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Book Note: Robert A. Heinlein, Farmer in the Sky (#4)

I read this book about 12-Dec-2022. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1950. This note was last modified Tuesday, 13-Dec-2022 16:34:50 PST.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Stumbled across what's probably a first edition hardcover, ex-library, no dust jacket, not first printing, for an affordable price. And I usually read new books even if I've read them before.

Most of my coments are in the previous set of notes for this book, looks like. Here.

The interior illustrations by Clifford Geary are rather nice. High-contrast B&W, doesn't look like scratchboard. Although the one of the big rock crusher that came out to the farm shows it with an exhaust pipe spouting smoke into the air, and the text is quite explicit that it has an antenna for the wireless electrical power system.

I noticed this time that the deaths of the farm animals, chickens and bunnies and a cow, were more emotionally fraught than the death of the step-sister. Not sure that was what he intended, but things done with that sister as a generic girl tended to make her less important as a character.

Although I'm repeating myself, I'm still kind of croggled at a Heinlein hero named "Lermer". That's such a perfect Heinlein villain name.

The discovery of the starship hanger and the cache of abandoned high-tech tools from some previous inhabitants or visitors seems rather arbitrarily tacked on to the end. Heinlein was very attached to other intelligent species in these early works, while mostly keeping them off-stage and even historical.

This book repeats a mistake he made in The Rolling Stones (#2) that always bothers me—their radios can't punch through to Earth! But, here in the real world, Voyager 1 and 2, with 1970s technology, are still in communication with Earth.

For a long time that just puzzled me. Now...maybe, possibly, I know what changed. I mean, transistors were involed, but the big difference was using much higher frequencies (I think), and the reason that was important is that it made it possible to have much higher-gain antennas especially on the spacecraft end (where size and mass are so important). A better antenna is more cost-effective to increase range than more power nearly always.

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David Dyer-Bennet