Current Reading: Becoming Superman

Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski, Harper Voyager (Harper Collins) 2019 hardcover, 457 pages. Autobiography.

J. Michael Strazinski had an especially grim childhood. His family was very poor, his father was a hateful, racist alcoholic who expressed his lifelong hatefulness by beating his wife and son almost daily. He was too parsimonious to pay for doctors or dentists, so his family suffered while he spent his time in bars drinking with his buddies.

All this resulted in many psychological problems for Straczynski, but being a very good writer somehow brought him through.

I like Straczynski’s comic book work, especially Rising Stars, and I liked the space series Babylon 5, which he wrote, produced and directed, but this book is more about his tough times than his successes. As I said, this one  is grim. I cannot recommend it.

Meanwhile, what are you reading?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Mystery | 9 Comments

Forgotten? Heinlein: Time For the Stars

Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein. Scribner’s & Sons, 1956. Juvenile novel # 10 in the series. Published in both hardcover and paperback that year by Scribner’s as part of the Heinlein juvenile series.

Continuing my survey of Robert Heinlein’s set of twelve juvenile science fiction novels, we now reach number ten. Since I started reading these out of order, there will be just one more after this, followed by a summing up.

The story is an exploration of the Twin Paradox, which explains how relativity works. If you had identical twins, and one of them accelerated away from Earth and the other stayed home, so much more time would pass on Earth than in the spaceship that the Earth twin would be a hundred years old when the space twin came home, only a few years later. Heinlein took this concept and made it a real story with characters — and he made the twin thing relevant by using twin telepathy, which is instantaneous, as a means of communicating between Earth and ship.

The Plot
The Long Range Foundation (LRF) is a non-profit organization that funds expensive, long-term projects for the benefit of mankind. It has built a dozen exploratory space ships to search for habitable planets to colonize. It is found that some twins and triplets can communicate with each other telepathically, and the process is both instantaneous and unaffected by distance, making it the only practical means of communication for ships traveling light year distances from Earth. Before announcing the discovery, the foundation first recruits as many of these people as it can. Testing shows that teenagers Tom and Pat Bartlett have this talent and both sign up. Pat, the dominant twin, manipulates things so that he gets selected as the crew member, much to Tom’s annoyance. However, Pat has a skiing accident at the last minute so that Tom has to take his place.

On board, Tom is pleased to find that his uncle Steve, a military man, has arranged to get assigned to the same ship. The trip is fraught with problems as trivial as an annoying roommate and as serious as mutiny. The ship visits several star systems, including Beta Hydri. Due to the nature of relativistic travel the twin who remained behind ages faster and eventually the affinity between them is weakened to the point that they can no longer communicate easily. Some of the spacefaring twins, including the protagonist, are able to connect with descendants of the Earthbound twins. Tom works first with his niece, then his grandniece, and finally his great-grandniece.

The last planet scouted proves to be particularly deadly. Unexpectedly intelligent and hostile natives capture and kill a large portion of the remaining crew, including the captain and Tom’s uncle. The reserve captain takes charge, but is unable to restore the morale of the devastated survivors. When he insists on continuing the mission rather than returning to Earth, members of the crew begin to consider mutiny. Shortly after he notifies Earth of the dire situation, they are surprised to hear a spaceship will rendezvous with them in less than a month and wonder how that can be possible.

Scientists on Earth have discovered faster-than-light travel, in part due to research into the nature of telepathy, and are collecting the surviving crews of the LRF torchships. The explorers return to an Earth they no longer recognize, and in most cases, no longer fit in. Tom, however, returns to family and makes the adjustment.

My Take
As with the other Heinlein juveniles, this is an enjoyable book, though the telling sags in places. There is good characterization, and a few twists. The plot mostly centers on Tom, who is on the ship, but there are sections on discovered planets, which are well done, and back on Earth, which are less interesting. Still, a strong entry in the series.

We now have just one more of Heinlein’s juveniles to go before I do a wrap-up. Next time: Have Space Suit–Will Travel.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Science Fiction | 14 Comments

Current Reading: A Liaden Universe Constellation Volume 4

A Liaden Universe Constellation Volume 4, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Baen Books 2019 science fiction short story collection, 324 pages.

