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5.0 out of 5 starsA family adventure with sass.
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2018
To describe this as a tale of a nuclear family is too simple. But correct to plot, technology, and human insight. In this age of broken families and selfish pursuits we find this tale with a family of talented, even aspiring individuals working together for common goal joyfully. That powerful glue, love, holds this ship together. And, sadly, may be the deepest lesson missed on the first reading. Read it again and enjoy your own journey with the Rolling Stones.
5.0 out of 5 starsHeinlein's primer on science fiction done right
Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2016
Got a nephew or niece, maybe a little brother or sister you want to break in right with science fiction? You know, like you did with Asimov, Zelasny and McCaffrey? Robert Heinlein is your guy. He and his contemporaries are where Star Trek and Star Wars were incubated. Rich with vocabulary and wit, it embodies the explorer in every kid and shows how to tell a story with skill, intelligence and humor. They label it for juvenile's, and I did read it the first time in high school. And again about two weeks ago, just short of my 62nd birthday. Still holds up,still a page turner. So break 'em in right, give them the bones of story telling, sci fi 101. Never know if you might be encouraging the next Arthur C. Clark.
4.0 out of 5 starsAn excellent space adventure!! Great Heinlein
Reviewed in the United States on May 21, 2012
The twins Castor and Pollux Stone have decided to leave their home on Luna and take a trek through space, but are they ready? Their father, Roger Stone doesn't think so. So this voyage seems to be headed as a family affair, as they build the rocket "The Rolling Stone", and get ready for a takeoff that will lead to danger, excitement, drama and...Flatcats. The whole "Stone" family is aboard: Roger and his wife, Edith Stone, a medical doctor, their two boy's Castor and Pollux, Roger's mother, Hazel, and the young-ins, Meade and Lowell. Life in the ship gets definitely crowded when they find themselves with a martian pet, a Flatcat named "Fuzzy Britches". It has babies and more and more till the ship is suffocated by them. And the twins find themselves in a business opportunity, selling flatcats. I really enjoyed this book. I read it in three sittings and was quite a page turner. This isn't a epic novel or anything masterful, but that's not the point. Its an adventure through space where danger and excitement could pop up at anytime, where a family works as a unit together, through bad and worse. As a team and a family. Seeing new things together.
Another of RAH's great Juvenile books. Recommended for young and old.
"The Rolling Stones" was published in 1952. Titled "Space Family Stone" in the UK.
5.0 out of 5 starsA family living in a rocket on its way to Mars and the asteroids
Reviewed in the United States on May 30, 2013
This is a YA novel about the Stone family, whose history looms large in the political history of the Lunar Free State. When the twin teenage boys, Castor and Pollux, try to buy a spaceship, their father intervenes and buys an even better spaceship for the whole family to jump into and go sight-seeing.
Interestingly, it appears the Heinlein actually did the math for the transfer orbit from Earth to Mars. I'm a celestial mechanic, and I checked it myself. Yes, he did. (However, his references to a Venus departure are incorrect in regard to timing, and his calculations for a transfer orbit from Mars to a part of the asteroid belt "near Ceres" probably contained an error that would cause the Stone family to end up in a part of Ceres' orbit that is 180 degrees around the sun from Ceres. But hey, the guy was a fiction writer, not a JPL astrodynamicist, so he did pretty good.)
Heinlein has always been my favorite author and the Rolling Stones rates in the middle of his works. A nice solid work that is most amazing by not being 'dated' by being over fifty years old. Appreciate that you are reading the ground breaking memes of this genre and you will get a 'wow' at how well this compares to the novels that have copied and built on this foundation. I gave the book four stars because of the weak way the author got Hazel out of dying from hypoxia but I have a nagging feeling it might be a subtle dig on editors who will not let their authors kill off popular characters. It also ties in and explains the silly sub-plot about a four year old and a grandmother sloppily dishing out action/adventure TV scripts.
5.0 out of 5 starsI have always enjoyed Heinlein's books. His juvenile series is still fun fore as an adult. Especially when I want a break from the violence found in so many stories.
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2017
This is an enjoyable coming of age story. The main characters learn and grow through believable adventures. Pleasant reading for an adult, yet very helpful reading for a child. Next time your child /students say " why are we studying math etc " tell them to read this. It may not get them going, but the smart ones will get it.
For a book written many years ago (it was one of the first I checked out from the library when I got my card), this tale of a near-future space journey/adventure is full of wonderful characters and challenging situations. For a Heinlein book, it keeps the politics to a minimum and concentrates on story, possibly because this was one of his 'juvenile' series. It takes place in the timeline after "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", starting in Luna CIty, but the sociological environment on the moon has seemingly regressed to a traditional core-family from the more "creative" relationship styles that MIAHM featured. Hazel Stone, in particular, seems to have mellowed out the most.
Even though it's dated in the technology (few people use or would even recognize a "slipstick" (slide rule) these days, the plot carries the book. I would have liked to read another sequel set 50+ years further into that future.
FWIW, I've long thought that Heinlein's best novels are his juveniles. They're un-selfconscious and unpretentious, and full of invention and genuine insights. Some of the characters, like Grandma Hazel in this story, turn up as cameos in later, more pretentious and self-conscious books (most notably "The Number of the Beast").
This isn't the best of the juveniles, hence that missing star. Some of the characters (not Hazel!) are just sketched in to fill out the all-American family. The space opera trimmings are sadly dated, but that in itself is a valuable reminder of what we -- that is, we young enthusiasts -- expected the New Frontier to be like. What actually happened was very different and very, very disappointing.
I think Heinlein wroten the novel in the 60s, and the introduction to the time's setting makes clear Heinlein's writing genius, as the story and the sci-fi elements make the story work 50 years later. That takes genius. I enjoyed getting to know Cas' and Pol's youth and lineage, having met them in other books of the same author. If you like Heinlein and aren't bothered by a story written for teens, it's a go.
4.0 out of 5 starsI like this, but I've been reading Heinlein for longer ...
Reviewed in Australia on June 20, 2015
I like this, but I've been reading Heinlein for longer than some of you have been alive. It suffers now from the advances in space engineering and cosmology but it's worth reading to get an insight into the history of SciFi. It is aimed at late primary/ early adolescents and would be of interest to anyone following the history of the development of Science Fiction.
in this book heinlein brings the setting close to you...it is about a normal family in a normal situation when related to the future of the human race...just normal business as usual for the family kind of camper trip in space ...