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Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Tunnel in the Sky (original 1955; edition 2005)

by Robert A. Heinlein

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2,194322,958 (3.82)1 / 65
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)

  1. 20
    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)

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
One of my favorites...not counting all the other Heinlein novels. This one sends a high school class of survival students for a short jaunt onto an alien world. Their stargate connection is broken by a nova and they wind up spending much more time there than they expected. The high school students are way more capable than I would give most credit for in any world, but it is a small point more than offset by the adventure faced by Rod Walker and his fellow survivors, many of whom don't make it to rescue. Like others of a certain (now advanced) age, I started along the science fiction path with Heinlein's juvenile novels. They are and always will be great fun even if the basic concepts Heinlein pioneered are old hat to modern readers. Highly recommended. ( )
  NickHowes | Mar 2, 2016 |
Awesome book. Quite the compelling read. Damn thing kept me up all night. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. Which kind of sucked because I started it around 2am. So, here I am. It's 6am now, and I just finished this book. And there's no way I'm getting any sleep because damn... This book was so gripping. It has my mind in a vise.

That being said, the book is pretty much "The lord of the flies" in space. Or, on a different planet, anyway. Its a pretty simple story. It's just very well written and full of wonder. I do, however, wish there was a bit more conflict. I mean, they throw 100 teenagers on a distant earth-like planet, with just a few knives, and a couple scarce guns. They're stuck there for 2 years. They have to create their own society. Build their own habitat. Create their own laws.

100 teenagers... and there is literally 2 fights in the whole damn book. Seriously? That's total bullshit. They would be fighting constantly, just like The Lord of the Flies. So, if you can suspend your disbelief for long enough to finish this book, it's well worth it. But damn, Bobby boy. They didn't all have to be shiny happy people all the time for fuck's sake.

So, fuck Bobby Heinlein in his shiny happy asshole. Because, fuck man. Teenagers are not this happy. Teenagers are fucking miserable. They would have killed each other so fast, and you fucking know it, you dead hippy fuck. ( )
  gecizzle | Mar 5, 2015 |
This is not the correct edition. Mine is an OLD mono rip from cassettes done probably 20 years ago or more.

I'm 2/9 of the way in & quite impressed (no, not by the sound quality) by all the things Heinlein's managed to pack into the beginning of this novel. It's not just the neat new way of traveling to the stars, but the whole way he's done the colonization idea. The contrast between low tech pioneering & super high tech travel is economically & socially feasible.

I have to say, sending mules & steers across makes absolutely no sense & undercuts the point for using hay burners that he just made, though. A few to get started - maybe - but if the economics are tight, varieties that can breed make a lot more sense. Last I heard, mules are the sterile offspring of a stallion & a jenny, while steers had their jewels stolen.

Oh well, his point on guns was very well taken & demonstrated. I loved the way he put it too. The family circumstances are quite a good, poignant point, too. All in all, I don't when I've last liked the setup to an entirely new world so well.

Like most of Heinlein's juveniles, this one has a lot of lessons to teach, but some are more apparent than others. Rod, our hero, is black according to Heinlein. He wasn't allowed to say so, though. There isn't anything to point out his race one way or the other, mostly the clues are in the lack of descriptive elements. While others get sunburned, Rod never is nor is his skin ever described as being tanned. Kind of cool that he slid this one through. He has some very strong, smart women, too.

The book has its problems, but I think they're overwhelmed by its good points. Rod isn't a perfect hero, but he's pretty much a perfect adolescent male & firmly plants his foot in his mouth more than once. Didn't we all? But he's basically a good guy who does a lot of growing & never gives up, so he gets what he wants eventually. Love it. Lot's of fun with a great many things for kids, teens, & even adults to aspire to. What boy wouldn't want adventures of this sort? (I still do!)
( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:35 -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)

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