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Between Planets Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1984

4.4 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews
Book 5 of 12 in the Heinlein's Juveniles Series

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Mass Market Paperback, September 12, 1984
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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

About the Author

An outstanding science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein was a four-times Hugo award winner. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (September 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345320999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345320995
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Between Planets (1951) is the fifth SF novel in the Juvenile series, following Farmer in the Sky. Like most of the author's SF, it is set within the Future History universe. Much of the story occurs on Venus, which is the home of an alien species and many disgruntled humans.

In this novel, Don Harvey is a boy of several worlds. His father was born on Earth and his mother was a Venusian colonist. His papers declare him a citizen of the Federation.

Don is attending school on a ranch in New Mexico. While out riding his pony Lazy, he gets a mobile call from the headmaster. He has received a radiogram from his mother, so he immediately returns to the ranch.

The message informs him that passage has been booked for his flight to Mars, where his parents are investigating the remains of the First Empire. Don is puzzled, but the headmaster tells him that his parents are probably worried about the threat of war. They don't want him to stay in the warzone.

In this story, Don calls Dr. Dudley Jefferson -- a friend of the family -- after reaching New Chicago and is invited over to the apartment. When he arrives, Dr. Jefferson makes polite talk, but asks him about a package sent to him at the ranch. Don hasn't received it, but the package is mentioned more than once during the evening.

Dr. Jefferson takes him out to an expensive nightclub, which opens Don's eyes in more than one way. But he is puzzled by the presence of someone that he had seen earlier that day. A man sitting in the club looks like a security policeman who had stared at Don when he was conversing with a Venusian dragon.

The security police later confront Don and Dr.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A strong, unified plot - the entire book is about Don Harvey's quest to reach his parents on Mars. A believable politics of the future. A sympathetic but not at all perfect hero and some good minor characters. An atmospheric vision of Venus as it should have been, a world of swamps inhabited by a few human colonies and a race of intelligent (and friendly!) dinosuaroid that communicate by whistling. What more could you ask?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I should preface this review by noting that I have a long-standing love affair with Heinlein's works. I started off on his juvies (like "Between Planets") when I was about eight, and graduated to his more serious work (eg. "Starship Troopers," "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Time Enough for Love," etc.) in my teens. So yes, I certainly harbor a great deal of affection for this book due to fond childhood memories. On the other hand, I'm still capable of being objective enough about it to feel fully justified with a five-star review.

Simply put, this is a fun, fast-paced little novel aimed at juveniles, which nevertheless has some outstanding themes subtly running through it. Absolutely, as many reviewers pointed out, "Between Planets" is quite dated, since it was written in the 1950s. But even though I knew Venus was uninhabitable when I read it as a kid in the '80s, I still managed to enjoy it thoroughly. For one thing, I learned at a young age to check when a book was written, and I was always able to separate my frame of reference from the author's. For another...well, it's science fiction (or speculative fiction if you prefer). You don't expect it to be perfect because you know it couldn't happen in the first place. Update the setting, the slang, and the technology and YOU STILL HAVE A COMPELLING STORY!

See, that's one of Heinlein's greatest strengths - even though he was a "hard sf" writer, he always understood that the readers cared far more about compelling characters and a strong plot than the "gee whiz" science. So he grabs Don Harvey just a couple of weeks before graduation, scrambles his life around, and (here's the important part, to me at any rate) lets him choose his own life path; which aspect of his background he finds most important.
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Format: Hardcover
Say 'yes' to one and let the other one ride? Did you ever have to finally decide?"

BETWEEN PLANETS (1951) predates this Loving Spoonfuls hit by many years but the questions asked are very much on young Don Harvey's mind. As the book opens he is enjoying an early morning ride near his New Mexico boarding school but his ride is cut short when he is summoned back to school. His parents have sent an urgent message for him to return immediately home to Mars. Don is surprised to say the least, he was after all just weeks from graduation. His second surprise came when he realized that the talk of war between earth and her colony worlds was not just idle talk, and that due to his family situation could be considered a citizen of each side. His loyalties were called into question by his headmaster and tested when he realized that his best friend could soon be fighting on the other side.

Don considered this situation as he began his long journey home. His problems increased when he discovered that he had become a 'person of interest' to the police who were convinced that he had something they wanted badly enough to kill for. As his journey continued he found himself stranded, penniless, on Venus. All along the way Don was forced to question and requestion his own loyalties until he finally had to make up his mind.

This is a very typical RAH juvenile novel. The hero is thrust into a situation where he holds the power to change the course of history. Also typical of RAH's work of this time is a rather unrealistic idea of the conditions of Mars and Venus, a firm belief that alien races will be both advanced and benevolent, and that females take a purely supportive role.
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