Tuesday, 22 September 1998

Robert A. Heinlein: To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987)

Edition: Ace, 1988
Review number: 116

To Sail Beyond the Sunset was Robert Heinlein's very last novel, published just before his death. Like his other late novels (I think this applies to every one published after Job), it brings together many of his favourite characters. It is a sequel to The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, though you will have needed to read several other Heinlein novels to really understand what's going on (notably The Number of the Beast and Time Enough For Love; there is a full list of characters and the novels they come from at the end of the book.)

To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a first-person account of the life of Maureen, the mother of Woodrow Wilson Smith, otherwise known as Lazarus Long and the hero of Methuselah's Children and Time Enough for Love. She is apparently supposed to be autobiographical, but she reads more like a twelve year old boy's dream of what women should be like. This is a characteristic of many of the women in Heinlein's later books, and no doubt explains the popularity of these books with teenage boys.

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