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Starman Jones

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  7,675 ratings  ·  311 reviews

The stars were closed to Max Jones. To get into space you either needed connections, a membership in the Guild, or a whole lot more money than Max, the son of a widowed, poor mother, was every going to have. What Max does have going for him are his uncle’s prized astrogation manuals—book on star navigation that Max literally commits to memory word for word, equation for eq

Paperback, 252 pages
Published February 12th 1975 by Ballantine Books (first published 1953)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Astrogators in space!

One of Heinlein's earlier juvenile novels, this is one where RAH describes in great detail the machinations of the astrogators, quite a bit dated now with computers and it is amusing to imagine as he did a trio of math geniuses sitting in chairs with slide rules charting out a space ship's course, but that was part of his charm.

Some thin characterizations along with some very 1950sish language, but Heinlein was working his very peculiar magic and this is all the while a fin
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
"Everybody is equal. Everybody! That's the law."
"They are? Only from on top."

Sadly these words said by a character living in a dystopian future already ring true. Was there a time when it was not the case? But I digress.

Max Jones was a young poor farmer. His father died living him a small farm, but at least he could make a living. However when his stepmother married a local bully, Max decided that enough is enough and escaped in the middle of the night heading for the spaceport in hopes to achi
Mike (the Paladin)
I like this dated novel. A human civilization that was pictured or imagined before our present level of computer and electronic technology was even imagined. A young man "inherits" somewhat informally a set of "astrogator's" texts and then sets out to get "sponsored" to get into the Astrogator's guild", the only way to become an astrogator, someone who plots the course of starships through deep space.

One of Heinlein's so called teen novels and a good read. It dates back to 1953 and as I said is
Manuel Antão
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980, 1996
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Binary Equivalents: "Starman Jones" by Robert A. Heinlein

(Original Review, 1980-07-24)

Random rumblings on our inability to predict the future.

Pop-up display screens and visual aiming (guiding a missile by looking at the target) for fighter pilots is discussed in the recent fiction paperback "FoxFire.'' The technology for visual aiming is actually quite old. It is derived from the device (I'm not sure what it is called) used by psycholo
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2fiction, scifi, 1paper
Another typical (great!) Heinlein YA novel about a farm boy who makes good. The main characters in this book aren't angels. They break the law - bad ones mostly - for reasons they think are sufficient (I always thought so) & reap the consequences afterward, but still come out ahead.

Max is a hillbilly & has an impossible situation at home. He runs away, gets fake ID with the help of a rough, but kind stranger. He gets a job on a space ship cleaning pet cages. Menial, but honest work that he know
Jason Parent
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of Heinlein's work, and this remains one of my favorites. ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An SF Juvenile originally published 60 years ago, 1953, & it shows its age in a few places, but was still a wonderful yarn with one of my favorite characters in it, Sam. Hardly the perfect hero or role model, he was a lot of fun & showed the main character, Max, the ropes.

The age of the story was most apparent in the technology. Max has to study a computer by opening a panel & tracing circuits. Logs were pulled out of the tables in books (Anyone else remember those?), problems were mostly worked
I read a lot of Heinlein's juveniles when I was younger, but I missed this one and it was on sale from Audible, so it was nice to enjoy one of his earlier works, before he started getting old and wanky. Everything from Friday on was pretty much Heinlein getting his freak on, but his earlier novels are still sci-fi classics for good reason.

Starman Jones is your basic boys' adventure story: Max is a kid from Earth who runs away from home when his stepmother marries an abusive bum. He meets an amia
Heinlein's anachronistic elements are often recognized when dealing with technical issues. Other aspects are less obvious. I've lived in the Ozarks area (the boundaries between mountain ranges are necessarily nebulous). I was once lost in a state park. I made my way out by following excessively bright lights to a prison.

That was some years ago, but things have gotten worse everywhere. There are no longer any places that get dark at night. (Possibly with the exception of Arizona, where the astro
Lis Carey
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, f-sf, fiction
This Heinlein guy was pretty good at telling a story.

Max Jones is a young farmer, working hard to support his unlovable stepmother after his father's death, but he dreams of the life his Uncle Chet lived, as a member of the Astrogators' Guild. Chet had promised him that he'd nominate him for membership, but died while Max was still too young to join, and then Max's father, before he died also, made him promise to take care of his stepmother.

But when his stepmother remarries and she and her new h
Vfields Don't touch my happy!
While I'm tooling around the world and history of writers I tripped upon Robert Heinlein. I decided I had to read at least one, so I picked Starman Jones. I have to say during the first two chapters I almost stopped reading because I felt like I was back in high school and it just wasn't sitting well with me. Then we finally got to space I got it, I really enjoyed it.
The main character, a few extra characters and of course space were interesting. What didn't work was it feel very old. The book
Jeff Yoak
I enjoyed reading this several times on my own, but really enjoyed reading it (in small bits) with the kids in 2013. It is the second Heinlein novel I went through with them, after The Star Beast and they loved them both. Come to think of it, it has been over the time that we've been reading this that Lily first declared her intention to become an astronaut when she grows up (with the proviso that it might be too hard, and if it is, she's going to become a "smoothie girl.") Somehow that combinat ...more
Starman Jones contains too many science fiction tropes to count. I don't know how many years went by in protagonist Max's life during this course of this novel, but geez, he was wrung through every science fiction crisis there was by the end. This was written in 1953 so it was nostalgic to spend time in Heinlein's future world with luxury tourist spaceships, human astronavigators, and "advanced" computers. Some of the 1950s outdated social norms were on display as well as you would expect.

