book review: have spacesuit, will travel

I read Robert Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit, Will Travel for my SF class. It’s weird how 1950s it feels (even as it namedrops brands like Goodyear and GE). The kid (who I think is way younger than he’s supposed to be because he talks with this really juvenile idea of adulthood) gets abducted by aliens because he’s out wearing his spacesuit he won in a soap jingle contest. It’s the kind of old SF where we have a Moon base and use slide rules. Which is cool and all for me, as a study of SF, but there’s no way I could recommend a book like this to a kid with a straight face today. The past that this was written in is so different that that would be the weirdness in the story.

Heinlein’s ideas of justice and what’s good and right come shining through especially in terms of what a man should be doing (smashing open doors and alien heads, learning hard sciences and being a bit belligerent).

Some people insist that ‘mediocre’ is better than ‘best.’ They delight in clipping wings because they themselves can’t fly.

One of the parts of that philosophy that I enjoy the hell out of is the complete denigration of people with narrow worldviews. Right off the hop the narrator is referring to “creeps who wouldn’t consider leaving Earth.” But the hero also has a very simple assumption that the way a white male “who can always get what he wants” sees the world is the way a human sees the world.

It was interesting and I’m glad I read it, but there’s way better stuff out there.

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