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Double Star (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 12 Sep 2013
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The HUGO AWARD-winning novel from one of the true greats of science fiction.
About the Author
Robert Anson Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907. He graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1929, serving as an officer until his discharge, for medical reasons, in 1934. In 1939 he turned to writing to supplement his Naval pension, selling his first story to John W. Campbell's ASTOUNDING magazine. He would go on to have a profound influence on ASTOUNDING, dominating the Golden Age of science fiction and shaping American science fiction for decades to come. He won multiple HUGOs, an unprecedented six PROMETHEUS AWARDs for libertarian science fiction and was the Science Fiction Writers of America's first GRAND MASTER AWARD recipient. A deeply political writer, Heinlein is most closely associated with right-wing libertarianism, although STARSHIP TROOPERS brought with it accusations of fascism and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND is credited with being an influential text for the free love movement of the 1960s. Acclaimed as one of the 'Big Three', alongside Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, he was a giant of 20th-century science fiction. Robert A. Heinlein died in 1988.
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Other reviews, and the Amazon description, give a pretty clear account of what this is all about, so I'll spare you any repetition of those details. What is worth emphasising is how well Heinlein portrays the Great Lorenzo, and the changes he undergoes as the plot progresses, which give this novel a bit more depth and nuance than a lot of SF of this vintage. Like most comparatively early Heinlein, the prose is fluent and engaging, if (inevitably) a little too aphoristic and glib from time to time, but in essence it shows Heinlein's style at its most readable, and he had the edge on all his Golden Age peers in that regard.
An interesting introduction by Ken McLeod - an SF writer as far from Heinlein's latterday politics as you can imagine - makes the point that, while many of Heinlein's works are lazily described as "political", they're actually exercises in Saloon Bar Libertarian Utopianism (and mark Heinlein as the patron saint of the Straw Man argument), and this is the only one that actually engages with the reality of political activity and the collective effort that has to entail, regardless of party affiliations. As such, it reveals an entirely different - and, to this reader, far more adult, complex and rewarding - Heinlein, and it's a shame we lost him when (as McLeod suggests) the early success of the USSR in the space race ruffled his feathers a bit too hard.
All told, with its economy, pace, humour, readability and blessed absence of libertarian windbaggery, this is probably the Heinlein Book For People Who Hate Heinlein.
This book is a bit more of a surprise for me as I at last understood where I had read the plot for the Film "Dave".
It's a shame the writers of Dave did not credit Heinlein with the idea, but probably you can find that Heinlein based it on some thing he read previously.
All that said it was and is still a fine read