Gentlemen, Be Seated!

"Gentlemen, Be Seated" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein. It was first published in the May 1948 issue of Argosy magazine. It was later included in two of Heinlein's collections, The Green Hills of Earth (1951), and The Past Through Tomorrow (1967).

Plot summary

The story tells of a visit to a tunnel on the surface of the moon which goes awry when a pressure seal fails, trapping three men (a supervisor, a reporter, and a tunnel worker). The title of the story derives from the way they plug an air leak while awaiting rescue: by sitting on it.

The phrase "Gentlemen, Be Seated!" is the opening line of the interlocutor in a traditional minstrel show. It was also, at the time the story was written and while Heinlein attended, the opening line for all classes at the military and naval academies (as well as classes for officers at the various service schools) in the United States.

The story might have been inspired by an episode in "Baron Munchausen": (...) The ship sprung a leak. It was my good fortune to discover it first. I found it a large hole about a foot diameter. (...) This noble vessel was preserved, with all its crew, by a most fortunate thought! in short, I sat down over it. (...) My situation, while I sat there, was rather cool, but the carpenter's art soon relieved me.[1]

References

  1. ^ [1]

External links

A Robert Heinlein Omnibus

A Robert Heinlein Omnibus was a second collection of Robert A Heinlein's stories to use the term "omnibus" the first being The Robert Heinlein Omnibus (1958), published in 1966. Containing fifteen of Heinlein's short stories and novellas, this second "Omnibus" represents a short chronological period, 1940 to 1950, of Heinlein's writings.

It contained some of Heinlein's more popular stories, as well as a few variations of later more popular stories. The editors were more than a little careless as it also contained two of the three stories included in the previous publication.

Album musical

An album musical is a type of recording that sounds like an original cast album but is created specifically for the recording medium and is complete entertainment product in itself, rather than just promoting or reflecting an existing or planned musical theatre production or revue. Although there has been no one term consistently used to describe this type of recording, the genre predates the use of the term "concept album" by several decades, dating back to the era of 78-rpm records with such original works as Gordon Jenkins' Manhattan Tower (1946, expanded in 1956) and The Letter (1959) starring Judy Garland, and Stan Freberg's Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Volume One: The Early Years (1961). On most contemporary concept albums, the performers or bands sing as themselves, whereas on an album musical the performers are playing characters in a story.

Some original album musicals have later been expanded into staged musicals, including You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (which was specifically labeled an "Original Album Musical") and, beginning in the late 1960s, such notable rock musicals as Tim Rice, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson's Chess and The Who's Tommy. Although Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice may have been anticipating later stage productions when they recorded their two-LP albums of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, at the time of their initial release they were, in essence, album musicals.

Christy's Minstrels

Christy's Minstrels, sometimes referred to as the Christy Minstrels, were a blackface group formed by Edwin Pearce Christy, a well-known ballad singer, in 1843, in Buffalo, New York. They were instrumental in the solidification of the minstrel show into a fixed three-act form. The troupe also invented or popularized "the line", the structured grouping that constituted the first act of the standardized three-act minstrel show, with the interlocutor in the middle and "Mr. Tambo" and "Mr. Bones" on the ends.

First Men in the Moon (1964 film)

First Men in the Moon is a 1964 British Technicolor science fiction film produced by Charles H. Schneer, directed by Nathan Juran, starring Edward Judd, Martha Hyer and Lionel Jeffries. It is an adaptation by science fiction scriptwriter Nigel Kneale of H. G. Wells' 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon. Ray Harryhausen provided the stop-motion animation effects, which include the Selenites, giant caterpillar-like "Moon Cows", and the big-brained Prime Lunar.

Future History (Heinlein)

The Future History, by Robert A. Heinlein, describes a projected future of the human race from the middle of the 20th century through the early 23rd century. The term Future History was coined by John W. Campbell, Jr. in the February 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Campbell published an early draft of Heinlein's chart of the series in the March 1941 issue.Heinlein wrote most of the Future History stories early in his career, between 1939 and 1941 and between 1945 and 1950. Most of the Future History stories written prior to 1967 are collected in The Past Through Tomorrow, which also contains the final version of the chart. That collection does not include Universe and Common Sense; they were published separately as Orphans of the Sky.

