Vernor Vinge Wins 2020 Robert A. Heinlein Award

Vernor S. Vinge, a four-time Hugo Award-winning science fiction author and retired mathematics and computer science professor, is the 2020 winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award. The award is bestowed for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space. This award is in recognition of Vinge’s body of work, including his nine novels, more than two dozen short stories, and many non-fiction articles.

The award will be formally announced on the evening of Friday, May 22, 2020, 8:00 p.m. at opening ceremonies during Balticon 54, the 54th Maryland Regional Science Fiction Convention. Balticon and the Robert A. Heinlein Award are both managed and sponsored by The Baltimore Science Fiction Society. A grant from the Heinlein Society funds half of the costs associated with the award and the family of the late author Dr. Yoji Kondo provides additional funding for the award.

The Robert A. Heinlein Award is a sterling silver medallion bearing the image of Robert A. Heinlein, as depicted by artist Arlin Robbins. The medallion is matched with a red-white-blue lanyard. In addition, the winner receives two lapel pins for use when a large medallion is impractical, and a plaque describing the award for home or office wall display.  

The Robert A. Heinlein Award selection committee consists of science fiction writers and was founded by Dr. Yoji Kondo, a long-time friend of Robert and Virginia Heinlein. Members of the original committee were approved by Virginia Heinlein. The current Chairman of the Selection Committee is Michael F. Flynn.

Virginia Heinlein authorized multiple awards in memory of her husband, other awards include the Heinlein Prize, which is fully funded by Virginia Heinlein’s estate, and a National Space Society award for volunteer projects.

More information on the Robert A. Heinlein Award, including past winners, can be found here. More information on Balticon can be found at

Vernor Vinge at the 16th Annual Conference on Computers, Freedom and Privacy in 2006.

[Based on a press release.]

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11 thoughts on “Vernor Vinge Wins 2020 Robert A. Heinlein Award

  1. I’m not hugely fond of his work, but I remember Marooned in Realtime being free of both the libertarian … dreams … of some of his near-future work and of the piled-up assumptions of the Zones of Thought books, and being a plausible mystery (for what that’s worth — I like to read them but rarely figure them out).

  2. The only book of his that I’ve read is A Fire Upon the Deep. It took me forever to get through, but at the end I decided that it was fantastic. It was deep, weird sci-fi that was completely different from anything I’d ever read. Assuming that his other works are anywhere near as good as that one, this is a very well-earned award.
    Congratulations, Dr. Vinge!

  3. I was quite annoyed by the zones of thought series myself, basically he tries to outline this whole idea of human civilisation rising and falling in a cycle but the entirety of human civilisation just happens to be based on Western Europe, I know a lot of 80s sci-fi was like that but some authors did try to look outside that bubble, adding in perspectives from China Japan or even Eastern Europe.

  4. Greg Hullender on January 8, 2020 at 9:26 am said:
    I love Vinge’s work (I’ve read it all, I think), and I agree he definitely deserves to win the Heinlein-look-alike contest!

    With you there, Mr. Hullender. Adore his writing.

    Pretty sure I’ve read it all. Everything from the superb Apartness to the excellent A Preliminary Assessment of the Drake Equation, Being an Excerpt from the Memoirs of Star Captain Y.-T. Lee.

  5. Pingback: Vernor Vinge gana el premio Robert A. Heinlein 2020 – Fantástica – Ficción

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