The Rolling Stones


Author: Robert A. Heinlein

Title: The Rolling Stones

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1952

Number of Pages: 276p

Geographical Setting: Our Solar System

Time Period: Not too distant Future

Series: Juvenile Series

Plot Summary: The Rolling Stones is Heinlein’s “family values” novel, with the highest virtue held to be loyalty to one’s kin. The Stones are a space-minded family of pioneer earth people who came to the moon to live. The family is headed by Hazel, a pistol-toting grandma; however, most of the interest centers around Castor and Pollux, the fifteen year old “unheavenly twins”, a mischievous brace who want to go to Mars to sell second-hand bicycles, at a smart profit.  Accordingly, the twins had the idea of buying the spaceship and flying out to the asteroid belt to make their fortune in space mining ventures. Their father rejected this plan, preferring to send them to Earth for a formal university education. But Grandma Hazel prevailed with more ambitious counsel, and the whole family ended up buying the spaceship and becoming an adventurously nomadic collection of rugged individualists.

Subject Headings: Family, Space Travelers, Twin Brothers, Space Flight to Mars, Asteroids, Space Vehicles, Home (concept), Mars, Science Fiction (American), Domestic Fiction

Appeal: Adventurous, mischievous, futuristic, idealistic, expressive, influential, compelling, family centered, vivid, timeless, colorful, unusual, insightful

Three Terms that Describe it: coming of age, exploration, space

Relevant fiction:

Lois McMaster Bujold- The Curse of Chalion– Shares Heinlein’s strong characterization, pacing and dialogue.

Alexi Panshin-Rite of Passage– Like many of Heinlein’s books, the story revolves around a central character’s struggle to grow up. In 2198, one hundred and fifty years after the desperate wars that destroyed an overpopulated Earth, Man lives precariously on a hundred hastily-established colony worlds and in the seven giant Ships that once ferried men to the stars.

Marge Piercy- He, She and It– Similar to Heinlein, this is a diverting tale of the 21st century, Piercy explores a world where information has become a commodity more precious than gold.

Relevant Non-fiction:

Alfred Korzybski- Manhood of Humanity- Heinlein was deeply interested in Alfred Korzybski ‘s General Semantics, and attended a number of seminars on the subject. His views on epistemology seem to have flowed from that interest, and his fictional characters continue to express Korzybskian views to the very end of his writing career published in 1921, introduced the notion of time-binding as the defining distinction between humans and other organisms.

Twenty First Century Books- Exploring the Origins of the Universe/Stars & Galaxies/Space Travel and Exploration/Black Holes-Heinlein’s stories often take place in outer space. This book can provide some insight to the realms of space and exploration.

George Edgar Slusser- Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in his Own Land-This book can provide some biographical insight to Heinlein and his writings.

By: Allison Robins

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