feedback image
Total feedbacks:44
Looking forTime for the Stars in PDF? Check out
Check out

Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
natalie jankowski
Classic Heinlein Juvenile. Read it when I was a bit younger then I am now and every now and then I read it again. Gives an interesting insight into the rivalry between twins with a side story of traveling to the stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sue wang
I've been a fan of Robert Heinlein for over 45 years. This is one of my favorites of his novels. Interstellar space travel has always been possible in my mind. And this story explores a purely imaginary means of going there.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
"Time for the Stars" is an excellent science fiction novel of the "juvenile" genre that was the great Robert A. Heinlein's particular forte. The term "juvenile" is not a pejorative -- it mainly denotes a science fiction novel that is aimed at young people or which features a young protagonist. Many of Heinlein's "juvenile" sci-fi novels, this one included, do both, but nevertheless succeed in reaching a fully adult readership as well. Heinlein's "juvenile" science fiction novels have introduced generations of young readers to the literature of science fiction and it is perhaps this for which Heinlein is best known.

I first read "Time for the Stars when I was in Middle School, and I liked the novel very much at that time. Picking it up in my late middle age, I wondered how it would survive the test of time and my own maturity. Much to my surprise, it endures very well. This is a very well-written story that succeeds in capturing the reader's interest and holding it right through the ending. This is the story of twin brothers, Tom and Pat Bartlett. The basic notion is that some twins, including the Bartletts, have telepathic abilities that enable them to communicate via telepathy without being constrained by either the inverse-square law (which limits the range of ordinary electromagnetic communications, i.e. radio) or the lightspeed barrier. Thus, twin-to-twin communication is an ideal medium for interstellar communication and this rather improbable assumption forms the basis for this story.

Not only is this an excellent science fiction novel in its own right, but it is also an interesting study in twin-to-twin interpersonal dynamics. When I was a young boy my two best friends were the twins across the street, Richard and Stanley. In many ways their relationship was similar to the twins in this story; Heinlein clearly knew of what he wrote.

There are some irritants to this novel that mainly is reflective of its 1950s origin. But nothing major. Make no mistake, this is an excellent novel for anyone interested in mankind's future in space, or just for those interested in a good solid read. Highly recommended. RJB.
Red Planet :: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress :: Time Traders :: All You Zombies- :: The Rolling Stones
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
matthew bloom
I was re-visiting a book I loved in childhood. Came across whole sections of narrative that I hadn't recalled about various mis-adventures in space travel, that had me wanting to shout, "No, don't do that!", just as you would in a "B" horror flick - as in "Don't go down in that poorly lit basement!". This is written for young people, but seems to end kind of quickly, like Heinlein may have gotten bored with the story. As a child that ending charmed me, but as an adult, it seems to be missing depth.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kv ta kv t kov
I love Heinlein. He was the first SF writer (along with Ray Bradbury) I read as a kid. This one isn't one of his better efforts. While the idea of using twins to communicate across space was a great idea, the story itself is, while typical Heinlein, kind of boring. This ties in with his future history line, but it's a lesser entry.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
natalie dovel
This book is showing its age. While entertaining enough to finish, the references to how they used their computers and the sexism were some of the things that cooled my enjoyment of it. This is definitely a precursor to many modern story lines however. Amusing but predictable.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
samuel brown
Time for the Stars is one of Robert Heinlein's juvenile science fiction works. Originally published in 1956, much of the technological detail now seems quaint in the extreme, but nevertheless this is still a riveting adventure tale with a good bit of real science mixed in.

A massive new effort to explore the universe is underway on planet Earth sometime two or three hundred years into the future. Enormous star ships are being assembled and suitable crew members are being sought. The most highly sought after potential crew members are twins with telepathic powers, one to remain on Earth and one to sail into the stars, who will be able to communicate with each other despite the enormous distance between them. Tom and Pat are two of those twins, and it is on them that this story turns.

Mixed in with the coming of age elements and the gadgetry in Time for the Stars is some good, solid science on relativity and time. The story is exciting and most of the characters are likable. A good book for the young and curious.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bridget blanton
Robert A. Heinlein's "Time for the Stars" is one of his Young Adult (YA) books (first published in 1956). Because it's YA, I was a bit leery of it. But, since I liked it so much in my youth, I thought I'd give it a try again. Yep. It's still a very well done book. What's nice (and this is pretty much the norm for Heinlein), is that his Young Adults are ACTUALLY both Young Adults (not older children) and intelligent ones, at that. So, the book's a pleasure to read. However, for those with thin skin, be warned that the book is a bit over 62 years old, and Heinlein missed part of the boat regarding the roles of women: even though he puts many of them in upper level, responsible jobs or positions, he still has a tendency to revert them to Stepford Wife behavior when a male gets involved. Again, this book was written in a very different time from today, so it's nothing to ding him for. But, it is worth mentioning. I'm rating the book at a Very Good 4 stars out of 5.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pilar rivett
1956's TIME FOR THE STARS finds an overpopulated Earth desperate to find new habitable planets. The exploratory voyages will take years, but how to communicate back their findings? Twins Tom and Peter have been able to subtly communicate for years (they thought they were mumbling/whispering), but they prove to be telepathis. They join a core of telepaths who will provide the link. Peter will stay, and Tom will voyage to the stars.

