I'm sure there are plenty of other fans of Robert A. Heinlein who've kept an eye out for reasonably solid editions to replace worn and disintegrating copies of his books. One mark of appreciation by the reading public is that most of his work has stayed in print since it began appearing in book form, or collected in book form, around 1950. But well-loved paperbacks tend to come apart, and even some of the older hardcovers were printed with unconscionably poor paper.
Collections often have rather generic titles, the bigger and newer collections often less descriptive than the earlier ones. The following simple list may serve as a guide for readers who want more complete or more substantial editions. These collections are bargains, and even more so if you are seeking some of the included novels.
All listed in the group below are big hardcover collections, most are also (or only) available from the Science Fiction Book Club, and a few are also in paperback with these contents. There is very little overlap among these.
Even if you have copies of many of the individual novels, the first three collections below, as unique volumes, should be in the library of every Heinlein fan:
The Past Through Tomorrow —
20 stories & 1 novel, 667 pages
the major Future History compilation,
science fiction's touchstone series of stories;
the culminating novel is
Off the Main Sequence
1 novella & 26 stories, 738 pages
science fiction, mostly non- Future History;
many fascinating stories, across an immense range.
The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein
3 novellas & 5 stories, 352 pages.
excellent mind-stretching, unsettling stuff.
A Heinlein Trio
3 novels, 502 pages
The Puppet Masters (abridged version)
The Door into Summer
(no overall title)
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
Time Enough for Love
3 novels, 605 pages
There are several recent omnibus collections of the wonderful "juvenile" novels, unfortunately without the fine Clifford Geary illustrations in most of the original Scribner editions, and with a notable increase in spell-checked typographical errors. They are grouped in order of publication:
4 novels, 709 pages
early and simpler juveniles, yet much better than Heinlein's imitators; Red Planet is a classic.
Rocket Ship Galileo
Farmer in the Sky
To the Stars
4 novels, 722 pages
three excellent; and one an interesting mixture.
The Rolling Stones
The Star Beast
3 novels, 568 pages
one good; one excellent; and a masterpiece.
Tunnel in the Sky
Time for the Stars
Citizen of the Galaxy
3 novels, 592 pages
one masterpiece; one still strongly controversial; and another quirky.
Have Space Suit — Will Travel
Podkayne of Mars
(this Podkayne has both Heinlein's original ending and the standard one.)
And if you want to follow Heinlein's thinking into other fascinating byways:
Expanded Universe: The New Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein
27 essays & stories, 582 pages
insightful fun with the Twentieth Century's great futurist.
Unless you are a specialist or collector — for instance, you want a foreword specific to an earlier edition — the fiction contents of the following books are re-collected in the list above; of course all worth reading:
- The Best of Robert Heinlein
- The Green Hills of Earth
- The Man Who Sold the Moon
- The Menace from Earth
- Revolt in 2100
- The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (also as 6 by H)
- Waldo and Magic, Inc.
- The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein.
A couple of other reprint collections have single items not in the list:
- A Robert Heinlein Omnibus
includes Beyond This Horizon.
- Three by Heinlein (also as A Heinlein Triad)
includes The Puppet Masters,
but it's the abridged version:
see Heinlein's Missed Bestsellers.