The Long View: Altscript

I have shared John's ideas on spelling reform before, but the content doesn't seem to have migrated well through the last website architecture update.

I am taking this as an opportunity to create topical indexes for John's work that will be featured in the top navigation bar.



Altscript in a Nutshel

The Sownds ov Inglish, Leter bi Leter

Jenerel Noats

A Breef History ov Altscript

The Alternativ Admirel (Robert A. Heinleins uther lyf)


The Altscript spelling reform proposal first burst upon the unsuspecting world in the autumn of 1997. Actually, the system is the connecting feature of two stories that I wrote about that time and posted to the Alternative History newsgroups. (You can get to the rest of my Alternative History material by clickng here.)

The Alternative History buffs (we need a name for ourselves) liked the Heinlein story well enough, and readers accepted the idea that the stories were written in the orthography of a world where English spelling reform had succeeded in the 20th century. However, if the stories sparked any great revival of popular interest in the rationalization of English spelling, I have not heard about it.

Looking at Altscript a year later, I am appalled at the number of bugs in the system. In addition, my knowledge of English phonology has increased in the meanwhile, so it now seems to me that some of my transcriptions were naive. Still, I remain convinced of the basic principle of the system, which is that a new spelling for English should be continuous with the old.

I had considered fixing the system and retranscribing the stories, but decided against it. I may someday fix Altscript, but the stories were written in the first version, and so I will keep the archived stories here. After all, they are the whole of Altscript literature so far!

Altscript in a Nutshel

Thair hav ben meny propoazels to reform the speling ov Inglish sinss the 18tth sentiury. The list ov peepl hw hav mayd them raynjes frum Benjamin Franklin to Theodore Roosevelt (yess, reely) to Anthony Burgess. Altho the very iidia sownds straynj tw moast Inglish-speekers, in fact it is norml for Uiropian languejes tw reform thair speling sistems evry fiu decayds. It is Inglish that is od in never having experiensed a tthero howscleening.

Altscript is a litl uniuzhiuel among reform sceems in tw respects. Ferst, it is a compleet, nw sistem ov ryting, not a partial rationelyzaytion lyk that introdwsed intw American speling bi the lexicografer Noah Webster in the 19tth sentiury. Second, it is also suppoazed tw be imediatly reedabl bi eneewun familier witth traditionl Inglish speling. Thiss meens, for instanss, that it uizes the traditionl Inglish qualitees ov the vowels, and prezervs a fiu comun leter combinaytions. It also meens that thair ar meny mor rwls tthan wood be needed meerly tw descryb Inglish speech foneticly. Altscript is indeed fonetic, but it acheevs thiss bi tayking familier Inglish speling conventions and uzing them consistently. Thuss, meny Altscript spelings look the saym as traditionl spelings, som look lyk familier misspelings, and som hav tw be decoaded frum the begining. That is wat thiss payj is heer tw help U dw.

The Sownds ov Inglish, Leter bi Leter

Spelings in Traditionl Ortthografy ar in brakets [brackets].


Normely as in "at" [at] or "father" [father].
The combinaytion "ai" is as in "air" [air].
The combinaytion "ay" is as in "day" [day]
The combinaytion "aw" is as in "awl" [awl, all]
The initial form "al" (as in "Altscript") is in moast reejunl pronunsiaytions a short "aw," foloaed bi an /l/.
Wair the "a" befor an "l" has the valiu ov the "a" in "at," the silabl stands aloan (the niknaym "Al" [Al]) or is foloaed bi a hyfen, as in "al-cemy" [alchemy].


Always "b" as in "be" [be].


Bi itself, always a hard sownd, as in "comand" [command] or "reject" [reject].
It is normely uized eether initialy or witthin a silabl.
It is uized at the end ov a silabl oanly as part ov the combinaytion "-cl," as in "particl" [particle], and in the combinaytion "-ic," as in "sonic" [sonic].
The combinaytion "ch" is as in "cheef" [chief].


