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Citizen of the Galaxy Paperback – May 17, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (May 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416505520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416505525
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''Science, mystery, and strong ethical concepts give the book sure appeal to devotees of science fiction.'' --Saturday Review

''Sometimes satirical, probingly provocative, this is a characteristic Heinlein off-the-ground mirage, with the protagonist encountering the values of a free society, weighing the worth of the individual.'' --Kirkus Reviews

''Absorbing, convincing, and well written combination of science fiction and mystery.'' --School Library Journal --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

From the Publisher

Like many people, I go way, way back with Heinlein. My very favorite book (and one that stands out in my mind--and with much affection--to this day) is Tunnel in the Sky. I really, really wanted to go off to explore new worlds with a covered wagon and horses, like the hero does at the very end of the book. But one of the nice things about Robert Heinlein is that he's got something for everyone. One of my best friends has a different favorite: Podkayne of Mars. Go figure.
                        --Shelly Shapiro, Executive Editor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2002
Format: School & Library Binding
Citizen of the Galaxy is probably Heinlein's most mature juvenile novel and is certainly one of his most inspirational. It contains a sweeping indictment of slavery and provides a stirring message about citizenship and civic responsibility. Thorby is a slave; the only memories he has are a tangled morass of mistreatment spread among faceless men on nameless worlds; all he brings with him to Sargon are a filthy piece of clothing and an ugly assortment of scars and sores. On the block, no one values him enough to even bid on him, all except for the beggar Baslim. He takes him home (a hole beneath the abandoned amphitheatre) and raises him as a son rather than a slave. Thorby learns the art of begging from his new Pop and enjoys the happiest years of his life with him. Then Baslim, whom Thorby eventually learned was much more than a simple beggar, is arrested as a spy. Thorby satisfies his Pop's wishes by evading capture himself and taking a message to a certain ship's captain. Captain Krausa adopts Thorby as his own son and makes him a member of the Free Trader family on the ship Sisu. Here Thorby learns the complexities of Free Trader family life, makes real friends, and assumes a pivotal job protecting the huge spacecraft from raiders. Then Thorby is displaced once again, as Krausa takes him to the first ship of the Hegemonic Empire he comes in contact with. While Thorby hates to leave his new family, he does it to satisfy Baslim's ultimate wish for him to find his true family. Thorby soon learns that wealth does not make you rich as he strives to fight slavery in the galaxy and become the son his birth parents wanted him to be
Heinlein gives us three strikingly different looks at family life.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Strategos on August 31, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've only read a few books by Heinlein, but the more of his stories I read the more I see two trends. First, he likes to take an idea, and then run with it through every possible effect and ramification it could have. Secondly, he seems to (unless I miss my guess) be writing his adventure stories from the dual perspective of himself as a youth, and himself as an older world-weary traveler (in his own eyes anyway). Reading this book I got the same feeling from Starship Troopers and Tunnel in the sky, that our protagonist is struggling to learn the essential life lessons that he will one day be in a position to hand down. But that's just Heinlein...

In this story, our master of sci-fi take the idea of freedom to it's absolute philosophical limits. First, he shows us the world of a person who is an actual slave and has no rights whatsoever. Then, he takes that individual, and shoves them into situation after situation that leave us wondering what exactly freedom is. When Thorby is taught by his adoptive father how to think, he is freed mentally. When he is adopted by space-traders he is almost totally free in a physical sense (the traders travel all of space), but he finds himself enslaved to a way of life, a series of traditions, and many many rules. As part of the intergalactic space police force (or its equivalent), he finds himself fighting for freedom, yet again a slave to the ideals and way of life (and organization) behind it. The real kicker though, is when Thorby finds himself in a position of super-powerful financial might, with literally the world at his fingertips, yet enslaved to that power and all the responsibilities that it implies.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Maass on September 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Personally, I believe this is the type of book we should have on the required reading lists at our schools - a book that is fun and fascinating to read, that introduces creative concepts about society, technology, and people...and a book that makes you think. It makes you think about the importance of freedom, about the slipperiness of the concept of freedom...about the choices that we make, and the choices that are made for us...about how people may have more to them than we suspect based on first impressions or based on their chosen profession. The first time I read the book, I was disappointed in the ending. In rereading it, I realized that Heinlein was showing one more aspect of freedom - and, in having his character give up what many people would consider an almost ideal life, in being rich with no responsibilities --- and choosing to take on the burden of those responsibilities...Heinlein was showing even more about the importance of values, of character, over superficial fun.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ryk E. Spoor on October 31, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Capsule Description: A young orphan with no memory of his past is sold as a slave, and becomes embroiled in more and more complex situations while travelling from world to world. One of Heinlein's "Juveniles", possibly the best of that category, and a fun read.
Review: Often described as a space-age version of "Kim", Citizen of the Galaxy introduces us to the already world-weary and cynical, animalistically-paranoid Thorby, a boy of maybe ten years of age, who is being put on the auction block and sold. Through an odd sequence of events, the boy ends up being purchased by a beggar... who may be more than he appears. Subsequent events end up propelling him through the Galaxy as a number of things -- refugee, trader, military man -- while searching for the truth behind his unknown past.
Heinlein wrote several "juvenile" books, ones targeted at what today would be called the Young Adult market (mostly teenagers), but despite the label his stories were always written in a mature manner that assumed his readers were as intelligent as he was. This is one of the very best of the juveniles, all of which were good SF reads. An excellent "starter" book for a young person who'd like to try some classic SF but is daunted by the prospect of either larger books or ones so old that the language itself becomes a barrier.
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