Review: Time for the Stars – By Robert A. Heinlein

TftS

Cover image and summary from Goodreads.com

Title: Time for the Stars

Author: Robert A. Heinlein

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Sci-Fi / 256 pages

Summary: Travel to other planets is a reality, and with overpopulation stretching the resources of Earth, the necessity to find habitable worlds is growing ever more urgent. With no time to wait years for communication between slower-than-light spaceships and home, the Long Range Foundation explores an unlikely solution–human telepathy.
Identical twins Tom and Pat are enlisted to be the human radios that will keep the ships in contact with Earth. The only problem is that one of them has to stay behind, and that one will grow old while the other explores the depths of space.Always a master of insight into the human consequences of future technologies, this is one of Heinlein’s triumphs.

My Review: Man, this was a weird book. Yeah, I know, Heinlein practically specializes in weird, so I shouldn’t be surprised. But Time for the Stars was it’s whole own category of strange… But I liked it. Also, this book was published in 1950. That’s crazy to think about! Over 60 years since it’s publication, and this unusual book still fascinates sci-fi readers today. Myself, most certainly included. Heinlein’s

Hero/Heroine: Our two leads here, identical twins Tom and Pat are fascinating, and a refreshing change from the cliche way that twins are often portrayed in novels. Tom and Pat aren’t just in constant competition – frankly, they don’t even like each other very much when our story begins. They are fun characters to read about, and their morals are deep and complex.

Plot: It’s hard to explain the allure of a Heinlein book to someone who has never read one before. His writing is masterful, and his plots are slower paced than what you will see from 21st century writers. But the slow pace is to their benefit, and you never lose interest in the story at hand. They’re nearly impossible to put down, and frankly I find it charming. We follow our young heroes as they begin to experience the consequences of FTL travel, and what that means to them and those they left behind. At the same time, you are experiencing the daily monotony of life on a spaceship that only sees one major battle. The story is not monotonous, though, and you become truly invested in the character’s lives and interactions. Just like with Star Trek. Except there are near constant battles in Star Trek… So, probably not by best comparison, but, whatever.

And, for reals, y’all: THAT ENDING THOUGH. I was in shock for hours! It was crazy.

Content Advisory: An intense battle scene involving significant loss of life. This is a story featuring teenage boys, so there is also romance and some kissing.

To Sum it Up: Heinlein’s storytelling is timeless, charming, and reminiscent of a different age of literature. Time for the Stars is a fun, thought provoking sci-fi adventure that explores FTL travel, telepathy, and what life on a spaceship really means. I recommend this book to readers ages 10+.

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