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Influential Science Fiction Author Robert Heinlein Dies

May 21, 1988

The recent death of Robert Heinlein, science fiction writer and the best of that genre (Part I, May 10), reminds me that he received his start toward success as an author by failing as a politician.

In 1938, Bob Heinlein, then a physically disabled Naval Academy graduate, sought the Democratic nomination for the Assembly in the old 59th District (western part of Los Angeles County). He ran against Charles Lyon, Republican Speaker of the Assembly who had cross-filed, as was then permitted. Heinlein had little in the way of financial resources and therefore campaigned on foot door-to-door. He lost to Lyon by a primary vote of 5,618 to 5,190.

But in the campaign he stimulated the interest of many a young Democrat who later assumed leadership in the party--notably Susie and Bob Clifton, Dean McHenry, Tom Rees and others.

It was after that defeat that Heinlein turned to writing. Modern literature was the beneficiary.

JUSTICE STANLEY MOSK

San Francisco

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