Review of Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958)


Robert A. Heinlein (writer).

Read in 2018.

The last of Heinlein’s juveniles. Before reading it I had assumed that the plot would involve someone making ends meet in a coherent vision of a future economy, where the space suit had taken the place of the car as an important piece of working-class personal capital appearing in job applications, rather like the middle section of Between Planets (1951). It’s nothing like that, nor is it like the TV series Have Gun—Will Travel (1957), then the third most popular in the US after two other Westerns. The plot instead escalates by leaps and bounds to a multi-galactic level where a villainous race reminiscent of the Eddorians of Gray Lensman (1939) is defeated in a courtroom drama. I was also mistaken in thinking that the “Mother Thing” with its super-cozy telepathy would be revealed as something akin to The Puppet Masters (1951). There is no such depth here. For all its flatness the plot is rather incoherent and coloured by Heinlein’s fetishes, including libertarianism and pedophilia. The character of Peewee would have been great fun without the references to spanking and slapping.

References here: Daybreak (2019).

text fiction