Thiss is normely "d" as in "deep" [deep].
A fynl "-ed," the mark of the past tenss, can hav wun of tthree valius: For werds ending in "c," "f," "k," "p," "s," "tth," or "x," the ending "-ed" = /t/ as in "paked" [packed],"mised" [missed], and so on.
For werds ending in vowels or in "b," "g," "j," "l," "m," "n," "r," "th," "v" or "z.," the ending "-ed" = /d/, as in "baged" [bagged], "slamed" [slammed], and so on.
For werds ending in "d" or "t," the ending "-ed" = /ed/, as in "moalded" [molded], "bated" [batted], and so on.


Thiss is the cach-awl vowel, fownd in "get" [get], "fer" [fur, fir], "berth" [berth, birth] and so on.
The combinaytion "ee" expreses the naym valiu ov "e," as in "deep" [deep].
The leter "e" also has its naym valiu at the ends ov monosibels, such as "me" [me], "she" [she], "fle" [flea] and "te" [tea].


Always "f" as in "ferst" [first].


Normely "g" as in "good." The leter ocers in the combinaytion "gu," as in "anguish" [anguish].
It also ocers in the combinaytion "ing," as in "sing" [sing].


Bi itself, thiss is always "h" as in "hat" [hat].
The leter is also uized in the combinaytions "ch" "th" "tth."


The norml valiu ov thiss letr is as in "bit" [bit].
It is uized to reprezent a short "ee" sownd in serten vowel combinaytions, such as "peeriod" [period] and "enunsiayt" [enunciate].
Thiss leter has its naym valiu when standing aloan. When capitelyzed, it is the first persen singiuler. In lower cayss, it is the orgen ov syt (the plurel ov "i" [eye] is "ys" [eyes]). It has its naym valiu at the end ov a werd, as in "bi" [by], and at the begining, wen it is dubeled, as in "iironic" [ironic].
It is is uized in the combinaytions "ui" (uized oanly initialy) and "iu," in boatth cayses tw indicayt a glyd befor a long "u."
It can be uized tw indicayt a glyd eneewair but initialy.


Always "j" as in "joy."


Thiss leter is uized tw reprezent a hard "c" sownd at the end ov silabels, as in "mayk" [make].
It is uized even when the werd chanjes, as wen "mayk" becoms "mayks" [makes] and "mayking" [making].
It is uized in the combinaytion "nk," as in "drink" [drink].


Normely "l" as in "look" [look]. It also sugjests a short diptthong wen uized initialy in "al," as in "altho."
Wen it ocers at the end ov a werd in combinaytions such as "simpl" [simple], "posibl" [possible] or "litl" [little], the vowel is not expressed. However, the vowel must be expresed after uther vowel sownds and the letrs "r" and "l." (Thus, the spelings "vowel" [vowel] and "jenerel" [jenerel] rathr than "vowl" and "jenerl.")
Also, the vowel must be expresed wen the "l" is no longer final, so that "norml" [normal] becoms "normely" [normally].


Always "m" as in "mop"


Normely "n" as in "no." It ocers in the combinaytion "nk," as in "blank" [blank] and in the combinaytion "ing," as in "sing" [sing].


Thiss is moast comunly uized to represent an indistinct sound, as in "got" [got].
At the end ov a werd it has its naym valiu, wich is utherwyz expresded witth the combinaytion "oa," as in "moat" [moat].
The combinaytion "oo" is as in "good" [good].
In the combinaytion "or" it can sugjest a short diptthong lyk the "aw" in "awl" [awl].
The combinaytion "ow" is as in "now" [now].
The combinaytion "oy" is as in "joy" [joy].


Always "p" as in "pay."


Uized oanly in the combinaytion "qu," as in "quandry."


Normely "r" as in "red," subject tw reejunl variaytions.


