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The Star Beast Paperback – March 6, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Reprint edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451638078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451638073
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,666 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

Lummox had been the Stuart family pet for years. Though far from cuddly and rather large, it had always been obedient and docile. Except, that is, for the time it had eaten the secondhand Buick . . .
But now, all of a sudden and without explanation, Lummox had begun chomping down on a variety of things -- not least, a very mean dog and a cage of virtually indestructible steel. Incredible!
John Thomas and Lummox were soon in awfully hot water, and they didn't know how to get out. And neither one really understood just how bad things were -- or how bad the situation could get -- until some space voyagers appeared and turned a far-from-ordinary family problem into an extraordinary confrontation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 67 customer reviews
I've been reading this book since I was a teenager.
This was one of the first Science Fiction books I ever read, and it's one that helped solidify my love for the genre.
Amazon Customer
One critic has called this story "Heinlein's silliest juvenile".
Arthur W. Jordin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steven Ungar on June 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Star Beast" is the first science fiction book I read, when I was twelve years old...I even remember where I was sitting on a bench outside my building in New York while I was reading it. I recently bought it for my twelve-year old daughter, to "get her started," and on my way home from a business trip, I read it again myself. I am amazed to think I was able to read this book when I was a kid, and how much I must have missed. It is sophisticated, gently satirical, often very funny, and often wise; the usual warm characters and ear for speech that one expects from Heinlein, but with a no-nonsense intolerance for racial bigotry, and a feisty, competant teen-age girl who's got wit and courage. All told, to my considerable surprise, it's one of the better books I've read in the last few years! My highest recommendation.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd VINE VOICE on September 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lummox, The Star Beast, is the star of this book. A three-ton overgrown caterpillar who just loves to munch on the neighbor's prize rose bushes, add a few pieces of tasty metal cars, and raise John Thomases. Of course, John Thomas doesn't quite see things the same way as Lummox. When Lummox goes on a little trip through downtown, with the expectable result of absolute mayhem, John Thomas finds himself in trouble with his mother and the law with only his girlfriend to help him.
How John's problems are resolved is an exposition in a teenager's maturation along with a very different (for Heinlein) portrayal of a truly competent and efficient government bureaucrat (for a completely opposed view of civil servants see his Friday or Stranger in a Strange Land). Along the way, Heinlein makes points about child rearing, the sometimes ridiculous workings of the law (along with some hilarious courtroom proceedings), prejudice, advertising/political campaigns, the shortcomings of making unfounded assumptions, self-blinded egotists, and the right of self-determination, all buried inside a fun and very good adventure story.
Heinlein never wrote 'down' to his readers, one of the aspects that make his so-called juveniles so enjoyable for readers of all ages. Some younger readers may have a little trouble with the vocabulary he uses, though the meanings of his word choices are almost always inferable from the context. My 12 year old, who is currently reading this, runs into an unknown word about every two pages. While this is slowing him down a little, it is not detracting from his enjoyment of the story (and whether he knows it or not, he is learning a considerable amount from this book).
Character development is a little sparse and the story line is comparatively simple. This is not the best of Heinlein's young adult books, but is a very entertaining and enjoyable book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on May 4, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Thomas Stuart was a young man with alot of on his mind. He would be going off to college in the fall, his best friend Betty would be at a different school, his mother was still insisting that she knew what was best for him - about everything, and he would be forced to leave behind the pet he had had his entire life. 'Lummox', in fact had also been his father's before that, and his father's before....Lummox was an ET that great grandfather had brought home from one of the first deep space explorations a century before. At that time Lummox had been about the size of a puppy but had grown considerably over the years and now was about the size of a car, which added to John Thomas' problems keeping him out of trouble.

Lummox went out for a walk one afternoon and caused enough destruction that he came to the attention of the Department of Spatial Affairs. As John Thomas and Betty attempt to sort out this mess the situation continued to escalate to truly astonishing situations. Everyone involved had a different point of view about the relationship between John Thomas and Lummox and corresponding opinion on what should be done.

This 1954 entry is one of the 'juvenile' novels that RAH was writing at the time. As always with his work it is an exciting and funny novel that could be thoroughly enjoyed on that level alone. Also as always with RAH's work some rather sophisticated ideas are hidden inside that will stay with the reader long after the book has been put down.

This also marks a change in RAH's portrayal of women. In his earlier works women are usually rarely mentioned and when they are it is in a sexist and/or unsympathetic manner. In his later years women are often the main characters of his works and shown as the equals of men in every way.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lonnie E. Holder HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Heinlein wrote a series of twelve books for Scribner's that are collectively called Heinlein's Juveniles. Some Heinlein historians include "Podkayne of Mars" as one of the juveniles, but Heinlein himself did not. This 1956 novel was Heinlein's eighth juvenile.

John Thomas Stuart XI has a pet named Lummox. When Lummox was little it was the size of a puppy. However, Lummox was older, generations older by human standards, and was now the size of a small bus. Things would have been fine if Lummox had remained in the backyard. Unfortunately, Lummox has a clever way of thinking about things and sometimes Lummox's logic discovers interesting interpretations of property and what John Thomas Stuart XI has told Lummox to do.

The trouble begins with nearby rose bushes. Lummox enjoys rose bushes, but Lummox also has a basic understanding of property and Lummox knows that John Stuart has forbidden Lummox to eat rose bushes owned by someone. However, these particular rose bushes appear to have no owner.

Things go from bad to worse when Lummox becomes frightened and ends up running from multiple individuals and then the police. Fortunately, Lummox is nearly invincible; bullets bounce off Lummox because of a nearly impervious hide. Unfortunately, a number of people feel that Lummox is a menace to society and want Lummox destroyed. John Thomas Stuart XI has serious issues to resolve.

Under Secretary Kiko also has serious issues to resolve. Because his department has responsibility for extraterrestrials, he sends Sergei Greenberg off to determine whether the Department of Spatial Affairs should become involved.
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