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Time for the Stars | [Robert A. Heinlein]

Time for the Stars

Travel to other planets is now a reality, and with overpopulation stretching the resources of Earth, the necessity of finding habitable worlds is growing ever more urgent. There’s a problem though—because the spaceships are slower than light, any communication between the exploring ships and Earth would take years.

Tom and Pat are identical twin teenagers. As twins they’ve always been close, so close that it seemed like they could read each other’s minds.

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Publisher's Summary

Travel to other planets is now a reality, and with overpopulation stretching the resources of Earth, the necessity of finding habitable worlds is growing ever more urgent. There’s a problem though—because the spaceships are slower than light, any communication between the exploring ships and Earth would take years.

Tom and Pat are identical twin teenagers. As twins they’ve always been close, so close that it seemed like they could read each other’s minds. When they are recruited by the Long Range Foundation, the twins find out that they can, indeed, peer into each other’s thoughts. Along with other telepathic duos, they are enlisted to be the human transmitters and receivers that will keep the ships in contact with Earth. But there’s a catch: one of the twins has to stay behind—and that one will grow old—while the other explores the depths of space and returns as a young man still.

©1956 ; 1983 by Robert A. Heinlein; 2003 by the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“One of the superb Heinlein stories that has excitement, urbanity, humanity, rationality, pace, understanding, and is a joy to read.” (New York Times)

“Rarely has Heinlein pushed his imagination further…A vivid, stirring experience.” (Chicago Tribune)

“He showed us where the future is.” (Tom Clancy)

What Members Say

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  •  
    DJM Franklin, TN USA 01-27-11
    DJM Franklin, TN USA 01-27-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My First Heinlein"

    I think I must have been around 12 or 13 and just starting Jr High School when my twin sister checked "Time for the Stars" out of the school library. She was disappointed that we weren't telepathic, but I was curious about the book and picked it up. It was the first of many hours enjoying the worlds of RAH. Although this was one of the series of books that Heinlein wrote for young people, it was, and still is, an engaging story for people of any age. Heinlein is at his best when describing ordinary people struggling with extraordinary situations. If you are a Heinlein fan, you won't be disappointed. As with so many of Heinlein's books, I look forward to listening to this one again.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 12-03-13
    Katherine St. Johns, FL, United States 12-03-13 Member Since 2009

    I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!

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    "One of Heinlein’s best juveniles"

    Originally posted at Fantasy Literature

    Time for the Stars is one of my favorite Heinlein Juveniles, and I like his juveniles better than his books for adults, so I guess that makes Time of the Stars one of my favorite Heinlein works. It’s got everything that makes his stories so much fun to read, especially for kids. Likeable heroes, sweet relationships, real emotions, a touch of romance, a bit of physics, spaceship travel and exploration of distant planets. (And also, as usual, there’s a hint of incest — romance with a cousin — and a few complaints about taxes. It is a Heinlein novel, after all.)

    In Time for the Stars, twins Tom and Pat join an experimental scientific study to see if telepathy might be a viable way for Earth to communicate with her exploring spaceships. It’s thought that if telepathy could work for anyone, it would be identical twins. Tom and Pat are excited to be involved, but they know this means that one of them will get to explore space while the other one has to stay home to be the other end of the telepathic line. This fact has a lot of ramification for the brothers. First of all, the boys have to decide who gets to go. Second, the one who leaves will probably never see his family again. Third, the boys will now age at different rates because of relativity, so even if the one who leaves ever comes back, he will be much younger than his twin.

    All of this gives Time for the Stars an emotional texture that makes this story feel weightier than your average YA SF adventure. Also, Time for the Stars is not just a story about exploring space — it’s about family, friendship, loneliness, love, guilt, and the power of the human mind. In fact, I think Heinlein spends more time exploring the brain than exploring distant galaxies.

    Time for the Stars is an entertaining and moving YA space adventure that will probably please most adults as well as kids. I listened to Barrett Whitener narrate Blackstone Audio’s version. I thought his voice, tone, and cadence were perfect for this emotional story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    breckoz SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States 04-26-13
    breckoz SANTA CRUZ, CA, United States 04-26-13 Member Since 2011

    Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction

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    "Classic Science Fiction At It's Best"

