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Red Planet

(Heinlein's Juveniles #3)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  8,263 Ratings  ·  288 Reviews
Jim Marlow and his strange-looking Martian friend Willis were allowed to travel only so far. But one day Willis unwittingly tuned into a treacherous plot that threatened all the colonists on Mars, and it set Jim off on a terrfying adventure that could save--or destroy--them all!

From the Paperback edition.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Del Rey (first published 1949)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This was, hands down, my favorite Heinlein book as a teen. I read it at least 4 or 5 times. I really need to read it again as an adult, but Heinlein ... always an iffy proposition. Though this is one of his early juvie novels, so it's safer than, say, Time Enough for Love.

Two teenage boys, sent away to boarding school in the big city on Mars, need to save their hometown and their Martian friend from the nefarious forces of evil. There's a pretty heavy gun ownership rights theme running through t
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
A human boy born on Mars
named Jim befriended a local life form: something looking like a football he named Willis. The latter seemed to possessed some intelligence and was able to repeat anything it heard perfectly imitating voices. It also seemed to start the playback in the least appropriate moments. At one point Jim and his friend Frank had to go to a Martian boarding school for colonists and Jim decided to take Willis with him. Something really bad happened at school (I will give you a hint
Jason Koivu
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
It took me too long to get through this relatively short book, because it drags. The beginning starts slow, there's a bit of an adventure on Mars that heightens things for a while, but then the book grinds down to a finish with a trial and dithering.

This is one of Heinlein's early works. I believe they were called "juveniles", because they were meant for kids. This sort of writing and level of excitement might have engaged kids when it was published in 1949, but I can't see kids today enjoy thi
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Another Heinlein juvenile, another curious blend of work by a virtuoso visionary and his unfortunate co-author the cheating hack.

THE GOOD: Heinlein's early treatment of his Martians (the ones used nearly two decades later in STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND) is excellent. These guys are subtle and weird and so far beyond earth norms that every interaction with them is fraught and puzzling. Also, while you can see prototypical versions of many of his stock characters (crusty old Dr. MacReady is a strip
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, 1paper, 2fiction
One of Heinlein's early YA books, it's about 2 young boys who wind up on an adventure on Mars. This is a Mars with water (frozen) in its canals, oxygen, but not enough for a human to breath unassisted. So if you like your SF with the latest science in place, this isn't for you.

Heinlien's young heroes are boy scouts, good kids with good intentions who buck the odds to do the right thing. They make discoveries beyond what the adults have done & face danger. They tough it out & make good,
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
1976 grade B+
1992 grade B+
2016 grade B+

A novel about high school students in a private school run by dictatorial earth bureaucrats on a colonized hypothetical Mars. It starts out pretty routine but becomes much better and more adult less than half way through. The book could definitely be considered a precursor to Stranger In A Strange Land since it has the exact same martians and their culture. In fact this book describes them much better and I recommend reading it before Stranger if possible.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The bad science doesn't bother me too much, but I can't get past the sexism and the contrived conflict. None of the bad guys had any competence? The good guys were automatically superior strategists, warriors, leaders, etc.? I'd give it one star, but the Martians were interesting, and treated with respect.

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.

Red Planet was Heinlein’s third published novel, after Space Cadet (reviewed here). It is seen as the third in Heinlein’s ‘juvenile novels’ that were written for a teenage and predominantly (though not exclusively) male readership.

If I remember right, it was possibly my second or third Heinlein read, after Tunnel in the Sky, which I found, rather lost and forgotten, at the back of my school
3.8 stars

“Oh my gosh!”

Although a conservative, staid, and constrictive tradition lies behind the 1950s, U.S. pop culture, an odd and innocent sense of fun seems to accompany it.


After my immersion into Shirley Jackson’s dark and menacing world, Heinlein’s Red Planet, (1949), with this conservative yet fun 1950s aspect, became just the tonic I needed.

Setting a young adult/adult, science fiction adventure novel on Mars allows Heinlein to create an exciting story and world while simultaneously
This is one of the earlier Heinleins so perhaps the sexism wasn't so obvious back then. However, it is quite blatant. There is some racism as well. Although I remembered the story fondly, I found on rereading that it is far from being one of his better stories. About the only positive part was that the character of Willis is really well developed and cute. Not recommended. Trying to decide what to do with the book since it is a first edition but not in great shape. I might donate to County libra ...more
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this is a so-called "juvenile" novel(i.e., "young adult" tale), it's quite well constructed. I was especially enchanted by Heinlein's depiction of the Martians. There's a clear connection between the Martians in "Red Planet" and the Martians described in Heinlein's later novel, "Stranger in a Strange Land."

What Heinlein lacks in style and descriptive powers, he makes up for with a tight plot, suspenseful action, and the mysterious, awe-inspiring Martians. "Red Planet" would make a grea
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the first science fiction books I read...thanks Dad. I've been hooked for over 30 years now.
Jim Mcclanahan
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it
All of you who have immersed themselves in the Kim Stanley Robinson Red Mars trilogy should invest a little time in reading this one. Robinson made supreme use of current scientific knowledge in putting together a real hard SF tale about our planetary neighbor.

Now picture someone in 1949 (Heinlein) trying to do the same thing with the limited knowledge available at the time. The story is a YA tale, with a pair of boys as the protagonists and a cute but mysterious Martian crittur, Willis, as the
Christopher Wagoner
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Don't take away my geek card, but this is the first Heinlein novel I've ever read (GASP!)
What surprised me is that this book would be marketed as YA in the modern era. The story centers around Jim, a teen of unspecified age who is a Mars colonist. His constant companion is a bouncing "martian roundhead" who can precisely record and repeat any sound.
There are plenty of scientific innaccuracies, which is to be expected since the novel was written fifty years ago. If you can get past that, it's an
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
A solid entry in Heinlein's novels, this is one of the ones about (and probably written more for) youth (like Podkayne of Mars, Tunnel in the Sky, and Rocket Ship Galileo). This one takes place entirely on Mars, and involves a rebellion between some of the human colonists there and the company that runs the place. There are native Martians, who are slow and mysterious, and a lot like the Ents in The Two Towers. Also, a weird Martian ball-animal that can somehow reproduce human voices perfectly a ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
I still haven't read much by Heinlein and consistently hearing that he's the "master" or "father" of science fiction, I keep feeling like I need to seek him out more often. I happened to find a copy of Red Planet at our local used book store so I decided to give it a try.

The edition I read included an introduction that informed me that this was one of Heinlein's "juvenile" novels or "boy books." The introduction also included a description of the "censorship" that happened by way of severe editi
Steven Wilson
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'd forgotten how much I love this book!
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
This was a no nonsense adventure story, set on the planet Mars. Its main audience it young adult, even a little younger if they're avid readers, but it wasn't that childish after all and actually holds a few lessons.

The story is fairly simple. It's set in a distant future where colonies on Mars are actually a fact. We follow two friends, Jim and Frank, both sixteen years old, who embark on a trip to their new school.
On this trip they spend some time with the native inhabitants of the planet, the
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I can see the appeal of this book to the young readers of the early 50s that were going to grow up to be the engineers and designers of the New Frontier. First, there are aliens, and they seem to be of the Dr. Seuss variety, at least in the beginning of the book. Willis is a Martian “bouncer”, described as a furry, ball-shaped being that can mimic voices – a kind of sentient recording device. There are other Martians involved in the story, and Heinlein builds up a world on Mars with the natives ...more
Luis Franco
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mars as was to be if there were Martians on it. wonderful short story that brings to me the social aspects of a colony in mars and the relationship with mother earth. who knows best how to live in Mars? the settlers who live there all year round or the Company managers from earth who go there for small periods of some years?
I liked very much this relationship and also the creativity of Heinlein in devising such interesting Martians. many of the interactions of Martians with humans may one day b
Obwohl ich von der Grundidee sehr angetan war, hat mich "Red Planet" doch ein wenig enttäuscht zurück gelassen. Schon zu Beginn war ich recht hin- und her gerissen. Einerseits gefiel mir der Einstieg sehr gut, die Protagonisten habe ich sofort ins Herz geschlossen und auch die erste Begegnung mit den Marsianern war sehr interessant und spannend. Allerdings ging mir vieles etwas zu schnell. Die Zeitspanne, in der Frank und Jim in der Schule ankamen und Probleme mit dem neuen Rektor bekamen, war f ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heinlein fans
Read with my son for an online bookclub. It is dated (sexism...) but my son really enjoyed Willis.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun, quick read. But man, he does not love women.
An author can't reasonably be called on the carpet for not knowing things that were not known at the time the book was written.