The story is complex, gripping, and at times touching. Peter ages, and Tom does not. But Tom establishes a telepathic connection with Peter's daughter, then grandaughter, then great-granddaughter.

A faster than-ligh drive is developed, and Tom and his crewmates are whisked back to an Earth they barely reconize. This being Heinlein, Tom marries his great-grandneice.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Heinlein wrote a series of twelve books for Scribner's that are collectively called Heinlein's Juveniles. Some Heinlein historians include "Podkayne of Mars" as one of the juveniles, but Heinlein himself did not. This 1956 novel was Heinlein's tenth juvenile.

Tom and Pat Bartlett were twins; very close twins. In fact, they were so close that they possessed a special ability shared by very few twins. When the Long Range Foundation contacted the twins for an interview, they milked the Foundation for every penny they could get. However, the Foundation was indulgent with the twins because they needed them for a very special project.

The twins soon find themselves herded along with numerous other twins through a series of tests. At the other end of the series of tests is a contract for the twins that will guarantee that they and their families will be well taken care of for the rest of their lives. The only problem with the contract is that one of the twins will have to leave earth on a torchship, the Lewis and Clark, also called L.C. or Elsie, for distant planets.

Tom Bartlett ends up being the lucky twin to leave crowded Earth for the stars. Heinlein's books tend to be accurate in their engineering, physics and astronomy, and this book certainly is. Heinlein has all his stars in the right places and he appropriately described the relativistic effects of traveling near the speed of light. Heinlein also did an excellent job of envisioning life aboard a ship that would spend years in deep space, including the interplay of personalities and ship politics.

Heinlein also included the mandatory element of every space exploration book, aliens. Heinlein's aliens are inscrutable, but still behave in a way that we can somewhat understand, but we will not forgive. Comparing Heinlein's crew with the crew of the starship Enterprise and other, later explorers, Heinlein's crew was distressingly naïve. I think Heinlein made his crew naïve intentionally to help contrast the relative innocence of his space explorers with veteran space explorers who had won their lessons in the hardest ways possible.

Heinlein does a wonderful job of wrapping up this book with an unpredictable ending, which comes all too soon. The ending is bittersweet and as happens with many Heinlein endings, somehow makes me wonder whether the tragedy and the sacrifice was worth it (define "it" however you like when you reach the end of the book). Heinlein's answer was always "yes."

Heinlein remains one of science fiction's greatest authors. His science is excellent, his stories are generally well-plotted and written, and he nearly always leaves you wanting more. I recommend this book for every person who thinks of themselves as a fan of "hard" science fiction. This book is a winner from an author who won four Hugo awards during his life and the first Nebula Grand Master Award.

Personal Note: I am not very objective about this novel. This book was the very first science fiction book I ever read, and was the reason that I read thousands more after it. I sometimes wonder whether this book and others like it inspired me and many others like me to become engineers and scientists. I hope that others read this book and see the same thing in it that I did and start down the same path.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
paul anderson
"Time for the Stars" is a novel about space travel and exploration, but more about relationships and interpersonal interactions.

The plot involves the discovery that twins, and some other relatives might be able to communicate via telepathy. In the Heinlein universe this is important for space travel as the torch ships in this book can only travel up to very close to the speed of light, but not surpass it. That means, that the ship will be traveling as fast as any conventional method of communicating with its crew. Except for the telepathy done by the twins. That form of communication is instantaneous.

The book is written in first person (the reason I only give it 4 stars, I am not a fan of 1st person) and the main character is Tom. His twin is Pat.

Tom goes to space and Pat stays home.

The ship, the Lewis and Clark (AKA Elsie, L C) travels to other planets which are explored. They are some major mishaps, and the ship nearly is lost. (No spoilers)

Good characters. Good dialogue. Good sci fi tech stuff without being overly "hard science sci fi."

Solid B+ book
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maryam golpayegani
Many science fiction writers have done stories involving space travel at near-light speeds, and/or human colonies on far distant planets. One of the common themes that goes along with stories of this nature, is the problem of communication between colonies and the home planet. As sci-fi fans know, this presents a problem because regular radio transmissions would take years to travel the vast emptiness of space. Different science fiction writers have come up with some different ways to overcome the difficulty, usually involving some very complicated scientific theories.

Robert Heinlein on the other hand came up with a very simple solution. Good old-fashioned telepathy! In Time For The Stars, scientists have discovered that some humans have telepathic abilities, especially and mostly where twins are concerned. Through a lot of testing, they also learned that telepaths communicate with each other at more than light speed, providing nearly instantaneous communication between any two points, no matter how far apart they are. Of course, the obvious drawback is that the twins have to be split up, one on Earth one on a distant colony. Sci-fi fans will also realize that the twin traveling through space will age much more slowly than the one left on Earth. So, while the twins are in constant communication with each other, the one on Earth is getting older very rapidly, while the one traveling through space doesn't seem to age at all. I wonder what kinds of psychological problems that might cause?

Robert Heinlein's novels are always classified as science fiction, but the sci-fi is usually just a platform for his commentary, whether political, religious, or social. Time for the Stars, on the other hand, is science fiction of the purest form. Interstellar travel, exploring new planets, encountering alien life; this is old school sci-fi and I loved every minute of it.

Barrett Whitener did an okay job with the narration of Time for the Stars, but it was nothing special I'm afraid. It seemed like he struggled a little with foreign dialects, although there were only a couple of them in this audiobook so it wasn't a fatal flaw.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
"Time for the Stars" is not Heinlein at his VERY best, but it's nearly so. It's one of the youth novels (YA genre) that were written during Heinlein's best period for those novels. It's similar in theme to Tunnel in the Sky which preceded it and has the theme of an overpopulated Earth with a need for space exploration and colonization. And it's followed by the even better novel, Citizen of the Galaxy which is in my opinion, the best YA novel written by Heinlein. All three of these can be read by adults with great pleasure--the YA label is perhaps mis-directed. We all can related to the tribulations of youth and appreciate a coming-of-age story.

In "Time for the Stars" Heinlein deals with sub-light speed space travel and the fact that communication at light speed would be useless over distances. Instead of creating the "ansible" (Le Guin's instantaneous transmission device, picked up by other sci-fi authors), Heinlein proposes that telepathy is non-light communication, has no physical properties and can happen instantaneously

Tom has a twin, Pat. They are unwelcome in society, having unwittingly caused their parents to exceed the birth quota and Dad, standing on "principle" refuses the exceptions and charity that would have made their additional burdens easier for the family. Instead, they are short on living space, even food, and Pat always seems to get the bigger piece of cake and is definitely the more aggressive and cunning. They apply for a study on twins that is actually recruiting for a space communication setup on an expedition. Naturally, Pat is the one who will get togo on the space voyage while poor old Tom, our protagonist, will stay home and take messages. Or so it seems.

The book is divided into parts, the same as many of Heinlein's novels--distinct sections where the action changes abruptly. Personally, I love that because sometimes, I just re-read the part of the book where one particular thing is going on. In this case, one of the scout missions of the space explorers is no picnic and suddenly, there is a crisis. Tom's uncle Steve (the familiar military man and fatherly guru who turns up in so many of Heinlein's books) helps Tom survive and mature.

While not my favorite of these three YA novels from the same period, it is a worthy book and if you love classic science fiction, you won't be disappointed. The Audible version is very listenable, which is the version I now own.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jesse grittner
I have always thought that, of all the twelve (thirteen?) Heinlein juveniles, this is the cleverest. To a knowledgeable person, it is clearly based upon the ideas in Arthur Eddington's classic book 'The Nature of the Physical World' - specifically, the so-called Twin Paradox which is not a paradox. In Einsteinian theory, which is the truth about our universe, the time along a geodesic is always the longest time. In other words, if two clocks (in this case, incarnated as twin boys) start together on the Earth, and one of them goes for a journey which of course involves being accelerated, while the other remains on the Earth which is in "free fall", i.e. follows a gravitational geodesic, then, when the traveling clock (twin) returns to meet the free-fall clock, the elapsed time measured by the latter will always be longer. That is because the geodesics in Minkowski space are the lines of longest time. Heinlein obviously had read Eddington's book (which was published in 1927), and he took this idea as a skeleton and then built on it brilliantly, as only he could have done. My guess is that he wanted to write a star-travel book that was absolutely consistent with real-world physics - probably as a reaction from his 'Starman Jones' which he wrote two years earlier, in which relativity is blithely controverted in a gross fashion.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time for the Stars (1956) is the tenth SF novel in the Juvenile series, following Tunnel in the Sky. It is set in the near future, after the invention of torchships and the discovery of telepathy.

In this novel, Tom and Pat are identical twins. Their father and mother had compromised on their names, so their full names are Thomas Paine Leonardo da Vinci Bartlett and Patrick Henry Michelangelo Bartlett. They were the fourth and fifth children in the family, so their father had to pay taxes for violating the population control laws.

Steve Lucas is their mother's brother. He is a sergeant in the High Marines within the Department of Peace.

In this story, The Long Range Foundation tests Tom and Pat and finds that they are telepathic among themselves. When the LRF offers them a contract as communicators for a trip to the stars, their father and mother are seriously considering the ideal. Then they learns that the voyage will take about a century and go into intractable mode.

Uncle Steve convinces them to leave their parents alone. He explains that the odds are against any of the twelve ships in Project Lebensraum ever returning home, so their mother will probably lose the twin who goes with the ship. Eventually the contract is signed and Pat goes away for training.

