• $16.99

Publisher Description

Upon his death in 1988, Robert A. Heinlein left a legacy of novels and short stories that almost single-handedly defined modern science fiction. But one of Heinlein’s masterpieces was never finished. In 1955, he began work on Variable Star, a powerful and passionate tale of two young lovers driven apart by pride, power, and the vastness of interstellar time and space. Then he set it aside to focus on other novellas.

The detailed outline and notes he created for this project lay forgotten for decades, only to be rediscovered almost a half-century later. Now the Heinlein estate has authorized award-winning author Spider Robinson to expand that outline into a full-length novel. The result is vintage Heinlein, faithful in style and spirit to the Grand Master’s original vision.

When Joel Johnston first met Jinny Hamilton, it seemed like a dream come true. And when she finally agreed to marry him, he felt like the luckiest man in the universe. There was just one small problem—he was broke. His only goal in life was to become a composer, and he knew it would take years before he was earning enough to support a family.

But Jinny wasn’t willing to wait, and when Joel asked her what they were going to do for money, she gave him a most unexpected answer. She told him that her name wasn’t really Jinny Hamilton—it was Jinny Conrad, and she was the granddaughter of Richard Conrad, the wealthiest man in the solar system.

Now that she was sure Joel loved her for more than just her wealth, she revealed her family’s plans for him: he would be groomed for a place in the vast Conrad empire and sire a dynasty to carry on the family business.

Most men would have jumped at the opportunity. But Joel Johnston wasn’t most men. To Jinny’s surprise, and even his own, he turned down her generous offer and then set off on the mother of all benders—and woke up on a colony ship heading out into space. There he found himself torn between regret over his rash decision and his determination to forget Jinny and make a life for himself among the stars.

He was on his way to succeeding when his plans—and the plans of billions of others—were shattered by a cosmic cataclysm so devastating it would take all of humanity’s strength and ingenuity just to survive.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Spider Robinson
hr min
January 1
Blackstone Audio

Customer Reviews

nirol ,

Spider Robinson nails a Heinlein novel waiting to be written

Spider Robinson wrote a book that Heinlein had had started using Robert Heinlein's unfinished outline and some notes. The plot and characters are Heinlein's, but the snap, puns, and broad array of life references are Spiders. I ran across this in audio form first and then read the book form. This is a classic story that covers the coming of age of Joel Johnson who meets in college his life's love. Then things go sideways; his love is Jinny Conrad turns out to be a member of "The Conrads". While Joel moves to extract himself, he heads into space to colonize another world. But that isn't the punch line....

I would read or listen to it from iTunes audio books or your local library. This is really an antique future book written today. Now figure that out. Using Heinlein's unique view of the future in terms of things like "real virtual reality", dilating doors, flying skate boards, and so on, you are drawn into a world not far beyond ours. Maybe the 50's point of view of living may be strange, but you will love it. Solid 4 stars, maybe 5 star...

Robnsn ,

Variable Star

I purchased the audiobook. Very well read ... the narrator Spider Robinson was excellent. The first portion of the book was very "Heinlein" very entertaining and kept my attention (the first 6 chapters), then we got to the rest of the book.............I'm sorry, but it was boring. the final hour say chapter 19 on was great.......brought it all together, but just seemed to be a wrap up as if the author just wanted to be finished. If Spider had shortened the middle half and expanded the final 4th, it would have been a much better story. I'd wish I had bought the book in hard copy as opposed to audio, as I could have skimmed the middle section. But I bought it to listen while I had a very long drive. Spider updated the story from the original outline and did a great job. Just too wordly in the middle with nothing really happening. I've been reading Heinlein for 50 years, so I had to check this one out. I suggest you buy in print so you can skim the middle section. Still a good story. Five and 1/2 hours of the 11 total was very good the rest............not so much.

Hogfather1 ,

I agree.

I agree with the previous review. In addition this is a fascinating blend of Heinlein and Spider with Spider as narrator, well worth the listen for any Sci-fi fan. It starts out all Heinlein young adult and then you get some Spider in the mix. In addition there is a short authors note/ homage to Robert by Spider.

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