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Red Planet (Heinlein Juveniles #3)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  5,904 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Jim Marlow and his strange-looking Martian friend Willis were allowed to travel only so far. But one day Willis unwittingly tuned into a treacherous plot that threatened all the colonists on Mars, and it set Jim off on a terrfying adventure that could save--or destroy--them all!
Mass Market Paperback, 189 pages
Published June 12th 1986 by Del Rey (first published 1949)
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Scott
Another Heinlein juvenile, another curious blend of work by a virtuoso visionary and his unfortunate co-author the cheating hack.

THE GOOD: Heinlein's early treatment of his Martians (the ones used nearly two decades later in STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND) is excellent. These guys are subtle and weird and so far beyond earth norms that every interaction with them is fraught and puzzling. Also, while you can see prototypical versions of many of his stock characters (crusty old Dr. MacReady is a strip...more
Jim
One of Heinlein's early YA books, it's about 2 young boys who wind up on an adventure on Mars. This is a Mars with water (frozen) in its canals, oxygen, but not enough for a human to breath unassisted. So if you like your SF with the latest science in place, this isn't for you.

Heinlien's young heroes are boy scouts, good kids with good intentions who buck the odds to do the right thing. They make discoveries beyond what the adults have done & face danger. They tough it out & make good,...more
John
Robert Heinlein is one of my favorite authors, however I haven’t read much of his early “juvenile” work. Red Planet is one such book, published in 1949. The version I read (a recent Kindle addition) was not what was published in 1949, but actually a restored version, with passages from Heinlein’s original manuscript. The original editor at the time took exception to several passages that she felt weren’t appropriate to a young boys book. This was, after all, 1949. To our 21st century sensibiliti...more
Mark
This is one of an ongoing series of rereads, as I work through the Virginia Editions of Heinlein’s novels.

Red Planet was Heinlein’s third published novel, after Space Cadet (reviewed here). It is seen as the third in Heinlein’s ‘juvenile novels’ that were written for a teenage and predominantly (though not exclusively) male readership.

If I remember right, it was possibly my second or third Heinlein read, after Tunnel in the Sky, which I found, rather lost and forgotten, at the back of my school...more
Pink
One of the first science fiction books I read...thanks Dad. I've been hooked for over 30 years now.
Valerie
An author can't reasonably be called on the carpet for not knowing things that were not known at the time the book was written.

That said, there are several things Heinlein COULD have known, and didn't. Examples? Heinlein didn't know quite how low the atmospeheric pressure was, so he couldn't reasonably have known that it was so low that surface tension couldn't be sustained, so that water would boil away at so close to freezing temperature that it wouldn't mostly go into liquid form at all. But...more
Turrean
It's fascinating to read Heinlein's juveniles again after so many years have gone by. I read this as a young teen, and again perhaps 15 years ago. I was very struck by the libertarian views, particularly after the 2012 election. Heinlein has lots to say on second amendment rights--probably why he set so many of his stories on the "frontier" (the last frontier, anyway.) It was his views on education and schoolteachers that I winced over the most.

I found I had also sort of blanked out the ways ma...more
Josh
This early work has been my introduction to the "hard sci-fi" master, and I have enjoyed it immensely. I'm very curious to read the expanded edition Del Rey put out a few years ago that apparently restores Heinlein's full text - the ending to the original Scribner juvenile edition I read felt very cut off and undeveloped.

There are a lot of points in this novel where it seems like Heinlein isn't sure who he's writing for. What starts as an enjoyable, accessible children's adventure unexpectedly t...more
Eric
Jul 05, 2011 Eric rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans
Before I comment on this book, I have to comment on how it came to my attention. Manny, a good friend of mine, had suggested I read Red Mars, a sci-fi novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. Some time later, Audible.com had an audio-book sale, and Red Planet was one of the featured books. My memory being what it is, I bought it, thinking it was the book Manny had recommended to me. I realized my mistake after I bought it and before I listened to it, but decided to give it a whirl because Robert Heinlein...more
Joshua
1949 science fiction adventure from one of the era's most prominent writers. Red Planet is a lot of fun to read--although not really full of the kind of realistic "hard" science that made Kim Stanley Robinson's landmark Mars trilogy or other recent releases. This, like a lot of sci-fi from this Golden Age of Sci-Fi, is more about a rousing, fast paced story rather than accurate science. That's fine with me; both strategies have their place in the canon of sci-fi history.

Red Planet treats Mars as...more
Rachel
Robert Heinlein's vision of life on Mars in this book is, from a scientific standpoint, way off, but the story he tells of two young men fighting to keep that life safe for their family and friends (with help from some of the native Martians along the way) is an interesting, funny, exciting, and wholly enjoyable one. There's even a bit of a mystery along with all the atmosphere and adventure. This is the sort of Heinlein book that one can't help smiling at the thought of.

Heinlein just has such a...more
Faye Heath
This is a book from my childhood. Did Robert Heinlein write for children? Yes, he did. I would call this a pre-teen book but he sets some basics in this book that carry over to his more adult fare. I was pleased, years later, to read Stranger In A Strange Land and recognize the Martian cities and the Martians themselves.

What I remembered most about this book was Willis, the funny little Martian bouncer who turned out to be more than anyone thought. Willis is still a delight. There were things I...more
Jesse
I read most of this book when I was a kid, but never actually finished it. In an effort to rekindle my fan-hood of Heinlein, I decided to pick it up again.

