Robert Heinlein was one of the most influential and controversial
authors in the science fiction genre. He became the first science
fiction writer to break into major general magazines in the late 1940s
with true, undisguised science fiction, and the first bestselling
novel-length science fiction in the 1960s. For many years he, Isaac
Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the Big Three of science
fiction. The major themes of Heinlein's work were social: radical
individualism, libertarianism, religion, the relationship between
physical and emotional love, and speculation about unorthodox family
relationships. His iconoclastic beliefs have led to wildly divergent
perceptions of him. The novel Stranger in a Strange Land put him in
the unexpected role of Pied Piper of the sexual revolution and 1960s
counterculture, but he has also been cast as a fascist, based on the
contemporaneous Starship Troopers.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
– Five-year old Michael I became King of Romania upon the death of his
father Ferdinand I.
– Billboard magazine published its first "Music Popularity Chart."
– Adolf Hitler survived the July 20 Plot, an assassination attempt led
by Claus von Stauffenberg.
– Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected Prime Minister of Ceylon, thus
becoming the world's first elected female head of government.
– The Apollo 11 lunar module landed; Neil Armstrong became the first
man to walk on the moon.
– Viking 1 landed on Mars, marking the first visit from Earth.
Wikiquote of the day:
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." -- Neil
Armstrong on first stepping onto the surface of the moon, 20th July