The 100th anniversary of Robert Heinlein’s birth is July 7, and already there are several excellent pieces in print and on the web commemorating the great sci-fi writer. Brian Doherty’s article in the Aug/Sept. issue of Reason is well worth a look (it’ll be on-line eventually, but why wait? You won’t want to miss Peter Bagge’s pro-2nd amendment comic strip, either), and Steve Sailer has some thoughts about Heinlein on his blog here.
I still like John Derbyshire’s characterization of Heinlein from about a year ago: “Libertarianism, the warrior virtues, and enticing women—that’s Heinlein. What’s not to like? The man was a saint.” Of course, calling for higher taxes to fight the Cold War is one thing not to like, and that wasn’t the only questionable thing about Heinlein. But that’s water under the bridge now, and Brian Doherty’s piece in Reason deftly puts down the idea that the Heinlein of Starship Troopers was some kind of fascist.
I haven’t read very much Heinlein — I may actually have read more Arthur C. Clarke, even though I like him less — but the first non-picture-book I read as a boy was his Red Planet, which taught me what an “IOU” is and much else besides.