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Citizen of the Galaxy [MP3 CD]

Robert A. Heinlein
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 1 2004
SLAVE: Brought to Sargon in chains as a child -- unwanted by all save a one-legged beggar -- Thorby learned well the wiles of the street people and the mysterious ways of his crippled
master . . .
OUTLAW: Hunted by the police for some unknown treasonous acts committed by his beloved owner, Thorby risked his life to deliver a dead man's message and found himself both guest and prisoner aboard an alien spaceship . . .
CITIZEN: Unaware of his role in an ongoing intrigue, Thorby became one of the freest of the free in the entire galaxy as the adopted son of a noble space captain . . . until he became a captive in an interstellar prison that offered everything but the hope of escape!
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From the Publisher

Like many people, I go way, way back with Heinlein. My very favorite book (and one that stands out in my mind--and with much affection--to this day) is Tunnel in the Sky. I really, really wanted to go off to explore new worlds with a covered wagon and horses, like the hero does at the very end of the book. But one of the nice things about Robert Heinlein is that he's got something for everyone. One of my best friends has a different favorite: Podkayne of Mars. Go figure.
                        --Shelly Shapiro, Executive Editor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

An outstanding science fiction writer, Robert A. Heinlein was a four-times Hugo award winner. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best juvies March 24 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is undoubtedly one of Heinlein's finest 'juvenile' novels (and anyone who thinks there were no female characters in it must not have read more than 10% of it).
I usually list _Tunnel in the Sky_ as my favorite of Heinlein's young-adult novels of the 1950s, and I still think it belongs at the top of the list. But this one is very close.
As I'm sure you know already, it's the tale of a young fellow named Thorby, a slave on the planet Sargon who comes under the protection of one Baslim the Cripple. A sort of outer-space version of Kipling's _Kim_, the novel traces Thorby's life and development through several changes of venue -- and ends on Earth, where Thorby finds out who he really is and takes on some heavy, adult-sized responsibilities.
It's a very well handled coming-of-age novel, and it expresses Heinlein's own remarkable take on maturity very nearly as well as _Tunnel_ (in some ways arguably better). And like _Tunnel_, it devotes _just a little_ space, toward the end, to preaching against straw men. (Here, it's a couple of custard-headed pacifists whose sole literary function is to mouth inane slogans that Heinlein wants to show up as irresponsible nonsense. There was _loads_ of such stuff in _Starship Troopers_ but in this one it's kept to a minimum.)
It also shares part of its 'skeleton' with _Stranger in a Strange Land_ (on which Heinlein was also working at about the same time, still under its provisional title 'A Martian Named Smith'). Why, there's even a climactic courtroom battle, with Thorby represented by a crusty lawyer not terribly unlike Jubal Harshaw. (In general lawyers don't come off well in Heinlein's novels; in the final analysis the sharklike Garsch is no exception, although Harshaw fares somewhat better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Exercise in Cultural Studies Nov. 27 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In yet another rags to riches tale, we follow the fortunes of Thorby, a young slave who is purchased by a beneficent beggar who calls himself Baslim, the Cripple. But as longtime Heinlein readers must already suspect, Baslim has capabilities that far outweigh his physical infirmities. While teaching Thorby his own profession, he sets a plan in motion to find Thorby's real family. After a thrilling escape from the slave planet, Thorby finds a new family in a merchant trader ship, where the duties and customs are unlike anything he has ever seen. Next he joins the Guards, where still further efforts are made to find Thorby's origins. When he is finally restored to his nearest relatives, Thorby finds himself facing still more challenges, as things are not what they seem at the Rudbek household. Will Thorby ever find happiness? And is it possible to ever be truly free?
Heinlein's extensive firsthand knowledge of military science and shipboard routine serves him in good stead once again in this fascinating juvenile. He is somewhat less entertaining when trying to discuss big business dealings in the second half of the novel, but there is still a sufficiently subversive element to keep us interested in Thorby's fate. And while Thorby grows up quite a bit during the course of the story, this is still a boys' book. Numerous girls get thrown in Thorby's path at various stages, but he remains wholly oblivious, focused as he is own his own problems. And as is typical of Heinlein, these young women are not just hapless victims - some of them exercise real power within their respective realms. So young women interested in social sci-fi may find this book entertaining as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Heinlein's best. Oct. 31 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Capsule Description: A young orphan with no memory of his past is sold as a slave, and becomes embroiled in more and more complex situations while travelling from world to world. One of Heinlein's "Juveniles", possibly the best of that category, and a fun read.
