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20 Best Robert Heinlein Books (2021)

Best Robert Heinlein Books ReviewBio

Heinlein, also known as the dean of science fiction writers, was an American author who has written more works with his name than there are states in the US. To be exact, Heinlein lived from 1907 to 1988 and has managed to write 32 novels, 59 short stories, and 16 wonderful collections during his life. 

Many of the thrilling science fiction novels Robert has written have been adapted to some of the most popular sci-fi movies ever made. This includes the movies Starship Troopers, The Puppet Masters, The Brain Eaters, and more. Here are a few of the most popular Robert Heinlein books ever published.

Best Robert Heinlein Books

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Photo Title Rating Length Buy
Stranger in a Strange Land 9.04/10 438 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Starship Troopers 9.12/10 263 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Moon Is a Harsh Mistress 9.36/10 398 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Lazarus Long Series 9.02/10 5 Books Check Price On Amazon
Puppet Masters 9.06/10 416 Pages Check Price On Amazon

Photo Title Rating Length Buy
World As Myth Series 9.02/10 4 Books Check Price On Amazon
Have Space Suit - Will Travel 9.04/10 212 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Friday 8.96/10 357 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Future History Series 9.12/10 24 Books Check Price On Amazon
Door Into Summer 9.08/10 304 Pages Check Price On Amazon

Photo Title Rating Length Buy
Double Star 9.02/10 170 Pages Check Price On Amazon
JOB 8.76/10 439 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Citizen of the Galaxy 9.08/10 236 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Glory Road 8.82/10 321 Pages Check Price On Amazon
I Will Fear No Evil 8.72/10 512 Pages Check Price On Amazon

Photo Title Rating Length Buy
Farnham's Freehold 8.42/10 289 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Red Planet 8.84/10 256 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Farmer in the Sky 8.76/10 216 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Time for the Stars 9.08/10 256 Pages Check Price On Amazon
Waldo & Magic, Inc. 9.02/10 208 Pages Check Price On Amazon

Stranger in a Strange Land

 

Valentine Smith

Starting off our Robert Heinlein books list is a story of unpredictability and mystery, and sci-fi, of course. Valentine Michael Smith is the character you get to follow in this book. He is a human who’s been raised on Mars and has finally gotten the opportunity to travel to Earth and be among his people. Read our selection of the top-rated science fiction fantasy books to learn more.

It will be hard not to like the main character in the story. Valentine is an unpredictable character whose motivations tend to change from time to time. He makes the story wonderful to read and you get to know him as a person as everything progresses.

Elements of Modern Society

This is exactly what Heinlein wanted to analyze in this book. Now, don’t forget that this book was written in the 1950s so what was modern society then isn’t the same today. There are some sexist elements to the story but remember, much of that was quite normal during that time.

What Robert was trying to do is discuss the many aspects of modern society. Both the religious and technical sides of things are quite interesting to read as you get to learn a thing or two about the tasteless, artificial, and despicable elements of society back then. See our review of the best classic science fiction books for more info.

Starship Troopers

 

Elite Mobile Army

Robert has written many masterpieces but Starship Troopers presents one of the most exciting stories a science fiction fan can ever read. No wonder it also got on our ultimate list of the top science fiction books of all time. The movie that was made from the story of this book was something unforgettable and extremely fun to watch. So, how can this one not be among Robert Heinlein’s best books?

If you’re someone who doesn’t like bugs then this book will be perfect for you. There are lots of them inside but most of the bugs get shot, bombed, dissected, and more. The story follows Juan Rico as he joins the Elite Mobile Army to fight a terrible intergalactic war. The war is between giant bugs and humans. When Robert A. Heinlein’s best books are in question, this one couldn’t get any better.

Expansion of the Human Race

In this distant future that the story is set, humans have colonized much of the solar system and have unfortunately come across a species that doesn’t want to share. But, for much of the book, the intentions of the bugs are uncertain. Humans don’t understand these creatures and are doing everything they can to kill them, without trying to see the full story from their perspective.

