I’ve been reading a lot more science fiction lately. My goal is to read more of the “classics” of Science Fiction.
Last month, I read Dune for the first time and was blown away (I uploaded a review of Dune on YouTube). After Dune, and two of its sequels, I decided to seek out more great science fiction books that I may have been overlooking.
I just finished The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein.
Robert A. Heinlein frustrates me. In an interview about the book he said after he had the idea, it took him only 13 days to write The Door Into Summer. Imagine the focus he had to churn out a “classic” in only 13 days. It’s frustrating because I want to be creative but I struggle to produce anything of substance in only 13 days.
The book is a short read. It is Robert Heinlein’s time travel book. It was published in 1956 but is set in the 1970s and 2000s. It’s always interesting to read other’s predictions of the future. In writing this story Heinlein envisioned a world both 15 and 50 years in the future. The big changes in these future worlds were robots that do all of the housework. This robot revolution freed the housewife from a life of chores.
Dan Davis is the inventor behind these inventions and is the story’s protagonist. The story begins with him being swindled by his business partner and fiancée. He decides life in the future might be better so he decides to use the “cold sleep,” which is a service that allows you to be frozen and woken up in a future year of your choice. This is the basic plot setup of the book.
The pacing is just right for this type of book. This was a light and enjoyable science fiction book. Now is this a “classic” of science fiction? I have seen this book on a few best-of lists. It’s hard for me to decide. Again, it was very enjoyable, and it’s hard for me to point at anything I didn’t like. However, when I compare it to even other Heinlein books it seems to fall short. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress is still one of my all-time favorite science fiction books. Even Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land feels like more of a “classic” to me (although I will say I liked The Door Into Summer better). These “classics” are bigger in scope, and maybe that’s the charm of The Door Into Summer – it’s simple but flawless. So with that, I will declare The Door Into Summer a “classic” of science fiction (it is my website).
One more thing to discuss: Does the book feel dated? We are dealing with a 64-year-old book here, so there are dated references. Heinlein’s imagined future is void of computers and the Internet. I’m a huge proponent of reading older books (see my article on The Lindy Effect). We can’t expect older books to match our worldview, rather we should let them expand our own. That being said, I didn’t find this 1950s science fiction book to feel dated. Any old references or misses in the prediction department don’t distract from the story or success of this book.
So in conclusion, I had a lot of fun with this book. It was a very light and easy read. If you are looking for a “classic” of science fiction you should check out The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein.
Another science fiction book I read recently was Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves. It is another “classic” of science fiction. You can read what I thought about it here.
If you are interested in reading and purchasing The Door Into Summer you can purchase it from Amazon here.
I also reviewed this book on YouTube:
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