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Farmer in the Sky (Heinlein Juveniles #4)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  6,975 Ratings  ·  193 Reviews
Bill knew his destiny lay in the stars, but how was he to get there?
George Lerner was shipping out for Ganymede to join the fledgling colony, and Bill wanted to go along. But his father would not hear of it -- far too dangerous a mission!
Bill finally talked his way aboard the colony ship Mayflower -- and discovered his father was right!
Paperback, 221 pages
Published 1972 by Dell Publishing Company 251850 (first published January 1st 1950)
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Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the books that made me love space and take another, hard look at the world around me. I can't think of a better one for kids, pre & early teens. Of course, it's great for an older crowd too, but early exposure is best. As a kid, I never liked learning just for its own sake, but you can't help learning something about rockets, celestial mechanics, & ecology as Bill, a young Eagle Scout, immigrates to Ganymede to start a new life as a farmer.

Bill is pretty cool, but far fr
Lubinka Dimitrova
I love me some good old classic science fiction... This book was just wonderful, short and sweet, and the only thing that saddened me was the fact that it reminded me of Andy Weir's Martian, when it should have been the other way around. The first step into my Hugo Awards odyssey was quite promising, can't wait for what's to come next :)
Jared Millet
"Well gosh, Pop, wasn't that about the hokiest book you ever did read?"

"Why, yes indeedy, son. Even with them newfangled rocket ships n' all."

A few months ago I wrote in my review of Little Fuzzy that the far-future characters seemed mired in the culture and mores of the 1950's. I take it back. Compared to Farmer in the Sky, Piper's work was visionary. In Farmer we have microwave ovens, easy space travel, and mass-to-energy conversion technology, but we also have a teenager who plays accordion a
Doug Turnbull
Jul 29, 2012 Doug Turnbull rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Farmer in the Sky was first published in a condensed serial format by Boy’s Life Magazine under the title of Satellite Scout. The copyright of this series is 1950. The full length novel I am reviewing was actually published in 1953 by Charles Scribner’s Sons at a price of $3.31. It was well received by critics at the time, and rightly so. The novel was awarded a Retro Hugo award in 2001.

Set at an unspecified time in the future, the overcrowded Earth is establishing colonies throughout the solar
I got this book the first time out of a box of books a teacher brought in to class--which, given the school, would've been when I was fifteen.

Frankly, my interest in the 'adventures' was minimal at best. I was drawn from the start by the science--the descriptions of what I didn't know at the time was called terraforming. The social stuff frankly repulsed me, though I was interested in the idea of a blended family, then somewhat new to me.

One point: There's a sort of sneak introduction of a subth
"Farmer in the Sky" is a Heinlein juvenile (today we'd call it Young Adult science fiction) about a plucky boy who joins the colonization effort on Ganymede to escape Earth's overcrowding, food rationing, and the memory of his recently deceased mother.

I'm sure lots of boys who read this in the fifties and sixties got hooked on SF (and possibly signed up for the Boy Scouts). For the present, I think this would be a good book to recommend to a young reader who's maybe not quite ready yet for some
Mar 10, 2013 Cherie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who loves science fiction
Shelves: heinlein
I have not changed my opinion of the story, after all of these years. I still really liked it! It never really mattered to me if it was scientifically correct or not. What are important are the characters and they are wonderful. This is a great story to dream about, even now, 50 years later.
Hard work and opportunity. What could be better? This is a story of a young man and his family who go to one of the moons of Jupiter to be farmers. To have their own land, to raise their own food and make som
Apr 25, 2015 Xabi1990 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
De la época de post-adolescente en la cual, en papel, me leí casi todo lo de Heinlein se me había escapado este título.

En aquella época lejana posiblemente le hubiese puesto un sobresaliente. Hoy, un 7/10, sobre todo porque aún se ve al MAESTRO de la narración y al que conseguía despertar en el lector ese “sentido de la maravilla”, ese asombro antes mundos y situaciones dominadas a puro golpe de fuerza de voluntad, conocimientos e ingenio.

