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Space Cadet

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  8,083 ratings  ·  281 reviews
This is the seminal novel of a young man's education as a member of the Solar patrol, an elite, paternalistic non-military organization dedicated to preserving human civilization. Space Cadet is a provocative parallel to Heinlein's famous later novel, Starship Troopers (which is about the military). Only the best and brightest, the strongest and most courageous ever become ...more
172 pages
Published 1977 by New English Library (first published February 1st 1948)
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Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein begins, a candidate for a space program takes a phone out of his bag and calls his father. Modern readers may pass by this communication with little notice, but describing a cell phone in 1948, the year this was first published, was at the time the height of science fiction.

The second published of his Scribner’s juvenile works, this very early Heinlein displays his talent for telling a good, hard science fiction story. One cannot read this without noticing a
Mar 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
In the fairly distant future a teen named Matt Dodson applied for an organization called Space Patrol - the future versions of knights in shining armor that uphold peace and justice through the known space.
knight in shining armor
The competition is fierce and only the best and the brightest get in; even the cadets are not guaranteed to get promoted to an officer rank.

We are talking early Heinlien's juveniles here, so I do not think I give a big spoiler when I say that not only Matt succeeded, but he also managed to s
Ivana Books Are Magic
This novel was exactly what I expected it to be and in that sense I certainly wasn't disappointed. Space Cadet is not as complex as some of other Heinlein's works I read, but that is hardly surprising taken that it is basically a YA novel targeted at boys. I didn't expect too much from Space Cadet, and the main reason why I picked it up was because it was written by Heinlein. There was nothing surprising about the book itself, it was a simple moralistic YA story with a bit of science and food fo ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've promised to read more classical scifi authors this year and Heinlein is one of them. This is the second juvenile story of his and the third of his books overall for me. And it was ... OK, I guess.

The MC, Matt Dodson, is enlisting to become a Space Cadet at the Space Academy. Space Cadets are contestants to become members of the famous Solar Patrol. This organization (apparently non-military) is an elite guard tasked with preserving humanity throughout the Solar System. Only the best and bri
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-shelf, sci-fi
This is '48 Heinlein at his most usual for the time-period. I can't say I love it, but I can appreciate what it IS.

It's YA, folks. Moral, ethical, scientifically accurate adventure for BOYS. First, into what seems to be the military for space, our intrepid idiots, (I mean, promising young men,) get in over their heads after a prolonged training period and head to Venus. Where they get inveigled in cultural misunderstandings and get out by the skin of their teeth.

This is 40's youth claptrap, folk
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book over 35 years ago and recently came across a 2nd hand copy at a book sale so decided to delve into it again.
Other reviewers have given précis of the story so I won't go there, suffice to say it is a classic of Heinlein's early work.
Yes it is "simple" but never condescending, the plot as ever moving along at a rapid pace, dragging us through an alternate future history.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and for a couple of days was there with Matt, Tex and Oscar wondering what the
César Bustíos
3.5 but I don't really feel like rounding up to 4 Heinleins. ...more
Young Matt Dodson, an all-American 18-year-old from Iowa, joins the Space Academy. Their key task is to ensure world peace by dropping nuclear weapons on anyone who tries to do anything bad.

I know what you're going to say. But many of Matt's classmates come from outside the US! Not only that, they even have a sign up on the wall saying Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

So that's alright then.
4.0 stars.

At first perusal, Robert Heinlein’s Space Cadet seems a strange novel. But, upon reflection . . .

October 29, 1929:
The United States Stock Market undergoes its final “crash.” Only a few months prior, a hopeful, young man, Robert A. Heinlein, 22-years-old, graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in Naval Engineering.

August 1934:
Five years later, in the midst of the Great Depression, Lieutenant Heinlein, 27-years-old, still a young man, spends weeks in a hospital—then to be di
Books written about the future inevitably at some point become alternate histories. First published in 1948, "Space Cadet" builds a post-2100 solar system where Venus is not only habitable, but inhabited, where Mars and Ganymede are colonisable, and spaceships are rocket-shaped and can take a couple of years to travel between planets.

Military academy stories share many of the same beats and cadences of boarding school and wizard school stories: newcomer arrives at school, gains an antagonist, bu
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, especially gifted pre-teens
Another of Heinlein's classic juveniles, this book chronicles the adventures of a young man training to become a "Space Cadet" of the Space Patrol, a world wide force keeping peace in the solar system. from arrival at the training facility forward, Heinlein presents many sophisticated ideas while never talking down to his readers. Concepts like world government, a solution to the threat of nuclear war, as well as prognostications of technology such as cell phones. Not the only author to do so bu ...more
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, science-fiction
Read in 1969 or so, and reread probably a dozen times in the 70s. Haven't read it since. I loved it, and always went back to my homework feeling energized and determined after reading it. ...more
Graeme Rodaughan
The Space Patrol Needs You!"Yeah, well, I read the poster and what the hell. I may as well aim for the stars."

Heinlein demonstrates mastery with writing stories for adolescents.
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
Written in the year 1948 and set in the year 2075, this is the second of Heinlein's juvenile fiction, so it has a different feel from other books such as the World as Myth/Lazarus Long books.

I actually enjoy Heinlein's juvenile fiction, and it's really neat to see the author display his scientific knowledge in these books. Another thing to think about is that this book came out two decades before man landed on the moon, old-school science fiction is super-fun like that as many of the things that
Jeff Yoak
This was a solid and enjoyable Heinlein juvenile, typical of his novels in that genre. It was a joy to discover one I hadn't yet read.

2017: This one was another hit with the kids!
It had been a long time since I had read this and after the last few books I had read requiring a lot of concentration I wanted something light and fun. This is classic Heinlein and while it's not spectacular it is exactly what I wanted as a palate cleanser between some SF that required a great deal of attention and the book on the evolution of language that will follow this one.

