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Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
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Orphans of the Sky (1963)

by Robert A. Heinlein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Future History (Fixup 10, 12)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,973325,279 (3.49)40
Robert Anson Heinlein was born in Missouri in 1907, and was raised there. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929, but was forced by illness to retire from the Navy in 1934. He settled in California and over the next five years held a variety of jobs while doing post-graduate work in mathematics and physics at the University of California. In 1939 he sold his first science fiction story to Astounding magazine and soon devoted himself to the genre. He was a four-time winner of the Hugo Award for his novels Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), Starship Troopers (1959), Double Star (1956), and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966). His Future History series, incorporating both short stories and novels, was first mapped out in 1941. The series charts the social, political, and technological changes shaping human society from the present through several centuries into the future. Robert A. Heinlein's books were among the first works of science fiction to reach bestseller status in both hardcover and paperback. he continued to work into his eighties, and his work never ceased to amaze, to entertain, and to generate controversy. By the time hed died, in 1988, it was evident that he was one of the formative talents of science fiction: a writer whose unique vision, unflagging energy, and persistence, over the course of five decades, made a great impact on the American mind.… (more)
Recently added byMFam, nateshow, alaman13, private library, MikeHungerford, BettyMullen, dcdfn, prometheusng
  1. 00
    Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss (jigarpatel)
    jigarpatel: "Non-Stop" (1958) is a well-developed successor to Heinlein's fix-up "Orphans of the Sky" (whose components were first published 1941). I recommend "Non-Stop" for plot and characterization, "Orphans of the Sky" for those interested in the history of science fiction. Both are excellent.… (more)
  2. 01
    The Modern Scholar: From Here to Infinity ~An Exploration of Science Fiction Literature~ (14 Lectures on 7 Audiocassettes) by Michael D. C. Drout (themulhern)
    themulhern: This awful work by Heinlein pretty much refutes everything positive that Drout has to say about Heinlein in his discussion of his work in this quite interesting lecture series.
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» See also 40 mentions

English (29)  Russian (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
The ship Vanguard, originally destined for Proxima Centauri, is cruising pilotless through the interstellar medium as a result of a failed mutiny that killed all of the piloting officers. The descendants of the surviving crew have forgotten the purpose and nature of their ship over time
  JRCornell | Dec 7, 2018 |
Dit is een van de oorspronkelijke "verloren generatie schip" verhalen, een novelle van twee eerdere korte verhalen van Heinlein. Oorspronkelijk in de jaren '40 geschreven blijft het verhaal toch boeien.

De 'bemanning' van Schip heeft nooit iets anders gekend dan Schip, een gigantisch ruimteschip met meerdere dekken, dat voor hen hun hele universum is. Ze hebben geen notie van beweging of dat er iets buiten Schip is. Lang geleden hebben zij alle begrip van Schip's technologie en oorsprong verloren, ook al doen ze de dingen die nodig zijn om het systeem draaiende te houden.

Het verhaal gaat over een jongeman, die bezig is om wetenschapper te worden, maar die gevangen genomen word door een groep 'mutties', afstammelingen van de muiters, geleid door een bijzonder intelligent tweehoofdige leider, in bezit van een bibliotheek met boeken die hij beter begrijpt dan de 'bemanning'. Hij toont Hugh de sterren en de echte natuur van Schip. Als Hugh terug keert om zijn mede-bemaningsleden hierover te vertellen, loopt het precies zo als je je kan voorstellen. Het loopt uit op muiterij en verraad. Intussen nadert Schip zijn bestemming.

Wat mij betreft geen top SF verhaal, maar een middenmoter, waarbij wel bedacht moet worden dat dit een boek is dat in de '40-er jaren van de vorige eeuw is geschreven. ( )
  EdwinKort | Jul 4, 2018 |
Hugh Hoyland loved to read the ancient books, even though some of the things in them were quite strange and fantastic. For example, the “law of gravitation,” He knew when you ascended to the higher decks you got lighter, and when you came down you felt heavier, so what was this odd formula that the ancients attached to it? When he went to the village Scientist he told Hugh that it was a poetic metaphor for human love, and not to worry about it, lest he wander into heresy, and endanger himself and the rest of humanity on the Ship.

Hugh is about to learn that his village Scientist is very wrong is as most of humanity, and the Ship is not the Universe, but the Starship Vanguard, adrift for generations, and that the primitive patriarchy he inhabits is the degenerate remnant of a crew of pioneer space explorers who have lapsed into a state of ignorance, unaware of the universe through which they travel.

Having finished rereading this old favorite, as is often the case, some scenes that I remembered vividly were not quite as I remembered them. This made what was somewhat familiar new and delightful. ( )
  MaowangVater | Apr 21, 2018 |
What happens when a ship full of colonists on a long voyage forgets their past? Seems like an old trope now, but probably wan't in 1941... ( )
  bobholt | Dec 3, 2017 |
This early Heinlein tale of a generation ship is quite interesting given that it was published in 1941. The ship has suffered a disaster as a result of a mutiny many generations ago. The mutiny resulted in death of 90% of the ship's population. The subsequent struggle for survival has produced a bifurcated population. The first group is an illiterate peasant society with barely literate technocrats maintaining the crucial power systems and sages keeping a very distorted history alive. Parts of the history that are not understandable have morphed into a sort of religion. The population seems to have become mentally degenerate with some of the peasants barely able to speak. The second population group consists of mutated humans who dwell in the upper levels of the ship and are feared and hunted by the first group.

This story is very harsh with lots of weapons, violence and betrayals. There is cannabalism and infanticide. ButiIt also features the awe on the part of the protagonist at seeing the stars for the first time and beginning to understand that there is something outside of the Ship and the the Trip is an actually journey to a destination and not a metaphor for the end of life.

The rating would have been much higher had it not been for how Heinlein treats the women in this story. Only three women are mentioned, only two of those three are given names and none of them have any dialogue or agency. The women are treated as chattel and brutalized by the men. That treatment makes this book one that I will not read again. ( )
  Course8 | Oct 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heinlein, Robert A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Griffiths, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sannes, SanneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"The Proxima Centauri Expedition, sponsored by the Jordan Foundation in 2119, was the first recorded attempt to reach the nearer stars fo this galaxy. Whatever its unhappy fate we can only conjecture...' - Quoted from The Romance of Modern Astrography, by Franklin Buck, published by Lux Transcriptions, Ltd., 3.50 cr.
Dedication
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"There's a mutie! Look out!"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Note that the Italian translation is titled 'Universo' (isfdb), so these entries should not be separated out and combined with the novella 'Universe'.
This novel was first published in Astounding Science Fiction in May and October of 1941 as two separate novelettes: "Universe" and its sequel "Common Sense". "Universe" was reprinted by itself in book form in 1951. The two were combined to form this work in 1963.
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