Assignment in Eternity

Assignment in Eternity, is a collection of four science fiction and science fantasy novellas by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, first published in hardcover by Fantasy Press in 1953. The stories, some of which somewhat revised from their original magazine publications, were:

Heinlein dedicated the book "To Sprague and Catherine": L. Sprague de Camp (his friend and science fiction author) and his wife Catherine Crook de Camp.

Assignment in Eternity was almost immediately picked up for mass market paperback publication by New American Library's Signet line and is currently (as of 2007) offered by Baen Books in trade paper format, with a republication of Heinlein's Future History chart, even though none of the stories falls into the Future History as detailed in The Past Through Tomorrow and Time Enough for Love.

The four stories are loosely related as speculation on what—that we are not already aware of—makes one a human. "Jerry Is a Man" makes the most straightforward examination of the theme, a court making a legal ruling on the human rights of genetically engineered intelligent creatures. "Gulf", a story connected by its story materials to Kuttner's Baldy stories and Wilmar Shiras' In Hiding, suggests that superior individuals already living among us might become a new step in hominid evolution; "Lost Legacy" suggests that every person has unused paranormal abilities that can be awakened by esoteric training comparable to that used by the supermen of "Gulf". "Elsewhen" suggests that the human mind is not bound to our here-and-now "slum of space-time" but can go voyaging into alternative timetracks of possibility. Although written in 1939, using materials popularized by J. W. Dunne, the story has gained new currency in the wake of the Wheeler-Everett "Many Worlds" hypothesis.

The story materials of all four novellas were revisited by Heinlein in later, more expansive novels. A number of figures of "Lost Legacy", for example, are carried into Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), a book which ultimately could be said to have the same theme as the 1939 novella. Situations and individuals from both "Gulf" and "Jerry Was a Man" are examined in Friday (1982). And the "multiverse" concept first explored in "Elsewhen" gets very full treatment in Heinlein's last novels, particularly The Number of the Beast (1980), The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985) and To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987)

Assignment in Eternity
Assignment in Eternity (book cover)
First Edition cover
AuthorRobert A. Heinlein
Cover artistRic Binkley
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreScience fiction
PublisherFantasy Press
Publication date
1953
Media typePrint

Reception

Boucher and McComas were unenthusiastic about the collection, saying it contained "two lightweight and entertaining novelets and two pretty weak short novels."[1] P. Schuyler Miller similarly found the stories "not up to the best in the "Future History" series or the author's recent teen-age books."[2] New York Times reviewer Villiers Gerson reported the collection evidenced Heinlein's status as "one of the ablest craftsmen writing science fiction."[3]

References

  1. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, February 1954, p.94.
  2. ^ "The Reference Library", Astounding Science Fiction, May 1954, p.150
  3. ^ "The Spaceman's Realm", The New York Times Book Review, November 18, 1953, p.53

External links

Basic English

Basic English is an English-based controlled language created by linguist and philosopher Charles Kay Ogden as an international auxiliary language, and as an aid for teaching English as a second language. Basic English is, in essence, a simplified subset of regular English. It was presented in Ogden's book Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar (1930).

Ogden's Basic, and the concept of a simplified English, gained its greatest publicity just after the Allied victory in World War II as a means for world peace. Although Basic English was not built into a program, similar simplifications have been devised for various international uses. Ogden's associate I. A. Richards promoted its use in schools in China. More recently, it has influenced the creation of Voice of America's Special English for news broadcasting, and Simplified Technical English, another English-based controlled language designed to write technical manuals.

What survives today of Ogden's Basic English is the basic 850-word list used as the beginner's vocabulary of the English language taught worldwide, especially in Asia.

Elliot Aronson

Elliot Aronson (born January 9, 1932) is an American psychologist who is best known for his experiments on the theory of cognitive dissonance and for his invention of the Jigsaw Classroom, a cooperative teaching technique which facilitates learning while reducing interethnic hostility and prejudice. In his popular (1972) social psychology textbook, The Social Animal, (now in its 11th edition), he stated Aronson's First Law: "People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy," thus asserting the importance of situational factors in bizarre behavior. He is the only person in the 120-year history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its major awards: for writing, for teaching, and for research. In 2007 he received the William James Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Association for Psychological Science, in which he was cited as the scientist who "fundamentally changed the way we look at everyday life.” A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Aronson as the 78th most cited psychologist of the 20th century. He officially retired in 1994 but continues to teach and write.