    Heinlein was ahead of his time. He was an extremely inventive and imaginative author. I am not sure what order to read his books, although this one reminded me a lot of Star Man Jones. There wasn't much action for the most part, but there were some exciting parts and twists. This book is about discovery and exploration of planets for colonization in a future society of Earth where space travel is possible. Perspective takes place through the eyes of one character and the story writes like an autobiography over the course of years of his life. The basic premise is that people have discovered that twins can communicate telepathically. To date Earth has had trouble hearing back from long range scout ships that venture off to explore habitable worlds at the speed of light due to the great distances involved. The use of these twins for instantaneous communication may make it possible colonize worlds faster. The concept of space and time are explored in this novel. In addition, the effects of how time ages one twin differently than the other due to traveling at the speed of light is explored. We get a taste of alien worlds, like the Star Man Jones book, and once again I find myself wishing there was more meat to the story. But I do appreciate Time For The Stars for what it is meant to be, a light, stand alone, discovery, science fiction novel.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E Rosenquist San Anselmo, CA, United States 04-23-12
    E Rosenquist San Anselmo, CA, United States 04-23-12
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    "Unabashed fan"

    I'm not really a valid reviewer - RAH was my first love in Science Fiction - and in spite of his well known flaws, this is one of his better Juveniles. If you are new to Robert Heinlein, he was one of the first SF writers to really emphasize accuracy in his science - so while the basic driver in this book is fictional, the way it works tends to be accurate to the knowlege of physics when written.

    So in this book, the Long Range Foundation [Dedicated to our Decendants] is taking on the exploration for new planets for man to live on. And they have discovered some interesting things about twins. Identical twins, Pat and Tom are encouraged to join the expedition, and this story is the experience of the space-side twin as they experience both space and time travel. And of course, the boy, becomes a man. It's got a decent pace, a good plot line, a good crew on the ship and a satisfying outcome.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos Cortés Bay Area, California 12-01-12
    Carlos Cortés Bay Area, California 12-01-12 Member Since 2005
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    "What a nice little surprise!"
    Any additional comments?

    I thought I'd read all the great Heinlein books when I stumbled across this little juvenile gem on sale. It is such a well written human story comparable with "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard BLACKFOOT, IDAHO, United States 10-29-12
    Richard BLACKFOOT, IDAHO, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Like Heinlein"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Time for the Stars to be better than the print version?

    No, same. I just like when the perforer reads the book not performes the book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Time for the Stars?

    The second planat were they lost a lot of the crew.


    Which character – as performed by Barrett Whitener – was your favorite?

    The main forgot his name, whoops.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, to long for one sitting.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audiobook Addict Plano, TX 02-14-11
    Audiobook Addict Plano, TX 02-14-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Another RAH Classic"

    This is one of my favorite RAH books and I was so excited to see an audio of it! Now they just need to make an audio of Tunnel in the Sky. But Time for the Stars is one of RAH best books it tells the age old story of two twins separated by the affects of relativistic space flight.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 06-23-13
    Saud 06-23-13

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "A Pleasant Surprise"

    I always enjoy new concepts in science fiction, and while this book brings nothing that I haven't seen before in other stories, it does present the concepts and the characters in interesting ways.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-08-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-08-13 Member Since 2010

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You had to look twice to know she was pretty"

    Early Heinlein should be required reading in Middle School. His books are intelligent and give kids great advice. What I like most about his books are his love for science and education. Without being preachy, he stresses the importance of working hard and for study. There are so many books out there that have characters who have great things happen to them for no good reason. Kids reading these books believe that great things are just waiting to happen to them, without any effort on there part. When they grow up and find out they are not a Prince or Princess in some other dimension or that you don't become a CEO, by doing nothing to accomplish it, they become depressed. They think that life is not fair. They hate those who did work hard to accomplish there goals. Television and lots of fantasy books have done a great disservice to our youth.

    With the exception of telepathy, this is a real good book. It is a shame that telepathy is such a big part of the book. I believe that are brains are capable of a lot more then what we are using them for, but the notion about telepathy, especially over the vastness of space almost put this Science Fiction into the realm of Fantasy.

    The main characters are hard working and do study. The wonder of space travel is here. Yet this book is probably more introspective then most Heinlein books. The internal struggles of the main character make this a good book for adults as well as children. Sometimes we don't know are selves as well as we think we do. Getting to know yourself and why you do what you do, can help you to change what might need changing in order to reach the goals you want. Like most early Heinlein books this book is deep on many levels.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard United States 04-11-13
    Richard United States 04-11-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Not as good as it could be"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Narrator ruins this. He is flat in his reading. His lack of interpretation and enthusiasm ruined the story. I would have been happier reading this myself.


    What didn’t you like about Barrett Whitener’s performance?

    He is not qualified to narrate Heinlein.


    Any additional comments?

    The producers at Audible need to be more discriminating in selecting readers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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