Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Russia's Angara 5 Successful Maiden Voyage!

Congratulations to the Russian space industry for the Angara 5 successful first flight.  It holds great promise for future commercial space activities for the benefit of all humankind!

The first Angara 5 rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome at 0557 GMT (12:57 a.m. EST; 8:57 a.m. local time) Tuesday. Credit: Russian Ministry of Defence.

A new Russian rocket designed as a successor to the workhorse Proton booster lifted off Tuesday on a maiden test flight that could signify Russia’s shift away from launching satellites at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The 180-foot-tall Angara 5 rocket ignited five kerosene-fueled RD-191 booster engines and lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome — a military-run spaceport 500 miles north of Moscow — at 0557 GMT (12:57 a.m. EST) Tuesday, according to the Russian Federal Space Agency. (read full article)

Source: Spaceflight Now December 23, 2014 by Stephan Clark

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Heinlein Book Club - Lesson Plan One

Recently we've added and new page to the Heinlein Books site, The Heinlein Book Club.

Basically the Heinlein Book Club is a one stop hub to access everything you need to start your own Heinlein book club or discussion group. The site will be updated regularly with access to the latest lesson plans and discussion questions based on Heinlein's work as found in the Virginia Edition. Each month the site will feature a different lesson plan which will link back here for further discussion.

It is our hope that the site will grow with suggestions from Robert Heinlein's ever-growing fan base and will become a valuable asset not only to fans but for teachers and librarians who could use this site as a means to introduce the world of Heinlein to a younger generation of readers.

Lesson One - Space Cadet
An excerpt from the Space Cadet Lesson Plans as developed by Robert James, PhD.

Space Cadet is the second of the juveniles Robert Heinlein wrote from the late forties through the early sixties.  The series is widely regarded as the finest science fiction ever written for young people; many, including Grandmaster JackWilliamson, believe them to be the best science fiction Robert Heinlein ever wrote. 
            Space Cadet was based on the emotional experience of going through Annapolis.  The original title for the manuscript was Hayworth Hall.  Heinlein wrote the back while traveling in a small trailer with Virginia Heinlein, who would become his third wife in 1948.  Money was extremely tight, and Heinlein had a hard time getting started on the book, as well as getting stuck about halfway through the book trying to figure out the best ending for the story.   This was his wife Ginny’s first experience with serious writer’s block (and one of the few in Heinlein’s career).  His original ending, to have his hero be forced to bomb his own home town, simply wasn’t going to fly in the juvenile market. 

Sample Question:
How are freedom, peace, and law intertwined?  What happens when you remove one of those from society?  What happens when one is favored over the others?  Research history, and find examples when each of those factors were given too much power.  

If you wish to contribute to this ongoing effort please email submissions to: Contribution used will be credited and posted on the Heinlein Book Club webpage. We look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dear Heinlein readers - We need your help.

We want to provide readers with resources to help them start Heinlein meeting/discussion groups in their local area. We are looking for discussion group materials (that you create or that are in the public domain) for Heinlein stories such as discussion questions, study guides, essays, poems, photos, illustrations/ artwork, etc. that group leaders can share with other Heinlein fans (or future Heinlein fans) during their meetings. 

If you wish to contribute to this effort please email submissions to: Contribution used will be credited and posted on the webpage.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Excerpt from Virginia Edition Vol. 42

Farnham's Freehold
The following was taken from the introduction to Virginia Edition Volume No. 42.  The excerpt is from a letter Heinlein wrote to his editor after the book was published in 1964.

This story is not properly science-fiction at all; the science-fictional aspects are mere devices and decoration. The story is an investigation of the nature of self-control and self-responsibility in a man who thinks of himself as “free,” and the nature of right conduct on the part of such a free individual in dealing with other individuals—when his own inner-directed nature requires that he extend to every individual (even his enemies) the same dignity and freedom that he demands for himself. One might say that the story is an investigation into the subtle but sharp distinction between “liberty” and “license.” Hugh Farnham is the archetype of the former, his son Duke is the archetype of the latter—yet each describes himself as a “free man.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

Excerpt from Virginia Edition Vol. 37

The Nonfiction of Robert Heinlein Volume I.
The excerpt is from 1952 and it was for Edward R. Murrow's radio show "This I Believe".

"...I believe that for every coward there are countless unknown heroes. I believe in Rodger Young. I am safe today because of endless, unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River.
I believe in—I am proud to belong to—the United States. Despite its shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, I believe that this our nation has and has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.
And finally, I believe in my whole race, yellow, white, black, red, brown—in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability ...and goodness...of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by
the skin of our teeth, that we will always make it just by the skin of our teeth—but that we will always make it, survive...endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize braincase and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes, will endure—will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets, to the stars, and beyond, carrying with him his honesty, his unlimited courage—and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart."