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The Menace from Earth by Robert A. Heinlein
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The Menace from Earth (edition 1966)

by Robert A. Heinlein

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1,324108,549 (3.57)1 / 28
Member:dennymeta
Title:The Menace from Earth
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:Dobson Books Ltd (1966), Hardcover, 255 pages
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The Menace From Earth by Robert A. Heinlein

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
short stories, some interesting ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
A classic. And proof that Heinlein was versatile. If released today would qualify as YA romance and SF both. ( )
  bgknighton | Apr 13, 2016 |
The Year of the Jackpot 4/5
By His Bootstraps 4/5
Columbus Was a Dope 2/5
The Menace from Earth 1/5
Sky Lift 4/5
Goldfish Bowl 1/5
Project Nightmare 5/5
Water Is for Washing 3/5 ( )
  Vonk76 | Mar 31, 2013 |
With Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke I think their short stories are more impressive than their novels, and if I were to list my favorite short science fiction stories, Asimov and Clarke would crowd out almost everyone else in the top ten. With Heinlein I tend to think it's the reverse--that it's his long fiction that is the most memorable--stronger than that of Asimov and Clarke just as their short fiction is much more memorable than that of Heinlein. I just don't think any Heinlein short is of the same caliber as Asimov's "Nightfall" or "The Dead Past" or Clarke's "The Star" or "The Billion Names of God."

But--it surprised me just how enjoyable these were. This is a reread, although I last read this ages ago in my teens. The story I remembered best--and still like the best, is the title story, "The Menace from Earth." It's quite light-hearted and there's a lot here to like. JK Rowling, eat your heart out, Quidditch has nothing on the winged flyers of the Moon! And I quite liked fifteen-year-old Holly Jones--she has quite a lot in common with Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars, only more level-headed and the ending of this novelette doesn't make me want to bounce the book against the wall. "By His Bootstraps," a time-loop story, is another one I found very memorable--although I don't think on first read decades ago I hated Bob Wilson oh so much. With "Goldfish Bowl" I definitely remembered the odd form of the water and the food--and the story does creepy well. "The Year of the Jackpot" is quite unsettling and like many of Heinlein's stories, features a nice little twist. The other four stories aren't as strong--but none is less than entertaining. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Feb 8, 2013 |
The future is intimidating enough when one travels there in the conventional fashion, one moment at a time. In this collection of short stories one visits the future minutes, years, decades or centuries ahead and the effect, without time to prepare for what awaits, is disconcerting. This is not a book to dip in to just before putting the light out, unless your favourite nocturnal activity is quietly fretting in the gloom. The future in these stories is a hairy place. And it's the near future, just a few ticks of the clock away, that can be the most dangerous.

The expectation from a collection of science fiction short stories can range from tales involving rocket ships, bug eyed monsters and ray guns, or possibly all three, through to shocking dystopian imaginings where mankind struggles against some sort of cataclysmic event, such as the sudden arrival of ray-gun wielding bug eyed monsters in rocket ships. This collection is more subtle than that (but worry not, there are rocket ships) and it's this subtlety that leads to an insinuating disquiet, rather than the kind of science fiction threat that can be easily discounted, at least until the first rocket ship touches down on the White House lawn.

It's usual in this collection for the men in the stories to be exceptionally clever, conventionally or unconventionally brave, and able. The women are usually swell types who are there to stand by their man.

The story that kicks off the collection, 'The year of the jackpot', does so in fine style and sets the scene. In a future so near it's practically the present a statistician who monitors social trends by breakfasting in a diner and noting unusual stories in the daily paper becomes involved by chance with a beautiful woman, and explains to her his diagnosis of impending doom for mankind. What's chillingly and clearly conveyed is how fragile society is and how it can slip into disorder without even realising it. The stories that the statistician correctly identifies as a warning are presented in the papers as quirky, light relief, stories barely worth mentioning. Only somebody looking for the signs would see them and, as is made clear, the sort of people who start talking out loud about their suspicions are not usually taken seriously. The thing to do is to act on them. This is a story that will have you reading those little stories on page seven of the paper in a different light.

The exception to the general theme of impending doom is the title story of the collection, 'The menace from Earth'. Anyone (reasonably) expecting some sort of interplanetary strife involving guns, spies and atomic blasts will be disappointed. Anyone looking for an excellent science fiction short story with an unusual twist will be well satisfied. And there are even rockets and space age gadgets. The story may be as light as a child in the one sixth gravity of the moon, but there is substance underneath the froth. This is an unusual departure in the collection because the protagonist is an adolescent female though she is, of course, incredibly smart, and sticks by her guy.

The focus of all the stories, whether the backdrop is one of rocket ships and moon colonies or a dusty desert road, is the role of humanity when faced with forces far greater than themselves, whether it be cosmic calamity, an 'alien' invasion, the merciless laws of physics or even the course of true love and adolescent hormonal whirls. 'By his bootstraps', a fine exploration about time travel and paradox, has a rather unusual force greater than the protagonist, and a rather unusual protagonist in that he's none to sharp and none too likeable.

The collection is an uncomfortable, but thrilling, read. It scrapes the surface of mankind's fear of the unknown and unflinchingly shows that sometimes the is no comfort to be found in discovery, when what is discovered can be something terribly dangerous. These stories of mankind facing vast cosmic forces conclude with a tale that demonstrates that as vast and powerful as any force may be, with courage and sacrifice, such a force may not be insurmountable. ( )
  macnabbs | Jun 10, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Melo,JohnCover artsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Hermann B. Deutsch
First words
THE YEAR OF THE JACKPOT:

At first Potiphar Breen did not notice the girl who was undressing.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A collection. Do not combine with the short story by itself.
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Book description
If she had cracked up without my help, I wouldn't have shed a tear, but - 
"Ariel, I can't stop you ... but I should put my winds away and not have anything to do with it."
"Perhaps, Jeff will help me."
:He probably will" I blurted out, "If he's as big a fool as I think he is!"
Just then Jeff stalled in beside us. "WHat's the discussion?" ... HE got the idea I had suggested it, and started bawling me out. Was I crazy? Was I trying to get Ariel hurt? Didn't I have any sense?
"Shut up!" I Yelled. "You asked me to teach your girl friend. Now beat it! Take wing!"
He swelled up. "I absolutely forbid it."
Silence. Then ... "Come, Holly," Ariel said quietly, "Let's get me some wings."
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