The Liaden universe is the setting for an ongoing series of science fiction novels and stories written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. The series covers a considerable time period, some thousands of years in all, although since it also covers more than one universe the exact chronology is…difficult. However the main timeline extends across only a few generations.

The central stories primarily concern Clan Korval, a leading house in Liaden society. The stories are primarily in the genre of space opera, with some incidental romance, intrigue, and even a small dose of psionics. The Liaden universe is chock-a-block with characters, planets, clans, politics and action. As of this coming November there will be 22 novels, plus the story collections, of which this is the fourth and latest. All are available as ebooks.

I have read only a small few of the novels. While they are good solid SF, I have a tendency to forget who is who and the complicated social structure of the setting. Last time I read one, I consulted an on-line primer to help me get up to speed (I have the same problem with the Expanse novels by Corey, though there are many fewer of those).

NOTE: There is a pretty complete article on Wikipedia on the Liaden books, HERE, including chronology, timelines and characters. If you’re interested, it’s worth your time.

But these story collections can be enjoyed without much bother about all that. I figure if the necessary background isn’t at least sketched out, it’s not important to the story, in my experience that has held true. So I have read each of the previous collections, and now have finished this one.

Contents:
Forward
“Street Cred”  *
“Due Diligence”
“Friend of A Friend”
“Cutting Corners”
“Block Party”  *
“Degrees of Separation”
“Excerpts from Two Lives”
“Revolutionists”

In this one, I enjoyed all (but the last) story, especially those I starred, which is a good percentage for a story collection. This has made me want to read another of the novels. Are you a Liaden universe reader?

Meanwhile, what are you reading?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Science Fiction | 12 Comments

Forgotten? Heinlein: Tunnel In the Sky

Tunnel In the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein. Scribner’s & Sons, 1955. Juvenile novel # 9  Published in both hardcover and paperback that year by Scribner’s as part of the Heinlein juvenile series.

The Plot
BACKGROUND: The novel is set in the future, when overpopulation on Earth has been lessened after the invention of teleportation, called the “Ramsbotham jump”, which is used to send Earth’s excess population to colonize other planets. However, the costs of operating the device mean that the colonies are isolated from Earth until they can produce goods to justify two-way trade. Because colonizing requires practical infrastructure, the colonists employ “technology” from the frontier era, such as horses instead of tractors.

THE STORY: Rod Walker is a high school student who dreams of becoming a professional colonist. The final test of his Advanced Survival class is to stay alive on an unfamiliar planet for between two and ten days. Students may team up and equip themselves with whatever gear they can carry, but are otherwise completely on their own. They are told only that the challenges are neither insurmountable nor unreasonable. On test day, each student walks through the Ramsbotham portal and finds him or herself alone on a strange planet, though reasonably close to the pickup point. Rod, acting on his older sister’s advice, takes hunting knives and basic survival gear rather than high-tech weaponry, on the grounds that the latter could make him over-confident. The last advice the students receive is to “watch out for stobor.”

On the second day, Rod is ambushed and knocked unconscious by a thief. When he wakes up, all he has left is a spare knife hidden under a bandage. In his desperate concentration on survival, he loses track of time. Eventually he teams up with a student from another class who tells him that more than ten days have elapsed without contact, he realizes that something has gone wrong with the portal that was supposed to recover them, and they are stranded.

They start recruiting others to build a settlement for long term survival and Rod becomes the de facto leader of a community that eventually grows to around 75 people. Disagreements reveal the need to elect a government for the new town. Rod has no taste for politics or administration, and is happy to have Grant Cowper, an older college student and born politician, elected mayor. Grant proves to be much better at talking than getting things done. Despite disagreeing with many of Grant’s policies, Rod supports him. Grant ignores Rod’s warning that they are living in a dangerously hard-to-defend location and that they should move to a cave system he has found. When a species previously thought harmless suddenly changes its behavior and stampedes through their camp, the settlement is devastated and Grant is killed. Rod is put back in charge.

Heinlein tracks the social development of this frontier community of educated Westerners deprived of technology, followed by its abrupt dissolution when contact with Earth is reestablished when a working temporary gate appears. All of the students go back to Earth willingly except for Rod, who has great difficulty reverting from the status of head of a small, but sovereign state to a teenager casually brushed aside by the adult rescuers. Still, he has no choice.

