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Twins, say. In his book Time for the Stars , Robert A. Heinlein took that theory and ran with it. Telepathy, as an ability harnessed and employed by humans, often comes into play in Heinlein stories and books.

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In Time for the Stars , telepathy is the method that Earth uses to keep in contact with a fleet of twelve torchships sent to all points of the compass, travelling at near the speed of light, in a search for Earth-like planets to colonize. In most cases, one twin stays on Earth while the other rides in a torchship. In some, one telepath rides on one ship and the partner on another. Of the Bartletts, Tom ends up being the one to go into space, and, after four years of travel, he returns.


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His brother, though, has lived through 71 years, and is The size of the crew, for instance, is important. Telepaths, as Heinlein envisions them, lose contact and sympathy with their twin or partner during the travel boosts when velocity most closely approaches lightspeed. On another world, the land is open and uninhabited, but there are warlike beings living in the oceans. Tom and his crewmates are Rip Van Wrinkles when they return. Yet, young Rip Van Winkles with full lives ahead of them.

Heinlein took this concept and made it a real story with characters — and he made the twin thing relevant by using twin telepathy, which is instantaneous, as a means of communicating between Earth and ship. Before announcing the discovery, the foundation first recruits as many of these people as it can.

Testing shows that teenagers Tom and Pat Bartlett have this talent and both sign up. On board, Tom is pleased to find that his uncle Steve, a military man, has arranged to get assigned to the same ship.

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The trip is fraught with problems as trivial as an annoying roommate and as serious as mutiny. The ship visits several star systems, including Beta Hydri. Some of the spacefaring twins, including the protagonist, are able to connect with descendants of the Earthbound twins.

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Tom works first with his niece, then his grandniece, and finally his great-grandniece. The last planet scouted proves to be particularly deadly. The reserve captain takes charge, but is unable to restore the morale of the devastated survivors.

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When he insists on continuing the mission rather than returning to Earth, members of the crew begin to consider mutiny. Shortly after he notifies Earth of the dire situation, they are surprised to hear a spaceship will rendezvous with them in less than a month and wonder how that can be possible. Scientists on Earth have discovered faster-than-light travel, in part due to research into the nature of telepathy, and are collecting the surviving crews of the LRF torchships.

The explorers return to an Earth they no longer recognize, and in most cases, no longer fit in. Tom, however, returns to family and makes the adjustment. My Take As with the other Heinlein juveniles, this is an enjoyable book, though the telling sags in places. There is good characterization, and a few twists.

The plot mostly centers on Tom, who is on the ship, but there are sections on discovered planets, which are well done, and back on Earth, which are less interesting.

Book review: “Time for the Stars” by Robert A. Heinlein

Still, a strong entry in the series. One of my favorite Heinlein juveniles!


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I just find it hard to accept that twins, however attuned, can communicate telepathically from so far away. But even if you do accept it, how do you accept communicating with a great niece? Time for the Stars is my 2nd favorite of the Heinlein juveniles. I loved them all. Bought them in hardback with the first check from my first hourly job at The two other big favorites were Tunnel in the Sky and Starman Jones. Your tastes align pretty much with mine, James. The Virginia Edition of the complete definitive writings fiction and non-fiction of Robert A Heinlein consists of 46 volumes: all identically formatted and typecast with no illustrations.

The Scribner juveniles are in twelve separate books. Between Planets 5 ——————- pages Farmer in the Sky 4 —————— pages Red Planet 3 ————————— pages. That is interesting, Mark. Starship Troopers was sent to Scribners and rejected. It was intended to be I would have loved if Heinlein had written juveniles for the rest of his life. He finished the 60,word draft at A. He had done this one, he told Blassingame, as he had done Citizen of the Galaxy two years ago—written what was essentially an adult novel, but one his kids should find interesting. Patterson Jr. Robert A.