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Heinlein, Robert A.
book-date: 1963
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Steve Hickman

Book= Fine
Dustjacket= Fine-

This 1994 SFBC edition is based on a 1993 Baen printing - with probably the best cover I've seen for this book (nicely capturing the character of Poddy Fries and her brother.) It has both the ending that Heinlein submitted and the ending that was printed in all previous editions for decades. I happen to prefer the first published (revised) version, but I like the idea that this edition presents both versions. This is the edition/version I would recommend for anyone who wants a nice, durable copy.

Science Fiction Book Club: (special issue, approx. January) 1994 hardcover (Baen trade paperback was 1993; original Putnam hardcover was 1963.) Cover by Stephen Hickman, 183 pages. Condition is Fine in a Fine (-) dustjacket: tight and square; age tanning is mild and uniform. Unclipped DJ is in excellent shape, except for a small bit of wear at the bottom of the (blank) back cover.) No stamps, marks or writing - a clean copy that looks new/unread.

The "juveniles" by Robert A. Heinlein raised the bar on quality of SF for young people - with carefully worked out backgrounds and technical detail, interesting characters and plots that make you want to come along for the ride. Heinlein's juveniles were in a class of their own, and major SF magazines were happy to serialize them when they had a chance. Podkayne of Mars - (1963), when Heinlein was working with Putnam for all of his books, instead of Scribners for the juveniles.

Both the 1994 SFBC edition (based on a 1993 Baen printing) and the 2006 Outward Bound omnibus appearance - have the ending that Heinlein submitted [Putnam requested a revision] and the original ending that was printed in all editions prior to 1993. I happen to prefer the first published (revised) version, but I like the idea that this edition presents both versions. Either of these I would recommend for anyone who wants a nice, durable copy.

Podkayne Fries, known as "Poddy" is 8 years old by Martian reckoning (which makes her about 16 in Earth years) and cute and sassy with blond hair, blue eyes and an IQ of 145. Her brother Clark (aged 11 in Earth years) is a brat with an IQ of 160 who invariably outwits his sister. Poddy gets her dream of a trip to Earth through a series of mishaps involving the sudden arrival of triplet siblings. She and Clark travel with their Uncle Tom, former senator in the Martian government, with a stopover on Venus thrown in since the Tricorn makes a 3-legged trip. They end up having adventures and involved in political intrigue as motives are revealed for pressuring the Martian representative to the Three-Planets Conference...

[Shorter? magazine serial was in IF: 3 parts - November 1962, plus January & March 1963.] I would rank this in the middle of Heinlein's juveniles, quality-wise: not as good as his best or as bad as the worst. I liked it, and have read it several times. Here's a quote from P. Shuyler Miller's review (from Analog June 1963) which reveals some of the good and bad points:
"... With the aid of a politician uncle they finagle a vacation trip to Earth via Venus, and are presently up to their ears in melodrama - but unfortunately melodrama without suspense. Podkayne is too self-conscious a heroine to make her view of things more than amusing, or the events in which she is involved of much importance. There is one exception, as there is bound to be in a Heinlein book: a chapter near the middle in which Podkayne, with matter-of-fact teenage competence, wades into the hullabaloo of a spaceship load of babies floating in free-fall. While she is involved in this, Podkayne is a real person - and the emblem of the host of young people of sixteen who do cope without getting into the papers. Her Mars-centered views elsewhere in the book are amusing, and the logically strange interplanetary society is painted with the infallible Heinlein virtuosity, but Podkayne does not belong in the company of the "rolling" Stones... "

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