After nearly two years of isolation, the culture shock experienced by the survivors highlights for them and the reader the pain and uncertainty of becoming an adult, by reversing the process abruptly—Each of the students goes from being a self-responsible member of an autonomous community back to being regarded as a callow youth.

Years later, Rod is briefly depicted accomplishing his heart’s desire; the novel’s ending finds him preparing to lead a formal colonization party to another planet.

My Take
As with the other Heinlein juveniles, this one was well received by SF reviewers. I agree, this is a good one. Heinlein bears down pretty hard with his political and social-cultural agenda, and there have been comparisons with The Lord of the Flies, which was published the same year. However this novel is much more upbeat in it’s portrayal of humans creating a isolated society. For once I remembered reading it many (many) years ago, and enjoyed it.

We now have just two more of Heinlein’s juveniles to go before I do a wrap-up. Next time: Time For the Stars.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Science Fiction | 8 Comments

Review: The Shallows by Matt Goldman

The Shallows by Matt Goldman, Forge, 2019, mystery fiction.

This is the third of Goldman’s Nils Shapiro novels, and it’s another good one.

The Plot: A prominent lawyer is found dead, tied to his own dock by a fishing stringer through his jaw, and everyone wants Minnesota private detective Nils Shapiro to protect them from suspicion: The unfaithful widow who hires him to find out what happened, by whom and why. Her artist boyfriend, who thinks he may be a suspect. The lawyer’s firm, who wants to make sure the company reputation stays squeaky clean.

There is also an election coming in November, and a very (very!) right wing Congressional candidate may be involved.

With the local suburban police department unable to handle much more than DUI and violation of fishing license laws, Stone Arch Investigations, Nils and partners PI business, is invited to help solve the crime and the questions it raises. Then the big city cops get involved. Then the FBI.

Nils and his investigative partners illuminate a sticky web of secrets and deceit that draws national attention. But finding the web doesn’t prevent Nils from getting caught in it. Just when his safety is most in peril, his personal life takes an unexpected twist, facing its own snarl of surprise and deception.

I really enjoyed Goldman’s first two mysteries featuring private investigator Nils Shapiro, Gone to Dust,(2017) and Broken Ice (2018). I grabbed this one as soon as I could get my hands on it and finished it in a day and a half, pretty fast reading for me. Good stuff, recommended.

What are you reading?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Mystery | 11 Comments

Forgotten? Heinlein: Between Planets

Between Planets by Robert A. Heinlein. Scribner’s & Sons, 1951. Juvenile novel # 5 Originally serialized in Blue Book magazine in 1951 as “Planets in Combat”. It was published in hardcover that year by Scribner’s as part of the Heinlein juveniles.

The Plot
The scientist parents of Don Harvey withdraw him from his high school in New Mexico in the middle of the term so that he can travel to their home on Mars. It is hinted that his parents want him “out of a potential war zone”, where he would be viewed suspiciously because of doubts about where his loyalties lie. At his parents’ behest, he visits an old family friend who asks him to deliver a ring to his father. But both Don and the family friend are arrested by Earth security forces. Harvey is released and given his cheap plastic ring back, after it has been examined; he is told that his friend has died of “heart failure.” It is only later that he realizes that all deaths can be described that way.

Harvey boards a shuttle to a space station orbiting the Earth. The station doubles as a transshipment terminus and a military base, armed with missiles to keep restive nations in check. On the trip up, he befriends one of his fellow passengers, a Venerian “dragon” named Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Isaac is a renowned physicist who can speak English using a portable device.

Harvey gets caught up in the Venerian war of independence when the station is captured by the colonials in a surprise raid. Most of the other travelers are sent back to Earth, while a few decide to join the rebels. Harvey is in a quandary. The spaceship to Mars has been confiscated, but he remains determined to get there, by way of Venus if necessary. Because he was born in space, with one parent from Venus and the other from Earth, he claims Venerian citizenship; more importantly, Sir Isaac vouches for him. He is allowed to tag along, which turns out to be very fortunate for Harvey. The rebels blow up the station to stir up trouble for the Earth government. When the shuttle returns to Earth with its radios disabled, the military assumes it has been booby-trapped and destroys it, killing all aboard.

