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Expanded Universe [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert A. Heinlein
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1982
For the Millions of Heinlein Fans-a Guided Tour Through the Thoughts and Insights of "One of the Most Influential Writers in American Literature" (The New York Times Book Review).

The Wit and Wisdom of Robert A. Heinlein, author of multiple New York Times best sellers, on subjects ranging form Crime and Punishment to the Love life of the American Teenager; from Nuclear Power to the Pragmatics of Patriotism; from Prophecy to Destiny; from Geopolitic to Post-Holocaust America; fro the Nature of Courage to the Nature of Reality; it's all here and it's all great-straight from the mind of the finest science fiction writer of them all. But beware: after reading it, you too will occupy an Expanded Universe!
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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"One of the grand masters of science fiction." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert A. Heinlein was the greatest science fiction writer who ever lived. His novels have been translated into every literate language on the globe, with over 25 million Heinlein books in print in this country alone. His Hugo-winning novel Starship Troopers was the basis for the recent hit movie. In a career spanning half a century, he wrote over forty books, and four of his novels won Hugo Awards, an unequalled record. He has repeatedly topped polls of science fiction readers for "best writer" and "favorite writer." To three generations of readers, Heinlein is science fiction. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Almost turned me off to Heinlein Sept. 8 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been a Heinlein fan for just about as long as I've been an SF fan (somewhere around thirty-five years). But when I read this collection some twenty-odd years ago, it nearly turned me off to the old man altogether.
The fiction is pretty good (although even that isn't Heinlein's best). But to describe the nonfiction accurately, I'd have to use words that Amazon will remove from the review anyway.
For the most part, the pieces collected here represent a side of Heinlein I strongly dislike. Though I respect _Starship Troopers_, it's never going to be my favorite Heinlein novel no matter how many times we quibble over the precise definition of "fascism" -- and I'm not going to have much respect for the nonfiction in this collection.
Heinlein (who bought into the Korzybski/General Semantics fad pretty early on) spent a lot of years dismissing philosophers as tailchasers who derive their premises from their conclusions. But his own attempt at philosophy, as represented here in e.g. "The Pragmatics of Patriotism", is very nearly the worst writing on ethical philosophy I've ever seen.
Then, too, people who knew Heinlein report that despite his overall gentlemanly demeanor, he could be pretty churlish toward people who disagreed with him. Well, he's certainly unpleasant here; anybody who doesn't agree with him on the need for massive nuclear buildup is dismissed as a poltroon or a custard-head. Even in the unlikely event that I thought he were _right_, I wouldn't find this a very helpful approach.
Perhaps more surprisingly, his popular writings on _science_ aren't very good. Asimov's reputation as the "great explainer" is in no danger here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard-nosed, yet really stupid Feb. 11 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
And it's not a coincidence; the two often go together. Heinlein was a brilliant writer of speculative fiction, but in real life he was kind of a jingoistic butthead -- hard-nosed, and (on some subjects) really really stupid.
In this collection you'll find some good fiction, but in the nonfiction essays you'll also learn what a lousy "philosopher" Heinlein was. For example, he defines ethical behavior as "behavior that tends toward survival" on the grounds that no sane moral philosopher defines it as "behavior that tends toward extinction." False dichotomy, anyone? Has any reason been given why ethical behavior should affect species survival one way or the other at all, let alone why it should be _defined_ as doing so?
He wasn't exactly humane, either. Samuel Johnson, the man who wrote that "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," is described (apparently by way of dismissal) as a fat poltroon who was haunted all his life by a pathological (was Heinlein a psychiatrist?) fear of death. This doesn't exactly address Johnson's claim, but maybe it's enough for people who have sold their souls to the U.S. military. Anyway, even supposing Heinlein's claim were true, this isn't a very compassionate way to talk about people who are hounded by uncontrollable fears.
His essays on the Cold War and the former Soviet Union, including his rants about the need for a strong central government to keep building and threatening to use nuclear weapons, are just embarrassing today. Not content with objecting to the Soviet government (as any liberty-loving person would), he also pokes merciless fun at Russian culture and the Russian people (repeatedly referring to them as pigs and suggesting that the Russian language had to borrow words from English for anything more complicated than a turnip patch).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alternate Views of Heinlein March 13 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For those readers of Heinlein who have limited themselves to his Future History stories, his Lazarus Long saga, or perhaps his early Juveniles, Expanded Universe presents an interesting alternate view of Heinlein's writing including many stories not featured in other anthologies and a number of his nonfiction pieces as well.
"Solution Unsatisfactory" tells of an alternate ending to World War II where the US develops an intensely radioactive dust with selective half-life rather than the atomic bomb; its use on Germany and its parallel discovery by the Soviet Union bring the world into a Cold War many times worse than what the world truly experienced. In short, the balance of terror doctrine was and will always be a "solution unsatisfactory."
"PRAVDA Means TRUTH" is a short nonfiction piece on the dangers of a state-run media and its influence on the lives of citizens, based on true-life experiences Heinlein and his wife had while traveling to Russia at the same time Francis Gary Powers' U2 was brought down. Similarly, "Inside Intourist" tells of the Heinlein's experiences with the Soviet tourism agency (through which all travel had to be arranged). Contrary to some reviewers' comments, Heinlein never condescends upon the people of Russia and its former republics; he merely explains the dangers the people face from their oppressive government. He in fact often discusses how nicely the actual people of Russia treated him and his wife on their trip.
Many other stories and nonfiction pieces (some dated by their survivalist Cold War era themes) are included; another of interest is "No Bands Playing, No Flags Flying," which tells the slightly fictionalized tale of courage and TB treatments (which Heinlein himself underwent) in the pre-WW2 Navy.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Heinlein was an odd duck. When he was good, he was great. Hardly
anyone could touch him. But when he was bad, he was terrible. Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2003 by R. Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard-nosed, yet compassionate
When all is said and done, you can't help respecting Robert Heinlein. The man knew what he wanted to say, and by jiminy he went out there and said it... Read more
Published on June 2 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heinlein Devotee's Bible
If you are a hard-core devotee of Robert A. Heinlein's literature (not a casual fan, or someone who thought that Stranger In A Strange Land was "pretty cool") then your... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2001 by Bill R. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior collection of fiction and non-fiction
This is an superior collection of fiction and non-fiction. Two fiction and two non-fiction pieces deserve note. Read more
Published on May 8 2000 by Raymond D. Curry
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein's done it again
Yet another work of art from Heinlein himself. I've read some other novels by him (Starship Troopers, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, Red Planet) and this one is great! Read more
Published on June 10 1998 by Sth Park 0@aol.com
5.0 out of 5 stars R.A.H.-The best Sci-Fi writer of all time.
Expanded Universe is a dynamite collection of some of the best Science Fiction stories ever. Heinlein really opens your eyes to the dangers of the world's present situation. Read more
Published on March 16 1998
4.0 out of 5 stars unofficial subtitle, Heinlein ... for Dummies.
Have you ever wanted to go to Europe and just wander around? See what Europe really is? Have you ever gotten "accidentally" lost from the cheesy package tour of all the... Read more
Published on Sept. 22 1997
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