The Door into Summer

Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Published: 1957
Website: Wikipedia Page

The Door into Summer is a classic piece of Heinlein science fiction. In the same form as Double Star or Starship Troopers (two of his better-known works), Heinlein takes a classic issue—in this case time travel—and forms characters and a plot around the exploration of time travel and its effect on society. Heinlein’s skill and readability come from his ability to make science fiction believable and subtle without inducing boredom, and The Door into Summer made me believe for at least two hours that time travel was not only possible, but a completely natural progression from the science of the book’s self-described era.

The story centers on Daniel Boone Davis: a highly intelligent engineer who designs and builds robots and automated appliances, and to a lesser extent, his cat. Due to Davis’s un-savvy business skills, he is forced to work with a seedy business partner and a felonious fiancé who know nothing about technology, but are just trying to steal Davis’s ideas. In this standard story of an oblivious genius who loses all his money to nefarious friends, the twist comes in the form of cryogenics: or as Heinlein calls it, Long Sleep. That alone would have made the story worth reading as Davis struggles to relearn speech and culture in a new era, but once Heinlein adds time travel, the relationships between characters and the idea of multiple copies of the same person living at the same time  make The Door into Summer a fast but extremely satisfying read.

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