Robert A. Heinlein, Author . Baen $17 (256p) ISBN 978-0-671-31836-9

Heinlein equals—kitsch? First published in 1942, this reprint title by one of the masters of modern science fiction is not one of his best efforts, with its dated '40s jargon, a ham-fisted attempt at romance and a plot that really doesn't go anywhere. On the plus side, it does contain good, sound genetics that later scientific advances haven't significantly outmoded. The plot centers on Hamilton Felix, whose genetic makeup has been recorded, tracked and tweaked for over five generations to make his genetic pool one of several "Star line" groups. Hamilton has a body filled with some of the best characteristics that man can have, and the only problem is that he doesn't give a darn. Nor does he intend to continue with the experiment that his progenitors were so keen on, since he doesn't want children. When he's not avoiding reproduction, Hamilton plays at being a millionaire entrepreneur (his genetic mix gives him great intelligence and he's a whiz with money) and a spy/counterspy for the government (foiling a plot to overthrow the government keeps him hopping). With his traditional hard-boiled detective voice, Hamilton makes an engaging hero. Despite some definite signs of age, as well as a tendency to the pedantic, the book remains highly readable. Heinlein loyalists will ignore the pallid "star child" jacket art as they head for the cash register. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
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