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The Rolling Stones

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Item description for The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein...

Though it doesn't seem likely for twins to have the same middle name, it's clear that Castor and Pollux Stone both have "Trouble" in that spot on their birth certificates. But anyone who's met their grandmother Hazel will know they came by it honestly.Join the Stone twins for a laugh-filled ride as they connive, cajole, and bamboozle their way across the Solar System in the company of the most high-spirited and hilarious family in all of science fiction. This light-hearted tale has some of Heinlein's sassiest dialogue. Oddly enough, it's also a true example of family values---for when you're a Stone, your family is your highest priority.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.3" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   May 1, 2005
Publisher   Full Cast Audio
ISBN  1933322314  
ISBN13  9781933322315  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robert A. Heinlein

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Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) is widely acknowledged to have been the single most important and influential author of science fiction in the twentieth century. He won science fiction's Hugo Award for Best Novel four times, and in addition, three of his novels were given Retrospective Hugos fifty years after publication. He won Science Fiction Writers of America's first Grand Master Award for his lifetime achievement.

Born in Butler, Missouri, Heinlein graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served as an officer in the navy for five years. He started writing to help pay off his mortgage, and his first story was published in "Astounding Science-Fiction" magazine in 1939. In 1947, he published a story in "The Saturday Evening Post," making him the first science-fiction writer to break into the mainstream market. Long involved in politics, Heinlein was deeply affected by events such as the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Cold War, and his fiction tended to convey strong social and political messages. His many influential novels include "Starship Troopers," "Stranger in a Strange Land," "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress," and "Time Enough for Love." At the time of his death in 1988, he was living in Carmel, California with his wife Virginia.

Robert A. Heinlein was born in 1907 and died in 1988.

Robert A. Heinlein has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Remembering Tomorrow

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Authors, A-Z > ( H ) > Audio CDs
2Books > Audio CDs > Children's Fiction > Fantasy
3Books > Audio CDs > Children's Fiction > General
4Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12 > General
5Books > Subjects > Children > Literature > Action & Adventure
6Books > Subjects > Children > Literature > Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery & Horror > Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
7Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Family Life > General
8Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Authors, A-Z > ( H ) > Heinlein, Robert A. > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Rolling Stones?

A Real Family Vacation  Aug 19, 2008
This was the sixth of the `juvenile' novels Heinlein wrote under contract for Scribners. Unlike most of the others in this group, there doesn't seem to be any overriding plot, rather it is more a set of incidents that happen to (or are caused by) the family Stone.

The Stone family would certainly qualify as `different' by most standards: grandmother Hazel Meade Stone, veteran of the lunar colony revolution (see The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress) who still packs a gun (even if it only dispenses gum); Roger, engineer father who has turned his talents to writing some rather lurid space operas; Edith the doctor, quiet and reserved, but the backbone of the whole family; Meade the 18 year old daughter who seems to mainly fill the function of mother's helper and object of derision by Castor and Pollux, the 17 year old twin mechanical geniuses who have dreams of becoming the shipping magnates of the solar system; and six year old Lowell, who when not beating Hazel at chess or reading minds is very much a pest.

The story is all about their adventures when they decide to pack up from their Lunar home and jaunt around the solar system in an older, carefully fixed up space ship that they buy from a used-rocket-ship dealer. Parts of their adventures are hilarious: the disaster of the Martian flat cats (the model for the Tribbles of Star Trek fame), the events surrounding the twins being arrested on Mars for tax evasion, the brief looks we are given at the `scripts' that Roger and later Hazel write to help fund their travels. And other parts are quite serious: Edith tackling a virulent disease on a nearby tourist ship and Hazel's problems with a jury-rigged rocket-scooter being used to navigate around the asteroid belt. The various family interactions are nicely shown, and the characterizations of Hazel, Castor and Pollux are full-bodied, making the reader really believe in this odd family.

The science presented here is real. Heinlein was always careful with details in this area, and in this one he presents the facts of orbital mechanics, delta-v requirements, and calculations of best possible orbital transfer trajectories. Each of these items has a direct effect on the story line, and Heinlein makes all this real-world stuff go down easily, an aspect of his works that has inspired countless youngsters to pursue careers in science and engineering. His speculations about various planetary conditions, however, while plausible at the time this was written (1952), have since been shown to not be true, so a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required of today's reader and allowance made for its age. Also causing some believability problems are the very limited `computers' shown, and the possible necessity of doing orbital calculations by hand. This is one area where Heinlein (along with almost everyone else) consistently underestimated not just what was possible with computers, but just how fast progress would proceed, making this book (and several others) seem positively ancient.

The lack of an overriding goal or direction for this book does relegate it to more of a pleasant diversion than a significant book, and there is less personal growth for its main protagonists Castor and Pollux than most of the other juveniles have. While humorous and entertaining, it's not the best of his juveniles.

---Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
One of his best "juveniles"  May 23, 2007
Heinlein practically invented the science fiction juvenile -- meaning written specifically for the young adult market -- but that doesn't mean they're any less fun than his "adult" novels. This one, one of his best know, features the Stone family of Luna: Father Roger an engineer and ex-mayor of Luna City (and the author of a continuing adventure serial for Earth), mother Edith an M.D., grandma Hazel a Founding Father of the Lunar Revolution (she always packs a gun, though nowadays it's just a place to carry her supply of cough drops), twin teenage boys Castor and Pollux who are mathematical prodigies and born mechanics as well as budding capitalists, and toddler Lowell who's a chess whiz and possibly a mentalist. Only the daughter, Meade, is "ordinary," being merely gorgeous and a fair singer. The twins want to head off Luna to make some money, one thing leads to another, and the whole family buys a used ship and takes off on a junket for Mars. Part of this yarn is adventure, part of it is sugar-coated science, and all of it is enjoyable, even the parts that are now half a century out-of-date. Not to mention that the Martian "flat cats" are the inspiration for "The Trouble with Tribbles"! Heinlein's prose tries much too hard in some of his novels, especially the later one, but this one bounces right along. Read and enjoy!
The Trouble With Trib--er--Martian Flat Cats  Mar 26, 2007
The Rolling Stones is one of 14 "juvenile" science fiction novels written by Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger In A Strange Land, The Puppet Masters, etc.) between 1947 (Rocket Ship Galileo) and 1962 (Podkayne Of Mars). Heinlein's juvenile novels are all exceptionally well-written, as entertaining and enlightening for adults as for teenagers, but appropriate for kids to read. Each novel (with a couple exceptions) deals with space exploration in settings that expand on the previous novels - first, the moon, then the planets, and later on, the stars.

This one follows the Stone family on a light adventure through the Solar system, from the Moon to Mars, the asteroid belt, and beyond. The family, starting out from their home on the moon, consists of teenage twins Castor and Pollux, their big sister, little brother, parents, and grandmother Hazel, one of Heinlein's most vividly entertaining characters. It's the twins who want to buy a ship and go into business trading between planets, but after trying to dissuade them their father decides to buy a bigger ship and take the whole family.

As in all of Heinlein's juveniles, the science was accurate when written and still more educational than most fiction. There's much excitement about space travel and astronomy presented with realistic, but interesting detail. It is one of the 3 or 4 more humorous books in the series (along with Star Beast and Have Space Suit, Will Travel), but the character-based humor is skillfully blended with the serious, suspenseful parts. One of their adventures was the basis for the most popular episode of Star Trek, "The Trouble With Tribbles." Here they're called flat cats, but have the same characteristics - and problems.

I count The Rolling Stones as one of my 20 favorite novels, but not at the very top of the list with some of Heinlein's others, Time For The Stars, Starman Jones, Space Cadet, and Rocketship Galileo, all more serious, and the first two still scientifically plausible. Any of these would be a great gift for a teenage reader, particularly if they're interested in science.
Rollicking Fun!  Feb 25, 2007
Heinlein was a master of the mundane. He took the mundane and spiced it with action and adventure, set in an imaginative future, creating marvelous tales that intrigued and involved his readers. The 1952 novel "The Rolling Stones" is Heinlein's tale of a family living on the moon that has decided the moon is getting a little too boring. The family consists of Dr. and Mr. Stone, Grandmother Stone, twins Castor and Pollux, Meade and baby Lowell.

Twins Castor and Pollux along with Grandmother Hazel are frequently the center of the novel; probably because the twins keep coming up with schemes that often work out in ways they did not expect. For example, the twins decide that bicycles would be a great item to sell on Mars. However, the twins were unaware that a strike in the asteroid belt had miners leaving Mars in droves, leaving an excess of bicycles. Then there is the flat cat Fuzzy Britches. Perhaps the writer of the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" had flat cats in mind.

Grandmother Hazel is hilarious. She is one of the strongest characters in this book. She carries a gun filled with candy, she speaks her mind, and has more education than everyone else in the story put together (at least, she implies that she does). Grandmother Hazel also makes the greatest sacrifices for her family, including giving up her oxygen to save Lowell's life.

The Stone family manages to find adventures at every turn. Just buying a space ship turns out to be a challenge. Then a medical emergency interrupts the trip to Mars. Dr. Stone leaves her family to help the passengers on the space liner, putting herself at risk. After leaving Mars for the asteroid belt, the family learns that Martian flat cats do two things really well: eat and make more flat cats! The asteroid belt is an adventure all by itself, made even more exciting when Grandmother Hazel and Lowell use a defective space scooter, only to end up where no one planned.