On his arrival on Venus, Harvey finds that his Earth-backed money is now worthless. He gets a job washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant run by Charlie, a kind Chinese immigrant.

He tries to send a message to his parents, only to find all communication with Mars has been cut due to the hostilities. Harvey settles in to wait out the war, but the war comes to him when Earth sends a force to put down the rebellion. The Venerian ships are destroyed in orbit and the ground forces are routed. Charlie is killed resisting the occupying soldiers. Harvey is rounded up and questioned by a senior security officer, who is very eager to get his hands on Harvey’s ring. Luckily, Harvey had given it to a friend for safekeeping and he does not know where the friend is or whether she is even alive. Before he can be interrogated with drugs, he escapes and joins the Venusian guerrilla forces.

In time, he is tracked down by the leaders of the resistance, who turn out to also be looking for the ring. Isobel and her father (who is an important member of the rebels) are safe at the very base where Harvey is taken.

The seemingly valueless ring turns out to be carrying the secret of scientific breakthroughs resulting from archaeological studies of an extinct alien civilization on Mars. With Sir Isaac’s assistance, it is used to build an advanced spaceship that is much faster than any other vessel in existence, with revolutionary weapons and defenses also derived from the new technology. As the only combat veteran, Harvey is recruited for the maiden voyage of Little David, manning a dead man’s switch, with strict orders to blow up the ship if it is in danger of being captured. Little David intercepts and defeats a task force of warships on their way to Mars to crush the revolt there.

 My Take
Despite it’s rather abrupt ending, Between Planets was well received by science fiction reviewers upon it’s release, and compared favorably to all SF released in the year, adult and juvenile. Once again, Heinlein loves to show off his hard science fiction chops. That both Venus and Mars are depicted as habitable, now known to be untrue, in 1951 when this was written it was an acceptable idea. This book really moves the series along toward adult science fiction, and that trend will continue in the following books. In that respect I see it as a turning point. Once again, I liked this one quite a bit.

We now have just four more of Heinlein’s juveniles to go before I do a wrap-up. Next time: Tunnel In the Sky.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Science Fiction | 9 Comments

Current Reading: Getting Started On…

…various things. Sometimes, I get started on a book, then start another, then another, and don’t finish any of them within a week or two, sometimes longer. That’s the case this week, I’ve got three books going. Here they are:

Requiem for AstoundingA Requiem For Astounding by Alva Rogers. Advent Press, 1964, non-fiction.

I read the review on the fine blog by Jerry House (read it HERE) and just had to find a copy of this. I’ve just started it, but it looks promising.

From The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:  “Alva Rogers (1923-1982) US author and artist. Long involved in sf Fandom, he drew the covers for a number of 1940s Fanzines. His Requiem for Astounding (1964), though nostalgic and largely critical, provides a valuable history, rich in story synopses, of Astounding Science-Fiction before the name change to Analog, which it convincingly deplores.”  (Malcolm J. Edwards/John Clute)

Paradigm Shifts, Typewritten Tales of Digital Collapse edited by Richard Post, Frederic Durbin and Andrew McFeaters. Loose Dog Press, 2019, short story collection.

I bought this after reading a review on the Black Gate blog. I’ve so far read the first four stories, and am enjoying it. The typeface (font, these days) used is that typically used for typewriters in the day, Courier in most cases, a couple of others in a few cases. It’s used on the cover. That took getting used to, but by the time I finished the first story I was fine with it. The idea here is that there has been a worldwide digital collapse, and nothing involving computers or internet is operable. The response to this disaster (or is it?) varies throughout the stories. It’s the concept here that drew me in, and there is a second book of stories covering the period a little later in the un-digitalizing of the world. Naturally, various authors see things in different ways, which makes this very interesting.

The Shallows by Matt Goldman, Forge, 2019, mystery fiction.

I really enjoyed Goldman’s first two mysteries featuring private investigator Nils Shapiro, Broken Ice and Gone to Dust, so I grabbed this one as soon as I could get my hands on it. A prominent lawyer is brutally murdered, and it seems everyone connected to him wants Shapiro to protect them from suspicion. I won’t tell you more, because I haven’t read far enough to, but expect a review fairly soon.