Tom is upset because Pat has been selected to go while he remains behind. It seems to Tom that Pat always gets the better part of everything. Then Pat is paralyzed in a skiing accident and Tom gets to go on the interstellar voyage.

The Lewis and Clarke is a torchship equipped and supplied for years of travel, although decades will pass on Earth. They will approach lightspeed in their flight, so relativistic effect wills slow shipboard time. The mission is going to Tau Ceti, a near twin of Sol and only eleven lightyears away. After that they will investigate other planets around further stars.

When Tom goes aboard the Elsie, he encounters his Uncle Steve, now wearing the insignia of a major. Major Lucas is commander of the Ship's Guard. He has known about Project Lebensraum for over a month and had swapped assignments to get on the same ship as Pat. But now they are together on the voyage.

This tale takes Tom, his Uncle Steve and everybody else on the Lewis and Clark into the unknown. They find adventure and sorrow on several strange planets around far suns. Tom and his fellow mindreaders are kept busy reporting back to Earth and adjusting to other partners as the decades pass on Earth.

This story made Einsteinian relativity a real thing within my mind back in my teenage years. The discriptions of time dilation are so vivid that they forced me to understand the reality of the equations. Of course, I had not really been acquainted with the mathematics at the time, but the author brought the concept to life. Since then, I have encountered this idea many times, but this novel was my first and best teachings on the subject.

The story points out by example how science and technology work. Often the technology comes first and science provides explanations for a working device. Sometimes science comes up with something new by accident or error and the technology follows. Many times science looks more closely at something in nature and find new truths. In this novel, telepathy is a new "discovery".

I am reminded of one reason why I like Science Fiction. I have lost count of the number of concepts that were first presented in these works and later became part of everyday life. Naturally, everything did not come true, but many times just being an SF fan reduced the future shock. So one could say, "What, you don't already know about spaceships/robots/atomic bombs/cloning/interplanetary voyages/time travel . . .?"

Highly recommended for Heinlein fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of interstellar voyages, psionic talents and teenage male twins. For those who have not previously read this series, the initial volume is The Rocketship Galileo.

-Arthur W. Jordin
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brent medling
A fine example of the kind of juvenilia sci-fi great Robert Heinlein wrote in the Fifties, before he "graduated" to more morally complex issues in the Sixties. Everyone should enjoy this tale of young emigrants from an overpopulated Earth setting out, with few assurances, to map star systems for future colonization and dependent on psychic powers to communicate simultaneously with close relatives back on Earth.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I am as big a fan of Heinlein as the come, but "Time For the Stars" was one of his books which I hadn't read until recently. I thought this was almost one of his more "adult" novels, even though it is classed as a "juvenile" because the style of writing is more detailed and deeper than some of his earlier novels.

The story centers around Tom Bartlett, a young man whose identical twin, Pat, is left on Earth while Tom boards a spaceship whose mission is to explore the stars for Earth-like planets in order to relieve the population pressure of Earth. What makes Tom and Pat special is that they are telepaths - they can communicate instantaneously over the far reaches of space and time, which is critically important to the mission, since the ships they are travelling in are capable of 99% of the speed of light, and thus radio traffic would take several years to reach back and forth and be useless.

The catch is that when the spaceships travel at close to the speed of light, relativistic effects make it seem like only a few days or weeks have passed for the travelers in space, but on Earth, many years or even decades have passed. The twins left on Earth will grow old, while the twins in the spacecraft will remain young. You can see where Haldeman probably got at least a bit of his inspiration for "The Forever War" and the effects that relativistic space travel has on the people involved.

As a reader of Heinlein, I found this book an interesting one. It has elements of a lot of other juvenile Heinlein novels, such as Tunnel in the Sky and Starman Jones. A group of people has an adventure - they go off and have inevitable frictions. Then a disaster occurs and the central character(s) are forced to grow up. It's a timeworn concept, but Heinlein manages to make each retelling interesting and compelling.

I recommend this book with 5 stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
One of the first science-fiction novels I ever read, and for a long time it made many others look flimsy in comparison, because of its depth of detail. This "juvenile" is more sophisticated than many "adult" sci-fi novels.

Heinlein took two ideas that seem obvious but which nobody had thought of putting in a novel before. First, dramatize Einstein's twin paradox in which one twin ages on Earth while another stays young via relativity. Secondly, instead of dwelling on the heroic adventures of a starship captain, put the focus on what life is like on a starship, as seen by a sensitive, unspectacular young crewman. The narrator will describe personal affairs on one page and relativity theory on the next, because they are both part of his life.