That said, there are several things Heinlein COULD have known, and didn't. Examples? Heinlein didn't know quite how low the atmospeheric pressure was, so he couldn't reasonably have known that it was so low that surface tension couldn't be sustained, so that water would boil away at so close to freezing temperature that it wouldn't mostly go into liquid form at all. But
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This early work has been my introduction to the "hard sci-fi" master, and I have enjoyed it immensely. I'm very curious to read the expanded edition Del Rey put out a few years ago that apparently restores Heinlein's full text - the ending to the original Scribner juvenile edition I read felt very cut off and undeveloped.

There are a lot of points in this novel where it seems like Heinlein isn't sure who he's writing for. What starts as an enjoyable, accessible children's adventure unexpectedly t
Tuncer Şengöz
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Bir bilim kurgu tutkunu olmama rağmen Robert A. Heinlein benim favori yazarlarımdan biri değil. Benim BK anlayışımın Heinlein'ın anlayışı ile uzaktan yakından ilişkisi yok.

Kızıl Gezegen (Red Planet) romanı 1949 yılında yazılmış. O yıllardaki Mars tahayyülünün gerçek Mars'la hiç bir benzerliği yok. Heinlein geniş yapay kanallarla kutup bölgelerinden ekvator bölgelerine su taşınan bir Mars hayal ediyor. Mars'ın yüzeyinde bitkiler, küçük vahşi hayvanlar var. Kanalların içindeki donmuş suyun üzerin
Nov 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
RED PLANET. (1949). Robert A. Heinlein. ***.
I don’t read much science fiction any more. Back in my early teen years, however, it was the major genre I dipped into. That was in the early 1950s. Back then, Heinlein was one of my favorite writers. I don’t remember if I actually read this book before or not, but it was still a quick read. It’s a coming of age novel that tells of the experiences of two boys who now live on Mars in experimental communities that have to cope with the differences betwee
Jun 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans
Before I comment on this book, I have to comment on how it came to my attention. Manny, a good friend of mine, had suggested I read Red Mars, a sci-fi novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. Some time later, had an audio-book sale, and Red Planet was one of the featured books. My memory being what it is, I bought it, thinking it was the book Manny had recommended to me. I realized my mistake after I bought it and before I listened to it, but decided to give it a whirl because Robert Heinlein ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I really enjoyed this for what it is - a good old fashioned boys adventure story with a 'traditional' sci-fi Mars setting, complete with frozen canals and mysterious Martians who use ramps, not stairs. It's exactly the sort of story I would have enjoyed when I first read Heinlein as a teenager all those years ago (when I wouldn't have noticed the strict conformance to 1940s gender roles). It's also a pleasure to read a story that's short and self contained enough for the paperback to actually fi ...more
Jan 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
1949 science fiction adventure from one of the era's most prominent writers. Red Planet is a lot of fun to read--although not really full of the kind of realistic "hard" science that made Kim Stanley Robinson's landmark Mars trilogy or other recent releases. This, like a lot of sci-fi from this Golden Age of Sci-Fi, is more about a rousing, fast paced story rather than accurate science. That's fine with me; both strategies have their place in the canon of sci-fi history.

Red Planet treats Mars as
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0345260694 6 21 Nov 27, 2015 05:42PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Red Planet, by Robert A. Heinlein 1 14 Oct 01, 2015 10:14AM  
Crown Capital Eco Management: Technology as our planet's last best hope 1 5 Jul 20, 2013 12:44AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED: YA set on Mars (Spoiler) [s] 4 39 Dec 15, 2011 08:47AM  
Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 0-345-26069-4 2 126 Oct 27, 2011 12:42AM  
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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

Other books in the series

Heinlein's Juveniles (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Rocket Ship Galileo (Heinlein's Juveniles, #1)
  • Space Cadet (Heinlein's Juveniles, #2)
  • Farmer in the Sky (Heinlein's Juveniles, #4)
  • Between Planets (Heinlein's Juveniles, #5)
  • The Rolling Stones (Heinlein's Juveniles, #6)
  • Starman Jones (Heinlein's Juveniles, #7)
  • The Star Beast (Heinlein's Juveniles, #8)
  • Tunnel in the Sky (Heinlein's Juveniles, #9)
  • Time for the Stars (Heinlein's Juveniles, #10)
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