In the period from 1947 through 1958, Robert A. Heinlein wrote 12 Science Fiction books that came to be known as his Juveniles. In today’s parlance they would be considered books intended for young adults: junior high and high school readers.
These excellent books all have several characteristics in common.
- They are scientifically accurate according to the best information available at the time they were written.
- Both the primary and secondary characters in the stories are well drawn and recognizable as people with whom the reader can identify.
- They are all coming of age stories, where young people find themselves faced with adult challenges and must grow in order to meet those challenges.
- The novels all have fast moving plots that propel the reader through the stories and maintain a sense of forward motion.
- And finally, they all more or less follow Heinlein’s “History of the Future” timeline.
I intend to review each of these novels in the order in which they were written, in the hope that I can encourage today’s young readers to visit these fine books from the past. Believe me, you will quickly forget that Venus is a scorching desert rather than the swampland that many suspected it was at the time Space Cadet was written; and it won’t matter to you that we now know that there are no canals on Mars like those depicted in Red Planet. These engrossing stories will thrill, entertain and inform you and be well worth your time. Those older readers, who can still remember what it was like to be young, will find them entertaining as well.