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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.
©2006 The Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust and Spider Robinson (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Critic Reviews

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

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Ark1836 on 05-27-15

Could've Been Great...Ruined by Political Ranting

Would you try another book from Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson and/or Spider Robinson?

I would definitely read more books by Heinlein, but I don't think I would try Spider Robinson again. The story had great potential--it had a sound plot, some very witty/funny moments and interesting Sci-Fi elements. The potential, sadly, was ruined by unnecessary, disjointed rantings on contemporary political issues that had nothing to do with the story.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Variable Star?

They should edit out the entire political ranting scene at the end that was clearly meant to be nothing but criticism of the war in Iraq. Politics or personal feelings aside, it really ruined the book and left a very bad taste in my mouth. The rant was unnecessary. Looking at it almost ten years after the book was written, the rant also badly dated the book. It was a completely unnecessary distraction that ruined the book. I'm also not sure that Robert Heinlein would have agreed with direction that Spider Robinson took that part of this postmortem book--it really made this book less "Heinlein" and more "Robinson"...I would have felt better about it if the book had been credited as by Spider Robinson with ideas borrowed from Heinlein...I didn't think it was fair to Heinlein to stick his name on a book with such rapid political statements without definitely knowing what his feelings would have been on the issue.

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11 of 14 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Sailfish on 07-22-13

A Big Letdown

While knowing it wasn't Classic Heilein, what I had anticipated was that it would at least attempt to hold mostly true to the man's memory. What I got was L. Ron Hubbard-like story that essentially venerated Bhuddism/Zen instead of Scientology, all the while spewing nothing but vile contempt at mono-theism, mostly directed at Christian and Islamic religions.

There were some interesting thought-provoking theories explored like the possibility that the force behind the destruction of Sol and all its planets might not have been from aliens who wanted to destroy humankind at all but who were at such a higher sentience level than humans that they gave humankind as much thought as humans give the killing of millions of microbes when taking a shower; only then to use that to segue into why the remaining hundred or so humans left should not hate these aliens and ends up making Truther claims out of whole cloth that purport to show where nothing good would come of it.

As to the protagonist and the other characters, there was very little interesting in them; mostly banal and endless discussion of puppy love gone awry eventually leading to his decision to venture off-planet to escape and then the long, dreary droning of every day life on a constrained ship on its passengers 20 year journey to an uncharted planet.

The prose writing style and the author's jocular narration of it was truly an epic example of two blase skills combining to make suffering through the story as grating to my tolerance threshold as any narrated novel as I've ever experienced.

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11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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