|Title: The Day After Tomorrow (aka The Sixth Column)
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Published: 1949To submit a detailed article, click here!
Not Heinlein’s best.
Maybe it’s because I’ve recently been reading a lot of Heinlein, maybe it’s the ongoing racial slurs, maybe the fact that it’s one of his earliest novels but this novel left me tepid.
The racial issues in the novel must be addressed first. Heinlein does not repudate racism in this piece. He in fact makes quite an effort to highlight the illogic of it through character lectures, mixed characters, and narrative explanation. The racial slurs are made in dialog that is entirely appropriate given the nature of the book. In war, the enemy is always objectified and dehumanize das much as possible for psychological reasons. That said… there’s only so much “slanties”, “flat-faces”, and “baboon monkey boys” that I can take without wrinkling my nose.
Even more importantly in my mind, the novel has a “prototype” feel to it. The two main characters, Thomas and Ardmore have a lack of finish to them, the plot is quite basic and has several events that have no explained plot purpose (the final holographic image as a mob control tactic is a foreshadow of a similar event in “Revolt 2100”), and many of the themes are underdeveloped.
One of his earliest novels, this isn’t suprising. Many of the foundations of his later and greatest novels are laid in “The Sixth Column” and this novel in many ways has the air of a trial run or a dress rehersal.
All in all, not a work that I would recommend to non-Heinlein fans, but for the hard-core reader, it offers some interesting insight into Heinlein’s later works.
Lisa K. Dec. 21, 2012 (End of the World)