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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The uncut version of Heinleins's classic juvenile novel
Red Planet is one of Heinlein's most enjoyable, best selling, and important juvenile novels. It's hard to think of it as juvenile fiction, though, because it is a fantastically fun read which introduces thought-provoking ideas on sociological and otherwise adult subjects. Of course, this was not always the case. Alice Dalgliesh, Heinlein's editor at Scriber's, objected...
Published on November 15, 2002 by Daniel Jolley

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Skating on the Canals of Mars
I believe the first time I read this book was in 1957, at age 9. At the time I thought this was a great book, and some of the images that were painted in my mind while reading this stayed with me through all the intervening years. But time and science have marched relentlessly on since then, so I decided to look at this one again here in the 21st century. Alas, this...
Published on March 5, 2002 by Patrick Shepherd


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82 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The uncut version of Heinleins's classic juvenile novel, November 15, 2002
Red Planet is one of Heinlein's most enjoyable, best selling, and important juvenile novels. It's hard to think of it as juvenile fiction, though, because it is a fantastically fun read which introduces thought-provoking ideas on sociological and otherwise adult subjects. Of course, this was not always the case. Alice Dalgliesh, Heinlein's editor at Scriber's, objected to several themes and ideas in the original manuscript, much to Heinlein's justified consternation. He eventually gave in and removed several sections, including a couple of pages about the legal use of guns by the young boys in his Martian world and a section centering on the production of eggs by the fuzzy little bouncer Willis--she eliminated every mention of sex in the book, despite the fact that each such mention was beyond innocuous. Heinlein floated the idea of listing her as the co-author, wanting her to take some of the blame for a novel that he himself felt no pride for, fearing that Dalgliesh's hatchet job had produced a story that would harm his reputation. It actually became a fan favorite, and now we can read it complete and unedited, the way RAH originally intended it to be read.
Jim Marlowe is a youngster living on Mars, and he has a "pet"-friend named Willis. Willis is a "bouncer," a furry little guy of some intelligence whose most amazing quality is an innate capability to reproduce exactly anything he hears. Jim takes Willis with him when he and his friend Frank go off to school. The new headmaster makes life miserable for all the boys with his military discipline, and he has the audacity to take Willis away from Jim and lock him away in his office. A bold rescue attempt by the brave lads manages to recover Willis before the headmaster sells him off to the London Zoo, but the friends' joy soon turns to surprise when Willis plays back a conversation he overheard about the Company putting an end to the seasonal migrations on Mars. This means that Jim's family in the South will be forced to remain where they are all winter, where the temperature easily falls below one hundred degrees freezing. Now it is up to the boys to escape from the school and somehow find their way back home (hundreds of miles away) and inform their families of the Company's intentions. Only their bravery and a little help from Mars' unique native inhabitants give them a chance to save the day. The Martians are fascinating in and of themselves; needless to say, they are something entirely different from little green men.
This is speculative fiction. It doesn't really matter that we now know that Mars is totally unlike the Mars of Heinlein's story. This is just a riveting adventure of two brave boys and their unusual friend. The story could work in any number of settings. The science is there to build the framework, but Heinlein never indulges in any significant scientific pontifications. I have no problem enjoying Heinlein's juvenile fiction, largely because the pace of the narrative rarely slows down from start to finish. This is certainly the type of story I loved as a boy, and I still love it. Despite Scribner's editor Dalgliesh's misgivings, the unexpurgated text of Red Planet is a wonderful story of loyalty, honor, duty, family, adventure, mutual respect between cultures, scientific knowledge, freedom, and liberty--the very best type of tale for youngsters to read and enjoy then, now, and forever. I can hardly even guess at how many youngsters became life-long science fiction fans as a direct result of having read this incredible novel.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reveiw of Red Planet, June 29, 1999
By A Customer
When I was in fourth grade, a few years ago(I'm 11, just out of sixth grade), one of my freinds told me I should read Starship Troopers. I loved it so much that I looked for as many other books as I could find. A few I didn't read, because they looked like romance. The others, including Red Planet, I read. Red Planet was my favorite. It was so good, I read it in two days.(Mind you I was in fourth grade)I loved the Willis so much, everything on the web(e-mail,web page, etc.) that is mine, is named after him. You'll love the book. The best I've ever read.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Heinlein classic, February 26, 2001
