Book Report: A Heinlein Trio by Robert Heinlein

This book collects three Heinlein novels:

  • The Puppet Masters, a book in the near future that deals with an invasion from a species of mind-controlling parasites from Titan. A super agent in a unacknowledged government agency is taken over by one of these invaders and survives de-coupling. The agency tries to get the political arm of the government to take drastic measures to oust the invaders, but to no avail, until it is almost too late.

    A good piece of rocket jocketry, with a past future strangely in our past now, but it’s not too badly dated as long as you remember life before the Internet. It’s pulp fiction, but with bits of agreeable politics within it.

  • Double Star, a book about a down-on-his-luck actor selected by an expansionist faction to portray a missing politician for an important ceremony. The double has to avoid assassination attempts and gaffes as he finds himself growing into the role.
  • The Door Into Summer, a bizarre time-traveling novel about an inventor cheated out of the company he founded by his business partner and a woman who set herself up as the inventor’s fiancee and business secretary. The man takes the long sleep–an offering by insurance companies where they will take your money now and put you into cyrogenic sleep for decades so your money will grow and they will get their cut. The sleep goes well, but the inventor finds that the fiancee, bless her heart, has altered his investment election to make it worthless in the future. So the fellow needs to get that straight and to find a young woman he knew in the past. To do so, he travels to the past.

As I said, prime rocket jocketry. Published in the early 1950s, most are set in a future whose date has passed. For example, in The Door Into Summer, the first future setting is 1970, and the second future setting is thirty some years later. That is, both times have passed. If you can get your mind past that, and people born before 1980 probably can, you can really enjoy the books for what they are: simple adventure stories not relying too much on hard science (unlike the stories of today). Additionally, given Heinlein’s politics bent bends along with mine, you can read them without worrying that some smart comment will knock you out of the books.

Worth a read.

Books mentioned in this review: