Farmer In The Sky is a 1953 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about a teenage boy who emigrates with his family to Jupiter's moon Ganymede, which is in the process of being terraformed. A condensed version of the novel was published in serial form in 1950 in Boys' Life magazine (August, September, October, November), under the title "Satellite Scout".
©1955 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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3.5 stars. Originally posted at FanLit.
I used to be a fan of Robert A. Heinlein???s ???Juveniles??? when I was a kid. I give Heinlein much of the credit for turning me into a speculative fiction lover at a young age.
Farmer in the Sky took me back to my childhood ??? when I loved to think about riding in spaceships while most girls were thinking about riding horses. In this story, Earth is overcrowded and food is rationed, so 16 year old Bill and his father George decide to emigrate to Ganymede, one of Jupiter???s moons. There???s a new colony on Ganymede and they???re struggling to survive as Earth, to ease its population tensions, keeps sending spaceship-loads of new settlers. Terraforming Jupiter???s moons is a difficult and dangerous enterprise, but Bill is determined to succeed by making his own farm productive. The skills he learned in Boy Scouts prove to be helpful for this and other tasks he undertakes to help his new colony.
You can???t get much more exciting than taking a spaceship to Ganymede to build a new colony, so youngsters looking for speculative adventure will surely enjoy Farmer in the Sky. But I think the book is also appealing to kids who enjoy frontier stories such as Little House on the Prairie. In addition to homesteading skills, they???ll learn a bit of science, too.
Though Bill is having a life-changing experience, he???s still easy to relate to. He???s a normal kid with normal kid desires and problems ??? he???s concerned about his Boy Scout uniform and badges, he???s mourning the death of his mother and upset about his father???s new relationship, he doesn???t like girls, and he has to deal with bullies and a few stupid adults. During the course of the story, Bill experiences both triumph and tragedy, and the reader feels them, too.
Brilliance Audio???s version was read by Nick Podehl who does a great job reading stories with young men as protagonists (e.g., Patrick Rothfuss???s KINGKILLER CHRONICLE). When I see Nick Podehl???s name on the cover, I know it???s going to be a great audio production.
A shorter version of Farmer in the Sky was originally serialized in Boy???s Life magazine in the fall of 1950 under the title ???Satellite Scout,??? so that gives you a good sense of its target audience. However, I recommend Farmer in the Sky for both teens and adults who love a good wholesome SF adventure. Farmer in the Sky was published as a novel in 1953 and won the Retro Hugo award.
Heinlein's approach to the characters is fresh and personal
detail of the story itself
Bill the main character
It's a typical Heinlein Juvenille work.
Space Cadet also by Heinlein
Nick is a master of accents and voices. At one point, I was asking myself---is that the same guy?
His finest work.
The greatest of Heinlenns junenile fiction, and quite possibly the best book he ever wrote. No annoying politics, just TANSTAAFL, ecology and the most excellent of people. I see it as examples of great role models for people to emulate. I have both read and listened to this countless times and it never gets old.
The most essential book of the Heinlenn library.
The concept of terraforming and colonizing our solar system. I read this book when I was in my teens - a looong time ago in other words. In my heart I always hoped that these opportunities would be available in my lifetime. How sad that we have the runaway population growth and the hunger that goes along with it, but not the ability to expand our living space - into space.
This was written quite a while ago and in some respects has not aged well. But it was written for a Scouting magazine in the vernacular of the time. The concept is more timely than ever. If Heinlein were writing it now I'm sure he would revise some of the technical details but human nature hasn't changed and the motivations of the characters to be pioneers would be much the same, I think.
Not a thing. He sounds just like Bill should.
Heinlein, Yes! Nick Podehl, NO!
the aftermath of the line up of the planets
No. not until he has more training
No. Heinlein is gon.
Scott Brick performed this book outstandinly. He is one of the best. I have to be more careful about verifying readers from one foremat to another.
I am a great fan of Heinlein Juveniles so I rate this audio copy highly
Probably the 'moon quake' and its aftermath.
Bill, the lead. A typically competent (with guidance from convenient father figures, as usual, in H's juveniles) Heinlein YA character.
Yes, though I didn't have the time to do so. It is a book I will listen to again and again, as well.
I love the Heinlein juveniles (except for Podkayne of Mars) and while this books has structural 'problems' with the final sequence kind of seemingly tacked on (but interesting in itself). I had forgotten how good this particular Heinlein Juvenile was -- it's not at the very top of my list of the best of these books -- until I listened to it this time.
The story stands on its own merits; it is one of his better juveniles, but not his best. As usual, he has interesting characters and makes you think about the science and engineering of what is going on in a natural way, without detracting from the entertaining and compelling characters, and the solid plot. The narrator did a nice job, and let the story roll along without being melodramatic. He also did a nice job of giving the characters unique voices.
I liked it, almost as much as I enjoyed the book.
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