The Heinlein Society 2021 Scholarship Winners

The Heinlein Society celebrated Robert A. Heinlein’s 114th birthday today by announcing the three winners of its 2021 Scholarship competition. The three $3,000 scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities.

Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship

Awarded to a candidate of any gender majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences, and add “Science Fiction as literature” as an eligible field of study.

  • LeAnn Rhodes

LeAnn is the Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship winner. LeAnn will be attending Virginia Tech as a junior in the fall, majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Having previously pursued a path in Political Science, she discovered that Engineering suited her better and changed her career path, though she plans to apply her knowledge and experience in the law to her new vocation.

Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship

Awarded to a candidate of any gender majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences, and add “Science Fiction as literature” as an eligible field of study.

  • Alexandra Ouimet

This year’s winner of the Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship, Alexandra is majoring in Marine Science at the University of Maine, entering her junior year in the fall. She took a couple of years off between high school and college to do volunteer work with Americorps NCCC and Utah Conservation Corps, among others. During one of her volunteer stints in Hawaii she became a certified scuba diver.

Virginia Heinlein Scholarship

Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.

  • Mandisa Keswa

Mandisa wins this year’s Virginia Heinlein Scholarship – the “Ginny.” Mandisa is entering her senior year at Pomona College, majoring in Neuroscience. Her family is originally from South Africa, and her life experience has helped her to develop a keen interest in health policy and providing better access to underserved communities. She has participated in genetic engineering and hippocampal research projects and plans to continue doing research after obtaining her degree.

The Heinlein Society commented that they were surprised, despite the pandemic, to receive even more applications than the previous year — setting a new record of 383, including a record 23 international applicants. The international applicants are from eleven countries: Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia and Nigeria.

In addition to the three winners, the other top 10 finalists are:

  • Alexis Kaiser
  • Audrey Lacey
  • Carver Freeburg
  • Casey Barbier
  • Jane Hancock
  • Josephine Maier
  • Nadège Oger

Pixel Scroll 4/16/21 I Am Just A Filer, Though My Pixel’s Seldom Scrolled

(1) CONTRACT GUIDES NOW OPEN ACCESS. The Authors Guild has released its Model Book Contract to the public for the first time. They have also produced a separate Literary Translation Model Contract for U.S. translators and literary agents.

“We updated the Model Trade Book Contract last year right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. We never could have predicted just how deleterious the crisis would be on working writers, with 71.4 percent of authors reporting losing, on average, 49 percent of their regular pre-pandemic income, based on our latest member survey,” said Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild. “Given this situation, we have been exploring various ways to help ease the lives and careers of professional writers, which is why the Authors Guild Council recently voted to remove the Model Trade Book Contract from behind our member paywall and make it freely accessible for all writers, publishers and anyone interested in book contracts. We hope that publishers will look to its terms in creating their own or adopt it, and we want authors around the globe to have access to it so they can understand what terms and issues they should be aware of before signing any book deal.”

(2) THEY’RE BACK. “Wakandans Featurette/Marvel Studio’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” on YouTube is a trailer from Disney+ that announces that Wakandans have shown up in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.

(3) SPFBO. Mark Lawrence has announced that he will be starting the next Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off on June 1st.  They need another blogger/reviewer.

(4) FINALS EXAM. Cora Buhlert has 2,000 well-chosen words to share on the subject: “Some Thoughts on the 2021 Hugo Finalists”.

… When the Best Series Hugo was proposed, the argument was that a lot of popular and long-running series are overlooked by the Hugos – or the Nebulas for that matter – because the individual novels don’t stand alone very well and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

However in practice, such series, no matter how popular, are rarely nominated. Particularly The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is notable by its absence, even though the Best Series Hugo seems tailor-made for this series.

Instead, the Best Series ballot tends to consist of trilogies by authors Hugo voters like and where individual volumes have often made the ballot before as well as of works set in the same wold that form a series if you squint really hard. I guess most Hugo voters simply aren’t series readers.

That said, the actual Best Series ballot looks pretty good this year. The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells is a hugely popular series where prettty much every installment has either been a finalist or would have been, if Martha Wells hadn’t withdrawn two Murderbot novellas from consideration in 2019. It’s also a great series….

