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Mon, 06 Jun 2005

Have Space Suit, Will Travel / Robert A. Heinlein
Have Space Suit, Will Travel It was back in the third grade, I think, although it may even have been the second. I was trolling the school library and found this book. It might have been the title; even then I could enjoy a good cultural reference. But whatever the reason, I took it and read it. I don't know how much of it I understood, although little bits stuck in my memory. The title, alas, was not one of them. And for years later I wondered about that early, perhaps even first, encounter with science fiction.

A little over ten years later I was practically inhaling Heinlein: his early adult work from the 40s, his more explicitly adult work from the 60s and, as it came into paperback, the 70s. And, as they were republished, his juvenile fiction from the 50s. Including this volume, which I recognized almost immediately as that book from the PS 162 school library. And enjoyed in ways that younger me couldn't.

Reading Heinlein's words are a pleasure. Having them read is a different pleasure. And having them partly acted out, with different actors giving voice to the dialogue, is different still. This production gives life to Heinlein's characters. Well, more accurately it lets us enjoy the life that was already there. Of all the great SF writers, Heinlein was in my view the best writer, the one who could create characters and situations that felt the most human. And it may be that in his juvenile fiction he reached the peak of his humanity, before his interest in politics and, if I may say, his obsession with sexuality took over.

I love this book, both for itself and for its ability to invoke memories of that early precocious-but-innocent self. And to wonder how to get a little bit of him back.

[ Category: Audiobook | 1 comment | Link ]

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Comments to: Hank Shiffman, Mountain View, California