Robert A. Heinlein, fully Robert Anson Heinlein, pen name for Anson MacDonald

Robert A.
Heinlein, fully Robert Anson Heinlein, pen name for Anson MacDonald
1907

American Novelist, Hugo Award-winning Science Fiction Writer, called the "dean of science fiction writers"

Author Quotes

Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate ? and quickly.

You're in bad shape when your emotions force you into acts which you know are foolish.

You don?t pay back, you pay forward.

You go into a man?s house, you accept his household rules ? that?s a universal law of civilized behavior.

You got the impression that he never needed to sleep - just ten-thousand-mile checkups and dust him off occasionally.

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.

You have to give an editor something to change, or he gets frustrated. After he pees in it himself, he likes the flavor much better, so he buys it.

You have to have been out on a long patrol to appreciate this properly. You need to have looked forward to your day of guard duty, for the privilege of standing two hours out of each six with your spine against bulkhead thirty and your ears cocked for just the sound of a female voice. I suppose it's actually easier in the all-stag ships... but I'll take the Rodger Young. It's good to know that the ultimate reason you are fighting actually exists and that they are not just a figment of the imagination.

You just said you couldn?t.

You live and learn. Or you don't live long.

You obviously don't know what an Old Man of the Sea great wealth is. It is not a fat purse and time to spend it. Its owner finds himself beset on every side, at every hour, wherever he goes, by persistent pleaders, like beggars in Bombay, each demanding that he invest or give away part of his wealth. He becomes suspicious of honest friendship--indeed honest friendship is rarely offered him; those who could have been his friends are too fastidious to be jostled by beggars, too proud to risk being mistaken for one.

You should. It's barely less important than your own heart-beat.

You were probably educated in the conventional economic theories of your period which were magnificent and most ingenious, but--if you will pardon my saying so--all wrong.

When it don?t rain, the roof don?t leak; when it rains, I can?t fix it nohow.

Winslow says I don't understand plotting and probably I don't - I have been congratulated many times on the skill shown in my plotting when I knew damn well that the story in question had not been plotted in advance at all. My notion of a story is an interesting situation in which a human being has to cope with a problem, does so, and thereby changes his personality, character, or evaluations in some measure because the coping has forced him to revise his thinking. How h copes with it I can't plot because that depends on his character, and I don't know his what his character is until i get acquainted with him. When I can hear the character talk then I'm all right - he works out his own salvation.

You are telling me that I did something because I was going to do something. Well, didn?t you? You were there. No, I didn?t?no? well, maybe I did, but it didn?t feel like it. Why should you expect it to? It was something totally new to your experience. But? but? Wilson took a deep breath and got control of himself. Then he reached back into his academic philosophical concepts and produced the notion he had been struggling to express. It denies all reasonable theories of causation. You would have me believe that causation can be completely circular. I went through because I came back from going through to persuade myself to go through. That?s silly. Well, didn?t you?

When one teaches, two learn.

Wisdom includes not getting angry unnecessarily. The Law ignores trifles and the wise man does, too.

You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting.

When railroading time comes you can railroad?but not before.

With just a touch more self-confidence and a liberal helping of ignorance I could have been a famous evangelist.

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.

What did I want? I wanted a Roc's egg. I wanted a harem loaded with lovely odalisques less than the dust beneath my chariot wheels, the rust that never stained my sword. I wanted raw red gold in nuggets the size of your fist, and feed that lousy claim jumper to the huskies! I wanted to get up feeling brisk and go out and break some lances, then pick a likely wench for my droit du seigneur - I wanted to stand up to the Baron and dare him to touch my wench! I wanted to hear the purple water chuckling against the skin of the Nancy Lee in the cool of the morning watch and not another sound, nor any movement save the slow tilting of the wings of the albatross that had been pacing us the last thousand miles. I wanted the hurtling moons of Barsoom. I wanted Storisende and Poictesme, and Holmes shaking me awake to tell me, The game's afoot! I wanted to float down the Mississippi on a raft and elude a mob in company with the Duke of Bilgewater and Lost Dauphin. I wanted Prester John, and Excalibur held by a moon-white arm out of a silent lake. I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and to eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be the way they had promised me it was going to be, instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is. I had had one chance - for ten minutes yesterday afternoon. Helen of Troy, whatever your true name may be - and I had known it and I had let it slip away. Maybe one chance is all you ever get.

When the need arises ? and it does ? you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don't farm it out ? that doesn't make it nicer, it makes it worse.

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.

Author Picture
First Name
Robert A.
Last Name
Heinlein, fully Robert Anson Heinlein, pen name for Anson MacDonald
Birth Date
1907
Bio

American Novelist, Hugo Award-winning Science Fiction Writer, called the "dean of science fiction writers"