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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic

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

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Waltham, MA, United States
  • 06-18-18

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.

1 of 1 people found this review 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!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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One of the best book by Mr. Heinlein.

This book took Thorby from one end of the galaxy to home, Earth, not know who he is or where he came from. He only knew that his life would never be the same. I love to listen to my books when I am in my truck and wherever I was going. What an adventure. You will love this book if you are 12 or 70. I've read it about 5 times, learning a great deal from the author.

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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.

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Probably my favorite sci-fi story

Tho I was able to guess where this story was going it was amazing Journey

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Wonderful

Even better now, than it was when I read it as a child. Love it!

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Grover Gardner! Reading an awesome Heinlein, nearly as good as Starship Troopers!

Yeah, this is one of my favorite Heinlein, classic kid hero, very emotional, loved it! And the narration, perfection!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Timeless Story with Great Narration

This is my first exposure to this author, and I am very happy to have stumbled upon this book recommendation. The narrator, Grover Gardner, is a pleasure to listen to, and I will definitely seek out his other work soon.

Heinlen is a master world-builder who eloquently weaves the reader into his futuristic reality. He does an exceptional job of developing believable characters with consistent motives to support their interactions with each other. He cleverly uses Thorby's young age and naivete to break down each new micro-culture for the reader. This approach allows understanding of the basic value systems for each supporting character to create a consistent, realistic, and relatable story.

It's interesting this book was penned long ago, first copyrighted in 1956, but many of the underlying themes still resonate today. Challenging the ideas freedom (and societal price to protect the free), slavery, poverty, wealth, cultural sensitivity, innocence of children, and the responsibilities/challenges associated with growing into adulthood. It explores the idea that a futuristic universe with astounding technological advances does not necessarily provide the answers to eliminate complex issues associated with the of corruption of power, wealth, and status.

Additionally, I was delighted to discover Heinlen packed the plot line full of surprises! I read a LOT of books, like 4-5 per week, and easily pick up on any foreshadowing; so most plots are predictable. However, this book had many twists that truly kept me on my toes.

The only reason I gave a 4 out of 5 stars, is because I selfishly wanted more story!! I simply want to follow Thorby's story further lol. Overall, this is a great listen of a timeless tale that kept me engaged throughout.