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Favorite Heinlein Short Story 
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Post Favorite Heinlein Short Story
There are already discussions of favorite and least favorite books, but for many of us the short stories were the first contact.
My favorite has changed over time. Coventry was dear to me as a child, perhaps because of the maturity of the child who taught by example what it is to be responsible, but perhaps because of Fader McGee -- an all-time favorite character. (I've always thought the shorts would be easier to make into movies, and this one seems do-able without lots of cutting or rewriting.)
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag came into my life at a time when I was completely rethinking what I had been taught of the nature of god and man and spirit and matter, and God as Artist in Training is one of my favorite aspects of the divine to this day -- thank you RAH!
But They contained the first text that accurately reflected what I had experienced in my one and only near death experience, so it was my favorite for many years.
There are so many stories to choose from, and so many themes, including some of the best time travel tales ever. I'm sure this was 'done to death' on the older forum, but does anyone else want to talk about what shorts they hold most dear, or which they least like, or which they think would make the best movies or animations? I'd love to hear.

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Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:02 pm
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
I like the neatly tied knot of "All You Zombies." It's kinda bleak, but it seems to me a perfect SF story.

I had the misfortune to read "By His Bootstraps" years after AYZ, and so I find BHB disappointing compared to the "remake" by a slicker, more mature Heinlein.

Bill Higgins

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Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:25 pm
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
freesharon wrote:
There are so many stories to choose from, and so many themes, including some of the best time travel tales ever. I'm sure this was 'done to death' on the older forum, but does anyone else want to talk about what shorts they hold most dear, or which they least like, or which they think would make the best movies or animations? I'd love to hear.


Actually, favorite short stories were not discussed on the old forum, so this is a fresh, interesting topic.

I was introduced to Mr. Heinlein by reading Black Pits of Luna in a children's science fiction anthology when I was about 9 years old, IIRC. The story, certainly not one of his best, impacted me deeply and led me to seek out other Heinlein stories.

There are so many fine stories to choose from, since Heinlein excelled at the form. If I had to choose one, I'd choose The Roads Must Roll. The premise of the story was, and is, highly unlikely, but the concept was just so original that it's always made me wonder just how such a system would work in practical terms. It wouldn't, of course, but it's a fascinating concept nonetheless.

Of the time travel stories, I'm still partial to By His Bootstraps. When I read this story as a child, I remember that the story's "twist" startled the hell out of me. Certainly All You Zombies is a much more sophisticated story, and it's rated very highly by critics, but it's just a little too creepily solipsistic for me. I do think Zombies would be a good story to adapt as a screenplay, being so Philip K. Dick-like.

Of the novelettes, I like Gulf and Universe. And, even though it's technically a novel, the wonderful Double Star is almost short enough to classed as a novelette.

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Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
I gotta go with The Man Who Sold the Moon meself. The Long Watch and Requiem are also favorites but with a bit more of a bittersweet end. (Side thread: In how many stories did Heinlein kill off his protagonist?)


Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:27 pm
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
I'll go with "— We Also Walk Dogs" : true science fiction, perfect plot, nice characters, a very rich universe neatly introduced in a few pages...


Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:51 am
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
I remember hearing or reading at some point in the past that "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" was a particular favorite of Heinlein's, or maybe Ginny's. Does anyone else recall hearing that?

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Last edited by JackKelly on Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:16 am
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
One place that was mentioned was in Spider Robinson's essay. SR tells about having a battered copy of the collection with that story in it and having RAH tell him it was his personal favorite.

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Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:57 am
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
James Gifford wrote:
One place that was mentioned was in Spider Robinson's essay. SR tells about having a battered copy of the collection with that story in it and having RAH tell him it was his personal favorite.


At first, I thought you meant "Rah, Rah, RAH!" but I found a reference to the correct essay, "Robert," here. I need to pull out my copy of Requiem and read that essay again.

Spider Robinson writes affectingly of talking with Heinlein at the 1976 Worldcon in Kansas City, telling Heinlein that "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" is his all-time favorite of Heinlein's stories:

"That," [Heinlein] says slowly, "is my own personal favorite — and no one's ever had a nice word to say for it until now."

Spider Robinson
"Robert"

included in:
Yoji Kondo (editor)
Requiem

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Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:29 am
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
Jack Kelly wrote:
At first, I thought you meant "Rah, Rah, RAH!" but I found a reference to the correct essay, "Robert"...

Expertise is often a matter of being vague. I couldn't for the life of me remember which essay it was. :mrgreen:

I have a relative with a reputation as a master gardener. More than once I've seen her look at some garden problem and sagely tell the owner, "Hmm. Try... Ortho."

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Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:50 am
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Post Re: Favorite Heinlein Short Story
I'll have to cast my vote(s) for "Jerry Was a Man"(sheesh tried to verify title but didn't find the volume in my quick search- help anyone?). Offered that many attributes constitute what a "man" is. Jerry qualified as such and hence he was not a chattel or piece of property but was owed the respect of being a sentient creature. I'm betting he ended up with a better pension plan then mine <G>- Seems Jerry was a better "man" than many in the coutrtroom.

Tied with the above is "The Green Hills of Earth" - enjoyed Rhysling the singing space bum- and yes his song sticks with me also "I pray for one last landing on the globe that gave me birth- let me rest my eyes on fleecy skies and the cool green hills of earth"- His death was especially noble due to his treatment by the captain when he initially tried to board the ship- saved all their bacon despite his blindness and the disdain of the Capt. !

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Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:28 pm
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