Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Door Into Summer

The Door Into Summer. Robert A. Heinlein. 1957. Del Rey. 300 pages.

One winter shortly before the Six Weeks War my tomcat, Petronius the Arbiter, and I lived in an old farmhouse in Connecticut.

There were many, many things I really just loved about this science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. I loved the opening--the first few pages--which introduce the concept of a "door into summer." If you like/love cats, I think you'll appreciate it!
While still a kitten, all fluff and buzzes, Pete had worked out a simple philosophy. I was in charge of quarters, rations, and weather; he was in charge of everything else. But he held me especially responsible for weather. (2)
I found it interesting to see TWO visions of the future. Written in 1957, Robert Heinlein has primarily imagined two years: 1970 and 2001.

The hero of The Door Into Summer, Daniel Boone Davis, is an engineer who is down on his luck. He has been cheated in love and business. And it's the business loss that seems most traumatic. He wants justice; he wants revenge. But at the same time he just wants to escape the mess his life has become. So which does he want more? To escape the pain and stress and confusion of his current life, he considers entering the cold sleep. (In fact, he completes the paperwork.) Thirty years may be just long enough to sleep. The world will have to be better in 2000 than it is in 1970, right? But the choice of revenge or escape may be taken out of his hands--after an encounter with the two people who did him wrong. (He's having second thoughts at the time.)

When D.B. Davis wakes up in December 2000, he learns just how much has changed...some of these changes are good. But there are a couple of things that just don't make sense. Things that don't have any easy answers...unless time travel IS possible.

The Door Into Summer is an interesting read with a fun premise. I definitely enjoyed it. I think it may be one of my favorite Heinlein novels so far.

Read The Door Into Summer
  • If you are a fan of science fiction with a particular interest in vintage or classic science fiction
  • If you are a fan of Robert Heinlein, or if you're looking for a good introduction to Robert Heinlein
  • If you enjoy reading about how different people envisioned the future
  • If you are a fan of time travel
  • If you like cats
  • If you don't mind slightly creepy 'romantic' endings
Have you read this one?! What did you think? What did you think of the ending? Of the "romance" in this one? Did you find it merely slightly creepy or is it very creepy?

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana said...

Having just recently got a cat they have been on my mind lately. I might have to check this book out. :)

redhead said...

Yes, I am a fan of Vintage Science Fiction! and Yes, I love Robert Heinlein, and Cats!

I'm pretty sure I own a copy of this. . why haven't I read it yet? It sounds like a ton of fun!

It's Heinlein. of course there is going to be some skeevy romance.

Lovely Lady said...

I am so excited you like reviewing science fiction novels. I feel like a kid in a candy store! I have a pretty good list going now for my next trip to the book store thanks to you! :)

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Reading your review reminded me of reading Fahrenheit 451 where the author writes about the future that is already past for us. That was so weird! Thanks for linking your review to the Time Travel Challenge page.

Unknown said...

I remember reading this a long time ago and loving it, though the 'romance' was a bit troubling even then. Now I'm the father of a twelve-year-old girl and find it even more complicated a story. Is it possible to love a girl of that age in a purely platonic way? Yup, can't argue it is. Is that what happens here? Nope. Not exactly. Part of the 'no it isn't creepy if you think about it' would be that the circumstances to make this work are so exceptional that the normal rules making him a dirty old pervert don't quite apply. He knows her as a woman and as a girl at the same time.
I hadn't been thinking of it when I wrote my own novel, but a situation something like this comes up between a 24-year-old guy who goes into the body of an eleven-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl who goes into the body of an 18-year-old starlet. He knows that what he sees isn't her, but she's trusting and gorgeous. She knows that isn't him, but he's unthreatening and understanding. It isn't the biggest part of what goes on in the book, but a sub-plot that I thought I couldn't really get away from. These two people do have to interact and how they would do it has rules based on who they are.
All this to say, that Heinlein might have been trying to throw something in that would force people to think or just react (I think that this was a big part of Starship Troopers),or he might have felt that the situation made the whole thing just cute.
It's quite easy to believe the first when you think about themes explored in a lot of his work, Heinlein was out there in a lot of social issues.