Variable Star

  • by Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson
  • Narrated by Spider Robinson
  • 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At his death in 1988, Robert A. Heinlein left a legacy of novels and short stories that almost single-handedly defined modern science fiction. But one of Heinlein's masterpieces was never finished. In 1955, he began work on Variable Star, a powerful and passionate tale of two young lovers driven apart by pride, power, and the vastness of interstellar time and space. Then he set it aside to focus on other novellas. The detailed outline and notes he created for this project lay forgotten for decades, only to be rediscovered almost a half century later. Now the Heinlein estate has authorized award-winning author Spider Robinson to expand that outline into a full-length novel. The result is vintage Heinlein, faithful in style and spirit to the Grand Master's original vision.

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What the Critics Say

"I'd nominate Spider Robinson as the new Robert Heinlein." (New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Anger is Fear in Disguise

The first six chapters are very funny and sound a lot like something written in 1955. RH's very conservative values really come through and he takes a stab at nepotism which I really like. The whole book is an internal monologue of the main character.

When the main character leaves Earth the book take a drastic change in style, mood and values. There is no more laughing, the language becomes crude, and it becomes a soap opera. There still are some good parts but it is no where near as good as the beginning.

I am not a big fan of publishing material in an authors' name after he is gone. RH started this in 1955, yet he never finished it and he never tried to publish it. There had to be a reason. Maybe he did not want his name on something until he was happy with it. He also never in his life had a co author and there was probably a reason for that. Robert A. Heinlein means something when it is on the cover of a book and RH may have not wanted that soiled in any way.

I did give the book four stars, because of the first six chapters and chapters 17 and 18.

My favorite Heinlein books are: The Green Hills of Earth, Starman Jones, Double Star, Have Spacesuit Will Travel and Starship Trooper.
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- Jim "The Impatient"

BRVO!

First things first. Robert Heinlein is not Spider Robinson or vice versa. That little blurb about "nomination" is the stupidest thing I've ever heard, and it doesn't pay apropriate tribute to either author.

That being said,this book is just Heinleinesque enough to deserve his name in the title, but it is definitely written by Spider Robinson. Puns both bad and good abound. Marijuana and other chemicals are widely used by the characters, there are a few dirty words. The hero is a musician. In all of these regards the book is very Spider Robinsonesque.

The Heinleinesque part of "Variable Star" is that in many ways this is a rewritten version of "Time for the Stars". Not that this is a bad thing. It is never bad to take on an original idea and either improve it or twist it.

As for the book itself I really enjoyed it. I loved it. I thought Spider Robinson did a great job. This is a book true to its form, and I for one, want another; A sequel.

The only problem that I have with "Variable Star" is that the ending left too many unanswered questions. Do the Colonists make it to Bravo? What colony worlds end up being destroyed by radiation storms? What ever becomes of Conrad of Conrad? What happens to the little monk? And most importantly, who are the mysterious alien enemies to mankind? I demand another book. Or two or three. However many books it takes to fill out the plot.

As for the narration. The author did a good job except for his singing. Not so much a bad singing voice I suppose, nor even a bad song, but maybe the song goes better with the accompanyment of music. Accapella just didn't cut it. Besides the song, the narrarator does an excellent job. At least as well or better than his other two narrations. Except Spider Robinson should have given "Callahan an Irish brougue in Callahan's Legacy." I Haven't quite forgiven that one yet, but he did a fine job on "Rocket Ship Galileo", and he has done a fine job on this narration. BRAVO!
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-01-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.