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Tunnel in the Sky | [Robert A. Heinlein]

Tunnel in the Sky

When Rod Walker decides to take the final test for “Deacon” Matson’s interplanetary survival course, he knows he will be facing life-or-death situations on an unsettled planet. What he doesn’t expect is that something will go wrong with the “Tunnel in the Sky” and he and his fellow students will not be able to return to Terra. Stranded on a hostile planet, Rod and his friends are faced wit the challenge of carving a civilization out of the wilderness.
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Publisher's Summary

When Rod Walker decides to take the final test for “Deacon” Matson’s interplanetary survival course, he knows he will be facing life-or-death situations on an unsettled planet. What he doesn’t expect is that something will go wrong with the “Tunnel in the Sky” and he and his fellow students will not be able to return to Terra. Stranded on a hostile planet, Rod and his friends are faced wit the challenge of carving a civilization out of the wilderness. They must deal with hunger, deprivation, and strangely savage beasts. But the bigger question is, can they survive each other? This science fiction classic pits a savage world against the most untamable beast of all: the human animal. Chock full of high adventure, futuristic speculation, witty repartee, and profound philosophy, Tunnel in the Sky represents the greatest SF writer of all time at the peak of his powers.

©1955 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2011 Full Cast Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (202 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rory Calgary, AB, Canada 06-30-12
    Rory Calgary, AB, Canada 06-30-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Where it all started ..."
    What made the experience of listening to Tunnel in the Sky the most enjoyable?

    Thirty-four years ago, a 16-year old boy set out on a 4-day bus trip to spend the summer with his uncle. Four hours into the trip, he was bored as bored can be. There were no smart phones or game boys to keep his interested, so when the bus stopped for a 15-minute break, the young boy went looking for a Mad magazine to read.

    He didn't find one. What he did was a rotating metal rack with paperback novels in it. Quickly scanning the rack, he noticed the cover of one book and it somewhat grabbed his attention.

    This surprise him, as he was never one to read a book and rebuffed his father's attempts to get him interested in reading.

    Looking on the back, he quickly read what the novel was about. "It was a test. It was only a test." This grabbed his attention, so he bought the novel.

    Thirty-four years later, he's a voracious reader of (mainly) Science Fiction and it all started with A Tunnel In The Sky.

    Even at the age I am now, I love to read this novel every four or five years. It's truly a classic that grabs the imagination. It's more than science fiction - that's merely the backdrop to this novel. It's actually more a study of human behaviour ... it's akin to "Lord of the Flies".

    Great read. Very well narrated by David Barker and the gang.


    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Laplante brainerd, mn USA 06-21-12
    R. Laplante brainerd, mn USA 06-21-12 Member Since 2001
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    "Not just for kids"

    This book is classic Heinlein. Yes, it is marketed as a young adult novel but it never feels juvenile. Great adventure story. This is early Heinlein which I consider better than a lot of his later works.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audiobook Addict Plano, TX 12-26-11
    Audiobook Addict Plano, TX 12-26-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally the Grandmaster's best juvenile in Audio!"

    I love this book! This is one of my favorite books by the Grandmaster. I have been waiting for this to be made into audio for years! I am disappointed that it's full cast audio ... but you can't have everything! Now all we are missing is Space Cadet and all of the Grandmaster's best books will be in audio format.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan st george, UT, United States 12-23-11
    Alan st george, UT, United States 12-23-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Great read"

    This is Heinlein's best Juvenile fiction. If you like Survival fiction this is one for you.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PC 07-09-12
    PC 07-09-12
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    "One of the best classic sci-fi novels"
    What did you love best about Tunnel in the Sky?

    This novel brought back a flood of memories about my enjoyment of sci-fi via the public library, in the early 1960s. Tunnel in the Sky was one of the most enjoyable sci-fi novels I read as a pre-teenager.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The difficulties of establishing a basic, functional civilization under primitive conditions, without the support of modern "conveniences" are shown to be very challenging.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The final scenes where only a few people remained on the alien planet were especially revealing and almost overwhelming.


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

    Yes, but it was also enjoyable in installments.


    Any additional comments?

    This is surely one of Heinlein's best novels, and was more enjoyable since it doesn't overwhelm the reader with his personal political views.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    QUESTER-59 11-05-14
    QUESTER-59 11-05-14 Member Since 2014

    Seeker's Quest

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    "From Child to Adult in a Flash"
    Where does Tunnel in the Sky rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This one Stands alone for it's story.
    Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Watermelons, all unique in Shape & Taste, so how can anyone pick what is Best?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tunnel in the Sky?

    When 4 Friends grew into a small Village.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Rod came to terms that, despite his many Friends, He was facing becoming an Loaner, once again!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Never Again.


    Any additional comments?

