2023 Robert A. Heinlein Award Winner: John Scalzi

John Scalzi headshot

John Scalzi, novelist and internet personality, is the 2023 winner of the Robert A. Heinlein Award. The award is bestowed for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space. This award is in recognition of Mr. Scalzi’s body of work of 16 novels and numerous short stories. A majority of his work features a future in space for humanity including his groundbreaking novels in the Old Man’s War series and the Interdependency series.


Mr. Scalzi will accept the award at Balticon 57 during the opening ceremonies on Friday evening. He will also participate in the Balticon program throughout the weekend.

John Scalzi debuted in 2005 with Old Man’s War, a novel that Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, compared directly to Robert Heinlein’s work (“Scalzi’s astonishingly proficient first novel reads like an original work by the late grand master.”). In the time since, Scalzi has published sixteen other novels, including five others in the Old Man’s War series and three novels in the Interdependency series, all of which take place in a universe where humans have reached into the stars. He won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2013 for Redshirts, and has won several other notable awards including the Locus Award, the Dragon Award, and the Campbell/Astounding Award. In 2016 he was presented with the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio.

Outside of writing, Scalzi has contributed to the field of science fiction in other ways. From 2010 to 2013, he was president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), the pre-eminent writer’s association in the field. In 2012 he was Toastmaster of Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention and emceed the Hugo Awards. On his own site, which has been online since 1998, making it one of the long-running personal sites on the internet, Scalzi hosts the “Big Idea” feature, which over the years has given hundreds of writers in the SFF genre a platform to talk to readers about their latest work.

In addition to fiction, Scalzi has written numerous non-fiction books on the subjects of astronomy, science fiction film, writing and humor. He has written several episodes of the Emmy-winning Netflix animated series Love Death + Robots, and was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. His Old Man’s War novel is currently in development for a feature film. Scalzi lives in Ohio with his family.

The Robert A. Heinlein Award was founded by Dr. Yoji Kondo, a long-time friend of Robert and Virginia Heinlein. A grant from the Heinlein Society funds half of the costs associated with the award with additional funding provided by the family of Dr. Kondo. Balticon and the Robert A. Heinlein Award are annual activities of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. More information on the Robert A. Heinlein Award, including past winners, can be found at www.bsfs.org/bsfsheinlein.htm.