Robert A. Heinlein’s Red Planet was the gateway drug to books for me. My 3rd grade teacher, Miss Kaufman had a little area of bookshelves in the corner of her classroom. I read Red Planet and a biography of Helen Keller and was hooked.

I told that story on Facebook a few years ago and in 2018 I heard from Miss Kaufman. She said she remembered me well. Holy crap. Mind-blowing for me. I imagine it was for her too – she remembered an 8-year-old boy and now she was messaging with a 57-year-old man, who was typing to her from a hotel room in Florida. But I expect she’s used to that by now.

I think my Heinlein addiction finally subsided, within the last three years or so. The supply is exhausted – he’s not writing any more – and I’ve reread everything a million times. I still do love history though.

There was a new Heinlein published in the last year or two – a previously lost manuscript – “Pursuit of the Pankera.” Supposedly pretty good, but I’m just not highly motivated to read it. It’s an alternate version of “Number of the Beast,” one of my least favorite of his novels.

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner