Spider Robinson and Ben Bova win the Heinlein Award

In 2006, Tor Books published Variable Star, a book written by Spider Robinson from a set of notes left by science fiction great Robert A Heinlein. Now, Spider Robinson sez, "This year’s winners of the Heinlein Award are Ben Bova.....and me. I am startled, thrilled, and deeply moved by the news. I feel like I can finally exhale the last of a breath I’ve been holding for four years, since I agreed to write Variable Star in 2004. Reader reaction and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, but this is my first sign that even old pros who knew Robert feel I didn’t screw it up too badly. That means a lot to me. I really wish I could have been there to thank them all."

Congrats, Spider! Variable Star


  1. When I was young, just entering my teens, I wasn’t very interested in reading. Duh.
    Then my brother-in-law gave to me for my birthday a small collection of paperbacks. All were Heinlein, and at first I was like “gee thanks a lot”. However he encouraged me to read them, and in what order to read them in. He told me to start out with (Starship Troopers) so I did, and I was hooked.
    After that I voracious about reading. I read every Heinlein novel I could get my hands on, and then I explored on to other Sci-Fi novelists. None of them have ever reached the pinnacle that is Heinlein, and I’m happy with that. There always needs to be a standard for doing well in one’s craft, and there should always be that pinnacle that we aspire to summit.

  2. I read this book. This is definitely NOT Heinlein. I was somewhat disappointed because I really wanted to read Heinlein. It has some of Heinlein’s feel to it, but it is strongest really only at the beginning. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good book, because it really was. And I can imagine how difficult a project it must have been, so my respect goes out to Spider.

  3. It was a book done with spirit in mind, so it worked for me as that. More of an Homage. I love that cover art.

  4. Takuan, have you read Stross’s Saturn’s Children? I think he can tune into Heinlein’s spirit–with some sort of occult machine, no doubt.

  5. Takuan, don’t buy it, I have it as a file to share with you! A young man in Norway that I know was kind enough to scan it. You probably would have just signed it out of the library anyway. Besides, Stross makes too much money! Just kidding. I bought it. Because I want to help kill more trees. I want more CO2 in the air. More papper equals more CO2. One more thing to feel guilty about. Maybe I’ll go burn something at my alter of American Indulgence. We buy too many books in this country. We are Greedy, greedy people! Don’t the publishers love us for being greedy about books? More book greed is good for publishers. And for people who own stock in companies that own publishing houses.

  6. I thought it outstanding. Spider Robinson did a great job. He did put some elements of his somewhat mystical stuff in there, but they meshed flawlessly with Heinlein’s universe and paid attention to the time scale when the outline was written (IE: the Psychic stuff, which Heinlein used in stories in the day the outline was written, so fair game, and call backs to the Heinlein timeline of Religious take over in the states).

    The ending was classic Heinlein, even the bits of ‘math’–classic..and I’m very happy as reader I’ve had the pleasure of reading it, fantastic. He pulled it all together in a great send off. Well done!

  7. I’m both a Spider Robinson fan and a RAH fan, so I should be easily pleased by it. I enjoyed Red Thunder by John Varley, an homage to the “Heinlein juvenile” by another fan and great writer.

Comments are closed.