Double Star

Double Star

by Robert A. Heinlein


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Many of Heinlein's fans consider the novels he wrote in the fifties amongst the author's strongest work; when he was at the peak of his talents. Double Star is considered by many to be the finest of his titles. Brian Aldiss called it his "most enjoyable novel."

Whether it is the simplicity of a lively tale, the complexity of the situation, or the depth of characterization, the book has developed a loyal following. It also won Heinlein his first Hugo.

The story revolves around Lawrence Smith-also known as "Lorenzo the Great"-a down-and-out actor wasting the remainder of his life in bars.

When he encounters a space-pilot who offers him a drink, before he knows what is going on, he is on Mars involved in a deep conspiracy with global consequences. He is given a mission where failure would not only mean his own death, it would almost certainly mean an all-out planetary war.

"Heinlein's novels of the 1940s and 50s shaped every single science fiction writer of my generation and everyone currently writing science fiction. Or making science fiction movies ... and Double Star is an excellent example of all the reasons why."-Connie Will

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612422855
Publisher: Arc Manor
Publication date: 10/20/2015
Pages: 170
Sales rank: 416,904
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Robert Anson Heinlein (1907–1988) served five years in the US Navy and then attended graduate classes in mathematics and physics at UCLA. After a variety of jobs, he began to write science fiction in 1939. He is a four-time winner of the Hugo Award and a recipient of three Retro Hugos, and in 1975 he was named the first recipient of the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. His worldwide bestsellers have been translated into twenty-two languages.

Tom Weiner, a dialogue director and voice artist best known for his roles in video games and television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Transformers, is an Earphones Award winner and Audie Award finalist. He is a former member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Date of Birth:

July 7, 1907

Date of Death:

May 8, 1988

Place of Birth:

Butler, Missouri

Place of Death:

Carmel, California


Graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, 1929; attended University of California, Los Angeles, 1934, for graduate study in physic

