“Where do you get your ideas?” So goes the clichéd interview question. Once, when Theodore Sturgeon ran dry, he got them from Robert Heinlein. (See Letters of Note.)
Sturgeon wrote and told his friend he was having a terrible time because he had “no ideas that would strike a story.” Heinlein answered by return airmail with over two dozen ideas. Here is one:
Fundamentalist congregation, convinced that faith can move mountains, concentrates onMt.Rushmorein theBlack Hills—and the greatest neo-Egyptian sculpture ever carved disappears, mountain and all. Should the Public Works Administration sue the church? Or is that suing God? Or should they ask them to pray it back? Or should they systematize this into a new form of theo-engineering? If so, civil engineers will have to have divinity degrees as well in the future. What is faith without (public) works?
And suspecting Sturgeon was out of money as well as ideas, Heinlein clipped a $100 check to the letter.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian and David Klaus for the story.]