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Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein
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Double Star

by Robert A. Heinlein

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2,433563,667 (3.71)118
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» See also 118 mentions

English (54)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
For many, this is is their favorite Heinlein novel, sitting in the sweet spot of his transition from young adult novels, without the issues of The Puppet Masters. It's for adults, not because there's any sex, but because it's almost all about politics. I can understand why this may be so. It's compulsively readable, despite my critiques to come. The political view is aggressively inclusive. The sexism is typical for 1950's American SF, but not a dominating factor.

So why is this not my favorite Heinlein? I don't mind that the book is almost all dialog and monologue, but why then have an opening chapter straight out of a pulp mystery magazine? It's surprisingly weak as science fiction. The story of an actor hired to impersonate a politician kidnapped at a crucial point in his career could easily have been told with no SF elements. The action moves around from Earth to Mars to the Moon, but, like a cheap B movie, stays almost always indoors, with no serious use of the changing locales. The major outdoor scene on Mars, when our hero has to make peace with the Martians, reads just like a pow-wow with Native Americans in the desert. Even its link with Heinlein's post-hoc Future History is limited mostly to passing references to torch ships.

Recommended for adults looking to see how Heinlein's writing worked, when it worked well, and not particularly interested in SF. But my favorite Heinlein remains Citizen of the Galaxy. ( )
  ChrisRiesbeck | Aug 31, 2018 |
An actor is hired to play the part of a missing dignitary, with some predictable and unexpected results.

This is one of the better vintage Heinlein, with plenty of twists and political machinations. ( )
  fuzzi | Jun 3, 2018 |
This is a book I would have loved as a kid. Feels dated now. Glad I read it but I was thankful it was short. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
Implausible and impossible to put down- like all of Heinlein’s books I’ve read its hero is a man of action and boundless self confidence, a wisecracking all-American cowboy figure who brushes obstacles aside, a genial dictator figure who knows that as long as he’s left in charge everything will be o.k. The voice is always the same – and I can see why the new wake of science fiction writers reacted against Heinlein: Aldiss, Moorcock, Ballard, Dick. Heinlein’s Pax Americana and paternalism vision of the future certainly does have fascist overtones. But he’s still a great storyteller, his books filled with mind-bending concepts presumably achieved without the help of the consciousness expanding substances that inspired some of his successors.



Yes, the Bonforte character was a very macho autocrat…Who cares? Nevertheless, “The Great Lorenzo” doesn’t quite conform to the macho ‘tit man’ narrator as Heinlein… although the authorial voice does creep through in interesting ways in his stereotyped descriptions of Lorenzo’s camp-actor personality and co…Heinlein enjoyed challenging established ways of thinking, and for most of his great period of writing liberal politics was on the rise, so he took great pleasure in poking holes in political sacred figures.





If you’re into SF, read the rest of this review on my blog. ( )
  antao | Dec 12, 2017 |
A brisk, cracking good little number from Heinlein's mid-50's output. The intro notes included with the Virginia Edition shed some interesting light on the process behind this story, which saw its origins in Ginnie helping coordinate a local theater production in Colorado Springs.

From that seed, Heinlein whips up a fun yarn about a despondent, no-account stage actor who goes for a quick cash-grab and winds up giving the performance of his life and changing the political structure of the galaxy while he's at it. RH's interest in politicking is clearly demonstrated throughout, with a lot of exposition about campaign coordination and backroom legislative chicanery.

As with much of his work (especially the earlier stuff), his observations about the flaws and merits of the political engine benefit from the perspective of reading this in 2016.

In all, an amusing page-turner of a short story with his usual cast of characters and archetypes, but with some degree of originality to the plot itself. I cut through it in no time and found it a pleasurable, quick read. Nothing especially profound or epic, but some cracking good post-war syfy. ( )
  Daninsky | Aug 19, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, AnthonyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szafran, GeneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Henry and Catherine Kuttner
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If a man walks in dressed like a hick and acting as if he owned the place, he's a spaceman.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345330137, Mass Market Paperback)

One minute, down and out actor Lorenzo Smythe was -- as usual -- in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars.

Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake -- failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe's own life was on the line -- for if he wasn't assassinated, there was always the possibility that he might be trapped in his new role forever!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An actor is coerced into impersonating a kidnapped politician. When the politician dies, his staff persuades the actor to continue and to carry out the politician's ambitions.

» see all 5 descriptions

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