It will be hard not to like this book if you’re a fan of Robert and you adore sci-fi. There’s a little bit of everything. The story is filled with action, suspense, a little bit of romance, and more. It is, without a question, probably Robert Heinlein’s best book about war. That’s why it is not so surprising that we also covered it in our selection of the top military science fiction books.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

 

Journey Towards Freedom

Here is another one of Robert Heinlein’s books that contains too much thrill, making you not want to leave the book after you start reading. This story is about oppression and the will and journey towards freedom. All of that is fine on its own, but when you add a little bit of Heinlein to it, then you have a fantastic sci-fi novel. We also covered this novel in our review of the most popular classic science fiction books. Check it out!

People on the Moon

In this story, the moon was home to a small penal colony but years later, it became home to over 3 million free people. But, the word free might be a bit exaggerated here as these people were still treated like slaves by their masters back on Terra (Earth).

It seems that the people on the Moon couldn’t take this anymore so a revolution starts being planned in the dark. A few of the main characters who will be planning all of this are Davis, Knott, and Prof. Another character, called Mike, will later be inserted into all of this after a few police officers who catch them at their meetings are killed.

Revolution

Much of the story in this brilliant and one of the best Robert Heinlein novels you can ever read focuses on the planning and execution of the revolution. The heroes gather more people and eventually start making progress and head on the right path to making the moon their own. All they wish is to live freely and independently. We mentioned this amazing novel in our articles about the best space opera books and the top sci-fi books ever, so make sure to check it out.

Lazarus Long Book Series

 

Fascinating Protagonist

Have you ever wanted to live forever, travel the world, and never run out of time for anything? It does sound great and Lazarus Long is the perfect character to show you how exactly that looks like. Lazarus Long is one of the all-time best Robert Heinlein series thanks to this fascinating protagonist and the plot movers that he constantly comes across throughout the 5 books in the series.

It’s a “Long” Story

Each of the 5 books inside the series reveals more and more about the main character. Heinlein’s Lazarus Long series is a story about how the protagonist roams the world and slowly gets sick of life. The first book, Methuselah’s Children, is among the most interesting ones as both you and Lazarus are clueless about what is going to happen.

The world that he lives in is in the middle of an age where genetic experiments with breeding are constantly undergoing. Those who are experimented on belong to a group called the Howard Families. After a series of experiments, many of the Howard Families’ abilities are suspended and the members are detained. All but Lazarus, of course.

Beyond Just Immortality

The story is not just about being immortal and living forever. There’s much more to it, otherwise, it wouldn’t be a part of this list. Lazarus’ real adventure begins when he hijacks a starship that’s able to travel to distant stars.

Aside from that, there is simply too much that this series has to offer and it’s much more than a few Robert Heinlein book reviews can fit. If you want the full story, the books are going to show you everything you need to see.

The Puppet Masters

 

“Sluggish” Aliens

An invasion is about to begin in Iowa and spread across the entire nation. In the next best Robert Heinlein book, you get to read a story about slug-like aliens who can control humans after simply touching them. This is a story that was adapted to a very popular movie that bears the same title and one that will show you the real meaning of sci-fi thrill.

So It Begins

The aliens had landed in Iowa already but no one was sure whether the UFO sighting was real or not. A secret government intelligence agency sends agent after agent to inspect the situation but they just keep disappearing. Then, two agents manage to discover the truth and get out with their lives. It turns out that aliens have arrived on Earth.

Threat Rises

While the U.S. government was trying to uncover the truth, nearly all of Iowa was under their control. The aliens can learn everything the possessed humans know. This means they now know who the most important humans are to hit to seize control of the entire nation. Will the invasion keep spreading or is there some brave soul out there who has what it takes to save the day in one of the top Robert Heinlein books out there?

The World As Myth Book Series

 

Must-Read

This is not your usual Heinlein book series as none of the books inside are connected in terms of having the same characters or plots. No, this is even better and perhaps one of the best Robert Heinlein book series ever. The books inside are all either stand-alone novels or a part of another series but they do have a few things in common. They all have something to do with either time travel or speeding across other worlds.