Meanwhile, what are you reading?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction | 6 Comments

Heinlein: Farmer In the Sky

Farmer In the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein.  Scribner’s & Sons, 1950, hardcover and paperback. Juvenile novel # 4

This, the fourth of Heinlein’s YA (juvenile) novels, is about a teenaged boy and his family who emigrates to Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, which is in the process of being terraformed. A condensed version of the novel was published in serial form in Boys’ Life magazine (August, September, October, November 1950), under the title “Satellite Scout”. The novel was awarded a Retro Hugo in 2001.

The Plot
On an overcrowded Earth, food is carefully rationed. Teenager William (Bill) Lermer lives with his widower father, George. George decides to emigrate to the farming colony on Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s moons. After marrying Molly Kenyon, George embarks with Bill and Molly’s daughter Peggy on the ‘torchship’ Mayflower. During the trip all the children attend class; also, to combat the boredom of the long trip, the Boy Scouts among the passengers form troops.

When they arrive on Ganymede, an unpleasant surprise awaits the newcomers. The group is much larger than the colony can easily absorb and the farms they were promised do not yet exist. In fact, the soil has to be created from scratch by pulverizing boulders and lava flows, and seeding the resulting dust with carefully formulated organic material. While some whine about the injustice of it all, Bill accepts an invitation to live with a prosperous farmer and his family to learn what he needs to know, while his father signs on as an engineer in town. Peggy is unable to adjust to the low pressure atmosphere and has to stay in a bubble in the hospital. When the Lermers are finally reunited on their own homestead, they build their house with a pressurized room for Peggy.

A rare alignment of all of Jupiter’s major moons causes a devastating moon quake which damages most of the buildings. Peggy is seriously injured when her room suffers an explosive decompression. Even worse, the machinery that maintains Ganymede’s “heat trap” is knocked out and the temperature starts dropping rapidly. George quickly realizes what has happened and gets his family to the safety of the town. Others do not grasp their peril soon enough and either stay in their homes or start for town too late; two-thirds of the colonists perish, either from the quake or by freezing. The Lermers consider returning to Earth, but after Peggy dies and in true pioneer spirit, they decide to stay and rebuild.

The colony gradually recovers and an expedition is organized to survey more of Ganymede. Bill goes along as the cook. While exploring, he and a friend discover artifacts of an alien civilization, including a working land vehicle that has legs, like a large metal centipede. This proves fortuitous when Bill’s appendix bursts and they miss the rendezvous. The shuttle picks up the rest of the group and leaves without the pair. They travel cross country to reach the next landing site from which Bill is then taken to the hospital for a life-saving operation.

 My Take
Farmer In the Sky was well received by science fiction reviewers upon it’s release, and compared favorably to all SF released in the year, adult and juvenile. Though Heinlein loves to show off his hard science fiction chops in these books, some of what appears in Farmer In the Sky is either unlikely or impossible, specifically the alignment of the three moons. Still, there is no sense of “wrongness” while reading, and I liked this one quite a bit.

We now have just four more of Heinlein’s juveniles to go before I do a wrap-up. Next time: Between Planets.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Science Fiction | 9 Comments

Current Reading: The Black Jersey by Jorge Zepeda Patterson

The Black Jersey by Jorge Zepeda Patterson, Random House 2019 hardcover / ebook, mystery, 314 pages.

Every July, for years now, we watch the Tour de France on TV. In addition to seeing the beautiful French countryside, mountains and villages, there is the race itself. Highly skilled professional cyclists give their all for a stage win, or even to win the yellow jersey and stand on the podium in Paris at the end of the grueling two week race. Each year we get to know some of the cyclists and teams as we watch and cheer on our favorites.

So when I saw this new novel, which takes place at the Tour, I couldn’t resist.

Marc Moreau, a professional cyclist with a military past, is part of a top Tour de France team led by his best friend, an American star favored to win this year’s Tour. But the competition takes a dark turn when racers begin to drop out in a series of violent accidents: a mugging that ends in a broken ankle, a nasty bout of food poisoning, and a crash caused by two spectators standing where they shouldn’t. The teams and their entourages retreat into paranoia, but they must continue racing each day. The mountain inclines grow steeper and the accidents turn deadlier: a suspicious suicide, an exploded trailer, a loose wheel at the edge of a cliff. Marc, an ex-M.P., agrees to help the French police with their investigations from the inside and becomes convinced that the culprit is a cyclist who wants to win at any cost. But as the victim count rises, the number of potential murderers—and potential winners—dwindles.

