Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club

Friday hardback cover Friday (1982)

1982 Holt, Rinehart Winston 
1st edition hardback
cover art by Richard M. Powers (left)

1997 Ballantine trade paperback
cover art by Cliff Nielsen (right)

both editions 368 pages
Friday trade paperback cover

From the inside cover of the hardback:
       Friday is her name...She is as thoroughly resourceful as she is strikingly beautiful. She is one of the best interplanetary agents in the business. And she is an Artificial Person...the ultimate glory of genetic engineering.....
       Friday is a secret courier. She is employed by a man known to her only as "Boss." Operating from and over a near future Earth, in which North America has become Balkanized into dozens of independent states, where culture has become bizarrely vulgarized and chaos is the happy norm, she finds herself on shuttlecock assignment at Boss's seemingly whimsical behest. From New Zealand to Canada, from one to another of the new states of America's disunion, she keeps her balance nimbly with quick, expeditious solutions to one calamity and scrape after another. Desperate for human identity and relationships, she is never sure whether she is one step ahead of, or one step behind, the ultimate fate of the human race.

Read for group discussion on January 9, 2002

Friday paperback cover Another Book Cover:

Friday (1982)

Del Rey paperback
(probably the most familiar book cover)
cover art by Michael Whelan (left)

How we each rated this book
Dan 8 Amy 7 stack of books 10   Wow! Don't miss it
8-9  Highly recommended
7    Recommended
5-6  Mild recommendation
3-4  Take your chances
1-2  Below average; skip it
0    Get out the flamethrower!
U    Unfinishable or unreadable
-    Skipped or no rating given
Cheri 7 Barb 8
Aaron 7 Cynthia 8
Jackie 6 Ron 5

Aaron's Commentary  Robert A. Heinlein - Friday

Why does it seem that science fiction writers used to have more fun than they do now?  This novel is not as ambitious as some of Heinlein's work, but you get a sense throughout that Heinlein was having a great time creating his protagonist and visualizing the near-future world she inhabits.

There are admittedly some scenes where it is hard to know what the old man was thinking, notably when Friday tries to enjoy herself while being raped, but overall Friday works better than a lot of Heinlein's later work because he eased off the philosophizing and had fun with the story.  While the plot is aimless at times, the novel still makes for entertaining reading.

Friday is a wonderfully tough and resourceful yet feminine lady.  She gets my vote for Heinlein's best female character.  He drops the condescension he too often showed toward his women characters, and manages to engage fully with Friday's feelings and with her point of view.

What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Please send them to

Our book group has also read the following books by Robert A. Heinlein:
-- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress  in February 1995
-- Stranger in a Strange Land  in August 1998
-- Starman Jones  in October 1999
-- Citizen of the Galaxy  in October 2006
-- Have Spacesuit, Will Travel  in April 2008
-- Double Star  in February 2009
-- Time Enough for Love  in March 2009
-- The Star Beast  in April 2009

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) was a US science fiction writer, perhaps the all-time most important writer of science fiction.

(note: he wrote many important works before the major SF awards were created)
1956 Hugo Award for novel Double Star
1960 Hugo Award for novel Starship Troopers
1962 Hugo Award for novel Stranger in a Strange Land
1967 Hugo Award for novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

He began publishing SF short fiction in 1939. His pre-eminence in the field from 1940 to 1960 was unassailable.

Some of his early works fit in his loose Future History such as the story collections The Man who Sold the Moon (1950), The Green Hills of Earth (1951), Revolt in 2100 (1953), and the novels Methuselah's Children (1941, revised 1958), and Orphans in the Sky (fixup 1963).

Published first under pseudonyms were Sixth Column (1941, a.k.a. The Day After Tomorrow), and Beyond this Horizon (1942).

Heinlein made an major contribution to young adult SF.  Many SF fans today grew up reading these Heinlein juveniles: Rocket Ship Galileo (1947), Space Cadet (1948), Red Planet (1949), Farmer in the Sky (1950), Between Planets (1951), The Rolling Stones (1952), Starman Jones (1953), The Star Beast (1954), Tunnel in the Sky (1955), Time for the Stars (1956), Citizen of the Galaxy (1957), Have Space Suit -Will Travel (1958) and Podkayne of Mars (1963).

Novels for grownups Heinlein wrote in the 1950s include The Puppet Masters (1951) an invasion tale; Double Star (1956) about a failed actor who impersonates a politician; and The Door into Summer (1957) which involves suspended animation ("long sleep") and time-travel.

Starship Troopers (1958) was originally written as a juvenile, but was rejected by his publisher because of its violence.  It is the first book in which Heinlein strongly voiced his opinions.

Stranger in a Strange Land (1962), probably Heinlein's most well known novel, involves a commune, free love, and a new religion.  It was a cult-book for students in the late 1960s.

Glory Road (1963) is a sword and sorcery fantasy.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) is about a revolution by Moon colonists.

Many of his later works are long rambling opinionated novels about extended families, such as Farnham's Freehold (1964), I Will Fear No Evil (1970), Time Enough for Love (1973), The Number of the Beast (1979), The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985) and To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987).  The last four books revolve around immortal Lazarus Long.  The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (1978) is extracts from Time Enough for Love.

Other later works are Friday (1982) and Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984).

Additional Heinlein story collections are Waldo and Magic, Inc (1950), Assignment in Eternity (1953), The Menace from Earth (1959), The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (1959, also called 6 X H), Three by Heinlein (1965), The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein (1966), The Past Through Tomorrow (1967), The Best of Robert Heinlein (1973), Expanded Universe (1980), and Requiem (1992).

Grumbles from the Grave (collection 1989) edited by Virginia Heinlein includes letters.  Tramp Royale (written 1953-4, published 1992) is a travel memoir.

For Us, the Living (2003) was published posthumously, it was the first novel he wrote in 1937.

Variable Star (2006) by Spider Robinson was written from a 1955 outline by Heinlein.

Our book club's page for Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Our book club's page for Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein
Our book club's page for Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein
Our book club's page for Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
Our book club's page for The Star Beast Star by Robert A. Heinlein
Arrastra SF: Robert A. Heinlein - The Door into Summer
Robert A. Heinlein - Wikipedia
Quotable Heinlein

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This page was last updated March 03, 2009