Literature: Farmer in the Sky

Farmer In The Sky is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein first published in 1953.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Author Catchphrase: Characters say "So?", with context making it clear it's meant in the sense of "Is that so?"
  • Chaste Hero: Bill doesn't understand why Gretchen would get upset when she comes over to help him work and he immediately mentions they should also ask her sister to help. "Women are funny". When he is injured and she visits him in the hospital, "...[she] could hardly talk, which isn't like her."
  • Determined Homesteader: The Lermer family are Determined Homesteaders In SPACE.
  • Farmboy: As above, Bill Lermer and his family emigrate from Greater Los Angeles on an overcrowded Earth to Ganymede to become a Determined Homesteader farmer.
  • Midair Repair: Bill Lermer's father explains why they have an engineer along in space, when the engine is a radioactive torch that can't be shut off in flight.
    "There are certain adjustments which could conceivably have to be made in extreme emergency. In which case it would be Mr. Ortega's proud privilege to climb into a space suit, go outside and back aft, and make them."
    "You mean—"
    "I mean that the assistant chief engineer would succeed to the position of chief a few minutes later. Chief engineers are very carefully chosen, Bill, and not just for their technical knowledge."
  • Scout Out: Averted. The Boy Scouts are mentioned by name.
  • Space Pirates: Bill meets the captain of the shuttle up from Earth, who mentions having been "captured by pirates". Bill doesn't challenge him, but thinks he's spinning a yarn. But when Bill tells his father about the encounter,
    "Maybe you are too young to remember it. [Captain DeLongPre] let himself be sealed into one of the robot freighters used to jump thorium ore from the lunar mines—and busted up a ring of hijackers, a gang the newscasters called the 'Ore Pirates.'"
    I didn't say anything.
  • Straw Character: Earth faces a state of starvation due to Chinese overpopulation, while Heinlein nevertheless advocates An Aesop policy of "share and share alike," by other countries— a strawman which even the most extreme liberals would consider absurd.
  • Terraform: The story is about a terraforming effort... on Ganymede.

Alternative Title(s):

Farmer In The Sky