What was your first impression? This is another book I read back in the not so dim mists of time. This was the first time I ever encountered the concept of mutations. A man with two heads. A woman with four arms. People killing mutated babies. This book creeped me out.
Plot summary? The stars are VERY far away. If faster than light travel is impossible then it could take a long time to get there. So this is the story of a generation ship. The people that start the voyage die on the trip and their children continue and their children and their children... But something goes wrong and the people forget. They no longer know what the ship really is. They think it's the whole universe.
What's the bottom line? Long ago I would have given this book 4 stars but now I would say it's only worth 3. But that may be because I am old and jaded and the ideas aren't new to me anymore. I bet plenty of preteens would love this book.
But this story does get across the idea of different people having very different paradigms of the universe and it is possible for the majority to be completely WRONG.
There was a mutiny on the generation ship and most of the officers were killed. So people were left on an out of control run away ship. They still used the word ship but they didn't know what it meant. So two feuding societies formed on board. The muties and the crew. The crew lived in the high gravity areas at the outer edge and the muties in the low gravity near the center where cannibalism was common. In many ways this is a very ugly story. But as always Heinlein presents the indominability of humanity and intelligence saving the day for some. Today the ending seems very implausible but it was much better when the world was mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful and Robert Heinlein whistled far and wee.
Sorry e.e.cummings. LOL
Our concepts of the universe changed in the first third of the last century but there are undoubtedly people today who haven't heard and don't understand the changes Before 1900 we did not know there were other galaxies. Before 1900 we did not know time could change with speed. The universe is strange and complex and not necessarily what we think. That is an idea that this book hammers home along with how difficult it is for most people to shift their mental gears.
But reality does not care.
What did you think of this review?