Otro de sus libros en el que el protagonista es un adoles
Jul 27, 2016 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
CON UN TEMPO DE NARRACIÓN ENVIDIABLE Y UN BUEN RAMILLETE, PERO DOSIFICADO, DE ALGUNAS DE LAS TEMÁTICAS Y VIRTUDES DE SUS ‘HISTORIAS DEL FUTURO’ (la temática de la colonización, la exploración planetaria, la adaptación a otros planetas ajenos a nuestro sistema, el rumbo de una nueva
A classic in the "yesterday's vision of tomorrow" genre. Thoroughly written for adolescent boys in the 1950s. I liked it anyway. It's very much of its time: loaded with delightful period slang (I could practically hear the conversations as '50s school filmstrips) and people are planet-hopping but doing their calculations on slide rules. Heinlein's also stuck working with the information on the solar system he had at the time, which even as recently as 1950 had major gaps. (DID YOU KNOW? Until th ...more
Kat  Hooper
Jul 10, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
3.5 stars. Originally posted at FanLit.

As I mentioned in my recent review of The Number of the Beast, I used to be a fan of Robert A. Heinlein’s “Juveniles” when I was a kid. I give Heinlein much of the credit for turning me into a speculative fiction lover at a young age, so I was really disappointed that The Number of the Beast was so dreadful. To cleanse my palate, and to restore my trust in a man who was such an influence on me, I decided to read Farmer in the Sky, a Heinlein Juvenile which
Julie Davis
I have always enjoyed Heinlein’s tales for juveniles more than his other writing. Having been told many times that I should read this book, I jumped at the chance to review the audiobook for SFFaudio. Bill is an Eagle Scout which comes in handy more than once and which reminds listeners of the original audience. In some ways this is like listening to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder as Bill details homesteading on Ganymede. Heinlein does a good job of transferring standard pioneer ...more
Feb 03, 2012 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have often attributed my love of reading to my parents on two counts: 1) They were always reading themselves and 2) They spent many, many hours reading to us kids before we were able to read on our own and continued the tradition even after we learned to read. So I had asked my father to read this to me at a rather young age. I remember to this day that there was some discussion of weight limits aboard the spaceship and thinking that this must be for older kids who knew about stuff like that. ...more
Apr 09, 2008 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is one of Heinlein's "juveniles" but still enjoyable to an adult. The hero is a boy/young man named Bill who emigrates to a fledgling colony on Ganymede along with his dad, and new step -mother and -sister.

I'm not sure how realistic the science here is, but it isn't over-the-top. It definitely works for the story.

The major appeal is the development of Bill and co. into successful colonists and survivors, and the way they meet and overcome these challenges.

It reads quickly and well. The na
Jaq Greenspon
In my ongoing quest to read all the Heinlein juveniles I’ve neglected, here’s the latest. Farmer in the Sky is the tale of Bill, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout who decides to emigrate to Ganymede. Now, it’s not quite that simple, it never really is, is it, and there are a number of obstacles and interruptions as Bill and family (dad, step mom and step sister) try to adjust to what is basically a frontier lifestyle on one of the moons of an outer planet.

It’s not a bad book, but certainly not one of my
Jennifer Lavoie
I really enjoyed this book. It was offered as a choice for my students to read for science class, and since I know Heinlein is a classic scifi author, I chose that one for them to read. I'm really glad I did because I found it an engaging, wonderful read!

It's fascinating to think what life would be like were humans to colonize other planets. The way Heinlein wrote, it certainly seemed possible. It's so hard to imagine he only dreamed of these things and that they didn't already exist. I thought
Science fiction written in 1950, this is an imagining of life on Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon. In 1950 they could see Ganymede with a telescope and understood what spaceflight would be like, but it was still years before Sputnik. Yet they understood what spaceflight would entail given the distances, realistic G forces and time. Heinlein imagines ships that can fly in air shuttling people to and from interplanetary ships that only go in vacuum. What makes this interesting to read in 2013 is t ...more
Felix Zilich
Jun 24, 2013 Felix Zilich rated it really liked it
Shelves: aliens-among-us
В 1947 году фантаст Роберт Хайнлайн, известный всем любителям жанра по многочисленным рассказам из цикла “История будущего”, написал наконец свой первый большой роман - “Ракетный корабль “Галилео”. Про трёх юных инженеров-ракетчиков, которые принимают участие в подготовке первого полёта на Луну. Но редактор отказался печатать рукопись, сказав, что писатель уж слишком замечтался, а Луна – это явный перебор.

