Tag Archives: R A Heinlein

Have Spacesuit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein

Came across this book in a thrift store in Kerrville recently and couldn’t resist it because they were having a dime-a-book sale.  As nearly as I can recall it was maybe the 3rd, or 4th science fiction book I read when I discovered the genre in the Portales Junior High School Library around 1958 or ’59. 

I’d qualify it as ‘middling’, probably nowadays young adult, Horatio Algeresque, and a nice evening read if a man has three cats interrupting to punctuate things.  Those times were full of first in orbit Sputink Explorer Cape Canavaral fizzles and it’s clear Heinlein, along with almost everyone else in the US, suddenly realized what an ignorant, poorly educated society we were becoming already.  Spends a considerable while early in the book with a father discussing the shortcomings of the education the young main character was getting for himself and how he, the kid, was going to have to take responsibility for changing that.  Assuming the kid wants it changed for the eventual outcome of his goal to go to the moon.

But there’s also a lot of other social commentary about responsibility, goals, paternalism, and finding a place outside the ‘normal’ shortcomings and flaws of humankind.  Surprising lot of insight as to where science and engineering were going to go, though it naturally overlooked the prospect of the field being increasingly dominated by Asians.  Even though RAH saw the social and educational conditions in the US that led in that direction, in those days nobody’d noticed whatever it was in Asia that would bring it to fruition.

All in all I doubt it would appeal much to the readership of today.  But most would never find it anyway.

Old Jules