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The Door Into Summer

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It is 1970, and electronics engineer Dan Davis has finally made the invention of a lifetime: a household robot with extraordinary abilities, destined to dramatically change the landscape of everyday routine. Then, with wild success just within reach, Dan's greedy partner and even greedier fiancée steal his work and leave him penniless, and trick him into taking the long sleep—suspended animation for thirty years.

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1957

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About the author

Robert A. Heinlein

787 books9,288 followers
Works of American science-fiction writer Robert Anson Heinlein include Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966).

People often call this novelist "the dean of science fiction writers", one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of "hard science fiction."

He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the standards of literary quality of the genre. He was the first science-fiction writer to break into mainstream, general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, in the late 1940s. He was also among the first authors of bestselling, novel-length science fiction in the modern, mass-market era.

Also wrote under Pen names: Anson McDonald, Lyle Monroe, Caleb Saunders, John Riverside and Simon York.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,351 reviews
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
May 16, 2021
An enjoyable SF story from a Grandmaster.

The novel's protagonist, Daniel B. Davis, was a precursor to Hugh Farnham and even Lazarus Long somewhat, though Long was introduced earlier in 1941's Methusaleh's Children. Actually, Davis (and others) are thinly disguised Heinlein: fiercely individualist, libertarian, technically savvy, hard working yet innovative, resourceful, wise cracking, and with a horn dog libido that would make a porn star blush.

I wonder if Door Into Summer used some of the same notes and ideas that would later surface in Time Enough for Love? Door into Summer may be classified as a transitional book between the earlier juvenile works and his middle works (his apex, his high water mark) and then to the weird, time traveling and lusty later books. I think a better reviewer than me could even make the point that Heinlein had begun his ascendancy here.

**** 2021 reread -

I've thought about this wonderful book over the years and knew that it was time for a reread. Not sure why I stopped short with a 3 star rating last time but I've upgraded to a 4 star now.

The premise for the title is that he and his cat had lived in an old farm house that had eleven doors. In the winter time he followed his cat to each, with the cat hoping to find one would open not to the cold winter landscape but rather a portal that would open to summer. This idea is repeated several times to show that one is looking for a good result, one better than even rationally hoped for.

The premise of the book is fun as well. Engineer Dan gets swindled by his fiance and business partner and so he goes on "the long sleep". In the 1970 of this world, a person can be frozen to reawaken at a later time, while investments continue to grow with compound interest. When the sleeper awakes, it will be a later, more technologically advanced time and with a bundle of cash from a well managed portfolio.

That's the idea but Bob has plenty of fun cooked up for us, including some more traditional time travel. Heinlein fans may compare this his short story "All You Zombies" and fans of Poul Anderson's time travel canon will also like this.

Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,851 followers
August 10, 2016
I'm a little surprised I don't seem to have posted a review of this one before. I read this book "way back when". I probably read it first when I was in high school or just after. That would probably be the 1960s. I went through a period when I discovered Heinlein and ran through everything I could get my hands on by him. Some I didn't care for, some I liked and some I loved.

Many people place this in his so called "teen reads" but there is some question about that due to some of the subject matter. Heinlein was very much a libertarian and had very open ideas about most things. This includes sex. Among some there's a bit of, consternation concerning the "final love interest" in the book.

Just try it yourself and decide for yourself.

Daniel Boone Davis (many of Heinlein's protagonists have names hearkening back to American history) is a master engineer and inventor...and that's what he wants to do. In the story which is placed in the "near future" (1970)...among other things in this "near future" people are able to take cold sleep. They can be frozen and awakened months or years later.

Now, if I go any further in this synopsis it will involve spoilers so I'll simply suggest you try the book if for some reason you have managed to miss it. There's something here for hard science fiction fans, science fantasy fans, animal lovers (particularly cat lovers), and fans of just plain good books. I can and do recommend this one. Enjoy.
Profile Image for Timothy Urgest.
529 reviews284 followers
July 30, 2020
Well, that was lame...and weird. I would have given this a 3, but that ending was hella strange.

Honestly, I couldn’t get into this book and was mostly bored the whole time.

Davis takes the “long sleep” in 1970, wakes up 30 years later, and nothing exciting comes of it other than needing to get a job and figure out what happened to his inventions and stocks. There is barely any discussion of the changes that occurred over the 30 year period. There is mention of a large amount of new jargon, but we get one new term: “movies” are now “grabbies.” ?? And there are some robots.

The plot is straight up silly. Davis sleeps 30 years, gets his inventions ripped off by his crazy con ex, realizes that he himself was the inventor and wasn’t actually ripped off, travels back in time to invent the things, then goes back to sleep for another 30 years to marry a little girl.

Now let’s discuss the little girl. Ricky. Wtf was that? Davis knows Ricky as a child, he never meets her as an adult until she wakes from the long sleep, which he led her to do. Before he ever meets her as an adult, he wants to marry her. When she is 11 and finds out he will be asleep the next 30 years, she gets sad, decides/is persuaded to take the long sleep also, and asks him to marry her when she wakes up. He agrees and tells her that that’s the exact reason he is doing everything that he has done. ??? And he talks about how her breasts have not filled out yet and how she’s adorable. I tried to be objective about the situation but that was so weird to me. He only knows her as a child. I’m not offended by taboo topics, but wtf kind of goal is that for a main character? His literal goal is to marry her and that is the end of the book.

This is a weird ass book that was too all over the place for me. I don’t know what to think about Heinlein. And this has an average score of 4 stars on Goodreads...why??
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Adrian.
574 reviews209 followers
February 12, 2017
Well after many thousands of ratings this book is averaging 4 stars so my rating will make no difference at all.
I first read this back in the late 70s, and like most of Heinlein's early and middle work I really enjoyed it then and again now.
The storyline and characterisations are good and there is none of the (in my opinion) vague sexism and verbal meanderings of his later books (look how many pages his later novels have, yawn).

Ok I've just re-read my review and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the book, Heinlein must've been a cat lover as he had Petronius exactly right, maybe I was a tad harsh on some of his later books. I just found them very introspective and self indulgent, and much as I enjoy Heinlein books I think I gave up after fighting my way through "Time Enough For Love". I don't think I've read anything written after that.
Yes, that sounds fairer :)
Profile Image for S.C. Jensen.
Author 23 books87 followers
April 20, 2012
I didn't read this book with the intention of writing a review, so you'll excuse me if I don't go into great detail. Let me just summarize "the feel" of the book...

It is not very often that I read a book that makes me smile the entire time I'm reading it; this is one of them. From the hilarious anachronisms of the 1950's Futurist to the brilliant side-kick cat, Pete. (Cat lovers will appreciate this book on a completely different level than other readers). I was laughing out loud at least once every 20 pages or so.

It is only because I read some of the other reviews for this book that I felt the need to write a review myself. After seeing that a number of reviews that charge The Door into Summer (and sometimes Heinlein himself) as being both misogynistic and perverse, I felt the need to defend it (and him).

First of all, on the complaints that Heinlein's vision of the future (from 1956, remember) is sexist, misogynistic, anti-woman, etc.:

There are not many women in this story, true enough, which may be a mark against it in and of itself. Because of this, the heinous Belle stands out as being a particularly unlikable femme-fatale. Though I would argue that, had Belle not been foiled by Dan's foray into time travel, her plot would have succeeded and she would have made a respectable villain. She was well-equipped for it: calculating, edgy, violent, and un-emotional. But because the other women in the book (Jenny Sutton, the Girl-Scout Matron, and later Ricki) are fairly minor they do little to offset the influence of Belle and rather support the 1950's housewife stereotype. And Dan Davis' engineering vision of rescuing women from the drudgery of housework is a little dated, to be sure.

However, I consider these to be the faults of a novel written in the 1950's. I always find it best to approach a book with the understanding that it is a product of the time in which it was written. If a novel breaks through the conventions of its time, great! But it would be unreasonable to expect it every time one picks up a new book. Our modern sensibilities might be offended by some archaic ideas, but out-dated notions don't necessarily devalue an otherwise good yarn. (not to mention historically important works)

It's true that science fiction often pushes boundaries: of politics, religion, war, gender, sexuality, human nature, etc. But it is not necessary. And it is certainly not necessary to push all of them at once. The Door into Summer is not a book about gender roles. It reflects opinions common to the time in which it was written, but it does not address them specifically. It cannot be said to be particularly forward thinking on the subject, but at the same time it is a passive position. Heinlein is not actively or purposefully oppressing women in this novel, but he is describing a world very similar to the one in which he lived. Which, for me, is enough that I didn't hate the novel for its faults.

