Friday, May 20, 2011

Double Star (Book)

Brother, until you’ve been in politics you haven’t been alive….It’s rough and sometimes it’s dirty and it’s always hard work and tedious details. But it’s the only sport for grownups. All other games are for kids. All of ‘em.
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein is both timeless and a wonderful relic. Something about it just makes me smile, conjuring up in my mind some of the current retro trends in fashion. This winner of the 1956 Hugo Award--the third Hugo Award for a novel ever given out--is a short, simple book, full of slang from the 1950’s. Yet, the basic theme can easily be applied to our current time.

Briefly, a somewhat down on his luck actor sees an astronaut in a bar on Earth. The actor decides to make friends, thinking the astronaut might be a source of a little money. The astronaut offers the actor an unspecified acting gig. In time the reader finds out the acting gig is to impersonate a major political figure, who has been kidnapped, for a one-time political appearance on Mars. The plot goes in some interesting directions from there.

This is not a particularly deep book, but it has a meaningful message. It speaks to some of the social issues of the 1950’s as well as the basic disillusionment many of us feel toward politics. The description of humankind’s expansion into the solar system and the aliens from Mars is interesting because of the way it reflects on the 1950’s. While this isn’t a “must read,” it is definitely worth reading.

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