|Genre:||Science fiction short story|
“Life‐Line” is a short story by American author Robert A. Heinlein. Published in “Astounding Science‐Fiction” August 1939, it was Heinlein’s first published short story.
Heinlein was motivated to write the story by a contest in “Thrilling Wonder Stories” magazine promising $50 US to the winner, but ended up submitting it to a rival magazine—“Astounding Science‐Fiction,” and was paid $70 (approximately $1085 in 2008 dollars).
Professor Pinero builds a machine that will predict how long a person will live. It does this by sending a signal along the world line of a person and detecting the echo from the far end. Professor Pinero’s invention has a powerful impact on the life insurance industry, as well as on his own life.