Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Variable Star

In 1955, Robert Heinlein wrote the outline for a book, one that would have been a juvenile in the same vein as Farmer in the Sky and Have Spacesuit Will Travel. He never actually wrote the book. In 2003, after the death of his wife Virginia, the outline was discovered in his papers. The Estate asked Spider Robinson to finish the work. Variable Star, just published by Tor is the result. It is the last Heinlein novel ever.

While is has the very evident structure of the Heinlein juvenile, with a young man setting out on his own and trying to make a success of himself despite the obstacles that life throws him. Without divulging to much of the plot, thereby spoiling it for any of you that should happen to read this, it follows a fairly predictable path. Robinson has put his own spin in here, as any writer would, creating a not quite juvenile juvenile. I was particularly pleased that he took pains to place it within Heinlein universe through the referencing of familiar points such as the Martians from Stranger in a Strangeland, and other references to the Lunar civilization from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. He does not however, try to cement it within Heinlein's timeline as the book suggests an ending that would have certainly bemused Lazarus Long.

If you are a fan of either Heinlein or Robinson, this should be a book for you to read.


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