For over a quarter of a century, Robert A. Heinlein has been the acknowledged master of modern science fiction. His first few stories turned the field upside down, and set new standards of narrative and scientific excellence that few other authors have matched and none has surpassed. It is no credit to the critical fraternity that no extended attention has hitherto been paid to Heinlein. Alexei Panshin now offers the first full-length study of Heinlein's work and his place in contemporary science fiction. Like Damon Knight, Mr. Panshin works on the assumption that the ordinary standards of literature apply with full force to science fiction; a vaulting imagination does not excuse bad writing or foolish plotting. In addition there are criteria of narrative technique and scientific Plausibility that are peculiar to science fiction. Rigorously applying these standards, Mr. Panshin discusses Heinlein's fiction and analyzes its strengths and weaknesses; he traces the constants and the variables in Heinlein's interests and viewpoints; and he offers a suggestion as to the ultimate significance of Heinlein both in science fiction and in literature as a whole. Mr. Panshin has produced a study in depth that is neither adulatory nor carping, and is both comprehensive and readable. No doubt there will be other books written about Robert A. Heinlein, but we suspect that the present volume will be accepted as the definitive work for a long time to come.
In 2198, one hundred and fifty years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on a hundred hastily-established colony worlds and in the seven giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars.<P><P> Mia Havero's Ship is a small closed society. It tests its children by casting them out to live or die in a month of Trial in the hostile wilds of a colony world. Mia Havero's Trial is fast approaching and in the meantime she must learn not only the skills that will keep her alive but the deeper courage to face herself and her world.<P> Published originally in 1968, Alexei Panshin's Nebula Award-winning classic has lost none of its relevance, with its keen exploration of societal stagnation and the resilience of youth.
The world in which we live has been shaped by the myths of science fiction. In that vast imaginative universe of mystery and endless possibility, the darkest nightmares and the grandest aspirations of scientific man have been given life -- from Frankenstein to Galactic Empire. Looking through the mirror of past science fiction at the reflections of literary inventors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, we can discover the series of steps that led our society to its current state of great accomplishments and even greater confusion. And in the Golden Age stories of writers like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and A.E. van Vogt we can discern a mythic prevision of the crucial values, attitudes, and intuitions that underlie the coming age of higher consciousness and holistic understanding. Addressing both those who love science fiction and those who have never read it, The World Beyond the Hill recounts the most central stories of the genre, how they came to be written, and what fundamental human questions they attempted to answer. By telling both the story of science fiction and the stories of science fiction, Alexei and Cory Panshin take us on a journey through the most wonder-filled regions of imagination and bring us home with new insight into our culture, our nature, and our goals. The World Beyond the Hill is a synthesis of remarkable originality. It is both high- quality literature written with clarity, grace, and warmth, and a unique work of research and scholarship. It is biography, history, and social psychology, but most of all it is the recounting of the dream of unknown things, of higher possibilities and of the human quest for transcendence in visions of the mythical but emergent world beyond the hill.
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