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Publisher's Summary

Hamilton Felix, the result of generations of genetic selection, finds his life as the ultimate man boring - until a gang of revolutionaries tries to enlist him in their cause.
©1942 Robert A. Heinlein (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Beyond This Horizon

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Women will forgive anything

In this future pictured by RAH, men carry guns in holsters, just like in the old west. Dueling is legal. Most of us are a product of carefully planned out genetics. This takes planned parenthood to a whole new level.

If Heinlein would have stuck to genetics or westerns this might have been an ok book. The story has almost no flow, it is full of lots of stutters and starts. It is like Heinlein could not figure out what he wanted to write about. He had several issues, but never stuck to any. The book has almost no plot. Chapter three sounds almost exactly like a two hour lecture I had in college biology. It talks about sperm and eggs and how they form babies.

There is a character who jumped to this time in a time machine from 1926. Everyone seems to know about it, but nothing is done to figure out how to build a time machine. Towards the end a kid develops telepathy, but little is done with it. There is some talk on reincarnation.

Heinlein can give you something to think about even when he is just throwing thoughts together. One statement he makes that I really liked was, "Women will forgive anything, otherwise the human race would have died out long ago." He also explains why we have not discovered life in space and why aliens have not discovered us. He says that it took man four centuries to cross the America's, and given the size of space, it just has not happened yet.

If you have never read RH, please don't start with this book. Heinlein has written some really good stuff, may I suggest you start with "The Green Hills of Earth" or "Starship Trooper" or "Starman Jones.

20 people found this helpful

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Heinlein's First Novel, not his Best Novel

Amazing writer. Having read over 2 dozen Heinlein novels, I find this to be the worst of his books that I've ever read. Instead of LOVING it, I only liked if a lot! I can't figure out if it's stilted, poor narration, or just poor editing. My guess is he needed an editor but it appears that the narration is rather choppy and though as strange as the book is, my guess is that part of the problem is the dated way that it reads and the other part is the editing. Truth be known this is his 1st novel, according to www.wikipedia.org it was originally serialized in 1942. I have also read a good number of Heinlein short stories, which were mostly from his early career and since this novel is also an early work, it stands to reason that its tone is similar. (I always tell my adult friends to start with anything from 1959 or newer.)

The narrator was an absolutely 1st rate voice actor, really fantastic. His natural voice, stilted when reading the general narrative of the text was a little strange but I got more comfortable with it as I went along.

An important detail of Heinlein's style is that he often uses a character's name very specifically as a synonym to convey their characteristics. It occurred to me to look up the meaning of the names of the children in the last chapters when one was given the peculiar name of Theobald. It means 'brave, bold people'. Fitting. I doubt it was an accident.

To wrap it up, this is classic Heinlein. Hard sci fi. Very heavy on genetics, A trope that shows up in his later work.

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good and bad

great characters but the story has not aged very well. the concepts can and have been used for similar stories in tv shows for decades. good for sci-fi and fantasy story research.

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  • LC
  • 12-25-21

Interesting but not a great story

I found this book interesting because it is quite unusual in some ways and explores some interesting ideas.
As a story, I found it to be just ok, but not much depth or anything else that would make it great as a story. Just exploring some interesting ideas.