Thiss is "s" as in "sit" wen uized at the begining ov a werd or internely. At the end ov a werd it is pronownsed /z/, unles it foloas "c" "f" "p" "t," in wich cayss it is pronownsed /s/.
Wen a gramaticl ending is aded tw a werd ending in an "s" that is pronownsed /z/, the "s" then becoms a "z." Thuss, "caws" [cause] becoms "cawzes" [causes].
The combinaytion "ss," uized oanly at the end ov a werd, is always pronownsed as in "hiss" [hiss]. Wen an ending is aded to such a werd, the "ss" is shortened to "s." Thus, "buss" [bus] becoms "buses" [buses].
The combinaytion "sh" is as in "wash" [wash].


Bi itself thiss is always "t" as in "top" [top].
The combinaytion "th" is as in "the" [the].
The combinaytion "tth" is as in "tthin" [thin].
The combinaytions "tion" and "tial" expres hoal silabels, as in "ignition" [ignition] and "initial" [initial].
The combinaytion "tiur" is often pronoansed "cher," as in "pictiur" [picture], but is also pronoansed "tiwr."


Thiss is normely an indistinct vowel, as in "uther" [other] and "buk" [buck].
In iisolaytion, it is capitelyzed and given its naym valiu as the secund persen, "U" [you].
Wen its naym valiu is expresed initialy, it is riten witth the combinaytion "ui," as in "uinit" [unit].
Wen its naym valiu is expresed in anuther poztion, it is riten "iu" as in "valiu" [value]. It also ocers in the combinaytion "gu," as in "anguish" [anguish].


Always "v" as in "vecter" [vector].


Thiss is normely a consonent, as in "way."
It inclwds the initial sownd ov such werds as "wen" [when], "wair" [where], and "wi" [why].
It is also a vowel, as "bwt" [boot] and "hws" [whose].
The leter ocers in the combinaytions "aw" and "ow."


Thiss is always "x" as in "execiutiv" [executiv].
It never ocers initialy, and it is never uized tw expres an oableek form ov a werd. Thuss, the third persen singiuler ov the prezent tenss ov "pek" [peck] is "peks" [pecks], not "pex."


Uized intialy, thiss is a consonent, as in "yeer" [yeer].
Uized meedialy, it expreses the diptthong witth the naym valiu ov "i," as in "ryt" [right, rite, write].
As a fynl leter, it is the equivalent ov "ee," as in "liberty."
It also ocers in the combinaytions "ay" and "oy."
Wen a gramaticl ending is aded tw a werd utherwyz ending in "y," the "y" is replaysed bi "ee." Thuss, "remedy" [remedy] becoms "remedeed" [remedied] or "remedees" [remedies] or "remedeeing."


Always "z" as in "zip."

Jenerel Noats:

Hyfens shood be uized tw separayt leters that wood utherwyz be ambigiuus. Thuss, "swing" = [swing], "sw-ing" = [suing].

Hyfens can be uized tw indicayt departiur frum the norml paterns ov stres. Thuss, the nown "recerd" [record] and the verb "re-cord" [record].

A Breef History ov Altscript

Thiss simpl, consistent ryting sistem has ben the standerd for the Inglish languej sinss the 1940s. It replaysed TO (Traditionl Ortthografy), a colorful but hyly irregiuler speling sistem dayting frum rufly the midl ov the 18tth sentiury. "Altscript," as the naym ("Alternativ Script") implys, was ferst introdwsed on a wyd scayl as an alternativ sistem tw be uized in tandem witth TO in the scwls, prymarely as ayd tw baysic literasy. However, its propoanents had always intended that it eventiuely becom the norml riten vehicl for the languej. Somwat tw thair serpryz, thiss goal was acheeved in a singl jeneraytion. Twday, wyl TO is eezily reedabl bi ediucayted inglishspeekers, the oalder sistem is uized oanly among relijuss secterians and serten reactionery biurocrats.

