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Tunnel in the Sky Mass Market Paperback – Oct 12 1987


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (Oct. 12 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345353730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345353733
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #364,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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

About the Author

Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988) is widely recognized as one of the greatest science fiction authors of all time, a status confirmed in 1974 when the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America gave him their first Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. A four-time Hugo Award winner, Heinlein is best known for works including Starship Troopers, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and the sensational bestseller Stranger in a Strange Land. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gregory McMahan on June 18 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I am not a rabid fan of Mr. Heinlein, considered by many to be the grandmaster of science fiction, I do believe that Tunnel in the Sky is one of his better efforts.
The book, which apparently was originally slated for the juvenile market, tells the story of Rod Walker, a bright young man on the verge of graduating from a futuristic high school. In the book's future, the Earth is a vastly overcrowded planet, and teleportation has supplanted the internal combustion engine and its (hell)spawn as a form of mass transportation, especially over great distances. In the book, teleportation also presents a solution to Earth's bloated population: all the excess people were 'teleported' to new worlds surrounding distant stars, and as such they became de facto colonists.
It turns out that the young Mr. Walker aspires to be an explorer of these new worlds, or at least involved in some way with their governance and/or exploration. As one of these 'Space-Age' pioneers, he could participate in establishing a beach-head for humanity in some far-flung area of the universe, scout the terrain to get the lay of the land, and give the all-clear for human habitation and colonization. Under this system, he could even a group of colonists to a new world.
However, in order to do this, Rod must first pass a survivalist's exam. Before embarking on his challenge, to which his parents vehemently object, he gets more than a little helpful advice and a few useful life skills from his older sister, a futuristic sort of Amazonian warrior, and a schoolteacher named the 'Deacon' (an apt title for he preaches quite a lot) who thinks fondly of Rod, calling him 'a hopeless romantic born into an age of practical men'.
I think Heinlein wrote this yarn as an extended lesson on good citizenship for minors.
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By rzaster on June 15 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Tunnel in the Sky" is one of Robert A. Heinlein's juvenile science fiction novels, which he wrote to target the young adult audience. People may think that since this book is targeted at juveniles that it is not a good read for adults. That is untrue and this wonderful novel can be enjoyed by an adult as well as a juvenile. The book takes place in a 1950's or so time where interplanetary travel happens by many people of the public every single day. People move through the planets by going through gates, where they are transferred to a plantet that can be millions of miles away in a matter of seconds. This is a very ineteresting idea that Heinlein brings forth.
Rod Walker is a high school teen that is enrolled in a survial course at his school. For the final exam he and his peers are asked to travel to another planet to stay for a maximum of ten days and survive there. Rod goes and at first is lost and has absolutely no clue where any of his friends are. He eventually meets up with a student from another school and they start a colonization on the planet that they ended up on. The instructors of the course were supposed to get the kids but you will learn at the end of the novel why the kids were never retrieved.
This novel shows how government forms and how it works among the people that are governed over. In the book, a whole new civilization is started on the planet and at first everybody works together to make a habitable living area and to get enough food for everybody. The colony that is formed starts of with just two people and grows to a very large amount of students that were taking the final exam for the survival course. There are elections to elect people to govern over the people of the colony and this book can show how people can start a new life when they need to.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tunnel in the sky was the first Heinlein book I read. I haven't stopped. "Red Planet", "Have a Space suit will travel", his all famous "Stranger in a strange land", "Citizen of the Galaxy" and a few others, some of which I cannot recall at this time, include the long list of books that have touched my life at one time or another, but "Tunnel in the sky" started it all. Except for "Stranger in a strange land" this is his best novel. While the characters names have gone and went throughout years since reading this novel, the stories essance remains in my heart. It is a book of survival, of civilization, of building and rebuilding, and of friendship. Heinlein is a master at story creation. When the last page swept threw my fingers, those many years ago, I couldn't help but feel delight, sarrow, anger (that it was over), and everything else all at once. I had finished a great book and I thank Heinlein for allowing me to experience this. If you enjoyed this book as much as I than I highly recommend you read "Survivor" by Robert Gray, and the Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer. You wont be dissapointed!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Heinlein felt that anyone who could not do everything from plan an invasion, change a diaper, butcher a hog, write a sonnet, design a building, or program a computer was at least partially incapacitated. In addition, he felt that our schools did a very poor job of preparing young people for what life was all about. This book presented at least one partial solution to both problems: have a school course in survival, whose final test was to be dropped onto some unknown 'wilderness' planet for a week and forced to actually survive. Around this basic concept Heinlein fashioned what is probably one of the best of his so-called 'juvenile' novels.
Roderick Walker is the prime character, a young man with some doubts about whether he is really ready to take the final exam in this course. With some encouragement and advice from his older sister, he decides to proceed, going through the 'gate' to a new world where nothing is familiar, where everything must be viewed as potentially deadly. But after managing to survive for the prescribed time, there is no pick up signal, no return gate, and Rod slowly comes to the conclusion that, regardless of what has gone wrong, he must make a go of really living long term on this new world. Along with other class survivors, a small society is formed, initially with Rod as the nominal leader.
From this point, Heinlein manages to show the essentials of how and why a government is formed, what type of government make sense for a small group, how a society protects itself from 'bullies' (the only truly deadly animal is the two-legged variety), the contribution made by both sexes to a properly functioning society, just what makes a man a man, and the essential qualities of a leader.
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