This book is one of Robert A. Heinlein's most amazing adventures. The action is consistent and imaginative. There is a good balance between the irresponsible male leads and the well educated and intelligent female characters. Heinlein frequently had strong female characters in his books, and he takes those characters to an extreme in this book with a barely concealed message that males are generally trouble makers and females have to use their heads to bail them out. However, it is all in good fun and makes this book enjoyable from beginning to end.

I recommend this book for every person who thinks of themselves as a fan of science fiction. This book is a winner from an author who won four Hugo awards during his life and the first Nebula Grand Master Award.

Gather No Moss  Jan 6, 2007
The Rolling Stones (1952) is the seventh SF novel in this Juvenile series. Some time in the future, after space travel is commonplace and most of the Solar System has been colonized, a pair of twins named Casper and Pollux decide to buy a spaceship and get even richer hauling freight to the Asteroids. But first they have to convince their father.

In this novel, Cas and Pol are very late for supper. When they broach the subject of buying a spaceship, Roger Stone is very much against the whole idea. His mother Hazel interjects a few choice remarks and the subject becomes a general topic of conversation. By the next morning, Roger has been convinced to look for a spaceship for family excursions.

With a little nudging from Hazel, her son quickly finds a passenger/cargo ship that is affordable and big enough for the whole family. It is love at first sight. Hazel negotiates the sale and Roger signs on the dotted line and affixes his thumbprint. By the time they return home, Edith has notified the leasing office that they will be moving out.

Roger draws up a manning list, with himself as skipper, Casper as first officer & pilot, Meade as second officer & assistant cook, Hazel as chief engineer, Pollux as assistant engineer & relief pilot, Edith as ship's surgeon & cook, and Lowell as supercargo. Roger is certain that, somehow, this list is just not going to work out. Naturally Roger doesn't publish the list since he is not yet ready to admit that the twins are going along.

With two registered engineers in the family, not to mention two budding mechanical geniuses, the ship's refurbishing and overhaul goes apace. Of course, the twins learn the hard way not to argue with the skipper; space law is quite definite about on the rights and responsibilities of the ship captain. Only after that episode are the twins officially allowed to joins the ship's company.

The ship's name is typical of decision making in the Stone family. Everybody agrees to drop the current name -- Cherub -- but no two members can agree on the new name. Hazel accidently comes up with the name when she defines moss as "what rolling stones don't gather" and her son proposes "Rolling Stone" as the new name. The twins object, but are outvoted.

The next crisis is over the destination. The twins want to know where they are going so that they can decide what cargo to take along. Everybody else also wants to know just out of curiosity. Captain Roger selects Mars as the first stop. After failing to fool their dad with the parts and ingredients for a still, the twins choose used bicycles as their cargo.

In this story, the Stones see the ruins and canals of Mars and then set out to the Asteroids. From there, they head out to Titan. After that, who knows where they went?

The Stone family are most unusual. They are all very intelligent and well educated, but the twins are not yet wise. They are all thinkers and readers, looking beyond the obvious. Moreover, they are all strong-willed. Lowell may be the youngest, but who knows what he will be like in another ten or fifteen years. Can he really read minds?

This story is science fiction's response to the ineffectual nonheros of the mainstream literature of the time. All of the author's protaganists are above average intelligence -- usually very much above -- and some of the characters are flatout geniuses. Moreover, these characters are often well educated and know how to use their knowledge.

Bet the author based these characters on people that he knew. Why, then, did the mainstream lose all hope of anyone being effectual? Why do readers nowadays complain that such characters are unrealistic?

Hazel Meade Stone is also a minor character in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966), where she does her part in turning back the invading soldiers from Earth. She earned both her Founding Fathers pension and the right to carry her sidearm in that book. One wonders on whom the author based her character?

Another reviewer calls the author a sexist. The author has Hazel point out the sexist bias that led her to leave her job as an engineer at the AEC and make a living dealing blackjack; her son even admits that she probably a better engineer than he is. Moreover, the author bills Edith Stone as a more than average medical doctor. So Meade is interested in boys, but Cas and Pol are also interested in girls; Meade just hasn't yet made up her mind what she wants to do. If you think that the Stones won't support her on any path she wishes to pursue, you better think again.

Heinlein is probably the least sexist of the Golden Age male authors, with several novels featuring female leads. Read Podkayne of Mars (1963) for a sympathetic novel about a competent and effective female character. Other such characters are featured in Friday (1982) and To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987). One suspects that Virginia Heinlein was the main inspiration for many of his female characters.

This may be the best of the Heinlein's Juveniles. It explicitly evokes the inquiring spirit and the restless nature of humanity in his works. It also conveys the close ties, perseverence and imagination of the pioneers that settled the new world and will settle the new worlds in space.

Highly recommended for Heinlein fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of new lands over the mountains or through the deeps of space.

-Arthur W. Jordin

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