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Encyclopedia > Citizen of the Galaxy
Cover: 1987 Del Rey paperback
Cover: 1987 Del Rey paperback

Citizen of the Galaxy is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1957. Influenced by Rudyard Kipling's Kim, it is arguably the finest of Heinlein's novels for young adults. Like many of Heinlein's novels, it is influenced by the author's background in and nostalgia for the U.S. Navy, which he had to leave as a young officer due to ill health. Image File history File links Citizen_of_the_galaxy_book_cover. ... Image File history File links Citizen_of_the_galaxy_book_cover. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe; title page of 1719 newspaper edition A novel (from French nouvelle, new) is an extended fictional narrative in prose. ... Heinlein autographing at the 1976 Worldcon Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most influential and controversial authors of hard science fiction. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Rudyard Kipling Joseph Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 – January 18, 1936) was a British author and poet, born in India. ... Kim is a spy novel and picaresque novel, written by Rudyard Kipling and first published in 1901. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations around the globe. ...


Synopsis

Thorby is a young, defiant slave boy on a strange planet. He is bought by a beggar, Baslim the Cripple, for a trivial amount of money as a jest of a rich buyer and taken to the beggar's underground hideout -- which is surprisingly well-furnished.


The old man treats Thorby more like a foster child than a slave, drilling him in mathematics, history and several languages including Galacta and System English. He sends him on errands all around the planet's capital city, passing messages to starship captains and helping keep track of the comings and goings of ships involved in the slave trade. Thorby eventually realizes that his new master is more than a beggar — he's a spy!


One day, coming back from an errand gone awry, Thorby finds out that the old man had been captured in a police raid. He foiled his captors though, taking poison before he could be tortured for what he knew. His head, impaled on a pike by the authorities, still has a defiant grin.


Once he gets over his shock, Thorby seeks the help of an innkeeper, the only person he might be able to trust; all of his "friends" would turn him in for the reward. Baslim had made Thorby memorize a contingency plan in case something happened to him. The innkeeper disguises herself as a rich dowager and smuggles Thorby into the spaceport. A friendly starship captain hides Thorby in his cargo, which is then loaded aboard the ship of a Free Trader. The Free Traders owed a great debt to Baslim for once rescuing one of their ships which had been captured by slavers.


Thorby is adopted by the captain of the trader ship (thereby gaining considerable social status) and adjusts to the insular, clannish, matriarchal culture of the traders, just as he has adjusted to everything else in his turbulent life. The advanced education provided by Baslim and the fast reflexes of youth make him an ideal "fire controlman," someone who protects the ship in the vulnerable period approaching and leaving a planet. In fact, he manages to destroy an attacking pirate ship by hitting it with a nuclear missile. His superior, a young woman named Mata, begins to eye him as suitable husband material. But Thorby is uprooted once more. A matriarchy is a tradition (and by extension a form of government) in which community power lies with the eldest mother of a community. ...


The captain obeys Baslim's last wish, by turning the boy over to the authorities to find his family. In order to implement a search (without paying a prohibitive amount of money), it is found convenient to enlist Thorby in the military service of the Earth-based space republic which is the dominant power in the galaxy. The military, performing a routine background check, would end up paying for everything.


Ultimately, he is identified as the main, long-lost heir to a vast business empire. He returns to Earth and is released from the Guard. Earth is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ...


Thorby is now Thor Bradly Rudbek of Rudbek at Rudbek, a business tycoon who owns the city of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as a personal fiefdom. However, still being young, the business empire he has inherited is actually controlled by a relative, "Uncle" John Weemsby. "Uncle John" encourages his daughter, Leda, to chastely romance Thorby as he learns to enjoy his vast wealth and status. However, he begins to dig into the mystery of his parents' (and his) disappearance some two decades earlier, only to discover that their ship was taken by slavers as his father investigated the business empire on the frontier. It is implied (but never openly stated) that the ship was destroyed by slavers to prevent Thorby's father from discovering the truth about his business empire's connections with slavers.


Thor engineers the business equivalent of a palace coup and takes full control of the family business, driving "Uncle John" out of power. Once in control, he makes the conscious decision to stay in office, and abandons his longstanding dream of returning to the Guard. However, he does so with the knowledge that "a man cannot run away from a job -- not when it's his."


