Literature: The Green Hills of Earth

"The Green Hills Of Earth" is a short story by Robert A. Heinlein first published in 1947.


This short story provides examples of:

  • Bawdy Song: Rhysling's unpublished works are alluded to, occasionally by title, and described as being "unfit for publication in a family magazine".
  • Common Meter
  • Heroic RROD: The poet Rhysling makes critical repairs to a nuclear core, but sustains fatal radiation poisoning. He composes the eponymous song as he dies.
  • Hobos: Old blind Rhysling, the Singer of the Spaceways, is a kind of hobo. He's an unusual example, as he's built up something of a reputation as a wandering poet and is well-regarded by pretty much everyone.
  • Perilous Power Source: Rhysling loses his sight this way - he peers past the baffles of a rocket's reactor and is then blinded by Cherenkov radiation. Ouch.
  • Walking the Earth: Rhysling. Until the accident that blinded him, he had been a spaceship engineer; after the accident, he took advantage of the law that a spacer could have one free trip home, using it to wander at will all over the solar system.

Alternative Title(s):

The Green Hills Of Earth