Heinlein has shown in this and other novels that he is not rigid in his notions on the future of gender roles. In Starship Troopers women make the best fighter pilots because of their superior reflexes and mental dexterity. In this novel, there are suggestions that--outside of the narrative--women are fulfilling more diverse roles than we see them in. Dan Davis, when discussing the merits of his engineering robot 'Drafting Dan', admits that most women don't care much for it unless they are engineers themselves! The offhand nature of this remark is indicative that it is not an alien idea to Dan. Perhaps his housekeeping robot is more liberal-minded than we initially supposed, if it has freed women from the role of housewives to pursue their dreams outside the home. Something to consider, anyways.

With that out of the way, I wanted to talk about the so-called perversion of Dan's unconventional (temporally speaking) romance with Ricki. Many people have commented on the "disturbing" nature of the love story sub-plot. And maybe it's because I've recently read Lolita, but I really didn't feel too put out about it. I actually found Dan and Ricki's relationship kind of cute, mostly because Dan falls in love with Ricki because she understands and appreciates his cat--which Dan feels is indicative of the kind of person she is (although she is only a child). It is important to note that there are no overtly pedophilic suggestions in this book, unless the reader supplies them (I'm sure there are those who will disagree)

When it comes down to it, Dan's romantic feelings towards Ricki are not directed at her juvenile self but at the woman he imagines she will become. It is not unusual, I think, to idealize and idolize romantically (particularly after one has had ones heart broken). Ricki is the only female that Dan has ever felt any connection with, and he values her friendship. It is only after Belle betrays him that he begins to think "if only Ricki were older". Not because he fantasizes about being with a child (obviously, he wouldn't then wish she were older) but because he fantasizes about being with someone he loves and trusts.

He cannot even be said to be taking advantage of her childish crush on him. He tells Ricki to wait until she's 20 to decide if she wants to be with him (he is, and will remain, 30). Ricki has 8 sobering years to decide if she still has feelings for Dan once she is an adult, during which he can supply no pressure. Thanks to the invention of suspended animation their love is possible without being creepy!

Ok, so that's a longer rant than I intended. But there it is. Thanks for bearing with me if you got this far!

Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,531 reviews978 followers
September 26, 2015
I liked it, but it was suggested to me I shouldn't give four stars to every single book I enjoy, so here it goes for Heinlein. I really had no issues with "The Door Into Summer", and Heinlein is still one of my favorite SF masters after this.

I enjoy books that feature engineers as protagonists, and here we have one proto-geek singlehandedly inventing robotics in the 50's and failing rather spectacularly in the human relations department. Later on, there's some time travel thrown in and some cryogenics, giving us a glimpse of what the year 2000 would look like to a 1950 citizen. It's interesting to note how we surpassed some of Heinlein expectations in the field of artificial intelligence and miniaturization, and still didn't invent regenerating teeth, disposable shirts or beard removal cream. There's something very similar to velcro replacing zippers, but with a rather fancy field energy source.

Heinlein prose is clean and fast, without his sometime annoying preaching and with some quality humor, courtesy of Petronius the Arbiter. Some of his sexual liberation stuff is included, like a nudist camp or an engagement with an 11 year old, but it doesn't take a central role to the story.

[edit for spelling 2015]
Profile Image for Steve.
322 reviews14 followers
October 9, 2022
Ultimately creepy, and not in a good way. It's a time travel tale, and I'll forgive a lot for an entertaining time travel story. But "entertaining" and "time travel" are all it's got going for it. I haven't read a lot of Heinlein, but this didn't show me at all why he's got got so many fans.

The writing style is fine, but he goes wrong in a few key ways with the story. [SPOILERS] For one, he wrote the book in 1956, with most characters' natural time being 1970 and the rest of the action (reached cryogenically and returned from via time travel) being in 2000 and 2001. Both are full of technological, cultural, and historical differences Heinlein invented. These probably seemed cool in 1957 or 1960, but his 2000 here wouldn't have held up in 1985, let alone 2008.

