Bill Lerner and his father George, along with his new wife Molly and her daughter Peg, emigrate to Ganymede in this book by Robert Heinlein, to become farmers. Life is hard between learning the ecology of a new planet and disastrous earthquakes, but Bill, an eagle scout, always stands tall and faces up to life. Like most Heinlein books, this one is delightfully faithful to science (at the time of writing, anyhow) and full of realistic details - and since the details in this book are about Ganymede and new techniques of farming - things that touch the characters' lives in a meaningful way, rather than simply intersecting with them, it doesn't get as tedious as in other books when heinlein starts rambling off about ballistics and trajectories. This is one of my favourites. Not a classic, not canon, but a good read for a rainy day.

This one of my favorites of the Heinlein juveniles. The book really was ahead of its time in many ways. Even though the book is aimed at 10-12 year old boys, it still contains:

  • A fractured family (dead mom, stepmother, stepsister, etc) and the problems and emotions that ensue
  • Several nice little discussions about spaceship design that are still mostly relevant today (eg, how thick to make the skin of the ship)
  • Considerable detail about ecological considerations when terraforming.
  • A credible explaination of the economics of new colonies; how they are financed, where the profit comes from and the mistakes that can be made along the way (and how they can lead to problems back on the mother planet).
  • Lots of descriptions of Jupiter's system, and what it would look like from Ganymede including a prescient mention of Jupiter's "false rings", ie, rings that weren't visible from Earth.
  • Tons of detail about farming in an unearthly setting where there even the dirt has to be manufactured from the materials at hand.

It really is good. Heinlein always treated his readers with respect, and expected them to be smart. As a kid, this really made me feel good.

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