Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Red Planet

Another of my favorite juveniles by Heinlein is Red Planet.  This is more definitely a juvenile since the hero is Jim Marlowe, teenager, and most of the characters are his schoolmates and friends.
It’s another rebellion against authority type story the authority this time being the Mars Company. 
Mars in this novel has the aspect of a ‘Company Town’.  Something that was more common in the US in the 1950’s so quite familiar to his audience.  The company has become repressive and thus problems ensue. 
One thing that is a little odd to me.  Heinlein is known for his conservative politics.  He was a libertarian which is a different species of conservative to most of the current Republican party.  However, I would think he was more anti-government than anti-business. 
But in this novel, the bad guys are clearly this company.  Maybe he is against repression no matter the source or just against big powerful entities.  If so, I am more a fan of his politics than I thought.  Whatever. 
The company tries, through deception, to force the colonists to stay in their present location throughout the bitter Martian winter.  This is the main cause of the rebellion.
But similar authoritarian actions at Jim’s school precipitate the action. 
Heinlein does a great job describing the society on Mars.  The ancient Martians are truly alien, the landscape is Percival Lowell’s Mars, but believable for the time, and the character of Willis, a Martian bouncer or roundhead,is one of the better cute aliens ever created.
This particular Mars also fits into the Future History of Heinlein, and many of the other juveniles. 
But first of all it’s just a good story. 
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