Best Robert Heinlein Books
Book Lists

Best Robert Heinlein Books Ranked

Robert Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907 and was considered the dean of science fiction novels. One thing that set him apart from other writers is his insistence on scientific accuracy in all of his books, which could’ve been the result of his being an aeronautical engineer. 

He wrote books, short stories, and essays, and they included both fiction and nonfiction work. Some of his books were controversial, most notably the theme of plural marriage in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and militarism in Starship Troopers. He was also ahead of his time and used his writing to explore various political and social ideas, which in the end earned him a lot of fans. He died in 1988 at the age of 80. 

Below are some of his best books.

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47. For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs

When a regular guy living in 1939 wakes up and it’s 2068, he is ready to explore all of the ways the world is now different. This is an old manuscript that was finally published in the early 2000s.

46. I Will Fear No Evil

Johann Smith is very old and very rich, so he has his brain transplanted into a younger body – that of his recently deceased secretary, Eunice. The problem is, Eunice hasn’t completely abandoned her body yet.

45. Farnham’s Freehold

When Hugh Farnham escapes to his bomb shelter during the apocalypse, the war pushes him into a different time 2,000 years into the future. This is a world where his race is now made up only of slaves, and he doesn’t know what to do about it.

44. Podkayne of Mars

Podkayne is a Martian maid who wants to be the first female starship pilot, so she joins her uncle on an interstellar journey. The only problem is, she is a political target thanks to her uncle’s power.

43. The Number of the Beast

Two males and two females are under attack by aliens and they escape into the sky, where lots of things await them, including peril, danger, and even ecstasy.

42. Sixth Column

Other beings invade Earth until all of the nations fall. Now, it’s up to six men hidden in the mountains to work on a plan to free the planet.

41. Grumbles From the Grave

This is a collection of letters written by Robert Heinlein himself and which he stated he wanted published after his death. After he died in 1988, his wife got these letters together and published them in this book.

40. The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag

Jonathan Hoag hires a husband-and-wife team of detectives to find out where the mysterious substance under his fingernails is coming from. But something is amiss when both husband and wife have different memories when they go out to investigate the matter.

39. Beyond This Horizon

When utopia is achieved, there is no more war, hunger, disease, or poverty in the world, and a man named Hamilton Felix is getting bored. But his life is about to get more exciting, or more troubling, depending on how you look at it.

38. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

A stranger is shot dead while trying to deliver a cryptic message, and Dr. Richard Ames suddenly finds himself in a world he never knew existed, complete with danger and other dimensions, not to mention a computer that could alter the course of history.

37. Rocket Ship Galileo

The three high-schoolers of the Galileo Club find themselves helping a nuclear physicist build a rocket ship to the moon, but they suddenly find themselves a little more involved than they want to be.

36. Orphans of the Sky

Hugh thinks the Ship is headed to Centaurus, but he starts to question this after a while, especially after he is kidnapped by the muties and finds out the real purpose of this ship.

35. Requiem

This is a sequel to Heinlein’s book The Man Who Sold the Moon. It gives you a glimpse into his way of thinking about the universe, and many of his fans say this sequel is cathartic. 

34. Tramp Royale

This book reflects on Heinlein’s travels as he went all over the world to study how the world works. It is the winner of numerous awards and highlights places such as New Orleans, Africa, and the Panama Canal, among others.

33. Assignment in Eternity

This book contains two classic novellas and two short stories written by Heinlein, including Gulf, Lost Legacy, and Jerry Was a Man. The latter was adapted for the TV series Masters of Science Fiction and is now available on DVD.

32. Variable Star

Joel and Jinny become engaged, but Joel isn’t sure he has enough money to get married. Jinny then reveals she is a member of the Conrad family, the richest family in the universe, and that he can work for their company. But Joel wants to make it on his own and is soon in an adventure he wasn’t quite prepared for.

31. Job: A Comedy of Justice

Alec Graham is preparing for Armageddon, and one of his jobs is to convince his beloved heathen Margrethe to change her ways, all the while trying to save the world.

30. Revolt in 2100

When America falls under the spell of a religious dictator and stays that way for more than 100 years, things eventually turn back to the way they were before that dictator came along. Now, things have exploded once again, and America needs a new leader that stands for everyone.

29. Farmer in the Sky

Bill always knew the stars were in his future, so when George Lerner took off for Ganymede, he wanted to go along. His father said “no” because it would be too dangerous, and when he worms his way onto the Mayflower, he finds out just how right his father was.

28. Friday

Friday is a secret courier who works for someone known only as “Boss.” Both Canada and the United States have been developed into lots of mini states, but Friday seems to manage her job with ease, even though it is filled with chaos and constant difficulties.

27. Space Cadet

Matt Dodson has joined the Space Cadets, an elite group of guardians of the solar system. But he is tested to make sure that he is worthy of the task, and the last test he takes part in just might prove that he is not ready for this adventure after all.