Time Enough for Love

The four books inside the series are some of the most memorable stories created by this author. The first novel is from his popular series called Lazarus Long. This one is a story about the joys of living eternally.

The Number of the Beast

The second book talks about two male and two female characters who are trying to survive an alien attack. These characters show you the true meaning of excitement as they speed across space and tackle adventure after adventure.

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

Another global scale event takes over the plot in this book as Dr. Richard Ames is about to be forced into saving a sentient computer. This computer is the key to many secrets inside the book and can alter human history. This can prove quite dangerous in the wrong hands. This one also features Lazarus Long as a supporting character.

To Sail Beyond the Sunset

In the final story of the series, you get to follow Lazarus Long’s mother, Maureen Johnson, and the cat from The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, one of the best-selling Robert Heinlein books ever, on some crazy adventures.

Have Space Suit – Will Travel

 

Imagination Flowing Wild

Finally, we come across one of the best-rated Robert Heinlein books for the younger audience. This is a story that is sure to let the imagination of the young ones flow wild. It features a lot of space excitement, memorable and easy-going characters, and so much fun. Learn more about similar books in our selection of the top sci-fi books for kids.

Kip, Peewee, and Mother Thing

Before you get confused with what these names mean, let’s elaborate. Kip is one of the first main characters you get to meet in the story. He had entered a prize-winning contest hoping to win a trip to the moon but instead won a used spacesuit. Don’t worry, that’s not going to ruin this book from being among the best books by Robert Heinlein.

Peewee is a young girl and Mother Thing is an alien creature who, alongside her, lands on Earth with their flying saucer. They bump into Kip and a strong bond is immediately formed. The three, unfortunately, are immediately captured by the nasty creature that was chasing the flying saucer and they’re taken to the moon.

Wormface

This is the name of the creature that captured the three protagonists and promised to kill them. After Kip, Peewee, and Mother Thing manage to escape with a few injuries, they travel to Mother Thing’s home planet to heal. After that, they attend the trial of the Wormfaces which have proven to be quite dangerous and are a threat to anyone aside from themselves.

Friday

 

Who Is Friday?

Space travel, time travel, artificial intelligence, what will it be this time? Many of Heinlein’s books are full of surprises as their originality never ceases to amaze. This book will mostly be following a character known as Friday, one of the most memorable characters in Robert Heinlein’s books.

To put it simply, Friday Jones is an artificial person, a girl who has been genetically engineered to be above most humans. She is stronger, smarter, faster, more agile, and generally better than nearly all normal humans out there. She is also one of the types of humans that are widely resented as this is something that she must suffer through.

Life of an Artificial Human

As you might guess based on her qualities, Friday is working as a highly trained warrior. To be more exact, she is a combat courier for a quasi-military organization. She lives in a world where it’s legal to have multiple spouses but hers didn’t know what she was at the time.

After surviving a horrible mission where she was tortured and raped, she tells her family the truth and they divorce her. Friday then becomes a fugitive after killing a policeman who was about to arrest her after her organization was shut down. The rest of the story follows her trying to find a new home in colonies on other planets.

Future History or “Heinlein Timeline” Book Series

 

Long Series

This is one of the biggest collections of short stories that Heinlein has ever written. These are all Robert Heinlein’s connected stories that feature a huge number of adventures to go on and unforgettable characters to meet. There are 24 books in this collection and way more stories inside each of them.

Future History’s History

This incredible series of some of the most memorable Robert A. Heinlein books first appeared way back in May 1941, when Heinlein published its first draft ever. This first draft was published in Astounding Science Fiction, a popular sci-fi magazine at that time. Most of the stories you’re about to read inside are from Robert’s early days in his career. Don’t let that discourage you as this author was a master even from the very start.