(5) HAVE YOU RED IT TOO? The Heinlein Society has a good reason for suggesting that you watch this trailer and note what books the kids are reading at about 28 seconds.

(6) IT’S JUST TAKING A KIP. Meanwhile, back at the Red Planet, NASA’s InSight lander is “in crisis”: “NASA’s InSight Mars Lander to Hibernate so Batteries Don’t Die” at Business Insider.

… Unlike other sites where NASA has sent rovers and landers — including the landing spot of the new Perseverance rover and its Mars helicopter — powerful gusts of wind have not been sweeping Elysium Planitia. These winds, called “cleaning events,” are needed to blow the red Martian dust off the solar panels of NASA’s robots. Without their help, a thick layer of dust has accumulated on InSight, and it’s struggling to absorb sunlight.InSight’s solar panels were producing just 27% of their energy capacity in February, when winter was arriving in Elysium Planitia. So NASA decided to start incrementally turning off different instruments on the lander. Soon the robot will go into “hibernation mode,” shutting down all functions that aren’t necessary for its survival.

By pausing its scientific operations, the lander should be able to save enough power to keep its systems warm through the frigid Martian nights, when temperatures can drop to negative-130 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The amount of power available over the next few months will really be driven by the weather,” Chuck Scott, InSight’s project manager, said in a statement.

InSight is still in good condition — it’s even using its robotic arm — but an out-of-season storm could cause a power failure. If the lander’s batteries die, it might never recover.

“We would be hopeful that we’d be able to bring it back to life, especially if it’s not asleep or dead for a long period of time,” Bruce Banerdt, InSight’s principal investigator, told Insider. “But that would be a dicey situation.”

(7) THE HOLE NINE YARDS. Let James Davis Nicoll tell you about “Five Books That Use Wormholes to Plug Plot Holes” at Tor.com. First on the list –

Starman Jones by Robert Heinlein (1953)

This novel long predates the heyday of wormholes; it doesn’t even use the phrase. But it uses spacetime anomalies, which are just like wormholes. With one exception: they don’t just have an entrance and an exit. They can take you all sorts of interesting places if you enter the anomaly with the wrong approach vector. A small error calculating the vector and a hapless ship could find itself light-millennia off-course, with no clear idea how to get home. No prizes for guessing if this happens to the Asgard, the very ship on which the eponymous Starman Jones is serving. Nor is this worst that will happen to the unfortunate castaways.

(8) MCCRORY OBIT. Actress Helen McCrory, OBE, (1968-2021) died April 16 reports GEEKchocolate.

We are hugely saddened to hear of the death of the wonderful Helen McCrory, known to us as Rosanna Calvierri’s in Doctor Who’s Vampires of Venice, but with a resume which stretched from Interview with the Vampire, Charlotte Gray, The Count of Monte Cristo, Skyfall, The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, a recurring role in Harry Potter as Narcissa Malfoy, and a long stint as Polly Grey on Peaky Blinders, as well as two appearances as Cherie Blair in The Queen and The Special Relationship.

(9) FELIX SILLIA OBIT. The actor who played Cousin Itt on The Addams Family, Felix Sillia, has died at the age of 84 reports SYFY Wire.

In addition to playing Cousin Itt, Silla’s other best-known roles include playing the robot Twiki / Odee-x on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and an evil miniature “Hitler” in 1975’s The Black Bird. He also had smaller parts in much-loved movies, such as playing an Ewok on Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Dink in Spaceballs. He also worked as a stuntman on E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialPoltergeistIndiana Jones and the Temple of DoomHoward the Duck, and Batman Returns.

