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Farmer in the Sky [Paperback]

Robert A. Heinlein
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 12 1973
The Earth is crowded and food is rationed, but a colony on Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter, offers an escape for teenager Bill Lermer and his family. Back on Earth, the move sounded like a grand adventure, but Bill soon realizes that life on the frontier is dangerous, and in an alien world with no safety nets nature is cruelly unforgiving of even small mistakes. Bill’s new home is a world of unearthly wonders — and heartbreaking tragedy. He will have to face hardships, survive dangers, and grow up fast to meet the challenge of opening up a new world for humanity. Praise for Robert A. Heinlein: “If there is any single author who defines science fiction, it is Robert Heinlein . . . there is no other writer whose work has exhilarated me as often and to such an extent as Heinlein.” — Dean Koontz “One of the most influential writers in American literature.” — The New York Times Book Review “Robert Heinlein is America’s acknowledged master of science fiction.” — Chicago Tribune
--This text refers to the MP3 CD 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

Robert A. Heinlein was the greatest science fiction writer who ever lived. His novels have been translated into every literate language on the globe—over 50 million Heinlein books are in print in this country alone.  For five decades, young readers of science fiction discovered Heinlein, then gone on to voraciously devour every Heinlein book they can get their hands on. His now-legendary Stranger in a Strange Land was the first hardcover bestseller by a science fiction writer. From 1975 on, every new Heinlein novel made the New York Times best-seller list and shipped a million copies, including The Number of the Beast, Friday, Job: A Comedy of Justice, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. In a career spanning half a century, he wrote over forty books, and four of his novels won Hugo Awards, an unequalled record for almost four decades. For the last three generations of readers, Heinlein is science fiction. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Scout's Life on the New Frontier Oct. 24 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Worried that life on Earth isn't going to make it? Ready to leave the rat race behind and head off to a virgin territory where a man can be a man and live off the land in peace? Science fiction grandmaster Robert Heinlein points to the new frontier and invites those of us who've really got the guts to leave our comfortable planet, to become Farmers in the Sky.
Amoung the best of Heinlein's juveniles, this fascinating novel tells the story of young Bill Lermer, whose family chooses to leave an increasingly overcrowded earth for the ostensibly greener pastures of a growing colony on Ganymede, the largest moon of Jupiter. Through Bill's eyes, readers get to see the selection process, the thoughtful preparations, the wearying journey, the chaotic arrival, and finally settlement in a new home on a new world. And then things really get exciting...
This book was originally serialized in "Boy's Life", the Boy Scouts of America magazine, which is why scouting finds its way into each chapter, but Heinlein makes excellent use of the concept, not only in terms of character building (which is an essential feature of this coming-of-age novel), but also as an important part of a practical education. While Bill studies for his merit badges, the reader gets to look over his shoulder and learn everything a greenhorn needs to know to survive on this untamed world, from physics to ecology. Best of all, Heinlein makes his explanations seem so reasonable that one almost wonders why we aren't out there building colonies right this minute.
