Review of Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

October 30, 2011
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Tunnel in the Sky from Full Cast Audio Tunnel in the Sky
By Robert A. Heinlein; Read by David Baker and cast
10 hours 15 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Published: 2011
Themes: / Science Fiction / Survival / Space Travel / Society /

Publisher summary: When Rod Walker decides to take the final test for “Deacon” Matson’s interplanetary survival course, he knows he will be facing life-or-death situations on an unsettled planet. What he doesn’t expect is that something will go wrong with the “Tunnel in the Sky” and he and his fellow students will not be able to return to Terra.

Stranded on a hostile planet, Rod and his friends are faced with the challenge of carving a civilization out of the wilderness. They must deal with hunger, deprivation, and strangely savage beasts. But the bigger question is, can they survive each other?

This science fiction classic pits a savage world against the most untameable beast of all: the human animal. Chock full of high adventure, futuristic speculation, witty repartee, and profound philosophy, Tunnel in the Sky represents the greatest SF writer of all time at his peak.

Survival stories are frequent in YA literature, and Tunnel in the Sky was probably one of the first, originally published in 1955. It is referred to as one of “Heinlein’s Juveniles,” and is a great tale of adventure with a life-threatening scenario.   Rather than making a statement, as some of Heinlein’s works attempt to do, this book is just danger and kids using what they have learned to create a new society and survive on an alien planet.  Anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games or Ender’s Game would probably also enjoy this story, as it has similar themes.  The time period of its original publication is evident in a few moments, but not to the extent I am used to when reading Heinlein.

This was my first experience with Full Cast Audio, and I felt the story was greatly enhanced by being in audio form.  There is sometimes transition background music, but it isn’t distracting, and the voice actors do a good job.  The narrator manages not to blend in with the other adult characters, making it clear when the story is being told.  A few occasions of the word “Huh?” are quite jarring screamed into the listener’s ear, but I think I’ll blame Heinlein for that.  After all, the main character of Rod needs to be a little naive for the story to work, and he is, more than a little.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

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