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Red Planet Paperback – September 26, 2006
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Attention Science Fiction Fans
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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.
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Top customer reviews
I was introduced to this novel through the bookmobile that visited my neighborhood when I was 10 years old living in Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
Roughly 30 years later, I met Robert Heinlein at an L5 Society conference in San Francisco, and I was able to tell him about how reading his novel had started me on a great adventure. As I was talking to him, I was embarrassed that I could not remember the name of the furry little creature in the novel, when he suddenly leaned forward on his cane and said, "How did you like Willis?"
Willis! It's name was Willis! I told him I loved Willis and that I wanted one for my own. Decades later, my high-school age daughter needed a novel to read for class, and I bought this edition for her not knowing about the introduction by Patterson or that It was from Heinlein's original manuscript not the one chopped up by his editor. Ironically, if his original manuscript had not been edited, I may never have seen it, because it was not published in such a way to reach a mass audience until 1975, 20 years after I had read the original. His editor found certain aspects of Heinlein's libertarian leanings objectionable. I did not realize until reading Pattersons introduction, that I, swept away by Heinlein's story, was part of a vast worldwide movement.
A few pages into the story, my daughter told me she wants Willis.
For those who've read podkayne, stranger in a strange land and any other Heinlein w/ martians featuring, this probably has the most detailed first hand descriptions of martian behavior and culture in his oeuvre. Worth picking it up just for that really.
'Red Planet' was published in 1949 and is the third book of his 'Juvenile' series.
Without giving any plot away I will say this-the first three quarters of this book is amazing, with a great adventure of Jim, Frank and Willis across the desert lands of Mars, outsmarting and chased by the Colonial Administrator and his forces.
Then the last quarter of the book seemed to be about politics and a revolt, where Jim and Frank, the two boys are hardly included in the finale.
This is a fine book and worth reading if your a big fan, but don't start your Heilein journey with 'Red Planet'. Again, not a bad book, just to me it lacked a satisfied ending.
The 1949 novel is vintage Heinlein. Characters rant about bureaucracy, regulations, and limitations on personal freedom (the unfettered right to bear arms is sacred), themes that reappear often in Heinlein's later work. Although Red Planet is characterized as a "juvenile"--and although I was thoroughly entertained by it when I read it as a teenager--the story retains enormous appeal for adult fans of science fiction. While lacking the complexity of Heinlein's later work, the novel showcases Heinlein's vivid imagination and his stalwart belief in the ability of individuals to meet challenges posed both by hostile environments and by muddle-headed humans. It has aged well. I would give it 4 1/2 stars if Amazon offered that option.