Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beyond this Horizon” as Want to Read:
Beyond this Horizon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beyond this Horizon

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  3,225 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Utopia has been achieved. For centuries, disease, hunger, poverty and war have been things found only in the history tapes. And applied genetics has given men and women the bodies of athletes and a lifespan of over a century.
They should all have been very happy....
But Hamilton Felix is bored. And he is the culmination of a star line; each of his last thirty ancestors c
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Baen (first published January 1st 1942)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beyond this Horizon, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Beyond this Horizon

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I read this book when I was 11, and I don't care who knows: I really liked it. I don't guarantee I'd like it as much if I read it again today. I'll admit I can't remember all that much about it. It's this future society run along sort of eugenic/libertarian lines. Everyone walks around carrying a deadly weapon, except for a few wusses. If somebody offends you, you challenge him to a duel on the spot. Or her, did I hear you ask? Good question. I don't think it ever came up.

The bit I remember best
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this years (and years) ago but when I ran across it I couldn't remember much beyond the "general world" in which it takes place.

I reread it.

Now I..."remember why i really didn't remember it".

It's okay. It's a pretty good story set in an interesting world but for a teen it does have a "bog-down-factor". In the middle of the book we get a fairly long dissertation on Mendelian Genetics. While it's of course a bit dated it's somewhat more interesting than it was when i was a kid...

Beyond This Horizon
by Robert A. Heinlein
read by Peter Ganim

Beyond This Horizon is classic science fiction with social commentary thrown in as you may expect from Heinlein.

Mankind has created a Utopian society where poverty and hunger are studied in school but don't actually happen anymore. Mankind has also worked toward eliminating weaknesses in the human chromosome via gene selection and intentional breeding. There are still some normal people (referred to as "control naturals") that could pot
Sep 12, 2008 Collin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinlein fanatics/completists
Recommended to Collin by: Jesse
This book answered a question for me that I've wondered about for a long time: what does an author do with his leftover story tangents that he likes but can't quite work in anywhere? Answer: he saves them all up for when he builds a great make-believe/alternate-reality society but has no storyline to go along with it.

Building great make-believe/alternate-reality societies is what Heinlein just does naturally, like a fish breathing water. In this particular novel, there are 2 fascinating aspects.
First time I've read this book in several (for some definitions of the word several). It's mostly noted, and maybe notable for its first few sentences, where Heinlein uses phrasing to put you in the midst of his future world. "The door dilated" is justly famous. His portrayal of a society where everyone (or most people) carry weapons (of one sort or another) is known to with its supposed corollary an armed populous is a polite populous. i don't buy it, and he really doesn't demonstrate here. As ...more
S. Naomi Scott
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Yoak
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Max Ostrovsky
As a big fan of Heinlein, I was extremely disappointed by this book. Maybe I was distracted by the misleading blurb on the back cover, or the Burt Reynolds/Charles Bronson cover art.
But I think it was something more than that. The narrative was random and disorganized. Too much of the book was spent towards something that never really developed, and not enough of the story was devoted to the actual story.
The actual story was about a man whose dilemma was what's so great about life that I need
Kathryn McCary
Not really what this non-Heinlein reader expected from Heinlein, somehow--but then, it seems to have been a relatively early work (apparently his first novel-length, serialized starting in 1942 and published as a whole in 1948). The society-in-which-adult-males-are-armed-by-default is unsurprising, but the easy acceptance of an essentially totalitarian eugenics program seems contrary to what I've heard from his admirers. Sadly, also, the plot is treated as secondary to the ideas (rarely a succes ...more
Mark Nenadov
People who knock on this work as "the worst of Heinlein" obviously haven't taken time to understand it. This is a masterpiece. But it is a subtle masterpiece. If you buy this copy, I'd suggest you also check out the essay in the beginning of the "Gregg Press science fiction series" version. It explains some important details that the average reader may miss. Most prominently, it calls the readers attention to a particular transition that occurs on a particular page in the second half of the nove ...more
This was the last Heinlein book I had not read, and ironically the first one I really hated. The plot was all over the place, seemingly thrown together at random. Two of the three main characters had names that were very similar and caused confusion, and the third main character turned out to be an idiot (very rare for Heinlein). The way the female main character was treated and then capitulated to the man’s wishes was frustrating (though somewhat understandable for a book written in the forties ...more
Jun 22, 2008 Nathan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Henlein Fans, Thinkers
Recommended to Nathan by: Michael Z. Williamson
Shelves: reviewed-2008, sci-fi
I never really could get into this book. The language is (appropriately) formal, as befitting the setting Heinlein set up which is one reason. Another is that the plot doesn't necessarily progress nearly as fast as the political commentary.

