Podkayne of Mars

Narrated by: Emily Janice Card
Length: 6 hrs and 1 min
4 out of 5 stars (563 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the author of Friday and Rocketship Galileo comes this classic tale featuring the Grand Master of science fiction's most remarkable heroine.

Podkayne Fries, a smart and determined maid of Mars, has just one goal in life: to become the first female starship pilot and rise through the ranks to command deep-space explorations. So when she is offered a chance to join her diplomatic uncle on an interstellar journey to distant Earth via Venus, it's a dream come true - even if her only experience with diplomacy is handling her brilliant but pesky younger brother, Clark.

But she's about to learn some things about war and peace, because Uncle Tom, the ambassador plenipotentiary from Mars to the Three Planets Conference, is traveling not quite incognito enough - and certain parties will stop at nothing to sabotage negotiations between the three worlds.

©2003 The Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Story

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

wrong ending

real Heinlien fans know whats up. this book does not contain the ORIGINAL ending and, as he pointed out to his editor who insisted on this rewrite, the new ending ruins the moral of the story.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Smart Kid

Just reading a description of the story doesn't leave one excited to read it, but when you start listening, you find it hard to stop.

Podkayne is a girl who would be around 17 or 18 earth years old. See is very world-wise and people-wise for her age. She plans her long term goals and goes after them.

I'm a 64 year old man. I tend to think of Podkayne as a terrific daughter or granddaughter that I would be very proud of. If I did have a teenage or even pre-teenage granddaughter, I would see to it that she listened to this at least once, and hopefully more than once. Podkayne would be a very good roll model for any girl.

This starts as a very pleasant story that builds to a very exciting story. I think that if you got this book, you would be glad you did.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A fun space adventure.

Where does Podkayne of Mars rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks as very good, but it's soda pop, not scotch.

If you’ve listened to books by Robert A. Heinlein before, how does this one compare?

If Starship Troopers is a home run, this is a standing double.

What about Emily Janice Card’s performance did you like?

Emily has a completely unaffected voice that is easy to listen to. It perfectly matched the innocent and excited voice of the books heroine through who's eyes the story is told.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was amusing and fun, save for the ending, which was a bit abrupt for me. Our heroine spends all her time studying spaceships and it seems that should have come into play at the end. Also, the message at the end seemed out of place in an otherwise fun read.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect narrator, and I forgot how funny it was.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Heck yes. The book itself is one of Heinlein's juvies, with a plucky heroine and her mad genius of a little brother. I bought it for my daughter to listen along with forgetting that the Juvies were meant for Tweens/teens with a matching vocabulary. So I listened to it by myself.

And absolutely loved it. The narrator was flat out perfect. I don't know what voice I have in my head for her when I read this, but it's Emily Card from now on.

The book is awesome. It's basically a travelogue that is mostly character driven, with the plot only showing up in Act III. Don't care, it's a fun journey.

What other book might you compare Podkayne of Mars to and why?

I wish I knew, so I could buy those as well. Obviously Heinlein's other juvies, but no idea. Given that YA is so huge right now, I don't know why this isn't huge.

What does Emily Janice Card bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She IS Poddy. She nails the voice.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Three planets, two kids, and one mad genius of a brother,

Any additional comments?

Thanks, Emily!

2 people found this helpful

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

Good story, rushed ending.

I enjoyed this story right up until the end when it seems like the producer walked in and said "You have 5 minutes. Wrap it up." It left me confused, surprised and a little mad. If not for the ending I would give the story 5 stars. Otherwise, it is a good listen and I will consider other books by Robert Heinlein. I did see other reviews where readers complained about the attitude towards women. I thought the author was pointing out social injustice, not endorsing it.

The narration was easy to understand but the different voices were hard to distinguish. That is why I only gave the performance three stars.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great retelling of a classic science fiction story

This is one of my favorite coming of age stories -- where you hear the thoughts of a young girl as told to her diary. The narrator does a great job of having different voices that enhance the story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Well written but lacking a good ending

I know that this is not the original ending the author had planned but I still didn't like it. I do sense sexist undertones in the decisions of the heroine to abandon her calling to be a space pilot & embracing a love for babies, but I think it reflects the time it was written in. Overall an interesting book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Uncle Orson's Daughter

Emily Card did a wonderful job of characterizing Podkayne. She truly did. The reading of this novel called for a teenage girls voice using inflections as if she were conversing with a voice recorder or talking on a telephone. Ms. Card delivered splendidly. However, her talent as a reader may be limited in this respect. She could deliver a good performance with similarly themed science fiction books, and she might do really well reading chick-lit novels or perhaps classics like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, but her voice has too high of a pitch to embody masculine characters very well.

Enough criticisms about the reader. The book is one of my favorites. Heinlein's simple stories always entertain me completely. However, when I read this book a couple of years ago; I read a Baen paperback copy and I believe that there was an alternate ending to the novel. I may be wrong, maybe it was another book that offered an alternative ending. Perhaps it was the one with the two telepathic twins, or maybe "Tunnel in The Sky". But I didn't like the ending to this book. It was too sad and left too much unanswered. If you want to understand what I am talking about then buy the book and listen for yourself.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good book but very sinister view of Women

Pros:
I think this is a very good book--how it's written and comes to it's surprising ending. The author does a great job of making the reader want to see Earth from a Mars-men perspective.

Cons:
The overall theme that women should stay at home and raise children, and that is what women should naturally like to do and are best at doing, is a bit 1800s. Though perhaps I missed the point somewhere, feel free to explain!

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A product of its time

It's always humorous to see how science fiction from long ago portrays the future. We look back at how they imagined that society would be essentially unchanged, just with spaceships and laser guns added. Perhaps that can teach us a lesson about how to think on our own future.

And certainly this book is not one that could be written today. Humanity has settled Mars and Venus as well as Earth, yet they still smoke. Not only do they smoke, but men tend to spend their time in lodges and clubs smoking and playing billiards and backgammon, and women are not allowed. Photography is a difficult task requiring manual application of chemicals and exposure of negatives to light. Audio recording requires tape. For a science fiction writer, Heinlein seems remarkably lacking in vision, especially given that the 1960s weren't THAT long ago.

But that's not what truly bothers me.

I wasn't sure what to make of this book. Perhaps it was meant to be a young adult novel, before the idea of YA fiction was named such. I can't help but wonder if this book was a white man's stab at making a book to combat sexism and racism. If so, the motive can be applauded, but not the result. But I am purely speculating here.

In Earth years, the protagonist is apparently 15. Her interests include clothes, makeup, boys, babies and becoming a space captain. Her brother (11 in Earth years) is significantly more intelligent than her, as well as physically stronger. He is also independent and emotionally mature in many ways, tending to act more like an adult than a small child. He seems more capable in many ways than most adults. And her? Her agency is significantly limited. Her big moment where she most shows initiative and ability is when she organizes people in an emergency situation to take care of crying babies. Was that really the only sort of crisis she could do favorably in? The rest of the time she seems to be utterly caught up in the decisions and actions of men around her. The last few chapters of the book, where most of the adventure takes place, have her being almost completely redundant, while her brother accomplishes everything. I won't say who the villain is, to avoid spoilers, but I think it was another case where the author thought he was doing a good deed and didn't realize he was making things worse. Oh, and what about race? Mars used to be a place where convicts were sent, essentially the Australia of space. A few racist comments are made against "Marsmen" and others, perhaps to show how open minded and forward thinking the author is, but they just made me cringe.

And then the ending? I did not care for it at all. It seemed quite illogical. Note that apparently this ending was modified. See the Wikipedia article about the book for that explanation, but I think I would have disliked the original ending at least as much.

Come to think of it, if the titular character was removed from the storyline, practically nothing about the plot would have to change.

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  • Stephanie
  • 02-26-14

No real climax.

Although the storyline was interesting and well paced I felt that the end had come rather sooner than it should and I didn't feel there was a climax point in the story. It just sort of ends. Bizarre.

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  • Paul
  • 07-04-14

Classic Heinlein Novel

One of Heinlein's better stories, most of it richly details life on a space ship & off earth colonies. The science is more than a bit dated nowadays but the impact of technology on people is brilliant.
My biggest gripe is that they went with the edited ending rather than the original Heinlein ending which makes the book lose a lot of the dramatic impact.
The narrator is well suited for the tone, an older voice than Podkayne - but I've always imagined Podkayne as at least a few years older than the book describes. The format of the book particular suits a narration style rendering.