Marc soon begins to realize that his team has been helped the most by the murderer’s actions, and in the final stages of the race Mark himself emerges as the only cyclist left who could possibly beat his best friend and win the Tour.

I liked this a lot, and I learned a good deal about the race, in spite of following it for several years. Whether or not you’re interested in pro cycling, you might consider this one.

Meanwhile, what are you reading?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Mystery | 10 Comments

Forgotten? Heinlein: Red Planet

Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein.  Scribner’s 1949, hardcover and paperback. Juvenile novel # 3

Colonists on Mars: ever a popular science fiction storyline. This time it’s a good guys vs. bad guys with the Martians caught in the middle. It represents the first appearance of Heinlein’s idealized Martian elder race, which will reappear in Stranger in a Strange Land.

The Plot
The novel is set in the future when Mars has been colonized by humans, but is administered by a governor appointed by the Earth government and the colonists have no political power. On Mars, colonial teenagers Jim Marlowe and Frank Sutton travel to the Lowell Academy boarding school for the start of the academic year. Jim takes along his native Martian pet, Willis, who is a Bouncer, a round fur covered ball the size of a vollyball, who is about as intelligent as a human child and has a photographic memory for sounds, which he can also reproduce perfectly.

The trip is along the frozen Martian canals (it’s Winter) in a skate boat. At a rest stop, Willis wanders off and encounters one of the adult sentient Martians. The three-legged alien takes the two boys and Willis to join a ritual called “growing together” with a group of its fellows. They also share water, making Jim and Frank “water friends” with the Martian, who is named Gekko.

At school, the well-liked and respected headmaster is retiring, and Mr. Howe is sent from Earth to replace him. Howe used to run a military academy, and believes in strict adherence to rules, and there are lots of them.

Jim gets into trouble when the authoritarian Howe, who confiscates Willis, claiming that it is against the new rules to have pets. After Jim and Frank rescue Willis, the bouncer repeats two overheard conversations between Howe and Beecher, the unscrupulous colonial administrator of Mars, detailing Beecher’s plans for Willis and the colony. When Beecher learns Howe has a bouncer, he is ecstatic, since the London Zoo is willing to pay a hefty price for a specimen. Worse, Beecher is secretly planning to prevent the annual migration of the colonists (to avoid the most severe months of winter weather) in order to save money. The boys run away from school to warn their parents and the colony.

The boys decide to return home to warn their parents. During the trip, Frank gets sick. On the third night, they are forced to take shelter inside a giant Martian cabbage plant (nearly suffocating when it folds up at night). The next day, they meet some native Martians, who accept Jim because of his relationship to Willis and water-friendship with Gekko. The Martians treat Frank’s illness and send the two boys home by a formerly unknown to the colony subway.

Once warned, Jim’s father quickly organizes the migration, hoping to catch Beecher off guard. The colonists take over the boarding school, and they turn it into a temporary shelter. Howe locks himself in his office, while Beecher sets up automatic, photosensor-controlled weapons outside to stop the malcontents (as he calls them) from leaving. After two colonists are killed trying to surrender, and the power to the building is cut, the colonists decide they have no choice but to fight back. The colonists organize a raiding party, with the boys taking part, capture Beecher’s office and proclaim the colony’s independence from Earth.

Several Martians enter the town and shortly afterward both Howe and Beecher disappear. The Martians had been content to allow humans to share their planet, but Beecher’s threat to Willis has made them reconsider. They present the colonists with an ultimatum to leave the planet. Dr. MacRae negotiates with the Martians, and is able to persuade them to let the colonists stay, mainly because of Jim’s strong friendship with Willis.

My Take
Red Planet is better than the first two in this “series”, by quite a lot.  The edition I read had the original ending restored. Compared to the first two juvenile (YA) novels, the plot in this one has more elements and depth, but the interactions between the boys is still very YA indeed. This is often considered as the first truly successful of the Heinlein juveniles.  Next time: Farmer In the Sky.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books | 19 Comments