This isn’t Heinlein’s best work. The faux Russian grammar of the narrator is pretty annoying, and the story shallow. Its an ok read as entertainment, but I think it could do with more plot and fewer long rants about the dangers of big government. I’d like to know more about the cyborgs which seem to pilot everything important as well.
This book is only the second book I have failed to finish in the last few years. This is Heinlein’s second novel, and that’s the problem — its clumsily written in a style which moves at a lethargic pace. Its also pretty badly dated, and possesses that creepy EE “Doc” Smith eugenics theme that is so disturbing. I made it to page 67 before I stopped caring.
I had trouble getting really into this book, although the story was interesting. I guess its mostly the Gibson-esque descriptions of a future world with plenty of assumed knowledge. However, I found the descriptions of the failed Mars missions deeply satisfying, and would love to see those covered in more detail.
However, the story gets better as you go along, and I found the second two thirds of the book to be really good. It probably helped that I have an engineering background, because some of the descriptions are quite technical.
[awards: nominee hugo 2009; nominee prometheus 2009]
This is the first Heinlein book I have read in a long time — since High School in fact. I read this one simply on an impulse, as the back cover description made it sound interesting. Heinlein isn’t on the list of authors that I am pursuing at the moment, although I might consider changing that.
This book covers a more complicated Earth than the one we have right now, although in some ways its more simple. The main character Friday doesn’t ever seem to have trouble making friends, and portions of the book are just a series of her romantic entanglements. Most of the complexities are political. The story is mostly about a journey, both physical as well as emotional, and interestingly there isn’t a consistent opposing force. I suspect that might be unusual, at least for the stuff I read.
This book was good, even if the constant romantic entanglements seemed extraneous.
[award: winner nebula 1982; winner hugo 1982; winner locus 1983; winner prometheus 1983]