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Robert A. Heinlein – First Edition Books: Identification Points

Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Anson Heinlein (1907–1988) was an American science fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and naval officer. Sometimes called the “dean of science fiction writers”, he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. His published works, both fiction and non-fiction, express admiration for competence and emphasize the value of critical thinking. His plots often posed provocative situations which challenged conventional social mores. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally.

Heinlein became one of the first American science-fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s. He was one of the best-selling science-fiction novelists for many decades, and he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the “Big Three” of English-language science fiction authors. Notable Heinlein works include Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers (which helped mold the space marine and mecha archetypes) and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. His work sometimes had controversial aspects, such as plural marriage in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, militarism in Starship Troopers and technologically competent women characters that were formidable, yet often stereotypically feminine—such as Friday.

Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974. Four of his novels won Hugo Awards. In addition, fifty years after publication, seven of his works were awarded “Retro Hugos”—awards given retrospectively for works that were published before the Hugo Awards came into existence. In his fiction, Heinlein coined terms that have become part of the English language, including grok, waldo and speculative fiction, as well as popularizing existing terms like “TANSTAAFL”, “pay it forward”, and “space marine”. He also anticipated mechanical computer-aided design with “Drafting Dan” and described a modern version of a waterbed in his novel Beyond This Horizon. In the first chapter of the novel Space Cadet he anticipated the cellular phone, 35 years before Motorola invented the technology. Several of Heinlein’s works have been adapted for film and television.

Robert A. Heinlein’s works – First edition identification points and criteria

Guide to identifying Heinlein’s First Edition Books. Contains works prior to 1978.