There's one flaw: the crewman has an elderly African-American man as a mentor, but he addresses the old man as "Uncle". This seems to be an affectionate nickname, but it's cringe-inducing when we remember that "uncle" was once slang for an old male slave (Uncle Tom, Uncle Remus). Not sure what Heinlein thought he was doing here: using a stereotype, or turning it on its head?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"Time for the Stars" by Robert A. Heinlein is one of the group of marvelous `juveniles' written for Charles Scribners Sons. It is significant to me because it is the second science fiction novel I ever read.

It was and still is a very fine novel.

The identical Bartlett twins, Tom and Pat live on an overcrowded Earth in the future. Tom is the narrator of the story and it's main character. Their family was allowed three children. However after Tom and Pat came along unexpectedly, their family is penalized for their existence. Nonetheless they grow up reasonable happy and well-adjusted in an apartment that is too small and not enough money.

In this world, space exploration has been developed and financed in part by the Long Range Foundation (LRF). They are responsible for the Thompson mass converter and it's application in Ortega's torch. The torchship has made travel in the solar system economically feasible. It is also a means of interstellar exploration.

(`Torch' and `torchship' are common terms in science fiction for a spaceship capable of constant acceleration at an appreciable percentage of a standard gravity. Heinlein is the originator of this concept and the terminology.)

Back to the story, the LRF hires the Bartlett's and other identical twins for a research experiment. Telepathy has been proven and tested. Twins are the most likely group for communication. In their research, the LRF has discovered that the progation speed of two telepaths in communication is instantaneous with no decrease in signal strength with distance. In other words it ignores relativity and the inverse square law.

Aside for the revolution this causes in physics, this is a godsend to the LRF. They are about to launch an interstellar expedition. Earth needs earth-type planets for the human race. However exploration is a risky business. It is not possible for the ship to carry communication equipment that would work across lightyears. Telepaths will allow the fleet to communicate it's findings regardless of whether or not the ship makes it back.

The Barlett twins and their peers are hired by the LRF. Tom goes on the TS Lewis and Clark while his brother remains on Earth. Heinlein exploits his experience as naval officer in Tom's experiences aboard ship. While on the expedition, he and his shipmates will have to deal with love, friendship, disease, success, death and even an attack by indigenous natives.

