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Publisher's Summary

Don Harvey is a citizen of the Interplanetary Federation - yet no single planet can claim him as its own. His mother was born on Venus and his father on Earth, and Don himself was born on a spaceship in trajectory between planets. When his parents abruptly summon him away from school on Earth to join them on Mars, he has no idea he's about to be plunged into deadly interplanetary intrigue. But the ship Don is traveling on is unexpectedly diverted to Venus, where the colony has launched a revolution against Earth's control. What's more, Earth troops have landed on Venus and are looking for him. Flat broke and homeless, Don will have to muster all his resources to stay alive.

A riveting coming-of-age story set against a backdrop of a war between planets, this classic Heinlein novel crackles with action, adventure, politics, wit, and brilliant speculation about the world to come.

©1951 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Between Planets

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Like a breath of fresh air

Where does Between Planets rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top. Note that this is a Heinlein juvenile, that is, fiction for teenagers. As such, it deals with thoughts and emotions of a teenager, albeit a smart, well educated one. There are no gory fight scenes, no sex scenes yet there is intrigue, and because it's Heinlein there is a definite take on freedom, personal liberty, honor and responsibility. Though more than 50 years old it is amazing how H. got the science right. Except of course that neither Mars nor Venus have native life. If that bothers you then just think of it as a different system which mankind got to by FTL (which makes it easier to accept if actually even less likely!)

What other book might you compare Between Planets to and why?

It's space opera.

Which scene was your favorite?

Probably the ones in which the young protagonist is trying to figure out what to do next or what's going on. Unlike many authors, Heinlein knows how to lead the reader to anticipate conclusions without having to dumb it down so much it's infuriating for the reasonably intelligent.

Any additional comments?

Despite being immediately post WWII, the authors who emerged in this period wrote kinder, gentler stories that were just as interesting if not more so.

16 people found this helpful

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Sci-fi narrated in an annoying Southern drawl

Actually, I’m not sure if it’s a genuine Southern drawl, or something out of Texas or points west; I’m not an expert on accents. All I know is, I found it annoying, and at times downright jarring, to hear Heinlein read by someone who sounded like a cowboy actor or a hillbilly, so that “nothing” and “getting up” and “ride” came out as “nothin’” and “gittin’ up” and “rad.”

True, reader Andrew Eiden brings an appropriately youthful voice and real enthusiasm to the narration, and it’s not intrinsically wrong for science fiction to sound this way; no doubt there’ll be Southerners in outer space someday. Still, it bothered me to hear words like “desultory” mangled. (And no, “coxswain” is not pronounced like it looks.)

Worse, nearly every human character spoke in this same drawl, even a Chinese immigrant -- though to Eiden’s credit, he did give a friendly alien the required fish-and-chips accent. (I’m not kidding; the creature, a dragon-like behemoth from Venus, is described as having learned English from a Cockney.)

This alien -- plus two other species, one from Venus, one from Mars -- is undoubtedly the main reason I loved the book when I first read it some 60 years ago. Like many Audible subscribers, judging by their comments, I first encountered Robert Heinlein’s celebrated juveniles back in elementary school and eagerly devoured every one of his titles in the school library, before later progressing to his adult fiction.

“Between Planets,” I recall, was my favorite. At age 10 or 11, it’s hard to resist a book featuring an interplanetary war, chase scenes, space travel, some provocative Heinlein political philosophizing, a simple spy plot, and glimpses of future technology (along with, weirdly, 1950s cigarettes, telegrams, dishwashing by hand, letters of credit, and wire-fenced detention camps). Most of all, it had those dragons, and a young hero who’s able to speak their language.

Today, however, though I’d hoped to rekindle that old excitement, my experiment failed. I found the book surprisingly charmless and at times quite tedious. Among other things, it’s dragged down by way too many scenes in which the hero gets embroiled in petty confrontations with hostile adults -- guards, police officers, military men, interrogators, telegraph operators, head waiters, hotel desk clerks, school principles, spaceship crewmen, ticket sellers, and various vendors and bureaucrats. I also found myself rooting for the Bad Guys -- i.e., Earth’s Federation -- instead of for the ragged colonists and guerrilla fighters on swampy, fog-bound Venus (a Venus, incidentally, with a conveniently breathable Earth-type atmosphere). Sci-fi invariably favors rebels over the forces of civilization, but this book never convinced me that the former deserved their planetary independence or my sympathy. And missing most of all was the one thing I was expecting to find, that fabled sense of wonder.

