Review: The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein

The Star Beast by Robert A. HeinleinThe Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein

Series: None

Genre: Science Fiction (one of Heinlein’s Juveniles)

Setting: Earth

Source: Audiobook, Library (8 hours, 50 minutes)

Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia

Publishing Date: 1954

253 pages

Synopsis:A compelling coming-of-age adventure from legendary SF master and multiple New York Times bestseller Robert A. Heinlein

Lummox has been the pet of the Stuart family for generations. With eight legs, a thick hide, and increasingly large size, Lummox is nobody’s idea of man’s best friend. Nevertheless, John Stuart XI, descendant of the starman who originally brought Lummox back to Earth, loves him. But when Lummox eats a neighbor’s car and begins to grow again, the feds decide that enough is enough. John isn’t about to let the authorities take his pet away, and with his best friend, Betty, he determines to save Lummox–even if he must forever leave the life he’s always known. 

My thoughts

I think I read this book years ago when I was a teenager, but don’t remember too much about it since that was a few years ago! I’m slowly rereading some of the early science fiction and fantasy that I read and Heinlein’s books are some of my favorites.

Heinlein’s juvenile series books are just so much fun to read. The young protagonists are heroic and adventurous. They usually have to learn to think for themselves and do what they know is right even when adults don’t always do that–a classic coming-of-age story. His young people may have to deal with a lot of problems, but they have a strong moral compass and know right from wrong. That makes these young adult books different from many written today that sometimes have more moral ambiguity in them. I also think theseThe Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein books work for adults because there are nuances that kids might not notice, but adults will.

I like this retro version of the cover which I think accurately shows the flavor of the story. Lummox is a friendly beast who sometimes finds loopholes in John’s directions and orders!

This story takes place on Earth, but with a creature brought back by an ancestor of John Stuart XI (the main character–along with the Lummox–of this story). I like that it’s his friend Betty who is the shrewd character in the story. She understands the political ramifications and the public relations value of Lummox as well as the value of powerful friends. There are stereotypes in the story–the dumb government officials who overreact and are overzealous, John’s mother who has decided what John should do with his life and doesn’t listen to anyone else’s opinions.

Anyway, I enjoyed this a lot. Lots of adventure, a good story and interesting characters. I listened to the audiobook and thought Paul Michael Garcia did a great job narrating. It definitely increased my enjoyment of the book. I especially liked his voice for Lummox.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?