Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Tunnel in the Sky (original 1955; edition 2005)

by Robert A. Heinlein

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,054303,242 (3.83)1 / 59
Title:Tunnel in the Sky
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:Pocket (2005), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:To reread, Science Fiction, Former TBR 2012 (inactive)
Tags:science fiction, reread, read, n610, tsu-mm, sixthten, ebook available

Work details

Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein (1955)

adventure (10) audiobook (4) classic (6) coming of age (7) ebook (14) fantasy (9) fiction (177) Heinlein (34) interstellar travel (6) juvenile (13) mmpb (15) novel (32) Novel Set (5) own (15) paperback (25) pb (10) read (31) science fiction (493) sf (109) sff (39) space (8) speculative fiction (6) survival (26) teleportation (8) to-read (16) unread (7) wishlist (6) YA (18) young adult (31) youth (7)
  1. 10
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (slagolas)
    slagolas: Similar premise/survival situation.
  2. 00
    The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Young adult science fiction with survival themes.
  3. 00
    Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes (JessiAdams)
    JessiAdams: Both books feature a group of young adults stranded on another planet that have to start their own civilization.
  4. 00
    Wildside by Steven Gould (persky)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (29)  Italian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Read this one as a kid and it had a profound effect on me. Read it again every few years as well. One of my favorite books. "Beware the Stobor" remains very good advice indeed.

Nutshell plot is that in the future, high schoolers must complete an outdoor adventure course, however their adventures take place on other worlds. They don't know if the world they're going to is hot or cold, wet or dry, and so must prepare for every eventuality. Alas, for this group of outdoor adventurers, when it is time for them to be summoned home, nobody comes . . .

Glad this was my introduction to Heinlein, as it is (mostly) bereft of the polemics that both add to and detract from Starship Troopers. Had I started with that one, I'm not sure I'd have gone on to this. ( )
  BrendanPMyers | Jun 23, 2014 |
Loved this. A whiff of a subsequent work (star ship troopers) and a dash of Lord of the Flies. Great coming of age novel that stands up to the intervening decades of its publication. You can't go home again and you are always growing. Beware the stobor. ( )
  Anraku | Oct 12, 2013 |
This is one of Heinlein's "juvenile" novels centered upon and written for teens. Rod Walker and other teens start out taking a basic survival test, but something goes wrong and they're stranded on a deserted jungle planet. The novel has been described as the inverse of Lord of the Flies and I even saw a recommendation comparing it to Hunger Games. This is a novel about survival, but here the group of young people struggling against nature itself, not each other, and leadership and cooperation is the theme sounded, not a destructive tearing each other to peaces.

I saw some reviews noting how dated the book is in that the boys and girls pair off so neatly and speculated that Heinlein being a product of his times didn't have the imagination to do otherwise. That would be a no. There was even a very early novel written by him in 1938, not published until after his death, For Us, the Living, that included nudism and "free love," both themes he'd take up with a vengeance in books such as Stranger in a Strange Land published in 1961. But Tunnel in the Sky was contracted for a teen market--and in 1955. Suffice to say Heinlein certainly had even back then the imagination to create alternate lifestyles--he just wasn't free to describe such a world here. And ironically, I think his juveniles are the better for it, even if they strike a rather old-fashioned note from time to time. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Oct 31, 2012 |
Great Heinlein - Love any genre with survival techniques ( )
  CaptKen | Jul 30, 2012 |
Robert Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky is a delight. This story of a group of young people forced to deal with sudden isolation from society is in many ways the photographic negative of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

Tunnel in the Sky follows Rod Walker, our young protagonist, as he and a group of his classmates take a field trip through a matter transfer gate into an unknown, primordial planet where they are intended to undergo a survival course something like a high-stakes Outward Bound. As you might expect, there’s a hitch in their transport, and it turns out this group of students is stranded on a new world, and find that they must survive on their own for far longer than they had expected. Much of the book recounts their efforts to organize, defend and provide for themselves.

One particularly interesting aspect of Tunnel in the Sky is how Heinlein is so forward-looking in some ways, and yet so rooted in his own era’s values in others. For example, several of the key events in the story involve the young students pairing off and marrying. This need to observe a cornerstone of traditional society draws firm boundaries around the new culture the class develops in its lost world, and it also adds shape and meaning to the story. This is in great contrast to similar novels that might be written today in which it would be taken for granted that healthy young people would pair off casually and switch sexual partners with impunity.

Although Heinlein intended Tunnel in the Sky to be a young adult novel, I’d recommended it to all science-fiction fans. ( )
  mrtall | May 9, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Jeannie and Bibs
First words
The Bulletin board outside lecture hall 1712-A of Patrick Henry High School showed a flashing red light.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345353730, Mass Market Paperback)

It was just a test . . .
But something had gone wrong. Terribly wrong. What was to have been a standard ten-day survival test had suddenly become an indefinite life-or-death nightmare.
Now they were stranded somewhere in the universe, beyond contact with Earth . . . at the other end of a tunnel in the sky. This small group of young men and women, divested of all civilized luxuries and laws, were being forced to forge a future of their own . . . a strange future in a strange land where sometimes not even the fittest could survive!
". . . fascinating . . . ingenious . . . this a book in the grand tradition of high literature!"
-- The New York Times

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:02 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"The final exam for Dr. Matson's Advanced Survival class was meant to be just that - only a test. But something has gone terribly wrong, and now Rod Walker and his fellow students are stranded somewhere unknown in the universe, beyond contact with Earth, at the other end of a tunnel in the sky. Stripped of all comforts, hoping for a passage home that may never appear, the castaways must band together or perish. For Rod and his fellow survivors, this is one test where failure is not an option."--Back cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
8 avail.
37 wanted
1 pay3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.83)
1 3
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 2
3 96
3.5 30
4 157
4.5 20
5 77


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,484,955 books! | Top bar: Always visible