Review: Often described as a space-age version of "Kim", Citizen of the Galaxy introduces us to the already world-weary and cynical, animalistically-paranoid Thorby, a boy of maybe ten years of age, who is being put on the auction block and sold. Through an odd sequence of events, the boy ends up being purchased by a beggar... who may be more than he appears. Subsequent events end up propelling him through the Galaxy as a number of things -- refugee, trader, military man -- while searching for the truth behind his unknown past.
Heinlein wrote several "juvenile" books, ones targeted at what today would be called the Young Adult market (mostly teenagers), but despite the label his stories were always written in a mature manner that assumed his readers were as intelligent as he was. This is one of the very best of the juveniles, all of which were good SF reads. An excellent "starter" book for a young person who'd like to try some classic SF but is daunted by the prospect of either larger books or ones so old that the language itself becomes a barrier.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless lessons Feb. 7 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Thorby's beginings are shrouded in mystery, lost somewhere on the long road seared into him by many masters, and many lashes. He knows only that he is about to be brought to yet another problem in a long road of problems, as he is on the slavers selling block once again. An old beggar takes notice of him, and since no one else wants to bid on the beaten and bedraggled youth, the price is [reasonable] enough that even a beggar can purchace him.
This is a change in his fourtune which will take him on a long road of knowledge and a raise in status. His new master adopts him as a son, and does his best to care for him. Thorby learns the trade of a beggar, and runs errands for 'pop' who isn't quite like other beggars.....teaching Thorby to speak and read in several languages, advanced mathmetics, basic history, and what morals can be passed on while living as a poor beggar.
Until pop's death, at which time he delivers a message to a ship in port which Baslim the Cripple has instructed him to do in case of his death. He is adopted by this ship's family, and becomes on of them...a tribe of people, proud of thier heritage and elitist freedom. But, once again he must loose all which has become dear to him and move on to another fate, to find his true heritage.
Many lessons are contained within Citizen of the Galaxy. Learning to become one with the culture you are in, what 'family' can mean, learning to fight for what is right, and finally, learning that fighting for what is right may not nessicarily be on the front lines in the battle against slavery, but can be far away, buried in legal mazes of businesses who's leaders may not be aware of what evils are burried in the depths of thier empire.
Now, in our current age of a battle against terrorism, this lesson is espically apparent.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars amazing book.
An amazing read. One of Heinlein's great works that has been among my favorites since I was a very young boy.
Published 6 months ago by Chris Price
5.0 out of 5 stars Seasons of a Boy’s Life
Readers follow Thorby through several distinct phases of his young life. We first encounter him being sold as a slave on the planet Sargon. Read more
Published 8 months ago by John M. Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Citizen of the Galaxy
This was a very fast-moving, exciting book. It is well written, and it makes you think. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who likes science fiction.
Published on May 10 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Heinlein
This book is my absolute favorite Heinlein novel. It's a great story, and there is not a single female character in it. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2003 by tzefirah
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time best SF
RAH is grandmaster - no doubt for that. And Citizen of the Galaxy is one of his best (close circle - JOB, Number of the Beast, Strangeer in a Strange Land - hard to position... Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2003 by T. Ostric
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT read
The first RAH that I read was this book.
It introduced me to the Grand Masters style and I have enjoyed RAH ever since. This book remains one of my favourites. Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein's most inspirational juvenile novel
Citizen of the Galaxy is probably Heinlein's most mature juvenile novel and is certainly one of his most inspirational. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2002 by Daniel Jolley
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein's fine tale of boy who goes from slave to magnate
As Thorby goes from slave to son to stranger in, then member of a trading society, to enlisted man in a space navy, to galactic magnate, he finds that each position brings him... Read more
Published on July 2 2002 by Gary M. Greenbaum
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, but the ending....?
It was fun to read everything that happens to Thorby because he's seeing everything for the first time. There are basically 3 segments to the story. Read more
Published on Jan. 24 2002 by Retesh D. Shah
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