Editions

  • January 1, 1957, Charles Scribner's Sons, hardcover, ISBN 0684126915
  • September 1, 1977, Scribner, board book, ISBN 0684153645
  • June 12, 1978, Del Rey, paperback, ISBN 0345260740
  • July 12, 1984, Del Rey, paperback, ISBN 0345289110
  • July 12, 1984, Del Rey, paperback, ISBN 0345320980
  • March 31, 1987, Atheneum, hardcover, 302 pages, ISBN 068418818X
  • June 1987, Ballantine Books, paperback, ISBN 9994061267
  • June 12, 1987, Del Rey, paperback reissue edition, 256 pages, ISBN 0345342445
  • October 1, 1999, Sagebrush, library binding, ISBN 0613034384
  • December 1, 2004, Blackstone Audiobooks, ISBN 0786184639
  • December 1, 2004, Blackstone Audiobooks, cassette audiobook, ISBN 0786127449
  • December 1, 2004, Blackstone Audiobooks, cassette audiobook, ISBN 0786128321
  • December 1, 2004, Blackstone Audiobooks, CD audiobook, ISBN 0786184795
  • December 1, 2004, Blackstone Audiobooks, CD audiobook, ISBN 0786183810
  • May 17, 2005, Pocket, paperback, 288 pages, ISBN 1416505520


January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... September 1 is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years). ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... June 12 is the 163rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (164th in leap years), with 202 days remaining. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 31 is the 90th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (91st in Leap years), with 275 days remaining. ... 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... December 1 is the 335th (in leap years the 336th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... May 17 is the 137th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (138th in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Robert A. Heinlein Novels Robert A. Heinlein in 1929

Beyond This Horizon (1942) | Rocket Ship Galileo (1947) | Space Cadet (1948) | Red Planet (1949) | Sixth Column (also known as The Day After Tomorrow) (1949) | Farmer in the Sky (1950) Between Planets (1951) | The Puppet Masters (1951) | The Rolling Stones (1952) | Starman Jones (1953) | The Star Beast (1954) | Tunnel in the Sky (1955) | Variable Star (1955) Double Star (1956) | Time for the Stars (1956) | Citizen of the Galaxy (1957) | The Door into Summer (1957) | Have Space Suit—Will Travel (1958) | Methuselah's Children (1958) | Starship Troopers (1959) | Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) | Podkayne of Mars (1963) | Glory Road (1963) | Farnham's Freehold (1965) | The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966) I Will Fear No Evil (1970) | Time Enough for Love (1973) | The Number of the Beast (1980) | Friday (1982) | Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984) | The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985) To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987) Heinlein autographing at the 1976 Worldcon Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was one of the most influential and controversial authors of hard science fiction. ... 1929 Naval Academy yearbook photo of Robert Anson Heinlein (Public domain as US Government publication) File links The following pages link to this file: Robert A. Heinlein Categories: U.S. Navy images ... Beyond This Horizon is a 1942 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. ... Rocket Ship Galileo is a science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein in which boys build a rocket ship in their backyard and take it to the moon. ... Space Cadet is a 1948 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about Matt Dodson, who joins the Space Patrol that keeps the peace in the solar system. ... Red Planet is a 1949 science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein about students at boarding school on Mars. ... Sixth Column, also published under the title The Day After Tomorrow, is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, set in a United States that has been conquered by a foreign invader. ... Farmer In The Sky is a 1950 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about a boy who emigrates to Jupiters moon Ganymede, which is in the process of being terraformed, and who creates a farm out of gravel. ... Between Planets is a 1951 science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein. ... In 1951, Robert A. Heinlein published a science fiction novel, The Puppet Masters, in which American secret agents battle parasitic invaders from outer space. ... The Rolling Stones (also published under the name Space Family Stone in the United Kingdom) is a 1952 science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein June 1, 1952, Atheneum, library binding, ISBN 0684923033 June 13, 1985, Del Rey, paperback reissue edition, 256 pages, ISBN 034532451X May 12, 1977, Del Rey, paperback... Starman Jones is a 1953 science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein about a farm boy with an eidetic memory. ... The Star Beast is a 1954 science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein about a high school senior who discovers that his late fathers extra-terrestrial pet is more than it appears to be. ... Tunnel in the Sky is a science fiction book written by Robert Heinlein and published in 1955. ... In 2004, Spider Robinson pronounced himself overjoyed to begin working on a lengthy 1955 novel outline by the late Robert A. Heinlein in order to expand it into a novel, thus making it a collaborative effort. ... Double Star is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. ... Time for the Stars is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1956. ... The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, published in 1957. ... title a rip off of have gun, will travel Have Space Suit—Will Travel is a juvenile science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1958. ... Methuselahs Children is a 1941 science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein. ... Starship Troopers is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1959. ... Stranger in A Strange Land Cover Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. ... Podkayne of Mars is a science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein published in 1963, about a teenage girl named Podkayne and her little brother, an antisocial genius, who leave their home on Mars to take a trip on a spaceliner to see Venus and Earth, accompanied by their uncle. ... Glory Road is a fantasy novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1963. ... Farnhams Freehold is a science fiction tale set in the near future by Robert Heinlein. ... The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress cover The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein about a lunar penal colonys revolt against rule from Earth. ... I Will Fear No Evil is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1970. ... Time Enough for Love is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1973. ... Book cover The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980 (ISBN 0-44-913070-3). ... Friday is a 1982 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. ... Job: A Comedy of Justice is a novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1984. ... Book cover The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1985. ... To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1987. ...


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