Friday (novel)

Friday (Heinlein novel - 1982 edition, cover art).jpg
First Edition cover of Friday
AuthorRobert A. Heinlein
Cover artistRichard Powers
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherHolt, Rinehart and Winston
Publication date
April 1982
Media typePrint (Hardback and Paperback)
ISBN0-03-061516-X (first edition, hardback)
813/.54 19
LC ClassPS3515.E288 F77 1982

Friday is a 1982 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It is the story of a female "artificial person", the eponymous Friday, genetically engineered to be stronger, faster, smarter, and generally better than normal humans. Artificial humans are widely resented, and much of the story deals with Friday's struggle both against prejudice and to conceal her enhanced attributes from other humans. The story is set in a Balkanized 21st century, in which the nations of the North American continent have been split up into a number of smaller states.

Friday was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel[1] and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983.[2]

Plot summary

The book's narrator is Friday Jones (often going under cover name Marjorie Baldwin and using both surnames somewhat interchangeably). Friday is a genetically engineered human (known as an Artificial Person or AP) in many ways mentally and physically superior to ordinary humans. There is great prejudice against APs so Friday conceals her status.

Employed as a highly self-sufficient “combat courier in a quasi-military organization”, travelling across the globe and to some of the near-Earth space colonies. Friday is returning from her latest mission when she is captured, tortured, raped and interrogated by an enemy group. She is then rescued by her own people, who tell her that her highly critical mission was in fact successful as her captors failed to find the data she was carrying in her body.

After recovering from the ordeal, Friday takes a vacation to visit her group family, composed of several husbands and wives and many children. In an argument over racism, Friday reveals to her family that she is an AP, and they promptly divorce her.

On the way back to her company's headquarters, she meets and befriends the wealthy Tormey family. Friday is their house-guest when a worldwide civil emergency known as Red Thursday occurs. Various groups claim credit for the assassinations and sabotage, but Friday later learns that it is the result of a struggle between rival factions within the ultra-powerful Shipstone corporation. Her last mission was to carry information about the attacks before they occurred.

Facing detention under martial law, Friday kills a policeman who attempts to arrest her and Georges (a member of the Tormey family) as non-citizens. The two become fugitives, traveling across the various countries of a Balkanized North America as she attempts to return to her headquarters. After several adventures, she succeeds in rejoining her company, leaving Georges to rejoin his family. However, Friday's boss soon dies and the organization disbands, rendering her temporarily homeless and unemployed. She learns that her boss left her money in trust, to be used only for the purpose of relocating to an off-Earth colony of her choosing.

Friday eventually finds another courier job which will incidentally allow her to visit and evaluate several of the colonies she wishes to explore. However, after embarking on an interplanetary cruise ship for her mission, she learns that agents of her employers are watching her constantly, and that she is a virtual prisoner on the ship. Realizing the top-secret nature of her mission, she fears that her employers will kill her when it is over. While the ship is in orbit at a rustic colony world, she escapes with the Tormeys, who have been on the run since the policeman's death and happened to be fleeing Earth on the same ship. After evading the ship's authorities, they all join the colony and settle down to lead a quiet life.

Other Languages
français: Vendredi (roman)
Bahasa Indonesia: Friday (novel)
русский: Фрайди
українська: Фрайді (роман)