Altho disatisfaction witth the irregularitees ov TO had becom wydspred in the inglishspeeking werld bi the last quarter ov the 19th-sentiury, practicl reform began oanly in 1906, during the secund term ov Uinyted Stayts prezident Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt, long an adherent ov speling reform, in that yeer directed the US Printing Ofiss tw begin uizing a list ov 300 rationalyzed spelings in awl government documents. Stymeed in uther directions after his eventful ferst term, he increesingly seezed on ortthografic reform as a simbolic ishiu for "Progresiv" politics in the Uinyted Stayts. Roosevelts iidentificaytion witth the caws continiued after his exit frum the prezidensy in 1908. He was elected chairmen ov the Internationl Speling Sosyety in 1910, and he saw tw it that reform was part ov the platform ov the Nationl Progresiv ("Bul Mwss") Party during his run for a ttherd term for the prezidensy in 1912. Indeed, it is comunly mayntayned that the owtrayj oaver his asasinaytion bi a TO fanatic in Milwawky, Wisconsin, was the singl graytest factr in ashuring the reform of Inglish speling in the first haf ov the 20th sentiury.

Altho Altscript met witth considerabl initial resistenss in evry part ov the inglishspeeking werld, it imeediatly enlisted the suport ov serten grwps that eventiuely enshured its universl axeptenss. In the US, it was adopted by the Democratic Party during the prezidential election in 1920. Altho the Democrats lost nationely, Altscript was swn beeing incorporayted intw the curricula of moast loacl scwl districts under Democratic control. Mor importent, advertyzers quicly apreshiated the ability ov a novl but eezily lejibl script tw cach the atention ov conswmers, wyl nwzpaypers adopted the speling habits ov thair advertyzers in incrementl steps. The rezult was that, bi the mid-1930s, eeven the moast conservativ book publishers in the US uized Altscipt for som ov thair list. In Grayt Briten in the 1920s, Altscript becaym a fayverit caws ov the moderet Left, but gayned popiuler axeptenss oanly sloaly. Even wair it enjoyed public suport, the hyly sentrelyzed naytiur ov the ediucaytionl sistem inhibited its adoption bi loacl atthoritees. On a nationl levl, it did not begin tw garner ofitial recognition until the Secund Werld War.

The ferst cuntrees tw comit themselvs ofitialy tw compleet Altscript reform wer Nw Zeelend (1928) and Awstraylia (1930), tho in boatth cases witth long implementaytion peeriods. Despyt meny impediments, Altscript was the moast wydly uized form ov ryting in awl mayjr inglishspeeking sosyetees bi 1950, tho TO continiued tw be tawt as an adjunct tw literatiur corses.

Altscript oaed its relativly rapid suxess tw tw facters. The ferst was that it is desynedly conservativ ov TO. Its oanly reel graficl inovaytion is the uiss ov "tth" for the initial sownd in "tthin" (TO thin). It retayns the historic Inglish valius ov the vowels. It also ceeps som traditionl spelings ov hwl silabels, such as "tion" and "tial," rathr than devyz nw conventions. The uiss ov a singl "s" at the end ov a werd tw represent a /z/ sownd (exept after "c" "f" "p" "t," when it is an /s/) is mayntayned and regiuleryzed. Similerly, the ending "ed" as the syn ov the past tenss was retayned, sinss its pronunsiaytion as /t/, /d/ or /ed/ foloas a consistent patern instinctiv tw the naytiv speeker.

The secend reezen wi Altscript suxeeded was that TO was indefensibl. Tho a grayt delyt for persens witth a filolojicl bent, the traditionl speling ov Inglish was cumbersom tw no perpuss. Uizers cood not relyably spel werds thay cood pronownss, or pronownss werds thay cood spel. Wyl Inglish ortthografy at its werst never poazed dificultees quyt as grayv as thoaz poazed bi idiografic scripts, nevertheless it terned wat shood hav ben wun ov lyfs solwtions into wun ov its problems.

The Alternativ Admirel

Frum the Obitiuerees ov the Nw York Tyms

May 9, 1988

Robert Anson Heinlein, former prezident ov the Uinyted Stayts and wunss the yungest Fleet Admirel in the history ov modern warfair, dyed yesterday, May 8, 1988, at his estayt "Bonny Doon" in Santa Cruz, California. He was 80 yeers oald. The caws ov detth was complicaytions asoasiated witth cronic emfizeema. "The Admirel," as he continiued tw be noan eeven during his yeers in the Wyt Howss, is reported tw hav dyed peesfuly in his sleep during a morning nap.

