Variable Star

For the astronomical object, see Variable star.
Variable Star
AuthorRobert A. Heinlein & Spider Robinson
Cover artistStephan Martinière
CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherTor Books
Publication date
September 19, 2006
Media typePrint (hardcover)
813/.54 22
LC ClassPS3515.E288 V37 2006

Variable Star is a 2006 science fiction novel by American author Spider Robinson, based on the surviving seven pages of an eight-page 1955 novel outline by the late Robert A. Heinlein. The book is set in a divergent offshoot of Heinlein's Future History and contains many references to works by Heinlein and other authors. It describes the coming of age of a young musician who signs on to the crew of a starship as a way of escaping from a failed romance. Robinson posted a note on his website in 2009 noting that his agent had sold a trilogy of sequels based on the novel and its characters.

From Heinlein to Robinson

Robinson states in an appendix to the book that he was working from an outline that lacked an ending. He was told by his publisher that they wanted him to write in his own style, not Heinlein's, and the abundance of profanity and puns makes it clear that this is not a Heinlein novel[citation needed]. The outline is almost exactly contemporaneous with Heinlein's juvenile novel Time for the Stars[citation needed], and shares many of its details, such as the use of faster-than-light telepathic communication between twins[citation needed]. Although Heinlein apparently wrote the outline for Variable Star to be used, like Time for the Stars, as part of his Scribner's juvenile series, Robinson's realization deals with a variety of topics, including drugs and sexuality, that would have been completely unacceptable for a juvenile novel in 1955[citation needed]. Heinlein's original title for Variable Star was The Stars are a Clock.

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