Customer Review

Reviewed in Australia on 24 January 2015
In 1955, at the age of 14, I was "trapped" on my back for nearly 12 months recovering from a severe bout of sciatica which affected both legs. It was the first manifestation of back pain (suspected of being poliomyelitis) which resulted from my being knocked over by a car in 1945, and is something I continue to suffer from. During that period, in New Zealand, unable to attend an ordinary school, I was enrolled in the NZ Correspondence School, an excellent institution which operates to this day (but now with modern communication technology). Every couple of weeks, in addition to my correspondence lessons, I received a bright green canvas bag which contained a couple of library books, which I was expected to read. Reading was not an imposition: my family were avid readers and my siblings and I had large bookcases packed with a variety of literature from non-fiction to fiction. To that date I had read no, or very little, science fiction, with the exception, perhaps of H.G. Wells, John Wyndam and C.S. Lewis. One such bag contained a novel for younger readers by Robert Heinlein––"Space Cadet" and I was hooked! For life! Being unable to move around, Heinlein presented me with a world I could dream about with no physical limitations: indeed the thought of floating weightlessly without pain was enticingly poignant. I immediately pestered my mother, who worked in our local village library, and in short order had available several others of Heinlein's novels for junior readers. None, however, made quite the impact on me that Space Cadet did with Heinlein's endeavours to introduce philosophical concepts that, at 14, I had not yet really begun to explore. I suppose at that age I had not yet thought to question the beliefs of my parents in the way that Matthew Dodson had to, and then decide to keep his peace because his father did not, perhaps could not, understand. Notwithstanding my later disagreements with Heinlein's political philosophy, none-the-less he introduced to me moral concepts, precepts and considerations which gave me the wherewithal to question his beliefs and help me draw my own conclusions. I have since read most of his books, and many of his other writings and essays, and I introduced my children to his work when they reached an appropriate age. He gave to me a love of good science fiction and I often re-read his novels for enjoyable reacquaintance and relaxation. His works led me to Asimov, Campbell, Clarke and Card. I have owned several copies of Space Cadet, each literally falling apart from family use. This Kindle copy now makes it available to me in a form which will not fall apart and I cannot but recommend it to anyone who would wish to interest their younger ones in science fiction, and, indeed, wish for some enjoyment themselves.
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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
173 global ratings