Friday, February 24, 2012

The Star Beast-Robert A. Heinlein

The Star Beast

Robert A. Heinlein

Baen, Mar 6 2012, $13.00

ISBN: 9781451638073

Generations ago, a starman ancestor of John Stuart Thomas XI brought Lummox back with him from space. Over the decades in Westville, Lummox has grown from cute to humongous. Everyone assumes Lummox is a moron as he speaks at the skill of a child. People would be partially right with their assessment of the eight-legged beast as in terms of his species he is a child and sounds ignorant because English is a light-years different second language.

John is with his friend Betty Sorenson arguing over college. To battle ennui and hunger, Lummox takes a stroll that destroys property. Police Chief Dreiser sends Sergeant Mendoza to get John to control his pet. The Department of Spatial Affairs Permanent Under Secretary Henry Gladstone Kiku sends his top aide Sergei Greenberg to take control. Not trusting the Fed or any authoritative figure, John and Betty vow to keep Lummox from becoming a lab rat. They flee Westville though hiding their trail might prove difficult; while aliens arrive demand the return of an infant abducted by an earthling decades ago or face planetary annihilation.

This reprint of a 1950s satirical science fiction is a fun young adult read as Robert Heinlein mocks know-it-all political appointees running agencies they cannot spell (that is why we use acronyms) and the teen eternal revolt against former teens. Lummox challenges the neurotypical definition of intelligence in a comedic slapstick way; while the rotation of lead perspective among four characters remains sharply relevant (Mr. Heinlein would have enjoyed mocking vagina politics). Although the storyline never quite settles on an overarching premise between incarceration of ET and lampooning the socially correct determinants, fans will enjoy The Star Beast.

Harriet Klausner

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