(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • April 16, 1955 –On this day in 1955, Science Fiction Theatre aired “Time Is Just A Place” as the second episode of the first season.  It’s from Jack Finey’s “Such Interesting Neighbors” (published in Collier’s, 1951) which would later form the basis of the March 20, 1987 adaptation of the story under its original title for Amazing Stories. The story is that neighbors are increasingly suspicious of the inventions of Mr. Heller, who claims to be an inventor, who uses a robotic vacuum cleaner and a flashlight that beams x-rays. It starred Don DeFore, Warren Stevens and Marie Windsor.  You can watch it here.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born April 16, 1891 – Dorothy Lathrop.  Illustrator and author.  Historically a lot of good fantasy has been written for children; folks who appreciate fantasy know to look there.  DL illustrated twoscore books, writing nine herself, also nonfiction.  Rachel Field’s Hitty, illustrated by DL, won RF a Newbery Medal; DL’s illustrations for Helen Fish’s Animals of the Bible won DL a Caldecott Medal.  Here is DL’s cover for an ed’n of The Little Mermaid.  Here is a dandelion soldier.  Here is an interior for Mopsa the Fairy.  This is from DL’s Fairy Circus.  Here is Across the Night Sky.  Here is a 2011 appreciation with another score of pictures.  (Died 1980) [JH]
  • Born April 16, 1921 Peter Ustinov. He had a number of genre appearances such as being in Blackbeard’s Ghost as Captain Blackbeard, in the animated Robin Hood by voicing both  Prince John and King Richard, as simply The Old Man In Logan’s Run, Truck Driver In The Great Muppet Caper, and in Alice in Wonderland as The Walrus. He wrote The Old Man and Mr. Smith: A Fable which is clearly genre. Genre adjacent (well sort of), he played Hercule Poirot twice. (Died 2004.) (CE) 
  • Born April 16, 1922 Kingsley Amis. So have you read The Green Man? I’m still not convinced that anything actually happened, or that rather everything including the hauntings were really in Maurice Allington’s decayed brain. I’m not seeing that he did much else for genre work other outside of The Anti-Death League and The Alteration but he did write Colonel Sun: A James Bond Adventure under the pseudonym of Robert Markham and his New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction which was published in the late Fifties sounds fascinating as he shares his views on the genre and makes some predictions as there’ll never be a SF series on the boob tube despite there already being some. (Died 1995.) (CE) 
  • Born April 16, 1922 John Christopher. Author of The Tripods, an alien invasion series which was adapted into both an excellent radio and a superb television series. He wrote a lot of genre fiction including the Fireball series in which Rome never fell, and The Death of Grass which I mention because it was one of the many YA post-apocalyptic novels that he wrote in the Fifties and Sixties that sold extremely well in the U.K. The film version would be nominated for a Hugo finishing sixth in the balloting at Noreascon I, a year where No Award was given. (Died 2012.) (CE) 
  • Born April 16, 1953 – J. Neil Schulman.  Four novels, half a dozen shorter stories; collection Nasty, Brutish, and Short Stories (speaking of Hobbes’ Leviathan, I used to joke that the tiger should have been Calvin, and the boy Hobbes because he was nasty, brutish, and short); “Profiles in Silver” for The Twilight Zone; two Prometheus Awards.  I can’t remember ever agreeing with him, but I miss him.  (Died 2019) [JH]
  • Born April 16, 1954 Ellen Barkin, 65. Usually I don’t do a birthday listing for just a few genre appearances but I make an exception for those performers who appeared in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Barking played Penny Priddy in that film and that was her only genre appearance other than playing Kathleen in the Into The West film about Irish Travellers and a very special horse named Tír na nÓg. (CE)
  • Born April 16, 1962 Kathryn Cramer, 59. Writer, editor, and literary critic. She co-founded The New York Review of Science Fiction in 1988 with David G. Hartwell and others, and was its co-editor until 1991 and again since 1996. She edited with her husband David G. Hartwell Year’s Best Fantasy one through nine and Year’s Best SF seven through seventeen with him as well.  They did a number of anthologies of which I’ll single out The Hard SF Renaissance and The Space Opera Renaissance as particularly superb. She has a most excellent website — Kathryncramer.com. (CE)
  • Born April 16, 1970 – Brandon McKinney, age 51.  Here is a fine cover for John Whitman’s novelization Star Wars.  Here is a cover for JW’s Phantom Menace.  Interiors for both.  Here is Batman, here is Robin.  Here is Spider-Man.  Here is Bruce Lee in The Dragon Rises.  Also Elfquest; see here.  [JH]
  • Born April 16, 1975 Sean Maher, 46. Doctor Simon Tam In the Firefly verse. And Dick Grayson (Nightwing) in a staggering number of  animated DAC films, to wit  Son of BatmanBatman vs. Robin,,Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League vs. Teen TitansTeen Titans: The Judas Contract and Batman: Hush. He showed up on Arrow as Shrapnel in the “Blast Radius” and “Suicide Squad” episodes. (CE)
  • Born April 16, 1978 – Amy Ruttan, age 43.  Four novels for us; two dozen others.  “Half the fun of writing historicals and being swept away in a different time period is the research….  let someone else you trust have a look over your work.  You’ll be surprised what you as an author won’t pick out.”  [JH]
  • Born April 16, 1983 – Thomas Olde Heuvelt, age 38.  Too little (say I) of his work has been translated from Dutch into English.  “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” was and won a Hugo, which may be some encouragement.  Six novels, sixteen shorter stories; one novel, five shorter stories in English so far.  Three Paul Harland prizes.  [JH]
  • Born April 16, 1990 – Kusano Gengen, age 31.  (Personal name last, Japanese style.)  Only three stories yet translated into English; one is “Last and First Idol” – yes, alluding to Olaf Stapledon – which won a Seiun, and is the lead story in a 2018 collection with the other two.  KG drew a thousand words from Jonathan Clements, of which I’ll quote a few about “Idol”: “Described by one of the Hayakawa Sci-Fi Contest [which “Idol” won – JH] panelists as ‘stupid’, and by an employee of his own publisher as ‘abysmal’, Kusano’s work of recursive SF provocatively combines the breathless, vapid prose of a teenage school story with the portentous, epic concerns of Space Opera, turning each into a wry commentary on the pomposity of the other.”  Meanwhile Kusano-san went off to Hokkaidô University for a Ph.D.  [JH]

(12) COMICS SECTION.

(13) IMAGINARY PAPERS ON YOUR DOORSTEP. The Arizona State University Center for Science and the Imagination today published the 6th issue of Imaginary Papers, their quarterly newsletter on science fiction worldbuilding, futures thinking, and imagination.  

This issue features writing from media scholar Lisa Yin Han, experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, and learning sciences researcher Ruth Wylie.

Here is a link for subscribing to future issues.

 (14) ZOOMING THROUGH FANHISTORY. Fanac.org has scheduled three more FanHistory Project Zoom Sessions. To attend, send an RSVP to fanac@fanac.org in order to receive a link. 

  • April 17, Saturday – 2pm EDT, 11AM PDT, 7PM London –  Early Star Trek Fandom, with Ruth Berman and Devra Langsam.  

Stories and anecdotes from Ruth and Devra about their entry into fandom, about the origins of Star Trek fandom, and how they came to publish T-Negative and  Spockanallia. For those of us that came into fandom later, here’s a chance to hear how Star Trek was received in general fandom, how Trek fandom got started, who the BNFs were and what they were they like.  How did the first Trek fanzines and Trek conventions affect fandom, and how did Trek fandom grow  and become its own thing. 

  • April 27, Tuesday – 4pm EDT, 1pm PDT,  9PM London. An Interview with Erle Korshak by Joe Siclari. 

Erle Korshak is one of our remaining FIrst Fans (inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1996) and a Guest of Honor at Chicon 8 (2022 Worldcon). Erle was an organizer of the first Chicon,  the 1940 Worldcon, and was one of the Worldcon auctioneers for many years. He started Shasta Publishers, one of the first successful specialty SF publishers.  He was also involved with early SF movies. In this session, fan historian Joe Siclari  will interview Erle and his son Steve about early fandom, early conventions (including Worldcons), Shasta, and both Erle and Steve’s continuing interest in illustration art. Note: this is a midweek session. 

  • May 22, Saturday – 2pm EDT, 11AM PDT, 7PM London – An Interview with Bjo and John Trimble. 

Bjo and John Trimble have had an enormous impact on fandom from the 1950s onward. They’ve pubbed their ish, and some of the zines are available on FANAC.org. Bjo created the convention art show as we know it today (pre-pandemic) with Project Art Show, and published PAS-tell to share info with interested fans everywhere. In LASFS,  Bjo had a large role in reviving a flagging LASFS in the late 50s. Her most famous contribution was the successful Save Star Trek campaign which resulted in a 3rd year of the original series. Bjo was one of the organziers of Los Angeles fandom’s film making endeavors.  John is a co-founder of the LASFS clubzine, De Profundis and an editor of Shangri-L’Affaires. Bjo and John were Fan Guests of Honor at ConJose (2002), and were nominated twice for Best Fanzine Hugos. Bjo was nominated for Best Fan Artist Hugo. In this interview, expect stories and anecdotes of Los Angeles fandom, how the art show came to be, Save Star Trek and more. 

