Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Have Space Suit - Will Travel by Robert Heinlein

First published in 1958, Have Space Suit - Will Travel is a classic work of science fiction. Written before man walked on the moon, it is set in a not-too-distant future when trips to the moon are not routine but are regular. Kip Russell wants to visit the moon. When a soap company holds a contest with a trip to the moon as a prize, Kip goes all out to win. But he doesn't win first prize; instead, he wins a consolation prize, a used spacesuit.

He's disappointed but philosophical and puts in time repairing and improving his suit. While fooling around in it in his backyard, Kip hears a distress call from space, and next thing you know he's on a pirate spaceship, cooperating with a 10-year-old genius to find an alien "mother thing" and escape.

This is a quick read and rollicking good time. There is a lot of actual science in it, more than you'll find in most newer science fiction. Kip is a likeable narrator, and his relationship with Peewee, the 10-year-old girl, is realistic and touching. I particularly enjoyed the character of the Mother Thing, a sort of alien cop/juvenile detention officer from a race of beings who sing to communicate.

Heinlein is my new hero with this quote from Kip: "Dad claims that library science is the foundation of all sciences, just as math is the key - and that we will survive or founder, depending on how well the librarians do their jobs."

If you like classic science fiction and long for an adventure in space, I recommend Have Space Suit - Will Travel.

The Tome Raiders, the library's science fiction/fantasy discussion group, will discuss Have Space Suit - Will Travel this Friday,. June 21, at 6;00 pm at Alternate Realities on Main Street. Come join us!

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