Red Planet

Red Planet❮PDF❯ ✸ Red Planet ✍ Author Robert A. Heinlein – Jim Marlow and his strangelooking Martian friend Willis were allowed to travel only so far But one day Willis unwittingly tuned into a treacherous plot that threatened all the colonists on Mars, and i Jim Marlow and his strangelooking Martian friend Willis were allowed to travel only so far But one day Willis unwittingly tuned into a treacherous plot that threatened all the colonists on Mars, and it set Jim off on a terrfying adventure that could saveor destroythem all!From the Paperback edition.

Robert Anson Heinlein was an American novelist and science fiction writer Often called the dean of science fiction writers, he is one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of hard science fiction He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality He was the first SF writer to break into mainstre.

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  • Paperback
  • 256 pages
  • Red Planet
  • Robert A. Heinlein
  • 11 February 2019
  • 9780345493187

10 thoughts on “Red Planet

  1. Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ says:

    This was, hands down, my favorite Heinlein book as a teen. I read it at least 4 or 5 times. I really need to read it again as an adult, but Heinlein ... always an iffy proposition. Though this is one of his early juvie novels, so it's safer than, say, Time Enough for Love.

    Two teenage boys, part of the human colonies on Mars, are sent away to boarding school in the biggest city on Mars. In between getting into trouble with the new, insanely strict headmaster, they find out about a plot that could endanger both humans and the native Martians. It’s up to these two boys to save their hometown and their Martian friend from the nefarious forces of evil.

    Heinlein is especially imaginative here, with the unique Martian civilization and the realistic (at least for the time) details about humans trying to survive in the hostile environment of Mars. There's a pretty heavy gun ownership rights theme running through this book that may irk some readers, the sexual roles are straight from the 1950s (Red Planet was written in 1949, so understandable enough), people in authority tend to be corrupt and/or incompetent, and you have to be able to suspend disbelief in light of what we now know about life on Mars. Other than that, it's a rockin' story!

    But no matter what, I will always adore Willis the Martian with my entire heart and soul.
    Sing ¿Quién es la Señorita? one more time, Willis!

  2. Evgeny says:

    A human boy born on Mars
    named Jim befriended a local life form: something looking like a football he named Willis. The latter seemed to possessed some intelligence and was able to repeat anything it heard perfectly imitating voices. It also seemed to start the playback in the least appropriate moments. At one point Jim and his friend Frank had to go to a Martian boarding school for colonists and Jim decided to take Willis with him. Something really bad happened at school (I will give you a hint and say that Professor Umbridge - or her Martian equivalent - showed up).
    Jim and Frank had to take first adult decision of their lives. Because it is one of the juveniles books by Heinlein their decision brought a very much real mortal danger.

    The book was written in 1949 and the though that always stayed with me during reading was, How the times changed! Let me give you the most obvious example. At one point the school decided to take away the pupils' guns. Guns the students legally own and legally openly carried on them. Now imagine a modern school with pupils openly carrying firearms.

    Something else was very much prominent - at least for me. It looks like the generation that just came back from the WWII thought it was perfectly normal to expect the teenagers to act like responsible adults; this among other things includes not expecting them to start shooting everybody in sight with the aforementioned guns. But enough about gun ownership; this is still a very heated debate in US. By the way the rest of the world (including their closest neighbors Canadians) seems to solved this problem already.

    Unlike so-called G.I. Generation we coddle out teens until they turn 18 at which point they are magically and instantly supposed to turn into adults. For this reason the book might feel somewhat dated. I did not expect teens taking on life-and-death situations. Then I recalled my history lessons: they often had to.

    One more interesting observation follows. I have seen quite a lot of people say that a science fiction writer has to be a liberal. After all the science fiction is about the future and it is supposed to be liberal and humanitarian. Not completely subscribing to this view and not completely rejecting it I just note that Heinlein was a libertarian. He did not hide his views in his fiction, but almost always managed to stop right before he start preaching (in earlier works at least); just read this book as an example. Being a libertarian had not prevented him from became one of the greatest science fiction classics.

