I read this book about 25-Sep-2002. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1982. This note was last modified Saturday, 19-Aug-2006 10:43:18 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
This may be the last Heinlein novel I hadn't reread (though I can't swear to Rocketship Galileo, either). I read it when it first came out, and it left me with a negative enough impression that I never went back to it. But other people have said good enough things, and I've reread enough other bad late Heinlein, that eventually rereading this came to look better than other alternatives. So here I am.
The story seems to hang together better this time. The connection between her Boss and Kettle-Belly Baldwin from "Gulf" works much better for me this time -- he seems less a caricature, more an older version.
I enjoyed some of his playing with newspaper advertisements (something he did in Glory Road earlier). This book fits in with other "late Heinlein" in having a fanatical emphasis on family and children (only made stronger by showing a family gone bad), and a strong preference for the agrarian colony world lifestyle. I still hate that bit; I'd be more interested in a setup like Terius from Time Enough For Love, where the colony doesn't have to sink so far to get started. Being a subsistence farmer strikes me as a fate worth than death (one reason most versions of "survivalism" leave me cold).
The way he has Earth governed is interesting and scary; a bit too believable. And he doesn't explain enough about the relationships between "territorial" and "corporate" nation-states. It's reasonable to acknowledge the corporations as being on that level, but in a world that has done so, the relationships would be clearer.
I'm glad I reread it. It was fun. It's probably good that I waited as long as I did.