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ORPHANS OF THE SKY [Mass Market Paperback]

ROBERT HEINLEIN
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 27 2001
Ancient myths told of a place called Earth, but the modern world knew it was nonsense. Science knew the Ship was all the Universe, and as long as the sacred Converter was fed, lights would glow and air would flow through the miles of metal corridors. Hugh never questioned these truths until a despised mutie showed him the Control Room and he learned the true nature of the Ship and its mission.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Heinlein's 1951 novel offers a ship drifting through the currents of space as a microcosm of society, complete with class struggles, politics (including war between inhabitants of different decks), and love and family. Protagonist Hugh Hoyland fights to understand it all and to bring unity to the crew. Stealth titles are available directly at www.stealthpress.com.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) was educated at the University of Missouri and the US Naval Academy, Annapolis. He served as a naval officer for five years but retired in 1934 due to ill health. He then studied physics at UCLA before beginning to publish sf with 'Lifeline' for Astounding Science Fiction in 1939. Among his many novels are The Door into Summer, Double Star, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Still fresh Jan. 1 2014
By Bob TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The problem with much old science fiction is that it dates so quickly however in this case in remains readable as it does not use technology that makes it obviously dated, for example in some of this authors works extensive use is made of adding data and using tables of logarithms (yes I am old enough to remember them). Without giving too much plot details the adventure is set in a "generations" ship who's purpose has been lost and is thought to be the whole Universe (This was an earlier title for the book) to those on the ship, and although not a new concept even at the time it works well. From this premis the story develops, the characters believable, at least for a science fiction story until the end where it seems rushed and everything seems to depend too much on good luck.
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2.0 out of 5 stars good concept, executed poorly Aug. 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the only Heinlen book ive read and it will likely be the last. The story starts out interesting enough - the human race travelling through space in a giant starship that they believe IS the whole universe. Through the course of events, the main character, Hugh, learns the real nature of the ship and futilly attempts to educate the population of his discoveries due to everyone else's religious beliefs about the ship - the universe as they know it. This is another interesting concept, however, the story is marred with dull characters and a weak ending. I would recommend this book for children in grade school, but not for anyone who is looking for "serious" science fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My first Heinlein book Dec 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I first read this short novel when I was about 12 years old. Talk about mind-blowing. It never occured to me that people could have two heads, or be the heroes of a book! Or that a gigantic, self-contained spaceship could be so long in space that the inhabitants have forgotten they are _on_ a spaceship, and instead think it's the entire universe. I have no idea what happened to my first paperback copy. I do miss it. Wherever it's at, I hope some other 12-year-old has stumbled upon it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice plot but leaves you wanting Aug. 24 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
3.5 stars.
This is a good book, not to be missed by SF fans. My only complaint was that the psychology of people who are not familiar with a concept of anything outside their own ship had enormous potential, but was explored in a fairly casual manner - not very convincing. But the rest of the story is tops.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Robert Heinlein book that I read. I needed a book to use for a book report project in 8th grade, and I found this book in the school library. At the time I could have cared less about books. I followed the trend and thought books were stupid and boring, but after I read this book I really got into science fiction. This book was great. I dont want to give any of the story away like some people do in reviews, but I will say that it is really good. If you like Heinlein or just sci-fi, then I would recommend this book.
This book introduced me to the greats such as Stranger In A Strange Land, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I really recommend Stranger In a Strange Land. I found that one in my dads book collection and that is Heinleins best work in my opinion.
Anyway, it really is a good book I think so check it out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Novel by Heinlein June 20 2002
By rzaster
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Robert A. Heinlein is easily one of the best authors that have published their works, science fiction or not. "Orphans of the Sky" was originally published as two short stories, titled "Universe" and "Common Sense." This novel puts the two works together so that they read like one novel, which the two stories really are once they are combined. This is one of Heinlein's juveniles and I have yet to read any of the books that he wrote during the second part of his career, but I really enjoy these books. Heinlein here doesn't get involved with his beliefs as the book is more plot oriented. This doesn't mean that there aren't lots of good messages to learn by reading this, though.
Many, many years after Earth, there is a huge spaceship that flies throughout space. This space shuttle is made up of different stories and it is like a huge planets, with farms, homes, work areas, etcetera. On this planet are two types of people, the crew of the space shuttle, and people that are called "Muties" are the people that live on the upper parts of the ship and are sterotyped as to being violent and dirty people. The crew part of the ship has no clue that the shuttle is even moving and one man, Hugh, tries to tell the crew part of the ship the truth behind everything. The plot may not sound that it would be lots of fun, but it sure is.
People on the space shuttle are brought up thinking that the shuttle is the only thing in existence and that there is nothing beyond it. Heinlein tries to teach in this novel that you must examine everything and every way possible to prove that something is either correct or incorrect. It took one person of the crew part of the ship to realize the truth, and this is the supreme example that Heinlein shows.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read Dec 16 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While it shouldn't be compared to his later genre-busting novels, Orphans of the Sky is an entertaining Robert A. Heinlein book in its own right. The concept is one often mentioned in science fiction, but rarely expanded upon: a giant, self-contained spaceship - it's own Universe - in which humans eat and breathe, sleep and breed. The twist here is that they've been in it for so long that they can't remember life before it - or even imagine it, as they now believe the the Ship IS the Universe. It is an interesting social critique, as it shows how perfectly viable truths (indeed, Common Sense) can be reduced to mere mythology and religious twaddle. The book is well-written. Short, compact - two stories in about 120 pages - it is very tight, and this is one of those rare stories where not a single word is wasted (a complete contrast to some of Heinlein's later novels, one might say.) These are also the last two stories in Heinlein's Future History (never included in The Past Through Tomorrow.) A worthwhile story, I'm glad to see it back in print. Certainly not a heavyweight novel, but Heinlein fans will enjoy it. Reccommended for them, or as a good distraction.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Mind-expanding perspectives for younger readers
Originally published as two short stories, ("Universe" and "Common Sense"), this short novel showcases Heinlein's penchant for cynical social commentary. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2001 by Dave Deubler
5.0 out of 5 stars First of a Breed
This may not be the first generation starship tale, but it's probably the first where the passengers have forgotten that they're in a ship and that its corridors and rooms are not... Read more
Published on Dec 19 2000 by Randy Stafford
1.0 out of 5 stars simply dreadful
This is piece of excrement that should interest at all no one over the age of twelve with a modicum of taste and intelligence. On the other hand, it's also a... Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars A giant ship in space becomes all that the crew know!
Orphans of the sky - Robert Heinlein
This has got to be one of Heinlein's best books; a real find if you can get it! Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2000 by Micheal O Mealoid
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe this is out of print. Republish it NOW!
An excellent book, establishing a paradigm followed by many subsequent science fiction plots. As always, Heinlein is fascinated by competence and issues of morality and... Read more
Published on Nov. 22 1999 by Glenn H. Reynolds
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for junior high through adult
Orphans of the Sky speculates an advanced culture's collapse and replacement with a feudal system. Although the story takes place in a spaceship, the occupants are unaware of the... Read more
Published on May 24 1998
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