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Space Cadet (Heinlein Juveniles #2)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,221 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
This is the seminal novel of a young man's education as a member of an elite, paternalistic non-military organization of leaders dedicated to preserving human civilization, the Solar Patrol, a provocative parallel to Heinlein's famous later novel, Starship Troopers (which is about the military).
Only the best and brightest--the strongest and the most courageous--ever manage
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 1948)
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Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonDune by Frank HerbertLeviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
Excellent Space Opera
44th out of 371 books — 2,029 voters
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. HeinleinStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinTime Enough for Love by Robert A. HeinleinHave Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein
Your Favorite Heinlein Novel
24th out of 42 books — 239 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jul 28, 2015 Evgeny rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
In the fairly distant future a teen named Matt Dodson applied for an organization called Space Patrol - the future versions of knights in shining armor that uphold peace and justice through the known space.
knight in shining armor
The competition is fierce and only the best and the brightest get in; even the cadets are not guaranteed to get promoted to an officer rank.

We are talking early Heinlien's juveniles here, so I do not think I give a big spoiler when I say that not only Matt succeeded, but he also managed to s
Jun 11, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it
As Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein begins, a candidate for a space program takes a phone out of his bag and calls his father. Modern readers may pass by this communication with little notice, but describing a cell phone in 1948, the year this was first published, was at the time the height of science fiction.

The second published of his Scribner’s juvenile works, this very early Heinlein displays his talent for telling a good, hard science fiction story. One cannot read this without noticing a
4.0 stars.

At first perusal, Robert Heinlein’s Space Cadet seems a strange novel. But, upon reflection . . .

October 29, 1929:
The United States Stock Market undergoes its final “crash.” Only a few months prior, a hopeful, young man, Robert A. Heinlein, 22-years-old, graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in Naval Engineering.

August 1934:
Five years later, in the midst of the Great Depression, Lieutenant Heinlein, 27-years-old, still a young man, spends weeks in a hospital—then to be di
Mar 02, 2012 Manny rated it liked it
Young Matt Dodson, an all-American 18-year-old from Iowa, joins the Space Academy. Their key task is to ensure world peace by dropping nuclear weapons on anyone who tries to do anything bad.

I know what you're going to say. But many of Matt's classmates come from outside the US! Not only that, they even have a sign up on the wall saying Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

So that's alright then.
Mar 05, 2008 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially gifted pre-teens
Another of Heinlein's classic juveniles, this book chronicles the adventures of a young man training to become a "Space Cadet" of the Space Patrol, a world wide force keeping peace in the solar system. from arrival at the training facility forward, Heinlein presents many sophisticated ideas while never talking down to his readers. Concepts like world government, a solution to the threat of nuclear war, as well as prognostications of technology such as cell phones. Not the only author to do so bu ...more
Books written about the future inevitably at some point become alternate histories. First published in 1948, "Space Cadet" builds a post-2100 solar system where Venus is not only habitable, but inhabited, where Mars and Ganymede are colonisable, and spaceships are rocket-shaped and can take a couple of years to travel between planets.

Military academy stories share many of the same beats and cadences of boarding school and wizard school stories: newcomer arrives at school, gains an antagonist, bu
Nikola S. Pavlovic
Apr 28, 2016 Nikola S. Pavlovic rated it it was amazing
Knjiga je napisana 1948. i prevedena u Srbiji 1952. SVAKA CAST!
Sto se samog dela tice mislim da je sjajno za osobe koje su u srednjoj skoli, ali ni ostali ne bi trebalo da se libe da ga procitaju. Prva polovina knjige podseca na Enderovu igru (Orson Skot Kard). Naucice vas pomalo o moralu i etici, sta je to tezak rad i kako on dovodi do uspeha. A u drugoj polovini videcete kako i zasto treba postovati razlicitosti. Sobzirom da je pisana 1948. odusevljavaju i pisceve zamisli kako bi tehnologija u
Walter Underwood
Apr 03, 2011 Walter Underwood rated it really liked it
You’d probably pass this one up because of the title, but you’d be wrong. Yes, a lot of the plot is predictable, but it there is something interesting going on besides the regular academy and coming-of-age stuff. The Space Patrol is in charge of a global deterrent, orbiting nuclear weapons. The folk on the ground are so used to peace that even talking about the bombs is impolite. Could we make a lasting peace out of Mutually Assured Destruction? What kind of guardians would we need to make that ...more
Edoardo Albert
Jun 11, 2015 Edoardo Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, it's 1977. We've landed on the moon and come home again, twiddled our thumbs, looked around and decided, er, that's it. I'd watched, in befuddled amazement, as a group of lads not much older than me had appeared on TV with Bill Grundy and swore on live TV (it's hard to believe, but I'd gone through my entire time at primary school without hearing a single four-letter word, although the first day at my secondary school was sufficient to introduce me to all the common ones). There were only th ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Thom rated it really liked it
This was the second Heinlein juvenile, published only a few years after World War II. Set 125 years in the future, after the first exploration and colonization of several planets, our solar system still provides a wonderful playground for the characters. Cell phones make an appearance, along with several other decent guesses about the future of technology.