I'm a huge fan of the Heinlein juveniles from way back, namely about seventh grade on. But for some reason I cannot fathom I bought Red Planet but just didn't get around to reading it. Not until my late '20's, when a friend who was a recent convert to the series strongly recommended it, did I finally read Red Planet, and it confirmed a long-held belief: That an adult can get just as much entertainment from these books as a kid. It's fun to note the Heinlein stand-in character, Doc MacRae, who is basically a mouthpiece for the author's opinions, but an amusing one. And what a delight that the Martians are the same as the ones in Stranger In A Strange Land, water ceremonies and all, but without the claptrap of the later book. Another major delight of the novel is Willis, perhaps the first example in Heinlein's work of a boy's alien "pet" that would turn out to be much more (Heinlein would expand on this notion with The Star Beast). Finally, when my son demanded I read him Red Planet recently, and after being cautioned that it had no pictures he greatly enjoyed it, this became one of my all-time favorite Heinlein juveniles. By the way, this new edition has a couple of extra paragraphs at the end; the slight extra doesn't really affect the story though.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The kind of Mars you'd want to live on, July 14, 2001
In all fairness to Kim Stanley Robinson's beyond excellent Mars trilogy and all the other fine writers who have tackled Mars in a realist fashion, there's that little Golden Age part of me that prefers romps like this one, where the story isn't as much as slave to science and fun rules the day. In Heinlein's day nobody really knew anything about Mars so a story like this where Mars is fairly run over with creatures (including the adorable ball of fur Willis) didn't cause anyone to bat an eye. And it shouldn't cause today's readers to put it aside either, its a fun and fast read that hits all the right notes and will entertain you throughout. Young adult Jim is going to school on Mars with his pet Willis when they discover something that might harm his fellow colonists back home, he and his friend Frank go through what seems like a million adventures, each one more fantastic than the last, before eventually saving the day. Yes, it's a book for the young adult in you, but Heinlein sticks plenty of stuff in here to appeal to us older folk. Granted he also loves to stick in his politics, there's plenty of "Guns make you a man" arguments running around (which I can stomach here moreso than the "letting the army kick the crap out of you makes you a man" argument in later novels) along with other issues like that but they don't get in the way of the book at all. The good guys are good the bad guys are bad and Heinlein's imagination is in full force, even the obligatory cutesy alien that winds up being far more than a cutesy alien is used to good effect here and while Jim indulges in that overly breezy dialogue we've come to know and love, none of the characters strike me as annoying (unlike the Star Beast where they all annoyed me), which is a good thing. The Martians are extremely well done, coming off as both human and alien at the same time, blessed with a culture we can barely strike the tip of. The cover of my edition trumpets that it's the "complete, uncut novel" and while that may have had some relevance for Stranger in a Strange Land, what the heck could they have cut out, it's not that long a book in the first place. Those looking for sophisticated examinations of complex issues aren't going to find that here but those who just want a fun time and a good read can do worse with this, that's for sure. There's a reason why people considered him a master before Stranger in a Strange Land.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "juvenile" story an adult can enjoy, June 25, 2000
By 
George R Dekle "Bob Dekle" (Lake City, FL United States) - See all my reviews
Heinlein wrote a number of "juvenile" science fiction novels before he started on the "more serious" work of his later years. "Red Planet" can be thought of as a prequel to Heinlein's first "serious" work, "Stranger in a Strange Land". The Martian society of "Red Planet" is one and the same as the Martian society of "Stranger in a Strange Land". Heinlein's earlier "juvenile" work is far, far better than his later "serious" writings with their turgid stories, pseudo-philosophical musings, and disturbing moral views. Stick to the juveniles: "Red Planet", "Citizen of the Galaxy", "Starman Jones", "Tunnel in the Sky", "Have Spacesuit Will Travel", etc.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For one day, I was a child again..., February 18, 1998
By A Customer
After reading _ RED PLANET_ (in one day), I was almost tempted to go outside and play act the story...as I would do during my childhood years. I had to remind myself that I was twenty years old now:) and couldn't playact anymore. This is *the* book that I would recommend for any parent searching for suitable science fiction novels for his/her child(ren). _RED PLANET_ has enough action to keep a young reader entertained, while managing not to insult said young reader's intelligence.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was the one that hooked me on science fiction!, September 2, 1997