(15) BEAMING INTO YOUR HOME. Stay tuned as Galactic Journey boldly goes through 1966!

(16) BIG BUCKS. Smaug’s dead, so they can’t borrow it from him.“Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Costs $465 Million for Just Season 1” says The Hollywood Reporter.

Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings television show is going to cost all the gold in the Lonely Mountain.

The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Amazon will spend roughly NZ$650 million — $465 million in U.S. dollars — for just the first season of the show.

That’s far above previous reported estimates that pegged the fantasy drama as costing an already record-breaking $500 million for multiple seasons of the show.

“What I can tell you is Amazon is going to spend about $650 million in season one alone,” Stuart Nash, New Zealand minister for economic development and tourism, told Morning Report“This is fantastic, it really is … this will be the largest television series ever made.”

The figures were released as part of as part of the New Zealand government’s Official Information Act and initially reported by the New Zealand outlet Stuff. The documents also confirmed the studio’s plan to film potentially five seasons in New Zealand — as well as possible, as-yet-unannounced spinoff series.

By comparison, HBO’s Game of Thrones cost roughly $100 million to produce per season, with its per-episode cost starting at around $6 million for season one and eventually rising to around $15 million per episode in season eight….

(17) THE TRAIN TO NOWHERE. Mashable’s reviewer Belen Edwards says “’Infinity Train’ Season 4 is a strong end to a show that deserved more”.

… However, part of the beauty of Infinity Train has always been its conciseness. The animated series takes on an anthology format. Each season follows a different passenger on the titular train, where each car holds a new world. Passengers are assigned a glowing green number that goes down as they learn more lessons and work to resolve the problems in their life. When their numbers reach zero, they can exit the train. Each season is only 10 episodes long, and at 11 minutes each they pack in an astounding amount of character development and heart. …

(18) KING OF THE MOVIES. There will be an online “Dollar Baby film festival” hosted by Vancouver’s Baker Street Cinema of unreleased Stephen King movies from April 23-25. Full details at the link.  

Hosted by Canadian film production company Barker Street Cinema, the virtual festival, called STEPHEN KING RULES, will screen 25 submissions by filmmakers from all over the world, many of which have never been seen by a global audience before.

Since 1977, the Master of Horror – Stephen King – has allowed emerging filmmakers to adapt his previously unproduced short stories into films that may help launch their careers through what is called the Dollar Baby Deal. Barker Street’s STEPHEN KING RULES Dollar Baby Film Festival will showcase an exciting line-up of these independent movies, including interviews and panel discussions with the filmmakers themselves….

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Dann, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, N., Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Cora Buhlert, James Davis Nicoll, Bill, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day MixMat and Cliff with an assist from Jack Lint and Anna Nimmhaus.]

The Heinlein Society Scholarship Application Deadline 4/1/21

The Heinlein Society has opened its tenth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2021-2022 academic year. Three $3,000 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities —

  • Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship — Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.
  • The Yoji Kondo Scholarship and Jerry Pournelle Scholarship — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender; in addition, “Science Fiction as literature” is an eligible field of study.

Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:

a. How Robert Heinlein influenced your career choice. What Heinlein writings would you use to illustrate how he sparked your interest in science and technology?
b. Discuss the advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
c. Biologist J.B.S. Haldane once wrote “I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” Find, discuss, and comment on one episode in your STEM field in the past 50 years that you find surprising.
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field. Do you expect to see this golden age in your lifetime?
e. Discuss how Heinlein has influenced modern science fiction and fantasy.
f. What are the structural, procedural, and operational limitations of computer simulations of which a practitioner or user must be acutely aware? Discuss with respect to your career field.
g. How might advances in your chosen field of study affect how people live 50 years from now? What changes, good or bad, might society see?

The deadline to apply is April 1. Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website.  Winners will be announced on July 7, 2020.

