On The Main Sequence Edit

These are the 12 books aimed at male teenagers published yearly from 1947 by Scribner's plus Two More, though Heinlein did not view one of these extras as a juvenile.

Two More Edit

  • Starship Troopers, 1959, which later became something of a phenomena in its own right, was rejected by Scribner's and Heinlein ended his 11 year association with the publisher; he later wrote that "I am tired of being known as a 'leading writer of children's books', and nothing else." Starship Troopers was serialised in F&SF as Starship Soldiers and then published as a novel by Putnam in 1960. It was certainly intended as a juvenile and you can't imagine the good folk at Scribner's throwing many parties to celebrate their rejection of this popular story.
  • Podkayne of Mars, 1963, serialised in The Worlds of If and then published in hardcover in 1964. Regarded as a juvenile by many,[1] though Heinlein didn't agree[2]. While it's difficult to see why it does stand out from the crowd here. The original version had Podkayne dying in a nuclear blast, her brother's fault, at the end of the story. Fairly tough story elements and the publishers demanded they were changed. Without that ending it's still Heinlein, but it's just an adventure story and he's not at his best. With it, the novel is poignant and the character change in the story is undergone by Clark, Podkayne's younger brother.

A Possible Third Edit

  • Glory Road, 1963, is listed nowhere as a juvenile - but it feels like one and I'd suggest it should be. In every respect apart from the age of its protagonist and some (very PG) sex, it has the same structure as many of the juvies. (It's probably worth mentioning that only I seem to think this. (MikeLacey))

Short Stories for Girls Edit

Also not regarded anywhere as juvies, are the Puddin' stories.

The author planned four more stories for a collection entitled Men Are Exasperating but neither the additional stories or the collection happened.

The Menace From Earth deserves a mention here, as another short story in which the protagonist is a female teenager.

Scouting Stories Edit

Two short stories

  • Nothing Ever Happens on the Moon, 1949, Boy's Life
  • Tenderfoot in Space, 1958

And the novel Farmer in the Sky, 1950 - there was another story planned, Polar Scout, which was intended to be based on a trpp Heinlein was planning. Unfortunately both the trip and book didn't happen.[4]

Arguments with Scribner Edit

Heinlein seemed to enjoy pushing the boundaries of what was seen as acceptable in fiction aimed a teenagers; there were "annual quarrels over what was suitable for juvenile reading"[5] with Scribner's.

Critical Reception Edit

The series was well received and has proved quite long lived. Jack Williamson wrote: "[An] inspiring theme of space conquest unifies the dozen Scribner's titles ... The books, taken together, tell an epic story of the expansion of mankind across the planets of our own Sun and the stars beyond. ... a generally consistent story of the future conquest of space. The first, Rocket Ship Galileo, begins in a backyard shortly after World War II, with three boys testing a primitive rocket motor. The last, Have Space Suit—Will Travel, ends with the triumphant return of its young hero from the Lesser Magellanic Cloud... Nobody has written a more convincing and inspiring future human epic."[6]

Ties Between the Juvies and With Other Work Edit

Three of the juveniles are connected to Heinlein's Future History. A young Hazel Stone from Space Family Stone also appears in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and then later in her life in The Number of the Beast, and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. The novel Space Cadet is placed after The Long Watch, on Heinlein's Future History chart. Bill Lermer, from Farmer in the Sky, plays the song "The Green Hills of Earth" on the accordion; which is featured in the story of the same name from Heinlein's Future HistoryFarmer in the Sky also refers to the "Space Patrol," the interplanetary peace-keeping organization described in Space Cadet.

The Mars of Red Planet appears to be the Mars of Stranger in a Strange Land. Have Space Suit—Will Travel mentions a recently established lunar base and an "infant Luna City", possible early references to what Heinlein developed into the lunar outpost of his Future History and the lunar colony of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

References Edit

  1. Alexei Panshin, Heinlein in Dimension
  2. Grumbles from the Grave, p. 86
  3. Expanded Universe, p. 354
  4. December 28, 1963, Grumbles from the Grave, p. 192-193.
  5. Virginia Heinlein, Grumbles from the Grave, p. 83.
  6. Williamson "Youth Against Space: Heinlein's Juveniles Revisited", in Robert A. Heinlein (1978), ed by Joseph D. Olander and Martin H. Greenberg