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The Year of the Jackpot (The Galaxy Project Book 20) [Kindle Edition]

Robert Heinlein
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99
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  • Length: 49 pages
  • Series: The Galaxy Project (Book 20)
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Book Description

This novelette appeared in the March 1952 issue of GALAXY and is the only work which Heinlein wrote specifically for Horace Gold, the editor of GALAXY magazine. (Heinlein’s novel THE PUPPET MASTERS had been serialized in the September through November 1951 issues of GALAXY but Gold had merely acquired serial rights to a contract novel which had been written for Scribner’s.) Heinlein never again appeared in Gold’s GALAXY. This novelette, set in a near-future only subtly different from the McCarthyite and politically menacing present deals with social deterioration, cultural breakdown in a careful, documentary style which becomes terrifying. His romantically-linked leads are emotionally affecting but never sentimentalized, the background of chaos in which they enact their tragic, drowning love, is sparingly but furiously painted. Heinlein’s 1952 is clearly the apotheosis of those “Crazy Years” which he had noted in his famous chronological Future History, published a decade earlier in ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION as a precis of his intended career. Perhaps no story of this period limns its political and cultural dysfunction as accurately as this novelette. Overshadowed by Heinlein’s juveniles and his famous later novels, THE YEAR OF THE JACKPOT may be the purest version of his portfolio and his most memorable work of less than novel length. It is one of his most exemplary stories and perhaps his best.


Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) was the first great science fiction writer of the so-called “Modern” (post-Campbellian) period and still perhaps the best. His first story, “Life-Line” was published in the August 1939 issue of ASTOUNDING, within three years with novels and novelettes such as SIXTH COLUMN, BLOWUPS HAPPEN, UNIVERSE, THE ROADS MUST ROLL, METHUSALEH’S CHILDREN he had become the most dominant writer in the history of science fiction; this was a position he did not relinquish for the rest of his life nor has it yet been relinquished. A list of his novels is virtually a pocket history of science fiction--THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, STARSHIP TROOPERS, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, DOUBLE STAR, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL--and all of them remain in print and controversial to this moment. He won the Hugo for Best Novel four times, was three time Guest of Honor at the World Science Fiction Convention and was the first Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America. His history and that of modern science fiction cannot in any way be disentangled.


Horace Gold led GALAXY magazine from its first issue dated October 1950 to science fiction’s most admired, widely circulated and influential magazine throughout its initial decade. Its legendary importance came from publication of full length novels, novellas and novelettes. GALAXY published nearly every giant in the science fiction field.

The Galaxy Project is a selection of the best of GALAXY with new forewords by some of today’s best science fiction writers. The initial selections in alphabetical order include work by Ray Bradbury, Frederic Brown, Lester del Rey, Robert A. Heinlein, Damon Knight, C. M. Kornbluth, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Frederik Pohl, Robert Scheckley, Robert Silverberg, William Tenn (Phillip Klass) and Kurt Vonnegut with new Forewords by Paul di Filippo, David Drake, John Lutz, Barry Malzberg and Robert Silverberg. The Galaxy Project is committed to publishing new work in the spirit GALAXY magazine and its founding editor Horace Gold.

Product Details

  • File Size: 196 KB
  • Print Length: 49 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (October 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,073 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A RAH story I'd never read! December 20, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really? An unknown (to me) story? I'd just been browsing thru the Heinlein on Kindle trying to decide if I wanted to put some of my comfort books on my Kindle when this caught my eye. I downloaded it faster than 4G is possible.

The story is a simple one: The main character, a mathematician, is tracking all the bizarre happenings going on. Clearly this is The Crazy Years. He befriends a young woman and saves her from being arrested.

Written during the Cold War when the fear of Nuclear War was real. This is an end of the world story that just might leave you wondering if an editor or publisher made Heinlein change a date that he had figured out to one that was clearly "ridiculous".
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robert Heinlein is by far my favorite true science fiction writer. For someone who graduated from college in 1929, who was raised and influenced by the Cold War, and whose social training is reflected in the story lines he presents, there is no other author (in my opinion) who has more accurately portrayed future events. In this short novel he casts a mathematician as his hero and opens with a pretty young woman getting naked at a bus stop. I challenge anyone to read the first six pages and not be hooked into the story.

For anyone who loves a good "end of world" story, fast paced dialog and amazing predicitions - check some of the fictional events in the book against today's headlines - keep in mind this was written in the 50's! You'll love the characters, relate to the events and the ending - well, read the book!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good Heinlein short story but... March 14, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Since most reviewers here sound like hard-core RAH fans, I'll mention that this story is also included in Heinlein's anthology The Menace From Earth.

You can get a used copy for $5, shipping included.

That anthology contains "The Year of the Jackpot" and seven other stories. All of them are fairly good; some are exceptional.

One of those seven is "By His Bootstraps," which I think is Heinlein's best short story.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heilein is the best. July 27, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i have loved Robert Heinlein since i was 9 yrs old i'm 70 now. i'm pretty sure i've read everything of his at least once. some 6 or so times. especially Time Enough for Love & I Will Fear No Evil & A Door Into Summer. i could go on and on.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein is the best July 12, 2012
By jpo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robert Heinlein is my favorite author of all time and "Year of the jackpot" is my favorite of his short stories. Great price to have my favorite short story available at any time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a short story. June 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another one of Heinlein's insightful observations of the human condition, comparing us to lemmings, blindly rushing to our fate. Sometimes he seems to be prophetic in his stories, written so long ago, of our condition we find ourselves in our present time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging story, flatish characters April 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a teenager, I read everything Heinlein wrote. Some of his stuff is just exhilerating, though probably not this: the premise (for me) wasn't completely convincing, and the characters didn't really draw me in. Somehow, though, I just liked it. I read it straight through and enjoyed myself the whole time. I'll be revisiting Heinlein soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monkeys, with a little poetry in them... January 2, 2013
By G. Page
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A statistician with a flair for the dramatic watches the end of the world. Math and a beautiful/capable woman also feature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad
As always this man can write. Even after so many years it's still a great story. Wish it had a happy ending but it wouldn't be the same story. I do like his older writing.
Published 10 days ago by mikes own
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Heinlein
Typically Heinlein. Was not disappointed with seeing some of his early work.
Published 1 month ago by Jerry
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good Heinlein short story, wished it was longer.
Published 1 month ago by Andrew M. Hager
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise ending
I like his work. I have read several of his works and they all entertain. I plan on reading more.
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Classic "Golden Age' Heinlein
Published 2 months ago by eutaxia
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet
Characters: Potty and Meade, the leads, trust each other like an old married couple even though they have just met. Their dialogue is comfortable rather than sizzling. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mec
5.0 out of 5 stars Rare Heinlein story, don't miss this one!
Wow, a Heinlein story that is really rare! Not to be missed. I have been rereading all the old books of his I can find and this one was a surprise and pleasure!
Published 5 months ago by Larry Renger
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun story set apart from Heinlein's future history arc
An entertaining story from the outset and following an interesting premise where the tracking of the confluence of probability curves can be used to predict catastrophe. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Chris Sanford
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silly Season Is Upon Us.
Haven't read this in a loong time. It may be set in 1952, but, it sounds like now.
Cycles in cycles, the world totters along.
Are we lemmings? You decide.
Published 7 months ago by Brenda Lee Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but good
An oldie but a goodie. The only "dated" part of this story is the year. Think "2015" instead if that bothers you. Read more
Published 8 months ago by teleflink
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