Let There Be Light

Publication date:1940.05
Genre:Science fiction short story
Series:Future History
Preceded by:If This Goes On—
Followed by:Successful Operation
Wikipedia page

“Let There Be Light” a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein, originally published in “Super Science Stories” magazine in May 1940 under the pseudonym Lyle Monroe. It is the second story in his “Future History.” This story draws on Heinlein’s early leftist philosophies, and makes references to George Bernard Shaw’sThe Apple Cart.”

The story concerns the invention of “light panels”—devices which turn electrical power directly into light (similar to electroluminescent displays (ELD), invented in 1949).

Light panels also appear in several other Heinlein stories, such as “The Roads Must Roll.”


During research of light panels, the inventors discover that their invention can also be used to derive power from light. In attempting to bring their discovery to market, they encounter the active opposition of the “Power Syndicate.”