I'm glad I did. I feel like this book might be the begining of a segway for Heinlein. I've read several of his adolesnt works, and this one, while still maintaining the fast paced entertainment and having teenaged protagonists, also touched on some more adult issues. The author really focused on "our God given rights", such as the right to bar...more
Dave
First Heinlein book I read. If you look on my list, I prefer Heinlein's "juvenile" books, written more with teens in mind, as opposed to his more "mature stuff." This book is also Heinlein's statement about gun control. Nice story woven in with his "diatribe" about the 2nd amendment.
John
Everyone should read this book. It is the story of Mars quest for independence from the elitist libs on Earth. First they start licensing firearm ownership, "the right from which all others are derived" (Heinlein's words).

If Heinlein were alive today he'd be leading the TEA Party.
Josh
The dialogue was quick, witty, and flowed so well that this made for a very fun and fast read. I also loved the ties to Stranger in a Strange Land. Certainly suggest this book to any Heinlein fans out there.
Tamahome
Nice Full Cast Audio production. Fun young adult story about a kid on mars with a strange pet. Turns into a revolution story that wraps up with a lot of info dumping. Fun little 7 hour ride though.
Danielle
This book was just plain delightful. A boy and his side-kick -- those types of stories, when told right, transport me to another place. I gobbled this book up in one sitting.
Toby McMillen
This was, I believe, the first sci-fi book I ever read; look at what this started!
Hanna
My favourite Sci-Fi adventure as a child, and it's what first got me hooked on Mars. Admittedly, the science doesn't hold up at all. Heinlein must have written the book before the geography of Mars was known. A ripping yarn, nevertheless, with a sympathetic young hero who is stuck at a boarding school on Mars, run by the same corporation that runs everything else on Mars. He finds out about a sinister plot that is putting peoples lives at risk. How is he going to warn his parents in a far-away s...more
Robert Kroese
The first real sci-fi book I ever read. Great adventure story.
Dan

I never read any of the Heinlein juveniles when I was growing up (that I recall, anyway). And not many Heinlein books are available as e-books. But this one was, so I plunged in with relish. I wasn't disappointed, because it was exactly what I had always heard RAH's juvenile works described as.


This book was first published in 1949 and is set in some unnamed year in the future. What I found intriguing and jarring was not the overcome-by-time science (intelligent Martians, canals filled with ice,

...more
Tim
I have a lot of love for this book and especially this audio production. This full-cast audio version has a different voice actor for each of the characters which makes it very much like a radio play instead of a narrated book.

This is one of Heinlein's classic juveniles. Because of that, the science is dated as well as the attitudes expressed in the book, especially in the views towards women. Since this is from 1949, women are viewed as to be protected by the men and work in the home. If one l...more
Phill Coxon
For the most part I love reading Robert Heinlein. I have had Red Planet for a year but never quite got around to reading it. I think I'd gotten to the point that while I enjoy reading Heinlein it really does seem to be the same basic plot over and over again, particularly in the juvenile series.

You know... teenager with some sort of basic maths/engineering background gets wisked off on some crazy adventure into space, makes some new friends (human or alien) has a conflict or two with a bullying...more
Roger Bailey
When I was in junior high school I read every Heinlein juvenile the school library had. I can still picture the shelf on which they were all shelved. That was a very long time ago and some of them I remember better than others. I am not sure that the school library had every single Heinlein juvenile, so I can't be sure that I read every one. Some of the plots I remember and others of them escape me now. Red Planet is one of those I was not sure that I had read. Now that I have read it again afte...more
Jim Mcclanahan
All of you who have immersed themselves in the Kim Stanley Robinson Red Mars trilogy should invest a little time in reading this one. Robinson made supreme use of current scientific knowledge in putting together a real hard SF tale about our planetary neighbor.

Now picture someone in 1949 (Heinlein) trying to do the same thing with the limited knowledge available at the time. The story is a YA tale, with a pair of boys as the protagonists and a cute but mysterious Martian crittur, Willis, as the...more
Joe Martin

Once I’d finished Tunnel in the Sky (it was such a quick read), I wasn’t ready to be done with Heinlein. And I had this book sitting around, checked out from the library. So I went ahead and read it. It’s another of Heinlein’s juveniles. It’s not as much of a coming of age story as Tunnel in the Sky. It certainly has elements of that but it’s a bit more focused on the line between authority and tyranny.

Heinlein hits on some familiar themes: responsibility is a matter of maturity and skill, not

...more
Glenn Schmelzle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Connelly
Red Planet, by Robert A. Heinlein, is a science fiction novel set in the near future on Mars. The main story takes place in human colonies and cities, although parts take place in Martian cities and in wastelands. The story is told in the third person limited point of view, and focuses mainly on one character: Jim Marlowe.

Jim Marlowe is a young boy, who is the son of two colonists on Mars. He has a pet named Willis. Willis is an indigenous species to Mars, and can record and play back any conve...more
Michael Emond
This was an expanded version of the novel with (gasp) Willis' gender being talked about and (double gasp) the boys carrying guns. I read the unexpanded version when I was young and loved it then, so while I do like the fact they added back the edited bits it still holds up as a great novel either way. As with almost all early Heinlein you have some great characters put in some thrill situations with inventive ideas of an alien culture. He does this so effortlessly you almost take it for granted...more
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Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction".

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre...more
More about Robert A. Heinlein...
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