What’s Your Favorite Heinlein Novel, David Hartwell?

Double Star by Robert A. HeinleinMy favorite Heinlein novel is Double Star (1956). It wins out over others in my life because it hit me as a teenager at just the right moment to be an object of contemplation for several years. And it plays off against another of my favorite novels, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr’s Mother Night (1961), published six years later (and about a man named Howard W. Campbell, Jr.). When I read the Vonnegut, I went back and re-read the Heinlein, and loved them both. They are both about “be careful who you pretend to be because that is who you turn out to be.” Both are examinations of people who act out roles that trap them, but the spin is opposite in the Vonnegut. In Heinlein, Smyth is triumphant, and in Vonnegut, Campbell is frighteningly trapped in his persona. Both books are in the tradition of Mark Twain, one the early Twain and the other the later. I like several other Heinlein books a lot, and perhaps most of all The Past Through Tomorrow, but Double Star helped contour my adult life.

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Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve (978-0-7653-1960-9 / $29.99) will be available from Tor Books on August 17th 2010.

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0 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Heinlein Novel, David Hartwell?

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  4. My favorite Heinlein book by far is “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”.
    Great, great book!

  5. My favorite Heinlein is a tie between “Time Enough for Love” and (I’m probably in the minority here) “Number of the Beast.”

  6. I really like “Number of the Beast” but my favorite Heinlein is “Tunnel in the Sky”. :)

  7. Personally, I think I will always have a soft spot for Starship Troopers, since it was the first of his books that I read… though so many dismiss it quickly based on the movie and somewhat dubious politics. Then again there is always Stranger in a Strange Land…

  8. I like his Methuselah’s children which with past through to tomorrow book and time enough for love complete the Robert Heinlein universe that most popular writers strive for.

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  11. Since I own ALL of Heinlein’s books, I find it very difficult to pick just one: Glory Road, Friday,Star-ship Troopers, Stranger, Job, Moon, Number of the Beast (without the messed up ending), Time Enough for Love, etc.

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