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 an interplanetary colony ship; dirt-level terraforming of Ganymede; and the challenges of adolescence. The latter include adjusting to his blended family, conflicts with others his age, and...
Published 2 days 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. It is a simple story of a young man immigrating to the `planet' of Ganymede, one of the larger moons of Jupiter. It is told in the first person through the eyes of the main character, Bill Lermer.
Lermer winds up on...
Published on Sept. 16 2011 by Joe Boudreault
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4.0 out of 5 stars Satellite Scout,
This review is from: Farmer in the Sky (Mass Market Paperback)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 an interplanetary colony ship; dirt-level terraforming of Ganymede; and the challenges of adolescence. The latter include adjusting to his blended family, conflicts with others his age, and finding the right distance to maintain from girls.
This novel originally appeared as a serial in Boy's Life magazine. There is a strong Boy Scout influence in the story which blends well with the frontier setting and skills needed to survive in it. This is classic Robert Heinlein science fiction from the 1950s. The science is dated, but charmingly so. The adventure of space colonization nicely parallels the main character's coming of age.
One disappointed observation--the story could have gone on longer or easily supported a sequel. It's odd that a prolific writer like Heinlein did not follow up with one. Perhaps some detail of the licensing arrangement with Boy's Life explains this.
3.0 out of 5 stars Farmer In the Sky,
This review is from: Farmer in the Sky (Mass Market Paperback)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. It is a simple story of a young man immigrating to the `planet' of Ganymede, one of the larger moons of Jupiter. It is told in the first person through the eyes of the main character, Bill Lermer.
Lermer winds up on Ganymede with his widowed father, his stepmother and stepsister, and a few friends. Things on earth are tight and under strict rations, so colonists are being sent regularly to this new frontier. Heinlein does a credible job of describing the preparations and trip, the homesteading on the moon, the problems, and the feelings of Billy. It did enter my mind a few times: if things are rationed so severely on Earth (including basic food stuffs) how can they still afford to fly to the Jupiter moons? Colonies are already located on the moon, Mars and Venus etc, and contemplated on other moons. But I suppose Heinlein simply wants to tell the tale of migration to a new space frontier, and that he does.
This is the infancy of the golden age of sci-fi, after all. The trip there and the settling in of the Lermer family are fine. I did wish that I had more information about the preliminary preparation of the moon Ganymede, such as how the climates were controlled and what exactly were the functions of the mass converters. In a way, this little novel, easy and enjoyable to read, is a vision of the future settling of our solar system. Given the time it was written, it comes across pretty good.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Scout's Life on the New Frontier,
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. At the new colony, danger is part of everyday life, and there are deaths aplenty before the story is over. The adventure with the survey expedition is a little over the top, but the philosophic discussion about the future of the human race more than makes up for it. And the characters are superb - Hank, the risk-taker, Captain Hattie, the gruff pilot, the unflappable Schultzes, Bill's father, but most of all Bill himself, whose honesty, determination, and naiveté combine to make him one of the most believable (but still lovable) characters in all of Heinlein.
This book has everything a kid could want in a science fiction novel - carefully thought-out science, a thoroughly believable space journey, a revealing look at everyday life in a developing but managed ecology, settling a brave new world, mysterious alien artifacts, and one of the most engaging and personable characters ever to appear in science fiction. Adults should enjoy this book as well, although there's no hint of sex and women get pretty short shrift here. But all scouts (and would-be pioneers) are guaranteed to love it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Pioneer days of the future on one of Jupiter's moons,
As the old saying goes "If it sounds too good to be true...."
Father and son settle into local life. The brochures were right about one thing....they have plenty of food, no rationing, and they get to have some land. But, it's not what was expected. Hard work and the help of some good neighbors help them settle in and set up thier farm, but life is still fraught with dangers.
Not as good as some of Heinlein's other books, but it's still a good book, fun to read, and gives food for thought.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable early Heinlein,
5.0 out of 5 stars How does he keep doing it?,
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage vision of the future,
But while Bill can pilot a helicopter and follow the news from the developing offworld colonies, his world is not perfect: he seldom gets enough to eat. He and his father must limit their diets according to a strict caloric ration book, and although a new yeast plant has just begun production in Montana, the caloric ration has been reduced yet another time. Rather than tighten their belts, the Lermers decide to emigrate to Ganymede, where terraforming is underway and good food abounds. Written in 1950, Farmer in the Sky is one of Heinlein's first boys' books, and also one of the most muscular and optimistic. It deals with nothing less than the future of mankind; what, after all, must humans do to survive, civilization intact, when Earth becomes too crowded, famished and bellicose? Emigration to other colonized worlds is one solution, and that is what Heinlein illustrates so well in Farmer. He presents his readers with a Ganymede already partially modified to support life from Earth, and makes it all seem plausible--even commonplace (at least within the bounds of late 1940's scientific theory). A reader can see Jupiter hanging up there in the greenish sky, and hear the tremendous din of rock-crushing machinery. Against this vivid backdrop, a variety of characters win or lose as they try to wrest a living from Ganymede's newly created soil. Red-bearded Papa Schultz and his large family are seasoned colonists and adept at surviving the caprices of nature. Mr. Saunders, on the other hand, is shiftless and soon goes back to Earth. Perhaps one of the most memorable characters in the book is Hank, who at first seems like candidate for reform school but later proves to be just the right sort of rascal who makes a good pioneer.
Memorable, too, are the young scientists and engineers of the book, courageous and intent on opening up new frontiers for humankind. In light of that (and many other examples in other books) it is no wonder at all that a goodly number of today's scientists and engineers cite Robert Heinlein and his books for young adults as one of their first inspirations. ~~Beth Ager Wegrokit.com
4.0 out of 5 stars Tell me about the Jovian rabbits, George,
Despite the fact that everybody talks pretty much the same way that they do in other Heinlein books, and some characters obviously exist to make philosophical points, or to die conveniently, the main protagonist has enough depth to shift his point of view convincingly (except for some wild swings at the end), and not be the perfect Boy Scout. This book shows its age, but its still clearly thought out with many interesting ideas.
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein Teaches Ecology,
It's a true cornerstone of his ability to take hard science and teach it to the reader in a readable fashion.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for any Boy Scout,
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Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein (Mass Market Paperback - June 30 2009)
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