Methuselah's Children by Robert Heinlein:
Science Fiction Inventions, Technology and Ideas

Lazarus Long (aka Woodrow Wilson Smith) is introduced in this story, along with the Howard families. A retailer named Howard who made a fortune during the gold rush died at an early age; he created a foundation that encouraged human beings to marry for longevity. Lazarus has lived 200 years by the start of the story; he is one of Heinlein's most human and most enjoyable characters. This story starts on Earth, but moves quickly toward space exploration.

Methuselah's Children was published in two versions; an early version serialized in Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941 and then in the final version published in 1958. This site refers to the 1941 version; some terms were changed for the 1958 version, as noted in the entries below. Select an invention:

Alterable License Number

Astrogation (to Astrogate) - steer to the stars

Automated Hotel Reservation

Camden Speedster - compare this to an SUV

'Chatterbox' News-Receptor

Cold-Rest - reduced temperature somnolence

Cold-Sleep - hibernation for humans


Flip to Brake

Fresher - refreshing chamber

Group Ego - a kind of group mind

Howard Families

Hypnotic injunction

Improve Memory

Instant Customized Clothing - mass customization

Interplanetary Clearance

Joy-boat Junior - a private space yacht

Lunar Used Spacecraft Lot - low (gravity) prices

Mind Control Genetically Modified Food - by little people

New Blood For Old

Newsbox (News-Receptor) - better than Google news plus Tivo

Parking Orbit - take the gig down

Pilot Beam

Robopark - automated parking garage

Self-Lighting Cigarette


Sleep Surrogate - substitute for sleep

Space Legs

Space Tanned

Traffic Control Camera - automatic identification

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