The Door Into Summer

Robert A. Heinlein
The Door Into Summer Cover

The Door Into Summer


Well, this was a fun little romp through time. Written in 1957, it takes place in 1970, with a cryogenic sleep for thirty years to 2000; and then a time machine travel back to 1970 and another deep sleep back tp 2001. At the end, Heinlein's protagonist/narrator gives us a little wink-and-a-nod philosophical essay on the time travel paradox.

Our hero, an engineer/inventor, gets swindled by his business partners who send him into the future via the long sleep to get him out of their hair. Thirty years later he sees the successors to his inventions including one he had thought of but never put down on paper distributed by a rival company. When he went back in time he designed it and started the rival company. It was an automatic drafting machine intended to aid engineers like himself.

It's always interesting when an author writes about his future, which is now our past. Heinlein didn't get too specific so there aren't too many misses, but there are a few. In the year 2000, a doctor offers his patient a cigarette in a hospital room. Would a doctor have done that in 1957? The automatic drafting machine is a mechanical device with a keyboard. He got that sort of right. Engineers today, and in 2000, use CADD (computer aided design and drafting) and early plotters, the machines that did the drawing, actually were like robots that used the same kind of drafting pens that manual draftsmen used.