July 7, 2012

Remembering Robert Heinlein

Robert Heinlein was born July 7th 1907 and passed on May 8th, 1988.
He was one of the most important science fiction authors of his day.  He is known for his nearly 60 short stores, over 30 novels, and his Hugo Award winning novel, Stranger in a Strange Land,
I first began reading his books in the ‘50s. His book, Have Space Suit -  Will Travel was something of a take-off of my favorite TV show of the time, “Have Gun – Will Travel.” Heinlein’s book was among the first science fiction novels I read as a child.  It expanded my education, gave me an appreciation for science, and expanded my imagination. (Maybe I, too, could go to the moon.)  In the ’60s I read Methuselah's Children and Stranger in a Strange Land. Amazing books and among the very few I have on my “reread” list.  In the Early ‘70’s he wrote “Time Enough for Love” which is arguably my all-time favorite science fiction novel. I still quote sayings from the main character in that book, Lazarus Long.  Sayings such as, “Everything in excess… Moderation is for monks,” “One man's theology is another man's belly laugh,” and “You can have peace -- Or you can have freedom -- Don't ever count on having both at once,” still provide a philosophical view of the world that can be life changing.  Lazarus appears in several of Heinlein’s books and I have seen a small book of nothing but Lazarus Long sayings. An amazing character who has a wisdom provided by Heinlein.
In the ‘80’s I met Otter G’Zell (now known as Oberon Zell-Ravenhart) and learned about the Church of All Worlds (CAW) and their fascinating tradition.  The CAW founders took ideas from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (social libertarianism water-sharing rituals, and many other concepts) and developed a wonderful religious path.  Some of the most wonderful, caring, loving people I’ve ever known have been CAW waterkin.  I’m proud to have been able to share water with so many of them. In many ways they have provided a template about how loving a church can be. I think of them often and know they will "Never Thirst."

Today, on the 105th anniversary of his birth, I remember Robert Heinlein and give thanks to him as an Ancestor.