Double Star Mass Market Paperback – Oct 12 1986
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Bears the Heinlein cache of credible authenticity―THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION
One of the most influential writers in American literature―THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Not only America's premier writer of speculative fiction, but the greatest writer of such fiction in the world --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
For me, this is one of his best early novels. He stays within the boundaries of the story, and doesn't rely on a "big surprise" to try to lengthen the plot. The hero is Lorenzo Smythe, an actor who has a rather high opinion of himself. He is engaged by Dak Broadback for a performance, but not a typical performance. Instead he is hired to be John Joseph Bonforte, the former Supreme Minister and leader of the opposition. Lorenzo will need to fool people who have known Bonforte for years, as well as many others, and worse yet he will need to be surrounded by Martians, whom he can't stand the sight or smell of.
The story is cleverly put together, obstacles arise as the result of politics and situations, but they are certainly believable within the context of the story being told. This had been a problem with his earlier novels, at least it was a problem for me. The story is a bit predictable, as Lorenzo is forced to continue the role longer and longer as new situations arise, but that didn't bother me as it was very enjoyable to read. This isn't going to rank as Heinlein's best, but it is a cut above most of his earlier novels.Read more ›
The twin-of-somebody-famous plot is as old as The Man in the Iron Mask and has been explored by practically every television sitcom at some point. Robert Heinlein pulls it off reasonably well. The book explores the limits of what people actually know about each other, long-term consequences of living as an impostor, and how alliances based on deception can evolve over time. It tells a pretty good story, too. The plot trajectory is often predictable, but it was probably less so when the story was originally published.
Read this one if you are a diehard Heinlein fan who has not yet experienced it. Or if you want to think a bit about issues of identity and pretense.
This time out, our "hero" is Lawrence Smith a.k.a. Lorenzo "Lorrie" Smythe a.k.a. "The Great Lorenzo", a self-important and out-of-work actor who, at least initially, isn't all that heroic. He's approached about a job, and it turns out to involve serving as a double for a famous statesman in a public appearance. The rest you'll have to read for yourself.
It's a fast-moving, well-paced, meaty story, and it raises all sorts of fascinating questions about personal identity, character, and such. And Heinlein handles it all very deftly. Smith (why _are_ so many of his characters named "Smith"?) contends at one point that in order for an actor to portray a character properly, s/he has to _become_ the character, and it's impossible to do so without coming to like the character somewhat. Well, that's just what Heinlein does here with Smith himself. (Another of Heinlein's Smiths would later describe this process as "grokking".)
Oh, there are a few soapboxy bits, but they don't interfere much with the story. For example, at one or two points we get a few pseudo-profound quotations from statesman John Joseph Bonforte that sound suspiciously like Heinlein himself at his tub-thumpingly silliest (or perhaps some lost excerpts from the notebooks of Lazarus Long, which may be another way of saying the same thing). But it's kept under control.Read more ›
Heinlein generally doesn't have a lot of good things to say about politicians, but John Joseph Bonforte (another critical character) is his exception that proves the rule. He's honest, capable, caring - in short a saint among politicians.
Another reviewer complained of too much politics, but that's rather silly in my opinion. The book is about the world of politics in the future, so it has to talk about it. But there is very little of Heinlein's trademark libertarian philosophizing. The book moves so fast, there isn't time for it.
This is Heinlein's only short work to win a Hugo award, and I consider it quite worthy of the honor. It's not one of Heinlein's series of juvenile novels, but it can be read by teens as well as adults. Get it - it beats 99% of the science fiction ever written, and practically 100% of the stuff being put out these days.
Most recent customer reviews
Lorenzo Smythe has to be one of the best examples of a character you love to loathe in the beginning, and winding up loving by the middle. Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Rocco Dormarunno
Double Star is a classic science fiction novel. It is about an actor who "fills in" for a kidnapped statesman. Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by Charles J. Rector
When the book starts you can smell the scuz on Smythe. When it ends, you'll want to give him a statue.Published on April 12 2004 by Jim-bob Furlbottom
This is a well-written, well-plotted story, as you would expect from such a respected author.
Personally, I have a problem with the story. Read more
On the surface, one might think that Stranger in a Strange Land would be my favorite Heinlein novel. Okay, it was the most influential. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2002 by Noel Lynne Figart
The year is 1956. Eisenhower is in the White House, following a long line of military men to reach that post. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2002 by Patrick Shepherd
This is a book which I took a while getting around to read. For some reason the subject matter, combined with the cheesy cover picture just didn't do anything for me. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2002 by Rachel E. Watkins
While Double Star did win the Hugo Award for the best science fiction novel of 1956, I would not call it one of Heinlein's most important works, nor would I rate it as highly as a... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2002 by Daniel Jolley