Mr. Heinlein was born in the town ov Butler, in Bayts Cownty, Miswry, on Jiuli 7, 1907. He was the therd ov the seven children ov Rex Ivar Heinlein and Bam Lyle Heinlein. The famly swn mwved tw Kanzass Sity, Miswry. Thair Robert attended the public scwls, gradiuayting frum Sentrel Hi Scwl in 1924. After studeeing for wun yeer at Kanzass Sity Comiunity Colej, in 1925 he entered the US Nayvl Academy at Annapolis. He was comitioned an ofiser in 1929 and embarked on a meetioric career that wood last just 20 yeers.

In the smawl and underfunded interwar Nayvy, the yung Heinlein saw dwty on a variety ov ships and at moast mayjer US bayses. He swn gayned a repiutaytion for his grasp ov syentific problems and his oapeness tward teknolojicl inoavaytion. His ferst expoazhiur tw public scrwtiny caym in1934, during the Congretionl investigaytion ov the cripling exploazhun aboard his ship the USS Roper. Liutenent Heinlein was credited witth discovering the desyn flaw in the ships ventilaytion sistem that had criayted daynjerus consentraytions ov metthayn in the forwerd magazeen. For moast ov his career, however, he was involved witth his ferst lov, nayvl aviaytion.

Mr. Heinlein had meny difrenses witth the Roosevelt Administraytion. He was, for instenss, a voacl advocayt ov rearmament at a tym wen the Depretion-era government stil looked tw the militery budjet for oportiunitees tw cut expenses. He also upoazed the Administraytion on cultiurel ishius, noatably the introduction ov Altscript into the armed forses, wich at the tym he regarded as a Comiunist ploy. Tw the extent his supeeriers wood permit, he lobeed for syentific reseerch intw advansed raydar and intw atomic power for uiss on submareens and cariers. Altho the government shoaed litl intrest in atomic enerjy until the 1940s, Heinlein did mateeriely ayd in the development ov the oaver-the-horyzon raydar sistems that wood prwv desysiv in the Pasific war. Thees aktivitees, wich often had politicl oavertoans, did not neseserily advanss his career. Nevertheless, in 1940 Heinlein acheeved the rank ov Liutenent Comander. He was serving on the carier USS Lexington wen the Japanees ataked Perl Harber on Desember 7, 1941.

The desysiv tern in Robert Heinlein's lyf caym on May 4, 1942, wen a US nayvl task forss, inclwding the cariers USS Lexington and USS Yorktown, encowntered a larjer Japanees forss in the Corel Se. Fawt entyrly witth aviaytion, thiss was the ferst nayvl batl in history in wich serfiss ships did not fyr a shot. Erly in the morning ov May 4, befor eether syd was awair ov the prezenss ov the uther, a lost and owt-ov-fiul Japanees dyv-bomer syted the Lexington. It scored a direct hit on the carier's coning tower, crashing into the oation imeediatly thairafter, witthowt mayking contact witth its bayss. At that tym, the task forses comander, Reer Admirel Frank J. Fletcher, was hoalding a confrenss aboard the Lexington witth the seenier ofisers ov the hoal grwp. Awl the partisipents wer kiled. Heinlein, hw was beloa deks oaverseeing the mayntenenss ov his preshuss airborn raydar arays, hapened tw be the moast seenior ov the ofisers left in the task forss.

The extent tw wich the partial Al-lyed victory in the Batl ov the Corel Se can be atribiuted tw Heinlein was much debayted then and sinss. Heinlein himself always claymed that his oanly objectiv on aswming comand was the preservaytion ov the grwp. Nevertheless, befor boatth syds witthdrw, the US task forss did suxeed in sinking wun carier wyl sufering oanly moderet damej tw the Lexington and the Yorktown. Heinlein was aclaymed a heero, and advansed tthree grayds tw Reer Admirel.