Неожиданная поддержка пришла к Хайнлайну со стороны издательства Scribner, которое согласи
Dan Keating
The first thing that you should know about Robert Heinlein's "Farmer in the Sky" is that it was written on commission from the Boy Scouts of America - they commissioned him to write a story about establishing a Boy Scout troop in space. Between that and the publication date in the 1950s, you can pretty much get your expectations straight - the book has a definitely sanitized feel and at times feels like it takes its diction directly out of an episode of Leave it to Beaver, and people who aren't ...more
Feb 14, 2015 R.G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was thinking about this book and how it was a lot different than his normal sort when it turns out it’s part of his Juvenile collection… which it fits perfectly because it is the story of a young boy growing up… and while it sounded boring to me when I reading about it, it turned out to be rather interesting… it’s not action packed and being for a younger crowd there’s no romance in it… but Heinlein really looks into what it would be like to be some of the first people arriving on a world that ...more
May 16, 2014 Erik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hugo
I went in biased against this book. Firstly, it's another Heinlein. Another one. C'mon, WorldCon voters of 2001, you know that Heinlein won four Hugos in his lifetime; does he really need a retro Hugo, too? And it beat The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is just ludicrous. And the title Farmer in the Sky is incredibly inane. And it was written as Boy Scout propaganda.

And then... the book was great. Really great. Fantastic. I loved it. It's just the kind of sf I like: science, adventure,
Beth Robinson
I can see why the story would have inspired the imagination of many at the time, but found it only okay for myself in this time. The subject was interesting and I did like how Heinlein used what we know of America's history with settlers with how it might work when you're going someplace completely unsuited. And how there was always the question of should we go back. The science was told naturally as part of the story.

It also definitely showed certain expectations from the time it was written.
A good novel following a boy who leaves an over populated Earth to become a farmer on Ganymede. This is definitely a YA sci-fi novel. It was originally serialized in Boy's Life magazine, a scouts magazine. And I assume boys would have loved this in the 50s. An action scene near the end feels a little out of place but overall it's a fine book.
Jul 26, 2016 Daphne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-audio, wobble
The writing isn't groundbreaking, inspiring, or even impressive, but the story itself was super interesting.
Mar 31, 2011 Darth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heinlein
I love Heinlein, but I was luke warm on the whole science fiction meets Little House on the Prairie, with a late half formed contact with ancient alien technology thrown in as an after thought.
The inclusion of the cavern / crystals / alien walker may have been meant to titilate, but it felt more like the author was even bored himself, and wanted to add something to keep readers interested.

If it was aimed at younger readers, then it may have struck more home with them, but I was left thinking wha
Apr 14, 2013 Tish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this for my son who was looking for some science fiction to read and who is a Boy Scout working toward Eagle (the main character is an Eagle Scout). I thought it was informative, although, honestly, I'm not sure just how much of the science was real and how much was fiction. It was interesting to read Heinlein's view of the future from 1950. Some things he predicted amazingly well, others not at all. What was lacking to me was that the plot itself was not that interesting, not bad, just a ...more
Preston Stell
Aug 17, 2016 Preston Stell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The teenager was an interesting character that Heinlein was able to bring depth to. The scenario was fantastic, trying to make a planet a livable location and the importance of farming in doing that. Interstellar highlighted some of this, showing how important "farming" actually is for the survival of a people. As much as I love my religion, I do not think it is the essential. Heinlein does little to capture religion, although there is an extended session about the necessity that war will have o ...more
This book deserves about three and one half stars I guess. Like the other Heinlein juvenile books, it is short and doesn't go into much detail for events. The shortness isn't much of a shortcoming, but the lack of detail is. This book, despite having several major events happen, felt like nothing eventful happened because barely any detail was put into those major events. The events were interesting, but they didn't seem to really have any impact on the story. Even the death of a character, who ...more
Kristen Lindsay
I found this book to not be so interesting. This book is a chapter book for older students to discuss science concepts to students, such as astronomy
* Literacy, science, and social studies (e.g. Immigration) are all linked in this book, so there is an integration of subjects for students to learn.
* Introduces the genre of science fiction to older students. I acknowledge that some of my students will be interested in science friction and this book will enable children to explore the many aspects
Viktor Davion
Jun 21, 2011 Viktor Davion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-sci-fi
A classic case. I really like books about new frontier and generation ships. They are all full of pioneer romantic. This one is good example of what colonization novel should be like. Eternal values like courage, devotion, passion to discovery - there is all in this novel. Although it seems that now I become more cynical and don't like ostentatious virtues, such stories, where virtues are normal and valuable really inspire me to do something great in my life.
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0345275969 2 45 Sep 02, 2013 04:10PM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0345243757 2 30 Oct 27, 2011 12:46AM  
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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
  • Red Planet
  • Between Planets
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Starman Jones
  • The Star Beast
  • Tunnel in the Sky
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