October 3rd, 2011


Book Review: Have Space Suit, Will Travel, by Robert Heinlein

Write a soap jingle, win a space suit, travel to the Magellanic Clouds!

Have Space Suit, Will Travel

Scribner's, 1958, 256 pages

A journey of 167,000 lights years begins with...a bar of soap? Fasten your zero gravity restraints for Robert Heinlein's novel of intergalactic adventure, a story that carries teenager Clifford "Kip" Russell from his job as soda jerk to space-suit winner to alien abductee! Along the way Kip is joined by a pint-sized genius named Peewee and an empathetic alien creature known as "the Mother Thing." The story of how this strange trio battles alien gangsters only to end up on trial in an intergalactic court trillions of miles from Earth features all the wicked humor, brilliant detail, and g-force drama that made Robert Heinlein the world's favorite science fiction writer.

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Verdict: You really can't go wrong with early Heinlein. You can go very, very wrong with late Heinlein. Have Space Suit, Will Travel is a novel that conforms very much to the Boy's Adventure rocketships and Bug-Eyed Monsters sci-fi aesthetic of its time, but Heinlein is still an author who teaches other authors how to write, and who wrote Young Adult fiction that never insulted its audience. A great retro-SF classic.

Also by Robert Heinlein: My review of Starman Jones.