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Orphans of the Sky Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 1989

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reissue edition (1 Jan. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441639135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441639137
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,587,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

'The all-time most important writer of genre sf' The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

About the Author

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) was educated at the University of Missouri and the US Naval Academy, Annapolis. He served as a naval officer for five years but retired in 1934 due to ill health. He then studied physics at UCLA before beginning to publish sf with 'Lifeline' for Astounding Science Fiction in 1939. Among his many novels are The Door into Summer, Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.


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"THERE'S A MUTIE! Look out!" Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 24 May 2001
Format: Paperback
This entry in Gollancz's classic reprint series was originally published in two parts in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction back in 1941 and if you bear this in mind while reading it you'll appreciate what an achievement this was. Despite the efforts of H G Wells and others, science fiction was still very much in its infancy, and I would imagine that works of fiction that quoted Newton's inverse square law of gravitation (hilariously misinterpreted near the beginning of this book) or tried to compare the concepts of space travel with knitting a sweater or baking a cake must have been pretty thin on the ground. Read it with this in mind and you'll enjoy this rather brief tale of a starship community which has existed for generations, succeeded in misinterpreting its flight manuals and lost all concept of the fact that it is, in fact, flying through space. Don't worry, I haven't given anything away that isn't mentioned on practically the first page of a story which presumably inspired Brian Aldiss's later 'Non-Stop'- a novel which tells a similar tale though perhaps without quite so many slit throats and two-headed mutants. The attitude to women and to the ship's mutant community is what one would expect for the time in which it was written but doesn't serve to detract too much from Heinlein's rapid pacing. Probably ground breaking for its time and still a pretty good read today.
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By Bob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
The problem with much old science fiction is that it dates so quickly however in this case in remains readable as it does not use technology that makes it obviously dated, for example in some of this authors works extensive use is made of adding data and using tables of logarithms (yes I am old enough to remember them). Without giving too much plot details the adventure is set in a "generations" ship who's purpose has been lost and is thought to be the whole Universe (This was an earlier title for the book) to those on the ship, and although not a new concept even at the time it works well. From this premis the story develops, the characters believable, at least for a science fiction story until the end where it seems rushed and everything seems to depend too much on good luck.
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Format: Hardcover
Though the concept of a multi-generational starship was not original with Heinlein, this story was one of most fleshed-out depictions of this concept to appear at the time of its first publication as two novelettes in 1941, Universe and Commonsense. As usual with Heinlein, he added his own twists and additions to this basic concept, adding mutants, mutiny, and science-as-religion to the mix.

The inhabitants of this starship, due to a long ago mutiny that eliminated all the ship's officers and their knowledge, have forgotten that where they live is a ship, and that it is supposed to go somewhere. For them, the ship's interior is their entire universe, and even the idea that something might exist `Outside' the ship is so foreign a concept that most can't even imagine it, somewhat like trying to imagine what a fourth spatial dimension is really like. Their lives revolve around the simple necessities of eating, reproducing, and feeding the matter converter, as controlled by the high priesthood of `scientists'. In opposition we find the `muties' who live in `high country' (the ship's upper decks), outcasts from the main society who have formed their own society, under the nominal leadership of a two-headed mutant. When the story's protagonist, a young man with ambitions of becoming a scientist, is forcibly thrown into the muties company and has his eyes opened to what the ship truly is, the battle is joined to educate all the inhabitants and put the ship back on track.

Though the concept of this plot is not bad, the actual execution suffers quite a bit from Heinlein's less-than-complete mastery of story-telling skills at this very early point in his career.
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Format: Paperback
Hugh Hoyland has been brought up in a society onboard a starship that is unaware of its true situation, as becomes apparent early in the story. Generations have passed since the original ship left Earth, and a mutiny generations ago led to two separate warring groups to form. Neither of these groups really knows the full story as the knowledge of their journey has passed into myth and become a form of religion or folklore.

Without giving too much away, Hugh begins to explore the ship in an attempt to understand the truth. He encounters a variety of characters, most of which are reasonably well fleshed out, and gets into a variety of scrapes, most of which are a bit improbable. It's a shame that the ship and the societies aren't described in a bit more detail, but the story moves along at quite a pace and it pretty exciting, so I didn't find this to be too much of an issue.

An enjoyable story overall.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The fifth of Heinleins "Future History" series takes a detour from the slow progress of Earth into the cosmos to focus on one of its earliest extrasolar spacecraft.

The ship, sent to colonise a nearby star system at sublight speeds, is huge and equipped with everything required for a flight generations long. Somewhere on route to its destination something went wrong; most of the crew died and all knowledge of Earth was lost.

The book follows the protagonist on a journey through the ship. In a world where science had become mystical and guarded by a select few, literacy is rare and society revolves around a cult dedicated to "the company" with "the captain" at its head. He befriends the "Muties" who live in the weightless levels and embarks on a journey of discovery which will shake the foundations of his world.
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