zondag 4 september 2016

"Double Star" by Robert A. Heinlein

“A slave cannot be freed, save he do it himself. Nor can you enslave a free man; the very most you can do is kill him!”

Larry Smith - or "The Great Lorenzo Smythe", as he likes to be known - is a penniless actor who is desperate for a job. Not that he would take any job - he's vain enough to refuse everything which is below his remarkable talents. He is very intrigued when he is offered a job to impersonate a well-known public figure. He accepts readily - a couple of days pretending to be someone else seems exactly his kind of thing. But it all becomes a bit more complex when this person he has to impersonate, turns out to be John Joseph Bonfire, one of the most important political figures in all of the solar system. Smith is whisked out to Mars and before too soon, the fate of the entire universe rests on his shoulders.

"Double Star" was the book that won Robert A. Heinlein - arguably one of the most important SF authors ever - his first Hugo Award in 1956. Political science fiction might not exactly seem the most exciting thing to read, but Heinlein wrote a very entertaining story here. It's full of typical Heinlein-humor and observations about the human condition. Smith is a fascinating character, and it's interesting to see him evolve from the arrogant, racist and obnoxious person and really 'become' the heroic Bonfire he's impersonating. OK, it's not too profound and it's very light read, but all these early Heinlein novels still have a unique charm that I like very much.

Title: Double Star
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Publisher: Gollancz, London
Year: 2013 (orig. 1956)
Number of pages: 208 p.
ISBN: 9780575122031

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