From Publishers Weekly
Like a good Ganymedean farmer in the sky, Robinson (Callahan's Key
) plants both feet firmly in Heinlein territory with this mostly credible pastiche of a Heinlein young adult novel circa 1955. Working from an unfinished outline and notes, Robinson tells the coming-of-age tale of Joel Johnston, who flees a broken romance to the new colony planet Brasil Novo 85 light-years away. Joel and his companions demonstrate the odd mixture of innocence and sexual experimentation that Heinlein employed, as Robinson captures the naïve yet advanced tone of Heinlein's future history. But the strain of a contemporary author trying to fit his sensibility about the future (in which nonaggression is a way of life, for example) into Heinlein's more notably militaristic mindset leaves its traces on the characters and plot, with some unexplained role reversals. Nostalgia for Heinlein's early work may pique interest in this posthumous collaboration, but old Heinlein hands may be disappointed that the book is incomplete, being all journey and no arrival. (Sept.)
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A mere glimpse at the legendary byline and Heinleinesque astronomical title may make at least older sf fans salivate. Alas, the source material is neither a lost or unfinished masterpiece but only a fifties-era outline made whole by journeyman sf scribe Robinson. No slouch at space opera himself, Robinson weaves Heinlein's guidelines into a serviceably entertaining tale of a young space explorer colonizing a new world. After discovering his fiancee and supposed fellow orphan is really a wealthy mogul's granddaughter, struggling musician Joel Johnston gets cold feet and grabs the next outbound starship. With his formative agricultural training on Ganymede, Joel has skills that come in handy tending goats and crops in preparation for landfall on Brasil Novo. Yet his vow to abandon love in favor of farming meets some surprising--and romantically intriguing--challenges. The trademark Heinlein quips, space-travel motifs, and obligatory schmaltzy romance are all here in a faithful, if technologically updated, pastiche of the late master's style and storytelling genius. Carl HaysCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved