Can You Make the Dean’s List?
Take This Heinlein Quiz and Find Out

Hail, Robert A. Heinlein, and long live the Dean of Science Fiction! Think you know your stuff when it comes to RAH? Well, prove it, space cadet!

To celebrate the release of a new paperback edition of Farnham’s Freehold complete with an all new celebrity foreword by Heinlein biographer Bill Patterson, here’s a quiz to put you through the paces and test your Heinleinian mettle. Beware: no namby-pamby softballs here; this Heinlein quiz is a harsh mistress. TANSTAAFL!

[Note: we’re pretty sure that there are at least a couple of questions here that you CANNOT find answers for on the internet. If you survive this quiz, then facing down a Bug invasion should be a piece of cake. Get the answers and find your RAH rating at the end.]

1. Why did Heinlein retire from the Navy?

A. He had served 20 years

B. He lost a portion of his left leg in a friendly fire accident

C. He caught tuberculosis

D. Heinlein was never in the Navy. He served in the Army during WW II.

2. RAH considered this writer his overall favorite and actively collected this writer’s works, including obscure tracts.

A. Herman Melville

B. Alfred Thayer Mahan

C. Edgar Rice Burroughs

D. Edward Gibbon

E. Mark Twain

F. Emily Dickinson

G. James Branch Cabell

3. What science fiction element plays a major role in Farnham’s Freehold

A. Time travel

B. A battle tank of enormous proportions

C. Psi powered twins

D. None. This is Heinlein’s only novel set in the present.

4. In Farmer in the Sky, it makes a big difference in the story that William Lermer is:

A. A girl disguised as a boy

B. A former member of the Astrogator’s Guild

C. An Eagle Scout

D. Illiterate, but possessed of a photographic memory

5. What science fiction writer said this about RAH?

“Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. He knows I'm a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love."

A. Philip K. Dick

B. Theodore Sturgeon

C. Stephen King

D. Cordwainer Smith

E. James Tiptree, Jr.

6. In Have Space Suit—Will Travel:

A. Young Thorby inherits a space suit from his beggar father, who is really a spy in deep cover.

B. Young John Lyle revolts against his job as a palace security guard for the sake of love and then wanders the

spaceways after being rejected.

C. Old Mary Sperling must decide between immortality and love.

D. Young Kip wins a decrepit space suit in a cheesy advertising contest.

7. To whom is science fiction writer and critic Damon Knight referring in this passage?

“She is a chemist, biochemist, aviation test engineer, experimental horticulturalist; she earned varsity letters at N.Y.U. in swimming, diving, basketball and field hockey, and became a competitive figure skater after graduation; she speaks seven languages so far, and is starting on an eighth.”

A. Friday in Friday

B. Virginia Heinlein, RAH’s wife

C. PeeWee in Have Spacesuit—Will Travel

D. Alice Dalgleish, the editor of the RAH juveniles

E. Jill Boardman in Stranger in a Strange Land

8. What does “to grok” mean?

A. To destroy

B. To fully understand in a complete and total manner

C. To shun an entire alien species

D. To achieve citizenship by serving in the military

9. “Democracy is a poor system of government at best; the only thing that can honestly be said in its favor is that it is about eight times as good as any other method the human race has ever tried.”

One of RAH’s most famous statements on democracy, this was actually spoken by one of his characters. Which one?

A. Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land

B. Johnie Rico in Starship Troopers

C. Hugh Farnham in Farnham’s Freehold

D. Lazarus Long in Time Enough for Love

E. No, it was Heinlein himself who said it in Take Back Your Government

10. Contrary to popular legend, Heinlein NEVER made an acronym of the phrase “There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch,” transforming it to “TANSTAAFL” in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

A. True

B. False

11. How many Heinlein juveniles were published by Scribner’s?

A. 10

B. 11

C. 12

D. 13

12. In what town did RAH grow up?

A. Annapolis, Maryland

B. Billings, Montana

C. Nashua, New Hampshire

D. Kansas City, Missouri

E. Daytona Beach, Florida

13. In “The Green Hills of Earth,” all of the following is true of space bard Rhysling EXCEPT:

A. He is the creator of a famous anthem of the space ways

B. He is blind

C. His famous song also shows up in Farmer in the Sky

D. He began his career as a jetman

E. He never actually lived on Earth

F. His songs were usually ribald and scurrilous

14. Rico’s enlisted unit in Starship Troopers is:

A. Hammer’s Slammers

B. Mandella’s Legion

C. Rasczak's Roughnecks

E. Doom Squad

F. Rough Riders II

15. On what planet is “The Menace from Earth” set?

A. Earth, of course

B. Pluto, when it was generally considered a planet

C. Not on a planet; on Earth’s moon

D. Mars

E. Klendathu

16. Which novel is usually considered the final story in internal, story chronology of Heinlein’s Future History?

A. To Sail Beyond the Sunset

B. Tramp Royale

C. Methuselah’s Children

D. Stranger in a Strange Land

17. In Starship Troopers, Rico’s mother

A. Disowns him for joining the military

B. Is killed in the Bug attack on Buenos Aires

C. Later joins the army—and Rico meets her in combat

D. Is taken to Klendathu, a human slave of the Bugs

18. In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress the Loonies finally secede from Earth using

A. A time machine that alters the past

B. A rail gun that throws rocks down the gravity well

C. The Loonies don’t defeat Earth militarily; they argue it into submission!

D. A suicide-bomb nuclear explosion that also destroys the Moon and all upon it

19. In which RAH book is Mother Thing a main character?

A. The Star Beast

B. Citizen of the Galaxy

C. Have Space Suit—Will Travel

D. The Number of the Beast

20. "He is not only America's premier writer of speculative fiction, but the greatest writer of such fiction in the world.”

Who said this about RAH?

A. Lurton Blassingame

B. Donald Rumsfeld

C. John W. Campbell

D. Stephen King

E. Tom Clancy


1. C

2. E; RAH was a huge Twain fan

3. A

4. C

5. A

6. D

7. B

8. B

9. A

10. B; false, it’s in the book, of course. A similar acronym with an SF origin is TANJ, “There Ain’t No Justice,”

which was created by Larry Niven.

11. C; the 13th, Starship Troopers, was rejected by Scribner’s and picked up by Putnam

12. D

13. E

14. C

15. C

16. A

17. B

18. B

19. C

20. D

Your RAH Rating

1-5: Between Planets

5-10: Space Cadet

10-15: Jetman

15-19: Water Brother

20: Dean’s List

PLUS: If you missed 3, 4, 6, 13 and 19 but got 8, 9, 10, 14 17 and 18, you have a world of Heinlein awaiting you! May we suggest you check out the First Heinlein Golden Age including such classics as Starman Jones, Citizen of the Galaxy, Revolt in 2100, Farmer in the Sky, Farnham’s Freehold, The Star Beast and early RAH masterpiece, Have Space Suit—Will Travel

If you missed 8, 9, 10, 14, 17 and 18, but got 3, 4, 6, 13 and 19, give the Heinlein Second Golden Age a go! Check out such classics as Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.