The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
by Robert A. Heinlein
  

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson

edited by David G. Hartwell
  

Tor: New York, 1999
352 pages

May 2010

  
Eight stories from two books

The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein is a superb collection: mind-stretching, unsettling stories of a wide range of types, although all have the distinctive Heinlein touch. In addition to their original magazine appearances, these stories all have been in book format in earlier Heinlein collections: two in Waldo & Magic, Inc. (1950), and the other six in The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (1959; sometimes titled 6 X H).

"Magic, Inc.", "Waldo", and "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" are novellas; the others are short stories. None are related to any other, although there are some thematic echoes.

This collection arranges the stories in chronological order of publication; the first six are from the 1940s, the other two from the 1950s:
  

"Magic, Inc." ("The Devil Makes the Law")
"— And He Built a Crooked House"
"They —"
"Waldo"
"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag"
"Our Fair City"
"The Man Who Traveled in Elephants"
"— All You Zombies —"
  

To my mind, and perhaps to most fans, "— And He Built a Crooked House" and "Waldo" both are science fiction rather than fantasy, albeit with some very strange effects. Editor John W. Campbell perhaps thought so too, as he printed them in Astounding Science Fiction rather than its fantasy companion magazine, Unknown. The classification isn't important, but the real (or surreal) possibilities definitely furnish food for thought.

The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein is a very diverse bag of classic stories, some already famous; don't miss them.

  

© 2010 Robert Wilfred Franson


  
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