19

I'm afraid the title isn't very good, as I had trouble condensing what I remember. The book starts with a man going out and getting drunk with a friend, and he wakes to find that he signed up for the military the night before and is expected to report for duty soon. He tries to get out of it but can't, so finally gives in and reports for duty.

At some point, I can't remember when, one of the people he meets is a seven year old girl. He kind of falls in love with her at that point, although he doesn't realize it. When he returns from going to war on a near-lightspeed ship, she is nearly his age due to time dilation, and they get together at that point. That part really stuck in my mind because it was so unusual. I've been trying to think of the name of this book for a while, and just realized that I could ask here.

  • There are similar premises to The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, but some of the extra details don't match up to my memory. – Xantec Oct 3 '12 at 13:23
  • @Xantec - Nope, definitely not it, although I actually just marked that book as to-read on Goodreads :) – SaintWacko Oct 3 '12 at 13:25
  • There are several matches to Variable Star---the Heinlein/Robinson collaboration---but there are also several points of difference (no military, didn't get signed up on the drunk which wasn't with a friend). – dmckee Oct 3 '12 at 13:35
  • @dmckee - Oh, that's it! Not sure where I got the first part from, must have been a different book. That would certainly explain why I couldn't match up the two parts of my question. The rest of it matches perfectly, though! Put that as the answer and I'll accept it :) – SaintWacko Oct 3 '12 at 13:41
  • Made it an answer, then. – dmckee Oct 3 '12 at 13:45
17

There are several matches to Variable Star---the Heinlein/Robinson collaboration---but there are also several points of difference (no military, didn't get signed up on the drunk which wasn't with a friend).

The main character is a musician by training but grew up on a farm, and it is his experience in agriculture which earns him a place on the ship and his living on board. You might also remember an episode where he gets in a fight over a misunderstanding and has to stand trial for assault he is sentenced to psychotherapy. His skill as a musician earns him a sideline income for a while and also plays a role in the development of several characters.

  • Did you find this by searching or from memory? – SaintWacko Oct 3 '12 at 13:51
  • Memory. I've read a large fraction of Heinlein's works and wouldn't have missed a posthumous publication for anything. – dmckee Oct 3 '12 at 14:03
  • Ah, okay. I couldn't think of a way to search it that would find it, and was curious if you had. I recently read through all of Heinlein's books (or I thought I had), but I must have missed this one. – SaintWacko Oct 3 '12 at 14:04
13

The drunken contract by two friends (albeit as an indentured servant on Venus, not military on FTL ship) is from Heinlein's Logic of Empire.

  • Yeah, that was probably what I was thinking of. – SaintWacko Oct 3 '12 at 19:29
  • Although I seem to remember that in that book he wakes up on the ship, not before take-off – SaintWacko Oct 4 '12 at 15:25
7

While the first part of this is a lot like Variable Star and other people might be right in that this is most likely an amalgam of different Heinlein works, this part I think I might be able to recognize:

At some point, I can't remember when, one of the people he meets is a seven year old girl. He kind of falls in love with her at that point, although he doesn't realize it. When he returns from going to war on a near-lightspeed ship, she is nearly his age due to time dilation, and they get together at that point. That part really stuck in my mind because it was so unusual. I've been trying to think of the name of this book for a while, and just realized that I could ask here.

This part reminds me of Heinlein's The Door Into Summer. The girl's name is Ricky and it is time travel story more than a lightspeed travel story. I hope this is helpful.

  • While that's a very good story as well, Variable Star was definitely the story I was thinking of. Finished it again last night and it was so good. If you like time travel stories, you might check out Heinlein's All You Zombies and By His Bootstraps. – SaintWacko Oct 4 '12 at 13:10
4

There are elements of the second paragraph that also match up the Heinlein novel Time For The Stars. The protagonist was on a ship that traveled to several stars at near-light speed. He experienced quite a bit of time dilation. He was an identical twin who had a telepathic link with his twin and then, as his twin got old, his twin's child and then later his twin's granddaughter. When he returned to Earth, he and his twin's granddaughter (who was now the same age) got married.

This was one of my favorite of the Heinlein "juvie" novels and highly recommend it.

  • Huh, I don't know that I've read that one. Guess I know what I'm reading next! – SaintWacko Oct 4 '12 at 15:15
  • That was excellent. Thanks for recommending it! – SaintWacko Oct 5 '12 at 1:45

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