Weird Worlds and Confusing Dimensions

The list of weird things, characters, and places you can expect to find inside this series is simply way too long to list in one best Robert Heinlein books review. You can rest assured knowing that your imagination will thank you for reading these stories as there are some things inside that you could have never even imagined. That’s how the mind of this brilliant author worked as he simply kept spitting out mesmerizing stories all the time.

The Door Into Summer

 

Favorite Family Member

If you have ever wanted your own robot companion that’s going to help out with all of your household activities and chores then this is the book for you. However, let’s not forget that this is still one of Robert A. Heinlein’s best books so expect quite a lot of suspense, and action.

Million Dollar Idea

The year was 1970 when the protagonist of the story, Dan Davis, finally created the invention that was about to change his life. This invention was a household robot that could do a lot more than vacuum the carpet. Little did Davis know that his invention was about to change his life for the worse, not for the better.

Stealing a Million Dollar Idea

Dan’s happiness was through the roof when he finally finished his work and saw it perform perfectly. But, his happiness and luck weren’t about to stay for long as his greedy partner and back-stabbing fiancé managed to steal all of his research and work, thus leaving Dan broke, sad, and robotless.

That’s not even the worst part. Despite losing his life’s work, being betrayed by his partner, and getting stabbed in the back by the love of his life, they seal the deal and trap Dan in suspended animation for thirty years. What happens next is yours to reveal.

Double Star

 

Lorenzo Smythe

Lorenzo Smythe is the protagonist in this book and is about to see a huge change in his life. It seems that nothing could bring him down more than he already was. Lorenzo was a broke and homeless actor who has been spending most of his days in bars drinking himself out of his misery. One day, that pattern changes when a space pilot offers to buy him a drink.

Lorenzo’s Mission

After accepting the space pilot stranger’s drink offer, Lorenzo kept on drinking until he woke up on an all-expenses-paid trip to Mars. But, this was no vacation as Lorenzo was about to play the role of a lifetime. It turns out that peace between Earth and Mars was at stake and Lorenzo’s mission was to impersonate a very important politician who was kidnapped.

So Much At Stake

Suddenly, Lorenzo’s troubles back on Earth seemed like nothing compared to what he was about to get involved in. To make matters worse, his own life was at stake as well. Failure is not an option here as the consequences would be dire. Now there’s a story that has everything it takes to be the best Robert Heinlein novel of all time. But, if this one doesn’t suit you, there are plenty of others to see here.

Job: A Comedy of Justice

 

Alex Hergensheimer

This is another Locus Award-winning work by Robert and one with a plot to remember. The story is a breathtaking sci-fi one but one that also has a few religious aspects as well. The main character, Alex Hergensheimer, is a Christian political activist. Another one of the most important characters here is Margrethe, the woman Alex is crazy about and the one who also corrupts him.

Relationship

There are many fascinating events you read in all of the books written by Robert A. Heinlein, and this book is nothing less. Alex and Margrethe have a very complex relationship. Both of them believe in different gods. The thing that bothers Alex the most is the fact that he can’t stop waking up in different worlds all the time. This mysterious event always happens at the most inconvenient time possible. Sometimes he spends a few hours or days in these places, but other times it’s weeks and even months.

Through Heaven and Hell

One day, Alex finds himself in heaven which is a shock to him. Nonetheless, the most important thing to Alex is that he can’t seem to find Margrethe there. This might have something to do with the fact that she believed in the Norse gods, Odin and Loki. The rest of the story follows Alex as he travels through heaven and hell to find his beloved.

Citizen of the Galaxy

 

Future Slavery

One of the most difficult things to do here is to list Robert A. Heinlein’s novels ranked so instead, we’ve just compiled 20 of the best ones he has ever written. The next one is Citizen of the Galaxy, a story about slavery in a distant future and in a world where things are not as they seem. This is the story of young Thorby.

Orphaned Boy

Thorby is a young boy who was unfortunate enough to become an orphan at a very young age and be sold as a slave at an auction. Baslim is another character who is here to spice things up and move this book up on any Robert Heinlein books ranked list as he is a character with a very misleading appearance.

