Time for the Stars

Robert A. Heinlein

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Before the genre of Young Adult existed we had juveniles. Heinlein’s juveniles are an a class by themselves. Designed for younger readers, they feature teens who are faced with problems they have to solve for themselves. That doesn’t mean they can’t be read and enjoyed by adults, too.

I first started reading Heinlein as an adolescent, and I still enjoy reading him. He never talked down to his readers and the problems they faced are a challenge to adults, too.

This story has a little too much hard science in it to be one of my favorites. How a torch ship is powered, how faster-than-light travel works, for example, arnn’t deeply interesting to me. More interesting is the situation of one twin who is cheated out of an opportunity to travel to the stars by his manipulative twin. When his twin Pat is injured in a skiing accident, Tom suddenly has the chance of a lifetime.

This book lacks the humor of Star Beast and the social commentary of Citizen of the Galaxy, but it’s still a good read.

The Sculpted Ship

K.M. O’Brien

The Sculpted Ship by [O'Brien, K. M.]

When Anailu Xindar is forced from her job, she almost has enough money to go on her own as a starship captain. She has the skills, knowledge, and certification—all she needs is a ship. Haunting the used ship yards, she is stunned to find a Dove class luxury liner she can just afford. Missing several key components, the ship is not yet ready for interstellar flight, but it will do for local trips to earn her the money she needs to outfit it for space.

Anailu’s adventures as she scrapes together the money to buy the parts she needs leads her from smuggler’s dens, to dinners with high society, and perhaps the most dangerous—the salons of high fashion for a new uniform. Along the way, she picks up a couple of sentient robots and a few parts that lead her closer to interstellar flight.

There are questions that are not answered, especially dealing with Anailu’s origins, that leave room for a sequel without being cliffhangers. I look forward to the next book.