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Citizen of the galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein
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Citizen of the galaxy (original 1957; edition 1957)

by Robert A. Heinlein

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2,581563,530 (3.91)83
Member:jfurshong
Title:Citizen of the galaxy
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:New York : Scribner, [1987], c1957.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Modern Library Board: Readers' Top 100

Work details

Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert A. Heinlein (1957)

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English (52)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
"Goodnight, son," the old beggar whispered. "Good dreams . . . and good luck!"

In “Citizen of the Galaxy” by Robert A. Heinlein

I should ask the Heinlein estate permission to use one his characters in a new story. I could see Thorby going after the slavers, there are so many other characters. Lazarus Long, Started Max Jones, Lip Russell and his spacesuit, Bill Lerner and his farm on Ganymede. John Lyle and America as a theocracy.

Of the three main love interests presented the first was taboo, fair enough and he didn’t really think of her that way before it was too late. The second one he was forced to leave behind to uphold his promise to pops and what he felt was his duty, arguably he could've done more here if he was interested and he at the very least though of her that way so it’s a bit "meh' but understandable. The third one though is by now minimum 18 years of age; it’s never really specified exactly but he was taken at 3 and Lida (or Leeda or however it’s spelled said it’s been at least 15 years so at the very least 18 years old. Now here is a young beautiful, caring and brave woman who puts everything on the line to help him, supports him in everything he does, goes against her own parents and literally saves him in more ways than one and you want me to believe an 18 year old man would not give his left nut to get with that? I find that rather unlikely, to imagine he wouldn't even think of her like that is just nonsensical. When they met, he thought she was a 1st cousin. He didn't recognize her as a potential romance; by the time he realised she was, they were "friendzoned". Plus, it's a consistent character trait that he's pretty much oblivious to women's interest; doesn't pick it up, not everyone does. Also, very driven, duty-minded, not to mention traumatized kid; recipe for dissociation, could be that his libido's entirely sublimated. It never occurred to him to sit outside and watch girls walk by, either.

Shouldn't assume that the way western teens are socialized is biologically inevitable. His socialization is more like a refugee child, totally different worldview and priorities. At first I had the same criticism of the Thorby character but after re-reading some of Heinlein's other books and re-reading this book about a billion times I've decided that it's not an error - Heinlein seems to have intentionally written Thorby's character to be more asexual in nature. Especially seeing as he doesn't show sexual interest in any of the other characters and when it is brought up he seems to react in such a way that seems like he's more concerned with their feelings/his duties than he is interested in exploring anything related to sex/sexuality.

I've known a couple of asexual people in life - they're rare but they do indeed exist…

This, ah, old story by Robert Heinlein, is an instruction manual for life, aimed at young people, but meant for anyone who is interested in how things work in a real world setting. A fictional tale that explains real things in allegory and metaphor. So, your wish that this story never end, is somewhat fulfilled. You may enjoy another story by R.H. titled "Stranger in a Strange Land" (LINK), and the original "Dune" series of 6 books by Frank Herbert.

Why does anyone still read Heinlein? Because he's like David Bowie. Even bad Bowie is better than no Bowie.

Perhaps his best juvenile novel. ( )
  antao | May 31, 2019 |
For as long as he could remember, young Thorby had been a slave—until he lands on Jubbal, one of the Nine Worlds of the Sargon Empire, and is purchased by a beggar named Baslim. It is not long before Thorby realizes that Baslim is no simple mendicant, but a spy and one who despises the slave trade. Once Baslim educates Thorby in reading, writing, mathematics, and even a bit of espionage, he frees Thorby from slavery and adopts him as his son.

In the event of his death, Baslim commands Thorby to carry a special message to the captain of the first Free Trader vessel that landed on Jubbal. Baslim uses hypnosis to allow Thorby to memorize the message in an unfamiliar language.

After Baslim is finally arrested and executed by Sargon police, Thorby makes his way to the spaceport where he approaches Captain Krausa of the Sisu and delivers the message. As it turns out, the Free Traders owe a special debt to Baslim and as such, Krausa follows the old man’s instructions and adopts Thorby into his family. Thorby becomes a crewman aboard the Sisu—but only temporarily, for Baslim also wished to have the Free Trader captain turn over Thorby to a Hegemonic military vessel where he would have the opportunity to discover his true lineage. Baslim suspected that Thorby had been abducted from a Terran family.

When Thorby is finally reunited with his family on Earth, he learns that he is heir to a fortune… but not everyone has his best interests at heart. Worse, the company once owned by his parents might now be indirectly involved in the same detestable institution from which Baslim had liberated him.

Citizen of the Galaxy is one of Heinlein’s juvenile SF adventure novels, what we would today categorize as young adult. It is a delightful “rags to riches” tale that allows the reader to experience a wide range of lifestyles and family structures through Thorby’s eyes as he evolves from slave to adopted family member of Free Traders to an enlisted man aboard a military vessel and finally, the head of one of the wealthiest corporations on Earth. ( )
  pgiunta | Jun 2, 2018 |
Page turning read about a young slave's journey to discovering who they are. Overlaid with Heinlein's political opinions as always. ( )
  brakketh | Apr 22, 2018 |
This book was much deeper and darker than the others ind Heinlein's "Scribner's Junior" series.

Our protagonists begins as he is being sold as a slave. We then follow him throughout his life, living with his new owner who frees him and raises him as his own, a beggar in the street, to his father's surprising death, to a life on the "road" that is illusive to FireFly, to joining the military, to learning his birth identity. The book finally gets interesting in a move that will believe the whole universe could finally be changing for the better, and then its over. ( )
  fulner | Sep 6, 2017 |
He's growing on me. Still a sexist (nods to a matriarchy aside, it's still prevalent). And for some as yet undetermined reason a fan of psychiatry/psychotherapy and seemingly, hypnotism. I'm hoping his later writings reveal a little more reason on the psychotherapy front and drops it from his lines, but I'll continue my march through his novels anyway. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meltzer,DavisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stimpson, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell KCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Leiber, Fritz (To Fritz Leiber)
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"Lot ninety-seven," the auctioneer announced. "A boy."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345342445, Mass Market Paperback)

SLAVE: Brought to Sargon in chains as a child -- unwanted by all save a one-legged beggar -- Thorby learned well the wiles of the street people and the mysterious ways of his crippled
master . . .
OUTLAW: Hunted by the police for some unknown treasonous acts committed by his beloved owner, Thorby risked his life to deliver a dead man's message and found himself both guest and prisoner aboard an alien spaceship . . .
CITIZEN: Unaware of his role in an ongoing intrigue, Thorby became one of the freest of the free in the entire galaxy as the adopted son of a noble space captain . . . until he became a captive in an interstellar prison that offered everything but the hope of escape!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:34 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A youth who has known only the primitive life of a galaxy slave is purchased by a beggar who turns out to be a man with many extracurricular activities.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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