Talk:Robert A. Heinlein

Duplicate quotationsEdit

I've noticed the "Attributed"-section contained quotes which are already mentioned beforehand. I deleted those in the "Attributed"-section which were identical (three quotes). The other two that should be checked which is more correct are listed here including the difference(s) in brackets. They are:

  • A generation [without] OR [which ignores] history has no past— and no future.
  • History does not record anywhere [at any time] a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it. (Quoted from "Time Enough for Love" (1973), Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" pp. 241-242)

Furthermore, I've added '(Note: 11th commandment according to Heinlein: Don't get yourself caught!)' to the corresponding quote in the same section. I'm not sure about the excact quote, I just cited it from memory, otherwise I'd have made up a new paragraph. OK, so much for my first wikiquote edit. ;) Omones 17:31, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Bolded quotesEdit

Is there any specific reason why some passages are bolded, and some are not? Do the original sources read such? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 09:49, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Bolding quotes is a common Wikiquote practice for editors to express their belief that a quote or portion of a quote is particularly interesting or essential. It is usually not the original formatting. There are differences of opinion as to whether this is appropriate, but allowing editor-selected bolding has been the prevailing sentiment since the early days of Wikiquote. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 16:47, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
It's my opinion that bolding of parts of quotes is a distortion of the material, and therefore should not be done, and that the bolding of only some quotes and not others is an expression of POV. 05:36, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
As I have stated many times, I believe quoting itself must always involve some exercise of "POV" as to what people find interesting, and bolding is just a further part of the selection and presentation process that permits famous or significant portions of larger statements to stand out on a page, though more extensive passages and other quotes are often needed for elucidating the fullest context. ~ Kalki 17:04, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
You are certainly right that the selection of a quote is, inherently, an expression of point of view (or individual taste, which amounts to the same thing), and that same is true for the order and manner of presentation of the quotes, but I think it's wrong to believe that because that is the case, the quoter is also free to alter the quote to suit their POV. It's a basic premise of quotation that you do not alter the text you are quoting without in some way letting the reader know that you have done so, with the use of brackets and ellipses, which indicate the editing that has been done. (And even then, the quoter is responsible for making sure that the editing hasn't altered the meaning of the quote.) Bolding is emphasis, and it's not the quoter's job to alter the originator's emphasis without in some way indicating that a change has been made. (The usual method is to add "Emphasis added" to the end of the quote.) Ed Fitzgerald 03:32, 5 May 2007 (UTC)


I understand the preference to keep an author's quotes all together, but this page just took an appreciable amount of time to load on my computer. It is clearly too long. Ed Fitzgerald 05:34, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

I re-merged it simply because many of the "Lazarus Long" quotations are among Heinlein's most famous, and the page seemed rather gutted without them. The load times with slower connections or computers are one of the problems of using images, but I feel that they definitely make pages more interesting, and that is one of the trade-offs of using them. I have reduced the size of the images a bit, which should help a little. If others wish it, the page could be made separate again, but at least a few samples from "The Notebooks" should remain. ~ Kalki 17:04, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Three-legged stool of understanding quote?Edit

Does anyone have a source for the quote (mentioned in the Wall Street Journal recently [1]) that "the three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages and mathematics . . . if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots"? I think it would make a good addition to this page (and I'm personally curious). -- 03:32, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

The three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots.
This has been cited as a statement of Heinlein's alter-ego Lazarus Long, but off-hand I don't know what book it might be from. ~ Pan 05:21, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
This is actually Heinlein as himself in "The Happy Days Ahead" — the last essay in Expanded Universe (1980) ~ Kalki 06:42, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

If This Goes On, 1940Edit

"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything--you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him." --Robert A. Heinlein, If This Goes On, 1940 User: 10:06, 14 March 2010

Divide sections?Edit

This is in regards to this, is it possible to divide the quotes separately from the two books? I understand the desire to list them alongside one another if they are linked, but it is a very long title and a ridiculously large section. I think it would be easier to read as well as to confirm these references if we were to divide them. Dictabeard 19:06, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

