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”, traveling 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 rescued by her own people, who tell her that her highly critical mission was 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 New Zealand 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 a married couple, the Tormeys, and their extra-legal co-husband, Georges. Friday is their house-guest in British Canada (a country in the Balkanized North America) when a worldwide 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.

With British Canada under martial law, Friday kills a policeman who tries to arrest her and Georges as non-citizens to be interned. The two become fugitives, and Friday travels through the California Confederacy, the Lone Star Republic (where she parts from Georges), and the Chicago Imperium as she attempts to reach her headquarters. After several adventures, she abandons her attempt to make contact with her employer and then finds that the Tormeys are not at their home. An agent of her employer finally tracks her down. However, Friday's boss soon dies and the organization disbands, rendering her temporarily homeless and unemployed. Her boss has left her money in trust to be used only for the purpose of relocating to an off-Earth colony of her choosing.

Living in Las Vegas Free State, Friday is eventually recruited for a courier job which will incidentally allow her to visit and evaluate several of the colonies she is considering as future homes. However, on an interplanetary cruise ship for her mission, she learns that agents of her new employers are watching her, and that she is a virtual prisoner on the ship. Realizing that her mission is top secret and her employers misled her about it, she fears that they 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. She is helped and joined in her escape by two of the agents watching her, one of whom was among her torturers at the beginning of the story but is now repentant. After evading the ship's crew and the remaining agents, Friday and her friends settle in the colony to lead a quiet life as a group family.

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