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Farmer in the Sky Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1975


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Mass Market Paperback, March 12, 1975
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 12, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345243757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345243751
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,894,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From the Inside Flap

Bill knew his destiny lay in the stars, but how was he to get there?
George Lerner was shipping out for Ganymede to join the fledgling colony, and Bill wanted to go along. But his father would not hear of it -- far too dangerous a mission!
Bill finally talked his way aboard the colony ship Mayflower -- and discovered his father was right! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I'm sure young readers today will like it just as well.
David Skurnick
First, I should say that, although Farmer in the Sky is one of Heinlein's "juvenile" works, I still enjoyed it a great deal as an adult reader.
Eric Beyle
There are these character types, who are really archetypes, that the young hero interacts with.
Kendal B. Hunter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L. Ager on December 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A short hop into the future, on an Earth almost as real as the corner store, teenager Bill Lermer lives with his widower father in the Diego Borough of the sprawling City of Southern California. His is a fast new world in which grammar school geography classes take field trips to Antarctica and study their regular lessons from versatile "studying machines."
But while Bill can pilot a helicopter and follow the news from the developing offworld colonies, his world is not perfect: he seldom gets enough to eat. He and his father must limit their diets according to a strict caloric ration book, and although a new yeast plant has just begun production in Montana, the caloric ration has been reduced yet another time. Rather than tighten their belts, the Lermers decide to emigrate to Ganymede, where terraforming is underway and good food abounds. Written in 1950, Farmer in the Sky is one of Heinlein's first boys' books, and also one of the most muscular and optimistic. It deals with nothing less than the future of mankind; what, after all, must humans do to survive, civilization intact, when Earth becomes too crowded, famished and bellicose? Emigration to other colonized worlds is one solution, and that is what Heinlein illustrates so well in Farmer. He presents his readers with a Ganymede already partially modified to support life from Earth, and makes it all seem plausible--even commonplace (at least within the bounds of late 1940's scientific theory). A reader can see Jupiter hanging up there in the greenish sky, and hear the tremendous din of rock-crushing machinery. Against this vivid backdrop, a variety of characters win or lose as they try to wrest a living from Ganymede's newly created soil.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on July 22, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How does this man turn what has to be one of the sillier titles I've ever seen (and probably wouldn't even sell at all today) and an almost absurdly basic concept and turn it into one of his most entertaining books? It must have been depressing try to match him in the fifties, he pulls off everything there here effortlessly, working comfortably within his own style without coming across as formulaic. Here we've got yet another vision of a future earth, where there's too many people and food is scarce . . . people are going to a colony on one of the moons orbiting Jupiter and Bill and his father decide that it's the place for them. Heinlein captures the pioneering spirit and drive brilliantly, subjecting his characters to all sorts of hardships, to the point where you can very easily relate to them even though they're somewhere way out in space and Jupiter keeps hanging in the sky (some of the most beautiful scenes in the novel have to do with that image, I wonder if it really looks like that) . . . even better, whenever one of the characters notes how hard it is to survive there, someone else always points out that most of the early colonies on earth were wiped out to a man. Bill remains a fairly consistent character in the Heinlein mode, always willing to learn, resourceful in the right moments, rarely giving up, he has his own appeal but it's not limited to just him, his father (if you can get past he and his father calling each other by their first names) is cut from the same mold, his friend Hank remains the biggest surprise, and while some of the characters are needlessly whiny only to contrast how hard working the rest of the cast is, those are only minor complaints.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dave Deubler on October 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Worried that life on Earth isn't going to make it? Ready to leave the rat race behind and head off to a virgin territory where a man can be a man and live off the land in peace? Science fiction grandmaster Robert Heinlein points to the new frontier and invites those of us who've really got the guts to leave our comfortable planet, to become Farmers in the Sky.
Amoung the best of Heinlein's juveniles, this fascinating novel tells the story of young Bill Lermer, whose family chooses to leave an increasingly overcrowded earth for the ostensibly greener pastures of a growing colony on Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter. Through Bill's eyes, readers get to see the selection process, the thoughtful preparations, the wearying journey, the chaotic arrival, and finally settlement in a new home on a new world. And then things really get exciting...
This book was originally serialized in "Boy's Life", the Boy Scouts of America magazine, which is why scouting finds its way into each chapter, but Heinlein makes excellent use of the concept, not only in terms of character building (which is an essential feature of this coming-of-age novel), but also as an important part of a practical education. While Bill studies for his merit badges, the reader gets to look over his shoulder and learn everything a greenhorn needs to know to survive on this untamed world, from physics to ecology. Best of all, Heinlein makes his explanations seem so reasonable that one almost wonders why we aren't out there building colonies right this minute.
But despite his gung ho pioneer spirit, Heinlein isn't a Pollyanna - he isn't trying to hide the more unpleasant facts of colonial life. During the selection process and the long voyage out, Bill has ample time to observe the uglier side of human nature.
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