Predating Starship Troopers and The Forever War, it tells of a group of young men going through cadet training for the Space Patrol. Humor and
S. Naomi Scott
May 04, 2015 S. Naomi Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: previously-read
This was Heinlein's third published novel and the second of his 'juvenile' books, and as far as I can remember it was the first book by Heinlein I ever read. Perhaps for that reason more than any other it is still one of my favourite Golden Age sci-fi novels.

First published in 1948, Space Cadet follows the adventures of Matt Dodson as he works his way through the training necessary to become a member of the prestigious Space Patrol. Along the way Heinlein explores a number of themes, including r
This is one of the earlier of Heinlein's works. Some of the assumptions in this book are found in many of the others. The notion of stopping wars by militarizing space was shot down first, because one of the few things all parties could agree to was that they didn't want nuclear weapons in orbit. The fear that one group or another would put them there played a major part in Cold War maneuvering, but the general result was to prevent any such union as Heinlein described from materializing.

Other a
Dec 30, 2012 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.

Space Cadet was Heinlein’s second published novel, after Rocketship Galileo (reviewed here). It is seen as the second in Heinlein’s ‘juvenile novels’ that were written for a teenage and predominantly male readership.

These days the term Space Cadet is one of the most recognised in SF. The story is now easily summarised as ‘boy leaves home, goes into space, trains as a space cadet and becomes
Mike (the Paladin)
Read it young, enjoyed it...let me see. If Johnny in Starship Troopers had been able to join the space navy instead of the infantry and if he'd gone straight into officer's training...

Well not exactly, but close. Not a war going on...but good lessons on duty. Good teen read. (by the way, the meaning of the phrase that makes up the title has changed meaning quite a bit...LOL).

This is in some ways almost a companion piece to Starship Troopers, not that they actually tie together, but it gives you
Sep 06, 2011 Pam rated it liked it
Since i'm unlikely to read any adult Heinlein-I thought I'd read one of the kid books. My husband said he read it in 3rd grade. Yeah, right. I enjoyed the book, but felt the story only really got started near the end when the cadets go to Venus and have to face real difficulties versus the problems faced in cadet training. Training and the fitness required were well thought out and described by Heinlein (only 2 years after the Bell X-1) yet I found it a little tedious. Also was not surprised, b ...more
Dan Lett
Feb 14, 2016 Dan Lett rated it it was ok
I understand that the book was meant as mild, un-challenging entertainment, probably for juvenile males, so it would be churlish to get into the usual critiques about a lack of women, colonial worldview, martial ethics, etc. etc. The main criticism I have is that the book is deadly dull. Matt is a one-dimensional do-gooder with a full complement of stereotypical cadet buddies. Heinlein takes his time guiding us through the details of the space cadet training process, offering a few neat insights ...more
Jan 08, 2015 tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
review of
Robert Heinlein's Space Cadet
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - January 7, 2015

Since I joined GoodReads in 2007 & decided to review every bk I read as a sort of intellectual exercise, I've had a rule to not let more of a backlog than 3 unreviewed bks accumulate. By the time I decided to read THIS I had that backlog of 3 & was already in the midst of reading something else. As such, I picked this as easy reading: something that wdn't drain my already endangered intellectual energ
Jan 04, 2015 Rob rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Imagination unbounded, coupled with very real possibilities. Thrilling to the very end. filled with humor, angst, and expectation. Really fun read.
Oct 27, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
The entire family enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The characters are formulaic and Heinlein, certainly, has an agenda, but I love that he assumes that kids are smart. Of course, the books is dated, which comes through. The sexism is so over-the-top that it isn’t even offensive. It is just funny. There are smart, capable women in the book, but they all happen to be Venusian.

Boys between the ages of 10-14 will love this book, and the rest fo the family will like it, too.
Mary JL
Mar 30, 2009 Mary JL rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any science fiction fan
Shelves: main-sf-fantasy
This is another of Heinlein's strong juveniles. Heinlein attended the U S Naval Academy and the military life is often presented in his work.

