Tunnel in the Sky

  • by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by David Baker
  • 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When Rod Walker decides to take the final test for "Deacon" Matson's interplanetary survival course, he knows he will be facing life-or-death situations on an unsettled planet. What he doesn't expect is that something will go wrong with the "Tunnel in the Sky" and he and his fellow students will not be able to return to Terra. Stranded on a hostile planet, Rod and his friends are faced wit the challenge of carving a civilization out of the wilderness. They must deal with hunger, deprivation, and strangely savage beasts. But the bigger question is, can they survive each other? This science fiction classic pits a savage world against the most untamable beast of all: the human animal. Chock full of high adventure, futuristic speculation, witty repartee, and profound philosophy, Tunnel in the Sky represents the greatest SF writer of all time at the peak of his powers.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Lost Book from Childhood

Any additional comments?

I remember reading this book as a child. The remembered some of the story. I had forgotten the title and spend several years trying to find the book again. So I was really pleased to find it again. It is still great story and very good narration and casting.

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- M E Taylor

Stellar Performance of a Sci-Fi Classic

What did you like most about Tunnel in the Sky?

The great thing about any FCA production is found in the name of the company itself - each audiobook is recorded with a full cast voicing individual characters. Even while retaining its novelized format, each character's dialogue (and written, internal, iand memorial monologues) is given its own distinct sound by a different actor, which really lends to the overall experience. (My only critique - and this is purely a matter of taste - falls on the main character, who I didn't feel had the right voice, but he was easy and quick to get used to hearing.)

I'm a long time fan of Heinlein, and though this is not what I would consider his best work, it still shines as one of the finest pieces of juvenile fictional literature available today. It is not without its flaws and need for critiques, especially given some of its outdated language and notions, but these really only serve to highlight what kind of groundbreaking author Heinlein really was.

[POSSIBLE SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON]

For example, from a feminist perspective, the number of named and central and significant peripheral women of the story more or less balance with the males. It is my opinion that they are well written, well rounded and filled out as characters, certainly no more or less than their male counterparts, and definitely more so than much of the mainstream works of the genre even today, much less going back to the time period in which it was written (1950's America).

The story manages to make male and female characters alike well diversified, challenging one-track ideas of masculinity and femininity, while acknowledging their existence. (For example, while there is plenty of machismo and emphasis on strength and aggression in the male characters, the same is also true of the women, and this is in keeping with the theme of the plot where a wilderness survival test is the primary setting. However, the main character himself is not disposed toward violence or domination at all, and spends a good portion of the story playing second fiddle to a much less competent male. One female spends a significant period of time playing an androgynous masculine character until her point is proved and she can drop her superficial gender play, at which point her female strength is emphasized even more. Most of the characters - male and female alike - end up married by the end of the book. These partnerships are formed for a number of different reasons, however, and do not equate to what I would call one-sided power structures, nor do they form just because "they fell in love and/or wanted to have sex."

It is significant that although romantic and sexual relationships are acknowledged (and the latter very specifically sanctioned only in the context of both ritually and legally instated married partnership) they do not form part of the core plot, nor are they even more than merely another factor for the main character to consider when interacting with his fellows.

One final note, I must admit to: I was initially drawn to this novel by its cover, which shows the main character depicted in his "proper ethnicity." In other words, I was intrigued by a scifi novel with a non-white protagonist. If these sorts of things matter to you, then I definitely recommend this book.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Tunnel in the Sky?

[SPOILER!!] The moment in which Jack's gender is revealed will always stick with me.


Any additional comments?

I 100% recommend it over "Lord of the Flies" as an essential read for high schoolers in a class that wants to explore and discuss human nature in the context of the "young people cut off from civilization" allegory!!!

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- Aaron

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-12-2011
  • Publisher: Full Cast Audio