Между планетами


Дон Харви, простой школьник из Нью-Мексико, внезапно получает радиограмму от своих родителей, живущих на Марсе, в которой они приглашают его к себе погостить. Дело в том, что отец Дона – землянин, а мать – из семьи колонистов Венеры, а Венера стоит на грани выхода из земной Федерации, поэтому, по мнению родителей, в канун неизбежной войны их сыну гораздо лучше очутиться на нейтральной планете. Но путь на Марс оказывается гораздо дольше и труднее, чем ожидалось. Начинается восстание на Венере, и Дона, застрявшего между планетами, затягивает неумолимый водоворот событий. Он почти физически ощущает, как «ветер Истории шевелит его волосы»…

THE GREEN HILLS OF EARTH


Reviewer: Daniel Jolley

Robert Heinlein was writing great science fiction before a lot of people even knew what it was. The Green Hills of Earth features ten early short stories from the 1940s; all of these stories are set in outer space, but these are more sociological and entertaining than technical in the way of hard science fiction. In «Delilah and the Space Rigger,» the head of the space station construction project is horrified to discover that his new engineer is a woman. His fear of having one woman working among a crew of 200 men is never alleviated, but the modern-day Delilah makes good use of her undeniable engineering skills to win a victory of sorts in the end. «Space Jockey» is basically a story of a space pilot and his stay-at-home wife. It basically explores the issues of a traditional marriage in which the husband is away from home more than either partner would like for him to be. These two stories’ treatment of women is far from sexist in my opinion. «The Long Watch» and «Gentlemen, Be Seated» are stories of bravery and heroism. In the first, a spaceman risks his radiation-vulnerable life to stop a military coup from taking place, while the second describes the heroism of three men trapped in a tunnel collapse in Luna City. «The Black Pits of Luna» is a story of a normal family whose youngest son (referred to lovingly as «the brat») wanders off by himself on a tour of the moon. The search for the little guy offers us some clues as to what sorts of qualities a space man should have (as well as the qualities of individuals who should never have been allowed on the moon to start with).

«It’s Great to be Back» is enjoyable yet wholly predictable. After three years on the moon, a couple absolutely yearns to go back home to earth, only to find that their idea of home has changed immensely during their sojourn in Luna City. «-We Also Walk Dogs» is probably the most singular story in this collection. General Services basically serves any request made by its customers, offering a service borne of the old tradition of walking dogs for rich folks. Their commitment to do whatever job needs to be done is put to the ultimate test when a bureaucrat asks them to make hay with the laws of gravity in order to pave the way for an ultra-important international business meeting on earth. «Ordeal in Space» is another hero story-«Mr. Saunders» is a space hero who has become deathly afraid of heights as the result of a terribly frightening yet heroic ordeal above the earth. He is so afraid of heights that he can’t even look up at the sky without getting queasy. When he reluctantly accepts a dinner invitation and ends up spending the night in an apartment 35 stories above the ground, the meowing of a kitten stuck out on the ledge challenges him to overcome his fears. As an acrophobic person myself, it was all I could do to get through some of Heinlein’s realistic descriptions of the heights involved in this kitten rescue mission. «The Green Hills of Earth» is the story of the unofficial poet laureate of outer space, but I found it to be the only slightly disappointing story in the book. Finally, «Logic of Empire» rounds out the collection. Humphrey Wingate gets into a heated discussion about the reality of indentured servitude on Venus, refusing to see it as a modern form of chattel slavery. When his friend asks him to put his money where his mouth is, he has the great misfortune of being very drunk. Upon awakening, he finds himself on a ship bound for Venus, where he quickly develops a brand new standpoint on the subject of Venusian servitude.

These are all great stories which the passage of time has not hurt one iota. Set in a science fiction setting, they are all essentially stories of people and their interaction with one another. Any fan of Heinlein or science fiction in general is missing a rare treat if he/she overlooks The Green Hills of Earth.

La Luna è una severa maestra


Robert A. Heinlein

La Luna è una severa maestra

PARTE PRIMA

Storia della Luna

dall’età coloniale alla rivoluzione

1

La Lunaya Pravda di oggi riferisce che il Consiglio comunale di Luna City ha approvato in prima lettura la legge che impone esame preventivo, licenza e ispezioni periodiche (e tasse) ai commercianti entro la cerchia pressurizzata municipale. Riferisce inoltre che stasera si terrà un grande raduno dei Figli della Rivoluzione.

Il mio vecchio mi ha dato due insegnamenti: occupati degli affari tuoi, e non fidarti mai. La politica non mi ha mai tentato. Quel giorno, lunedì 13 maggio 2075, mi trovavo nella sala dei calcolatori dell’Ente Lunare e stavo visitando il capo calcolatore Mike, mentre gli altri cervelli elettronici sussurravano tra loro.

Mike non è il nome ufficiale, è il nomignolo che gli ho affibbiato io, prendendolo in prestito dal personaggio Mycroft Holmes, protagonista di un romanzo sc…

Stella doppia


Robert A. Heinlein

Stella doppia

1

Se un tizio entra nel bar vestito come uno spaventapasseri e con l’aria di essere il padrone del mondo, state pur certi che si tratta di uno spaziale.

È nella logica delle cose. Col mestiere che fa, si sente il signore del creato; quando scende su terrasporca, guarda i bifolchi dall’alto in basso. E in quanto al suo modo di vestire, privo del minimo buon gusto, non si può pretendere che un uomo con l’uniforme addosso per nove decimi del suo tempo, abituato com’è a vivere più nello spazio interplanetario che nel mondo civile, abbia le idee chiare in fatto di moda. È un boccone ricercato per quei cosiddetti sarti che si aggirano a frotte per gli spazioporti, garantendo «elegantissimi completi da terra».