Groff Conklin called Future History "the greatest of all histories of tomorrow". It was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series in 1966, along with the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Lensman series by E. E. Smith, the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, and The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien, but lost to Asimov's Foundation series.

Jane Engelhard

Jane Engelhard (August 12, 1917 – February 29, 2004), born Marie Antoinette Jeanne Reiss, was an American philanthropist, best known for her marriage to billionaire industrialist Charles W. Engelhard Jr., as well as her donation of an elaborate 18th-century Neapolitan crêche to the White House in 1967. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1972.

Jerome Moross

Jerome Moross (August 1, 1913 – July 25, 1983) was an American composer. He composed works for symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, soloists and musical theatre. He also orchestrated motion picture scores for other composers. He is best known for his music for film and television.

June Card

June Card (born 10 April 1937) is an American soprano and stage director who had an active career in operas and concerts from 1959 through today. She began her career as a chorus girl on Broadway before moving into opera.

She established herself as an operatic soprano in Germany during the mid to late 1960s, ultimately forging a more-than-30-year-long partnership with the Frankfurt Opera. She also appeared as a guest artist with major opera houses internationally and worked as a soloist in the oratorio repertoire. In recent years she has been active as a stage director for opera productions in Germany, France and America, and worked as a voice teacher and master class instructor.

Lazarus Long

Lazarus Long is a fictional character featured in a number of science fiction novels by Robert A. Heinlein. Born in 1912 in the third generation of a selective breeding experiment run by the Ira Howard Foundation, Lazarus (birth name Woodrow Wilson Smith) becomes unusually long-lived, living well over two thousand years with the aid of occasional rejuvenation treatments. Heinlein "patterned" Long on science fiction writer Edward E. Smith, mixed with Jack Williamson's fictional Giles Habibula.His exact (natural) life span is never revealed. In his introduction at the beginning of Methuselah's Children, he claims he is 213 years old. Approximately 75 years pass during the course of the novel, but because large amounts of this time are spent traveling close to the speed of light, the 75-year measurement is an expression of the time elapsed on Earth rather than time seen from his perspective. At one point, he estimates his natural life span to be around 250 years, but this figure is not expressed with certainty. He acknowledges that such a long life span should not be expected as a result of a mere three generations of selective breeding, but offers no alternative explanation except by having a character declare, "A mutation, of course-—which simply says that we don't know".In Methuselah's Children, Long mentions visiting Hugo Pinero, the scientist appearing in Heinlein's first published story "Life-Line", who had invented a machine that precisely measured lifespan. Pinero refuses to reveal the results of Lazarus's reading and returns his money.

The promotional copy on the back of Time Enough for Love, the second book featuring Lazarus Long, states that Lazarus was "so in love with time that he became his own ancestor," but this never happens in any of the published books. In the book, Lazarus does travel back in time and is seduced by his mother, but this takes place years after his own birth. Heinlein did, however, use just such a plot device in the short story "—All You Zombies—", in which a character becomes both of his own parents.

A rugged individualist with a distrust of authority, Lazarus drifts from world to world, settling down periodically and leaving when the situation becomes too regimented for his taste-—often just before an angry mob arrives to capture him.

The Lazarus Long set of books involve time travel, parallel dimensions, free love, individualism, and a concept that Heinlein named World as Myth—the theory that universes are created by the act of imagining them, such that even fictional worlds are real.

List of science fiction short stories

This is a non-comprehensive list of short stories with significant science fiction elements.

Maureen Johnson (Heinlein character)

Maureen Johnson Smith Long (July 4, 1882 - June 20, 1982), most often referred to as Maureen Johnson, is a fictional character in several science fiction novels by American writer Robert A. Heinlein. She is the mother, lover and eventual wife of Lazarus Long, the longest-living member of Heinlein's fictional Howard Families. She is the only character from the "Lazarus Long cycle" to have an entire fictional memoir devoted to her life.

