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Space Family Stone by Robert A Heinlein

Space Family Stone (original 1952; edition 1971)

by Robert A Heinlein

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1,596124,558 (3.65)46
Title:Space Family Stone
Authors:Robert A Heinlein
Info:New Eng. Lib. (1971), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library, Science Fiction and Fantasy
Tags:Science fiction

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The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein (1952)


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Teenaged twins Castor and Pollux Stone cajole their father into buying a space ship, and the entire family goes on a trip around the galaxy. But Castor and Pollux repeatedly end up in trouble with their schemes to make a fortune on distant planets.

This is a hard book for me to review, so I'll keep it short. I've only read one other book by Heinlein, A Stranger in a Strange Land, and that was as a teenager, so I expected something a bit more serious and meaningful in this book. Is this what pulp is? I've only read one pulp-fiction book, A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, so I'm very inexperienced with the genre. It took me a while to get over the cheese. But I recognize that when you're reading a book that was written in a style foreign to you, it's better to view the book within its context rather than comparing it to your usual type. And after I approached the book from this perspective, I began to really enjoy the humor and even became emotionally invested in the characters. I wouldn't say I highly recommend this book, but I enjoyed my second pulp experience. ( )
  The_Hibernator | Jan 25, 2016 |
This was fun. The narrator was perfect for the part. He made it feel even more like I was reading about the smarter, more efficient and sciency Jetsons, in space. There was enough hard science for the hard sci-fi fans and enough witty banter for everyone else. Would love to see a movie or tv show adaptation of this. It definitely left me wonder if flat cats inspired tribbles or vice versa. ( )
  ragwaine | Dec 27, 2015 |
This is a fun romp dealing with the space-faring family Stone, from sharp-tongued Grandma Hazel Stone, veteran of the Luna War, to the parents and four children. It's one of the better of Robert Heinlein's "juveniles" which I like better than many of his later novels which featured such eccentricities as polyamory. Yes, some social and technological detail is dated, this was written in 1952. Yes, there is sexism--right there in the banter and other content. Yet at the same time the mother of this bunch is a surgeon, unusual for that era to say the least. And yes, the Martian flat-cats do bear a great resemblance to Star Trek's Tribbles. The producers made sure Heinlein was fine with that--David Gerrold, the author of the script said he probably did unconsciously get the idea from here, even though he thought he was telling the Australian rabbit story. That aside the dialogue is witty, the story fast-paced, and the book very enjoyable. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Oct 30, 2012 |
Just re-read this and was reminded of how good Heinlein was at dialogue, at his best. (This varied wildly over his career, seemingly at random.) Especially in the initial three or so chapters, a large part of what keeps you reading is simply that the characters' interactions are so zippy.

He also does a good job starting light and gradually making things more serious.
Toward the end, we get an excellent example of how capable Heinlein could be at tugging on certain emotional strings. I am thinking of the section in which two of the Stone family are in danger. The younger one, who doesn't understand the situation, must be distracted and entertained by his elder while she also tries to save their lives. It's an emotionally intense scene.

Bonus: The story of the worm who crawled up from the mud. And will continue climbing, once our species gets over its doubtless temporary patch of wussiness. Taking the long view, I have confidence in us, just like Heinlein. Update June 2012: The recent success of the private-sector Dragon capsule's rendezvous with the International Space Station is one of several encouraging signs!

Note: Another reviewer said that the book "stereotypes women." Fact: The wife is an MD. And this book was written in the early 1950s! Fact: The grandmother is an ex-revolutionary who kicked ass in the Lunar Revolution. She is also the most all-around tough and capable person in the novel. She kicks butt, she assumes the role of a lawyer and gets her two grandsons out of legal trouble in court, and she pilots a spacecraft toward help by the seat of her pants when its navigational instrumentation and gyroscopes malfunction. She's also the leader who, when everyone else is planning on returning home, convinces them to head farther out, to Jupiter. So I'm not quite sure what the objection is. ( )
1 vote Carnophile | Apr 28, 2012 |
A light, easy read. Don't expect a very dramatic plotline, but the banter is good and the long descriptions of basic spaceflight are, for the most part, interesting. I believe this was intended for younger audiences. It also has a few errors/typos in the text, suggesting that Heinlein milled it out rather quickly. I don't mind.
  Fosforus | Aug 8, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, Gorden CCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eggleton, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geary, CliffordCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, Steve A.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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THE UNHEAVENLY TWINS - The two brothers stood looking the old wreck over.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034532451X, Mass Market Paperback)

When the Stone twins made up their minds to leave Lunar City in a secondhand spaceship, they hadn't planned on having their whole family accompany them. But the Stones were not your ordinary Lunar family -- no way! -- and their voyage through the solar system sure proved it.

What began as a simple business expedition to Mars soon mushroomed into a dangerous situation when Grandma Stone was lost in space. Then, just when everything seemed to be getting better, a Martian flatcat came aboard and fouled up the works.

But the real trouble didn't get underway until the Stones headed for the asteroid belt to take up a mining proposition they, somehow, couldn't refuse . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Though it doesn't seem likely for twins to have the same middle name, it's clear that Castor and Pollux Stone both have 'Trouble' in that spot on their birth certificates. Anyone who's met their grandmother Hazel will know they came by it honestly.

(summary from another edition)

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