During the Batle ov Midway frum Jiun 3 tw Jiun 6, 1942, Heinlein comanded wun ov the tw task forses under Admirel Raymond A. Spruance. Thanks in larj part tw the raydar sistems that Heinlein had promoated for meny yeers, six Japanese cariers wer destroyed, along witth awl the mayjer serfiss ships in the Japanees fleet. (The USS Yorktown, however, was so seveerly damejed that it did not se serviss agen until its deployment in the Mediteraynian in 1943.) Heinlein also comanded wun ov the grwps that protected the Al-lyed landings in the Solomon Iislends in Awgest, 1942. In the seerees of haf-a-dozen engayjments that history noas as the Batl ov the Solomon Iislends, the Japanees sufered such hevy loses as tw playss the defenss ov the hoam iislends in dowt. After thiss engayjment, during wich U.S. forses sufered relativly lyt damej, Heinlein was promoated a ful Admirel.

Heinlein was oaverawl comander ov the Al-lyed forses that partisipayted in the Batl ov the Filipeen Se on Desember 25, 1942. Thiss engayjment, during wich the Japanees fleet-in-beeing was destroyed, esentialy ended the war in the Pasific. Bi Janiuery 10, 1943, Admirel Isoroku Yamamoto, hw had planed the atak on Perl Harber but upoazed it as a mater ov polisy, replased Tojo as premeer. Admirel Heinlein axepted surender frum Yamamoto aboard the USS Lexington in Tokio Bay on Janiuery 20. (Yamamoto was kiled in an unexplayned airplayn crash on April that has ben wydly atribiuted tw fanaticl Japanees ofisers.) Asyd frum ociupaytion forses, the US armed forses in the Pasific wer then deployed tw the Uiropian tthiater.

Hoalding the rairly-bestoaed rayting ov Fleet Admirel, Heinlein was thioreticly comander ov US nayvl forses in boath the Mediteraynian and the Nortth Atlantic, tho in fact he spent moast ov the last yeer ov the war in stratejic consultaytion witth the British government. It was larjly tthrough his erjing that the American government baked Prym Minister Winston Churchills propoazl tw liberayt Uigoaslavia in layt 1943. He was also a propoanent ov the "two front" stratejy for the liberaytion ov Franss, argiuing that the nwtrality ov the Vichy rejeem was simply a Nazi fasod. In eny cayss, tthanks larjly tw the freeing up ov Al-lyed forses mayd posibl bi the end ov the Pasific war, the amfibius Al-lied landings on the French Riviera and the Bay ov Biscay in Febrwery ov 1944 imeediatly mayd the Jermen pozition in western Uirop untenabl. Heinlein was among the Al-lyed comanders prezent at the serender ov the Jermen government by Provizhunl Chanseler Albert Speer on Jiuli 20, 1944.

At the begining ov 1945, Heinlein was appoynted Nayvy Cheef ov Staf, a pozition he continiued tw hoald under the Truman Administraytion. In that ofiss, his cheef consern was tw se that reserch and development projects begun during the war wer continiued in peestym. It was larjly thanks tw his eforts that a prototyp nwclier devyss was tested in May ov 1945, tho the wepun was cept a secret for another seven yeers. His moast controvertial reseerch doctrin was tw fayver the development ov roket playns and hi-speed aircraft oaver balistic misiles, argiuing that the later wer a teknolojicl deadend.

Resyning in 1949 after 20 yeers in the Nayvy, Heinlein becaym involved witth sevrel ayviaytion-relayted start-up companees. He also began werk on his wydly-aclaymed awtobyografy, "Tramp Royel," wich eventiuely encompased six voliums published between 1960 and 1975. Disterbed bi the unwilingness ov eether party tw react tw the Soviet invayzhun ov nwtrel Poalend in 1950, Heinlein ran in 1952 as the prezidential candidayt ov the nw Tayk Yor Cuntry Bak Party. Handily defeeting boath Democrat Adlai Stevenson and Republican John Dewey, Heinlein was the ferst candidayt ov a ttherd party ever tw win a prezidential elektion. However, the Tayk Yor Cuntry Bak Party never wun mor than a handful ov seets in Congress, and Prezident Heinlein was reelected in 1956 as a Republican.

