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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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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Classic

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

7 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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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!

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

From slave to master of the universe

Robert A Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy is another offering in his juvenile series. A young boy whose whole short life has been as a slave is purchased by a beggar (due to his perceived lack of value) on a backwater planet at the edge of the galaxy. He receives a rather mixed and enriched education along with implanted hypnotic suggestions should anything happen to his adopted father. Eventually, he is taken on by a family of free traders and then by the hegemonic military who discover that his actual identity is the son of one of the galaxy's richest families. Along the way, he has many experiences and adventures eventually to come full circle and set as his life's work where he began.

Heinlein produces a fitting pulp fiction tale for 50's era teenagers. In the course of the tale, he relates quite a bit of science, but throws in anthropology and business, along with legal shenanigans. There's sufficient detail to flesh out some serious worldbuilding along with plenty of action as Thorby keeps moving up the chain to make it home.

Gardner's narration is superb with excellent character distinction and a relaxed pacing that makes for a sit back and enjoy experience.

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great story

my favorite book by robert heinlein. the first few chapters on jubblepor are the best

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Heartwarmingly great

Back in the days when books assumed roles of teachers and not entertainers there were books by RHH and this book in particular.
They don't make them like this anymore.

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well done


well read, it's a great story... I guess I should say Heinlein is absolutely a chauvanist

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This story is classic Robert Heinlein.

Love this old story. Rich character development, exciting action, and moral lessons to be learned from it all. Robert Heinlein at his very best. People will be reading it centuries from now.