Stephen Kahn

Posts Tagged ‘Heinlein’

Militaristic, free-loving, libertarian

In Books, Hard to tell on October 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Of the three great “transition to modern times” authors who moved science fiction beyond pioneers such as A. G. van Vogt, Robert Heinlein was the most characteristically American in his life and writing, embodying and promulgating many of the most powerful and persistent American memes of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He had a tremendous narrative gift, helping readers slide down stories and values that they might otherwise have found unpalatable.

Some of these memes involved the sexual revolution and a return to a kind of animist theology, most on vividly on display in Stranger in a Strange Land. Some of these memes involved militarism, vividly on display in Starship Troopers, where humans battle alien slugs (stand-ins for Nazis, and Communists). Beginning with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, he began to develop many of the themes and slogans now prevalent in libertarianism, such as the acronym TANSTAAFL! ( There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!)