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Publisher's Summary

Travel to other planets is now a reality, and with overpopulation stretching the resources of Earth, the necessity of finding habitable worlds is growing ever more urgent. There’s a problem though—because the spaceships are slower than light, any communication between the exploring ships and Earth would take years.

Tom and Pat are identical twin teenagers. As twins they’ve always been close, so close that it seemed like they could read each other’s minds. When they are recruited by the Long Range Foundation, the twins find out that they can, indeed, peer into each other’s thoughts. Along with other telepathic duos, they are enlisted to be the human transmitters and receivers that will keep the ships in contact with Earth. But there’s a catch: one of the twins has to stay behind—and that one will grow old—while the other explores the depths of space and returns as a young man still.

©1956 ; 1983 by Robert A. Heinlein; 2003 by the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“One of the superb Heinlein stories that has excitement, urbanity, humanity, rationality, pace, understanding, and is a joy to read.” ( New York Times)
“Rarely has Heinlein pushed his imagination further…A vivid, stirring experience.” ( Chicago Tribune)
“He showed us where the future is.” (Tom Clancy)

What listeners say about Time for the Stars

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My First Heinlein

I think I must have been around 12 or 13 and just starting Jr High School when my twin sister checked "Time for the Stars" out of the school library. She was disappointed that we weren't telepathic, but I was curious about the book and picked it up. It was the first of many hours enjoying the worlds of RAH. Although this was one of the series of books that Heinlein wrote for young people, it was, and still is, an engaging story for people of any age. Heinlein is at his best when describing ordinary people struggling with extraordinary situations. If you are a Heinlein fan, you won't be disappointed. As with so many of Heinlein's books, I look forward to listening to this one again.

29 people found this helpful

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You had to look twice to know she was pretty

Early Heinlein should be required reading in Middle School. His books are intelligent and give kids great advice. What I like most about his books are his love for science and education. Without being preachy, he stresses the importance of working hard and for study. There are so many books out there that have characters who have great things happen to them for no good reason. Kids reading these books believe that great things are just waiting to happen to them, without any effort on there part. When they grow up and find out they are not a Prince or Princess in some other dimension or that you don't become a CEO, by doing nothing to accomplish it, they become depressed. They think that life is not fair. They hate those who did work hard to accomplish there goals. Television and lots of fantasy books have done a great disservice to our youth.

With the exception of telepathy, this is a real good book. It is a shame that telepathy is such a big part of the book. I believe that are brains are capable of a lot more then what we are using them for, but the notion about telepathy, especially over the vastness of space almost put this Science Fiction into the realm of Fantasy.

The main characters are hard working and do study. The wonder of space travel is here. Yet this book is probably more introspective then most Heinlein books. The internal struggles of the main character make this a good book for adults as well as children. Sometimes we don't know are selves as well as we think we do. Getting to know yourself and why you do what you do, can help you to change what might need changing in order to reach the goals you want. Like most early Heinlein books this book is deep on many levels.

15 people found this helpful

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Classic Science Fiction At It's Best

Heinlein was ahead of his time. He was an extremely inventive and imaginative author. I am not sure what order to read his books, although this one reminded me a lot of Star Man Jones. There wasn't much action for the most part, but there were some exciting parts and twists. This book is about discovery and exploration of planets for colonization in a future society of Earth where space travel is possible. Perspective takes place through the eyes of one character and the story writes like an autobiography over the course of years of his life. The basic premise is that people have discovered that twins can communicate telepathically. To date Earth has had trouble hearing back from long range scout ships that venture off to explore habitable worlds at the speed of light due to the great distances involved. The use of these twins for instantaneous communication may make it possible colonize worlds faster. The concept of space and time are explored in this novel. In addition, the effects of how time ages one twin differently than the other due to traveling at the speed of light is explored. We get a taste of alien worlds, like the Star Man Jones book, and once again I find myself wishing there was more meat to the story. But I do appreciate Time For The Stars for what it is meant to be, a light, stand alone, discovery, science fiction novel.

9 people found this helpful

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The Twin Paradox Brought to Life.

When I started reading this I had forgotten this was a book intended for younger readers (it was part of Robert Heinlein’s “Juveniles Series”). I can’t pretend to know whether kids these days would still like this sort of sci fi tale, but I’d imagine that they would.

The focus of the book is not interstellar action and derring do, although there is a bit of action towards the end. The book is partly about relationships, primarily twin sibling relationships. It's also about man’s efforts to explore and discover his world/universe.

The ending was somewhat more profound than I had expected it to be. Also interesting, the plot also brings the twin paradox to life.

I recommend this book if you are interested in vintage sci fi or, perhaps, the themes of discovery and sibling relationships.

[Spoiler alert: ] The book is a product of its time, and ends with the main character marrying his great-grandniece. That, I'd suggest, is a bit icky by today’s standards.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Another RAH Classic

This is one of my favorite RAH books and I was so excited to see an audio of it! Now they just need to make an audio of Tunnel in the Sky. But Time for the Stars is one of RAH best books it tells the age old story of two twins separated by the affects of relativistic space flight.

8 people found this helpful

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Unabashed fan

I'm not really a valid reviewer - RAH was my first love in Science Fiction - and in spite of his well known flaws, this is one of his better Juveniles. If you are new to Robert Heinlein, he was one of the first SF writers to really emphasize accuracy in his science - so while the basic driver in this book is fictional, the way it works tends to be accurate to the knowlege of physics when written.

