Novella Review - Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein


Orphans of the Sky

by Robert A. Heinlein, 1963, 128 pages.
TLDR: 5 out of 5 for a ripping yarn with great characters.

A Short Review of a Short Book

Characters! This books is the first SF novel I've read in a while with great characters and it makes a refreshing change. The book follows young Hugh Hoyland as he embarks on the career of 'scientist' in this little world called 'The Ship' - a generation ship that has lost its way in space, though Hugh and his fellows don't really understand this.

One day, when exploring the upper decks, he's captured by the mutie, Bobo, and taken to meet Joe-Jim Gregory, a two-headed mutant and man of authority in the upper decks - a Long John Silver-like character who gives Hugh a re-education that will change his life.

Together, they try to unite the two societies on the ship (muties and crew) so they can set the ship right. But longstanding beliefs are not changed so easily, and this is no easy task.

Orphans of the Sky is a fun, short read and basically a setting-on-a-stick for a short RPG campaign. I would encourage all SF gaming fans to give it a read. 5 out if 5 for being full of good, usable ideas and a fun read to boot.



  • 1

    This is really two novellas, I read 'Universe' on its own and much prefer it with its unresolved by powerful ending, I think the sequel doesn't live up to that original novella. I'd rate 'Universe' on its own as one of the best of early Heinlein.

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