Like last month’s sci fi stars, some authors celebrating birthdays this month also represent the old and the new in sci fi and fantasy.

Robert Heinlein left the U.S. Navy because of tuberculosis, did graduate studies in physics and math at UCLA, owned a silver mine, and was as an engineer during World War II. His first short story, published in 1939, was instantly successful, and he had a huge following from then until…well, he still has a huge following, even though he passed away nearly a quarter century ago at the age of 81.

Over the course of his lifetime, he wrote 36 novels, 10 collections of short stories, and numerous articles and TV and radio scripts, including Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and my favorite, Puppet Masters.

And none other than J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, was born on the last day of July. (For the record, no, Potter isn’t sci fi, but I couldn’t resist.) By now, everyone knows Ms. Rowling’s amazing personal story; heck, her official site’s entry page has six choices of language. Your intrepid library owns all seven volumes of the Potter series as well as Tales of Beedle the Bard (yes, yes, all six movies, too).

If you haven’t experienced the books yet, now is the time. They are really, really good—summer reads at their best.


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