The Man Who Traveled in Elephants
The Man Who Traveled in Elephants is a short story written in
1948by Robert A. Heinlein. It was first published as "The Elephant Circuit" in the October 1957issue of "Saturn Magazine." It later appeared in two Heinlein anthologies, " The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" (also titled "6xH") ( 1959) and " The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein" ( 1999).
Though this story was not typical of the subject matter of most of Heinlein's writing, it was Heinlein's favorite. ["New Destinies, Vol. VI/Winter 1988 — Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Issue",
Jim Baeneditorial note p. 256.] It has had a mixed reception compared to his other works. Spider Robinsonselected it as one of his life-time favorite stories, and included it in his anthology "Best of All Possible Worlds" on that basis. Alexei Panshinsaid that the story "...is a mistake, a sloppy, sentimental fantasy that I suspect was written at the very beginning of Heinlein's career and then went without a buyer until 1957". [a chapter from [http://www.enter.net/~torve/critics/Dimension/hd03-5.html "Heinlein in Dimension"] by Panshin.]
The story can be viewed as an early manifestation of Heinlein's
pantheistic solipsism, which featured prominently in his last novels.
The protagonist is a widower who once was a traveling salesman working with his wife. The two of them continued to travel after
retirementscouting territory in order to sell elephants. It becomes clear that these travels were not seriously intended to sell elephants, but were rather a way to continue the life the two had previously enjoyed. On their travels the two of them were accompanied by a collection of imaginary animals. After his wife's death, the protagonist tries to continue this life, but with fading energy and interest. We join him on a bus ride to "The Fair" which he slowly realizes is the afterlife.
The story is usually described as a fantasy. The only fantastic element, however, is the narrator's entry into the afterlife, where he meets with his dead wife and dog, and with the imaginary animals he and his wife invented as traveling companions, as well as a host of other friends. The tone is realistic, as are the descriptions of the narrator's life before he boards the Bus to the Fair. After consideration, it could be considered
The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein"
* [http://www.troynovant.com/Franson/Heinlein/Man-Who-Traveled-Elephants.html Review by Robert Wilfred Franson]
* [http://www.sffaudio.com/AudioDramaReviews.html#Elephants SFFaudio.com Review of the audio drama version]
* [http://www.nesfa.org/reviews/Olson/FantasyOfRobertAHeinlein.html Brief review by Mark L. Olson]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein — infobox Book | name = The Fantasies of Robert A. Heinlein title orig = translator = image caption = author = Robert A. Heinlein illustrator = cover artist = Peter Gudynas country = U.S. language = English series = genre = Science fiction… … Wikipedia
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (collection) — infobox Book | name = The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag title orig = translator = image caption = First Edition cover author = Robert A. Heinlein illustrator = cover artist = W.I. van der Poel country = United States language = English… … Wikipedia
The Amazing Race 9 — Season run February 28, 2006 – May 17, 2006 Filming dates November 7, 2005 – December 3, 2005 No. of episodes 12 Winning team B.J. Averell Tyler MacNiven Continents visited … Wikipedia
Man-Elephant — is the name of two fictional characters from Marvel Comics. Contents 1 Fictional character biography 1.1 Man Elephant I 1.2 Man Elephant II 2 … Wikipedia
Le Représentant en éléphants — (The Man Who Traveled in Elephants) est une nouvelle de Robert A. Heinlein, parue pour la première fois en octobre 1947 dans la revue Saturn Magazine. Histoire Un retraité nostalgique se souvient des magies de son épouse décédée, sur fond de… … Wikipédia en Français
Alexander the Great — This article is about the ancient king of Macedon. For other uses, see Alexander the Great (disambiguation). Alexander the Great Basileus of Macedon … Wikipedia
History of the Song Dynasty — The Song Dynasty (Chinese: ; pinyin: Sòng cháo; 960 1279) of China was a ruling dynasty that controlled China proper and southern China from the middle of the 10th century into the last quarter of the 13th century. The Song Dynasty is considered… … Wikipedia
Archaeology and the Book of Mormon — Part of a series on The Book of Mormon … Wikipedia
Death in the Afternoon — This article is about the book. For the cocktail, see Death in the Afternoon (cocktail). Death in the Afternoon … Wikipedia
Atlanta Radio Theatre Company — The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company.cite web |url=http://www.artc.org/|title=Atlanta Radio Theater Company website|accessdate=2007 04 19 |format= |work= |author=ARTC] (ARTC) is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting … Wikipedia