Elsewhen

"Elsewhen" (1941) is a science fiction novella by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, concerning time travel and parallel universes. It was first published as "Elsewhere" in the September 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, under the pen name Caleb Saunders, and was reprinted in the 1953 book Assignment in Eternity, with some minor changes, and an additional character and that character's journey.

Fantasy Press

Fantasy Press was an American publishing house specialising in fantasy and science fiction titles. Established in 1946 by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach in Reading, Pennsylvania, it was most notable for publishing the works of authors such as Robert A. Heinlein and E. E. Smith. One of its more notable offerings was the Lensman series.

Among its books was Of Worlds Beyond: The Science of Science Fiction Writing (1947), which was the first book about modern SF and contained essays by John W. Campbell, Jr., Robert A. Heinlein, A. E. van Vogt and others.

Friday (novel)

Friday is a 1982 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It is the story of a female "artificial person", the eponymous Friday, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans. Artificial humans are widely resented, and much of the story deals with Friday's struggle both against prejudice and to conceal her enhanced attributes from other humans. The story is set in a Balkanized 21st century, in which the nations of the North American continent have been split up into a number of smaller states.

Friday was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983.

General semantics

General semantics is a self improvement and therapy program begun in the 1920s that seeks to regulate human mental habits and behaviors. After partial launches under the names human engineering and humanology, Polish-American originator Alfred Korzybski (1879–1950) fully launched the program as general semantics in 1933 with the publication of Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics.

In Science and Sanity, general semantics is presented as both a theoretical and a practical system whose adoption can reliably alter human behavior in the direction of greater sanity. In the 1947 preface to the third edition of Science and Sanity, Korzybski wrote: "We need not blind ourselves with the old dogma that 'human nature cannot be changed', for we find that it can be changed." However, in the opinion of a majority of psychiatrists, the tenets and practices of general semantics are not an effective way of treating patients with psychological or mental illnesses. While Korzybski considered his program to be empirically based and to strictly follow the scientific method, general semantics has been described as veering into the domain of pseudoscience.Starting around 1940, university English professor S. I. Hayakawa (1906–1992), speech professor Wendell Johnson, speech professor Irving J. Lee, and others assembled elements of general semantics into a package suitable for incorporation into mainstream communications curricula. The Institute of General Semantics, which Korzybski and co-workers founded in 1938, continues today. General semantics as a movement has waned considerably since the 1950s, although many of its ideas live on in other movements, such as neuro-linguistic programming and rational emotive behavior therapy.

Gulf (novella)

"Gulf" is a science fiction novella by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, originally published as a serial in the November and December 1949 issues of Astounding Science Fiction and later collected in Assignment in Eternity. It concerns a secret society of geniuses who act to protect humanity. The novel Friday, written in 1982, was loosely a sequel.

Jerry Was a Man

"Jerry Was a Man" (1947) is a short story by Robert A. Heinlein. It is about an attempt by a genetically modified chimpanzee to achieve human rights. The main theme of the story is civil liberties, in this case extended towards a group of genetically enhanced chimpanzees to allow them equal rights under the law.

The story was originally published in Thrilling Wonder Stories, October 1947, and is collected in the book Assignment in Eternity.

Lost Legacy

Lost Legacy (1941) is a novella by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein. Originally published in the November, 1941 issue of Super Science Stories, it was collected in the book Assignment in Eternity (1953).

The novella is an exploration of the possibilities that humans, with the proper training, have the potential to make use of a wide range of telepathic and telekinetic abilities. It is based on the presumption that most, if not all, humans have innate psychic abilities, but simply do not know it and therefore do not make use of them. This ignorance is encouraged by a mysterious and powerful cabal which benefits from keeping people unaware of their abilities.

Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

The science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) was productive during a writing career that spanned the last 49 years of his life; the Robert A. Heinlein bibliography includes 32 novels, 59 short stories and 16 collections published during his life. Four films, two TV series, several episodes of a radio series, and a board game derive more or less directly from his work. He wrote a screenplay for one of the films. Heinlein edited an anthology of other writers' SF short stories.

Three non-fiction books and two poems have been published posthumously. One novel has been published posthumously and another, an unusual collaboration, was published in 2006. Four collections have been published posthumously.

Heinlein's fictional works can be found in the library under PS3515.E288, or under Dewey 813.54. Known pseudonyms include Anson MacDonald (7 times), Lyle Monroe (7), John Riverside (1), Caleb Saunders (1), and Simon York (1). All the works originally attributed to MacDonald, Saunders, Riverside and York, and many of the works originally attributed to Lyle Monroe, were later reissued in various Heinlein collections and attributed to Heinlein.

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