    So what about the book? It is good full of adventure and action. I wish I had read it in my teens - this is the best time to read it. 4 stars.

  3. William says:

    This is THE ONE.

    The first book to capture me.

    It left my 12 year-old mind reeling and set my all-consuming, voracious hunger for sci-fi into motion.

    Of course I had read other books in school, but Red Planet blew me away. I was transported.

    Never to return.

    Here's the cover that I remember from 55 years ago.

    Full size image here

  4. Jason Koivu says:

    It took me too long to get through this relatively short book, because it drags. The beginning starts slow, there's a bit of an adventure on Mars that heightens things for a while, but then the book grinds down to a finish with a trial and dithering.

    This is one of Heinlein's early works. I believe they were called juveniles, because they were meant for kids. This sort of writing and level of excitement might have engaged kids when it was published in 1949, but I can't see kids today enjoy this. Nor can I see women of any age and time being enamored of a book that lumps them all together as women folk who are portrayed as useless. Heinlein also set his language and portrayal of his character in a future world as if they were 1940s Midwesterners.

    Now that I've gotten all that out of my system, there are some bright spots. Heinlein created some neato aliens and paints a few nice audio/visual scenes that feel otherworldly. It's cool to see the beginning writer working through his craft and glimmers of what's to occasionally shine through here.

  5. Scott says:

    Another Heinlein juvenile, another curious blend of work by a virtuoso visionary and his unfortunate co-author the cheating hack.

    THE GOOD: Heinlein's early treatment of his Martians (the ones used nearly two decades later in STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND) is excellent. These guys are subtle and weird and so far beyond earth norms that every interaction with them is fraught and puzzling. Also, while you can see prototypical versions of many of his stock characters (crusty old Dr. MacReady is a stripped-down and far less annoying Jubal Harshaw), their excesses are restrained by the better sense of the people around them.

    THE BAD: All the tension of the heroic stand-off with murderous forces of authority is defused when everyone in the ranks of that authority turn out to be cowards, simpletons, paranoids, and gross incompetents. Heinlein loved to stack his decks like this, and it does him no more credit here than it did anywhere else. Also, the treatment of gender is blindingly awful, even for 1948, especially for Heinlein. Boys in Martian society are accounted men when they can carry guns; girls are considered adults when they can cook and help with babies. You'd think a guy who could write something as mind-bendingly weird as Heinlein's Martians could apply some of that mental plasticity to an examination of the women of his own species.

  6. M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews says:

    This is a decent novel that has reasonably survived the test of time, at least as long as you know when this novel was published (the 1949's) People used to more modern-day sci fi might find this novel somewhat dated, but you know what, it's still a solid read, especially if you like old-school science fiction. It also ties in nicely with 'Stranger in a Strange Land' by the same author.

  7. Cheryl says:

    The bad science doesn't bother me too much, but I can't get past the sexism and the contrived conflict. None of the bad guys had any competence? The good guys were automatically superior strategists, warriors, leaders, etc.? I'd give it one star, but the Martians were interesting, and treated with respect.

  8. Jim says:

    One of Heinlein's early YA books, it's about 2 young boys who wind up on an adventure on Mars. This is a Mars with water (frozen) in its canals, oxygen, but not enough for a human to breath unassisted. So if you like your SF with the latest science in place, this isn't for you.

    Heinlien's young heroes are boy scouts, good kids with good intentions who buck the odds to do the right thing. They make discoveries beyond what the adults have done & face danger. They tough it out & make good, though. Happy ending!

    I'd recommend it for any adult, but also for any young boy, maybe 3d grade reading level & up. (I'm probably wrong about 3d grade, get another opinion.) The language & ideas are pretty simple, but equally engaging for young & old.

    There is a moral to the story; be brave, resourceful and - damn the consequences - do the RIGHT thing. I've seen worse messages in books, this one is pretty typical of all his YA books.