How to Identify First Edition books by RObert A. Heinlein Guide
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1953ASSIGNMENT IN ETERNITYReading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, [1953]Three bindings, priority as listed:
  • (A) Brick red cloth, spine stamped in gold, including six bands, HEINLEIN is set in type 3 mm high;
  • (B) Green boards, spine lettered in black. Remainder binding, Greenberg variant;
  • (C) Red cloth, spine stamped in gold in a manner similar to first binding, but HEINLEIN set in type 2 mm high.
Remainder binding, Grant variant. Two issues, no priority: (A) 500 copies with numbered leaf signed by Heinlein inserted; (B) Trade issue. First edition so stated on © page.
1973THE BEST OF ROBERT HEINLEINLondon: Sidgwick & Jackson, [1973]Boards. First published in Great Britain in 1973 on © page. Reprint collection. Note: Reprinted as a one-volume paperback by Sphere Books Limited in 1975. In 1977 the collection was divided into two paperback volumes and issued by Sphere as THE BEST OF ROBERT HEINLEIN 1939-1942 and THE BEST OF ROBERT HEINLEIN 1947-1959. The latter contains a bibliography revised through 1976.
1951BETWEEN PLANETSNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page.
1948BEYOND THIS HORIZONReading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, 1948Two issues, no priority: (A) 500 copies with numbered leaf signed by Heinlein inserted; (B) Trade issue. First edition so stated on © page.
1957CITIZEN OF THE GALAXYNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1957]First printing has A and code 7.57 v on © page.
1951THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW[New York]: The New American Library, [1951]Wrappers. First printing, September, 1951 on © page. N.A.L. Signet Books 882 (25c). Reissue of SIXTH COLUMN.
1957THE DOOR INTO SUMMERGarden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1957First edition so stated on © page.
1956DOUBLE STARGarden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956Boards. First edition so stated on © page.
1950FARMER IN THE SKYNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1950First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page.
1964FARNHAM'S FREEHOLDNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1964]No statement of printing on © page.
1963GLORY ROADNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1963]No statement of printing on © page.
1951THE GREEN HILLS OF EARTHChicago: Shasta Publishers ,[1951]Boards with cloth shelf back. First edition so stated on © page.
1958HAVE SPACE SUIT-WILL TRAVELNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1958]First printing has code A.9-58 [MJ] on © page.
1966A HEINLEIN TRIADLondon: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1966Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Reprint. Collects THE PUPPET MASTERS and WALDO AND MAGIC. INC. Issued earlier in the U.S. as THREE BY HEINLEIN.
1970I WILL FEAR NO EVILNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1970]No statement of printing on © page.
1950LOST LEGACYLondon: Brown, Watson Ltd, [1950]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Digit Books D386 (2/-). Reprints two Stories from ASSIGNMENT IN ETERNITY.
1950THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOONChicago: Shasta Publishers, [1950]Boards with cloth shelf back. First edition so stated on © page. ALSO: [New York]: Published by The New American Library, [1951]. Wrappers. First printing, March, 1951 on © page.N.A.L. Signet Books 847 (25$). Abridged edition.
1959THE MENACE FROM EARTHHicksville, New York: The Gnome Press, Inc., [1959]First edition so stated on © page.
1955METHUSELAH'S CHILDRENHicksville, N.Y.: Gnome Press, [195S]Two bindings, probable priority as listed:
  • (A) Black boards, spine printed in red;
  • (B) Gray cloth, spine printed in red.
No statement of printing on © page.
Notes: (1) According to Owings and Chalker in The Index to the Science-Fantasy Publishers, there were 1500 copies of the first printing and a second printing in 1959 of 1000 copies. So far no copies of the second printing have been identified. (2) All dust jackets observed print the publisher's address "80 East 11th St., New York 3" at base of rear panel. George Locke in Science Fiction First Editions (London: Ferret Fantasy, 1978), p.87, reports a variant jacket with "80 East 11th St., " and "3" removed.
1966THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESSNew York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, [1966]No statement of printing on © page.
1963ORPHANS OF THE SKYLondon: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1963Boards . No statement of printing on © page.
1967THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROWNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1967]No statement of printing on © page. Reprint collection. Note: Omnibus collection of the novels and stories comprising the "Future History" series reprinted from earlier books.
ALSO: [London]: New English Library, [1977]. Boards. Two volumes. First published in Great Britain . . . in 1977 on © pages. Abridged reprint. Drops METHUSELAH'S CHILDREN.
1965PODKAYNE OF MARSNew York:G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1965]No statement of printing on © page.
1951THE PUPPET MASTERSGarden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1951First edition so stated on © page.
1949RED PLANETNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page.
1953REVOLT IN 2100Chicago: Shasta Publishers, [1953]Boards with cloth shelf back. First edition so stated on © page.
1966A ROBERT HEINLEIN OMNIBUSLondon: Sidgwick & Jackson, [1966]Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Reprint. Collects BEYOND THIS HORIZON, THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON, and THE GREEN HILLS OF EARTH.
1958THE ROBERT HEINLEIN OMNIBUSLondon: The SF Book Club by arrangement with Sidgwick and Jackson, 1958Boards. This Science Fiction Book Club edition was produced in 1958 for sale to its members only on © page. Reprint. Collects THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON and THE GREEN HILLS OF EARTH.
1947ROCKETSHIP GALILEONew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1947}First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page.
1952THE ROLLING STONESNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1952]First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page. Reissued in Great Britain as SPACE FAMILY STONE. 6 x H. New York: Pyramid Books;, [1961]. First printing, August 1961 on © page. Pyramid G642 (35c). Reprint of THE UNPLEASANT PROFESSION OF JONATHAN HOAG:.
1949SIXTH COLUMNNew York: Gnome Press, [1949}First edition so stated on © page. Reissued as THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.
1948SPACE CADETNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1948First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page.
1969SPACE FAMILY STONELondon; Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1969Boards. No statement of printing on © page. Issued earlier in the U.S. as THE ROLLING STONES.
1954THE STAR BEASTNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1954]First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page.
1953STARMAN JONESNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1953]First printing has A and Scribner seal on © page.
1959STARSHIP TROOPERSNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1959]No statement of printing on © page.
1967STRANGER IN A STRANGE LANDNew York: G. P. Putnam's Sons , [1967]No statement of printing on © page. Code C22 on page 408.
1965THREE BY HEINLEINGarden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1965No statement of printing on © page. Code G39 at base of page 426. Reprint. Collects THE PUPPET MASTERS and WALDO AND MAGIC, INC. Issued later in Great Britain ai A HEINLEIN TRIAD.
1973TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE...New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, [1973]No statement of printing on © page.
1956TIME FOR THE STARSNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1956]First printing has code A-8.56 [v] on © page
1955TUNNEL IN THE SKYNew York: Charles Scribner's Sons, [1955]First printing has A on © page.
1951UNIVERSENew York: Published by Dell Publishing Company. Inc.. [1951]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Dell Book 36 (10c)- Adventure on the Gigantic Spaceship at head of title.
1959THE UNPLEASANT PROFESSION OF JONATHAN HOAGHicksville, New York: The Gnome Press, Inc., [1959]First edition so stated on © page.
1950WALDO AND MAGIC, INCGarden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc.. 1950First edition so stated on © page. Reissued as WALDO: GENIUS IN ORBIT.
1958WALDO: GENIUS IN ORBITNew York: Avon Publications, Inc.. [1958]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Avon T-261 (35c). Reissue of WALDO AND MAGIC. INC.
1966THE WORLDS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEINNew York: Ace Books, Inc., [1966]Wrappers. No statement of printing on © page. Ace Book F-375 (40c).

Robert A. Heinlein First Printings Dust Jacket Identification Guide

Guide to identifying First Printing Dust Jackets.

Reference:

  • Wikipedia
  • L. W. Currey, Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: A Bibliography of First Printings of Their Fiction and Selected Nonfiction

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