Tory Anderson's Reviews > Time for the Stars

Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein
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Jun 09, 2012

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bookshelves: science-fiction

My books of choice as a young reader and then a teen reader were science fiction. I'm not talking fantasy here. I'm not talking science fiction/fantasy mix. I am talking about good old pure science fiction where it was all about the science, or should I say the "possible" science. The characters were never very complex and the plots never very deep. But the imagination toward the future burned as bright as the sun. I would go out at night and stare up into the sky and almost bring myself to tears to experience space travel and aliens and the wonders of the universe as I read it in the books. Eventually I read all of the science fiction that the Burley Public Library had on their shelves and I moved on to other genres.

It's been thirty-five years since I have immersed myself in science fiction. Just recently I have looked up a couple of books I read as a child. One of them was "Farmer In the Sky" by Heinlein. I enjoyed reading (listening to) this book perhaps even more than I did as a child. Recently I finished reading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and was looking for something different to read. After checking out various reading lists the science fiction genre came to mind. I looked for "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" for my Kindle, but it was not available. I did come across "Time for the Stars" which was available. I purchased it, downloaded it, and was immediately hooked.

1950's Heinlein isn't for everyone, that is to be sure. Perhaps it is only for old fans like me. I may try reading it to my children and see what they think. Anyway, in the 1950's science represented the unexplored country. It was the hope of mankind. For many it may have replaced God. In this book I feel the unadulterated excitement stemming from science and the good possibilities it brings. From Heinlein I once again felt his intelligent, but happy-go-lucky, charm. The book has us seeing through a young telepathic twin's eyes. He ends up on a starship (one of the first) while his twin stays on the ground. They will be used to communicate between ship and Earth since telepathy is instantaneous and radio waves are useless at those distances. Heinlein explored the twin's relationship a little and it is interesting. But he explorers the effects of traveling at the speed of light even more and that is very interesting as the space twin ages four years to his brother's seventy years. Some may find the 50's mannerisms and culture quaint, but I found it refreshing. Relationships were slower and more vibrant then those represented today. A kiss was special. There were self-appointed chaperones on the ship helping the younger crew members stay out of trouble. A kiss was special and didn't lead immediately to sex. The ennui of today didn't yet exist. The ending has been said to be bittersweet. I found it more sweet than bitter, but it was mildly thought provoking. I enjoyed the book thoroughly and got through it far too quickly.

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