It may seem I have told you a lot about the book, I haven't. Like many of Heinlein's juveniles, there is a whole lot going on. This a dense book and it's a page turner. The reader will be engaged from beginning to end.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
heba tariq
This is one of Heinlein's science-fiction works for kids, illustrating the interrelated concepts of relativity, space travel and time. I admit that I had trouble swallowing the ESP element, but I see that it was crucial in order to make the rest of the plot work. Anyway, the plot is about two twin brothers who can communicate with each other telepathically, even across light years. One is hired to travel in a spaceship, part of a fleet exploring faraway worlds, where they encounter various adventures. As the brother remaining on Earth ages, the traveling brother stays relatively young. Several of the ships on the fleet disappear and I thought it was a neat point in naming them the Vasco da Gama, the Santa Maria, etc., thereby making the connection with the Age of Exploration during the 1500s.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ginger young
Time for the stars
This is a genuine science fiction story, where science has made something possible (interstellar travel, in this case) and the consequences on people is explored. Science fiction isn't often too thoughtful about that side of things, but this book goes some way to redressing that. It's an attractive book, one you'll want to read again. The characters are well developed and have depth, and the storyline is interesting.
And here it is: the Long-range Foundation is an outfit that specialises in long range projects, surprise, surprise. And their latest venture is interstellar exploration and colonisation. But how to maintain contact? Radio is no good, since the signal from a ship which has travelled fifty light years will take fifty years to get back. But, the Long-range Foundation has discovered that twins are often telepathic, the "reception" doesn't fade with distance, and best of all, it is instantaneous! So, leave one behind, put one on the ship, and you have the perfect communication service!
Or do you? Our heroes are Tom and Pat, to young twins who are tested and are discovered to be telepathic. So one goes, the other stays. The real story is ho they get on, where once they were inseparable, now they are divided by distance and time. Worse than that, the laws of relativity means that the earthbound one grows older faster - in the end, one is an old man, while the other has aged only a few years. How do they cope with a terrible wrench like that?
But don't worry! This is not just a thoughtful consideration of a human problem, there's plenty of technology, alien worlds and aliens, tragedy, love even! You get to see earth society develop over fifty years or so, with all the changes that that brings about. This is a very enjoyable and readable book, and one that I would highly recommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
emily williams
Action-lovers beware, Time for the Stars is the most deeply psychological of Heinlein's young adult novels, and may not be the best choice for those new to Heinlein. It follows the space travels of Tom Bartlett, a young man who (much to his own surprise) shares a telepathic bond with his earth-bound twin brother Pat. Tom is a very realistic character, for Heinlein, a quiet, practical person, who has spent most of his life passively allowing his brother to manipulate him. Tom's gradual comprehension of the nature of their relationship, and his subsequent attempts to develop his own personality, make this an engaging story without getting too intense for younger readers. As might be expected of so psychological a novel, the pace is rather slow and very uneven. Heinlein concentrates primarily on episodes that show Tom's emotional development, rather than the "landfall" scenes which would be the focus of a more traditional "science fiction adventure" novel. The first few chapters give ample opportunity to see Pat in action; he gleefully manipulates his parents, some helpful scientists, a major research foundation, and of course, his brother Tom. Once Tom sets off to explore the galaxy, he has to shake off his dependence on Pat, and become a man in his own right. Fortunately, he gets plenty of help from various members of the crew, including the ship's doctor, and manages to learn from his mistakes. As the expedition runs into its own
difficulties, Tom has to take on more and more responsibility. Only by recognizing the sacrifices others have made for human progress, and resolving to make the best of his own situation,is he able to throw off the dead weight of the past, and find hope for a brighter future. The later chapters seem rather rushed, but Heinlein's endings are not always the strongest part of his novels, and this one at least stands up as well as most. Most importantly, Heinlein loves to pontificate, and as Tom travels the stars in search of himself, Heinlein takes the opportunity to expound on such diverse topics as relativity, communications theory, the principles of space exploration and ship's organization, and the uncertain nature of scientific fact in an ever-changing universe. His ability to make such material fascinating has always been his real genius, and under-playing the action leaves him plenty of room to go with his strength. If you don't especially like reading Heinlein's opinions on scientific and quasi-scientific subjects, you're probably not a particular fan of his, and this novel won't change your mind, but Heinlein's fans should find this a very enjoyable book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lisa nims
This book goes to show you the different attitudes prevailing in SF compared between the fifties when this book was written and the ideas today. Today, if someone took the concept of twins being separated by relativistic effects (ie one ages faster than the other . . . go read a physics textbook for the equations) it'd be a massive complex novel detailing the cultural shock and changes, the emotional cost, and mostly have a really downer attitude about it, treating it, for the most part "realistically" whatever that's supposed to mean in science fiction. But that's now and we're talking about then. Here Heinlein takes two vastly different concepts, telepathy between twins and the travelling between the stars in ships moving at barely sub-light speeds. The focus here is on both SF adventure and what it means to leave everything you know and have not only your entire family grow old and die while you age much slower but have the whole world change (Heinlein's future slang is a gas), while you stay the same. It's a fun story, and the main character, the twin that goes, narrates his story somberly but still with a dash of zest in his voice, for all the regret he feels at being left behind, he's having a grand adventure and seeing things that no one else has ever seen. Not that it's all fun and games and a lot of things happen before the mission is over, some good and some bad. Like I said, it's a light story, you won't find anything totally deep here but it's all handled capably, as you'd imagine a master like Heinlein dealing with this . . . but please don't read it as a gender study guide and keep in mind that it was written in the fifties, when women weren't expected to do all that much. Asking permission from your husband for just about everything was the order of the day mostly . . . just don't let it bother you. Other than that, it's good solid fun, though the ending comes totally out of left field (unless I missed something), but it's a great example of the golden age of SF, when anything seemed possible. For those who want a slightly darker take on the same subject . . . go read Joe Haldeman's The Forever War and that should knock the depress-o-meter right off the scale. Still a good book though. They're both good. Read them both, now!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nadege clitandre
A standard illustration of the time-distorting effects predicted by Einstein's relativity equations is the traveling twin problem, where one twin remains on Earth while the other travels at near-light speed to some distant destination. Heinlein takes this textbook concept and adds two other ingredients to the mix: the twins are telepathic, and they are real people, in concocting this nice blend of great adventure and hard science.
Tom and Pat are the twins in question, targeted by the Long Range Foundation as a potential communications pair on the first exploratory star-ships due to their telepathic ability to communicate over any distance at (truly) instantaneous speeds. Which one will go and which will stay forms the initial conflict of this story, and how the decision is made provides a strong base for filling in the character of each, along with some interesting psychological insights into the problems that face close siblings. While still on Earth, this section also allows Heinlein to throw in some of his typical comments about bureaucracies, government meddling, taxes, population control, and the non-democratic nature of families, all deftly folded into and directly contributing to the story line.
Once the starship takes off, we find something of a more traditional adventure story, as we follow Pat on the starship and his meeting with the duties and responsibilities of ship-board life and the unforeseen hazards that the ship encounters at each of the stars it explores. In the meantime, Tom is rapidly aging on Earth, the link between the two becomes very fragile, and eventually Pat manages to establish a new telepathic link with his niece (and later his grand and great-grand niece). All necessary in order to continue the starship mission, for without being able to report the findings of the explorations, there is little point in continuing. As we move further and further out in time and space, we can see Pat grow as person, melded both by these external events and his own musings on the purpose of life and humanity, and it is this very growth that really provides the best portion of the 'entertainment'.
Heinlein fully recognized that positing instantaneous communications (of any nature) was a violation of Einstein's basic theory, and rather than ignore it, he used it as a springboard to a new science that forms the basis for the ending of this book. It also allowed him to neatly finish off the story line of the two twins, but I found the ending not quite satisfying, a little too pat and quickly done (and with some gender-roles that would be considered decidedly non-politically correct today). Still, this is one of the best of his so-called 'juvenile' novels, both due to its great science and very solid characterization, couched in his typical, unforced American prose, and with enough 'meat' on its bones to engross any reader.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This is, in some ways, Heinlein's most ambitious juvenile. Most of his juvies are great, fast-paced, somewhat light-hearted adventure novels, but this one is somewhat more serious. There's enough action to keep anyone interested, to be sure, but the main part of the novel - the meat - rests with psychological extrapolation and pontification. This is the most deeply psychological novel that Heinlein ever wrote, including the supposedly more advanced "adult" novels. The story involves two telepathically linked twins who are separated by a span of light years when one goes off on a space ship and the other must stay behind. Tom, one of the twins, is long used to being manipulated by his brother Pat. This book is, essentially, his coming-of-age story - perhaps it's not as good as Citizen of The Galaxy or Tunnel In The Sky in that sense, but it is still quite good. We see Tom grow up and become a man, having, in the interim, to shuck off the long, dark shadow of his brother and take on the responsibilities of life himself. There isn't as much action in this story as one would normally expect; the heart of the story are the discussions on matters psychological, as well as a lot about relativity, the human mind and epistemology, and such starker matters as the organization of space ships and family politics (we all know Heinlein loved to preach.) This was one of the first books to really show the psychological effects of relativity in practice during long space voyages. We see the twin who goes stay young while the one back home grows old... and what ensues. Ultimately, the slightly difficult - comparatively - subject matter of this book and general lesser reliance on action to RAH's other juvenile books makes this one perhaps not the best one to start with (try Red Planet, Citizen of The Galaxy, or Tunnel In The Sky for that), but one that any Heinlein fan will love.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elizabeth connelly
The premise is simple - Given that relativity affects the flow of time, what would happen to one twin placed on a starship going near the speed of light and the other left on Earth? Add in a psychic connection, the first interstellar search for new worlds for mankind to colonize, a dash of xenobiology, a few surprising advances in physics, and a young protagonist questioning his duty and his place in all this and you have the makings of one great read.

