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The Star Beast
By Robert A. Heinlein
Read by David Baker and the Full Cast Family

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The Star Beast

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The Star Beast
By Robert A. Heinlein
Read by David Baker and the Full Cast Family
Full Cast Audio, (2007)
An Unabridged Audio Recording on 8 CDs.
ISBN: 978-1-933322-73-5
Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Herbert White - April 6, 2007

The Star Beast, by Robert A. Heinlein, is Heinlein at his best when it comes to his young adult stories. In this story we find that John Thomas Stuart XI has a lot of problems on his young mind, from if he is going to college to how he is going to keep his relationship going with his girlfriend if she goes off to a different school, and other, normal, teenage problems. However, what is prying most heartily on John Thomas' mind is that he doesn't know what to do about his pet, Lummox. If you've ever had a dog that has chewed up a slipper or your favorite book, or who has gotten into your neighbor's flowerbed, you might begin to understand some of John Thomas' problems - just a slightly bigger scale. For you see, Lummox is an 'alien' about the size of a car (which he's been known to eat at times) with a knack for getting into trouble. Lummox was brought to Earth by John Thomas' grandfather, and he has lived with his human neighbors for about a hundred years.

His latest misadventure, however, has brought Lummox to the attention of the government, which doesn't have Lummox's best interests in mind. So it falls upon John Thomas and his girlfriend Betty to extricate Lummox from his newest problem, and seeing that the department also has it in for John Thomas, to keep him out of trouble as well. There is also a contingent of aliens, who want to get their hand's on Lummox, to spice things up.

The Star Beast is a little different from some of Heinlein's other young adult books. For starters, Betty is a main character. In most of Heinlein's other books, if there was even a girl in the book, she'd just be there as a supporting character. As well, this is a science fiction book without very much science. Rather it is more a story about relationships and interstellar politics, and of course it is a story with a lot of action and dangerous situations that John Thomas, Betty, and Lummox must extricate themselves from. For the most part, this is a funny book, although there are a few darker moments.

Robert A. Heinlein is one of my favorite authors. While I greatly enjoy his 'grown up' books, I have to confess that I prefer his young adult, adventure books. The Star Beast is one such book and this Full Cast Audio production of the The Star Beast transforms an already fantastic novel into an incredible listening experience! In this audio production, the novel is read by a full cast of actors and it includes a musical score and sound effects. All in all, a great book to listen to, and one that will delight both young and old!

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