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» » The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones


Robert A. Heinlein


The Rolling Stones


Science Fiction & Fantasy

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1598 kb

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1479 kb

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Baen (March 3, 2009)




Science Fiction



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The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein

The rollicking adventures of the Stone family on a tour of the Solar System. It all started when the twins, Castor and Pollux Stone, decided that life on the Lunar colony was too dull and decided to buy their own spaceship and go into business for themselves. Their father thought that was a fine idea, except that he and Grandma Hazel bought the spaceship and the whole Stone family were on their way out into the far reaches of the Solar System, with stops on Mars (where the twins got a lesson in the interplanetary economics of bicycles and the adorable little critters called flatcats who, it turned out, bred like rabbits; or, perhaps, Tribbles . . .), out to the asteroids, where Mrs. Stone, an M.D., was needed to treat a dangerous outbreak of disease, and even further out, to Titan and beyond.

Unforgettable Heinlein characters on an unforgettable adventure.

Got a nephew or niece, maybe a little brother or sister you want to break in right with science fiction? You know, like you did with Asimov, Zelasny and McCaffrey? Robert Heinlein is your guy. He and his contemporaries are where Star Trek and Star Wars were incubated. Rich with vocabulary and wit, it embodies the explorer in every kid and shows how to tell a story with skill, intelligence and humor. They label it for juvenile's, and I did read it the first time in high school. And again about two weeks ago, just short of my 62nd birthday. Still holds up,still a page turner. So break 'em in right, give them the bones of story telling, sci fi 101. Never know if you might be encouraging the next Arthur C. Clark.
To describe this as a tale of a nuclear family is too simple. But correct to plot, technology, and human insight. In this age of broken families and selfish pursuits we find this tale with a family of talented, even aspiring individuals working together for common goal joyfully. That powerful glue, love, holds this ship together. And, sadly, may be the deepest lesson missed on the first reading. Read it again and enjoy your own journey with the Rolling Stones.
The twins Castor and Pollux Stone have decided to leave their home on Luna and take a trek through space, but are they ready? Their father, Roger Stone doesn't think so. So this voyage seems to be headed as a family affair, as they build the rocket "The Rolling Stone", and get ready for a takeoff that will lead to danger, excitement, drama and...Flatcats.
The whole "Stone" family is aboard: Roger and his wife, Edith Stone, a medical doctor, their two boy's Castor and Pollux, Roger's mother, Hazel, and the young-ins, Meade and Lowell.
Life in the ship gets definitely crowded when they find themselves with a martian pet, a Flatcat named "Fuzzy Britches". It has babies and more and more till the ship is suffocated by them. And the twins find themselves in a business opportunity, selling flatcats.
I really enjoyed this book. I read it in three sittings and was quite a page turner. This isn't a epic novel or anything masterful, but that's not the point. Its an adventure through space where danger and excitement could pop up at anytime, where a family works as a unit together, through bad and worse. As a team and a family. Seeing new things together.

Another of RAH's great Juvenile books. Recommended for young and old.

"The Rolling Stones" was published in 1952. Titled "Space Family Stone" in the UK.
Yellow Judge
The "Rolling Stones" concerns a family of wandering spacefarers who encounter a series of adventures on their travels from place to place. It was clearly written with a younger, early-teens audience in mind, and unlike some of Heinlein's other juveniles doesn't hold up quite as well to adult reading. As in many of Heinlein's works, there's a fair amount of "hard" sci-fi in "Rolling Stones," but it got distracting after a while. Recommend starting with one of his other tales - for instance, "Tunnel in the Sky," "Double Star," "The Red Planet," "Podkayne of Mars"
Heinlein has always been my favorite author and the Rolling Stones rates in the middle of his works. A nice solid work that is most amazing by not being 'dated' by being over fifty years old. Appreciate that you are reading the ground breaking memes of this genre and you will get a 'wow' at how well this compares to the novels that have copied and built on this foundation.
I gave the book four stars because of the weak way the author got Hazel out of dying from hypoxia but I have a nagging feeling it might be a subtle dig on editors who will not let their authors kill off popular characters. It also ties in and explains the silly sub-plot about a four year old and a grandmother sloppily dishing out action/adventure TV scripts.
This is an enjoyable coming of age story. The main characters learn and grow through believable adventures. Pleasant reading for an adult, yet very helpful reading for a child. Next time your child /students say " why are we studying math etc " tell them to read this. It may not get them going, but the smart ones will get it.
This is a YA novel about the Stone family, whose history looms large in the political history of the Lunar Free State. When the twin teenage boys, Castor and Pollux, try to buy a spaceship, their father intervenes and buys an even better spaceship for the whole family to jump into and go sight-seeing.

Interestingly, it appears the Heinlein actually did the math for the transfer orbit from Earth to Mars. I'm a celestial mechanic, and I checked it myself. Yes, he did. (However, his references to a Venus departure are incorrect in regard to timing, and his calculations for a transfer orbit from Mars to a part of the asteroid belt "near Ceres" probably contained an error that would cause the Stone family to end up in a part of Ceres' orbit that is 180 degrees around the sun from Ceres. But hey, the guy was a fiction writer, not a JPL astrodynamicist, so he did pretty good.)
For a book written many years ago (it was one of the first I checked out from the library when I got my card), this tale of a near-future space journey/adventure is full of wonderful characters and challenging situations. For a Heinlein book, it keeps the politics to a minimum and concentrates on story, possibly because this was one of his 'juvenile' series. It takes place in the timeline after "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", starting in Luna CIty, but the sociological environment on the moon has seemingly regressed to a traditional core-family from the more "creative" relationship styles that MIAHM featured. Hazel Stone, in particular, seems to have mellowed out the most.

Even though it's dated in the technology (few people use or would even recognize a "slipstick" (slide rule) these days, the plot carries the book. I would have liked to read another sequel set 50+ years further into that future.

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