So in this book, the Long Range Foundation [Dedicated to our Decendants] is taking on the exploration for new planets for man to live on. And they have discovered some interesting things about twins. Identical twins, Pat and Tom are encouraged to join the expedition, and this story is the experience of the space-side twin as they experience both space and time travel. And of course, the boy, becomes a man. It's got a decent pace, a good plot line, a good crew on the ship and a satisfying outcome.

7 people found this helpful

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Dated but worth a listen

I've been going through my 70's SF UK-bought paperbacks (shoulder reconstruction meant forced idleness) and realised that Heinlein was about 50% of my reading then. (Moorcock/AsimovVan Vogt/Vance made up the rest.) Didn't ring a bell when I saw the title name so bought it. Pleasantly surprised. It's no "Door into summer" but very good use of time dilation (I teach chemistry not physics!). If you like Heinlein, you'll like this- much shorter and more readable (possible younger audience?) than "Stranger in a strange land" etc.

4 people found this helpful

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One of Heinlein’s best juveniles

Originally posted at Fantasy Literature

Time for the Stars is one of my favorite Heinlein Juveniles, and I like his juveniles better than his books for adults, so I guess that makes Time of the Stars one of my favorite Heinlein works. It’s got everything that makes his stories so much fun to read, especially for kids. Likeable heroes, sweet relationships, real emotions, a touch of romance, a bit of physics, spaceship travel and exploration of distant planets. (And also, as usual, there’s a hint of incest — romance with a cousin — and a few complaints about taxes. It is a Heinlein novel, after all.)

In Time for the Stars, twins Tom and Pat join an experimental scientific study to see if telepathy might be a viable way for Earth to communicate with her exploring spaceships. It’s thought that if telepathy could work for anyone, it would be identical twins. Tom and Pat are excited to be involved, but they know this means that one of them will get to explore space while the other one has to stay home to be the other end of the telepathic line. This fact has a lot of ramification for the brothers. First of all, the boys have to decide who gets to go. Second, the one who leaves will probably never see his family again. Third, the boys will now age at different rates because of relativity, so even if the one who leaves ever comes back, he will be much younger than his twin.

All of this gives Time for the Stars an emotional texture that makes this story feel weightier than your average YA SF adventure. Also, Time for the Stars is not just a story about exploring space — it’s about family, friendship, loneliness, love, guilt, and the power of the human mind. In fact, I think Heinlein spends more time exploring the brain than exploring distant galaxies.

Time for the Stars is an entertaining and moving YA space adventure that will probably please most adults as well as kids. I listened to Barrett Whitener narrate Blackstone Audio’s version. I thought his voice, tone, and cadence were perfect for this emotional story.

4 people found this helpful

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Telepathic quantum entanglement

Robert A Heinlein's Time for the Stars is among his set of juvenile novels. Set in the future where space travel within the system occurs, an attempt for an interstellar journey is proposed. The neat trick is to use twins with telepathic abilities. While the mode of transportation is relativistic (with a spaceship that can attain close to the speed of light), telepathy allows for instantaneous communications. In spite of this ability, there are still issues at peak speeds as well as the aging of the Earthbound pairs. The goal is to hunt for Earth-like planets for future colonization. There's plenty of adventure along the way as well as a near mutiny as the crew slowly dwindles away. Eventually, the telepathic science allows for building spaceships that also allow for instant travel and the crew heads home after nearly a lifetime having passed on Earth. What started as a teen's adventure ends with seeing his Earthbound twin who is now an old man.

As with most of Heinlein's juvenile series, teenagers are the main characters. There's a bit of teenage romance, jealousy, and sibling rivalry along with violent interactions with some intelligent alien life. There is much demonstration of the strangeness of relativity with some routine space housekeeping. This is classic Heinlein for a coming of age tale.

The narration is well done with good character distinction and easy listening pacing.

3 people found this helpful

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great sf book.

I met Mr. Heinlein in 1962 when I was in the tenth grade in 1962, living in Security, Colorado. My father was an avid reader of SF books and got me involved in reading. I have read Mr. Helnlein's books over and over and now I had a chance to listen to them and the books were and are some of the greatest SF that there are.





2 people found this helpful

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  • T.
  • 01-04-22

Amazing Hidden Gem

I am so glad I found the book, timeless story. Enjoyed it very much, a forgotten masterpiece.

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  • LC
  • 01-17-21

Another solid Heinlein story

I found this to be an enjoyable story, like other Heinlein stories. Some parts of it stimulate thinking and imagination too.
It’s not one of his more adventurous books though, or one of the best.

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  • M
  • 05-21-19

Not the best heinlein but ok

Not the best compared to others I preferred, well read but I lost interest a few times during the story. Still a good book by the master though.

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  • Seagull
  • 05-12-18

Still great!

I loved this when I first read it as an adolescent, and was really pleased to find how well it has stood the test of time. Yes, there are a few jarring moments - it would be depressing if, so far in the future, women had still needed their husband's permission to do things - however, it didn't seriously mar my enjoyment. The characters and situations are still interesting and the premise of the story (telepathic communication) remains fresh and original. The narrator also does a good job. Very pleased I bought this one!

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  • Thesle
  • 02-22-16

Up there with Heinlein's best

This is an enjoyable novel, something you can listen to and enjoy for the characters and the plot, while making allowances for the central premise. for those that enjoy Heinlein's 'juveniles' it's a good listen.