- Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Baen; Reprint edition (June 30, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439132771
- ISBN-13: 978-1439132777
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 118 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Farmer in the Sky Mass Market Paperback – June 30, 2009
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About the Author
Robert A. Heinlein was the greatest science fiction writer who ever lived. His novels have been translated into every literate language on the globe—over 50 million Heinlein books are in print in this country alone. For five decades, young readers of science fiction discovered Heinlein, then gone on to voraciously devour every Heinlein book they can get their hands on. His now-legendary Stranger in a Strange Land was the first hardcover bestseller by a science fiction writer. From 1975 on, every new Heinlein novel made the New York Times best-seller list and shipped a million copies, including The Number of the Beast, Friday, Job: A Comedy of Justice, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. In a career spanning half a century, he wrote over forty books, and four of his novels won Hugo Awards, an unequalled record for almost four decades. For the last three generations of readers, Heinlein is science fiction.
Top customer reviews
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As with the other juvenile I reviewed recently ("The Rolling Stones") this one is interesting and maybe suited to younger SF readers even today, but it's not Heinlein's best work. If you want a better Heinlein young-protagonist book see "Tunnel In the Sky" or "Citizen Of the Galaxy".
If you were ever a Boy Scout, there are some parts of this book which will be a delight to you as well.
Just a caution, when considering a Robert Heinlein book, check the original publishing date. His works from the 1950s are some of the very best. His later works, from the 1970s or 80s are often just not up to the standard he set in his better period.
I give Farmer in the Sky a grade of A-.
That being said, I do wish that I had read this when I was younger. Too much of the young adult literature that I remember was built around intrigue, destruction and escapism so that, while it may have been entertaining, it wasn't particularly useful. The self-improving example of Heinlein's protagonist is one that any young person could benefit from seeing in print.
Heinlein's protagonist provides a real example to younger readers and his focus on personal growth as well as tangible accomplishments struck me as very healthy and positive. It was simply nice to read a well-written book about an ordinary young person who creates something through sheer dint of personal effort rather than a protagonist who is only noteworthy through accident of birth or the freak acquisition of superpowers.
Also, kudos to Baen for including a very informative and understandable essay at the end of the book explaining the science involved.
This novel originally appeared as a serial in Boy's Life magazine. There is a strong Boy Scout influence in the story which blends well with the frontier setting and skills needed to survive in it. This is classic Robert Heinlein science fiction from the 1950s. The science is dated, but charmingly so. The adventure of space colonization nicely parallels the main character's coming of age.
One disappointed observation--the story could have gone on longer or easily supported a sequel. It's odd that a prolific writer like Heinlein did not follow up with one. Perhaps some detail of the licensing arrangement with Boy's Life explains this.