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Download Variable Star Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Variable Star Audiobook, by Robert A. Heinlein Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,557 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert A. Heinlein, Spider Robinson Narrator: Spider Robinson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455187249
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Upon his death in 1988, Robert A. Heinlein left a legacy of novels and short stories that almost single-handedly defined modern science fiction. But one of Heinlein’s masterpieces was never finished. In 1955, he began work on Variable Star, a powerful and passionate tale of two young lovers driven apart by pride, power, and the vastness of interstellar time and space. Then he set it aside to focus on other novellas.

The detailed outline and notes he created for this project lay forgotten for decades, only to be rediscovered almost a half-century later. Now the Heinlein estate has authorized award-winning author Spider Robinson to expand that outline into a full-length novel. The result is vintage Heinlein, faithful in style and spirit to the Grand Master’s original vision.

When Joel Johnston first met Jinny Hamilton, it seemed like a dream come true. And when she finally agreed to marry him, he felt like the luckiest man in the universe. There was just one small problem—he was broke. His only goal in life was to become a composer, and he knew it would take years before he was earning enough to support a family.

But Jinny wasn’t willing to wait, and when Joel asked her what they were going to do for money, she gave him a most unexpected answer. She told him that her name wasn’t really Jinny Hamilton—it was Jinny Conrad, and she was the granddaughter of Richard Conrad, the wealthiest man in the solar system.

Now that she was sure Joel loved her for more than just her wealth, she revealed her family’s plans for him: he would be groomed for a place in the vast Conrad empire and sire a dynasty to carry on the family business.

Most men would have jumped at the opportunity. But Joel Johnston wasn’t most men. To Jinny’s surprise, and even his own, he turned down her generous offer and then set off on the mother of all benders—and woke up on a colony ship heading out into space. There he found himself torn between regret over his rash decision and his determination to forget Jinny and make a life for himself among the stars.

He was on his way to succeeding when his plans—and the plans of billions of others—were shattered by a cosmic cataclysm so devastating it would take all of humanity’s strength and ingenuity just to survive.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Robert A. Heinlein apparently isn’t really dead. He was obviously standing at the side of Spider Robinson as he wrote this book, guiding his hand. Variable Star will delight the fans of the greatest science-fiction writer who ever lived.”

    John Varley, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author

  • “This book is a delight and I love you for doing it. I love you even more for doing it so damned well. Thank you.”

    David Crosby, member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash

  • “The trademark Heinlein quips, space-travel motifs…are all here in a faithful, if technologically updated, pastiche of the late master’s style and storytelling genius.”

    Booklist

  • “Robinson narrates as well, and a better choice couldn’t be made. He’s got a pleasant, inviting tone that makes his narration feel like a friend telling you the most incredible story about where he’s been the last few years. The novel is full of philosophical insight, exploding things, and space travel. It’s everything you could ask for in a visit from an old and dear friend. Spider Robinson is a top-notch narrator, and this audiobook is a whole lot of fun.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Cline | 2/16/2014

    " Miss the original "Juvenille" Heinlein's? Like "Time for the Stars"... Robinson has taken an incomplete manuscript and turned out a Good, Classic Heinlein for the Ages "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jan | 2/11/2014

    " I started reading this book expecting it to be like a Heinlein novel from the early days, since it was based on RAH's notes for a novel he never quite got around to writing. Not being familiar with Spider Robinson's work, I had no preconceived notions about his own writing style. I enjoyed the story and the characters. The style was a little more adult that I was expecting (use of language, in particular), but it wasn't overboard. At the end, I was left wanting more. I hope Spider continues with some more books in this slightly diverged Heinlein-like universe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 George | 2/10/2014

    " Another terrific SciFi yarn from Heinlein, even tho he's been dead. Spider Robinson does a good job of Heinlien's style of writing, w/o the social-political commentary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie Zalot | 2/9/2014

    " One of the best sci-fi I ve read in a long while. It had science and fiction instead of mostly fantasy. I loved it. It was very similar to Christopher Pike's The Starlight Crystal. It was an unusal ending but I won't spoil it. I give it five out of five. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bob | 2/6/2014

    " it had many of his trace elements in the story; poor orphan made mega rich, self control and disciple gained, and friends with all the important people for no other reason than he was a "nice guy". I did like how the author took away the wealth card by blowing up the Sol system. Interesting way to level the playing field and let people show their true colors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug Green | 2/6/2014

    " Not really by Heinlein, this was written by Spider Robinson from a short outline found in the Heinlein family after his death. But, don't despair. It reads like other Heinlein space cadet novels. A real treasure. My only criticism: there is and will only be one master, Robinson did a great job, but used more words to paint this tale. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mark Tier | 1/19/2014

    " According to Spider Robinson's intro, this was the first book Heinlein wrote and it was rejected by every publisher. It should have stayed that way. It preshadows some of his later books which tend towards lecturing. This one doesn't have the advantage of a decent story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abby | 12/17/2013

    " This was GREAT! I think I'm going to like Spider Robinson as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jannell | 11/9/2013

    " great book! Read by 1 of the 2 authors, who can also sing. captivating story with interesting plot twists and good science. really makes me want to pick up other juvenile Heinlein & Spider Robinson books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bobbi Taniguchi | 10/31/2013

    " Exciting ideas, yet told from a likable character who you want to win. Warmer than most sci/fi. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mel Nevergold | 10/30/2013

    " I can't tell where Robert left off and Spider began. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rondel | 7/7/2013

    " One of my favorite books, added bonus for music lovers! I've read this one 5 times! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George Riggs | 6/25/2013

    " I enjoyed this book. I miss Robert Heinlein's writing. He got me to enjoy reading as a young man. He had a sense of humor in his work. Spider Robinson did a good job of finishing Roberts work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 6/20/2013

    " Spider Robinson writes this based on RAH's notes. To escape Conrad of Conrad's power, Joel Johnston boards the interstellar flight to Brazil Novos. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 3/18/2013

    " SR did a good job. Reads like a 'juvenile' as SR said it appeared to him. Definitely an action SF read. For an RAH fan it was nostalgic a la Starship Troopers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 3/14/2013

    " It took a long time to get around to an abrupt ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 pjreads ♫ | 2/12/2013

    " Wish the book included RAH's outline and index card notes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 JoEllen | 11/6/2012

    " Really good story. Weak ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline | 9/9/2012

    " I really liked this book. I wasn't sure what I was going to think about it, being a big Heinlein fan, but it was very good. Lovely enough, it's a little less misogynistic than I would expect it to be had Heinlein written it. It was a highly enjoyable book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 3/23/2012

    " I love Heinlein, but this wasn't Heinlein. Still a great story, and worth reading, but Spider Robinson proves that no one writes like Heinlein. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Hubbs | 11/27/2011

    " One of my favorite sci-fi reads in recent memory. Lots of sci-fi, but still a great story, good ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bobbi | 4/21/2011

    " Exciting ideas, yet told from a likable character who you want to win. Warmer than most sci/fi. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Malachi | 2/19/2011

    " Wow, I listened to this as an audio book, only because it said Heinlein as the author. The bait-and-switch was bitterly disappointing. No Want It. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 2/7/2011

    " Old fashioned SF - in the best possible way. We're on a space ship, we have problems (personal and technical), we have issues, humanity's fate is at stake. Robinson has done a fine job of catching Heinlein's stance on the future - and also his narrative quirks. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rainbowjay2 | 1/23/2011

    " One of the best sci-fi I ve read in a long while. It had science and fiction instead of mostly fantasy. I loved it. It was very similar to Christopher Pike's The Starlight Crystal. It was an unusal ending but I won't spoil it. I give it five out of five. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rainbowjay2 | 1/21/2011

    " I must say one of the best sci-fi I've read in a while. Its the old fashion type were there is actually science and fiction instead of just fantasy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 12/28/2010

    " Realized again how much I love Robinson. Enough to go back and read some I missed. I'm not a die hard Heinlein fan but am an appreciator and I thoroughly enjoyed the witty homage and the references to the Heinlein canon. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 12/8/2010

    " While this book did have a great deal of Heinlein flair to it, I wasn't too enthused by the abruptness of the ending, nor some of the unnecessary social commentary, but that is just me. I did enjoy the story and flew through just like I used to do with Heinlein in the old days. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 wasmithee | 11/11/2010

    " Minus the sexual deviance, I found this to be a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sean | 10/28/2010

    " Quite astoundingly, this reads like pure heinlein. The pros, the style, the characters and the situation are all him. That can't have been easy (Robinson's afterword makes that clear) but the care, attention and love put into this work is sincerely and immediately obvious to any Heinlein fan. "

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About the Author
Author Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Anson Heinlein (1907–1988) was born in Missouri. He served five years in the US Navy and then attended graduate classes in mathematics and physics at UCLA. After a variety of jobs, he began to write science fiction in 1939. He is a four-time winner of the Hugo Award and a recipient of three Retro Hugos, and in 1975 he was named the first recipient of the Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. Several of his books were New York Times bestsellers, and his worldwide bestsellers have been translated into twenty-two languages. 

About the Narrator

Spider Robinson is renowned for his Callahan’s Place series of bestselling novels. With his late wife, Jeanne, he wrote the award-winning Stardance series. As an audiobook reader of his own and others’ work, he has won the Earphones Award and been a finalist for the Audie Awards. In 2008, he won the Robert A. Heinlein Award for Lifetime Excellence in Literature.