Review: Orphans of the Sky


Orphans of the Sky
Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A friend told me about this novel way, way back in the early 1990s. I kept forgetting the name of it, but finally bought a copy several years ago, and just now got around to reading it. From the moment Bruce told me about the novel I was intrigued by the situation: People living on a space ship have been there so long they’ve forgotten that they are on a ship and believe it is the whole of space.

From there it’s kind of downhill. Like so many science fiction novels of its time, Orphans of the Sky suffers from pretty thin characterization and a paint-by-the-numbers plot. The muties were an interesting touch, and honestly, the character I probably liked the most was Bobo. Basically, it’s a great idea that just wasn’t executed very well.

Still, the short novel is worth reading. It won’t take you long. I would have read it much faster if I’d had the time, but I was limited to a few pages here and there.

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One thought on “Review: Orphans of the Sky

  1. Interesting review of what is possibly one of the lesser of RAH’s writings. One must remember that in reviewing a piece as old as this one it is steeped in WW2//Cold War rhetoric, written by an author whose main writing at that time was short stories for Boys Life, Scouting, and other such publications.

    While it is not the best, by a very long shot, it is still head and shoulders above Farnham’s Freehold, which is a barely disguised racist screed based on the John Birch Societ and other early white supremacist groups.

    By your own admission, you did not read the entire novella. Might I recommend that you return and give it the cover-to-cover reading it deserves for a full review? As a retired university comp and lit instructor, I think you have the base for a good review, but you need to read the entire book to write a really good review.

    Thank you for taking the time to look at one of the Four Pillars of Science Fiction. So seldom these days do we see anyone returning to the basics, the pulp as it were, of Sci Fi. You are to be congratulated and encouraged, to continue in this vein so others of the current generation might find these little treasures of forgotten lore.

    Respectfully,
    Tony O’seland

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