later years," James Vallela of the Pittsburgh Press recognized, "Robert Heinlein has shown a delightful sense of humor and an innate flakiness in his writing." 'The Number Of the Beast', published in 1980, was described as "a thinking man's science fiction, written for those who would prefer, even for a few hours, to be a part of another world."

As pointed out, "'The Number Of The Beast' or '666', is taken from a Biblical passage." In the book, Bob Heinlein "uses 666 as a mathematical equation – 6 to the 6th power to the 6th power. The huge number, in Heinlein's story, represents the number of parallel universes in existence." Jacob, Zeb, Deety and Hilda were shown "popping about among parallel universes. Jacob creates a machine that can span time and space by transcending dimensions and reaching the alternate universes. Heinlein has always had a fondness for books. In 'The Number Of The Beast', books are the story."  

Karl Marx had said, "All mythology masters and dominates and shapes the forces of nature, in and through the imagination, hence it disappears as soon as man gains mastery over the forces of nature."

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