|Born in Missouri in 1907, Robert Anson Heinlein grew up to become one of the most influential science fiction writers in the world. Raised in Kansas City, he attended the Annapolis Naval Academy in Maryland after high school, and graduated in 1929, the same year as his first marriage. For the next five years, he served the Navy in various capacities until tuberculosis prematurely ended his military career. Moving to California, he worked at a variety of jobs while studying at UCLA. In 1939, Heinlein lost an election for a seat in the California State Legislature. That same year, his first story was published in Astounding Science Fiction, a magazine that was one of the most important vehicles for shaping the future of American sf. In the early 1940s, Heinlein and Astounding... editor John W. Campbell developed the notion of a cohesive history of the future, a series of linked stories that, when all were read, had a similarly developed sense of plot and character as did complete novels. After a couple of pseudonymous novels and several novel-length stories initially published as serials, the first novel published under his own name was 1947's ROCKET SHIP GALILEO. Filmed in 1950 as DESTINATION MOON and based on a Heinlein penned script, the book was the first in what would be one of his most important contributions to the sf field--the children's sf novel. Heinlein's work in this field, which includes such well-known titles as CITIZEN OF THE STARS and HAVE SPACE SUIT--WILL TRAVEL, was incalculably influential to the next generation of sf writers. In 1947 he divorced and, the next year, married Virginia Doris Gerstenfeld, a biochemist to whom he remained wed until his death 40 years later. In 1956, Heinlein wrote DOUBLE STAR, a kind of outer-space version of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, and won his first Hugo Award. In 1959, what is generally considered his best-known novel, STARSHIP TROOPERS, was published. Originally written as a children's novel, his publisher rejected it as being far too violent. Picked up by another publisher, it went on to win Heinlein his second Hugo. A very popular book, eventually filmed in 1997, STARSHIP TROOPERS has long been a point of contention among the sf community, some of whom leveled charges of fascism against it upon its publication, and continue to do so some 40 years later. His next novel, 1961's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, won Heinlein his third Hugo Award. It was widely read in colleges across the U.S. for its pro-"free-love" attitude, and influenced the notorious Charles Manson, who adopted its terminology and some of its ideas for his own purposes. THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS (1966) won Heinlein his fourth Hugo. Seven years later, he received the first Grand Master Nebula Award. Suffering from health problems, Heinlein continued to write much-admired books like FRIDAY in 1982 and TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET in 1987. Robert Heinlein died in 1988 of complications due to emphysema.