Previous scholarship winners who will still be attending college in the 2021-2022 academic year as undergraduates are eligible to apply again, but they must choose a different essay topic than previously.

The Heinlein Society 2020 Scholarship Winners

The Heinlein Society celebrated Robert A. Heinlein’s 113th birthday today by announcing the three winners of its 2020 Scholarship competition.

Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship

  • Charles Hanson

Charles was also our first non-U.S. winner in 2016 (from Canada), and was a finalist again in 2017. Completion of his undergraduate degree was delayed by circumstances beyond his control, so he will be attending the University of Alberta this year as a senior. His major is Mathematics, but he has a studied a range of sciences including biology, meteorology and mathematical physics. When not studying, he teaches piano and physics and volunteers at a local observatory. His goal is to pursue entry into medical school or a graduate degree in mathematical medicine.

Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship

  • Tulla Bee Picardi

In the fall she will begin her freshman year at Stanford University. Her major is Neuroscience and Human Biology, on a Pre-Med track. She is active in the National Math Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Rho Kappa History Honor Society, and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society (among others) and is a lifetime member of Mensa. She scored 35 on the ACT and 1550 on the SAT. She spent four summers participating in Duke University’s Talent Identification program, taking three-week intensive college courses in subjects such as Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Ethics. Her long term goal is to become a neuro-oncologist.

Virginia Heinlein Scholarship

  • Samantha Townsend

She will be attending UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina as a freshman in the Fall, majoring in Applied Mathematics and Statistics with a minor in Software Development. While attending high school, she began taking courses at Wake Technical Community College, and was able to complete their entire Calculus sequence. After obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree, she plans to pursue both a Master’s and PhD, and ultimately to start her own business in Data Analytics. Samantha’s Instagram account (@stem357), on which she posts mathematical memes, has over 60,000 followers.

The Heinlein Society received 365 scholarship applications, a record. About 80% of those who applied identify as female. There were 20 international applicants, more than in any previous year, from around the globe: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Ghana, Haiti, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Morocco and India.

In addition to the winners, the other top 10 finalists are:

  • Catherine Anderson
  • Kasandra Aulenbach
  • Emily Black
  • Rachel Hetzler
  • Samuel Koblensky
  • Hannah Reilly
  • Erin Yuan

The Heinlein Society Scholarship Application Deadline 4/1/20

The Heinlein Society has opened its eighth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2020-2021 academic year.

 Three $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities —

  • Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship — Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.
  • The Yoji Kondo Scholarship and Jerry Pournelle Scholarship — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender; in addition, “Science Fiction as literature” is an eligible field of study.

Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:

a. How Robert Heinlein influenced your career choice. What Heinlein writings would you use to illustrate how he sparked your interest in science and technology?
b. Discuss the ‘Golden Age of SF’ and Robert Heinlein’s role in it.
c. Most of the Heinlein estate and literary legacy is devoted to commercial space activities (the mission of the Heinlein Prize Trust). Given that focus, consider Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon”, and other works. Will our future expansion into space be government initiated, or private/commercial? Which is better? Which will ultimately be the way forward?
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field.
e. Discuss the advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
f. The expansion of social media has led to widespread placement of devices by which your movement and private conversations can be monitored. Social media has also accelerated the clustering of like-minded interests into largely non-interacting ‘tribes’—the so-called ‘metadata’ gathering. Can you find and comment on the Heinlein stories that predicted these phenomena?
g. How might advances in your chosen field of study affect how people live 50 years from now? What changes, good or bad, might society see?

Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website.  Winners will be announced on July 7, 2020.

Previous scholarship winners who will still be attending college in the 2020-2021 academic year as undergraduates are eligible to apply again, but they must choose a different essay topic than previously.

The Heinlein Society’s New Officers

By Keith G. Kato: The new officers for The Heinlein Society were selected at its September 9, 2019 Board of Directors meeting.  They are:

  • President and Chairman of the Board:  John Tilden of Maryland.  “JT” was previously Treasurer of the Society, and succeeds Geo Rule of Minnesota as President.
  • Vice President-Secretary:  Dr. C. Herbert Gilliland of Maryland, Emeritus Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy, continues as Vice President-Secretary.
  • Treasurer:  Dr. Beatrice Kondo of Maryland succeeds John Tilden as Treasurer.  Dr. Kondo was re-elected for another three-year term this year, and is the daughter of the late Dr. Yoji Kondo, astrophysicist for NASA who wrote SF under the name Eric Kotani.