26. Between Planets

Don’s mother was born on Venus and his father on Earth, so he enjoys a strange citizenship. But he fights for each of his citizenships in some odd ways. Throw in some scientist-dragons and a rebellious Mars, and this turns into one story you will never forget.

25. Glory Road

Scar Gordon visits an apartment to answer an ad that seemed to require someone just like him. He is greeted at the door by a beautiful woman who instructs him to call her “Star,” and he soon finds out that she is the empress of 20 universes, making this the perfect nickname for her.

24. The Puppet Masters

Aliens have landed in Iowa and are taking over the citizens’ bodies and minds, all while the government is telling its citizens that there’s nothing to worry about. When special agents go to investigate the site where it all started, they start disappearing, so how will anyone ever figure out what is really happening?

23. Expanded Universe

This is a collection of Heinlein’s finest works, with titles that include The Last Days of the United States, A Bathroom of Her Own, Ray Guns and Rocket Ships, Pandora’s Box, and Nothing Ever Happens on the Moon, as well as others.

22. The Pursuit of Pankera

This is the story of a parallel universe and includes the four characters from the book The Number of the Beast. Zeb, Hilda, Jake, and Deety ride in a spaceship to parallel universes and enjoy some amazing adventures along the way, even though all is not as safe as it seems.

21. The Menace From Earth

This isn’t just about a woman who’s fighting to keep her boyfriend from falling in love with a beautiful woman. It’s also a collection of stories written by Heinlein, including Goldfish Bowl, Sky Lift, By His Bootstraps, and The Year of the Jackpot, to name a few.

20. The Star Beast

Lummox is a family pet who eats everything in sight, wreaking havoc on the entire family. But things go from weird to even weirder when a group of aliens appear and turn what starts out as a family situation into something much more extreme.

19. Starman Jones

Max Jones wants to go into space, but he has no money or other requirements to make that happen. What he does have, however, are his uncle’s astrogation manuals memorized word for word, page for page. But will that be enough to get him there?

18. Red Planet

Jim and his Martian friend Willis are only allowed to travel so far, so their space plans have been thwarted. But things change when Willis finds out about a plot that threatens everyone on Mars and sets Jim off on an adventure that will either save or destroy all of them.

17. The Rolling Stones

This hilarious and very interesting tale describes the Stone twins and their adventures throughout the Solar System. It is lighthearted and fun, and it’s a great story about family values.

16. Double Star

Lorenzo Smythe spends a lot of the time in bars fretting about his career, until he gets the job of a lifetime that could finally establish peace with Mars.

15. Waldo & Magic, Inc

Waldo was a crippled genius asked to help figure out why a plane keeps crashing. But to get his help, they have to help Waldo out with some of his problems.

14. To Sail Beyond the Sunset

When Maureen wakes up one morning, she is in bed with a man and a cat. The cat she recognized; the man she didn’t. And to make things even worse, the man is dead.

13.  The Man Who Sold the Moon

Part of Heinlein’s Future History series, it tells the tale of two scientists who want everyone to have inexpensive solar power, but that’s not what the status quo wants.

12. Stranger in a Strange Land

Valentine Michael Smith is a human just returning to Earth after spending years on Mars, but he finds that humans are much different than he is, and he wants to figure out why.

11. The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Lazarus Long was too young to fight in WWI but is determined to lead a group into another star system.

10. Methuselah’s Children

America had fallen but is now a true land of justice and liberty for all. That is, until a certain group of people promise them immortality – at a cost.

9. Time for the Stars

Twins Tom and Pat are being used to help Earth communicate with Mars. One has to be left behind, which means one will grow old as the other one can explore the depths of space.

8. Tunnel in the Sky

Rod is a student taking a test for his survival class, when all of a sudden, the students are thrust into the wilderness with no help to get them back. As such, failure on this test is not an option.

7. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel

Kip wins a stripped-down spacesuit in a contest and answers a distress call from an 11-year-old genius. The next thing he knows, they’re being kidnapped to Pluto and the Moon.

6. Starship Troopers

This book is one of the most controversial ever written by Heinlein. It starts when a recruit of the future goes through boot camp then immediately into battle with Earth’s biggest enemy.

5. Time Enough for Love

In this book, you can follow Lazarus Long through numerous worlds and even centuries because he is not near ready to leave this universe.

4. The Door into Summer

Dan Davis has invented a household robot that can make people’s lives easier, until his partner and fiancée steal it from him and leave him penniless and suspended in animation for 30 years.

3. Citizen of the Galaxy

Thorby is a slave boy in a distant galaxy, but his new owner adopts him as a son. But when the authorities close in on the galaxy, Thorby finds out he’s not who he thought he was.

2. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The moon is now filled with threesome marriages, disparate people, a young female agitator, and a computer that has its own reasons for wanting the world to succeed.

1. Past Through Tomorrow

Written in two volumes, this first book is filled with the stories that make up Heinlein’s Future History series.

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