- The Return of William Proxmire
"The Return of William Proxmire" was a short story by
Larry Niven. It was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Short Storyfor 1990. [http://www.locusmag.com/SFAwards/Db/Hugo1990.html]
The short story was reprinted in Niven's collection "N-Space".
Our point of view character, a physicist, is approached by retired Senator
William Proxmire. Proxmire has come up with a scheme to abolish money-wasting things such as space travel. His scheme is simple — as Robert A. Heinleininspired many to scientific careers when he took up science fictionwriting after being forced to leave the United States Navydue to ill-health, all that is needed is to go back and inject the young Heinlein with a cure for his illness. The healthy Heinlein would presumably remain in the military and never take up writing.
Sure enough, the scheme is carried out. However, Proxmire finds out that he has not succeeded as well as he would have liked. Other authors took Heinlein's place and inspired people to even greater achievements. Proxmire's career, in this timeline, was cut short after a cheese boycott. There is far more space travel in this timeline — guarded by Admiral Heinlein, who takes care not to let the Russians have weapons in space.
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