The results of this year’s Board of Directors election was announced at the Society’s online phone-in Annual Meeting on September 8.  Three of nine Board seats are elected each year.  By seniority the remainder of the Board is:

  • SFWA Grandmaster Joe Haldeman of Florida, re-elected for another three-year term.
  • John Seltzer of Washington state.
  • Betsey Wilcox of Texas.
  • Walt Boyes of Missouri.
  • Mike Sheffield of California.
  • Ken Walters of Tennessee, elected to his first three-year term.

At the Annual Meeting, President Geo Rule stated he chose not to run for re-election to the Board due to his increased work commitments, which he felt would not allow him to give the Society the time and effort the job required.  He would continue his committee work.

The Heinlein Society 2019 Scholarship Winners

The Heinlein Society celebrated Robert A. Heinlein’s 112th birthday today by announcing the three winners of its 2019 Scholarship competition.

Virginia Heinlein Scholarship

  • Rosemary Lach

Rosemary wins this year’s Virginia Heinlein Scholarship – the “Ginny”. She will be attending Rice University as a freshman in the Fall, majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering. One of her favorite hobbies is model rocketry, and she intends to pursue a career working on control systems. She has already worked as an intern for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. She has volunteered as a mentor for the Miraleste Intermediate School Robotics Team and as an education volunteer for the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship

  • Charles Boyle

Charles is this year’s winner of the Dr. Yoji Kondo Scholarship. Charles is a senior, attending the University of Texas at Austin. He is pursuing a triple-major in Aerospace Engineering, Physics, and Astronomy. After he completes his Bachelor’s, he plans to pursue a graduate degree. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Honor Society, for both of which he has performed volunteer work. His main pastime is designing and fabricating in UT’s Makerspace.

Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship

  • Faith Rovenolt

Faith is the Dr. Jerry Pournelle Scholarship winner. She is a senior at Vanderbilt University, majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology. Her career goal is to perform research in epidemiology. She also hopes “…to spread my passion for biology through teaching, outreach, or science writing.” Her mother is an army veteran and her father is serving in the Navy. She has volunteered her time with Vanderbilt Students for the Armed Services as well as Vanderbilt Students Volunteer for Science.

The Heinlein Society received 233 scholarship applications. In addition to the winners, the other top 10 finalists are:

  • Will Butler
  • Madeline English
  • Samuel Heim
  • Esther Lee
  • Trinity Manuelito
  • Shannon Mowbray
  • Clare Williams

The Heinlein Society Scholarship Application Deadline 4/1

The Heinlein Society has opened its sixth annual scholarship essay contest for the 2019-2020 academic year. Three $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students of accredited 4-year colleges and universities —

  • Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship — Dedicated to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences.
  • The Yoji Kondo and Jerry Pournelle scholarships — May be awarded to a candidate of any gender; in addition, “Science Fiction as literature” is an eligible field of study.

Applicants will need to submit a 500-1,000 word essay on one of several available topics:

a. How Robert Heinlein affected my career choice.
b. Discuss the ‘Golden Age of SF’ and Robert Heinlein’s role in it.
c. Most of the Heinlein estate and literary legacy is devoted to commercial space activities (the mission of the Heinlein Prize Trust). Given that focus, consider Elon Musk (winner of the Heinlein Prize for Commercial Space Activities) and the Falcon Heavy launch with his Tesla Roadster with Starman inside. Discuss these events in comparison with Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon”, and other works. Will our future expansion into space be government initiated, or private/commercial? Which is better? Which will ultimately be the way forward?
d. Robert Heinlein said “The golden age of science has yet to begin.” Evaluate this statement compared to your technical field.
e. Discuss the advantages to the human race of a permanent settlement on the Moon or Mars.
f. The expansion of social media has led to widespread placement of devices by which your movement and private conversations can be monitored. Social media has also accelerated the clustering of like-minded interests into largely non-interacting ‘tribes’—the so-called ‘metadata’ gathering. Can you find and comment on the Heinlein stories that predicted these phenomena?
g. How might advances in your chosen field of study affect how people live 50 years from now? What changes, good or bad, might society see?

