Alexei Panshin's The Abyss of Wonder



"You're Not as Smart as You Could Be" by David G. Wittels

Robert Heinlein cited the work of psychologist Samuel Renshaw, a student of thresholds of perception and memory, in three of his stories. This perhaps somewhat misleadingly titled article on Renshaw's work on improving reading speed, plane recognition, memory and the sense of taste -- the only popular account of his research that I'm familiar with -- was originally published in 1948.

Showdown at the Poetry Center

I met Robert Heinlein on just one occasion. Here are what the eyewitnesses say happened that night.

Heinlein's Influences and Background:

"Ham and Eggs and Heinlein" by Tom Perry

Back in the Thirties, Heinlein's politics were radical.  In this essay, Perry, a pioneer in investigating the marks left in the world by Heinlein, tells of his involvement in the End Poverty in California campaign of Upton Sinclair.

"Whence Came the Stranger" by Adam-Walks-Between-Worlds

Adam, the Official Bard to the Church of All Worlds, claimed that Stranger in a Strange Land  was heavily influenced by Aleister Crowley, who billed himself as "The Wickedest Man in the World."  It seems clear to me that Heinlein's actual occult knowledge, influences, and allegiances need more investigation.  For now, take this essay as suggestive but not definitive.

"Time-binding: The General Theory" by Alfred Korzybski

Count Alfred Korzybski, the author of Science and Sanity, had a significant influence on SF stories by Robert Heinlein and A.E. van Vogt -- who interpreted him in radically different ways.  This was the seminal lecture in which the bases of General Semantics were first set forth.

Critical Analysis of Heinlein's Writing:

Starship Troopers:  The PITFCS Debate

A two-year-long discussion among American and British SF professionals, including Brian Aldiss, Poul Anderson, James Blish, John Brunner, Philip Josť Farmer and Damon Knight, about Starship Troopers.

"Robert A. Heinlein's Second Future History" by Joseph T Major

Robert Heinlein set himself apart from the other writers of the Golden Age with his concept of a History of the Future.  Here Joseph Major shows that back in the Forties, Heinlein had in mind not just a single such future, but the idea of a multiplicity of possible futures.

"Heinlein's Predictions for the Year 2000" by Justin B Rye

In 1950, Heinlein made several predictions for the year 2000, which he later updated and evaluated in Expanded Universe.  Here is one man's assessment of Heinlein's record as a prophet.

Interactions with Heinlein:

"Heinlein Happens" by Earl Kemp

One-time prominent Chicago fan, Earl Kemp, a Hugo winner and World Science Fiction Convention chairman, loved Heinlein's fiction but did not love Heinlein.  This is his story.

"Oh, Them Crazy Monkeys!" by Alexei Panshin

After reading "The Story of Heinlein in Dimension," Earl Kemp asked me to write this essay about me and him and Heinlein.  So I did -- and along the way I suggested how Earl's own behavior contributed to the problems he had with Robert Heinlein.

"Heinlein and Me" by Sam Moskowitz

The author of the first professionally published profile of Robert Heinlein talks about his relationship with the man and compares it in passing to mine.

"Heinlein, Moskowitz and Me" by Alexei Panshin

In this reply to Moskowitz, I talk about Heinlein's resistance to being profiled and the strange situations to which this could lead.

Heinlein's Life:

The Robert Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana by J. Neil Schulman

For the most part, Heinlein didn't like to talk about the details of his personal life.  This was the one major exception -- the longest interview of his life, serialized in New Libertarian Notes.  And now the whole is available as a book.

Drawing by Boris Artzybasheff
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Background courtesy of Eos Development