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Have Space Suit—Will Travel

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  28,127 ratings  ·  966 reviews
Kip from midwest Centerville USA works the summer before college as a pharmacy soda jerk, and wins an authentic stripped-down spacesuit in a soap contest. He answers a distress radio call from Peewee, scrawny rag doll-clutching genius aged 11. With the comforting cop Mother Thing, three-eyed tripod Wormfaces kidnap them to the Moon and Pluto.
Paperback, 276 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Pocket Books (first published September 1st 1958)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  28,127 ratings  ·  966 reviews

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Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Robert A. Heinlein work read and still one of my favorites.

Heinlein produced his juvenile books for Charles Scribner's Sons mainly in the 1950s and these were what many consider to be some of his finest work. I’ve always thought that the period between 1957 and 1966 was his zenith, with good work before and after, but during this time was when he was at the height of his considerable powers.

Have Space Suit Will Travel was first published by Scribner's in 1958 and so was a part of this h
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-shelf, sci-fi

Originally a serial, then published in '58, this well-beloved SF has been in the hearts and minds of many YA and adult readers pretty consistently since it came out. It's a toss-up whether people love it more for the good-science lodged right in rip-roaring adventure tale that includes being a space pirate or running on the moon in a space-suit of your own construction from bug-eyed-monsters (BEMs) or whether it's just because there's a delightfully well-written story with equally deli
PUBLISHER: R.H., we just got done reading your new book, and I have to say, bravo. This is your best one yet! The young boys of 1958 are going to love it. Heck, I love it. The whole setup was so clever, with the boy entering a jingle-writing contest for soap to win a trip to the moon? My wife really got a kick out of that -- i told her about it when she was washing dishes last night and she couldn't stop laughing! She sure does love soap commercials.

And having the boy win a spacesuit instead of
mark monday

How To Build Have Space Suit - Will Travel:

* Assume that a teenage boy can be smart, motivated, and understand everything from mechanical engineering to calculating the radioactive half-life in various elements, while being occasionally prone to losing his temper. *

* Assume that a pre-teen girl can be an amazing genius who is quick-witted, brave to a fault, eager to save lives, all while still carrying around a raggedy doll and occasionally have a secret
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sooooo ... I've read my first Heinlein (actually, I've listened to it but whatever).
Influenced by many people with many different tastes and what they had to say about Mr. Heinlein, I was VERY reluctant. But I thought that most of the negative sides I had heard about of this author couldn't possibly be included in one of his books for juveniles so I joined the group read.

And wouldn't you know? No sexism in this one. There are two kids (a boy and a girl) and they go on an adventure. Quite a clas
Feb 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Sometimes you find a book at exactly the right point in your life. I was fortunate enough to read Have Space Suit - Will Travel when I was a geeky 12 year old boy, and I loved it. If YOU'RE a geeky 12 year old boy, there's a fair chance you'll love it too! He enters this cut-out-the-coupon-and-complete-the-slogan competition (a lot of description of how he intelligently maximizes his chances) and wins an old ex-NASA space suit. He fixes it up, and there are some great passages showing how much f ...more
Manuel Antão
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Non-Hubris SF: "Have Space Suit-Will Travel" by Robert A. Heinlein

I feel like there is a weird bias when analyzing Heinlein’s work and this book in particular.

I never really got that the Competent Man in Heinlein books was presented as the norm. It was always the protagonist or the protagonist's mentor, characters who can be expected to be exceptional in some way. There were always people beyond reclamation, but Jubal and Lazarus alway
Jan 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, favorites, ya
This book stands out among Heinlein's juveniles - arguably the best of the batch.

But it's more than just a great book. It's also a defining moment in an entire movement in SF towards realistic science. This doesn't mean that the characterization or plot needs to take on secondary or incidental importance. It just means that all efforts must be taken to ensure that the science works.

So, it's the exact opposite type of novel from what A.E. van Vogt was writing. In his works (somewhat common for th
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
I am usually reluctant to read “juveniles”, or YA books because I am too cynical to fully appreciate them and they make me feel old as the hills. Still, the whole point of “usually” is that you do it some time to disqualify it from “almost never”.