The deadline to apply is April 1. Full guidelines and the application form are on the Society’s website: Society’s website. Winners will be announced on July 7, 2019.

Changing of the Guard at The Heinlein Society

Minnesota fan Geo Rule is the newly-installed President of The Heinlein Society.

Keith Kato’s term as President ended – “amicably and by my own wishes” he notes — with the adjournment of THS’s online Annual Meeting last Sunday and the announcement of its new Board:

  • President:  Geo Rule of Minnesota.
  • Vice President-Secretary:  Dr. C. Herbert Gilliland (“Herb” to friends) of Maryland, retired Professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • Treasurer:  John Tilden of Maryland

Other Board members, listed by seniority:

  • SFWA Grandmaster Joe Haldeman of Florida.
  • John Seltzer, of Washington (state).
  • Betsey Wilcox of Texas.
  • Dr. Beatrice Kondo of Maryland (Yoji Kondo’s daughter).
  • Walt Boyes of Missouri (appointed by the Board to fill Jerry Pournelle’s seat; ratified this past election to continue).
  • Mike Sheffield of California (3rd President of THS, re-elected to the Board this past election).

Incoming President Rule says:

Our previous two presidents have left us a great foundation to build upon. Mike Sheffield was the driving force behind the founding of our very successful Scholarships program, and supported the creation of Heinlein For Heroes during his service as President. Dr. Kato led the Society and ‘Heinlein’s Children’ to the creation and placing of a bronze bust of Robert A. Heinlein in the state capitol building of Missouri in 2016, and leave service as President with membership in the Society, and Society financial assets, at all-time highs in our 20 year history. The membershgip recognized him with a well-earned thank you vote by acclamation at our recent annual meeting.

Rule has served on the Board of Directors of the Society since 2007, and as Vice President-Secretary since 2014. He joined the Society in 2002, and considers himself luck to have had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Virginia (“Ginny”) Heinlein on Society business in the last year of her life.

[Thanks to Keith Kato for the story.]

The Heinlein Society 2018 Scholarship Winners

The Heinlein Society celebrated Robert A. Heinlein’s 111th birthday today by announcing the three winners of its 2018 Scholarship competition.

This year the “Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship” is joined by the “Jerry Pournelle Memorial Scholarship” and “Yoji Kondo Memorial Scholarship,” named in honor of two sff figures and friends of Heinlein who died within the past 12 months.

Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship

Carson Butler

She is attending the University of Virgina entering her junior year. She is majoring in Cognitive Science. While in high school she was selected to attend the Frances Hesselbein Student Leadership Program at the U.S. Air Force Academy. In addition to a potential career in neuroscience, she is interested in aerospace and would “… love to work for NASA one day.” Butler was also the winner of the first “Ginny” in 2016.

Jerry Pournelle Memorial Scholarship

Reese Caldwell

This fall he will be attending Harvard University as a freshman, majoring in Chemical and Physical Biology. For his research into external control activity in synthetic cells with light, he was named one of the top 40 high school scientists in the country by the Regeneron Science Talent Search and has presented at two international conferences. After completing his Bachelor’s, he plans to continue on to obtain his PhD in bioengineering, and eventually to work for a university.

Yoji Kondo Scholarship

Emma Sebesta

She begins her university experience as a freshman at Indiana University Bloomington. She is working toward dual majors in Biochemistry and Spanish, with a minor in Psychology. She will be part of IU’s ASURE program (Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience). She was Salutatorian of her high school graduating class and received a gold medal on the National Spanish Exam. After obtaining her Bachelor’s, she plans to continue on to attend medical school and obtain her residency. Her dream is to become a fellow at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City.

The Heinlein Society received 301 scholarship applications, almost double last year’s number. In addition to the winners, the other top 10 finalists are:

  • Kayla Keith
  • Neetij Krishnan
  • Kyra Moosmueller
  • Natalie Murren
  • Spencer Pote
  • Stephen Rosene
  • Edith Steffenhagen

[Thanks to Keith G. Kato for the story. The website text was written by Mike Sheffield, Emeritus President of THS and Chairman of the Scholarship Committee.]