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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Variable Star by Heinlein and Robinson

Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson. New York: Tor, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-765-31312-6

Now here's something I bet you never thought you'd see—or read: a new Robert Heinlein novel, published in 2006! According to the Editor's Preface, how it happened is thusly:

After the passing of Robert Heinlein's widow, Virginia, in 2003, his archivist/biographer discovered a detailed outline and notes for a novel the Grand Master had plotted in 1955, but had never gotten around to writing . . . Heinlein's estate executor and literary agent decided the book deserved to be written and read, and agreed that Spider Robinson was the only logical choice to complete it.

And here it is, ready for reading!

It has all the elements of a classic Heinlein story. Told in the first person by our plucky hero, who hails from Ganymede, unknowingly falls in love with the heiress to the richest family on earth, whose family wants him to give up his paltry musical ambitions to spend the next decade or so grooming himself to take over managing the biggest business empire in the solar system.

So what does he do instead? Flees onto the first outbound spaceship available, heading for a 20-year, barely sub-light speed trip to an earth-compatible planet circling a neighboring star. Many adventures are had, both physical and mental, typical of Heinlein's previous writing. Naturally, the richest man in the solar system gets his proper comeuppance at the end, and the guy gets the girl, if not the one he originally planned on.

Definitely recommended for all Heinlein fans, new or old. Spider Robinson fans won't likely be disappointed either. Where else can you read a brand new “golden era” space opera tale from the original Grand Master of them all, albeit with a little help from the erstwhile kid he mentored.

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