Robert A. Heinlein has given the world of sci-fi some of its most beloved novels and stories. You may be familiar with some of his more popular works: Starship Troopers. Stranger in a Strange Land. The Puppet Masters. "All You Zombies." "By His Bootstraps." "The Roads Must Roll." But soon, readers will have another story to dig into: "Field Defects: Memos From a Cyborg."
According to SFSignal, "Field Defects" wasn't written as a short story; it was written as a letter to the editors Thomas N. Scortia and George Zebrowski, who released their 1975 anthology about cyborgs, Human Machines, and dedicated it to Heinlein.
When Heinlein received a copy of the book, he wrote them both a letter, thanking them. However, that personal message to them was in a postscript. The actual text of the letter was a short fiction piece showing a truly whimsical and entertaining side of the Heinlein where he pretended to be a Cyborg – in keeping with the theme of the anthology – complaining about certain defects.
The short story has only been published once before, but in a 46-volume collection limited to 2,000 sets that costs $1,500, so very few people have had the opportunity to read it. But they will, when it's released in the May issue of Galaxy's Edge magazine.
This hasn't been the only time Heinlein has published from beyond the grave. His unfinished novel, Variable Star, was completed by author Spider Robinson: Heinlein had left only eight pages of notes, and it was up to Robinson to write the rest, including the ending. After weeks of struggling with the story, Robinson finally remembered a conversation he and his late friend Robert had had years before, about a story he wanted to publish that famed editor John Campbell had talked him out of. That became the ending Robinson used.
Heinlein must have liked the novel, because had he not, we might have heard grumbles from the grave.