Brought to life in a way only Heinlein can, the book is an easy, enjoyable read that covers all aspects of the "what if?" scenario above in a truly speculative way you just don't find as often in modern writing. What if one of the psychic-linked twins were to die? What would relativity do to two linked brains trying to communicate? How would the flow of time affect the underlying cultures on board a ship where five months has passed and the world they left where fifty years have done so? What would the revelation of psychic powers do to our basic understandings of science? How would we explore and colonize a new world?

If you like books that will make you think and stretch the imagination, definitely give this one a go.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
It would be oversimplification to say this is built around ESP, but a lot of people believe that identical twins share some form of communication. So, a spaceflight mission calls on the world's twins and tests them. Pat and Tom pass the tests and enter training. They will be split up; one on a sub-light exploration, and one at home. This novel incorporated various concepts, most important, time dilation during high speed travel. This illustrates an old saying, MDWWYG: making do with what you've got. Features emotional issues between crewmembers and the pass-through effect of mental abilities to relatives.
Heinlein wrapped all this up in an action novel that we call 'Juvenile'. Here is exploration of future frontiers. Consider this a link in SF archeology.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
holly ann
I loved this book, but then I'm a huge Heinlein buff.

While some of the concepts (computer printouts? Microfilm?) seem aged to us now, it's still a fantastic read and well worth the time. My only wish is that things hadn't been wrapped up so neatly and quickly at the end. It would have earned that elusive fifth star if the conclusion had been just as long as the intro (from the first introduction of the characters to the protagonist's departure).

I've read a lot of Heinlein's work, and enjoyed every word of it, even in stories like this that are obviously intended to be juvenile fiction. This is clearly another entry in the juvenile section, which is probably why it concluded as it did--if it had stretched out even longer, the subject matter would cause many younger person to lose interest. It's an adventure novel geared toward younger readers, and it works perfectly for that.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"Time for the Stars" by Robert Heinlein is good reading, without any serious issues about the author.

Heinlein always offers some controversial thoughts through his characters, but he is not intrusive about this habit in this book.

While readers today may be more skeptical about telepathy than the folks of fifty years ago, the story is good enough that most people will be willing to suspend their disbelief in order to enjoy the really terrific science fiction. I will say that I have seen twins communicating by their own `secret' language and I understand that the phenomenon is more marked with identical twins. Is that really telepathy? Good question. These days, science is very skeptical about that, but, fifty years ago, science was halfway convinced that telepathy was real.

There are no wars here and no actual militarism, but there is a dangerous encounter. There is little politics (for Heinlein). However, there is a wonder filled interstellar trip, with lots of 'hard' science fiction. And, there is the development of the major character, Tom.

I do not feel compelled to tell you more than that and to urge you to read it for yourself.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bekah evie bel
This novella was obviously geared toward juvenile readers, and is dated now in so many ways - but it is a fun read nonetheless.

