I read this book about 28-Jul-2011. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1954. This note was last modified Friday, 19-Aug-2011 19:31:20 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
This one is exactly as old as I am. Well, not this edition; this is an SFBC omnibus I picked up used at Uncle Hugo's.
I'm not too surprised I haven't read this since I started keeping this booklog; it's never been one of my favorites. Friends have argued that it's the best of the juveniles, and I can see the points they make, but I don't really find them convincing. It wasn't a big favorite back then and it isn't a big favorite now.
Still, it's Heinlein.
The protagonist is earnest and not too bright. His girlfriend is too bright, and a corkscrewy political thinker. I guess it does show him respecting his girlfriend's intelect, and not minding her being the leader in most areas. On the other hand, it shows a really weird relationship, not one I'd put before juveniles as a model.
And the star beast, the Lummox of the alternate title, is a juvenile of the most powerful race in the galaxy, not some weird alien animal.
There are several attempts to make everything go disastrously wrong, including stupid Sheriff who wants to kill the thing. It's lucky his first few attempts are hopelessly inadequate; Lummox is tough.
One of the great things, as always, is the sketches of the interstellar politics. We learn quite a lot about it in remarkably few words.