The Heinlein Centennial
Friday May 18th 2007 916.723.4765
A MISSOURI NATIVE SON AT HIS 100TH BIRTHDAY
KANSAS CITY, MO: From the classic rocketship design to the consciousness revolution,
Robert Heinlein predicted and inspired major changes of the twentieth century through
his writing. To science fiction readers around the world, he remains the undisputed
master of the field nineteen years after his death. This July, his life and legacy
will be celebrated in a unique convention in Kansas City that has attracted some
unusually high profile guests.
"Heinlein constantly redefined the field of science fiction and was so
popular as to cross into the mainstream," says his biographer, Bill
Patterson. "The word 'grok' came from Heinlein; he even invented the
waterbed. He wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and was with Walter
Cronkite when men landed on the Moon."
That recognition extends in all directions when you consider
groups of people who all worship some work of Heinlein's as their
bible: The sixties hippies who embraced Stranger in a Strange Land as
a model for living, the Libertarians who cherish the political
structure in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and the entrepreneurs now
building rockets in the Mojave Desert whose inspiration is The Man Who
Sold the Moon.
"Since so many space businesspeople are in this field because of
Heinlein, most of them are attending our convention," says Tim Kyger,
convention chair. "We have Dr. Peter Diamandis, who just flew Stephen
Hawking in free-fall, Brian Binnie, the astronaut who won the X Prize,
and the CEOs of half a dozen of the cutting edge companies that are in
the process of revolutionizing how we get into space. NASA's boss Mike
Griffin and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin will be there to provide the
viewpoint of the people that have done the most in space."
Part science fiction convention, part rocket jockey Woodstock, the
three-day Heinlein Centennial will be as unique as the man it
honors. Authors inspired by Heinlein who will attend include Spider
Robinson (Callahan's Crosstime Saloon), David Gerrold (When Harlie
was One), and John Scalzi (Old Man's War). Sir Arthur C. Clarke
(2001: A Space Odyssey) and Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles)
will appear via teleconference.
"We'll have about a hundred presentations and panels where people can
participate in everything from debates about whether Starship
Troopers glorified war to learning about the latest in laser-launched
spacecraft," says James Gifford, convention secretary. "Plus we'll have
art displays, a sales area, a video room, and a gala dinner. And we're
only a short distance from Butler, where you can still see Heinlein's
For more information, go to http://www.heinleincentennial.com/."