Baslim is Thorby’s new owner, he seems like an old disabled beggar but it turns out that he is actually an abolitionist spy. His life is a dangerous one but he makes sure to take care of Thorby and have contingency plans if any scandals should occur.

There’s Something Special About Thorby

We mentioned that Thorby was simply a young orphan who was leading a very difficult life. But, there seems to be something more to this boy and his identity. He will later discover a few secrets that will change everything for him, but not before a few thrilling events go down. The reason this is one of the best Robert Heinlein books ever is that Thorby is a character who must fight his way to freedom and happiness, and the journey will be anything but easy. We also covered this novel in our review of the most popular sci-fi books for kids.

Glory Road

 

Hugo Award Nominee

Glory Road is another Hugo Award nominee and another one of Robert A. Heinlein’s best books you can find. The main character who brings all of the thrill is Evelyn Cyril Gordon. The title of the book itself is a pretty clear picture of what to expect.

Evelyn’s Quest

Evelyn had just been dispatched from a war that took place in Southeast Asia. Now, he has no idea what to do about his future and where to go from here. Lucky for him, it won’t take long for him to receive his new orders. He sees an ad in a newspaper that says “Are you a coward?”. He responds and discovers that this was a message by a Star, a ridiculously gorgeous woman he had previously met.

The Quest Begins

One thing leads to another and the next thing Evelyn knows is that he is going on a quest to retrieve a Phoenix Egg. Many things make this book one of the best Robert Heinlein books that have ever been written. One of them includes a fearsome foe who he comes across on his quest, Cyrano de Bergerac, a famous swordsman and French novelist from the 17th century.

I Will Fear No Evil

 

Forever Young

At some point or another, many science fiction enthusiasts have wondered what it would be like to transport your mind into a younger body when we get older. This is the story of Johann Sebastian Bach Smith. Johann is very old and extremely rich. He has just decided to transplant his brain into a younger body.

Recently Deceased Eunice

You will find out why as you read the book, but Johann decides to use the body of his secretary that passed away recently, Eunice. She is the perfect host for the job but, as in many of the other best Robert Heinlein books, there is just a slight problem that turns things upside down.

In this case, it turns out that Eunice’s mind hadn’t exactly left her body yet. Smith discovers this as soon as he wakes up after the surgery. He realizes that there’s one more person within the body, Eunice.

Another Guest

Later, as the story progresses, another character gets introduced to the story and ends up inside Eunice’s body as the third person. This event immediately makes the book a lot more interesting and rises the ranks on many Robert A. Heinlein books ranked lists. The ending of this story will most likely have you in tears.

Farnham’s Freehold

 

Distant Future

The next science fiction masterpiece from our list of a few of the best novels of Robert A. Heinlein is one that talks about nuclear war and a journey into a distant future. The main character taking you along is Hugh Farnham, a survivor who lived to tell the story.

Nuclear War Imminent

Hugh was suspicious of this for a while and eventually came to the unfortunate conclusion that a nuclear war was about to happen very soon. He prepared for this and built a bomb shelter for him and his family.

After the war finally came and nearly destroyed the entire planet, Farnham’s bomb shelter was tossed into the future through a tear that occurred in the fabric of time. Wait, this is not even the best part that makes this one of the best books of Robert Heinlein. That part is yet to come.

2000 Years In the Future

This event sent Hugh and his family in a future where, as being members of the race that nearly destroyed the world, they were only useful as slaves and nothing else. This was very unappealing to Hugh so all that was on his mind was how to reach freedom. But, even if he did, this world is not the one he remembers and there seems to be nothing here for him or his family.

Red Planet

 

Jim Marlow

Science fiction stories about our very close neighbor Mars have always been extremely fun to read. Well, this is a story that takes place there and is one of the earlier books by this author if you plan on reading Robert Heinlein’s books in chronological order. The story introduces you to Jim Marlow, one of the most exciting characters in all of his books.

