Book: Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein
Three of the four main characters in this book are young adults. A scientist hires them as teenagers because they have an interest in rockets and extensive math education. In his view they are perfect to build his rocket ship, and I really like that idea.
In an ideal world every single kid would be given the tools and resources to take his or her interests as far as he or she can. Think of how many geniuses there would be if we cultivated the scientific and worldly interests of each young person. Those geniuses are out there, but they aren’t being given a chance much of the time.
This factor makes it perfect young adult science fiction while also being enjoyable by sci-fi fans of any age.
When the main character goes to the boys’ parents to see if he can get their help in this project of going to moon, they speak of space flight:
One of the parents says “But the scheme is fantastic. I don’t say that space flight is fantastic; I expect that the engineering problems involved will someday be solved. But space flight is not a back-yard enterprise. When it comes it will be done by the air forces, or as a project of one of the big corporations, not by half-grown boys.”
The main character shakes his head and says “The government won’t do it. It would be laughed off the floor of Congress. As for the corporations, I have reason to be almost certain they won’t do it either.”
He goes on to say that the Russians could do it but that the United States’ “system” is better and he’d like his own country to do it.
I wish I could have seen Heinlein’s reaction when Congress really did do it!
Great story. A quick fun read even if I am not a “young adult” anymore…