Minstrel show

The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music performances that depicted people specifically of African descent. The shows were performed by white people in make-up or blackface for the purpose of playing the role of black people. There were also some African-American performers and all-black minstrel groups that formed and toured under the direction of white people. Minstrel shows lampooned black people as dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, and happy-go-lucky.Minstrel shows emerged as brief burlesques and comic entr'actes in the early 1830s in the Northeastern states. They were developed into full-fledged form in the next decade. By 1848, blackface minstrel shows were the national artform, translating formal art such as opera into popular terms for a general audience.By the turn of the 20th century, the minstrel show enjoyed but a shadow of its former popularity, having been replaced for the most part by vaudeville. The form survived as professional entertainment until about 1910; amateur performances continued until the 1960s in high schools and local theaters. The genre has had a lasting legacy and influence and was featured in a television series as recently as 1975. Generally, as the civil rights movement progressed and gained acceptance, minstrels lost popularity.

The typical minstrel performance followed a three-act structure. The troupe first danced onto stage then exchanged wisecracks and sang songs. The second part featured a variety of entertainments, including the pun-filled stump speech. The final act consisted of a slapstick musical plantation skit or a send-up of a popular play.

Minstrel songs and sketches featured several stock characters, most popularly the slave and the dandy. These were further divided into sub-archetypes such as the mammy, her counterpart the old darky, the provocative mulatto wench, and the black soldier. Minstrels claimed that their songs and dances were authentically black, although the extent of the black influence remains debated. Spirituals (known as jubilees) entered the repertoire in the 1870s, marking the first undeniably black music to be used in minstrelsy.

Blackface minstrelsy was the first theatrical form that was distinctly American. During the 1830s and 1840s at the height of its popularity, it was at the epicenter of the American music industry. For several decades, it provided the means through which American whites viewed black people. On the one hand, it had strong racist aspects; on the other, it afforded white Americans a singular and broad awareness of what some whites considered significant aspects of black culture in America.Although the minstrel shows were extremely popular, being "consistently packed with families from all walks of life and every ethnic group", they were also controversial. Integrationists decried them as falsely showing happy slaves while at the same time making fun of them; segregationists thought such shows were "disrespectful" of social norms as they portrayed runaway slaves with sympathy and would undermine the southerners' "peculiar institution".

Randolph Scott

George Randolph Scott (January 23, 1898 – March 2, 1987) was an American film actor whose career spanned the years from 1928 to 1962. As a leading man for all but the first three years of his cinematic career, Scott appeared in a variety of genres, including social dramas, crime dramas, comedies, musicals (albeit in non-singing and non-dancing roles), adventure tales, war films, and a few horror and fantasy films. However, his most enduring image is that of the tall-in-the-saddle Western hero. Out of his more than 100 film appearances over 60 were in Westerns; thus, "of all the major stars whose name was associated with the Western, Scott most closely identified with it."Scott's more than 30 years as a motion picture actor resulted in his working with many acclaimed screen directors, including Henry King, Rouben Mamoulian, Michael Curtiz, John Cromwell, King Vidor, Allan Dwan, Fritz Lang, Sam Peckinpah, Henry Hathaway (eight times), Ray Enright (seven), Edwin L. Marin (seven), Andre DeToth (six), and most notably, his seven film collaborations with Budd Boetticher. Scott also worked with a diverse array of cinematic leading ladies, from Shirley Temple and Irene Dunne to Mae West and Marlene Dietrich.

Tall (6 ft 2½ in; 189 cm), lanky and handsome, Scott displayed an easygoing charm and courtly Southern drawl in his early films that helped offset his limitations as an actor, where he was frequently found to be stiff or "lumbering". As he matured, however, Scott's acting improved while his features became burnished and leathery, turning him into the ideal "strong, silent" type of stoic hero. The BFI Companion to the Western noted:In his earlier Westerns ... the Scott persona is debonair, easy-going, graceful, though with the necessary hint of steel. As he matures into his fifties his roles change. Increasingly Scott becomes the man who has seen it all, who has suffered pain, loss, and hardship, and who has now achieved (but at what cost?) a stoic calm proof against vicissitude.