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Double Star 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a tightly written and well plotted story of political intrigue and deception written against a futuristic background involving two different interplanetary races and political parties in an imaginary SciFi future. Heinlein's characters come alive off the page, with all the warmth, faults, flaws, and basic human decencies which make his protaganists, heroes, and villians all so classically unforgetable. A grand read for any real SciFi buff !!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book! I really enjoyed reading it. And I enjoyed reading it the second and the third time! The book is basically about an actor who has to impersonate a public figure, in order to prevent a war with the aliens, but I won't go any further with the plot, or I'll spoil the fun. Anyhow, the story has lots of twists and turns, and is going to make you 'hod on to it' 'till the end.
dvf1976 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like visions of the future from the 1950's. There's always an overload of microfilmed data.
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Only a little dated, cool idea, not deep or trying to be shocking like other books by Heinlien.
RRHowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great short book for thinking about acting and politics. Written for the YA audience, readable by all. SF, but applicable to those who are not particularly enthralled by that genre if they can stomach a little unreality in the mix.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Heinlein's best, in which down-and-out actor Lorenzo Smythe is drafted as a body-double for a famous statesman. The description of how he does this is fascinating, as is the story of how he has to keep doing it. Lorenzo is an appealing character despite his manifest weaknesses and follies, and actually manages to evolve. An interesting slant on the world of politics -- written in the mid-1950's, years before Reagan began to build a political career.
briandarvell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A quick and moderately fun read but definitely not meeting my expectations. The book overall was quickly paced with little real story. Basically it touched on racism as the main theme but I found the main character to be mostly unbelievable.
nm.sprin08.A.Palmer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting book about political intrigue and the inner workings of a possible interplanetary, interspecies government. This book shows the rivalry of political dissidents as well as a loyalty not often seen in people today.
Archren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting book of Heinlein's, one that I picked up well after I had read most of his standards. It seems transitional, in that he is moving away from the straightforward space writing in "Starship Troopers" and moving towards the social and political writing that would make him famous in the Sixties with "A Stranger in a Strange Land." As such it has elements of both worlds, but isn't in either of them.In this book an actor is hired to be a body double for an incapacitated politician during a delicate phase of diplomacy with Mars and the Martians. That really is the essential plot. It is all from one point of view, and the plot unfolds quite linearly, with only a few twists.The characters are starting to sound a lot like they will in Heinlein's later books, particularly like Jubal Harshaw will later. Now, Heinlein was never afraid to have characters stand around and explain why his philosophy of the world was right, but previously that had been subsumed by other things, whereas here it is starting to come further into the foreground. The other major difference here to his earlier career is that there is no military involvement at all in this novel.One huge difference between this and what will come later is the lone female character: late his females will be hyper-compentent, able to do anything kind of gals. This one is a little useless. In most scenes she cries, and she even faints twice. It's a bit embarassing, really. To contrast that, however, there is a strong message of racial tolerance in this book. One of the characters is incredibly afraid of and bigoted towards Martians and is shown the error of his ways. Considering that the book was written in 1956, it was a bold statement.Overall, if you've ever enjoyed a Heinlein book you'll enjoy this one, and if you've always loathed his writing, this won't change your mind. I for one, enjoyed it quite a bit.
Meggo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the more enjoyable Heinlein works, from his early period. The book gets a little bogged down, as his tend to do, with political discussion, but overall it's a good story. The tale begins with a down on his luck actor being hired to be a stand-in for a famous opposition politician, who has been kidnapped. One thing leads to another, and, well, he has so stay in character somewhat longer than originally intended. It's a fast read, but well worth the time
Lman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book could be described as a lightweight romp from Heinlein, very entertaining and very readable, except for the philosophical discussions that RAH always manages to insinuate into his stories.Lorenzo Smythe - an actor tagged the Great (especially in his own mind) and whose career is stalled (to put it politely) takes on the role of a lifetime as the impersonator of a major politician in the Galactica. Through his need to mimic this man in entirety we learn about the society of the time, the beliefs of his cadre and the changes being attempted and challenged to the order of the day.It must be emphasised that this book was written many years ago - which can be seen in the writing, in the characterisations of the main players and with some of the obvious outdated technological descriptions - but the xenophobic attitudes, the cynical political manoeuvring and the social structures are still relevant today.Despite the sometimes incredulous assumption of the ease in which the whole deception is delivered I liked Heinlein's description of the structure and philosophy of alien societies, I liked his almost inexhaustible desire for impassioned, innovative men to succeed and I was left to contemplate whether, with enough knowledge, enough innate ability and enough desire, one's own persona can be totally transformed.Light on the science fiction, weak with an improbable premise of a plot - and despite the constraints of the writing of the time - the story still manages to throw up quite a few intelligent questions for a reader to ponder.I read this for a group read on this site and I'm glad I did.
Gilbert_M_Stack More than 1 year ago
I first read this Heinlein novel in the ninth grade and it remains my absolute favorite of his many books. It’s the story of a down on his luck actor who gets roped into impersonating John Joseph Bonforte, the best known politician in the solar system. Bonforte has been kidnapped and as a result is about to miss his adoption into a Martian nest (the first human to be so honored). This would be considered a great impropriety by the Martians and at the very least would drastically set back human-Martian relations. The problem? Lorenzo hates Martians and just about everything that Bonforte and his Expansionist Party stands for. But he sticks to the job because he’s a professional with an exceedingly high opinion of himself, and because as the story continues, he grows to despise the dirty tactics of the men working to destroy Bonforte. Heinlein builds tension not only through the impersonations, but through the behind the scenes personality clashes among Bonforte’s staff. What makes this novel amazing is how Heinlein uses Lorenzo’s basic ignorance in regard to politics and his instinctive prejudice against the non-human races to let him gradually impart his own feelings on the importance of universal civil rights. As Lorenzo learns more and more about Bonforte in order to perform what is always supposed to be just one more impersonation, he grows, becoming far less self-centered and truly respectful of the man he’s had to become. The ending scenes of this novel are extraordinary as Heinlein brings our hero to the most important decision of his life—one we can sympathize with and pray we’d have the strength to do as Lorenzo did. It’s no wonder that this book won the Hugo. To a modern audience, this book feels somewhat dated—not just in Heinlein’s imagining of the technology of the future, but in his understanding of the role women could play in his future world. I’m sure that when Heinlein made Bonforte’s female secretary a member of the Grand Assembly he thought that he was demonstrating the capabilities of women, but by modern standards his effort falls flat. Judged by his time, however, it is another example of his remarkable vision. In the end this book stands or falls on his development of the character of Lorenzo, and in my opinion, it not only stands, it jumps towards the heavens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is about the fifth time I have read this novel and it is still fresh and entertaining. Its insight into politics and political people remain dead on, even in these days of reality TV masquerading as statesmanship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think I have bought this book three times over the years, loaning it out to others never to return. Always worth rebuying, always having earned it's place on my shelf. Heinlein unnderstands people, politics, and the satisfaction of having delivered a good performance. This book stands today despite science having revamped the face of Mars, on the basis of its understanding of humanity. But it does remind me how much I miss the Mars of my youth, with Martians strolling the sands along the Grand Canal.
writer-historyreader More than 1 year ago
This book is dangerous. It was one of the reasons I studied Political Science in college and became a Science Fiction writer in a mid life crisis! When I read the Prisoner of Zenda I figured it's writer had stolen from Heinlein. Only later did I learn it was the other way around. Still, Bob did a whole lot better job. This is just a great story with a whole lot of bang up fun in it, and it tells you a lot about how politics works.
NMSCIFI More than 1 year ago
This book follows Heilein style all the way, he hasn't lost his touch with the keyboard or his story lines. Great read for new and old readers. WJ
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This is a classic Heinlein story which is, of course, dated. At 148 pages, it is not novel length and the cost was too high.
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