Every stand-in dreamed of the starring role - but what actor would risk his life for the chance?
One minute, down-and-out actor Lorenzo Smythe is, as usual, in a bar, drinking away his troubles while watching his career circle the drain. Then a space pilot buys him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knows, he's shanghaied to Mars. Smythe suddenly finds himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who has been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians is at stake, and failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war.
Smythe knows nothing of the issues concerning free interplanetary trade and equal rights for aliens and cares even less, but the handsome compensation is impossible to refuse. He soon realizes, however, that he faces a lifetime masquerade if the real politician never shows up.
©2014 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks
The book won a Hugo award and is one of Heinlein's best, but the narration makes the audio version required, even if you've already read the novel.
I've listened to several of Weiner's narrations before, and always considered him a competent performer. My perception of him has been greatly elevated after hearing this work. It is easily the best performance I've heard from him, and probably one of the best by any narrator.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
The performer of this book did his job SO well that it nearly makes the book tough to listen to for periods longer than about a chapter at a time. That is because the story is told by a character who is supposed to be smarmy and unlikable and the book's reader pulled this stunt off to a tee. Bravo.
Aside from that complaint, this book was excellent. I have a special space in my heart for sci-fi that allows for a bit of humor from time to time.
If you are unfamiliar with Heinlein, may I suggest you check out "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" first. It will give you a better idea of the writer's style and range.
8.38 / 10.00
Reading and listen to books for me is one of the keys to a happy life.
The story is just wonderful and Perfect Heinlein. I read this what seems to be a million years ago and since then I have re-read it several times. This audiobook is perfectly done and the reader was great. This is simply creativity that none of us will ever see again. Heinlein and of course Asimov, are giants from the past. We all know now without any doubt that the Martians that are a main focus here, are never to be. But the story is more about life, politics, people struggling for the better way of life and the sacrifices that we all are ask to make in the attempt to obtain it all.
Heinlein is just great.
Great performance by the narrator, if anything, I feel he made the story even better.
Yes, I basically did.
Like I said this is the end of this type of writing. Future Science Fiction writing of course will and have their own great writers, but this era is over and never to happen again, thus this is one of the best stories that I feel, represents that era! Enjoy!
Tom Weiner was absolutely terrific.
This is my favorite Heinlein book. As another reviewer stated, it is a very small book and thus a short audiobook.
It was like listening to this book as a play or a movie! He really is terrific!!
This is a book I have read many many times, but it was literally brought to life by Mr. Weiner!
Heinlein's knowledge of science, combined with his unique story telling ability makes an excellent mixture of reality and fantasy. He also promoted his mixture of conservative/libertarian philosophy in most of his stories, and I won't be surprised if his logic hasn't caused more than a few to change their slant on things.
I like to read and listen to Science, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Military, History, and Thillers.
Yes. It has an engaging story and interesting philosophical points that are in all books by Heinlein. Well worth multiple repeats.
Great performance, very bad audio. All sibilance is gone, making this book pretty hard to enjoy. I tried, but could not continue. Hands off that de-esser!
This is one of Heinlein's early novels, which you can tell by the brevity and the lack of off-color silliness. Also the fact that he just jumps straight into the story and never wastes much time on exposition.
This is in fact one of Heinlein's greatest strengths, and I think a major reason for his grandmaster status — he may be a bit out of fashion nowadays, and he often lost the plot in his later works, but he was first and foremost a storyteller. A spinner of yarns, a teller of tales, and if readers frequently read too much into the author's id because of what his characters did, that was their own lookout.
Double Star is typical of Heinlein SF. We get a fully sketched out (but barely described) interplanetary society, in which the United States still exists as a sovereign state, in cooperation with an Empire that governs across the solar system. Mars is its own planet, and the alien Martians coexist with humanity, with some on both sides wanting the two races to join together, while others are violent separatists. All of this plus the spacefaring technology, which is on the slightly soft side of hard SF, but presents nothing particularly outlandish for this rocket ships and BEM era story.
What makes Heinlein a master of his craft is that he drops us into this universe and makes it all perfectly understandable (the parts that aren't really explained don't matter), without devoting a single chapter, in fact barely a paragraph, to exposition. What exposition there is is all through character dialog, and it all happens through action rather than "As You Know Bob" conversations. Hence, our main character, Lorenzo Smythe, who is a Martianphobe who winds up having to impersonate a politician who is involved in an important formal ritual to become an honorary Martian, tells us everything we need to know about Martians between dodging murder attempts by a renegade faction of Martians (this happens in the first few pages of the book) and whining about how much he dislikes Martians on his hasty trip to go make friends with them.
Heinlein characters are always a bit freakishly competent, which is why we're supposed to believe that Lorenzo is such a great actor that even though he was grabbed seemingly at the last moment by a couple of a shady men needing him to impersonate a famous politician, he manages to fool almost everyone around his subject, from the Martians to the Emperor.
There are even some space politics in this book, though Heinlein is blamed for soapboxing more than he actually did, and while there are hints of his usual rugged self-reliance and free trade philosophy, nothing is too obviously on the nose with regards to real-world politics. Are the Martians a metaphor for some Earthly Other? Maybe - you could read them that way, but sometimes a Martian is just a Martian. Likewise, the politician he is impersonating, one of those rare honest sorts who honestly is trying to do the right thing for his nation and his constituents, could easily be read as a liberal or a conservative or any other sort of party member.
This was in fact a pretty fast-paced yarn about political conspiracies and diplomatic maneuvers that could have easily been told without the sci-fi trappings. Heinlein added spaceships and Martians because that's the kind of story he wrote, but I'll bet non-SF readers would enjoy this story just as much if it had been written as a "mundane" conspiracy thriller.
This is not his most exciting or imaginative work, but it is a good showcase of Heinlein's early style, and his talents as a writer.
Double Star won a Hugo award in 1956 and many name it as one of their favourite Robert Heinlein novels. It's a story about a young, pompous actor who gets caught up in interplanetary political intrigue.
I enjoyed this sci-fi Prince-and-the-Paper story and wondered if was related to or inspired by the fledgling civil rights movement. In any case, it's a good read and well narrated by Tom Wiener.
The story is light on science fiction, relying more heavily on story and characters. The story was pretty interesting and I recommend it.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.