Book: Space Cadet by Robert A. Heinlein
Like many stories, this one was a little dry at the beginning put picked up in the middle and was pretty action-packed toward the end. As a young adult novella, Space Cadet is full of interesting futuristic ideas as viewed from 1948 when it was first published.
Heinlein gives just the right amount of wonk and tech-talk to satisfy the young scientifically aspiring mind, but not too much to overwhelm him (or her!).
The story is essentially the coming of age of several young space cadets who eventually have an adventure on the inhabited planet of Venus.
Heinlein had to make up some stuff here, plain and simple. The earth had never been viewed from space by humans so he has to fill in the blanks:
“It was high noon over the Atlantic. Beyond it, bright in the afternoon sunlight, hecould make out the British Isles, Spain and the brassy Sahara. The browns and greens of land were in great contrast to the deep purple of the ocean. In still greater contrast stood the white dazzle of cloud. As his eye approached the distant, rounded horizon the details softened, giving a strong effect of stereo, of depth, of three-dimensional globularness – the world indeed was round! … Round and green and beautiful!”
Seeing the roundness of Earth from space, through a spaceship window, would certainly be a thrill. Heinlein intones it with wonder. More on this book in the next post.