    A Wonderful read made better by Simply Listening to the story being read.. a trip to test ones survival Skills, in an setting where there are No Rules, save your own Survival.
    A Story of Surviving that Most Vicious of animals, MAN!
    A great story with a Lot of Truth & Wisdom tossed in to keep it interesting !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin 03-06-14
    Kevin 03-06-14 Listener Since 2003
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    "low tech"
    What made the experience of listening to Tunnel in the Sky the most enjoyable?

    A good story. First read this in 1967 just when i was starting to discover Science fiction. while written for teen age kids of the 50s and 60s it holds up very well. The survival lessons and the group Dynamics work well. .


    What did you like best about this story?

    The main Character going from a green kid to a leader.


    Have you listened to any of David Baker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    David Baker did a fine job on the narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Australia 03-01-13
    Stephen Australia 03-01-13
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    "An exciting adventure told with heart"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes because the book keeps you interested to the very last word


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tunnel in the Sky?

    The first night on the planet


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The beach of bones


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Keep you on edge


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charles Troy, OH, United States 08-07-12
    charles Troy, OH, United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2012
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    "easy reading and stellar sci-fi"
    What made the experience of listening to Tunnel in the Sky the most enjoyable?

    The actors made the story come to life and the story was a good mix of action and interesting thougts. The people and characters are timeless and seem familar.Once you start it you will not be able to stop listening.This book is a classic .It well deserves a good listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The possiblities the story brought to life.


    Which character – as performed by David Baker – was your favorite?

    All his characters each take on a seprate and a believeable life of their own.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As a teen I read this book and fell in love with the sci- fi gender .


    Any additional comments?

    Get this book you will not be sorry.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 07-19-12
    Aaron 07-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "more 'Survival Fiction' than 'Science Fiction'"

    Tunnel in the Sky is an enjoyable YA adventure story.

    I am not much of a SciFi reader, but this was more like a survival-adventure story.The story never seemed to lag, nor did it go on too long.

    Fun read!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 21 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Aaron
    Dallas, TX
    8/16/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Stellar Performance of a Sci-Fi Classic"
    What did you like most about Tunnel in the Sky?

    The great thing about any FCA production is found in the name of the company itself - each audiobook is recorded with a full cast voicing individual characters. Even while retaining its novelized format, each character's dialogue (and written, internal, iand memorial monologues) is given its own distinct sound by a different actor, which really lends to the overall experience. (My only critique - and this is purely a matter of taste - falls on the main character, who I didn't feel had the right voice, but he was easy and quick to get used to hearing.)

    I'm a long time fan of Heinlein, and though this is not what I would consider his best work, it still shines as one of the finest pieces of juvenile fictional literature available today. It is not without its flaws and need for critiques, especially given some of its outdated language and notions, but these really only serve to highlight what kind of groundbreaking author Heinlein really was.

    [POSSIBLE SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON]

    For example, from a feminist perspective, the number of named and central and significant peripheral women of the story more or less balance with the males. It is my opinion that they are well written, well rounded and filled out as characters, certainly no more or less than their male counterparts, and definitely more so than much of the mainstream works of the genre even today, much less going back to the time period in which it was written (1950's America).

    The story manages to make male and female characters alike well diversified, challenging one-track ideas of masculinity and femininity, while acknowledging their existence. (For example, while there is plenty of machismo and emphasis on strength and aggression in the male characters, the same is also true of the women, and this is in keeping with the theme of the plot where a wilderness survival test is the primary setting. However, the main character himself is not disposed toward violence or domination at all, and spends a good portion of the story playing second fiddle to a much less competent male. One female spends a significant period of time playing an androgynous masculine character until her point is proved and she can drop her superficial gender play, at which point her female strength is emphasized even more. Most of the characters - male and female alike - end up married by the end of the book. These partnerships are formed for a number of different reasons, however, and do not equate to what I would call one-sided power structures, nor do they form just because "they fell in love and/or wanted to have sex."

    It is significant that although romantic and sexual relationships are acknowledged (and the latter very specifically sanctioned only in the context of both ritually and legally instated married partnership) they do not form part of the core plot, nor are they even more than merely another factor for the main character to consider when interacting with his fellows.

    One final note, I must admit to: I was initially drawn to this novel by its cover, which shows the main character depicted in his "proper ethnicity." In other words, I was intrigued by a scifi novel with a non-white protagonist. If these sorts of things matter to you, then I definitely recommend this book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tunnel in the Sky?

    [SPOILER!!] The moment in which Jack's gender is revealed will always stick with me.


    Any additional comments?

    I 100% recommend it over "Lord of the Flies" as an essential read for high schoolers in a class that wants to explore and discuss human nature in the context of the "young people cut off from civilization" allegory!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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