This is typical Heinlein youth fiction. Though, this isn’t the best of the youth novels; it certainly isn’t the worst. Heinlein takes a stab at the injustice of the class system. He loves his guns, the constitution, freedom, etc. My favorite part of the book is Max’s (the protagonist) obsession with his library book. Of course it is dated, but it was written in the early 50s. Usually I find Heinlein’s sexism almost endearing, but in this book, I was almost offended. I didn’t think that he really ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Heinlein Juvies. I first read it when I was about 10 years old. It launched my lifelong interest in space and rockets and wanting to be a spaceman, to get off earth and explore the galaxy. It's about a poor kid making good and becoming the Captain of a spaceship through a series of improbable events.

Whenever, I feel the need to rekindle that feeling of wonder and need to explore or advance, I re-read this book.
Bar Reads
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Omg I need a Mr. chips!
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Had this one for so many years. I always wanted to get thru Heinlein's juveniles, and am slowly getting there.
This one holds up to time as a rollicking space adventure for our main character, a poor farm boy, Max Jones, who joins on to a spaceship, run by the form of Navy, first under an assumed name, then through all mishaps and misadventures, becomes a legitimate member of the ship.
It was a quick and enjoyable read.
Carena Wood beimler
This novel is written towards boys who have not yet been twitterpated. And it's written well. As I am not the target demographic, being female and I've most definitely been twitterpated, this book doesn't follow along the natural paths I expect it to. However, it is still an amazing book. ...more
This is another Heinlein I remember favorably from my childhood. It has not stood the test of time quite as well some of his other titles. Virtually all the women have rather sexist positions. They are vapid, predatory, vicious, or good but on the stupid side. "You need the little darlings but you need to keep them in their places" pretty much sums up his attitude to a large degree in this book.All the vital characters are men.

The story itself is excellent. Max and Sam are aboard a starship by
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found that I remembered less about Starman Jones than any of Heinlein's other works than I read years ago. It's a rather standard Horatio Alger-ish story of pluck and determination and good character winning through against unfair circumstances and churlish opposition. The scientific aspects seem more dated here than in most of his other works, I'm afraid, and I didn't much care for the ending; he decides astrogators shouldn't marry, so he abandons the girl and returns to space, much as a cowb ...more
Dave Packard
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Heinlein juvenile - but I love them!
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I've been really enjoying the Heinlein juveniles, and I think this one is one of my favorites. The plot-structure is a little bit weird, at first. And it definitely frustrates expectations in some interesting ways. For example, there's a well set-up, unlikely love-story. But instead of happily-ever-after, reality intrudes and the couple break up when she goes back to her privileged home to marry her boyfriend.

Of course, I've read enough Heinlein now, that I'm starting to realize that's kind of h
Michael Campbell
This was okay, I guess. It's always kind of fun to read pre moon landing science fiction involving space travel. The quirky mechanics of space travel was really the book's only redeeming quality.

I always feel myself groan inwardly when someone writes characters from rural areas stereotypically. Yes, we get he grew up on a farm, he does not need to say things like "Well golly ma'am!" every few sentences.

Most of the characters are flat. The plot drags on, and the conclusion was pretty anticlimact
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid and enjoyable Heinlein entry. The edition I read had a foreward that talks about how this is one of Heinlein's efforts to write a science fiction Horatio Alger story. I don't think I would have seen it myself, but it's clearly there. The main character ends up having some delightfully good luck to match his wits and skill. As Heinlein points out, it's actually modeled after a real story, but that doesn't mean it's real believable ;) Just focus on the entertainment value; you won't get yo ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I thought I had read this one back when I was pulling library edition hard copies of sci-fi novels from the local branch in middle school. Happily, this was a first time read for me. I cut my sci-fi teeth on Heinlein juveniles so this was just a fun fun read.
Doug Turnbull
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Starman Jones was copyrighted in 1953 by Robert A. Heinlein and published that same year by Charles Scribner’s Sons of New York. The sixth of the Heinlein Juveniles, it is the last one to be fully illustrated by Clifford Geary.

It is also the first of his juveniles to postulate interstellar travel. All of the earlier books confined travel within the solar system. The protagonist, Maximilian Jones, or Max as he is known, comes from unspecified hill country, possibly the Ozarks, where he is living
A Critical Reader
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starman Jones is a 50s Science Fiction escapist novel. It's written directly to appeal to teenage boys of dysfunctional families who have no greater wish than to run away and be special. Max Jones, our protagonist, is just such a teenager. He runs away from home, from Earth, and becomes a seasoned space traveller.

Let's get one thing straight: Like most science fiction of its era, this book did not age well in that its science is somewhere between fluffy and dumb. There is wireless power transmis
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Reputations accrete in funny ways, and often we end up with a mental picture of a person or his work that's less than accurate. Take Robert A. Heinlein for example, the so-called dean of science fiction writers. Though Heinlein's career spanned nearly half a century, most folks today know him for the militaristic Starship Troopers, whose characters blasted not only intergalactic arachnids but Marxism as well. But theme-heavy SF doesn't compose the entirety of his oeuvre
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is one of Heinlein's "juveniles"--that is, what we now call young adult. I tend to prefer quite a few of those to his adult novels such as Stranger in a Strange Land. I wouldn't count this among his best in that category though--of which my favorite is Citizen of the Galaxy. I'd say it's only about average for Heinlein--which still means it's very good indeed. This is the coming of age tale of a boy who goes from dirt between the toes farm boy to the stars.
Yes, some aspects are dated--soci
Jun 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I just read this book, and now on Goodreads see that I read it in 1988; this is probably the 3rd or 4th time I've read it. It's a good story, good quality sf for 1953. It's funny how Heinlein made the future seem so real in his books, but he's always got one leg stuck directly in the past (or perhaps half his body). In this future of starships, the main character still grows up isolated on a farm (which is one reason I identified with the thing when I read it when I was in the 7th or 8th grad ...more
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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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