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Starman Jones Audiobook

Starman Jones

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Publisher's Summary

It was a desperate time, when one's next meal and the comforts of home couldn't be taken for granted. Max Jones, a practical, hard-working young man, found his escape in his beloved astronomy books. But when reality comes crashing in and his troubled home life forces him out on the road, Max finds himself adrift in a downtrodden land - until an unexpected, ultimate adventure carries him away as a stowaway aboard an intergalactic spaceship.

But to where? And when? And how can he ever get back? With the ship's pilot dead and his charts and tables all destroyed, Max must call upon all of his untested knowledge and skills in order to survive.

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

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  •  
    Sharey 07-27-17
    Sharey 07-27-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Remembering Why I Never Liked Heinlein "

    This is not a book I'd recommend for impressionable youth. The stepparents are evil, the women are vacuous, peripheral, and dumb, while the boy is smart, brave, and worthy of leadership. Sexist stereotypes like these become firmly entrenched in youth and have longlasting effects. Look at current events to see the damage we've still been unable to move past.
    Aside from that, I found this book very boring while the narration was decent. There's just not much engagement in the writing either. It rings shallow and hollow.
    Waste of time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LINCOLN LOS ANGELES, CA United States 07-03-17
    LINCOLN LOS ANGELES, CA United States 07-03-17 Member Since 2015

    eclectic reader

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    "Little action, lots of world building.."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    More action and space encounters would be nice. Almost the whole book was world building with light politics and how the main character struggles to become a spaceship crewman/Navigator/Captain.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kwdayboise (Kim Day) Boise, Idaho 05-09-17
    kwdayboise (Kim Day) Boise, Idaho 05-09-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Dated but fun"

    Robert A. Heinlein was one of the "big three" of science fiction following World War II. With Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke he helped advance the genre through the 1950s and 1960s. Heinlein was also the first sci-fi writer to obtain publication in general magazines starting with Saturday Evening Post.

    There are some common themes in Heinlein. He was an Annapolis graduate and served as a naval officer until he was given a discharge after contracting tuberculosis. He was one of the earliest to conceive the naval allegory for space travel. He and wife Virginia were both engineers as well and were known for tinkering in their home building convenience devices. This technical expertise comes out in his writing compared to Asimov, who was a physicist (and maybe one of the great polymaths of the 20th century) and more interested in overcoming or working with known physics.

    Heinlein wrote a series of "juvenilia" both as individual books and serials in magazines like Boy's Life. Starman Jones fits into this category although it's a worthwhile bildungsroman for anybody who wants a fun afternoon read.

    The main character in the book and the narrator is Max Jones, a farm kid from the Ozarks (Heinlein was born in Missouri) whose life is turned upside down when his widowed mother marries a moonshiner. It's always funny reading sci-fi written before about 1970 that still envision a future with farms operated on mule power, men who smoke pipes on spaceships, and data storage limited to punch tape and microfilm. Max escapes a beating on the day he meets his new stepfather. He sneaks into the house at night and recovers precious items, including a collection of books given to him by his "astrogator" uncle containing the data tables used by the Astrogator Guild of the Imperial Marines. He heads out on foot to the headquarters of the guild. The guild is one of many hereditary organizations operating space vessels. The uncle who gave Max the books never had children but had mentioned that he would recommend Max for apprenticeship in the guild.

    Along the way Max meets a hobo named Sam Anderson who first robs him but then later becomes a father-figure/mentor. The only Heinlein book I've read that doesn't have a character like this may be Stranger in a Strange Land, and that may be due to Valentine Michael Smith being that figure for the earth. There will always be a wise older character who has already condensed the knowledge for the theme Heinlein is working with and dispenses it with humor and slightly marred old saws. ("No sense crying over spilled milk after the horse is out of the barn.") There are several of these characters through the book to help Max rise through the ranks as his skills and eidetic memory are recognized. He also meets a spunky girl who challenges him and is smarter than he is in some areas (because there's always one in Heinlein, this may be a tribute to wife Virginia.)

    Eventually one officer who doesn't respect Max's skills ignores advice from Max at a crucial moment of astrogation causing the ship to become lost. Max will eventually be vindicated, but only after life-threatening adventures on a strange planet.