Spoiling with age as badly as his inaccurate visions of change is his vision of something wholly unchanged over 50 years: a degree of sexism astonishing these days. Hell, I suspect his degree of sexism would have been startling even in the real 1970. It's not constant and overpowering; it's just striking.

Each of those would be flaws I wouldn't mind having to overlook for the sake of the time travel story, which is largely entertaining, but Heinlein completely undermines any satisfaction that could come from it by having the protagonist and narrator, Dan Davis, eagerly find a way (via the rampant cryogenics of imaginary 1970) to marry in 2000 the step-daughter of his business partner, a girl who, as a child called him "Uncle Danny."

He'd known her since she was a toddler or something (in 1970, she's nine and he's [always] thirty), and there's talk early in the book about how she had a crush on him and wanted to marry him when she grew up, but it's just some misplaced childhood crush and, of course, nothing he actually reciprocates. Supposedly. Ultimately, though, after all the time travel stuff (which you could totally separate pretty easily from this weirdness), during which he makes various occasional references to how great this kid is and how important she is to him, after he returns from 2000 (during which time he never met her as an adult) to 1970 and takes care of fun paradox stuff, he tells her that he's going to go into thirty-year cryostasis. (Again, though no one but he knows it's his 2nd time.) 30 years seems like forever to a young kid, and she's upset she won't see him again, and he tells her that in 1982, when she's 21, she could do "The Long Sleep" too and come out of it also in 2000. She asks, "If I do...will you marry me?" He replies, damn disturbingly, "Yes....That's what I want. That's why I'm doing this."

After they awake in 2000, they get married pretty much immediately. And then the book ends within a few pages.

So Heinlein's a freak and a perv. I don't care that much that this girl is physically 21 when they hook up. The "hero" never knew her as an adult, just as a young kid who called him "Uncle Danny," and it was based on that relationship that he decided he wanted to marry her. Also, the 21-year-old who opted for the cryogenics in 1982 apparently still has the precise same feelings as her nine-year-old self, which is similarly disturbing. Goddamn. Fricking. Creepy.

Throughout the book, the protagonist (and narrator) doesn't seem like a really great guy but sympathetic enough. If Heinlein's trying to blow the reader's mind by having him turn out to be not at all sympathetic after all that, I could see the point in that. But there's no indication that's what the author's up to or, indeed, that he sees anything wrong here. It seems instead that he's glad for Dan to have a happy ending. Parents of 1957, keep your children away from Robert Heinlein, please.

My default tendency is to react favorably to time travel fiction, so it's pretty striking to make that U-turn from amusement to revulsion there at the end and move this from the "OK" column into "Not OK. Not."
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Craig.
5,143 reviews122 followers
March 31, 2023
The Door Into Summer was serialized in F & SF magazine in three installments in 1956 with very nice illustrations by Kelly Freas and then Doubleday brought it out in hardback the following year. It was well-received, with a few notable exceptions including negative comments made by John W. Campbell and James Blish. I read and enjoyed it in 1970 and had not looked at it again until now. The story opens in 1970, after the U.S. has survived a nuclear war that's destroyed Washington and New York but doesn't seem to have made much difference in other areas. Daniel Boone Davis is an engineer who has success designing labor-saving robots for domestic use, and he sets up a partnership with his friend Miles Gentry, who handles the legal side of the business. They're joined by the beautiful and seductive Belle Darkin, to whom Davis becomes engaged. Gentry is a widower but has an eleven-year-old stepdaughter named Frederica, known as Ricky, a brilliant redheaded child. (Ummm...spoilers now...warning, warning...) Belle betrays Davis, seduces Gentry, and they wrest control of the company from him and dump him into a cryogenic sleep chamber for the nest thirty years. When he revives in the far-future world of the year 2000, he works to right the wrongs that have been done to him, meets a man who just happens to have a handy time machine, and he and the-now similarly aged Ricky get married and presumably live happily ever after. It didn't occur to me that there was something really off about Davis being so fixated on wanting to get married to an eleven-year-old when I first read the book, but this time around the creep factor was inexcusable. Molestation and abuse were not common topics of discussion in the real 1970. Heinlein was using his second wife as a model for Belle and his third one as a model for Ricky, but it's still just really disturbing. Other than that, the advances in Heinlein's future world seem remarkably conservative; the robot brains run with vacuum tubes and tapes, babies all still require diaper pins, the dishes are all washed by hand, etc. All the work seems divided by gender, and the woman's work is to make the man happy and to keep the home clean and to bear and raise fine children. He lectures a little too much about economic theory and personal responsibility and political matters, but it's really a well-told story aside from the grooming aspect. There's a cool cat named Pete, and some quite clever twists and turns. I'm rating it at three stars, averaged as four from the original read and two for the current.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
March 17, 2009
Somewhat unusually for Heinlein, this is a cute, fun book which doesn't try to ladle a bunch of right-wing ideology down your throat, or O.D. you on dubious sex. There's some time travel, a sympathetic main character, a Bad Girl, and a cat who steals the show every time he appears on stage. He even gets the title: the reference is to his endearing habit, during winter months, of making the hero open each door in the house in turn, just in case one of them happens to lead into summer...
Profile Image for Ivana Books Are Magic.
523 reviews201 followers
August 10, 2016
Are you a cat person? If yes, you’re definitely in for a treat. Pete is an amazingly written cat character if there ever was one. Yes, cat lovers will surely appreciate this one. Cat owners will understand that cats like Pete are as rare as true love and only come once in a life time, if we’re lucky, hence they will understand what makes Pete so special to Dan, his owner. However, even if you happen to hate cats, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the ingenious way Pete is described. That’s just plain good writing.

