Sunday, April 29, 2012

eBook Review: Citizen of the Galaxy

Robert A. Heinlein, Citizen of the Galaxy

Product Details from Baen's Books

Published 6/12/1987
SKU: 9781416505525
Ebook Price: $6.00 
    1. Short review: 

    2. Long review:
    2.1. What I liked:  Robert Heinlein's masterly writing. Hemingway, Steinbeck, Clavell, and Heinlein were the best writers of the 20th century.
    Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Both and both are equally engrossing.
    This book gives outstanding value for your money. It was first published in 1957 as a Serial in Astounding. Later that year, Scribner published the hardback and marketed it as a juvenile (with a first edition cover that really, really sucked).

    2.2. What I did not like:  Does not apply.

    2.3. Who I think is the audience:  SF fans. YA, especially boys.

    2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes.

    2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book?  Yes.

    2.6. Other:  I'm not going to tell you about Citizen of the Galaxy, except to say that the Baen's Books version contains a number of other Heinlein works; six novels for six bucks on your choice of platform. No better book deal exists.

    I'm going to tell you about Robert A. Heinlein.

    I love to read Heinlein. His work is easy to read. I read a number of books concurrently (15 books and 1 magazine right now), so I constantly have opportunities to compare writers' work. Heinlein always stands above the others.

    I recall one day I came across comments about Heinlein in IO9. Two young morons calling the Grandmaster a racist 'cause they had read Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold and decided that the book cast blacks in an unfavorable light. I was furious. I have not read IO9 since. I will not read any blog that perpetrates slander against a great man.

    Let me ask you something.

    Have you read Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky? Word is that Heinlein wrote Tunnel in the Sky as an answer to Lord of the Flies. It was published in 1955, when segregation was still the law in many states. The hero of the book, Rod Walker, was black. Heinlein's publisher wanted to change Walker's race to white -- times being what they were -- but Heinlein threatened to withdraw the book. The editor carefully expunged all references to Walker's race, but there remain clues in the book. Robert James says there is a letter -- likely Heinlein's letter to his editor -- in which Heinlein explicitly stated that Walker was black. And Virginia Heinlein always said that Walker was black.

    Have you read Heinlein's Starship Troopers? I don't mean the terrible movie they made of it with the whitebread Johnny Rico. I mean the book. Juan Rico, aka Johnny, is Filipino. Definitely. Beyond question.

    The two morons who spread defamation on IO9 are racists. They judge people by different standards based on race. 'Thou shalt not write a book that holds evil may live in the hearts of black people, lest we spit upon thee and call thee nasty names. But, yeah, verily, thou mayest write the same of white people for the Lord knows their fathers have committed iniquities for which they shall pay even unto the seventh generation. Excepting those who mouth our righteous platitudes, of course.'

    Heinlein was a man. He judged men as The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, judged:  by the content of their character. Heinlein saw in all men flights of angels and mutterings of demons. He knew some would win the struggle and others would lose.

    And he knew that race made no difference.

    Do yourself the biggest favor you will do this year:  buy this book.

    2.7. Links:  The Heinlein Society

    2.8. Buy the book:  Citizen of the Galaxy

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