Friday, October 22, 2010

Tunnel In The Sky

A classic coming of age novel is Tunnel In The Sky.  It’s one more of my favorite Heinlein juveniles.
Rod Walker is taking a class in advanced survival and the final exam is Solo Survival.  Using the gate technology to transmit him to another planet, he will be dumped on an unknown planet with whatever he can carry with him.  Object: Survival.  Until they retrieve him he is on his own. 
He along with several other students are put down at various locations on the planet. 
The situation becomes complex when the retrieval time comes and goes without the reappearance of the gate.  Something clearly has gone wrong.
So Rod and his fellow students have to survive for who knows how long. Maybe forever.
Some of the most challenging threats to survival turn out to be his fellow humans, as usual.
This novel has a little of the Lord Of The Flies to it and is a really great adventure story.  Rod survives and grows up in the process which is one of the classic types of juvenile story.  A lot of good SF tech is there, matter transmission, space colonization, a very different education system, etc.  The golden era of SF often featured these tech hero types and Rod is a juvenile version of that icon. 
All in all one of Heinlein’s better efforts.
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