Although I'm a Heinlein fan, I never thought much of Double Star. The plot device, of an actor chosen to impersonate a major leader, was already old when Heinlein chose to use it. Heinlein's prose has its usual straight-forward style, and this book has none of the small "mini-lectures" found in some of his other works. But compared to The Moon is Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love, or Starship Troopers, I feel this is a minor work.
So why give it five stars? This is a case where the audio book is invigorated by the efforts of the reader, Lloyd James. The viewpoint character of Double Star is an actor, and pays close attention to people's accents. Lloyd James faithfully reproduces the accents and tones of voice described in the book.
However, there's more than that. The book describes the growing maturity of Lorenzo Smythe, as he changes from a self-centered pompous ham to a man who accepts social responsiblity. Lloyd James gradually transitions the tone of Lorenzo's voice from one chapter to the next, so you can literally hear how the character changes.
The immature should beware: This book is science fiction, not sci-fi. Those looking for slam-bang laser-beam battles or strange alien sex should seek elsewhere. Heinlein writes about the future of people and ideas, not techno-fantasy.
Normally, I don't recommend Double Star for someone who wants to read Heinlein for the first time. But I do not hesistate to recommend this audiobook to someone who wants to listen to his work for the first time. Bravo, Lloyd James!
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