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15 October, 2009

Book Review: Have Space Suit Will Travel by Robert Heinlein

Teenager, Kip Russel has been longing to travel to the moon. Faced with the option of becoming a soldier (to be stationed at the moon base), an engineer (which requires getting accepted to a good college), or as a tourist (as part of the newly opened space travel industry). Kip's father has been pushing Kip to increase the coursework that he takes to get him ready for life in college. But Kip has not heard back from any of the schools that he has applied to. So when a slogan contest is announced with a first place prize of a trip to the moon, Kip jumps at the chance to win.

Kip ties for third place in the slogan contest and wins a genuine space suit. He names the suit Oscar, and spends the next few months restoring Oscar to space travel condition. When he does not recieve a scholarship, and is faced with working to support his way through college at the less than stellar local college Kip needs to face reality about how he can save up some money to pay for school. He finally decides that he will have to sell Oscar to help pay for his first year in college.

While taking Oscar out for one last walk, Kip answers a call for help over the space channel on his suit's radio. A space ship lands, closely followed by a second, and Kip finds himself journying out of New Jersey into space as a prisnor of the "Wormface". Wormface is a species of alien that had been hiding on the moon looking to take over Earth for their own evil purposes.

Kip and his companions, PeeWee (a twelve year old girl) , and the alien entity known as the Mother Thing travel from the moon to Pluto to try and stop Wormface's evil plans. The mother thing calls her Vegan companions, who capture the Wormface. Kip and PeeWee find themselves in an interstellar courtroom representing Earth in an interstellar courtroom. The fate of the Earth's future is balanced on the two young humans as they represent the planet to the alien judges.

This version of Have Space Suit Will Travel was the Full Cast Audio recording. I love the productions put out by Full Cast Audio. They are like listening to the radio plays. The recording features multiple cast members, music between the chapters, and the melodious bird song voice of the Mother thing and her fellow Vegans. Originally written in 1959, Have Space Suit Will Travel is on of Robert Heinlein's two books written for young readers. It stands the passage of time well, and I was transprted to a relm where space travel is possible.

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