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Red Planet (Heinlein Juveniles #3)

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,276 Ratings  ·  207 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 January 1st 1949)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This was, hands down, my favorite Heinlein book as a teen. I read it at least 4 or 5 times. I really need to read it again as an adult, but Heinlein ... always an iffy proposition. Though this is one of his early juvie novels, so it's safer than, say, Time Enough for Love.

Two teenage boys, sent away to boarding school in the big city on Mars, need to save their hometown and their Martian friend from the nefarious forces of evil. There's a pretty heavy gun ownership rights theme running through t
Mar 08, 2013 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 23, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jul 20, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The bad science doesn't bother me too much, but I can't get past the sexism and the contrived conflict. None of the bad guys had any competence? The good guys were automatically superior strategists, warriors, leaders, etc.? I'd give it one star, but the Martians were interesting, and treated with respect.

3.8 stars

“Oh my gosh!”

Although a conservative, staid, and constrictive tradition lies behind the 1950s, U.S. pop culture, an odd and innocent sense of fun seems to accompany it.


After my immersion into Shirley Jackson’s dark and menacing world, Heinlein’s Red Planet, (1949), with this conservative yet fun 1950s aspect, became just the tonic I needed.

Setting a young adult/adult, science fiction adventure novel on Mars allows Heinlein to create an exciting story and world while simultaneously
Feb 11, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 06, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
1976 grade B+
1992 grade B+
2016 grade B+

A novel about high school students in a private school run by dictatorial earth bureaucrats on a colonized hypothetical Mars. It starts out pretty routine but becomes much better and more adult less than half way through. The book could definitely be considered a precursor to Stranger In A Strange Land since it has the exact same martians and their culture. In fact this book describes them much better and I recommend reading it before Stranger if possible.
Sep 03, 2015 Williwaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this is a so-called "juvenile" novel(i.e., "young adult" tale), it's quite well constructed. I was especially enchanted by Heinlein's depiction of the Martians. There's a clear connection between the Martians in "Red Planet" and the Martians described in Heinlein's later novel, "Stranger in a Strange Land."

What Heinlein lacks in style and descriptive powers, he makes up for with a tight plot, suspenseful action, and the mysterious, awe-inspiring Martians. "Red Planet" would make a grea
Apr 23, 2009 Pink rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the first science fiction books I read...thanks Dad. I've been hooked for over 30 years now.
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
Christopher Wagoner
Don't take away my geek card, but this is the first Heinlein novel I've ever read (GASP!)
What surprised me is that this book would be marketed as YA in the modern era. The story centers around Jim, a teen of unspecified age who is a Mars colonist. His constant companion is a bouncing "martian roundhead" who can precisely record and repeat any sound.
There are plenty of scientific innaccuracies, which is to be expected since the novel was written fifty years ago. If you can get past that, it's an
May 03, 2016 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lara by: C-4
So, the other day I told C-4 that I loved The Moon is a Harsh Mistress but haven't been able to finish any of the other Heinlein books I've started and so he recommended this one. And I finished it! Didn't love it quite like C-4 does, but it was fun. I would have liked more with the Martians, I think, but at the same time I do like that they're still a bit of a mystery.

Basically the whole time I was reading this book though I kept hearing John Locke of LOST repeating over and over again, "don't
Nov 06, 2015 Tsengoz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bir bilim kurgu tutkunu olmama rağmen Robert A. Heinlein benim favori yazarlarımdan biri değil. Benim BK anlayışımın Heinlein'ın anlayışı ile uzaktan yakından ilişkisi yok.

Kızıl Gezegen (Red Planet) romanı 1949 yılında yazılmış. O yıllardaki Mars tahayyülünün gerçek Mars'la hiç bir benzerliği yok. Heinlein geniş yapay kanallarla kutup bölgelerinden ekvator bölgelerine su taşınan bir Mars hayal ediyor. Mars'ın yüzeyinde bitkiler, küçük vahşi hayvanlar var. Kanalların içindeki donmuş suyun üzerin
Nov 19, 2014 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
RED PLANET. (1949). Robert A. Heinlein. ***.
I don’t read much science fiction any more. Back in my early teen years, however, it was the major genre I dipped into. That was in the early 1950s. Back then, Heinlein was one of my favorite writers. I don’t remember if I actually read this book before or not, but it was still a quick read. It’s a coming of age novel that tells of the experiences of two boys who now live on Mars in experimental communities that have to cope with the differences betwee
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
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
Oct 27, 2012 Joshlynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 05, 2011 Eric rated it liked it  ·  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, 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
Jan 17, 2009 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
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
Mar 01, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
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
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
Íris Jordão
Quando comecei a ler este livro nem sabia que é de 1949. Que visão futurista fantástica sobre o planeta vermelho, as condições de sobrevivência dos humanos, a descrição dos marcianos, tudo! Se fosse escrito hoje, continuaria a ser futurista.
Um "livro de adolescentes" entre aspas, porque agradará decerto a gentes de todas as idades.

Review completa em:
Jon Cantrell
Jan 11, 2016 Jon Cantrell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice quick book. One of his juveniles. Deals with a lot of his standard pioneer/Liberty ideals. Introduces the Martians and their culture and biology that are used in Stranger in a Strange Land.
Sep 15, 2014 Hanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Charles H Berlemann Jr
BLUF: A decent adventure story wrapped up in some sci-fi elements.

So what is this book? I have heard some folks talk about this being a book in line with some of Heinlein's other juveniles. That is some fun adventure stuff, wrapped up in anti-oppression government and tied off with some sci-fi stuff. You know bright kids, probably brighter than they should be in real life, whose parents are just as bright and then dealing with leading a revolution or being party to the revolution that their par
Conan Tigard
Nov 14, 2015 Conan Tigard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Robert A. Heinlein's early works. Most of those stories are of boys learning to survive in inhospitable situations and usually come out smelling like roses. Being a young man when I first read these books, I often fantasized about being one of these characters and becoming the hero. No one tells a great Sci Fi story like Robert A. Heinlein.

Red Planet does not disappoint. I loved the quick interaction that Jim and Frank had, even though I never figured out how old they were;
Jeff Yoak
2014: Red Planet initially wasn't one of my favorites, but it has grown on me over the years. I just finished reading it with the kids, and I think it is their favorite thus far, perhaps after The Star Beast. I don't think even that novel resulted in as many instances of staying up late and demanding to sit in the car a little longer and listen as did this one.

Mar 02, 2014 Jesse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Tony Calder
This is one of Heinlein's juvenile novels, but it has more of his libertarian politics showing through than I remember being the case for most of them. This is, in many respects, pretty typical Heinlein - corporations and government are, on the whole, not to be trusted; citizens will generally do what is right for the community. Whether or not you accept his political views, he is generally unwavering in them. The most interesting thing about this novel, to me at least, is that it provides the b ...more
Oct 22, 2008 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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 about Robert A. Heinlein...

Other Books in the Series

Heinlein Juveniles (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Rocket Ship Galileo
  • Space Cadet
  • Farmer in the Sky
  • Between Planets
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Starman Jones
  • The Star Beast
  • Tunnel in the Sky
  • Time for the Stars
  • Citizen of the Galaxy

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