Have Space Suit—Will Travel is probably the most popular of the Heinlein’s Juveniles series—if Goodreads’ Robert A. Heinlein profile page is to be believed. The last Heinlein book I read was Starship Troopers, which surprisingly turned out to be a fr
Oleksandr Zholud
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic juvenile SF by the master, Robert A. Heinlein. the book was nominated for Hugo Award in 1959. I read as a part of the Monthly reads for December 2019 in Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels group. It is actually a re-read for me, I first read a Russian translation over two decades ago.

This is pure juvenile Heinlein, smooth simple prose, naïve but brave and persistent heroes, who get out of danger with their wits, not their fists. Just read the starting paragraphs:

You see, I had th
May 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, 2007
A librarian friend of mine suggested this as my introduction to Heinlein and I was not disappointed. Apart from the delicious technical details of making a spacesuit work; faster than light travels to Pluto, to the Magellanic Cloud, and beyond; the horrors of being held hostage by an alien race that views other sentient beings as animals; another alien race with indefinable, changeable physical form and the ability to convey the kind of warmth, peace and comfort of being mothered feels like; thi ...more
David Sarkies
May 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi Fans
Recommended to David by: I found it in a book shop
Shelves: sci-fi
Is technological advancement social advancement?
4 May 2014

I must say that when I read the first few pages of this book it had me in hysterics, particularly with the way Kip's father did his tax returns (by working it out in his head, then throwing a heap of money into an envelope and posting it off). Heinlein, in opening this story, created a rather eccentric family living in Centreville in what is known as small town USA. However, when I say eccentric, it is because Kip's father used to be a t
The Captain
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there mateys!  Not so long ago I read Heinlein's stranger in a strange land.  It was me first "adult" Heinlein novel and it made me rant and get grumpy.  I wasn't sure I ever wanted to read a Heinlein again.  But back in the day, I had read his "juveniles" and had fuzzy memories of loving them.  Part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends, so when I needed another audiobook I decided take a second look at this previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, ...more
G.R. Reader
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this when I was seven and wanted to be Peewee so bad! But then I discovered Sophocles and decided I wanted to be Antigone instead. Looking back on it, I think Mom was happier with my Peewee phase.
I decided I needed to break it into two parts - one, the story itself and two, Heinlein’s tirade against society.

Have Space Suit Will Travel is set in the 1950's and is one of his juvenile pieces of literature. Kip Russell dreams of going to the stars, and when Skyway Soap has a contest for best lingo with the prize being a trip to the Moon, Kip collects and submits 5000 entries. He doesn’t win the trip to the moon, but a space suit instead. If he returns the space suit to Goodyear by September
It's a corker. One of those juvenile books that adults will enjoy too and it would make a splendid movie. Theoretically there is one in the pipelines, but nothing's been heard of it for some years.

Have Space Suit has no weak points. Entertaining (some great one-liners), the science sounds plausible - not saying it is, I wouldn't know - but one could imagine a young boy reading this and being inspired. I hope that last sentence is wrong and that girls read this too. The narrator is a teenage boy
May 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first science fiction novel that I recall reading, and fifty years later I still remember it fondly. Kip gets a space suit (much like Charlie gets the golden ticket to the chocolate factory), and embarks on a wonderful interstellar adventure. Heinlein, in his prime, was the best ever.

I've just listened to the audiobook version of the novel, which is a full-cast dramatization rather than a single reader. I rather enjoyed it; the young lady reading Peewee was most expressive, and the s
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Having read a good handful of the books in this collection, much of the story elements in this story was familiar to me, but that in itself is not a bad thing - after all, I chose this author for a reason!

This particular story shows some of Heinlein's actual scientific knowledge, and presents an interesting story between aliens (several races) and humans. Heck, with some adaptation, this could easily be a Star Trek episode, or story arc.

A solid Heinlein read at 4 stars.
Graeme Rodaughan
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Alien Scandal: Teen kidnapped by Rogue Abductors! "Well, Frack! Good thing I'd prepared my Space Suit for all these adventures!"