6 people found this helpful

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The evolution of a master, "Heinleine"

This is not a review, but a comment on the writing. Heinlien has written human stories lived out in novel worlds, as you read you will live wiyh and care what this you lives through, an experience you will want to go on, and on.
As a boy I read "Have space suit will travel", one of his first novelettes, a story for a boy in the 1950s. As I aged I waited for each novel to be published.
In it's turn I've read all of this master's novels & stories each by an imagination, and mind greater than mine; I loved it all.
At times the details are dated; don't miss the his incredible storytelling over this detail. Listen yourself through an awesome mind teaching itself, in composing novel to novels. A good reading evolveing into this master storyteller.
SciFi.!
- Good reading my fellow reader...

6 people found this helpful

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Hard to put down!

Classic Heinlein book. Well worth the read. I missed the usual readers, but this reader did a good job too.

4 people found this helpful

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good book, too short.. ended prematurely

I liked it. good characters and story however, it was too short and left more to be desired in plot, antagonists, and character dynamic growth/change.. it just seemed like a good start but overall incomplete.

3 people found this helpful

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Literary Genius

It is very difficult to know his stories were written so long ago....definitely ahead of his time and I wish he were still here to give us more!

2 people found this helpful

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Another Terrific Heinlein Tale

Heinlein does it again! I've been a fan since college and with my audible account I'm now going through the "Heinlein Juveniles". The most important thing I can say is that halfway through the series, I think it's time to start a campaign to eliminate the term. As I see it, the only valid points are that the protagonist is typically young and that the writing is designed for about the early high school level, just like modern day TV. These books, these stories are all terrifically well written, interesting, surprisingly accurate scientifically for the day and they create a story arc of mankind's first steps into rocketry all the way to interstellar travel. I didn't realize how well-rounded these stories are in presenting those steps of our journey into space or that I needed to hear them, but I did!

There's a reason why Heinlein is called the Dean of Science Fiction. All you need to do is read his books to discover for yourself.

2 people found this helpful

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by the wife

Wonderful narrator, kept to the character voices throughout. Mr. Heinlein would have approved of the performance.

2 people found this helpful

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great space opera. just right performance.

loved it. action, surprise and classic sci fi. good narrator. Heinlein's juvenile novels are among his best shorter works.

2 people found this helpful

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Book great, reading suffers from mispronunciations

Heinlein is great to either read or listen to. But the reader of this book mispronounced a number of words that make it strange. I could sort of understand pronouncing “elliptical” as “epilepsy” but “conning” as “cone-ing”? And that wasn’t the only mispronunciation of a relatively common word. All in all, the delivery was flat and uninteresting

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  • LC
  • 01-15-21

Nice story and easy to listen to

I found this to be entertaining and easy going, so I could listen to it while relaxing. Some fun images and picture of the way people and others live on this solar system on Earth, Venus and Mars.

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  • CameronRoss
  • 12-14-18

Showing it’s age, but great SF

This was one of Heinlein’s ‘juveniles, written in the 1950’s. Hugely influential in their time, they introduced many people to SF.

The story shows its age, in terms of technology, gender roles and social attitudes, but it’s still good listening.

I enjoyed the reading, although you need to get past a Dick van Dyke-esque Cockney accent. Other than that, a good, if dated, story, and a strong narrator.

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  • Ronan
  • 12-23-17

A great listen

Although the extra terrestrial life in the story is far fetched by modern standards this is still a very readable and reflects on how we treat different cultures and how we react to authoritarian governments. The main character is very likeable and his adventure leads us through interplanetary politics as easily as a pony trek in the Grand Canyon where it all starts.

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  • Ricci M.
  • 12-12-17

Nice, but could have been better

Nice novel, though not one of Heinlein's best. It does keep the listener glued up to the last chapter, though.
The narrator did his part, but I believe he could have put more effort in voicing the accents and intonations of the various non-WASP characters, such as women or Chinese native speakers

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-24-18

enjoyable short story

short and sweet, if your looking for a longer more politically and militarily involved book try heinleins the moon is a harsh mistress