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.
“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)
When I started reading this I had forgotten this was a book intended for younger readers (it was part of Robert Heinlein’s “Juveniles Series”). I can’t pretend to know whether kids these days would still like this sort of sci fi tale, but I’d imagine that they would.
The focus of the book is not interstellar action and derring do, although there is a bit of action towards the end. The book is partly about relationships, primarily twin sibling relationships. It's also about man’s efforts to explore and discover his world/universe.
The ending was somewhat more profound than I had expected it to be. Also interesting, the plot also brings the twin paradox to life.
I recommend this book if you are interested in vintage sci fi or, perhaps, the themes of discovery and sibling relationships.
[Spoiler alert: ] The book is a product of its time, and ends with the main character marrying his great-grandniece. That, I'd suggest, is a bit icky by today’s standards.
Heinlein takes some thing that tickles the realm of possibility and explores it to the fullest. Also beyond the science and setting, he focuses in on the relationships and personalities of the characters. These are the things with meaning and it's what he explores against the backdrop of the fantastic.
It's a story of growing.
Most likely when the main character realizes his independence.
To the stars.... Of course.
Character development was good.
Include some emotion in his voice.
Story needs a better ending, kind of just.....ends.
I've been going through my 70's SF UK-bought paperbacks (shoulder reconstruction meant forced idleness) and realised that Heinlein was about 50% of my reading then. (Moorcock/AsimovVan Vogt/Vance made up the rest.) Didn't ring a bell when I saw the title name so bought it. Pleasantly surprised. It's no "Door into summer" but very good use of time dilation (I teach chemistry not physics!). If you like Heinlein, you'll like this- much shorter and more readable (possible younger audience?) than "Stranger in a strange land" etc.
No. Narrator has no life to his reading. The whole book had the same tone.
Not so much. It didn't sound like he had much enthusiasm or emotion at all when reading this. This left the characters feeling lacking in emotion.
It's a good story for the younger audience. I was surprised to hear it was copywrite in the 50's considering the topics discussed.
I enjoy mysteries, science fiction, Stephen King, and some fantasy novels. Now and again I like a biography and a bit of history. No romance!
I had read this book back when I was in school and the author was a favorite of mine. I went through the school library hunting all of his books and read each one so it brought back great memories for me to sit and listen to this story again as an adult. I was pleased to find that it has held up very well over the years.
There is a moment in the story where the characters believe they are safe from harm and are enjoying what they consider to be a victory of sorts and thinking about a job well done. They are completely caught off guard by what happens next and for me, that is a defining moment in the story.
My favorite character was Tom. The story centers around his life and his adventures and it is through his eyes that you see everyone else in the story.
There is a moment when you realize that some of what you've thought to be true about the main characters, Tom and Pat, isn't exactly so. For me that is the most emotional part of the story.
Great Science Fiction from a master.
Eons ago when I was a young lad, this was the first Heinlein book I read and it has long been a favorite, even decades later. It doesn't matter than the science it behind the times, it's still a good story and a good adventure. In addition, Barrett Whitner has become one of my favorite Audible narrators and he does an excellent job with this one.
Quite possibly. Barrett Whitner sounds perfect as the lead character.
He perfectly captures the personality of the lead character. He could've been almost telling youn a story about himself.
I am always a little leary of reading older sci-fi books. You never know how outdated some of the science may be. But Heinlein, like Asimov and Arthur C. Clark, manages to keep to the story and the characters and not get bogged down in pseudo science that is doomed to be outdated someday.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
When one looks past the dated dialogue that identifies this as being authored in 1956, the concepts of time dilation at relativistic speeds has some fantastic possibilities for drama. "Don't look so dang sourpuss," and "Gee, that's swell" are actual lines, but it is almost as if Heinlein anticipates the linguistic drift that would occur in the decades to follow publication when his protagonist, removed from his descendants by decades spent traveling the stars at light speed, encounters difficulties deciphering the euphemisms and vernacular when he speaks to those of the younger generations. The discoveries and marvels encountered on the voyage are really secondary to the human drama of inter-generational strain as lives proceed at two different paces, forcing divided families to adapt.
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