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the pursuit of the pankera

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"An absolutely essential and 'must read' novel for the legions of Robert Heinlein fans, "The Pursuit of the Pankera: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes" is an extraordinary work of science fiction and a welcome addition to both community and academic library collections."—Midwest Book Review

"Heinlein still offers a rollicking ride even after all these years."—The Oklahoman


Most fans of Heinlein know of The Number of the Beast and that it deals with parallel universes. What most do not realize is that The Number of the Beast was only one of two books he wrote about these parallel universes, although it was the only one published. No one is exactly sure why the other text never got published, although there have been many theories. 

A recent examination of the fragments of this parallel text that survived (along with Heinlein’s handwritten notes) made it clear that the fragments, if put together properly, constituted the complete unpublished book. It has taken us about three years to put these pieces together and deal with certain other issues, but we can finally announce that Robert A. Heinlein’s The Pursuit of the Pankera will be published on March 24, 2020.

We have been very fortunate that the complete manuscript was discovered and that the new book is entirely Heinlein. No additional author was asked to provide “fillers.” The book did go through a rigorous editing process, as would any new title being published, but other than that, it is as Heinlein left it.

Students of science fiction and keen fans of Heinlein have known about the unpublished text, often referring to it as the “alternate” text to The Number of the Beast. This has led to speculation that the new book is simply a variant of the published book. In fact, it is a totally different book. 

The two books do share a common beginning (approximately one-third of the book), but then diverge completely. We have created a side-by-side comparison of the books showing the divergence. The point of divergence is clearly marked, and you can judge for yourself how similar or different the two parallel texts are.

You may compare the two texts in a side by side comparison of the two chapters by CLICKING HERE (the comparison is in a PDF document and may require you to download a PDF reader).