Beyond This Horizon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Beyond This Horizon

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,538 ratings  ·  74 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 chose

...more
Paperback, Signet T4211, 0 pages
Published November 1st 1970 by Roc (first published January 1st 1942)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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
Manny
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...more
Tom
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...more
Jeff Yoak
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Collin
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....more
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...more
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
Kim
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
Nathan
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.
Lafcadio
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.
Willy James
Robert Heinlein was way ahead of his time in the subject matter of this novella. The story started out really good but then got unfocused and jumbled in the second half of the book. When starting I thought I had found another lost classic but instead found jus another book.
meliss
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

...more
Anita
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.
Batya7
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"...more
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...more
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
Rose
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.
http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

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...more
Jesse
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
Lyn
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
Mike
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...more
Neil
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
Jesse
Another one down in my mission to become a Heinlein fantic.

As always, Heinlein incorporates his political outlook. This is always interesting and typically intriguing, however, in this story he often came off misogynistic. I'm usually pretty good at taking stories in the time frame that they were written and to the appropriate audience and so on, but this bordered on the ridiculous.

As with many of the other stories that I've read from his early years, the magazine series tone overshadows the p...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is one of Heinlein's first novels, published as a book in 1948, it would be his second novel, and actually it first appeared in serialized form in 1942. So I'd agree he's not at the top of his form here, although it's interesting to see themes and tropes here that would later come to flower in his later novels. (Among other things this is the first appearance of that Heinlein aphorism, "An armed society is a polite society.") There are echoes here too, of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, pu...more
Cherie
I am sure that I have read this book before. Probably many years ago. I am also sure that I did not like it any better this time, than I did before. I may have understood a little more of the language, but the story did not make a whole lot more sense to me.

The story is about a very scientifically advanced society on earth. People only work if they want to. Food is free and available to all. Children are created genetically based on their genes and traits that are deamed good or for the best. T...more
Bill Wellham
Considering it's date of publication (1948), this book asks some very interesting questions about human genetic engineering; actually going into quite a bit of depth along the bio science, although I think some of the terms may be out of date or just plain innacurate. It heads into the dangerous world of eugenics (with similarities to wartime nazi ethnic and human ideology (but in no way supporting it, of course). It envisions an American future society of hand gun custom and diplomacy; seemingl...more
Lis Carey
Feb 20, 2011 Lis Carey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: readers who love classic sf
Okay, this one isn't new, and this isn't the first time I've read it. Some of the science in it was invalidated the year after it was first published, and social credit isn't a widely credited economic theory these days. I have severe doubts about the theory that "An armed society is a polite society"; it doesn't seem to be borne out by the experience of other societies where going armed and engaging in duels over perceived slights and offenses was the norm. It's still a charming and entertainin...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 »
  • Trader to the Stars
  • Islands in the Sky
  • Time and Again
  • The Weapon Shops of Isher
  • Earth Is Room Enough
  • Wasp
  • The Crossroads of Time
  • The Gateway Trip (Heechee Saga, #5)
  • Showboat World
  • All My Sins Remembered
  • Needle (Needle, #1)
  • The Seedling Stars
205
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...
Stranger in a Strange Land Starship Troopers The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Time Enough for Love (The World As Myth) 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.” 152 likes
“Nothing gives life more zest that running for your life.” 7 likes
More quotes…