Si vedeva subito che quel tizio grande e grosso era finito fra le mani di Omar il Tendaiolo. Bastava guardargli le spalle imbottite in modo esagerato, o gli shorts talmente malfatti che, sedendosi, gli si arrampica…

La porta sull’estate


Robert A. Heinlein

La porta sull’estate

1

Un inverno, poco prima della Guerra delle Sei Settimane, io e il mio gatto, Petronio Arbitro, abitavamo in una vecchia casa di campagna nel Connecticut. Credo che quella casa non esista più. Non era lontana dalla zona di Manhattan che andò completamente distrutta, e poi si sa che le vecchie case di legno bruciano come carta velina. Ma anche se esiste ancora, non credo che serva molto in quanto è priva di impianti igienici, ma a me e a Pete piaceva, sia perché l’affitto era basso, sia perché la sala da pranzo, rivolta a nord, era per me un’ottima stanza per disegnare.

Unico svantaggio erano le undici porte che si aprivano nella casa. Dodici anzi, se contiamo quella di Pete. A proposito, Pete è sempre Petronio Arbitro. Lo chiamo così per comodità. Io ho sempre fatto in modo, in tutte le case dove siamo andati a vivere, che Pete avesse la sua porta personale. Nel caso specifico si trattava di un’apertura praticata nella …

Operazione Domani


Robert A. Heinlein

Operazione Domani

(Friday, 1982)

1

Quando scesi dalla capsula Piantadifagiolo Kenia, lo avevo alle calcagna. Mi seguì oltre la porta degli uffici Dogana, Sanità e Immigrazione. Mentre la porta si contraeva alle sue spalle, lo uccisi.

La Piantadifagiolo non mi è mai piaciuta. Mi disgustava già prima del disastro del Ganciaereo di Quito. Un cavo che si alza in cielo senza niente che lo sostenga puzza troppo di magia. Ma l’unico altro mezzo per raggiungere Elle-Cinque richiede troppo tempo e costa troppo; i miei ordini e la mia nota-spese non me lo permettevano.

Così ero già nervosa prima di lasciare lo shuttle da Elle-Cinque a Stazione Stazionaria e salire sulla capsula della Piantadifagiolo… Però, accidenti, il nervosismo non è un buon motivo per uccidere qualcuno. Volevo solo metterlo fuori combattimento per qualche ora.

Il subconscio ha la sua logica. Lo afferrai al volo prima che piombasse a terra e lo trascinai verso un…

Stranger in a Strange Land


Stranger in a Strange Land, winner of the 1962 Hugo Award, is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: he has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth’s cultures or religions. But he brings turmoil with him, as he is the legal heir to an enormous financial empire, not to mention de facto owner of the planet Mars. With the irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw to protect him, Michael explores human morality and the meanings of love. He founds his own church, preaching free love and disseminating the psychic talents taught him by the Martians. Ultimately, he confronts the fate reserved for all messiahs.

The impact of Stranger in a Strange Land was considerable, leading many children of the 60’s to set up households based on Michael’s water-brother nests. Heinlein loved to pontificate through the mouths of his characters, so modern readers must be willing to overlook the occasional sour note («Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it’s partly her fault.»). That aside, Stranger in a Strange Land is one of the master’s best entertainments, provocative as he always loved to be. Can you grok it? —Brooks Peck —This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

The Past Through Tomorrow


Robert A. Heinlein

The Past Through Tomorrow

Introduction by Damon Knight

The year is 1967, and in Carmel, California, a retired admiral named Robert A. Heinlein is tending his garden. Commissioned in 1929, he served through World War II with distinction, taught aeronautical engineering for a few years, then became a partner in a modestly successful electronics firm. Aside from his neighbors, his business associates and Navy friends, no one has ever heard of him.

This is a likely story, but not true. What really happened is much less probable: six years after graduation from the Naval Academy, while serving on a destroyer, Heinlein contracted tuberculosis. He spent a couple of years in bed, then was retired at the age of 27.

Like the consumptive Robert Louis Stevenson, like Mark Twain, whose career as a river-boat pilot was swept away by the war, Heinlein turned to writing almost at random, because he could not lead the more active life he would have pr…

I Will Fear No Evil


Robert A Heinlein

I Will Fear No Evil


To Rex and Kathleen

1

The room was old-fashioned, 1980 baroque, but it was wide, long, high, and luxurious. Near simulated view windows stood an automated hospital bed. It looked out of place but was largely concealed by a magnificent Chinese screen. Forty feet from it a boardroom table also failed to match the decor. At the head of this table was a life-support wheelchair; wires and tubings ran from it to the bed.

Near the wheelchair, at a mobile stenodesk crowded with directional mikes, voice typewriter, clock-calendar, controls, and the usual ancillaries, a young woman sat. She was beautiful.

Her manner was that of the perfect unobtrusive secretary but she was dressed in a current exotic mode. «Half & Half»—right shoulder and breast and arm concealed in jet-black knit, left leg sheathed in a scarlet tight, panty-ruffle in both colors joining them, black sandal on the scarlet side, red sandal on he…

From the Notebooks Of Lazarus Long


Robert A. Heinlein

From the Notebooks Of Lazarus Long

Always store beer in a dark place.

By the data to date, there is only one animal in the galaxy dangerous to man — man himself. so he must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him.

Men are more sentimental than women. It blurs their thinking.

Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet, you can’t win.

Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.

Always listen to the experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.

Get a shot off FAST. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.

There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. but there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will KNOW. So why fret about it?

If it can’t be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.

It has long been known that one horse can run fa…