Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My mini Heinlein Library

Before Christmas I had to fly to the East Coast to visit family members. I hate flying, especially since 22 years ago I nearly fell out of a helicopter while on an aeriel tour of the proposed site of the Superconducting Super Collider (I'll tell you about it one day).

I took a battered copy of Heinlein's "Expanded Universe" with me as in-flight reading. I have a small portable library of three paperback books - which I can hold in one hand - which I consider my portable Heinlein collection. At home these books move between my night stand and "reading room" constantly. They are, of course, "Expanded Universe" - the edition whose cover is depicted with this post - Grumbles from the Grave, and the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Issue of the New Destines bookazine from 1988.

While flying to D.C. I had a chance to reread "Blowups Happen", and remind myself what a great writer Heinlein was so early on. I also read some stories I have never had a chance to before, "A Room of Her Own" and "Cliff and the Calories".

"Room" reminded me of my own dabbling in politics. While Heinlein never held elective office, the story leaves the clear impression he helped someone else get elected. In my case, I did win a seat on a public school board, and then helped a lady get elected the following year. Ironically, I only served one term, but she served three and served for years after I was gone.

"Cliff and the Calories" only reinforces my feeling that you'll live longer - if you're prone to worry about your weight - if you eat what you please and relax. Worry will kill you faster than obesity.

These three books are the basics if you want to know who Robert Heinlein was. Probably the greatest regret of my life is that - because I went from youthful reader to middle-aged author and skipped the fan stage (I attended my first con when I was 46) - I never met him. He died when I was 30.

Oh, BTW, no post yesterday, I took the day off. It was my birthday. I turned 52. My wife and I attended a performance of the Yale Whiffenpoofs at the local community college. We both enjoyed it immensely.

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