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Sample Autograph Signature: Robert Heinlein

Amercan author often called the Dean of Science Fiction. While Robert Anson Heinlein (1907 1988) remains one of the most popular authors of sci-fi, his influence and prestige rested on his commitments to scientific plausibility and lifting the literary quality of the genre. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929 with a degree in mechanical engineering, standing fifth in academics in his class. He served as a Navy officer until 1934 when he was discharged due to pulmonary tuberculosis. He then attended a few weeks of graduate classes in mathematics and physics at the University of California before leaving to work actively with Upton Sinclair's socialist "End Poverty In California" (EPIC) movement. In 1938, Heinlein ran unsuccessfully as the EPIC-endorsed candidate for a seat in the California State Assembly. Having failed at a second career, he commenced writing sci-fi in the fall of 1938. Life-Line, his first published story, was printed in the August 1939 issue of Astounding Science-Fiction magazine. After lackluster success with getting his stories accepted by Astounding, he "retired" from writing and tried to enlist for active duty after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. He was rejected for medical reasons, but gained employment as an aeronautical engineer during the war. The collapse of his second marriage after the war stalled his writing, but by 1947 he had arranged to write a series of novels for Scribner's juvenile division that would last through the 1950s. That same year, he became the first sci-fi writer to escape the "pulp ghetto" by getting four stories published in The Saturday Evening Post. In 1949, he was hired to do the technical direction on Destination Moon, a screenplay he had written in 1948. Considered to be the first modern sci-fi film, it was nominated for Academy Awards in four categories and won an Oscar for its Special Effects. After his third marriage in 1948, and through the 1950s, Heinlein turned profilic. During this period he also changed his political orientation to libertarianism. It was not, however, until 1961, with the publication of his best known work, Stranger in a Strange Land, that he began his most characteristic and mature period which included his 1966 The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and ended in 1973 with Time Enough for Love when poor health caused a 7-year hiatus in his writing. Most critics greeted the five novels he wrote between 1980 and his death at best apathetically. Heinlein wrote 34 novels, 59 short stories, 20 story collections, 4 films, 2 TV series, several episodes of a radio series, a screenplay, 3 non-fiction books, and edited an anthology of other writers' sci-fi stories. He won 4 Hugo Awards for his novels, 3 "Retro" Hugos (given retrospectively for years in which no Hugos had been awarded), and the first Grand Master Award given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for lifetime achievement.

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