During the early 1950s, Scott was a consistent box-office draw. In the annual Motion Picture Herald Top Ten Polls, he ranked 10th in 1950, seventh in 1951, and 10th in both 1952 and 1953. Scott also appeared in the Quigley's Top Ten Money Makers Poll from 1950 to 1953.

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.

The Green Hills of Earth (short story collection)

The Green Hills of Earth is a collection of science fiction short stories by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, published in 1951, including short stories published as early as 1941. The stories are part of Heinlein's Future History. The title story is the tale of an old space mariner reflecting upon his planet of birth. According to an acknowledgement at the beginning of the book, the phrase "the green hills of Earth" is derived from a story by C. L. Moore.

The Past Through Tomorrow

The Past Through Tomorrow is a collection of science fiction stories by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, all part of his Future History.

Most of the stories are parts of a larger storyline about the future rapid collapse of sanity in the United States, followed by a theocratic dictatorship, a revolution, and the establishment of a free society that does not save the pseudo-immortal Lazarus Long and his Howard Families from fleeing Earth for their lives. Most editions of the collection include a timeline showing the chronology of the stories (including stories never written, such as "The Stone Pillow", which was to occur during the period of the theocracy), times of birth and death of the significant characters, and commentary by Heinlein.

The specific short stories included vary with the edition, but typically include:

"Life-Line", 1939; a month before "Misfit"

"Misfit", 1939

"The Roads Must Roll", 1940

"Requiem", 1940

"'If This Goes On—'", 1940

"Coventry", 1940

"Blowups Happen", 1940

"Universe", 1941

"Methuselah's Children", 1941; extended and published as a novel, 1958

"Logic of Empire", 1941

"'—We Also Walk Dogs'", 1941

"Space Jockey", 1947

"'It's Great to Be Back!'", 1947

"The Green Hills of Earth", 1947

"Ordeal in Space", 1948

"The Long Watch", 1948

"Gentlemen, Be Seated!", 1948

"The Black Pits of Luna", 1948

"Delilah and the Space Rigger", 1949

"The Man Who Sold the Moon", 1950

"The Menace From Earth", 1957

"Searchlight", 1962The 1975 and 1986 paperback editions are both missing the story "Universe".

The Twilight Zone (radio series)

The Twilight Zone "Radio Dramas" is a nationally syndicated radio series featuring adaptations of the classic television series The Twilight Zone first produced in October 2002 with the final show released in 2012 for 176 episodes in all.

The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein

The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein is a collection of science fiction short stories by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, published in 1966.

It includes an introduction entitled "Pandora's Box" that describes some of the difficulties in making predictions about the near future. Heinlein outlines some of his predictions that he made in 1949 (published 1952) and examines how well they stood up to some 15 years of progress in 1965. The prediction was originally published in Galaxy magazine, Feb 1952, Vol. 3, No. 5, under the title "Where to?" (pp. 13–22).

Following the introduction are five short stories:

"Free Men" (written c. 1947, but first published in this collection, 1966)

"Blowups Happen" (1940)

"Searchlight" (1962)

"Life-Line" (1939)

"Solution Unsatisfactory" (1940)In 1980, the entire contents of this collection, with an updated version of "Pandora's Box", were included in Heinlein's collection, Expanded Universe.

Virginia Minstrels

The Virginia Minstrels or Virginia Serenaders was a group of 19th-century American entertainers who helped invent the entertainment form known as the minstrel show. Led by Dan Emmett, the original lineup consisted of Emmett, Billy Whitlock, Dick Pelham, and Frank Brower.

After a successful try-out in the billiard parlor of the Branch Hotel on New York City's Bowery, the group is said to have premiered to a paying audience nearby at the Chatham Theatre, probably on January 31, 1843. They followed with a brief run at the Bowery Amphitheater in early February before an expanded schedule of venues.

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