I agree with much of it, but it's more commentary than story.

The ending isn't that satisfying either, although it does follow from the overall story and makes good sense.

You've got to think to read this one.
Small Creek
I'm not really sure why I don't like this. Maybe it's because, once again, I've moved beyond early sci-fi or maybe something about this screamed stereotypes. If I had read Heinlein before all that Asimov, I may be tempted to say that Asimov was reworking the formula but as things are, I'm not.

Maybe I'll read it again with a clear mind some day when the urge for silliness in space and moral introspection takes hold.

Or maybe not.
This is not one of my favorite of Heinlein's works. I didn't realize I had already read it until I started in on it again, because the story is not very memorable. The story serves as a skeleton with which to convey some of Heinlein's Utopian ideals. Don't get me wrong, Heinlein's Utopian ideals are fascinating, but there was not much story here.
Disappointing. The writing is awkward and klunky. Reading Heinlein's thoughts on the ethics of eugenics from a 1948 perspective was interesting. Also, the copy I borrowed from the library had a three "plates" with great pencil drawings of random scenes from the book.
Matteo Pellegrini

L'antichissima aspirazione umana di creare una razza perfetta ritorna in questo romanzo biologico di Robert Heinlein, uno scrittore che ha sempre avuto un debole per le utopie basate però su ingegnose estrapolazioni scientifiche. Qui, in questa Terra del lontano futuro in cui tutti o quasi i problemi della sopravvivenza e della convivenza sono stati risolti, la blanda burocrazia che governa gli uomini si preoccupa non tanto di progettare dei semidei, quanto di selezionare e riprodurre certi cara

Alastair Hudson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I read this book because David Brin highly recommended it on his blog. And for a book written in 1942, it had some very interesting ideas. The long perspective and optimism of science was fun, and it was very interesting to read an SF novel written (barely) before WWII. And there were some occasional phrases that were used that I was shocked by. It's always nice to get a reminder of how much things have changed in a good way.

But because it was written in 1942 (when SF was very young), the plot s
This book took me AGES to read, and I usually finish books in a day. It's interesting but slow, and doesn't really have an ending.
Hamilton Felix lives in the world where genetic selection and manipulation is routine.

This is not my favorite Heinlein novel. Original copyrights stem from 1942 and 1948.

At times the master is long-winded and waxes on the philosophical. Like many Heinlein novels, the story exists in an idealized society after great social upheaval. To me it seems less coherent than his other novels. I detect several different sub stories that don't seem well concluded. It doesn't fit into his "Future History"
Max Beliy
This is not Heinlein's best book. Characters are cardboard, scenes are naive, plot is flat. However it has the thing I like about Heinlein most - deep themes which makes you think in philosophical terms
The perfect society where people do not enjoy it as much as one would think
Quest for perfection
The conflicts which can arise from engineering people
Personal responsibility

All those things are not very well developed but they are there. And it was one of the most influential books I r
James Oden
One of the things I find endearing about Heinlein's prose is how the diction of the characters (and I suppose his own) reminds me so much of the way people used to talk in the old movies (1950's or below). This is no wonder since he was born in the early 20th century. It in no way helps or hinders the story line or characterization but it does perhaps date the writing and for me has a certain nostalgic effect due to watching many older movies from this period as a child.

