For Your Consideration: A review of works by Robert A. Heinlein, and their eligibility for 2016’s Retro Hugo Awards

by Dr. Marie Guthrie

  • “Let There Be Light” under the pen name Lyle Monroe, short story, c. 6000 words, published in Super Science Stories 1.2 (May 1940). This is a future history tale that was not anthologized in The Past Through Tomorrow, which contained all the other FH tales.
  • “The Roads Must Roll” novelette, c.14,270 words, in Astounding 25.4 (June 1940).
  • “Requiem” short story, c. 6200 words, in Astounding 24.5 (January 1940). My personal favorite from this list.
  • “If This Goes On-” novella, c. 32,380 words, in Astounding Science Fiction 24.6 25.1 (February, March 1940). (later revised c. 1953).
  • “Coventry” novella, c. 19,041 words, Astounding, 25.6 (July 1940).
  • “Blowups Happen” novelette, c. 17,468 words (-32 words under), in Astounding 26.1 (September 1940). Later revised.
  • “Magic, Inc.” (under the pen name Anson MacDonald, title aka: “The Devil Makes the Law”), novella, 35,356 words, in Unknown 4.1 (September 1940). (Beside this entry in his personal copy of Panshin, Heinlein wrote “100% fantasy”)
  • “Solution Unsatisfactory” (under pen name Anson MacDonald) *novelette c. 16,051 words, in Astounding Science Fiction 27.3 (May 1941). Probably not eligble.
  • “Successful Operation” (aka: “Heil!”) (using pen name Lyle Monroe) * “short-short” in Futuria Fantasia (April 1940), 4-7. This fanzine publication may not be eligible. The story was reprinted decades later in Expanded Universe.

So, RAH placed his work in these categories:

  • short stories: “Let There Be Light,” and “Requiem.” “Successful Operation” (aka “Heil”) may not be eligible since it was published in Bradbury’s fanzine.
  • novellettes: “The Roads Must Roll,” and “Blowups Happen”.
  • novella: “If This Goes On–,” “Coventry,” “Magic Inc.”

Publication data is from my dissertation Robert A. Heinlein: An Annotated Bibliography, University of KY, November 1993. My name then was Marie Guthrie Ormes. Much of the publication data from these early works was based on information contained in the Opus Card files organized and maintained by Virginia Heinlein, and used with her generous permission. I was not always able to verify volume and issue number with a hard copy, but the original publication dates should be accurate. Because writers were paid by the word, word counts are fairly accurate, although Virginia Heinlein created the card system after WWII. She would have based word count on signed contracts and other business files.

“Successful Operation” was published in Ray Bradbury’s fanzine Futuria Fantasia in April 1940, then, according to the Opus Cards, “slightly rewritten for Sam Moskowitz and sold to him.” I don’t know whether the Bradbury fanzine publication would make this ineligible for the Retro Hugo, nor do I have info about the Moskowitz publication. The tale was also republished decades later in Heinlein’s Expanded Universe. Will there be a fanzine or fan writing category for this year’s Retro Hugos?

This was only the second year that Heinlein was published, and already he was competing with himself (under a pseudonym) for popularity in the Astounding reader polls. It was, indeed, an Astounding year for him, for the magazine, for science fiction, and for the fans.

Note: all of these are purely my own personal opinions; I do not speak for The Heinlein Society. Neither I nor The Heinlein Society is advocating a slate of any sort. These posts are purely informational as to which Heinlein works are eligible for this year’s Retro Hugos. Other works by other authors are eligible as well, and voters should consider all eligible works.


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