Martian Boarding School

The story was first published as part of Robert Heinlein’s Juvenile books. It takes place in a future where Mars is colonized by humans who live alongside the Martians. The focus is mainly on the boarding school in which Jim Marlow and his friend Frank Sutton have just arrived to begin their academic studies.

These are the two characters that you’ll be following for most of the story. But, there’s one more. Jim’s Martian pet Willis the Bouncer, a small creature that has a few surprises up its sleeve. If you’re looking for one of the best Robert Heinlein books ranked then these three characters will show you around.

Something to Lose

The exciting parts of the story finally arrive when Jim and his friend stumble upon a terrifying political plot that will take away the Martian colonists’ rights. This secret forces these characters on an adventure that will decide whether they lose everything they have or save the day and their people.

Farmer in the Sky

 

William Bill Lermer

William Bill Lermer is one of the main characters who’ll be taking you on the next adventure in another one of the best Robert Heinlein books of all time. This story is also in a future where the population has become overcrowded and food is being rationed. Bill, his father George, and Peggy decide to board the next ship leaving Earth and go straight to one of Jupiter’s moons that is being terraformed to sustain human life.

The Journey Begins

From the second they get on the ship, they discover that Earth wasn’t such a bad place as the dangers of space and other planets are way worse. They quickly realize that this process of adapting will be much harder than they expect. The suspense will get to you as nothing is predictable where they’re going.

Ganymede

This is the name of the planet they are heading for. Upon arriving, almost nothing was as described. The colony was not finished, the farms were far from being completed, and many more complications were occurring one after another. We’ll stop with the spoilers here and allow you to discover why this book is probably the best one from Robert Heinlein’s Juvenile Novels.

Time for the Stars

 

Young Adult Audience

This book was originally titled Heinlein’s Juveniles. It was written during the 1950s and is meant for young adult readers. The story inside features another world that suffers from overpopulation just like in many of the best novels of Robert Heinlein. Humans must find other habitable worlds before it is too late.

Long Range Foundation

Many of the projects and experiments that will be discussed in the story are funded by the LRF. This organization funds really expensive projects for space exploration. They continuously launch torchships, rocket ships Robert came up with that can reach the speed of light but not exceed it.

These torchships are created for one purpose, to explore space and discover any nearby habitable planets for the benefit of humankind. But, the journeys take very long and each ship is well equipped with a large crew for added convenience.

Telepathic Communication

There was one problem that kept setting these missions back, long-range communication was a slow and painful process. Then, it was discovered that there were a few telepathic twins who can communicate with each other instantly without being affected by distance. Could this be the answer to long-range communication and which of the twins would have to stay behind and which would go off exploring the universe?

Waldo and Magic, Inc

 

Short Stories

And at last, the final book we have to offer is a short story collection. If you’re looking to read Robert Heinlein’s books in order, this is one of the first-ever short story collections you will ever find. It contains the two novellas mentioned in the title.

Waldo

The first story inside this collection is one that dates back from 1942 and was first published in Astounding Magazine in August the same year. It features Waldo, the main character. He was born quite the weakling who wasn’t even able to lift his arms for quite a while.

Something had to be done so his family paid for the development of a device that could increase his strength. As a result of his weaknesses, Waldo grows up to become extremely rich thanks to his intellect. He buys himself a home on the moon thanks to his hatred for all humans.

Magic, Inc

This is the second story in the series. This one was originally published in Unknown Fantasy Fiction in 1940. Its initial title was The Devil Makes the Law. Now, known as Magic, Inc, the story inside introduces you to Archie Fraser. Archie owns a building contracting business that is doing better than usual. There is a lot of magic present in this book, same as in Waldo, but Archie doesn’t seem like he needs it a lot.

Cold Iron

He strictly works with cold iron, which defies magic. Archie later starts experiencing some problems with other magic users who are tearing apart his business and stealing customers away. Mad about the situation, Archie heads straight to Hell to take care of his troubles for good.

Author
Robert Hazley
Robert Hazley
Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)