- Paperback: 318 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (15 January 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250305020
- ISBN-13: 978-1250305022
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.2 x 23.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Variable Star Paperback – 15 Jan 2019
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"Completing a book from notes by a dead author is almost always a mistake. But Robert A. Heinlein apparently isn't really dead. He was obviously standing at the side of Spider Robinson as he wrote this book, guiding his hand. Variable Star will delight the fans of the greatest science fiction writer who ever lived, and at the same time, stays true to Spider's passionate themes of optimism, kindness, and humanity's future among the stars." --John Varley, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Persistence of Vision and Steel Beach
"I've already laughed hard and wanted to cry....This book is a delight and I love you for doing it. I love you even more for doing it so damned well. Thank you." --David Crosby, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter and member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash
About the Author
Robert A. Heinlein is universally acknowledged as modern science fiction's greatest author. At his death, in 1987, he left a legacy of books and stories that has profoundly influenced the course of the field for generations.
But one of Heinlein's most ambitious works was never finished. In 1955, he began work on a novel to be titled Variable Star, completing a detailed outline and making extensive notes for the book, only to set it aside to focus on other novels, including Tunnel in the Sky and the Hugo Award-winning Double Star. For more than half a century, the work lay forgotten among Heinlein's papers. Upon its rediscovery, the Robert A. Heinlein Trust selected an author to finish the work.
The author chosen was, appropriately enough, a writer The New York Times has hailed as "the New Robert Heinlein": Spider Robinson, the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of such modern science fiction classics as Stardance and "Melancholy Elephants."
Profits from the book will help fund the annual $500,000 Heinlein Prize for innovation in commercial manned spaceflight, a goal Mr. Heinlein considered crucial to humanity's long-term survival.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
One positive. From the future history standpoint he had a very succinct 1 page synopsis of the "War on Terror" and it's likely aftermath. It was thoughtful and I fear accurate but not worth reading the entire book for.
Sometimes they don’t submit manuscript for publication for good reasons.
Robert A. Heinlein remains my favorite author more than a half century since I met him in the Mooneyham Public Library in Forest City NC, when I was 12. It has been my intention to read, and to own, everything he ever published. He overflows with wisdom. I re-re-read his novels and stories as I would renew acquaintances with old friends. Many of them are brilliant. Many aren’t. Especially toward the end of his life, I find his endings abrupt and seemingly poorly conceived, as if he thought, “I’m tired of telling this story. I’m going to stop now.” Whatever. I love him. I love his writings.
Spider Robinson bit off a chunk when he undertook this book. When I heard Heinlein had outlined it and never wrote it, I wondered if that wasn’t that The Professor (my nickname for him) never got around to it, as much as it was that he rejected it. I picked this book up in a public library one day when an appointment fell through and I had two hours to kill. Two chapters in I was ON BOARD, but I had to go to my next appointment. My wife bought me the book for Christmas, and, picking up where I left off, I was immediately OFF board. The hero ran away from the girl I was in love with! Several chances to run back, and he burned his bridges. I was expecting it to become a variation on Citizen of the Galaxy, one of my least favorites. But Robinson made a sharp veer to the left. Then another. And another. He would not stay on track! And he would not settle down to doing a Heinlein impression!
In his Afterword, Robinson says he was told not to do a Rich Little impression of Heinlein, but to write the best Spider Robinson novel he could. My reading suffered from my wanting a Heinlein novel. That is my fault, not the novel’s.
This is a good book, well worth reading. Try to read it for itself, and suppress the urge to want it to be what it’s not.
Variable Star has my recommendation.
By which I mean to cast no aspersions. As noted by others - there are departures from the touch of the master.
Somewhere in Russia (last I heard) there is a copy of The Mona Lisa likely produced in France quite some time after the death of Leonardo DaVinci that differs from the the original in ways discernible only to students of the art deeply steeped in the craft, methods and materials of that art form.
Here too is an artfully wrought work spun from the imaginations of two minds… differing from either individual's past works.
But it works like maple on bacon.
I am pretty sure I have read all of Heinlein from three to eight times - and a good deal of Robinson's works, as well. If I were a couple of decades younger I might feel about SR the way I feel about RAH.
This story reminds me of my teens and twenties while reading RAH for the first time.
There is a young fellow in my family I hope to introduce to RAH. I will include this work as a part.
Anyway, I loved it, and I think anyone that gives it a chance will at least like it. Is it perfect? Not really. Some of the situations were seemingly contrived to fit the outline. Aside from that? Give it a shot, you won't regret it.