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The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein

Published by Del Rey Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

The Rolling Stones was one of a series of juveniles that Heinlein originally wrote on contract in order to pay the rent. However, it doesn't have the feel of forgettable hackwork. Far from it, when you read it, you have a feeling of, "why aren't they publishing more like it these days?" It has action and adventure that not only entertains but also teaches about physics and other sciences without being stuffy or self-important.

A bit of the science, particularly the part about Mars being inhabited by ancient and mysterious natives, has become dated in the years since it was written. But the orbital mechanics remains valid, and is explained in Heinlein's inimitable style that is so entertaining you never quite realize that you've just read an infodump. And the flat cats sequence remains a lesson on the mathematics of population growth that few readers are likely to forget.

All of this comes in a deceptively simple package -- the story of two young people who decided to buy a spaceship and set themselves up as roving merchants to the solar system. This is a story to be enjoyed by yet another generation of young readers.

Click to buy The Rolling Stones in paperback.

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This review posted June 2, 1999

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