Rocket Ship Galileo

Narrated by: Spider Robinson
Length: 5 hrs and 27 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (362 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ross Jenkins, Art Mueller, and Morris Abrams are not your average high-school students. While other kids are cruising around in their cars or playing ball, this trio, known as the Galileo Club, is experimenting with rocket fuels, preparing for their future education at technical colleges.

Art's uncle, the nuclear physicist Dr. Donald Cargraves, offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to construct and crew a rocket that will take them to the moon. Cargraves believes their combined ingenuity and enthusiasm can actually make this dream come true. But there are those who don't share their dream and who will stop at nothing to keep their rocket grounded.

Hi-fi sci-fi: explore our full list of Robert A. Heinlein titles.
©1947 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A science fiction classic

Published in 1947, this classic science fiction has adventure, political intrigue and some hard science in it. Very little of it has been disproved even though it was 20 years ahead of its time. The future would be so different now if they'd opened up space then to commercial interests.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Give us another or two Spider

Hey I am the first to write a review I will make history. Ha ha. Anyways, I am so happy that someone with the talent as a reader (i.e. Spider Robinson), with the clout (again Spider Robinson), and hopefully the time and inclination to do so (once more Spider Robinson) has taken it upon himself to bring other Robert Heinlein books to the Audiobook format. I hope this is the just the start. I love listening to the Heinlein audiobooks, and Spider Robinson in my opinoin did a suitable enough job as a performer to justify more of them. Even if it is just another of the juvenile novels such as "Space Cadet" or "Tunnel in the Sky" or "Starman Jones" or "The Star Beast" or "Between Planets". Spider, please do this, you are our only hope, and people will buy these audiobooks. Gabrielle de Cure should do "Podykayne of Mars" or perhaps the guy who did "Friday" should do that one. But I vote for Spider Robinson to do the shorter ones with the lighter story lines. As for this book if you don't enjoy the light adventure story about some American heroes who inadvertently save the planet; well then what do you enjoy?

7 people found this helpful

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

Ahead of its time

I'm amazed at how much Heinlein got right about space travel, writing in 1947. I'm hugely impressed as a fan of Heinlein's later works and as a child of the 60's and 70's and a fan of the Apollo project. This is an enjoyable listen, though dated as it is. The plot starts off a little bit slowly but does not disappoint in the end.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read

Having missed this book when I was younger, I am glad to have read it now. I recommend it to everyone, not just its intended young audience.

3 people found this helpful

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

Boys can dream

Originally reviewed at FanLit.

When I was a kid I loved the “Heinlein Juveniles.” Rocket Ship Galileo, Heinlein’s first Juvenile, is one I missed back then. It won’t hold up well today (actually, it wouldn’t have held up well when I was reading Heinlein Juveniles in the 1980s) but sometimes it’s fun to read these old science fiction stories for kids and I did have fun recently reading Rocket Ship Galileo even though I am very much aware of its flaws. Let’s remember that it was published in 1947, just after World War II and well before we managed to put a man on the moon.

Ross, Art, and Morrie (I love those retro names!) are three teenage boys who love science and each have special geeky skills. When Morrie’s uncle, a Nobel Prize-winning nuclear physicist, discovers that the boys are building a rocket ship, he gives them some funds and a little help and off they all go to the moon. When they get there they discover that they’re not the first ones there. The humans who’ve covertly come before have dangerous plans. Can the boys stop them before the bad guys destroy the Earth?

Okay, that’s just fun, right? In the year 2013 it’s impossible to take Rocket Ship Galileo seriously. I don’t know if they did back in 1947. I suspect not because I doubt anyone thought it was possible to build a space ship in your backyard or to mail order space suits and asbestos shoes. Still, boys can dream, and Rocket Ship Galileo is definitely an exciting dream, especially when you get to not only fly to the moon, but kill Nazis and save the Earth on top of it all. Too cool!

Other than the outlandishness of it all, the main problem with Rocket Ship Galileo is all the teachy technobabble. Some of it is real science, some of it is made up (I hope kids can tell this apart), most of it is dated, and a lot of it is boring because it’s delivered in Uncle Cargraves’ lessons or the boys recitation of what they’ve previously learned. Heinlein has an issue with this in his adult novels, too. If the lessons don’t turn kids off they might enjoy experiencing the fantasies of teenage boys in the 1940s.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Spider Robinson who has the tone just right. When he narrates the boys’ parts he sounds appropriately wide-eyed, innocent, and geeky. Golly, Mr. Robinson, great job!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

For Kids, so let the Kids decide!

Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A Heinlein receives three stars from me. While I understand that some people feel 3-star rating is a failure, it isn't. Three stars means that you can read it, enjoy it but it may not stick with you, or you might be left feeling a bit unsatisfied.

First, this is a one of Heinlein's juvenile works, maybe the first, so as adults it needs to be read in that light. I think Heinlein writes for the target audience well. The language is appropriate, and the plot not complicated for young readers. It is mostly plot-driven, in fact, I'm not sure I can identify any character development.

I think young readers could read this and enjoy it. However, I have some thoughts. For me, the text is too adult-centered and lead. For young readers, I like to see the kids more in the center. I felt that the Adult was too bossy. Often he would knock down the kids' suggestions repeatedly then tell them what to do. This bothered me a lot. I felt like, why does he ask their opinions and then discard them all. I worry that kids reading this might feel their ideas are not valued.

Additionally, I found the plot a bit dissatisfying. Not that he should have gone into more details, no not at all. But there could have been more dow\ne with the time on the moon. I feel there are some unanswered questions.

This was an audiobook, so regarding the reader. Spider Robinson does a good job with this. I did feel at times he would speak lines a little incomprehensible, sort of toss away lines. Otherwise, his voice good, strong and clear. I also think he understands the target audience and adapts to them.

Recommended: Let the kids decide. It isn't bad and I think they will like it. For adults: if you read it as a kid and loved it, maybe don't return to it, and keep that happy memory.

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

Classic Heinlein

An excellent story but the first half of the book drags. My 9 yr old is used to Rick Riordan books and Harry Potter which are action packed from the beginning.
This book was written at the very beginning of the atomic age and I enjoyed Heinlein’s naive view of the the limitless power of atomic energy.

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

Science Fiction’s Golden Era

This was the story that put Heinlein on the map! Excellent storyline. Part science lesson, part coming of age story, part thriller!

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

Rocketship Galileo A Joy To Hear!

I'm too prejudiced to say much concerning Spider's narration---he's a treasured friend. But that factor notwithstanding, he did quite a nice job. Who knows? The skinny rascal may have some future in S-F media......

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

A Favorite Well Read

Spider Robinson narrates the novel very well, using expessive voices and accents to bring the characters alive.