By A Customer
I first read this book when I was 12 and I've been hooked on Robert Heinlein and Science Fiction ever since. I remember how captivated I was with the life led by the Martian colonists and also how well Heinlein described the technology and integrated it into a fascinating storyline. As with all of Heinlein's early books, Red Planet is bound to fascinate any teenager who picks it up for a read
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! I never knew science fiction could be this good!, March 23, 1999
By A Customer
Three weeks prior to my writing this, I was given an assignment in my English class. We were supposed to choose an "outside reading book" and we could choose from a romance, western, science fiction, or a mystery. I naturally headed for the mystery section, but couldn't find a thing. I tried numerous books the next day, but none were appealing until I started "Red Planet". I was captivated and continued reading. I found the book to be "comfortable", and I felt as if part of the plot. I finished the book within a matter of days, and then asked my mom where she had gotten the it. To my shock and disappointment, she told me that it was a library discard that she rescued from a give-away box. Take this from a picky reader: Give this a try. You will fall in love with Jim, Frank, Doc MacRae, and especially, Willis. Don't be afraid to try something new, especially Robert Heinlein's "Red Planet"!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced, Fun Read!, July 2, 2003
By 
Silmarwen (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Jim Marlowe barely remembers leaving Earth with his family many years ago. He considers himself a Martian Colonist and loves his life on Mars. He is not looking forward to going to school on Syrtis Minor, but he knows that he is of the age where he has to go. The only thing that he insists on is that his pet/friend, Willis, a "bouncer" or Martian animal that is round, furry and sticks out appendages when he wants to see or move around, come with him. His parents are forced to admit that there is nothing in the school rules that say he cannot take Willis, so Jim wins out.
On his way to school with his friend, Frank, they stop off at Cynia Station to wait for the ice to harden. Bored, the two boys decide to go and see the Martian city that lies just outside of the station. They are pleasantly surprised to meet and speak with some Martians, as they usually ignore the human colonists. There Jim makes friends with Gekko, a Martian, but insists that Willis must come with him when Gekko tries to persuade Jim to leave him there. Jim has cause to regret his insistence that Willis accompany him when their new headmaster, Marquis Howe, arrives to take over the school. It is instant hate between Jim and Howe, who infuriates Jim by confiscating Willis and caging him up in his office. Then Jim finds out that Howe is trying to sell him to the London Zoo! Jim persuades Frank to help him rescue Willis and Willis plays back a conversation between Howe and the General where the two boys learn that the Company (the Earth conglomerate who owns the colony) is determined to save money by making the colonists stay on one half of the planet where they will live in bitter cold, -100 below freezing, for one Earth year and then have a normal year, etc. Jim and Frank are determined not to let this happen. They carefully plan their escape and they are off to save their families! What Jim doesn't realize is that he and Willis will do much more than save his own little colony - the fate of all humankind on Mars rests on him and his little round friend...
This book was originally published in the '60s and we obviously have more information Mars since then, but Heinlein's speculation on what Mars may be like does not detract from the story at all - in fact, it is rather fun to read about what he thought Mars would be like. Heinlein's characters are engaging, if a little flat. I do not feel that he took very much time to develop any of the characters so they would become fully fleshed out, but the plot is very fast paced and full of action. This is a great book for children who are in 4-8th grade and their parents/older siblings will enjoy it, too. Many readers will feel that it is a kind of science fiction Harry Potter book and I think that the young readers will really enjoy it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traveling Ahead, March 10, 1999
By A Customer
Wow! All I can say is this is a really neat book. Its interesting to see what someone who wrote a book in 1949 thought of the future. This book takes just minutes before you become totally engulfed. The fast moving plot will get you to the end of the book in no time (not that you actually want to get there). The characters are so fascinating and have so much depth, you feel like they are your next-door-neighbor. You'll find yourself wishing you had a little Willis for a pet (he was my favorite part).
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Red Planet
Red Planet by Robert Heinlein (Mass Market Paperback - September 12, 1981)
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