The Door into Summer Hardcover – 19 Sep 1985
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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 and worked in a number of jobs before beginning to publish science fiction in 1939. Among his many novels are Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I love this novel. It's brilliant the way he works in clues to Dan's future past, and Heinlein's discussion of time travel is enough to make anyone a fanatic about the subject. When I think about time travel, I continue to think of this novel and its simple experimental analogies of coins and guinea pigs. It's mind-boggling yet completely comprehensible. I also love animals, and good old Pete is one of the most memorable feline characters in the universe of fiction. Finally, the concept of the title is well-nigh epiphanous (if I may coin a word). Dan explains how Pete would make him open every door in his house whenever it snowed, convinced that behind one of those doors it will be summer time. Dan describes all of his adventures as his own search for the Door Into Summer. The only possible explanation I can formulate as to why this novel did not win the Hugo for best science fiction novel of 1957 is the fact that Heinlein won the award the previous year for Double Star and could not comfortably be given the award two years in a row. The Door Into Summer is much better than Double Star; in fact, it is much better than all but a handful of science fiction novels ever published.
In a deft double betrayal, Belle and Miles effectively steal the business from under Dan's nose, abandoning him to the affections of his last true friend, Pete, his cat. Dan is then plunged into a series of events in which he travels in time the slow way and the fast way.
This book doesn't waste time in lengthy discussion of the ethics and problems of time travel or the question of paradox. All of the relevant issues are dealt with, but are so well woven into the fabric of the story that you will only notice your mind reeling with the torrent of ideas when you put the book down to put the kettle on. Old Heinlein fans will be able to recognize his characterizations immediately and the familiar personalities only add to the peculiar sense of family that one seems to develop when reading Heinlein's books. Those of you new to Heinlein, however, will not find the characters difficult to identify with, you just may find them a little stereotyped or cliched, initially, but this only makes them that much more accessible. Welcome to the family.
Any fan of Heinlein will recognise immediately the moral, sociological and political fish swimming just beneath the surface of the story. As usual, Heinlein cannot resist questioning the social mores by which we live our lives and judge others, but you won't find any diatribes or sermons in what he writes. He just invites you to think about some of the customs that we take for granted in our daily lives and ask ourselves if they really are as sensible as familiarity makes them. This is not unusual for a Heinlein book, and probably less obvious in The Door Into Summer than in, for example, Time Enough For Love, Job, The Number of the Beast and, of course, Stranger in a Strange Land. The suspicion one gets from the title of a hunt for a utopian ideal is satisfied, but the search for the door into summer is no mission on which any of the main protagonists in the book embark. Instead, the reader gets buoyed up on a gradual dawning of optimism, and although the book leaves you with some things to mull over, I challenge any fan of a great story to read this book cover to cover and not have a smile tweaking their lips on reading the last paragraph. Definitely a nostalgia book, and if you're the kind of person who reads a book more than once if you like it, buy this one in hardback ! Not his greatest book. Not his most thought provoking and stimulating by any means. It is a damn good read, though.
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