Matt Dodson reports to the Colorado base of the Interplanetary Patrol, a new cadet with a fierce desire to become a member of the Patrol, which for over a century has kept the peace throughout the Solar System. Matt and fellow cadets soon leave the Earth base for training on Terra Station, where they learn, among other things, astrogation, survival skills, alien languages and how to maneuver in outer space. Matt loves the Patrol and finds, upon returning for a visit to his family in Iowa, that his real "home" is no longer on Earth.
When a call for help comes from a ship stranded on Venus, Matt is among the cadets chosen to accompany the Patrol Captain on this rescue mission. What they discover after they land on Venus is not what they expected… The cadets and their captain are taken prisoner, and the "rescue" signal came from Matt's old nemesis. Matt and his fellow cadets must learn to negotiate with the Venusians after their Captain is seriously injured. What seemed like a short and exciting adventure to another planet becomes a grueling experience, and the cadets' diplomatic as well as engineering skills and ingenuity are sorely tested.
Robert A. Heinlein's wit and exuberance are on full display here. Published in 1948, long before other writers even imagined cellphones or hydraulic mattresses (waterbeds), readers can enjoy the lively dialog and inventiveness that are hallmarks of Heinlein's work.
"Not only America's premier writer of speculative fiction, but the greatest writer of such fiction in the world … [Heinlein] remains today as a sort of trademark for all that is finest in American imaginative fiction."
- Stephen King
"There is no other writer whose work has exhilarated me as often and to such an extent as Heinlein."
- Dean Koontz
"One of the most influential writers in American Literature."
- The New York Times Book Review
"Heinlein wears imagination as though it were his private suit of clothes."
- The New York Times
"Heinlein… has the ability to see technologies just around the bend. That, combined with his outstanding skill as a writer and engineer-inventor, produces books that are often years ahead of their time."
- The Philadelphia Inquirer
"One of the grand masters of science fiction."
- The Wall Street Journal
Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988), often called the Science Fiction Grand Master, was the author of such ground-breaking novels as STARSHIP TROOPERS, RED PLANET, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND and THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS. He is generally considered the greatest and most influential science fiction writer of the twentieth century. In addition to being a bestselling author, Heinlein's novels won 4 Hugo awards, 3 "retro Hugo" awards, and the first "Grand Master Award" from the Science Fiction Writers of America.