ROCKET SHIP GALILEO. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, . Octavo, cloth. First edition. Early signed inscription by Heinlein on front free endpaper: "For Dirce Archer / Sincerely / Robert A. Heinlein." Additionally signed in full by Heinlein on the title page. The author's first book, preceded by a pamphlet printing a convention speech. The importance of this book cannot be overstated. It is the first published novel by a major, perhaps the most important, science fiction writer of postwar America. Heinlein began publishing SF in 1939 during the golden age of ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION. After World War II, he expanded the market for SF genre material, publishing his fiction in upscale magazines of the period (THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, BOY'S LIFE, and others). In 1947 he introduced a generation of postwar young readers to this literary genre with the first of a series of juvenile novels which were published as hardcover books by the renowned mainstream publisher Charles Scribner's Sons, and later by G. P. Putnam. Their circulation was wide and they could be found in the children's section of most public libraries of the day. This title is "... the first U.S. juvenile SF novel to reflect the new levels of characterization, style and scientific plausibility now expected in the field ... it was the first in a series that represents the most important contribution any single writer has made to children's SF ..." - Clute and Nicholls (eds), The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (1994), pp. 554-7. "A pioneering novel that began American mainstream science fiction for children and combined young protagonists, gadgetry, current science, and adventure in such a way that even today the book retains interest." - Anatomy of Wonder (2004) II-515. George Pal's 1950 film Destination Moon is loosely based on this novel. Heinlein co-authored the screenplay and served as a technical advisor to the production, along with German rocket expert Hermann Oberth. Destination Moon, the first of Pal's many SF films, "has great historical importance: its commercial success initiated the SF film boom of the 1950s, after a decade that had contained almost no SF cinema at all. It has interest in hindsight, too, in the partial accuracy with which it anticipated the actual Moon landing of 1969. To this day, Destination Moon stands as a film obvious made by people who knew about science ..." - Clute and Nicholls (eds), The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (1993), p. 324. A fine copy in bright, fine second state dust jacket ("$2.00 printed price clipped and publisher's increased "$2.50" price rubber-stamped on front flap) with a just a touch of rubbing to lower spine end. A stunning copy. (#136272).
First printing has "A" and Scribner seal on copyright page.