Lorenzo Smythe faces a lifetime masquerade if the politician never shows up. He must choose between causing disaster by quitting, or saving galactic peace by sacrificing his own identity forever.
©1956 Robert A. Heinlein; (P)1999 Blackstone Audiobooks
"In Double Star you can smell and feel and practically taste the future." (Chicago Tribune)
"Lloyd James, a veteran narrator, surpasses himself in his dramatization of this classic science fiction novel....Addressing white-black prejudice in the U.S. in the '50s through Lorenzo's aversion to Martians, Heinlein is at his best, and James makes us believe and nearly smell their appalling odor." (AudioFile()
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!
I've been spoiled by George Wilson's narration of some of Heinlein's stories. But once I got past that minor inconvienience, I was suprised by the quality (which often makes or breaks an audiobook for me). Granted, the tale of body-doubles seems a bit prosaic... almost soap-operetic. Yet this is Heinlein's take on it, and is on par with Richard Dreyfuss' "Moon over Parador" (an excellent body-double movie). No, this isn't the most suprising plot but the little gems tucked into the nooks of the chapters are what make Double Star worth while.
This was the book my father gave to me when he decided it was time I was introduced to Heinlein. It was the right book. I read the first sentence and was hooked. DOUBLE STAR has been (inevitably) compared to the movies "Dave" and "Moon Over Parador", but that doesn't do the book justice. While those movies were comedies, this is an entirely different type of work. Yes, there are funny moments, and even more where the characters will make you smile without quite laughing. But this is a book about people. Yes, there are politics. Yes, there is intrigue. There are even Martians, Rocketships, and a few fights. But what makes this book work is the people who are dealing with the Martians, piloting the Rocketships, and trying to avoid bigger fights than they've got.
As for the audio edition-- well, I don't always like Lloyd James' readings of Heinlein. That being said, he hit the nail on the head with this one.
I recommend this work to anyone over the age of twelve who is interested in Heinlein, classic science fiction, or just a good book.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
Lloyd James gives a great listening experience.
I was a child when Heinlein won an award for this story. My first Heinlein was 'Stranger in a Strange Land'. That story has never left me. 'To Grock' became a new verb for me. In English there are experience for which we have no word. My interest in Language was heightened.
I have probebly read most of his works.
These days we may have amazing computer technology (2000's)and mobile phones. A reference to a 'slide rule' seems 'dated'.
Was this the first exploration of the use of 'doubles' in politics?. I do not know. Over 50 years ago Heinlein was exploring this theme.
If you have not read this story and like Heinlein this is a a good listen.
The time is, future still. Do remember when this story was written. Now in 2009 think of recent events. It is the exploration of the experience of a "double". Perhaps the charachters who do use doubles these days, are not so honourable.(There is growing evidence that Hitler used a double.) This is an interesting exploration, set still in the future.
A Glorious interplanetary romp. Larry (Lorenzo Smythe AKA 'The Great Lorenzo') Smith, a down-on-his-luck third-rate actor with an over-active ego gets conned into the rough-and-tumble world of interplanetary politics.
Yesterday he couldn't name the Prime Minister of the United Planets. Today he's on his way to Mars to stand in for the leader of the Loyal Opposition in a ceremony that will affect the future of interplanetary relations for decades. Then it gets complicated.
Heinlein's first Hugo, and possibly his best work, though eclipsed by later and more contriversial books.
In many professions there are "ranks" of achievement. Apprentice, Journeyman, Master, and Grand Master. However there is a rank that indicates the greatest of the skill, a "Wizard." This book demonstrates why Robert Heinlein is indeed a Wizard of the Pen. This magnificent book is a must read, and This audio title is so well read that there should be no passing it up.
This is the best audio book sci-fi I've got. It's been my son's favorite book and the book that first got him interested in science.
Catch Me if you Can, with the difference that this book is something a reader should aspire to be rather than see as a bad example.
His voice narration is bedtime story smooth and perfect.
Choose your friends carefully, they will make you who you are.
Favorite book with a favorite narrator, sometimes the world just lines up right.
Except for everybody smoking cigarettes, and the use of microfilm, this book is absolutely modern. As with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club by the Beatles, I marveled at the inventive skillfulness throughout.
I had wanted to read this book for some time, but lacked the time to do that. This digital book gave me a chance to listen to it while I was in the car on various trips. I would like to listen to this book again when I have the opportunity while traveling.
Heinlein has a feel for the pulse of the common man (person I mean) and it glows through this light story about a narcissistic actor who gets caught in the web of having to temporarily double for an important politician after he'd been kidnapped, only to get stuck in the role for a longer period of time while increasingly "winging it". Lots of humor and old fashioned perspectives in this story. I'd recommend it heartily.
"Pushing Your Potential"
This is a great story. I must admit, when I started listening I thought it might be OK, but as the story went on my opinion changed to brilliant. It's a story about someone who really is a nobody and is pushed into a situation not of his own making. Lorenzo is out of his depth. Is he really a nobody or is it that no one has ever 'pushed' him before? As in life, there is always a risk when we are asked to do things beyond our 'comfort zone'. Will Lorenzo survive or will he fail? Listen and find out, you wont regret it.
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