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Publisher's Summary

In a distant galaxy of colonized planets, the atrocity of slavery is alive and well. Young Thorby was just another bedraggled orphan boy sold at auction, but his new owner, Baslim, is not the disabled beggar he appears to be. Adopting Thorby as his son, Baslim fights relentlessly as an abolitionist spy. When the authorities close in on Baslim, Thorby must find his own way in a hostile galaxy. Joining with the Free Traders, a league of merchant princes, Thorby must find the courage to live by his wits and fight his way up from society's lowest rung. But Thorby's destiny will be forever changed when he discovers the truth about his own identity.

Citizen of the Galaxy is a suspenseful tale of adventure, coming of age, and interstellar conflict by science fiction's Grand Master.

©2003 The Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Citizen of the Galaxy

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good nostalgia; pretty good YA sci-fi

After starting, I realized that I had read this novel as a kid, decades ago. I enjoyed this revisit to my childhood. It is classic gentle science fiction from the 1960's. This novel is about an orphan who was sold on a distant planet as a slave. He is freed and adopted, and travels to different worlds as a young adult. I most recommend this to young adults who enjoy science fiction. This is dated, but that is part of the fun of this novel. I remember when I read this, making the connection between that sci-fi world and issues of classism and racism in the real world. Those themes remain relevant. Heinlein was not wise enough to see the sexism in his world, and it remains in his vision of the future. Some of the technology pieces are amusing, too, with spaceship pilots using a slide rule and checking answers with a calculator. Heinlein writes appealing characters, and the dialog is good. This is a sweet story that still has some appeal. The reader was perfect for this novel.

14 people found this helpful

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Classic

Still a classic and Grover brought it to life. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I still think it should be a movie.

8 people found this helpful

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Powerful and prescient

Heinlein depicts slavery here in fiction just as it exists today. On the easy to ignore and dismiss fringes and dark corners of society, yet made possible by our desire to ignore and dismiss its reality.

Slavery may be with us always as he alludes and Heinlein's power in speculative fiction was to weave characters you can root for with deep fundamental truths about our natures as humans and the values we can and should aspire to but often fall short of.

The audiobook is well read and covers a range of themes from trade to corporations and lawyers. Not Heinlein's tightest flowing yarn, it certainly has three distinct acts but is a great read if you like a story that makes you think and care.

3 people found this helpful

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Fun but not Heinlen's best

I'm a major Heinlein fan and while I did enjoy quite a bit about this one, it falls short of his true masterpieces like Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It starts out strong with our former slave protagonist hooking up with a wise mentor and eventually going on a series of space adventures which is all fun enough (and of course getting into all kinds of philosophical discussions about the nature of freedom and questioning traditional family structures). The story takes an odd turn when *spoilers ahead* the main character lands back on earth and has to battle for control of his parents corporation. The plot takes a sharp turn from scifi adventure to Wall Street and becomes all about corporate infighting which is not terrible but just not nearly as interesting as everything that preceeded it. So if you love Heinlein you'll probably like this well enough, but if your looking for a masterpiece, keep looking.

2 people found this helpful

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Still a great story

What did you love best about Citizen of the Galaxy?

It's a story I've read several times since childhood. This was a new way to 'read' it, and it felt a little like having Robert Heinlein tell me his story.

5 people found this helpful

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two classics together; can't get much better!

I've been a fan (weak term, actually) of Robert Heinlein for decades. I discovered the readings of Grover Gardner several years ago, & he's tops on my readers list. Put 'em together, what a treat!
I feel somewhat guilty about not giving RAH 5 stars across the board, but truthfully, CotG isn't my favorite Heinlein book. It's just not up there with Stranger in a Strange Land or Time Enough for Love, or even some of the "boys" books (but it's definitely better than some of his last clunkers, like "Friday" which I felt sorta stunk...forgive me, RAH).
Anyway, this is the story of Thorby's sequential life disruptions --from child slave bought by the kindly (& mysterious) "Pop" Baslam the Beggar, to part of the Sisu Trader family, to the brief stint in the galactic military to his final (surprise) return to his "real" identity. Heinlein uses Thorby & his adventures to discourse (at times somewhat excessively) on one of his favorite themes, freedom & its inverse, the loathsome slavery. It's because of the sometimes pedantic tone that I give this 4 stars instead of 5, because the book bogs down a bit occasionally.
But I thought after rereading it for the first time in decades, that it's held up well; Heinlein's visions of star travel seem as likely & vivd now as they did then, & big business & people are every bit as sleazy now as portrayed then...with a few good folks here & there, still trying to fight the good fight. Like a lot of Heinlein, it contains grains of hope toward humanity without ever (ever!) being overly optimistic.
Rich characters and interesting situations --Heinlein gives free rein to his anthropological ideas in this one-- make this a diverting read/listen. And of course, Grover Gardner does it right!

12 people found this helpful

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I was surprised

I had low expectations for this book, but it was part of a 2 for 1 sale and I had the credits. By the end I was looking for sequels and other materials in this universe. Great story of a coming of age young man who overcame a lot of obstacles to become a leader. The story was great, the voice acting was great, and I wish there was a series, movie, or book sequel to continue this universe.

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Great book

I have listened to or read this book 12 times now I learned something new every time

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First read this back in the 60s.

Still not a bad story. I enjoyed it again. Ok here is the deal it is a good story but it will turn some off because of the very simple premise. The promise is good vs evil. Think Star Wars (original movie) without lightsabers.

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never disappointed

the story the message the meaning the moral ethical lesson there is always so much to be taken away from his stories.