I think Spider captured the essence of Heinlein. Many people wil be turned oof by this story because Heinlein's work is, well, dated. But if you enjoy his classic works, you will enjoy this story as well. Spider really captured Heinlein's essence in this story.
First of all the narration was poor. Just as in "Rocketship Galileo" Spider sounds like he is mumbling with rocks in his mouth. So, that definately distracts from the book. Just a hint for Spider, stick to the day job, singing is not a forte and also distracts from enjoyment of the book.
Now, about this being the completion of a Heinlein work - NO WAY. There was obvious use of some of the Heinlein word choices and techniques. But, the book in no way could be considered at the Heinlein level. Heinlein had an amazing grasp of what were, in his time, cutting edge technologies and he took great pains to clearly describe these in his books. This book didn't even try to do this. Just when you thought that the author would, he would gloss over anything that started to touch on technical detail, since that would just prove his incompetence in this area.
Heinlein also used his books to experiment with ideas in the way people interact socially. Keeping in mind that that he was writing mostly in the 50's these ideas didn't just follow popular trends, he was out in front of the trends and ideas that became more clear and public in the 60's. Spider's book does none of this. At best he tries to mimic it by falling in with popular liberal ideas that are already out in the public media (for example his view on Iraq). But, he does nothing to push the envelope as Heinlein did.
Despite all these failings, it wasn't a bad book. It is entertaining. Just DO NOT expect to be reading Heinlein. You will be disappointed!
As a devout RAH fan I had some serious doubts as to it even being possible for anyone to pick up on a Heinline thought and bring it to bring to anything more entertaining than you r run of the mill sci-fi television show, but Spider Robison does the most amazing job in this book as both “coauthor” and narrator.
I really hope Spider takes the time to come back to this novel, yes there are many unanswered questions.
I would defiantly recommend this book to any Sci-Fi Reader, possibly even to someone’s first taste of the genre.
I just love Variable Star, And Spider Roberson is great. The story has a good plot. But there is a small problem. I do not believe Robert A. Heinlein every used four letter words in his other story, and if he had finished this one I do not think he would have used them in Variable Star. Beside that, I think it a great book.
I think that Spider Robinson should read all of his and Robert Heinlein's books to us! Not only is he a great writer but he reads with the passion of a true fan. And when he's reading his own works I can truly hear the characters come to life. Thank you Spider! Thank you!
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This felt like real Heinlein. If you are a fan, it is a must read. It is also contemporary, which is nice, since much of Heinlein has aged awkwardly. I enjoyed the story. The science sucks...but otherwise this was interesting, enjoyable, and funny.
Long time book listener on the left coast. I work outside and spend many hours per day with a good book in my ear. Love Science, History, and above all Science Fiction/Fantasy.
So, I couldv'e done without the very short political shots taken, but beyond that, this book is awesome. Spider's narration is melodic enough for you to think you'll doze off, but the story flows beautifully from his lips and you find yourself deeply involved in Joel's (Main Character)life. This book held my attention better than any other I have listened to.
At the most traumatic moment in this book It hit so hard that the blood drained from my face and a tear sprang to my eye. It was heart wrenching even though only fiction.
Although the basic story was R A Heinlein's, this was truly a great Spider Robinson Book.
If you listen to this as a Heinlein book (as I started doing) you'll likely be disappointed. If you listen to it as what it is, a Spider Robinson book based on Heinlein's notes, (as I ended up doing) you'll probably love it.
Spider Robinson and the Heinlein Foundation didn't intend this to be a Heinlein book, so don't blame either if you try to make it that - it's pure Spider Robinson; however, I think he captures the the spirit of Heinlein throughout.
And yeah, he sings a bit, but come on it's not THAT terrible. Suck it up and just deal with the minute or two and enjoy the overall story. And yeah, there are the terrible Spider Robinson puns, but the same goes for those.
I did find one lengthy and very out of context current cultural reference extremely annoying. Almost to the point I stopped listening (I love what it is based on, but if you recognize it, you'll know what I mean); however, upon finding out Spider is now a Canadian citizen, I forgave him as the item in question should be a Canadian national treasure.
Bottom line, keep in mind what it really is and it's a great book.