Friday, January 29, 2010


Tunnel in the Sky, Robert A Heinlein, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955, 273 pp

Another great Heinlein novel. If this were published today, it would be labeled Young Adult because the protagonist is a high school senior. In fact I learned that Heinlein wrote what he called "juveniles," though I found this book in the science fiction section at my library, not the teen section. In any case, the book features plenty of story, political philosophy and realistic assessment of human nature.

Rod Walker, planning a life spent developing cities on other planets, must complete his Advanced Survival course with a practical exercise. Each member of the class is sent to an unknown destination and must survive for three to ten days by their wits, their learned survival skills and whatever tools or weapons each brings along. It is like Outward Bound on other planets.

The glitch is that they are not picked up after ten days and as far as they know, will never be found by the authorities back on earth. Most of them survive but they must address setting up an entire life there which calls upon much more than survival skills; for example, social structure, a rudimentary government, growing and storing food, etc.

The action is non-stop, the characters extremely well-drawn and I was captivated on every page. I think that Heinlein has a basic love for human beings, the strong, the weak, the heroes and every type in between. I found the writing to be much better than most current Young Adult novels.

(Tunnel in the Sky is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

No comments:

Post a Comment