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The Past Through Tomorrow: Future History Stories Mass Market Paperback – January 7, 1988


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Mass Market Paperback, January 7, 1988
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 830 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (January 7, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441653049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441653041
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Anson Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907, and was raised there. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929, but was forced by illness to retire from the Navy in 1934. He settled in California and over the next five years held a variety of jobs while doing post-graduate work in mathematics and physics at the University of California. In 1939 he sold his first science fiction story to Astounding magazine and soon devoted himself to the genre.

He was a four-time winner of the Hugo Award for his novels Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), Starship Troopers (1959), Double Star (1956), and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966). His Future History series, incorporating both short stories and novels, was first mapped out in 1941. The series charts the social, political, and technological changes shaping human society from the present through several centuries into the future.

Robert A. Heinlein's books were among the first works of science fiction to reach bestseller status in both hardcover and paperback. he continued to work into his eighties, and his work never ceased to amaze, to entertain, and to generate controversy. By the time hed died, in 1988, it was evident that he was one of the formative talents of science fiction: a writer whose unique vision, unflagging energy, and persistence, over the course of five decades, made a great impact on the American mind.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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These are the "Future History" stories compiled in one place.
Anomalous
This book sat on my shelf since college where I read a few of the stories for an English class.
M. Gourdin
Heinlein is one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time.
Jennifer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Past Through Tomorrow contains all 21 stories, novellas, and novels of Heinlein's Future History series. The four books making up the series (The Man Who Sold the Moon, The Green Hills of Earth, Revolt in 2100, and Methuselah's Children) used to be a little hard to find in the pre-Internet days, making this collection an absolute boon to Heinlein readers. In addition to the convenience of having everything in one volume, this book also includes two stories that are not to be found in my copies of the originating books: "Searchlight" and "The Menace From Earth." These are rather lightweight stories, but they are quite entertaining.
It was actually Joseph W. Campbell, Heinlein's editor at Amazing Science-Fiction, who came up with the term Future History; Heinlein did have some of the stories mapped out on a timeline, but he never intended to make this a series in any real sense of the word. Up until the final selection, these stories are largely independent of one another. With Methuselah's Children, however, Heinlein traces the tale's antecedents to his very first story "Life-Line," incorporates a few characters from other assorted stories, and casts a web of continuity over the whole package. Even still, this is only "a" future history, not "the" future history. Aspects of Heinlein's science indeed worked its way into the real world over time, but one would be wrong to label this body of work as some type of prophetic endeavor on the author's part.
The contents of this collection basically offer the reader the cream of the crop of Heinlein's early fiction.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on September 29, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This collection starts with Heinlein's first-ever published story (Life-Line), and continues through the next several years of his writing. These stories, of course, make up his famous Future History series. There is one novel among them (Methuselah's Children; the book's standout piece, and the debut of Lazarus Long), a couple of novellas (The Man Who Sold The Moon, "-If This Goes On"), and numerous short to medium-length stories. Unlike his longer later novels, in these works his agenda is not being an idealogue, but rather exploiting one small central idea, or even simply writing a good story. To be sure, there are several stories of lesser quality here, but there are also many classics (the ones I've already mentioned, plus The Roads Must Roll, Blowups Happen, Logic of Empire, Coventry, and others.) If all you know of Heinlein is his later "message" novels like Starship Troopers and Stranger In A Strange Land, then do yourself a favor and pick up this immaculate collection of his early fiction.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elsie Wilson on October 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Part of the "Future History" series in which Heinlein first got (or expressed) the desire to tie all his stories together in one coherant whole. Here he does it well. This was one of the first Heinleins i read, twentyfive years ago, and i still remember the power it held over me as i devoured it. Certain of the stories (a collection of short stories and novellas) are weaker, relatively, but everything is strong enough that the whole is a unified totality which can carry anything not to your taste (in my case, "The Roads Must Roll"). As he almost always does, Heinlein has created believable and (more important?) likable characters. The most fun story in the collection is "Methuselah's Children" which is the introduction of the Howard Families, and the (here much more) likable cuss, Lazarus Long.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 30, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Heinlein book I ever read, and I have never looked back since. A fantastic collection of thought-provoking and interconnected stories made for a very excellent read. Personal;ly, my favorite stories were 'Requiem' and 'The Man who sold the Moon'. 'Methuselah's Children' is also part of this collection, introducing you to the Howard Families (and Lazarus Long)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 on March 17, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a fantastic collection. To begin with, almost the entire contents of the two collections ("The Green Hills of Earth" and "The Man Who Sold the Moon") are here ("Let There Be Light" is not included). Next there is "Searchlight" a short vignette which Heinlein wrote as part of an advertisement for Hoffman Electronics. In addition there is "The Menace From Earth", "If This Goes On-", "Coventry", "Misfit", and the novel "Methuselah's Children. All in all, over 800 pages of stories from Heinlein's Future History.

This collection of Future History stories was published in 1967, and while the claim made on the back cover of having all the Future History works included is not true, it is a truly great collection of 21 of them. A couple of the missing ones include the aforementioned "Let There Be Light", and "Farmer in the Sky", and there may be some other ones which I have forgotten. The stories were all written between 1939 and 1962, with the majority of the work coming from the 40s. Here is a list of the included material, along with some of the recognition it has received:

* "Life-Line" - Short Story - August, 1939 - Tied for 14th on the 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll for Short Fiction written before 1940.

* "The Roads Must Roll" - Novelette - June, 1940 - Tied for 28th on the 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll of Short Fiction.

* "Blowups Happen" - Novella - September, 1940.

* "The Man Who Sold the Moon" - Novella - 1950 - Tied for 35th on the 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll of Short Fiction. 5th on the 1999 Locus All-Time Poll for Novella's. Won the Retro Hugo in 2001 for Best Novella for the year 1950.

* "Delilah and the Space-Rigger" - Short Story - December, 1949.
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