Literary Matters: Heinlein and Hot Streaks

So, Heinlein’s first four juveniles were a nice warm-up. Rocket Ship Galileo was just fine for a first effort, while Farmer in the Sky is, even now, one of my all-time Heinlein favourites. Not just a favourite from amongst his juveniles, mind you. A favourite, period. What did he do next? A little something called Between Planets. This was in turn followed by two more solid titles: The Rolllings Stones and Starman Jones, both of which I’ve previously reviewed here.

There’s a little ditty in differential calculus called the mean value theorem which might seem, analogously, to apply here. Basically, you’re likely to reason that at this stage in his writing career, Heinlein was on a heck of a streak and any points you might interpolate between known quantities must be of a similar magnitude. In other words, Between Planets must be a pretty solid novel. And that’s a reasonable supposition, if you haven’t read it yet. Let’s discuss.

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