Tom and Pat Bartlett are (illegal) bratty identical twins on an overcrowded Earth of the future. When testing reveals psychic abillities, they are hired for a space exploration program which utilizes their special talent to allow simultaneous communication between space craft and Earth. Tom travels through space at near light speed, having many adventures; meanwhile Pat remains on Earth and grows old as the decades pass.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
When I read all the Heinlein juveniles, in the early Sixties, this one didn't impress me much. So haven't re-read it as often as some of the others, most of the others.

Now I realize that this is a very moving character study of the twin who goes roving. The science speculation in this book is rather far-fetched but the human story is moving and interesting. It still doesn't have the humor of _The Rolling Stones_ and it isn't as profound as _Citizen of the Galaxy_ but it is one of the better juveniles, which makes it one very good book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
catherine puga
No action whatsoever, but superb craftsmanship. A superb exploration of what it means to be an identical twin, combined with speculations on the nature of time and value of impractical scientific research that somehow all ties together at the end. A little Swiss watch of a novel from a man better known for the rambling self-indulgent books he tended to write from Stranger in a Strange Land onward. Until somebody reissues this book, the full range of Heinlein's spectacular talent won't be understood.
Steve Sailer
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
One of the best, along with Citizen, Tunnel, and Have Space Suit. The kids books make up for what he wrote later when he could get paid for writing whatever he wanted. Technical point: the protagonist tools around the stars in a spaceship accelerating at 1G or higher. Only after this book was published did someone publish the equation telling you how long it would take to get someplace at 1G, factoring in relativity. Heinlein didn't seem to have the formula, so he was vague on travel times.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In this story of telepathic twins, Heinlein does better than usual at balancing characters, logic, sentiment, science, and suspense. Each aspect of the novel is fascinating, from the revelation of the twins' telepathy to their ultimate separation by 63 light years of space and some 80 years time. Heinlein carefully makes future society and star travel seem real, all while making his characters live. I've read this book twice, and again found I could not put it down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time for the Stars is the reason that most people don't even bother to write SF novels about the first starships anymore: Heinlein did it best. This is a classic of science fiction and the fact that it's one of Heinlein's "juveniles" doesn't detract from that whatsoever.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
buster benson
This was another of my teen favorites. Another "pretty heavy" reading for a 13 year old. This remains one of my favorites. I have copies of everything Heinlein wrote that I've tracked down for the last 30 years.

It's a typical teen adventure novel. It's dated..but, still a good read. Time travel, space adventure, heroism, heady reading for a teen.

It was good then, and it's clean reading for a kid now.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
royston d mello
This would get five stars for how I loved it as a child, but not so many on re-reading, so let's compromise at four. Interesting view of how the future was envisioned in 1956 -- Heinlein envisioned an overpopulation crisis in which the world struggled to cope with a population of 5 billion!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
dana l w
I read this a teenager, and although by today's standards it rates as more of a pre-teen book it is still an enjoyable read for what is. Dating back to the era when science fiction grew out of science, I got this for my daughter when she got interested in the concept of time travel. After trying to give an understandable, brief summary of tome/space theory I remembered how counter-intuitive it can seem at first and how long it took the concepts to sink in for me. I recalled Heinlein's ability to weave concept and character and let him do the work for me, without the lecture...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
s caulfield
This was truly one of the best books I have ever read. I read it many years ago, but I remember it very vividly. If you are a science fiction fan you will love this story. Heinlein was a true science fiction genius.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Telling the story of two telepathic twins who are hired to serve as the means of communication between intergalactic starships ( one stays behind, the other leaves in the ship ), this book has all the good stuff of early Heinlein. Lots of his off-handed comments about everything from psychology to relationships, it is also a nice and quite realistic story about the scope of real inter-GALACTIC exploration.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
megan coward
One thing that I found weird was the lack of interest the humans seem to have in finding intelligent life. In fact, if there is intelligent life on a planet, they were suppose to bypass the planet all together.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
adrienne gagnon
In "Time for the Stars" Heinlein has created a charming novel about human life and human relationships that includes many of the SF tropes we all love; exploring alien worlds, long space voyages, that whole Einsteinian time paradox thing, and telepathy. A SF classic.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Time for the Stars is one of my favorite books by Heinlein. Well written and an easy follower, it makes you think: Will we ever achieve something so great? I have read this book two times and it is one of those page-turners.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I'm a dedicated and avid SF reader and have been for many years. I own a collection of over 5000 paperbacks and hardcovers and those are filling up most places in my house. That has been the main reason for buying a Kindle. Now of course I would like to own all of my favourite books on Kindle, including - but not limited to - all of the works of R A Heinlein. Unfortunately from those who are already available in a Kindle format, many are NOT available for oversees customers. So the store: make it work! Make all those editions available for ALL of our customers ....
Please RateTime for the Stars
More information