Robert A. Heinlein's first novel unearthed

March 10, 2004 at 11:15 AM

NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) -- U.S. science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein's first book, the prophetic "For Us, The Living," has been published after being lost for more than 60 years.

Discovery of the novel, found in a Seattle garage, has led scholars to rethink the role of the sci-fi writer's place in literary history, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

"The impression was that he was writing commercial fiction from Day 1. Like a juggernaut he dominated science fiction," said Robert James, a Heinlein scholar who tracked down the missing manuscript and later wrote an afterword to "For Us, the Living."

"Actually from Day 1," James said, "he was writing what society should be about."

"For Us, the Living" tells the story of a man who dies in 1938 but is magically transported to 2086 and takes a look back at what occurred in the interim.

Heinlein, considered as important to the sci-fi genre as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, wrote "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Starship Troopers" and the story "If This Goes On --"

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