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Robert A. Heinlein was an author of ScienceFiction novels who lived from 1907 until 1988. He is ranked among the most influential authors of the ScienceFiction genre.

Heinlein spent his childhood in MissourI? in the early years of the 20th century. This was a time of great religious revival across America, especially socially marginalized areas...such as Missouri. It was an environment of narrow-mindedness and parochialism, where the rules of the tribe were assumed to be laws for all humanity. Heinlein managed to break free from the mores of his childhood, to slough off the values in which he had been raised, and to remake himself in the manner of his own choosing. This personal triumph became a recurring theme in his stories.

This theme is taken to its furthest in the related books '/TimeEnoughForLove?', '/TheNumberoftheBeast?', and '/ToSailBeyondtheSunset?'. We are left to wonder, what would humanity be in the absence of all customs? How would our humanity be expressed if we did not develop under the soul-squashing influence of culture? We would be individuals. We would have self-made souls.

Other recurring themes uniting Heinlein's works include individual dignity and the supreme value of personal liberty, the virtue of independence, science as a liberating factor, the perniciousness of bureaucrats, the hypocrisy of organized religion and the silliness of mysticism.



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Last edited January 31, 2001 7:20 am by TimShell (diff)