September 24, 2002

Red Planet, by Robert A. Heinlein

This is the other early Heinlein novel I picked up for this trip. It's one of Heinlein's so-called "juveniles", and I can barely remember having tried to read it when I was eleven or twelve. The hero is a school kid named Jimmy Marlowe; he gets treated very badly by the school's headmaster, and I found it so unpleasant that I put the book down and never picked it back up again.

The book is both better plotted and less inclined to lecture than Beyond This Horizon, which was written seven years earlier; still, I found it less satisfying. I don't think it's just because it's a juvenile, either, as many of Heinlein's juveniles are first rate. Perhaps the editor's hand was a little heavier on this one.

All-in-all, I found it interesting mostly as a precursor to Stranger in a Strange Land. I don't believe that it's set in precisely the same universe, but the Martians we see only from afar in Stranger in a Strange Land are clearly very much like the ones we meet up close in Red Planet. It was interesting to get a closer look at them.

Posted by Will Duquette at September 24, 2002 06:35 PM