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Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

Tunnel in the Sky (original 1955; edition 1981)

by Robert A. Heinlein

Series: Heinlein Juveniles (9)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,609374,173 (3.81)2 / 94
A high school senior goes through the gate to an unknown planet for a two-to-ten day final exam in Advanced Survival, and realizes, after a period of fighting the elements and wildlife, that something has gone wrong with the gate and what was a brief survival exam is an endless struggle for life.
Title:Tunnel in the Sky
Authors:Robert A. Heinlein
Info:Del Rey (1981), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein (1955)

  1. 30
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (slagolas)
    slagolas: Similar premise/survival situation.
  2. 00
    The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Young adult science fiction with survival themes.
  3. 00
    Invitation to the Game by Monica Hughes (JessiAdams)
    JessiAdams: Both books feature a group of young adults stranded on another planet that have to start their own civilization.
  4. 00
    Wildside by Steven Gould (persky)

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» See also 94 mentions

English (36)  Italian (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
Surprisingly like The Martian - people stranded on another planet that need to figure out a lot of stuff to survive. The Martian was all about managing resources and technical details. Tunnel in the Sky had some of that, but more about social structures. ( )
  bederson | Dec 17, 2020 |
All I know is, I'm glad none of my final exams were ever like this. ( )
  octoberdad | Dec 16, 2020 |
Stargate! Minus all the gods and the missions and the ascension crap.

Add survival, walls, and GOVERNMENT! Wooooo.... um... well at least the survival bit was fun. :)

Seriously, this YA is still a very can-do Americana book, with a seriously heavy Liberterian bent, but I have no issues there. I love that crap.

Still... I think I prefer Miles Vorkosigan's conception of the most important survival tool better. Tipping the invisible hat was one of Bujold's greatest inventions. But Heinlein had the same idea. Screw guns or even shoes, the one thing that any hardscrabble colony needs is the concept of a politics where people can actually work together, and that's what this book is really about.

YA? Sure, more like New Adult in today's classifications. Are you civic-minded enough?

As an adventure and a straight story, it's pretty great all the way to the point where they start voting, then my attention started wandering a bit. Still, some other crazy goes on and we flash forward to see how they all turn out and we even get a complete wrap up, so it's not like the tale went nowhere. It just didn't really do all that much for me. Plus, even though the women were all pretty strong and as can-do as the men, I didn't quite like how the old stereotypes came out in conversation... EVEN IF they were slapped down by a woman right in the group immediately afterward. I just hate the idea that women have to pretend to be men to be treated like men. It's just a sign of the times kind of story, unfortunately, but fortunately, there was very little of this kind of crap and Heinlein's stance on it is pretty egalitarian and equal rights and equal responsibility, so it's more of a me thing hating older cultural trends than a "I blame Heinlein" thing. Petty jealousies and toxic encounters in a closed group, indeed. Of course, she turned it right back and said the same thing about men in any closed group. It may not be clever, but it's true.

I loved the whole stargate survival business and the worldbuilding that led up to it. That was pretty great. :)

It's just the other stuff that made me knock it a star from my original review. Let's Vote! *blech* :)

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
One of the better books by this author, a tale of a teen's fight for survival in the wilds of a remote planet. One evening I read past my usual bedtime, not wanting a pause in the story. Definitely recommended. ( )
  fuzzi | Nov 30, 2018 |
He still couldn't think outside his social box, and the yokelisms grew tiresome again, but this was the best of his I've read so far. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert A. Heinleinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stevenson, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Bulletin board outside lecture hall 1712-A of Patrick Henry High School showed a flashing red light.
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A high school senior goes through the gate to an unknown planet for a two-to-ten day final exam in Advanced Survival, and realizes, after a period of fighting the elements and wildlife, that something has gone wrong with the gate and what was a brief survival exam is an endless struggle for life.

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Average: (3.81)
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