Universe adapted from the story by Robert A. Heinlein [RADIO DRAMA]

September 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

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I bet most folks think that the closest Robert A. Heinlein came to tackling the topic of religion was Stranger In A Strange Land. But I think that novel has got too much other stuff going on in it. To get a better idea, check out his terrific 1941 short story Universe (later combined with another short story for the fix-up novel entitled Orphans Of The Sky).

Astounding, May 1941 - Universe by Robert A. Heinlein

The people of Universe live under an oppressive theocracy, with the death penalty given for heretical ideas. In the script for the radio dramatizations one character describes it as a society of “regimented slaves.”

Universe offers many, many sparky ideas – all of which are centered around religion and cosmology.

When asked about heaven the main character says this:

“The peasants believe [in] it literally but many of the younger scientists, like myself, know that it is figurative, symbolic.”

Turns that he’s wrong, that the foundations of his religion are based in a real history, that his god was once alive, and that the belief he scoffs at (and others kill in the name of), are based facts about their universe. It’s absolutely thought provoking soft sf bounded by a hard SF that only someone like Robert A. Heinlein could pull off.

And, unlike the original short story, which is rather hopeful, the end of the radio dramatization is deeply noir.

Dimension XDimension X – Universe
Adapted by George Lefferts; Adapted from the story by Robert A. Heinlein; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: November 26, 1950
Provider: Archive.org

X-Minus OneX-Minus One – Universe
Adapted by George Lefferts; Adapted from the story by Robert A. Heinlein; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: May 15, 1955
Provider: Archive.org

Illustrations of strong>Universe by Hubert Rogers and Charles Schneeman from the May 1941 of Astounding:
Universe by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Hubert Rogers
Universe by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Hubert Rogers
Universe by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Hubert Rogers
Universe by Robert A. Heinlein  illustrated by Charles Schneeman
Universe by Robert A. Heinlein - illustrated by Hubert Rogers

[Thanks to Bill Hollweg and Bob!]

Posted by Jesse Willis