Born on this day in Missouri, Robert Anson Heinlein (1907–1988) sold his first short story, Life Line, in 1939 for $50. His first novel, Rocket Ship Galileo (1947) was a springboard for Destination Man (1950), the first science fiction film to realistically show a journey to outer space.
"My reputation rests almost solely on how I tell a story," he once explained. "My individual style. It is almost my entire stock in trade."
Heinlein wrote 54 books and won an unprecedented four Hugo Awards (Double Star, 1956, Starship Troopers , 1959, Stranger in a Strange Land, 1961, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966), which is decided by a popular vote of sci-fi fans for the best novel of the year. In 1975, he received the first Grand Master Nebula Award, given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for life-long contribution to the genre.
"Yield to temptation," he said. "It may not pass your way again."
In his milestone novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, Heinlein (1907–1988) created the word grok, the Martian verb to understand completely, and the character Valentine Michael Smith, an orphaned human raised by Martian. Heinlein's profound tale is one of the greatest ever published. (And one of my very favorites!)
"I've found out why people laugh," said Heinlein's character Valentine. "They laugh because it hurts... because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting."
Heinlein's brilliance inspired his writing genre and others. "We proceed down a path marked by his ideas," praised best-selling author Tom Clancy about Heinlein's influence.
Stephen King said that Heinlein "remains today as a sort of trademark for all that is finest in American imaginative fiction."
"Take big bites," advised Heinlein "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing."
Your heart knows more than any expert.