Have Space Suit, Will Travel
by Robert Heinlein
Del Ray Books 1978
Reviewed by Roxana Currie, September 15, 2006
I read every sci-fi book in both my Jr. and Sr. High library as a kid, but somehow I managed to miss Robert Heinlein. This book report is to make sure this doesn't happen to you in your second childhood or to your teenagers just discovering the pure delight of fantastic science fiction.
How is it that some authors can create the most bizarre circumstance and write about it in such a way that the reader totally buys it? And taking that instance a step further, how did the science fiction writers of my childhood create fiction that has that unbelievable believability combined with fiction that has for 50 years remained fiction. Think about it... 2001 Space Odyssey is still great fiction even though the year is 2006. Hal is, thankfully, still somewhere in the future.
Robert Heinlein was one of the first. I just read one of his first, one of the most delightful space books Iíve ever read, Have Space Suit, Will Travel..."You see, I had this space suit," the story begins.
Kip is a regular kid with a pretty hefty workshop and pretty eccentric parents. When he tells his Dad he wants to go to the moon, Dad says sure, go ahead.
"Eh?" Dad looked mildly surprised. "Why, that's your problem, Clifford. There must be a number of ways. Better check 'em all."
Well, Dad turns out to be more than he seems, but in the course of leaving no stone unturned in order to get to the moon, Kip enters a soap jingle contest. He places 11th in the contest. He doesn't win the trip to the moon. He wins a second hand spacesuit.
I'd tell you more, but not having Heinlein's gift, if I told the story you'd say, "What a crock!" Believe me. When Heinlein tells the story...let's just say there's an alien abduction, a breathless escape, a Mother Thing, a universal court, and finally... well, you'd better read it yourself.
If you have a rainy Saturday afternoon, whether you're 12 or 92, "Have Space Suit, Will Travel" will take you on a delightful diversion that's clearly out of this world.