Heinlein demonstrates mastery with writing stories for adolescents.
Henry Avila
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Clifford "Kip" Russell, a teenager ,wants to go to the Moon.Set in the future, when Lunar bases have been established(this is a science fiction book). Centerville High Schooler, part time soda jerk, from a poor family, enters a soap company contest,literally sending thousands of slogans.First prize for best entry, is a trip to Luna .Mildly disappointed winning the second prize , an old Space Suit.His eccentric father DR. Russell, lets his son do anything he wishes ,as long as it doesn't cost the ...more
Estevam (Impish Reviews)
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a nice book to begin 2020, this book follow a boy named Kip and he wants to go to the moon, he gets his hand on a space suit through a contest made by a soap company and end up giving it the name of Oscar, when going for a walk on the suit he end up answering a distress call from a girl named Peewee, that is running away from aliens and from that encounter he goes on an adventure ,that might prove to be more than just having his dream realized a bit sooner, trying to survive against a race ...more
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all readers of SF, adventure and juvenille fiction
Wow! Almost anything I read too soon after this will probably sound bad! This was my first Full Cast Audio, and I must say that the performances of the entire cast was so superb, I wouldn't have been able to imagine the characters any better had I read it. That Peewee character, especially, was just too cute. Even some of the bad guys were so comically well done that it makes me feel bad calling them bad guys! ...more
fourth read - 14 March 2011 - I remember reading Have Space Suit-Will Travel from the library as a kid, and bought my own copy in 1980 in order to re-read it. I see from my notes that I read it again in 1991. I read it this time probably the fourth time in my life. There is little doubt in my mind that it was books such as this one that led me to pursue the career I have, now in biomedical engineering. Heinlein even calls out specific engineering schools for praise - the one I went to actually s ...more
Sep 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinlein fans, Precocious 10-year-olds, Boys who want to be spacemen when they grow up
One of Heinlein's early juveniles, this one has all the elements seen throughout his juvenile series: a plucky boy hero who's always wanted to go to space, precocious girl heroine (who fortunately is too young to be mooning over boys), Father Knows Best who turns out to be a hidden genius and former Very Important Person in the government, and interesting 50ish aliens.

The thing I like about Heinlein's juveniles is that they still hold up pretty well 50 years later, if you can ignore all the refe
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this as a teenager many years ago. I was 12-13 and this was truly magical.

I wandered around in my yard at home, looking up at the stars.

It's still one of my favourite from Heinlein, the man who taught me to read voraciously.
Maggie K
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sffbc-2021-tbr
Maybe I am just too tired these days, but I can't think of a better word for this book than 'cute', but 'cute' also has so many inferences to it that I am bothered to use
We have a teenager who is (unknowingly) a super-genius that is obsessed with space travel, who goes to great lengths to win a retired space suit. Being retired, the space suit isnt in the best shape, so he learns all he can about space suits and repairs it to be usable, and then super-modifies it for all sorts of purpo
Deborah Ideiosepius
This is an old favourite of a book; I have been re-reading it for decades and yet I always find something fresh and enjoyable about it. One of Heinlein's earlier novels it was one of his 'juvenile' works, intended for younger readers . It won an award and was also a Hugo award nominee.

I think it is brilliant! We start with 'Kip' a teenager in some American town which reads like the 50's (when it was written) but is actually the 'near future' when man have colonised the moon. Kip conceives a desp
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I thought I had read this about 45 years ago but apparently I forgot the plot. An intriguing story of a teenager who wins a stripped down space suit, restores it and whilst trying it out in a field gets a mayday call! And thus the adventure begins across our solar system and beyond. A good story.
There's considerable charm in the opening of this book, and it's likely to entertain kids and adults as the story follows small-town boy Kip on his quest to reach the moon. Kip has little money, few connections, and the odds seem against him, but his methodical determination sees him entering competitions, and then repairing a decommissioned space suit. This section of HSS-WT is, I think, the best part of the story. Who can't connect with the idea of having big dreams and scant chance to fulfil ...more
3.5 out of 5

Have Space Suit - Will Travel is an entertaining, humorous, and optimistic young adult science fiction adventure grounded in a satisfying combination of imagination, believable science, and some interesting social commentary. Liked the characters and loved the scientific explanation and the fact that they occupy such a central role in the story!
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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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