Heinlein’s Juveniles vs. Andre Norton’s Young Adult Novels


This post is by James Davis Nicoll from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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About five years ago, I reviewed all of the Heinlein Scribner juveniles (plus the two associated novels). Immediately thereafter, I reviewed fifty Andre Norton novels. This was not a coincidence. It just so happens that back in the 1970s, Ace re-published most of the Heinlein juveniles. Those editions usually contained a full-page ad for Heinlein’s Ace books and right next to it, an ad for fifty Andre Norton novels. Clearly someone at Ace thought the market for Heinlein and Norton overlapped.

So, how do their YA books compare?

Heinlein’s books are easy to read; the prose is fluent, if frequently halted for folksy lectures. Norton’s prose…well…it’s functional but stilted.

In the books written between Rocket Ship Galileo and The Rolling Stones, Heinlein was careful to make sure that his setting was plausible. Most readers might not notice this, but I did: he cared enough to get his orbital mechanics ...