Time Enough for Love is one of several books Robert Heinlein wrote for his character Lazarus Long. In it Lazarus counts his long history to a group of people who are at least as interesting in his recovery as they are in his history. Born in 1916 Lazarus Long just didn’t outlived time, but his story goes as far as the forth millennium.
We both taught school, indoors and out. Perhaps our kids had a weird education… but a girl who can shape a comfortable and handsome saddle starting with a dead mule and not much else, solve quadratics in her head, shoot straight with gun and arrow, cook an omelet that is light and tasty, spout page after page of Shakespeare, butcher a hog and cure it can’t be called ignorant by New Beginnings standards. All our girls and boys could do all of that and more. I must admit that they spoke a rather florid brand of English, especially after they set up the New Globe Theater and worked straight through every one of the old Bill’s plays. No doubt this gave them odd notions of Old Earth’s culture and history, but I could not see that it hurt them. We had only a few bound books, mostly reference; the dozen-odd “fun” books were worked to death.
Our kids saw nothing strange in learning to read from As You Like it. No one told them that it was too hard for them, and they ate it up, finding “tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”
Although it did sound odd to hear a five-year-old girl speak in scansion and rolling periods, polysyllables falling gracefully from her baby lips. Still, I preferred it to “Run, Spot, run. See Spot run” from a later era than Bill’s.
That’s how Lazarus describes to his the education of his kids with Dora, “the only women I ever loved unreservedly“. In his more than two thousand years he loved a lot of women, specially because once you achieve immortality (and if you can’t immortality to living more than two millenniums, I don’t know what would quality), until death break us apart is not a concept anymore.
Two thousand years is time enough to live multiple lives, and only that make it possible to keep going – different planets, different people, different conditions. From the hard live of a pioneer creating the first villages in a newly terraformed planet to the luxury live of more developed planets – two thousand years give you time for almost everything – maybe even educate your own female clone or… well, in Time Enough for Love, Heinlein shows you how far he can get you in the story of an immortal.