I believe this section heading is unfortunate, and dislike it myself — because it implies that there is a combination innately involved. I actually believe there probably were no quotes from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long which were not already in TIme Enough for Love — and the proper place for noting the Notebooks is in a comment below the heading, which I believe was the original layout — which I will double check now and probably revert to. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 20:36, 28 March 2011 (UTC)
I reverted to the earlier form of having that section heading denote Time Enough for Love — the comments which were still intact there confirmed my impressions in making the above comments. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 20:40, 28 March 2011 (UTC)


Is it possible for people who are aware of these quotes' veracity to make them easier to confirm for others with access to these writings by listing the page number the quote appears on? Another benefit to this is that we could also arrange the book quotes by these page numbers and it gives us a progressive and neutral means of organizing them. Dictabeard 19:06, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Sectional headings and chapter headings are generally recommended for greater applicability across editions, but use of page numbers is also accepted. It is not required though, and where they are not provided, they are generally permitted, but their use depends upon the levels of interest in doing so by those involved. I certainly would not seek to mandate that they be used, because it is my opinion that their are generally far too many contribution-inhibiting mandates, rules, suggestions and presumptions that suggestions should be treated as mandates at work here, and I generally tend to be against the growht of more of them. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 20:32, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Run in circles, scream and shoutEdit

I heard the quote, "When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout," from someone whom I know I have not seen since 1975, and probably before 1970, in a context that gave the impression that he was quoting someone else. For that reason I doubt that it was original with Heinlein in a 1985 work.

I first encountered this (with "danger" rather than "trouble") in the 1970's (possibly Alfred Bester or Harlan Ellison), but it is older than that. It was popularized in "literature" by Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny (1951), which describes it as an ancient adage. It can be found in print journals as early as the 1920s (Infantry Journal, Vol. 35, (1929), p. 369), and is usually described as an old saying in the navy or in the army. ~ Ningauble 14:57, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I have removed the quote from this article, but don't panic, it is now listed on the Panic theme page. ~ Ningauble 15:53, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

Please can't someone give a proper citation?Edit

Why is it that it seems okay to 'cite' a quote with just the book title?

What good is that?

It is next to useless, a tiny step above listing the source by the author's name.

Whoever found the quote had to have dug it out of the book to put it on the site so why the blazes was it allowed to just be put up naked without any decent coverage such as at the very least Chapter!!!! But the best policy would be page number and the year of your edition that you are citing.

Why is it an acceptable practice to just give the authors name?????

Laziness! And next to useless!

I came to wikiquote because on my first look you were the only place on the web to give proper citations, but here I found just useless worthless junk! It all in the ends is a bunch of attributed to the author, since there is no actual evidence of a citation. It all has to be assumed that it is made up by whoever posted it.

I guess I will have to spend sometime and help out and fix this mess.

I'm new here... but I will create a user name of GJaron.

—This unsigned comment is by GJaron (talkcontribs) .
Further citations beyond a stories title and date are often useful, and I tend to recommend at least chapter level citations generally, when these are available, but these are not considered necessary by all, and in a compendium on the internet citations to works can usually be easily checked and verified from multiple published sources. Any additional work on extending citations or quotes is always welcome. ~ Kalki··☳☶ 17:04, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I would also say that if you have an electronic copy, or if we have a book with multiple versions available, a page number is less useful than you would think. You would have to provide a lot more information to make clear which version and format of the book you have in order for it to be meaningful. Not that there is a major problem doing so, but it would involve paying close attention to many details. --Douglaspperkins (talk) 11:52, 18 July 2015 (UTC)
I tend to agree page numbers are far less useful or necessary in the present internet era; they still are useful in citing original or single editions of works, or magazines, but I have long preferred simple chapter citations when possible — and do not insist on those, when a general source work is provided, though such divisions become more useful, when quotes from a single work are more than a few. ~ Kalki·· 12:32, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

Wrong book?Edit

The quote, "Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen." is listed as being from "The Rolling Stones". I cannot find it in the book. Can anyone confirm that it's there? Searching the ePub for the word "theoretically", for example, has zero results. --Douglaspperkins (talk) 11:49, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

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