As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

April 4, 2012

HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL, by Robert Heinlein, 1958

First prize in the Skyway Soap slogan contest was an all-expenses-paid trip to the Moon. The consolation prize was an authentic space suit, and when scientifically minded high school senior Kip Russell won it, he knew for certain he would use it one day to make a sojourn of his own to the stars. But "one day" comes sooner than he thinks when he tries on the suit in his backyard -- and finds himself worlds away, a prisoner aboard a space pirate's ship, and heading straight for what could be his final destination.... (Goodreads)

Review by Megan, reader and writer wannabee

I love books that make me feel like I’ve learned something, even if it isn’t really relevant for day to day life.  I like to know, simply because I think it’s cool, and I like books that teach me stuff.  This is one of the best.  Want to know how far Pluto is from the Sun?  Or how long it would take to get from Pluto to Earth at 1 Gravity?  Or how many light years Vega 5 is from our sun?  It’s all there, along with interesting discussions on interstellar travel, slide-rules and, of course, spacesuits. 

Clifford “Kip” Russel wants to go to the moon.  Not just idly like most people, but really and truly.  So, he decides to study to become an engineer in college.  He reads and teaches himself what he doesn’t get in high school, and when he graduates, he applies to big schools like MIT, even though he doesn’t know how he’ll pay tuition.  And then Skyway Soap announces a slogan contest and the top prize is a trip to the moon.  Kip doesn’t win the trip, even though he sends in a couple hundred entries to improve his chances.  He does win an honest to goodness space suit though, and quickly plies his engineering knowledge into making it work.  One night as he is walking around in the backyard in his fully operational spacesuit, Kip gets a call on the “space band” of his radio.  Someone named “Peewee” wants landing directions.  Without thinking, Kip guides the spaceship in, and is soon tossed into an adventure involving 11 year old female geniuses, invading aliens and the wonderful creature Peewee calls “the Mother Thing”.  Kip’s travels take him to the moon, Pluto and literally out of our galaxy to a trial that will decide the fate of the human race.

This is science fiction at its best.  The scope is wonderful, and the most incredulous happenings are made credible by Kip’s careful analyses.  Fans of Star Trek or Isaac Asimov will love this book, as will anyone who likes a good adventure story.

Market: Middle Grade to YA, but adults enjoy it as well.
Language: None I can remember
Sensuality: None
Violence:  moderate
Mature Themes: Self-sufficiency, ‘Dead Lion vs. Live Louse’ code of conduct, man-eating aliens, humanity on trial

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. This book sounds SO FUN! I normally don't read a lot of sci-fi, but you had me with the soap-slogan contest! How funny!!! It sounds really terrific. Great review, Megan.