The cheef acomplishment ov the Heinlein Administraytion was the contaynment ov Chynees-Soviet Comiunism, a feet he acheeved in part by reveeling the existenss ov a smawl American nwclier wepuns stokpyl. Relaxing much ov the economic regiulaytion that had carakteryzed the Roosevelt and Truman yeers, he nevertheless suported hiuj public werks projects, noatably the nationl hyway and bulet-trayn sistems. His government vigerusly suported the sivl ryts mwvment in the 1950s, despyt the damej that thiss did tw Republican elektorel prospects in the Sowtth. The tw mayjer sivl ryts bils ov his Administraytion, pased in 1953 and 1957, esentially ended raytialy-baysed government aktivity in the Uinyted Stayts at boatth the locl and federel levels.

On the negativ syd, the Heinlein yeers ar often fawlted for a nationl mwd ov bland self-congratiulaytion. Heinlein himself was often denownsed (not hoaly aciuratly) as a filisteen hws reeding was confyned tw teknicl jernels and syenss fiction. His eforts tw reestablish the goald standerd ar uizhely syted as the caws ov the seveer economic resetion ov 1956-57. Mor seeriusly, the intelijenss servises ov the Uinyted Stayts operayted during his Administraytion witth litl regard for sivl libertees, often witth the prezident's vigerus suport. However, the asasinaytion ov Fidel Castro, provizhunl premeer ov a nw government in Ciuba during Heinleins last days in ofiss, has never ben directly tyed tw eny act bi Prezident Heinlein persenely.

After his yeers in the Wyt Howss, Heinlein roat sevrel werks ov fiction and history wyl stil compoazing the later voliums ov his memwas. Among thees wer "Metthwzelas Children" (1961), a history ov the Maysonic Order, "The Pupet Masters" (1963), wich explayned the tactics ov American Comiunists, and "Starship Trwpers," a wel-regarded pikar-esk novl that descrybed the adventiurs ov a shipful ov entertayners asyned tw amius the trwps during the Secend Werld War.

Perhaps the cheef interest ov Heinlein in his later yeers, however, was his doged promoation ov the comertial aplications ov spayssflyt. The ferst American satelyt lawnch, frum a maned hypersonic suborbitl craft, did not ocer until 1970. Thiss was a good fyv yeers after the Soviet Uinion lawnched its ferst Sputnik in 1965, uizing a simpl roket. Heinlein was often blaymed for thiss delay, tho he defended himself by poynting tw the vastly lower expenss per ceelo ov puting the American satelyt into orbit. In eny cayss, peepl aktiuely engayjed in the spayss industry did not hoald the longer development peeriod agenst him. Wen the ferst lwner bayss held elections in 1980, Heinlein was elected Onerery Mayer ov Lwner Sity. Heinleins unsawt candidasy beet that ov syenss ryter Arthur C. Clarke by wun voat. Clarke then tthretened a "cw." Thiss was dwly careed owt bi his partizans at the bayses next Nw Yeer's Eev party, wen thay stoal Heinleins pictiur frum the mayn dyning airia and replayssed it witth a larjer wun of Clarke. Aniuelly alternayting cws becaym a locl tradition.

Heinlein refiused tw be drawn into speciulaytion abowt the historicl significenss ov his career. Regarding his prezidensy, he aserted that his oanly reel objectiv was the saym as wen he becaym comander ov the Lexington: tw prezerv the comand he had ben given. It is cleer frum his awtobyografy that he was prowdest ov his tym in the Nayvy, particiulerly the erly days wen he was just a jiunier ofiser. Robert Heinlein is servyved bi Virginia, his wyf ov 30 yeers. Tho witthowt children ov his own, he is nevertheless also servyved by inwmerabl desendents.

Copyright © 1997 by John J. Reilly

Why post old articles?

Who was John J. Reilly?

All of John's posts here

An archive of John's site