Two months ago I was named the co-winner, with my friend Joe Haldeman, of the 2009 Robert A. Heinlein Award for “outstanding body of work in the field of literature.” The people who give the award were a little slow getting everything in the mail, but it all recently arrived: A plaque, a medallion I can wear, and two lapel pins, all with the image of Mr. Heinlein. I’m no good at blowing my own horn, but I just had to share this news. I’ve won Hugo and Nebula awards, but none of them mean as much to me as this one does. I remember Mr. Green, the librarian at C.O. Wilson Junior High, handing me a copy of RED PLANET, by Heinlein, and saying I might enjoy it. Enjoy it? I went NUTS! I read ALL Heinlein’s books in the coming weeks, and all the other science fiction I could find. That book set the course of my life, and though it has sometimes been a rocky one (there is very little financial security in being a freelance writer, unless you are Stephen King), I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I look back on that 7th grader just discovering his sense of wonder, idolizing Mr. Heinlein, and wonder what he would have thought if he could know that someday, THIS would happen to him. I’ll wear it proudly.
November 22, 2009