  9. John says:

    1976 grade B+
    1992 grade B+
    2016 grade B+

    A novel about high school students in a private school run by dictatorial earth bureaucrats on a colonized hypothetical Mars. It starts out pretty routine but becomes much better and more adult less than half way through. The book could definitely be considered a precursor to Stranger In A Strange Land since it has the exact same martians and their culture. In fact this book describes them much better and I recommend reading it before Stranger if possible. The book also includes many of the Earth/Mars political relations that are further developed in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, although there is no direct connection between the two stories.

  10. R.a. says:

    3.8 stars

    “Oh my gosh!”

    Although a conservative, staid, and constrictive tradition lies behind the 1950s, U.S. pop culture, an odd and innocent sense of fun seems to accompany it.


    After my immersion into Shirley Jackson’s dark and menacing world, Heinlein’s Red Planet, (1949), with this conservative yet fun 1950s aspect, became just the tonic I needed.

    Setting a young adult/adult, science fiction adventure novel on Mars allows Heinlein to create an exciting story and world while simultaneously exploring ignorance and intelligence, arrogance and humility, materialism and faith, and surprisingly, gender!

    Within the hero-villain adventure story plotline, the author sets these variously explored layers amidst an American Revolution-type frame. The Earth humans as Martian colonists experience repeated grievances and dictatorial threats, (very “Royal-like”), that mirror the original English colonies' sufferings, the crown's feudal mercantilist economy, and the colonies' escalating resistance. And so, echoes from Adams, Jefferson, and Paine emerge.

    Heinlein succeeds in balancing his multiple ideas within genre and “story” expectations primarily through character, “world building,” and above all, plot.

    Apparently, like any Heinlein novel, Red Planet possesses not only “clinks and clunks” that a reader can gloss over but endoxa and entrenched points-of-view that can make a contemporary reader cringe, well up with frustration, and even recoil in outright anger.

    The author's reliance on the MacRae character to be his aged, curmudgeonly, all-at-once Everyman, (doctor, sage, linguist, diplomat, councilor, and combat platoon sergeant), irritates. The template for his later Stranger In a Strange Land Jubal character, MacRae, with his almost extreme, strident advocacy for “arms” or guns, strikes a nerve. His comments about paranoia simply are ignorant and inflammatory, making them wrong in both senses of the word. And, Heinlein's creation of a male-centered, constrictive-prescriptive world for women has sexist, even misogynist moments: “the womenfolk,” and “’That’s what comes of trusting women,’ he said, bitterly.”

    And yet . . . Golly!

    Despite all, Heinlein still creates an enjoyable tale that engages the reader on both the fun and thinking level.

    Section by section, and chapter by chapter, readers will recognize prototypes, ideas, themes, and paradigms that have heavily influenced later science fiction tales and scripts. A few include:

    —the government-private company alliance in Alien;
    —the atmospheric processing stations in Aliens;
    —the character and some functions of R2D2 in Star Wars;
    —the beach ball alien in Dark Star;
    —a feature of the environmental suits in Dune;
    —and, the sub-plot, tunnels, and ice-water dynamic in Total Recall.

    And, the causes, goals, and ideals of the American Revolution, as mirrored in Heinlein’s treatment, become ideas and values well worth the exploration.

    Lastly, the most wonderful aspects of this fun and thoughtful adventure novel deal with the Martians themselves. Indeed, the creatures and their culture become the “stars” of the narrative. And, Heinlein wisely keeps much of their history and “world” in mystery. And, the Martian characters, even more than his MacRae character, allow the reader to reflect upon deeper ideas: humanity’s strengths, weaknesses, and limits; and, the human awareness of the need for others and “otherness.” Pretty “Neat-o” for a young adult/adult science fiction “romp.”

    Confound it! For the love of Mike, I enjoyed Red Planet.
    It’s a swell novel, it is.

    Yes. Red Planet is a swell novel.

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