Tuesday, November 15, 2011
"Between Planets" by Robert A. Heinlein
by Robert A. Heinlein
Produced by Full Cast Audio
TRT: 7 hours
It's time for some classic science-fiction and you can't get much "classicer" than Robert A. Heinlein. Yeah, I know I made up a word but when it comes to Heinlein you know you are in store for some sci-fi that is rich in all things that make good sci-fi. From the author of "Starship Troopers" and "Stranger in a Strange Land" this book is no exception to the excellence that goes into and comes out of a Heinlein story. He writes the full story. He doesn't just write a space adventure, he also creates a political and social culture around and throughout the story that keeps the story on pace.
"Between the Planets" was originally published as a series in "Blue Book" magazine in 1951 under the title, "Planets in Combat" and was serialized in "Boys' Life" magazine in 1978 as a monthly cartoon series. Scribner published the hardcover version in 1951. Knowing it appeared as a cartoon series in "Boys' Life" is a hint that, yes, this is a young adult readers book. With that in mind, I can think of no one other than one of the champions of YA books than Bruce Coville to take command of turning this fun piece of sci-fi into an audio book. Coville is an author of young adult and children's stories and novels, especially some really fun scary stories. He is also the founder of Full Cast Audio.
Full Cast Audio takes a nice approach to creating an audiobook, using a full cast of performers and keeping the productions family-friendly and with age appropriate casting. Full Cast Audio also throws in some original music for the chapter separations that make this a fine listening experience. I will admit that some of the younger voices weren't as honed in the acting craft as some of the others, but that was easily forgiven due to the fact that the voice matched the character. All in all I'd say, a job very well done in bring this Heinlein story to life.
Don Harvey is about to graduate from his Dude Ranch type High School on Earth when his parents, who are living on Mars send for him to come to Mars before graduation. They also leave him with the mysterious message to be sure and see a family friend, Dr. Dudley Jefferson, and to bring the package that Dr. Jefferson gives him to Mars. At this time in Earth's future, there is an uprising from the Colony on Venus who want to end Taxation without representation. Not being born on Earth, Don has yet to declare whether he is a citizen of Earth, Venus or Mars and all the powers that be treat him with suspicion.
Dr. Jefferson dies mysteriously after giving Don a ring to take to Don's father. Don then blasts off for the orbiting space station which is the launching point to all the planetary colonies. The problem, Venusian rebels have taken over the station and are directing residents of Venus to Venus and those of Earth back to Earth. Don can't get to Mars so He goes to Venus, knowing that there is something he needs to do with that ring.
A coming of age story in which Don Harvey learns to make life-changing decisions and those trying to keep secrets learn that Don is not the "kid" they think he is. With Venusian Dragons, and military coups this book will keep you on the edge throughout and with the very nice production from Full Cast Audio, the story will come to life putting you "Between Planets."