14 August 2005

The Rolling Stones

On our last trip we listened the "The Rolling Stones" by Robert A. Heinlein. This tale covers the adventures of the Stone family - Roger Stone ex Mayor of Luna town and currently author of soap opera episodes, Dr Edith Stone a retired doctor who cares for the children and occasionally goes to medical conferences, Mead the 17 year old daughter, 15 year old Pollux and Castor (the "unheavenly twins"), Lowell the 4 year old baby that beats his Grandma at Chess and Hazel the wily and tough grandma. They all live together in Luna City on the moon and decide to go on an adventure. This is a great tale of family values and accurate science.
We found one fascinating aspect was Heilein's vision of the future. This was written in 1952, well before computers could be made the size of a thumb. He envisages large computers with limited capabilities. The Stones often have to calculate and recalculate trajectories and vectors and velocities manually. This is then cross checked with planet based larger computers for clarification, but manual adjustments are still required. Education materials were via books or spools - like microfilm. As we heard this on our iPod and tracked our progress via the satellite tracking GPS we realised that the computing power in these two devices combined was a smaller size than the novel when it was published.
However technology has changed, Heinlein recognised that the core human values wouldn't change. Although many may experiment with human relationships, the core values persevere.
We all enjoyed the book so much that when we arrived home and it wasn't finished, we rushed inside, plugged in the iPod and listened until the end. I suppose that tells you our evaluation - Excellent!

No comments: