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Citizen of the Galaxy (1957)

by Robert A. Heinlein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Heinlein Juveniles (11)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,807583,815 (3.89)86
A youth who has known only the primitive life of a galaxy slave is purchased by a beggar who turns out to be a man with many extracurricular activities.
  1. 20
    Kim by Rudyard Kipling (Gregorio_Roth)
    Gregorio_Roth: Citizen of the Galaxy was recommended under the book KIM so it should be also with this...
  2. 00
    Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (Gregorio_Roth)
    Gregorio_Roth: Citizen of the Galaxy was influenced by LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
  3. 00
    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (enrique_molinero)

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» See also 86 mentions

English (54)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Kind of neat at first (some of the world building on the Sisu in particular was neat), but it turned into a bit of a snooze and felt kind of half-formed. Read this aloud to the kids, who felt similarly meh about it. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
This is a story about a boy being bought as a slave on a slave auction far away on a distant planet. Distant from many planets, not itself of course. For the people living there it was actually a very close planet.

Anyway, enough about distances. The story follows this boy through life, and he is the one referred to by the title "citizen of the galaxy". The story is nothing special, but the book is short so no room for diving into details.

I'm trying to think of what Heinlein meant with this book. Is it the chase of the American Dream? That poverty doesn't mean unhappiness? The infinite possibilities in a life time? That success is in your genes?

Whatever he meant, I don't think I agree with everything.

As for grade. It could be two or a three. I started with a three, but changed it to a two after removing the implicit "I like this author" bonus. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Re-read. I still love it. I understand why people prefer some of the Heinlein juveniles with tighter plots. But there is something about this one that stays with me.
  ben_a | Jan 16, 2020 |
Naakt op een lendendoek na staat de jonge Thorby op het slavenblok, ergens op een planeet in de wetteloze uithoek van de Melkweg. Verkocht worden is geen nieuwe ervaring voor hem.
Niemand wil hem hebben, maar dan doet een bedelaar een bod op hem. De bedelaar zorgt als een vadervoor hem, en hem een vak . Niet veel later leert de jongen dat de bedelaar anders is dan hij zich voortdoet. Na een paar jaar wordt de oude man vermoordt, en moet de jongen vluchten om zijn leven te redden. Nu is het zijn taak om een belangrijke boodschap de planeet af te smokkelen.

Na diverse omzwervingen en avonturen belandt de jongen eindelijk op de Aarde. Niemand daar gelooft zijn verhalen over slavernij en de barbaarse toestanden die in sommige delen van de Melkweg bestaan. Als uiteindelijk de afkomst van de jongen ontdekt wordt, krijgt hij de kans om wraak te nemen op de slavenhalers.

Zwerftocht tussen de sterren bestaat in feite in 3 verschillende delen, die allen wel interessant waren, maar de eerste twee delen waren beduiden beter dan het laatste.

Voelde me tot het laatste woord betrokken bij het boek, maar eenmaal uit was ik toch wel teleurgesteld. Het boek leek wel afgeraffeld te zijn, met een abrupt einde, waarbij zeer weinig afgewikkeld werd.

Zou dit boek 4 (of 5) sterren gegeven hebben indien Heinlein de moeite had genomen om er een werkelijk einde aan te maken. Nu blijft nog te veel open. Er waren zeker nog genoeg mogelijkheden voor het laatste deel. ( )
  EdwinKort | Oct 18, 2019 |
"Goodnight, son," the old beggar whispered. "Good dreams . . . and good luck!"

In “Citizen of the Galaxy” by Robert A. Heinlein

I should ask the Heinlein estate permission to use one his characters in a new story. I could see Thorby going after the slavers, there are so many other characters. Lazarus Long, Started Max Jones, Lip Russell and his spacesuit, Bill Lerner and his farm on Ganymede. John Lyle and America as a theocracy.

Of the three main love interests presented the first was taboo, fair enough and he didn’t really think of her that way before it was too late. The second one he was forced to leave behind to uphold his promise to pops and what he felt was his duty, arguably he could've done more here if he was interested and he at the very least though of her that way so it’s a bit "meh' but understandable. The third one though is by now minimum 18 years of age; it’s never really specified exactly but he was taken at 3 and Lida (or Leeda or however it’s spelled said it’s been at least 15 years so at the very least 18 years old. Now here is a young beautiful, caring and brave woman who puts everything on the line to help him, supports him in everything he does, goes against her own parents and literally saves him in more ways than one and you want me to believe an 18 year old man would not give his left nut to get with that? I find that rather unlikely, to imagine he wouldn't even think of her like that is just nonsensical. When they met, he thought she was a 1st cousin. He didn't recognize her as a potential romance; by the time he realised she was, they were "friendzoned". Plus, it's a consistent character trait that he's pretty much oblivious to women's interest; doesn't pick it up, not everyone does. Also, very driven, duty-minded, not to mention traumatized kid; recipe for dissociation, could be that his libido's entirely sublimated. It never occurred to him to sit outside and watch girls walk by, either.

Shouldn't assume that the way western teens are socialized is biologically inevitable. His socialization is more like a refugee child, totally different worldview and priorities. At first I had the same criticism of the Thorby character but after re-reading some of Heinlein's other books and re-reading this book about a billion times I've decided that it's not an error - Heinlein seems to have intentionally written Thorby's character to be more asexual in nature. Especially seeing as he doesn't show sexual interest in any of the other characters and when it is brought up he seems to react in such a way that seems like he's more concerned with their feelings/his duties than he is interested in exploring anything related to sex/sexuality.

I've known a couple of asexual people in life - they're rare but they do indeed exist…

This, ah, old story by Robert Heinlein, is an instruction manual for life, aimed at young people, but meant for anyone who is interested in how things work in a real world setting. A fictional tale that explains real things in allegory and metaphor. So, your wish that this story never end, is somewhat fulfilled. You may enjoy another story by R.H. titled "Stranger in a Strange Land" (LINK), and the original "Dune" series of 6 books by Frank Herbert.

Why does anyone still read Heinlein? Because he's like David Bowie. Even bad Bowie is better than no Bowie.

Perhaps his best juvenile novel. ( )
1 vote antao | May 31, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meltzer,DavisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stimpson, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell KCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Fritz Leiber
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"Lot ninety-seven," the auctioneer announced. "A boy."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A youth who has known only the primitive life of a galaxy slave is purchased by a beggar who turns out to be a man with many extracurricular activities.

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