The story itself is inter
Tim Williams
Good but very dated. I think the people who pan this title aren't quite as savvy as they think they are. Does one diss Jules Verne because his books did not hold up to later scientific fact? Of course not. This book was published in 1942, for pete's sake! Why are people jumping all over the genetics in it? Let's put things in context - the world was at war (WW II), the Nazis were trying to create a master-race, and in general there was a huge struggle going on between totalitarianism and democra ...more
I have a profound respect for Robert A. Heinlein's works, so it's a bit of a disappointment when I say that "Beyond This Horizon" is not one of his better works. Reason being is that while the story focuses on an alternate universe where genetic imperfections are absent and genetic manipulation is a prime factor, the way it plays out is very haphazard at best. The ideas presented, especially in the first half or so of the book, are very well plotted and even bear some significant ideals to ponde ...more
Joseph Newberry
I was disappointed. I love Heinlein's work, but this story was not as good as what would come later. There were potentially three or four strong concepts to build a story on (like most men being armed and living by a gentleman's code of honor), but nothing was ever fleshed out beyond two or three vignettes. The bulk of the story felt like a 1940s textbook on gene manipulation. It's a science fiction book, so science explanations are to be expected, but sometimes it felt overdone and I just wante ...more
Kat  Hooper
Originally published at FanLit.

Hamilton Felix is a genetic superman, carefully crafted from the best chromosomes his ancestors had to offer. He lives in a world where most people live long easy lives untroubled by disease, poverty, and tooth decay. It’s boring. Until Felix accidentally infiltrates a revolutionary group of elitists who want to take over the world and run things their way.

As boring as Hamilton Felix’s life is, this book about him is even mor
One can always count on Heinlein to have something interesting to say. One may not always agree with what he says, but the chances are good that it'll at least make you think about the issue in a new way. In Beyond this Horizon, for example, RAH tackles the problem of how modern medicine and natural selection interact. In our present society, natural selection has just about been stopped. People with poor eyesight, unsound teeth, congenital heart problems, tendencies toward diabetes, all sorts o ...more
Beyond this Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein was written ten years after Huxley’s Brave New World and the influence from this genetic and sociological masterpiece is evident. Also noteworthy is that the book was published during WWII and this may comprise Heinlein’s response to Hitler’s Nietzschian policies, especially ideas about elitist racism and possible supermen. Cannot help wonder if Woody Allen thought of this book while producing Sleeper as at least a couple of scenes reminded me of the 197 ...more
This was my first Robert Heinlein novel. I have read and heard so many great things about this author, and knowing this was not his "critically acclaimed" best, I wanted to start with an earlier novel of his. Needless to say, not a page turner...

I did take the advice of one of our reviewers and read the essay that explained the "transition", which helped a great deal in hindsight. I still felt the setting, plot, characters, climax (was there one?) and conclusion were disjointed. Heinlein provid
Well, I originally had this as a 3-star, but after reading it [again?] I felt I could only rate it a 2-star and it makes me wonder if I had this book confused with another book. It was an interesting book, I guess, but felt like it took a long time to read. A lot of scientific explanation in it [which is par for the course]. Perhaps more than was necessary. It was his 1st published novel [but his second story, his 1st published posthumously]; it was published in the 1940s, so perhaps this explai ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Time and Again
  • Trader to the Stars
  • Islands in the Sky
  • Earth Is Room Enough
  • The Weapon Shops of Isher
  • Sinister Barrier
  • The Singers of Time
  • The Legion of Space
  • Galactic Empires 2
  • Man-Kzin Wars 5 (Man-Kzin Wars, #5)
  • Venus Plus X
  • Starburst
  • The Syndic
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...
Stranger in a Strange Land Starship Troopers The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Time Enough for Love The Puppet Masters

Share This Book

“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” 183 likes
“Nothing gives life more zest that running for your life.” 9 likes
More quotes…