Welcome, and I am happy to see you here again today. If you like time travel stories, (and I am sure you do :)) today I will tell you a few words, or better say I will make a review for one very interesting book based on time travel.
We will talk about The Door Into Summer by Robert Heinlein.
Few words about the book
The idea of the book started with his wife when their cat didn’t want to leave the house and she said: ‘he’s looking for a door into summer’. 13 days after this was said, the novel was written and ready to publish.
The Door into Summer’ was published in 1957.
Alexei Panshin, critic and biographer of Heinlein, wrote in 1968 in his book’ Heinlein in Dimensions’, about this novel (The Door into Summer) and said:
‘The romantic situation in this story is a very interesting and very odd one. It is nothing less than a mutual sexual interest between an engineer of thirty and a girl of twelve, that culminates in marriage after hop-scotching around in time to adjust their ages a bit’
Not a very good impression about the book was received at that time. John W. Campbell said ‘Bob can write a better story with one hand tied behind him than most people in the field can do with both hands. But Jesus I wish that son of a gun would take that other hand out of his pocket.’
The book was published almost together with his other success,’ Double Star’ which won Hugo Awards. These two stories are maybe the best books from Robert Heinlein.
Now, when we saw how the world was in 2000 we know that all the books that were written in the 50s and the predictions made did not all become a reality. But of course, you don’t read a science fiction book from the 50s for the predictions; you read it for the story.
The beauty is how the people were seeing the future in that time. They were hoping for a sunny, happy, better world and this is the main thing Heinlein wants to show. To understand what I mean you can read this quote from his book;
‘the world steadily grows better because of the human mind, applying itself to the environment, makes it better… Most of these long-haired belittlers can’t drive a nail or use a slide rule, I’d like to…ship them back to the twelfth century-them let them enjoy it .’
The action of the novel takes place in 1970 and the main character is an inventor, engineer, Daniel Boone Davis.
He is depressed because of losing his company and he starts drinking. His fiancé, which was also the company bookkeeper, and his partner trick him and he ends up losing his job.
His company, Hired Girl Inc, was making robot vacuum cleaners. Dan came up with a few refreshing ideas, a new line of household robots named Flexible Frank.
Miles his partner decides to sell the Flexible Frank and the company to Manix Enterprises, another big company. Miles would later become vice president to Manix.
Dan refuses, but when the decision is voted he loses because he gave rights of voting to his fiancé and she votes with Miles. Dan after all this loses his job as a chief engineer.
At this point, his only friend is his cat Pete who hates going out in the snow.
Having big financial problems and nothing to lose, he decides to try the ‘cold sleep’, a technology that will let him sleep for 30 years, hoping to find better days.
He still has some stock from his company and before he proceeds with the cold sleep, he decides to leave the stock certificate to Miles’s stepdaughter, someone he trusted, Frederica ‘Ricky’ Gentry.
Whilst going to have a confrontation with Miles, Dan finds in his house Belle Darkin his fiancé. Because the doctor from the cold sleep denies making the procedure on him while he was drunk, Belle offers him an illegal cold sleep (zombie) drug and gives him the injection.
Dan wakes up in the year 2000 with no friends, no money, nothing he knows is the same. He wants to find Ricky, now a middle age lady but he has no idea where to start.
He discovers that Miles died in 1972 and Belle has a drinking problem and is in very bad condition. Dan decides to start his life again and he asks from Geary Manufacturing (which now owns Hired Girl) to take him as a figurehead.
Asking Belle about Ricky, Dan finds out that she left the same night when he took the drug, to live with her grandmother.
Dan can see Flexible Frank everywhere, in hospitals and thousands of other places, called now’ Eager Beaver’. His invention is now run by a company named’ Aladdin Auto-Engineering and he is surprised to see that the patent is credited to somebody named D.B. Davis.
His friend from work Chuck, tells him that once he saw time travel in Colorado in a laboratory. Dan finds out that Ricky was awakening from the cold sleep and left for California.
Looking for her, he finds that she is now in Arizona, married with Daniel Boom Davis. He goes directly to find her.
He meets in Boulder a very intelligent and once successful retired scientist, Dr. Twitchell who now has drinking problems. He is the man who Chuck said that he succeeded in time travel.
Back in 1970
Becoming friends, the doctor admits to Dan that he invented the time machine. He asks Twitchell to send him back to 1970, a few months before the confrontation with Miles.
In 1970, he creates ‘Drafting Dan’ which he uses to create the first version of Eager Beaver and he sets up the ‘Aladdin Auto-engineering Corporation’.
Dan returns to Los Angeles at Miles’s house at the night of the confrontation, and he sees himself entering the house. He waits until the cat, Peter comes out and then he removes Flexible Frank and all his engineering drawings and destroys them.
After this, Dan goes to find Ricky at Girl Scout summer camp, he left his stock in Hire Girl to Ricky and suggests to her to take a cold sleep until she will be 21 and then he promises he will marry her.
Again in the future
Keeping Pete, his cat in his arms, Dan sleeps again until 2001. When he awakens, Ricky, a beautiful lady in her 20s now, was waiting for him.
They leave to take the stock from the storage from Brawley and as a very happy end, they get married in Yuma.
Dan uses the stock from Hired Girl to make changes at Geary and he becomes a wealthy man and an independent inventor.
I hope you enjoyed my summary and if you don’t have the time to read the book or you just want to close your eyes and to listen to the story and follow Dan on his journey, I give you here the audiobook:)
Thank you for reading and any comments and/or questions you have, I would love to hear from you:)
I would like also to hear your opinion about the story:)
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