Starman Jones-Robert A. Heinlein

Alternative Worlds

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2015
Starman Jones
Robert A. Heinlein
Baen, Oct 4 2011, $13.00
ISBN: 9781451637496

Max Jones would prefer to emulate his late uncle the astrogator who flew to Beta Hydrae rather than his deceased father the Ozark farmer. Still he feels obligated to work the land to keep a roof over the head of his widow Maw; but any chance he has he reads and memorizes his uncle’s astrogate texts. When Maw marries lazy Hillman Biff Montgomery, Max leaves the farm hoping to earn his way onto a space vessel though his chances are zero as that requires money or influential contacts with the Astrogators’ Guild; he has neither.

Max meets Sam who looks at the lad’s astrogate books that he totes with him. Sam steals his books, but when they meet again near the Guild Hall, he helps both of them become crew on the Asgard starship. Due to his Uncle Chester, Max becomes an apprentice to the astrogator cell. The Astrogator head Dr. Hendrix suddenly dies; while another member of the cell Mr. Simes and the ship Captain Blaines blow the coordinates sending them into unknown space. Simes blames Max who had tried to intervene before the error.

This engaging reprint of a 1953 young adult science fiction thriller is an exciting outer space thriller. The crew passes the test of time as Simes for instance failed to correct the captain out of fear for his job. Max is a terrific protagonist who holds the story line together whether he goes to Chicago, flies in space, tries to save the crew with a reverse calculation or meets Eldith. Although the on board computer is ancient history with its size and limitations, sub-genre fans will be flying in space with Starman Jones.

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