It is an interesting story of the changing of a young civilian into a Patrolman. Later, in the book, there is an adventure on the planet Venus, with a peek at a fascinating Venusian culture.

Originally published in 1949, it has held up very well and still a very entertaning story. Highly recommended.
Feb 22, 2015 Aries rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks-queue

This is the seminal novel of a young man's education as a member of an elite, paternalistic non-military organization of leaders dedicated to preserving human civilization, the Solar Patrol, a provocative parallel to Heinlein's famous later novel, Starship Troopers (which is about the military).
Only the best and brightest--the strongest and the most courageous--ever manage to become Space Cadets, at the Space Academy. They are in training to be come part of the elite guard of the solar system, a

Talyseon Talyseon
Dec 29, 2010 Talyseon Talyseon rated it really liked it
This classic still holds up after 63 years because it focuses on what turns a boy into a man, and not on the trappings of space flight. While Venus may not be the swampy jungle Heinlein saw, his vision of how to deal with nukes was spot on. Also, Civil Rights, long before the Civil Rights Movement. Check out my full review.
Sonny Voyage
Apr 06, 2015 Sonny Voyage rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Before I ever picked up a Robert Heinlein novel, I read Orson Scott Card's science fiction YA series, namely Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. Card's personal politics aside (a Republican Mormon), I took these to be the epitome of well-written 'cerebral' stories that as a teenager, balanced well with the all the academic bildungsroman and the horror of Clive Barker and Dean Koontz. (yes, I'm not ashamed to say I had a literary foundation based off of Koontz novels) Only a couple years ago, while ...more
Erik Vitek
Mar 15, 2016 Erik Vitek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Space Cadet is wonderful book for Sci-Fi lovers. It is based in the future. And a boy named Matt is trying out to become part of the legendary Space Patrol. After he goes through months of rigorous training he finally gets in to the patrol. During training he finds many friends including a very uneducated Texan, who gave me good laughs. They are assigned to ships together and have great time's with each other.After a while Matt gets accustomed to the hard but exciting life a patrol man. Does he ...more
Carmen Serra
Dec 03, 2013 Carmen Serra rated it liked it
I enjoyed the stories of young men in space academy. Funny in that future people still smoked in the office and they don't talk politics to the little ladies they wouldn't understand. Lol
Douglas Owen
Mar 10, 2015 Douglas Owen rated it liked it
Not his best, but still worth reading.

Heinlein wrote this book more than 50 years ago, so of course there are Martians and people living on it in the 1990's. Keeping that in mind, the interesting part of this work is the way two teens overcome the oppression of their Headmaster and uncover a plot concerning the colony.

I found the work ended abruptly, hence the three star rating, and I wanted more out of it.

The understanding that in the 1940's, when this came out, people had a very different vis
Richard Flores IV
Nov 16, 2014 Richard Flores IV rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oddly enough this was the first time I read this book. As a science fiction fan, I find it odd that this one slipped through the cracks. There is something about reading a classic SF novel that really gets me pumped up about this genre. Heinlein is no exception to this rule. SPACE CADET is great read even if some of the science doesn't apply to today. Heinlein stands the test of time because his stories are more than just that of science, but they are ones of characters and plot. It also reminds ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Eric rated it liked it
Classic SF! You know, for 1948, the author got much of his speculation right, except for Venus.

This is one of his juvenile books where we follow the adventures of Matt Dodson, a teenager who joins the Space Academy in the hopes of joining the Solar Patrol.

Matt is a very straight laced kid who makes good friends along the way. The academy is not an easy place to learn and he is challenged continually.

I liked the book quite a lot but I found the ending bogged down and I did not enjoy it as much. W
I still love this book. I initially read it AFTER reading the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, series [introduced to me by a librarian back in my teens]. I remember being shocked that somebody imitated the Tom Corbett series with a standalone novel! Well, you can imagine my surprise to learn that the Tom Corbett series was based on Heinlein's novel and with Heinlein's blessing. It was an easy read; it was also composed of multinationals in the book [granted, they were peripheral characters]. I thought ...more
Roddy Williams

Only the best and brightest – the strongest and the most courageous – ever managed to become Space Cadets. They were the elite guard of the solar system, accepting missions others feared, taking risks no others dared, and upholding the peace of the star system for the benefit of all.

But before Matt could earn his rightful place in the ranks, his mettle would be tested in the most severe and extraordinary ways- ways that would ch
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Heinlein Juveniles (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Rocket Ship Galileo
  • Red Planet
  • 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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