But despite his gung ho pioneer spirit, Heinlein isn't a Pollyanna - he isn't trying to hide the more unpleasant facts of colonial life. During the selection process and the long voyage out, Bill has ample time to observe the uglier side of human nature.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable early Heinlein June 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Though not famous - and infamous - for such controversial adult science fiction masterpieces as Starship Troopers, Stranger In A Strange Land, and Time Enough for Love, Robert A. Heinlein initially reached fame as a writer of "juvies" - science fiction novels with young adults as its target audience. This is one of the first of such books. Consequently, it is not as polished and immaculate as later works, but it is enjoyable, and shows the distinct writing style that would come to characterize his later and better works. This is the work of a writer that showed promise - and is still very readable and quite enjoyable today, 50 years on. The plot of the book involves a subject that was one of Heinlein's chief literary concerns: the population problem of planet Earth. It is the future, Earth is overcrowded, and food is given out on rations. One family decides they've had enough and move to Ganymede. Now, this is a very basic and, indeed, extremely straight-forward plot for a science fiction book - particularly a Heinlein one. Still, as always with Heinlein, it is not the plot, or even the point (though his books always invariably contain a definite and usually obvious moral) that keeps you reading the book: it's the sheer enjoyability of his writing style. Though his prose is neither as polished or as refined and witty as later works would be - you can tell that this was an early novel from Heinlein - but his ultra smooth and intelligent dialogue is ever-present here as always, and is a joy to read. This is not his best "juvie" - it has some strange points: odd plot twists; an odd relationship between the father and son that I was never quite able to make out - but it is good Heinlein. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars How does he keep doing it? July 22 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
How does this man turn what has to be one of the sillier titles I've ever seen (and probably wouldn't even sell at all today) and an almost absurdly basic concept and turn it into one of his most entertaining books? It must have been depressing try to match him in the fifties, he pulls off everything there here effortlessly, working comfortably within his own style without coming across as formulaic. Here we've got yet another vision of a future earth, where there's too many people and food is scarce . . . people are going to a colony on one of the moons orbiting Jupiter and Bill and his father decide that it's the place for them. Heinlein captures the pioneering spirit and drive brilliantly, subjecting his characters to all sorts of hardships, to the point where you can very easily relate to them even though they're somewhere way out in space and Jupiter keeps hanging in the sky (some of the most beautiful scenes in the novel have to do with that image, I wonder if it really looks like that) . . . even better, whenever one of the characters notes how hard it is to survive there, someone else always points out that most of the early colonies on earth were wiped out to a man. Bill remains a fairly consistent character in the Heinlein mode, always willing to learn, resourceful in the right moments, rarely giving up, he has his own appeal but it's not limited to just him, his father (if you can get past he and his father calling each other by their first names) is cut from the same mold, his friend Hank remains the biggest surprise, and while some of the characters are needlessly whiny only to contrast how hard working the rest of the cast is, those are only minor complaints. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic
Pretty simplistic stuff from a writer capable of much more depth. Basically a "Western" set in space.
Published 23 days ago by Michael Bridger
4.0 out of 5 stars Satellite Scout
Teenager Bill Lermer travels to Ganymede with his father, and his new step-mother and step-sister. Readers get a Bill's-eye view of a future resource-depleted Earth; life on board... Read more
Published 9 months ago by John M. Ford
3.0 out of 5 stars Farmer In the Sky
Among the pantheon of great sci-fi writers, Heinlein stands tall. This novel, written in 1950 and given a Hugo award in 1951, is as old as I am. Read more
Published on Sept. 16 2011 by Joe Boudreault
4.0 out of 5 stars Pioneer days of the future on one of Jupiter's moons
This book is about a boy and his father who get to head out to the frontier of one of Jupiter's moons to be farmers. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2002 by Rachel E. Watkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage vision of the future
A short hop into the future, on an Earth almost as real as the corner store, teenager Bill Lermer lives with his widower father in the Diego Borough of the sprawling City of... Read more
Published on Dec 19 2000 by L. Ager
4.0 out of 5 stars Tell me about the Jovian rabbits, George
Actually, I was pretty surprised by this one -- I'm not much of a fan of Heinlein, but his characters are compelling enough to drag me through this very episodic book. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2000 by Brian Almquist
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein Teaches Ecology
The Dean of Science Fiction teaches us about ecology long before the word is in the general vocabulary. Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2000 by Wood Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for any Boy Scout
While "Farmer in the Sky" isn't Heinlein at his absolute best, it is an exciting read for two groups: one, anybody who's ever been a Boy Scout, since that's essentially... Read more
Published on July 16 2000 by Robert James
1.0 out of 5 stars Not his best
I'm a big heinlien fan. This is the wrost book he has written, there is little plot, and what there is for plot is to slow and boged down. the charaters are flat no life in them. Read more
Published on June 27 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars !
ok im only in 7th grade (but i have an adult reading level) but i loved this book. it wasnt my favorite book (the blue sword by robin mckinley was) but i still loved it. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2000 by "lyndsea"
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