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Beyond This Horizon

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  4,390 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Essef - A story of a few people who live in a near-perfect world, three centuries past tomorrow.
Mass Market Paperback, 204 pages
Published November 1st 1985 by New English Library (first published 1948)
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3.74  · 
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 ·  4,390 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-shelf, sci-fi
It's time to prepare for the 1943 retro Hugo awards that will be presented in 2018! (Why? Why not? Some books deserve love even if they're before the Hugos even began!)

In this case, novels published in 1942 are eligible. Books like C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters are technically eligible but really shouldn't be. There's nothing much SF about the religious satire.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed Olaf Stapledon's anti-novel and worldbuilding masterpiece The Darkness and the Light that came out t
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Ivana Books Are Magic
The blurb on the cover implies this is an adventure story set in a future. In reality, the plot is hardly relevant at all, as this novel serves mostly as a way for Heinlein to express his ideas. I haven't read the blurb on the cover until after I had finished Beyond This Horizon, but if I had I would have probably been mislead into expecting a more dramatic story. Not that there isn't a dramatic story. The protagonist Felix does have to fight for his life, love and freedom. While Felix spies on ...more
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, it's kind of a mess. And remember Heinlein has a certain sort of disturbingly sexist attitude, doesn't understand women at all - certainly the only armed one is seen as, erm, eccentric, to put it mildly.

Females don't need guns because men (aka people) are all about being protective and chivalrous... except when they're spanking the girls or otherwise dominating them, that is. I did like "Women will forgive anything. Otherwise the race would have died out long ago." And he gets a few other
Jeff Yoak
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First time I've read this book in several (for some definitions of the word several). It's mostly noted, and maybe notable for its first few sentences, where Heinlein uses phrasing to put you in the midst of his future world. "The door dilated" is justly famous. His portrayal of a society where everyone (or most people) carry weapons (of one sort or another) is known to with its supposed corollary an armed populous is a polite populous. i don't buy it, and he really doesn't demonstrate here. As ...more
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover
An early example of Heinlein learning the craft of writing novel length works. First published in serial form under his pseudonym - Anson MacDonald, this was his first attempt - "For Us, The Living" written during the late thirties and left unpublished until 2003, was an even earlier attempt and even less successful as a novel that this one, but both have all the seeds of the themes to come in future works as the Master refines his technique and finds his 'voice'.
“Easy times for individuals are bad times for the race.”

Utopias have their downside. A landmark science fiction novel by a dean of the genre. Written before the United States entered World War Two, yet amazing prescient of the next fifty years.

“But man is a working animal. He likes to work. … likely to spend his spare time working out some gadget which will displace labor and increase productivity.” (20th maybe, not 21st century)

Marred by lengthy exposition/preaching. While Heinlein was ahead
Sean DeLauder
Before I read this book I had no Did Not Finish shelf. Despite Year Zero, a book I genuinely disliked, I managed to grind through. Beyond This Horizon possessed qualities that necessitated a new shelf. Taken out of context, that's something. It's probably the pull quote a publisher would stick on the back of the book, if I warranted quoting, while ignoring the ignominious reason for the statement.

As a man of ideas, Heinlein was at or near the summit of science fiction writers. As a writer, at le
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond this Horizon is essentially about eugenics. Felix Hamilton is a man with a nearly perfect gene code. Mordan, a synthecist and geneticist, has taken special interest in Hamilton and wants to conduct research in selecting for specific genes in order to create a superior race. He has found a mate for him, Phyllis, who has a similarly perfect gene code and their children could be the future of science.

Is eugenics ethical? Does one own their own body if it can be used to perpetuate the human
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this years (and years) ago but when I ran across it I couldn't remember much beyond the "general world" in which it takes place.

I reread it.

Now I..."remember why i really didn't remember it".

It's okay. It's a pretty good story set in an interesting world but for a teen it does have a "bog-down-factor". In the middle of the book we get a fairly long dissertation on Mendelian Genetics. While it's of course a bit dated it's somewhat more interesting than it was when i was a kid...


4.6 stars

“In the Name of the Egg!”
“Light is dark; up is down; and, life is death.”

Robert Heinlein continually surprises.

Somewhere beyond the dark future dystopia of Huxley’s Brave New World sits Robert Heinlein’s brilliant and provocative adult novel, Beyond This Horizon.

Subtitled “a Post-Utopian Novel,” the author earnestly sets out to create such a narrative amidst a future “utopian” society. Written eleven years after the Huxley novel, with its sub-plot anticipating the later horrific world o
S. Naomi Scott
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Giunta
Three centuries into the future, the human race has become a product of artificial selection through genetic engineering. The world has conquered poverty, crime, and most diseases and while there are still natural-born humans, they are generally considered inferior.

Despite this alleged Utopia, wealthy game designer Hamilton Felix questions whether mankind should even continue as a race. Felix is from a “star line”, the product of 300 years of tightly controlled genetics. Yet, when the District M
Max Ostrovsky
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
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
The Fizza
More of a conversation between Aldous Huxley and Robert Heinlein than anything.

While Beyond This Horizon is harder to get into than Heinlein's other early works usually tend to be - this piece having many of the 'problems' the average Heinlein detractor finds issue with - it doesn't make this a bad story... perhaps a mid-range?!

Though, as a rule, even amiddling Heinlein adventure is usually better than what most of the best SF writers of the same period produced... Of course for every rule ther
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
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Henlein Fans, Thinkers
Recommended to Nathan by: Michael Z. Williamson
Shelves: sci-fi, reviewed-2008
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.
Aug 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fanscifree, suite
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.
Mar 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, my-early-life
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Least favourite of the Heinlein novels I've read. It didn't seem like there was much direction at all. Its possible the retro Hugo was given based on name rather than merit last year.

Updated Heinlein Ranking:
1) Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
2) Stranger in a Strange Land
3) Double Star
4) Starship Troopers
5) Farmer in the Sky
6) Beyond This Horizon
Kat  Hooper
Feb 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Originally published at FanLit.

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
Normally I really enjoy Heinlein, but not this one. They'd created a "perfect" society which I thought would be disrupted by terrorists or anarchists or something. But what this book turned out to be was a rather drawn out discussion on genetics. I think part of the problem was that I read it very slowly, 200 pages and I read it as bed time reading and it took me about a week which just made it seem to drag on forever! In the middle there was going to be a rebellion and I thought that it was fin ...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
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Beyond This Horizon
1981 grade B+
1996 grade B
2017 grade B-/C+

Heinlein's 1942 second novel has more in common with his later novels then the his prime middle era. The active part of the story is more philosophical than anything else, not something I am fond of.

In 1942 a science fiction writer could not count on his readers knowing the science basics. In this novel two short chapters of about six pages are entirely about current science, one about basic genetics. They can both be skipped which I d
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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
“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” 230 likes
“Nothing gives life more zest that running for your life.” 12 likes
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