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Methuselah's Children by Heinlein

Methuselah's Children (original 1958; edition 1986)

by Heinlein

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1,886145,462 (3.7)18
Title:Methuselah's Children
Info:Baen (1986), Paperback
Collections:Your library, Cave City
Tags:Box 15

Work details

Methuselah's Children by Robert A. Heinlein (1958)

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English (11)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This pulp science-fiction novel was first published in 1941 and expanded and re-released in 1958. The unifying theme concerns the search for a place where the central characters, collectively known as the Families, will be accepted. As a result of selective breading the life span of Family members typically exceeds two centuries common.

Part One tells the story of the group’s escape from earth. Government officials, desperate to secure long life, refuse to believe that the longevity of the Families is due to selective breading. They threaten the extermination of the Families unless they reveal the secret of their longevity.

Part One can be seen as an allegory about the willingness of governments to suspend constitutional safeguards regarding individual rights as an expedient when confronted with a frustrating, intractable social issue. The decision to intern Japanese-Americans without due process in World War II confirmed Heinlein’s prophesy almost immediately. The recent refusal of the Republican Party to consider President Obama’s last Supreme Court nomination and its willingness to deport individuals from the U. S. without due process illustrate that contemporary governments are still willing to resort to the fascist behaviors Heinlein prophesied.

Part Two can best be seen as short stories, stitched together with some connecting material. The themes—the importance of individual identity and the desirability of living in a utopia—are afforded only a superficial treatment. Sacrificing an individual identify can be seen as a form of death—the individual ceases to exist—or a form of eternal life—aspects of the individual’s ego are perpetuated in the group identity. Utopia might be satisfying to some but not to those who value personal accomplishment.

Like most early science fiction, an emphasis on explaining, “how it works,” appears throughout the novel.

This is an early science fiction classic by “the dean of space age fiction,” but Heinlein would have been well advised to stand pat with Part One. Part Two is not particularly insightful or interesting and the ending appears to reflect a weariness with the project rather than the attainment of a planned objective. ( )
  Tatoosh | Nov 7, 2018 |
I didn’t even know that ‘Time Enough For Love’ was part of a series, turns out it is book 2 and this is book 1. Interesting look at the history (for me) of Lazarus Long. And there are more books, apparently! ( )
  Griffin22 | Sep 24, 2018 |
The Families had been breeding for long lives for centuries now, largely hidden from their neighbours but after the overthrow of the Prophets, they thought humanity had developed in more a enlightened fashion. But humans were still humans and feared those who were different and there were fewer people more different than the Howard families with their gift of an extended life. In order to spare the world a bloodbath, the Planetary Administrator and the leaders of the Families had to develop a daring heist...

This book was written in the late fifties and it has dated badly in some ways while remaining fairly fresh in others. Heinlein would develop the background stories of the Howard Families in various other books, some written in more... enlightened... times. All in all it still read fairly fresh. ( )
  JohnFair | Jun 24, 2016 |
The most interesting aspect of this book are the aliens. ( )
  jefware | Apr 4, 2015 |
Timeless SF. Originally written in 1941 but uses the most advanced science of the day which to the average person still is new. And has a lack of anachronistic items. ( )
1 vote Ed.Jones | Jan 27, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heinlein, Robert A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrews, MacLeodNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fecarrotta, GiacomoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kukalis, RomasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover Artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melo, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szafran, GeneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Remy Chandler visits dark places he'd rather avoid and allies himself with a variety of lesser evils as he searches for missing six-year-old Zoe York, who has been kidnapped because of her preternatural ability to see the future.

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