Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Double Star

Double Star. Robert A. Heinlein. 1956. Del Rey. 245 pages.

If a man walks in dressed like a hick and acting as if he owned the place, he's a spaceman. It is a logical necessity. His profession makes him feel like boss of all creation; when he sets foot dirtside he is slumming among the peasants. As for his sartorial inelegance, a man who is in uniform nine-tenths of the time and is more used to deep space than to civilization can hardly be expected to know how to dress properly. He is a sucker for the alleged tailors who swarm around every spaceport peddling "ground outfits."

"The Great Lorenzo" has been hired to impersonate a prominent politician--a Mr. John Joseph Bonforte. This job will take him to Mars and beyond. When he accepts the job, he doesn't really know all the facts. He doesn't know what the job will require--beyond an impersonation at a public/social event. And he doesn't know how long the job will last. He hopes not too long, since he doesn't really like politics, and he doesn't really like the political viewpoints of the person he'll be playing. Even if he asked before leaving Earth, I doubt he'd been told the truth.

So. I'm not quite sure what to think of Double Star. On the one hand, it was relatively clean. (I stopped reading the last two Heinlein novels I picked up from the library because they were, well, perhaps Vir says it best: "That's...that's quite all right, I get the idea. I don't really need to know more than you've told me. In fact, I wouldn't have been upset to know less." The titles of those two were Friday and I Will Fear No Evil.)

And Double Star wasn't exactly just wasn't thrilling. It was one of those books were the beginning is better than the middle and the end. I'm not sure if that's because of my expectations or his writing. (Is it wrong for me to expect science fiction novels to have developed characters?)

Read Double Star
  • If you're a fan of Robert A. Heinlein
  • If you're a fan of vintage science fiction
  • If you're interested in reading Hugo winners
  • If you're interested in politics
  • If you're interested in space travel

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


redhead said...

As a Heinlein fan, I'm looking forward to Double Star. And as a Heinlein fan, I've picked up I will Fear No Evil. . . and put it down, twice. because it's nearly unreadable, and not just because of the awkwardness on just about every page.

About the "eh" of Double Star, Heinlein didn't always do developed characters. he wrote a lot of pulp adventure, where characterization was of minimal importance. "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" has some of his best characterization, if you're interested in giving him another try.

Kailana said...

I really need to read this author at some point. Not necessarily this book, but something...

Unknown said...

This is actually one of my favourite Heinlein novels, not that I can say why at the drop of a hat.