Saturday, February 04, 2012

Time for the Stars

Time for the Stars. Robert A. Heinlein. 1956. Tor. 244 pages.

According to their biographies, Destiny's favored children usually had their lives planned out from scratch. Napoleon was figuring on how to rule France when he was a barefoot boy in Corsica, Alexander the Great much the same, and Einstein was muttering equations in his cradle. 
Maybe so. Me, I just muddled along. 

At last, I have a FAVORITE Robert Heinlein novel. There have been a handful of novels that have been almost-love for me. Novels that I've enjoyed for the most part, and in places even loved. But for me, Time for the Stars is the BEST. I just love, love, love this one. It had everything I wanted. And nothing I didn't! The premise of this one is simple and it works well for the most part.

Earth is sending out a dozen spaceships to explore the galaxy, to find potential planets to colonize. Each spaceship has a dozen or so mind-readers/telepaths on board. Almost all of the telepaths are twins. One twin stays on Earth and receives transmissions from the ship, from his or her partner; the other twin goes into space, has the adventure, and sends all the messages to Earth. Almost all the telepathic pairs are young adults or children--they have to be because they know that aging will be an issue. (One twin will stay young, one will age normally.)

The hero of Time for the Stars is Tom Bartlett. His twin is Pat. Used to being bullied--or bossed around--by his twin, Tom never thought he'd be the one to go on the ship Lewis and Clark, or "Elsie". But when his brother has a skiing accident, the twins switch places...for better or worse.

So. This novel is all space adventure. But I think for the first time, perhaps, Heinlein's characters were ones that I really, really CARED about. It was the first time I recognized Heinlein of having the ability to create interesting, well-developed characters. So this book was more than a premise. It actually had substance too.

Read Time for the Stars
  • If you've been disappointed by Heinlein in the past and are looking for a book that satisfies
  • If you're looking to try Heinlein for the first time
  • If you're interested in a science fiction book with young(er) characters/narrators
  • If you're a fan of science fiction, particularly science fiction that focuses on space exploration and colonization
  • If you're looking for some adventure with your science fiction

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Stacy Tipton said...

your reviews are great! keep it up! I'd love to do reviews like this.

Lovely Lady said...

I'm excited to read this one..I love science fiction! This sounds very interesting!

BetteRose Ryan said...

I loved Heinlein when I was a teenager. The first book I read was Revolt 2100. I also read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. But the one character I loved (as in marrying kind of love) was in a short story -Slapstick. Slapstick is a nickname for the slide ruler of years past. When I went to the WorldCon last year, they had a Heinlein discussion group. I had no idea that I had missed so many wonderful books by him. Now you have introduced me to another. Thank you!