Rereading: BEYOND THIS HORIZON by Robert A. Heinlein

This early Heinlein novel was serialized in two parts in 1942 under the pen name Anson McDonald, then published as his second novel in 1948 by Fantasy Press. My paperback is from 1964, probably bought around then or a year later.

Hamilton Felix lives on a far-future Earth where genetic engineering has become widespread, and Felix himself comes from a line of superior genetic ancestors on both sides. He is smart and clever, making a living as an inventor, but he lacks the perfect memory needed to become one of the true leaders in society, and he finds his pampered life unrewarding. He is shaken out of complacency when he learns that genetics specialists are anxious for him to have children to pass on his superior genes. Felix doesn’t want that, but the woman he meets and the adventures he’s thrown into eventually change his mind. Plans are being made to overthrow the government, and Felix is asked to become an spy on those plans. His friends are involved, and Felix’s research into the true meaning of life is disrupted when the move is made against the government, putting him and those he cares about in jeopardy.

There are interesting ideas in this book, but the male-female relationships seem way off base today. One starts with a fight and a spanking, another begins with a stalking incident. Felix is often obnoxious and hard to like, even when he does the right thing, and the future society is an unlikely one. The book has its moments, but I would call it uneven at best. Mildly recommended.

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