Yes, it's clearly aimed at young teenage boys from several decades ago and there isn't a major female character in the
This is one of Heinlein's Juveniles. It's strong evidence in support of the saying "The golden age of science fiction is 12." The science is authentic (except for Venus being hospitable for human habitation and having its own intelligent native species), the characters are simplistic, the story is a little sappy. (Sappy is a word that probably was in the popular vernacular when Space Cadet was written in 1948). It's good old fashioned science fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ...more
Chris Gager
Dated now but still interesting. There are scenes in this that indicate that the writers of the newest "Star Trek" movie might have read it. ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another Heinlein I had fond memories of from childhood reading. However, this one held up better than my last Heinlein title (Red Planet). Since there were almost no women in this story at all, except for a nonhuman "woman", there was not much sexism. And there wasn't much racism, if any. It did drag a bit in some locations, and I felt it left a crisis without definite resolution. Matt was wondering why he should stay in the Patrol when the Marines were so much flashier and exciting. Whi ...more
Wil C. Fry
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was a pleasure to re-read, 36 years after I first read it and 72 years after it was published. It suffers neither from the long and pointless dialogs of Heinlein’s later work, nor the weak writing issues of other earlier works (like Beyond This Horizon). The narrative moves quickly, the dialog feels natural (for the 1940s), and the exposition almost feels like it isn’t there because it’s fit in so naturally.

(I published a longer review on my website.)

Walter Underwood
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You’d probably pass this one up because of the title, but you’d be wrong. Yes, a lot of the plot is predictable, but it there is something interesting going on besides the regular academy and coming-of-age stuff. The Space Patrol is in charge of a global deterrent, orbiting nuclear weapons. The folk on the ground are so used to peace that even talking about the bombs is impolite. Could we make a lasting peace out of Mutually Assured Destruction? What kind of guardians would we need to make that ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Read it young, enjoyed it...let me see. If Johnny in Starship Troopers had been able to join the space navy instead of the infantry and if he'd gone straight into officer's training...

Well not exactly, but close. Not a war going on...but good lessons on duty. Good teen read. (by the way, the meaning of the phrase that makes up the title has changed meaning quite a bit...LOL).

This is in some ways almost a companion piece to Starship Troopers, not that they actually tie together, but it gives you
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: with-kids, fiction
This was the second Heinlein juvenile, published only a few years after World War II. Set 125 years in the future, after the first exploration and colonization of several planets, our solar system still provides a wonderful playground for the characters. Cell phones make an appearance, along with several other decent guesses about the future of technology.

Predating Starship Troopers and The Forever War, it tells of a group of young men going through cadet training for the Space Patrol. Humor and
Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since i'm unlikely to read any adult Heinlein-I thought I'd read one of the kid books. My husband said he read it in 3rd grade. Yeah, right. I enjoyed the book, but felt the story only really got started near the end when the cadets go to Venus and have to face real difficulties versus the problems faced in cadet training. Training and the fitness required were well thought out and described by Heinlein (only 2 years after the Bell X-1) yet I found it a little tedious. Also was not surprised, b ...more
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of an ongoing series of rereads, as I work through the Virginia Editions of Heinlein’s novels.

Space Cadet was Heinlein’s second published novel, after Rocketship Galileo (reviewed here). It is seen as the second in Heinlein’s ‘juvenile novels’ that were written for a teenage and predominantly male readership.

These days the term Space Cadet is one of the most recognised in SF. The story is now easily summarised as ‘boy leaves home, goes into space, trains as a space cadet and becomes
This is one of the earlier of Heinlein's works. Some of the assumptions in this book are found in many of the others. The notion of stopping wars by militarizing space was shot down first, because one of the few things all parties could agree to was that they didn't want nuclear weapons in orbit. The fear that one group or another would put them there played a major part in Cold War maneuvering, but the general result was to prevent any such union as Heinlein described from materializing.

Other a
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Jensen is a young man ready to start the next phase in his life. He's going to test to be a cadet in the Space Patrol. The candidates are forced through a grueling battery of tests to see if they are both mentally and physically capable of handling the harsh conditions of space. Upon being deemed ready they are accepted as cadets and begin their training to become a full fledged patrolman. Matt passes the initial tests and is sworn in but the rigorous training schedule may be too much for h ...more
The second in Heinlein's loosely connected "juveniles" cycle this, as you can probably guess from the title, is a kind of boy's own adventure boarding school story. In this case, however, the action is transported into space. 

When I say "boy's own adventure" I mean it, there are very few women characters in the whole book and the ones that appear such as the main character's mother an love interest, are portrayed as dumb, understanding nothing of science and incapable of relating to the main cha
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heinlein, Robert A. Space Cadet. 1948. Tor, 2005.
Robert Heinlein’s Space Cadet is where the subgenre of an academy for spacefarers begins. You can draw a direct line of influence from Heinlein’s Matt Dodson to Star Trek’s Wesley Crusher. Heinlein was optimistic about the development of nuclear-powered single-stage rockets and artificial gravity. His navigators and pilots fly their ships by hand, without the benefit of a computerized autopilot. No one at the time predicted the laptop. We have les
Jim Morris
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I've read Space Cadet. The first time was 65 years ago. But I still remembered the scene where Matt Dodson explains to his mother that if he was going to launch a nuclear bomb to blow his hometown away he wouldn't use the one directly overhead. He'd use L-9, which was far enough away to reach trajectory. His mother was curiously unreassured.
I also remembered the Interplanatary Patrol's roll calls which always included the names of the four heroes, one of whom had blown u
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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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