H is for Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988), one of the greatest science fiction writers of the 20th Century. I read his juveniles in grade school, and very early published stories such as “By his Bootstraps” (under a pseudonym) in my father’s collection of back issues of Astounding Science Fiction. I have to say I prefer his early work, especially the Future History stories, and these are the sources for the quotations below. So here are the contexts for the quotes I have tweeted and placed on my facebook pages between April 3 and April 9, 2014.
“Glad did I live and gladly die.” Stevenson, quoted by Heinlein in “Requiem” (in The Past Through Tomorrow) written in 1940, long before the first man walked on the moon. The beginning of the story is better than any context I could give:
On a high hill in Samoa there is a grave. Inscribed on the marker are these words:
“Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die
And I lay me down with a will!
“This be the verse you grave for me:
‘Here he lies where he longed to be,
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.’”
These lines appear another place – scrawled on a shipping tag torn from a compressed-air container, and pinned to the ground with a knife.
And the ground is the ground of the moon.
“Americans are considered crazy anywhere in the world.” Robert A. Heinlein (1941), “—And He Built a Crooked House—” in 6xH. And the Americans say “it’s the Californians; the Californians say “it’s the Los Angelinos;” the Los Angelinos say “it’s Hollywood;” the residents of Hollywood say “it’s the canyonites.” And it all winds up with one architect who tries to build a four-dimensional house.
“Why should we be held down by the frozen concepts of our ancestors?” Robert A. Heinlein, “—And He Built a Crooked House—”The architect, Teal, voicing his ideas of architecture.
“You are a man; you should anticipate such things. Earthquakes!” Robert A. Heinlein, “—And He Built a Crooked House—” Mrs. Bailey, complaining of California after she has talked her husband (to whom she is speaking) into moving there.
“What chance has a thirty-year-old married man, used to important money, to change his racket?” Robert A. Heinlein, “Space Jockey, in The Past Through Tomorrow. The man in question is a spaceship pilot but the sentiment –published in 1947—sounds very timely today.
“Men—grown-up men, not mamas’ boys—had to break away from their mothers’ apron strings.” Robert A. Heinlein, “Space Jockey” in The Past Through Tomorrow. Phyllis, the wife of the spaceship pilot above, rethinking her objections to his career. Note that this story was written at a time when men, after WWII, were trying to push their wives back into housewifely roles.
“Headaches aren’t hard to Heal.” Sue Ann Bowling, Homecoming. Well, maybe not hard for Roi, who has the esper talent of Healing!