Variable Star

Robert A. Heinlein, Author, Spider Robinson, Author . Tor $24.95 (318p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1312-6

Like a good Ganymedean farmer in the sky, Robinson (Callahan's Key ) plants both feet firmly in Heinlein territory with this mostly credible pastiche of a Heinlein young adult novel circa 1955. Working from an unfinished outline and notes, Robinson tells the coming-of-age tale of Joel Johnston, who flees a broken romance to the new colony planet Brasil Novo 85 light-years away. Joel and his companions demonstrate the odd mixture of innocence and sexual experimentation that Heinlein employed, as Robinson captures the naïve yet advanced tone of Heinlein's future history. But the strain of a contemporary author trying to fit his sensibility about the future (in which nonaggression is a way of life, for example) into Heinlein's more notably militaristic mindset leaves its traces on the characters and plot, with some unexplained role reversals. Nostalgia for Heinlein's early work may pique interest in this posthumous collaboration, but old Heinlein hands may be disappointed that the book is incomplete, being all journey and no arrival. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/17/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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