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Time for the Stars Paperback – March 6, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
Book 10 of 12 in the Heinlein's Juveniles Series

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Editorial Reviews


“He rewrote US sf as a whole in his own image. Robert A. Heinlein may have been the all-time most important writer of genre sf.” ―The Science Fiction Encyclopedia

“He made footsteps big enough for a whole country to follow. And it was our country that did it...We proceed down a path marked by his ideas. He showed us where the future is.” ―Tom Clancy

“The word that comes to mind for him is essential. As a writer--eloquent, impassioned, technically innovative--he reshaped science fiction in a way that defined it for every writer who followed him. . . . He was the most significant science fiction writer since H. G. Wells.” ―Robert Silverberg

About the Author

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) is widely acknowledged to have been the single most important and influential author of science fiction in the twentieth century. He won science fiction's Hugo Award for Best Novel four times, and in addition, three of his novels were given Retrospective Hugos fifty years after publication. He won Science Fiction Writers of America's first Grand Master Award for his lifetime achievement.

Born in Butler, Missouri, Heinlein graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served as an officer in the navy for five years. He started writing to help pay off his mortgage, and his first story was published in Astounding Science-Fiction magazine in 1939. In 1947, he published a story in The Saturday Evening Post, making him the first science-fiction writer to break into the mainstream market. Long involved in politics, Heinlein was deeply affected by events such as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Cold War, and his fiction tended to convey strong social and political messages. His many influential novels include Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and Time Enough for Love. At the time of his death in 1988, he was living in Carmel, California with his wife Virginia.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765314940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765314949
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lonnie E. Holder HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 2, 2007
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 tenth juvenile.

Tom and Pat Bartlett were twins; very close twins. In fact, they were so close that they possessed a special ability shared by very few twins. When the Long Range Foundation contacted the twins for an interview, they milked the Foundation for every penny they could get. However, the Foundation was indulgent with the twins because they needed them for a very special project.

The twins soon find themselves herded along with numerous other twins through a series of tests. At the other end of the series of tests is a contract for the twins that will guarantee that they and their families will be well taken care of for the rest of their lives. The only problem with the contract is that one of the twins will have to leave earth on a torchship, the Lewis and Clark, also called L.C. or Elsie, for distant planets.

Tom Bartlett ends up being the lucky twin to leave crowded Earth for the stars. Heinlein's books tend to be accurate in their engineering, physics and astronomy, and this book certainly is. Heinlein has all his stars in the right places and he appropriately described the relativistic effects of traveling near the speed of light. Heinlein also did an excellent job of envisioning life aboard a ship that would spend years in deep space, including the interplay of personalities and ship politics.

Heinlein also included the mandatory element of every space exploration book, aliens.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a classic Heinlein story that had been out of print in book form for quite some time. It follows Heinlein's tradition of superb story telling about a young boys' travel through the stars. Already familiar to most Heinlein fans, Time for the Stars is about the use of telepathic twins to breach the vast emptiness of space in a bid to further explore the galaxy and allow mankind to expand beyond its home planet. Although it lacks the soul-delving depth of Heinlein's masterpieces (Stranger in a Strange Land, the Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Time Enough for love), it's a grand adventure story that will inspire young teens to look up to the stars and always wonder. And that, is what Heinlein's stories are all about.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was one of the first SF books I ever read, and it's the best starting point for any young person wanting to read the 'Juveniles'. I recently re-read it (out loud) to my 10 year old son. Now granted I needed to explain a bit about Einstein (well, just the time-dilation idea, which a 10 year old can understand). The story is such a rollicking adventure that he would plead for another page every night! As we finished the final page (which is a great and mind expanding twist), the young fellows review was: "that's got to be one of the best books ever, Dad!"

This book has hardly dated, which is amazing for a novel from the 50's, and it explores lots of interesting issues - sibling rivalry, ageing, cultural change (I love RH's joke about girls wearing hats in the final pages). The science is sound. The level and content are appropriate for a 10-14 reader (with the proviso about science). Some of the other Juveniles are a bit more 'mature' in themes.

And yes, to the reviewer above, RH was a large part in my desire to be a geologist. But I never got to Mars...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A standard illustration of the time-distorting effects predicted by Einstein's relativity equations is the traveling twin problem, where one twin remains on Earth while the other travels at near-light speed to some distant destination. Heinlein takes this textbook concept and adds two other ingredients to the mix: the twins are telepathic, and they are real people, in concocting this nice blend of great adventure and hard science.
Tom and Pat are the twins in question, targeted by the Long Range Foundation as a potential communications pair on the first exploratory star-ships due to their telepathic ability to communicate over any distance at (truly) instantaneous speeds. Which one will go and which will stay forms the initial conflict of this story, and how the decision is made provides a strong base for filling in the character of each, along with some interesting psychological insights into the problems that face close siblings. While still on Earth, this section also allows Heinlein to throw in some of his typical comments about bureaucracies, government meddling, taxes, population control, and the non-democratic nature of families, all deftly folded into and directly contributing to the story line.
Once the starship takes off, we find something of a more traditional adventure story, as we follow Pat on the starship and his meeting with the duties and responsibilities of ship-board life and the unforeseen hazards that the ship encounters at each of the stars it explores. In the meantime, Tom is rapidly aging on Earth, the link between the two becomes very fragile, and eventually Pat manages to establish a new telepathic link with his niece (and later his grand and great-grand niece).
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