    It's a fun book with a fun collection of oddball characters. It's easy to lose yourself in cheering on Max and sharing his resentment at occasional bad treatment. It's a Horatio Alger story with more humor, science, and advice than most. It's a dated story about a boy with "pluck" who makes good and writing that isn't that dated. It is definitely a book from its era, slightly chauvanistic but an easy-to-read book by one of the masters of the genre.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Jacobi Michigan 11-27-16
    Michael Jacobi Michigan 11-27-16 Member Since 2010

    Alt-Mil-Hist

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    "A Look Back At Classic Science Fiction"

    Fun to revisit the scene of my first love of science fiction at the feet of the Grand Master. Heinlein's "juvenile" science fiction still reads as well today as it did back in the day. This one was written long before the computer came into general use though and the concomitant need for reference books and hand programming of astronomic data to lay a course between the stars forms the nugget at the center of the story. Our hero's unique talent is that he never forgets anything he has read. Thus while the Astrogator's Guild fiercely guards their bound volumes of course data, the hero having once read them, had them readily available in his head. Anyway, it was a fun read as an 8 year old and its fun to hear it again. Narration is top notch and it is a fun way to pass an otherwise boring trip to and from work for awhile. I strongly recommend it both as a look back and as a way to interest other young minds in this wonderful literary field.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Senn Las Vegas, Nevada 08-02-16
    John Senn Las Vegas, Nevada 08-02-16 Member Since 2009

    Nagatamen

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    "Classic YA Science Fiction that still resonates"

    This story stuck with me from my first read 35 years ago. it was fun to listen to again from a much different perspective.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Malabar, Australia 03-11-12
    Amy Malabar, Australia 03-11-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Unexpected Gem"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Starman Jones to be better than the print version?

    This story was gem. I loved the character, the 'future' that was created in the story. My only problem was the story ended just as it was getting really interesting.
    Well worth a listen.


    What does Paul Michael Garcia bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I liked that his voice was stiff and formal as I picture the main character.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 04-03-11
    David 04-03-11 Member Since 2017

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "Heinlein's juveniles are great for any SF fan"

    I read a lot of Heinlein's juveniles when I was younger, but I missed this one and it was on sale from Audible, so it was nice to enjoy one of his earlier works, before he started getting old and wanky. Everything from Friday on was pretty much Heinlein getting his freak on, but his earlier novels are still sci-fi classics for good reason.

    Starman Jones is your basic boys' adventure story: Max is a kid from Earth who runs away from home when his stepmother marries an abusive bum. He meets an amiable drifter who turns out to be a not-so-good Samaritan, but he meets the man again when they're both trying to find a way off-planet, and the two of them lie their away aboard a spaceship. From there, Max's talent for math and his inherent good nature and sense of decency lead him from one position to another aboard ship, and when the ship gets lost, taking a bad "jump" to an unknown star system, Max of course is the one who saves the day.

    Obviously, this book was written for teenagers, but it stands up as pretty good adult SF even today, though it is a bit dated (it was written in 1951). The gender roles are pretty old-fashioned, and while Heinlein's FTL drives and beam weapons are standard sci-fi, you may chuckle when Max breaks out his slide rule to perform astrogation. Still, I think it compares favorably to any genre fiction written for kids today, and Heinlein did a much better job than most writers of bridging the gap between YA and adult fiction. I might not start with Starman Jones if you haven't read any of Heinlein's juveniles before -- it's pretty good, but it's not his best -- but if you're already a Heinlein fan, this will definitely be an enjoyable listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Atlanta, Georgia 04-19-09
    Mike Atlanta, Georgia 04-19-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Fast Pace and Entertaining"

    Heinlein is a great story teller. This book is very entertaining and it keeps a steady pace.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alyssa 03-26-09
    Alyssa 03-26-09 Member Since 2009

    I listen to books when I'm at work or doing chores. I prefer history and fantasy. My favorite audio book is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.

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    "Loveable Idiot"

    My biggest problem with this book was the main character, smart but very naive, had me just about talking to myself trying to persuade him out of certain courses of action. It all works out for the best through some improbable but interesting plot twists. The female characters in this book are somewhat disgraceful but then it was written in the 50's.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keith T. Dothan, AL, United States 09-13-17
    Keith T. Dothan, AL, United States 09-13-17 Member Since 2011
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    "A satisfyingly simple space story"

    The plot is not thick, the characters are not complicated but you find yourself having fun none the less. The tension in this story seems to resolve itself fairly quickly but always leads to the next twist. The only criticism i would have is that the problems the protagonists has with various antagonist seems to take care of themselves while he's off doing something else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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