I’m making it sound like this is a novel about cat. Well, it’s not but it sorts of is. The cat I’m talking about is an important character, not in any futuristic genetically altered pet sense of the world, he just happens to be a side kick of our protagonist. Who might that be? Our protagonist is Dan Davis, an engineer, a well written characters, one could say a typical Heinlein hero. You know, a very intelligent badass guy who is on to take on the world and won’t let anything stops him. He is charming yet bold, brave but thoughtful, no fool but willing to take calculated risks.

Nevertheless, this isn’t exactly how he starts out! When the novel opens, he is not up to much. The novel opens with our guy drinking himself to death on account of his best friend and his ex-finance tricking him out of his invention (and hard earned future glory as well as financial security). So, he is a bit depressed. The only person he cares for in this world is Ricky, who happens to be a ten-year-old daughter of his late friend. He respects her and we suppose he imagines she might be a good companion someday because he decided to freeze himself so that they can be together in ten years’ time.

Some people find this part to be quite disturbing, but it isn’t like he wants to be with her when she’s a kid, he is romantically interested in the women she will be once she grows up. There is no knowing who that will be, you might say and yes that would be a valid point but it doesn’t seem to bother our protagonist. If Pete likes her, the girl must be ok and will stay that way (maybe Dan believes in cat’s intuition). I would say there is nothing fishy in the relationship between Dan and Ricky, but I can see why some might consider it to be a bit weird. Why the need to freeze himself up in the first place? He could have waited for her to grow up, but that sounds creepy doesn’t it? To watch someone growing up and then to marry them? Way creepier than just freezing yourself up and meeting them in the future? Actually yes.

It is interesting that he wants this relationship to happen when they’re about the same age. Does that indicate that he actually thinks there is something wrong in relationships in which there exists a significant age difference? Or more likely he needs the freezing up part to make the story more interesting? I mean this is a SF novel and we’re all waiting for the story to become well more SF. Furthermore, you know Dan is not motivated just by the desire to be with the future grown up Ricky. There isn’t much talk about Ricky if you think about it, this isn’t Lolita. There is not much talk about his feelings at that point and that’s not going to change drastically. Don’t expect him to get all emotional, it is not going to happen. This avoidance of emotional talk (or perhaps even thoughts) may be due to the fact that Dan makes that freezing himself up decision after a long period of drinking. It may be that his true feelings for Ricky only develop later on. At any rate, she isn’t the sole motivation.

Dan wants revenge. He wants to rub it into the face of his ex. He wants to be young when she is old. Perhaps most importantly, he wants to live in the future. He is an engineer you know. He is wondering what the world will look like in a number of years. Speaking of which, it is fascinating to observe how correct or how wrong Heinlein’s predictions were. There is certainly a lot of talk about the future in this one. Moreover, there is the actual ‘future’ experienced by a man from another time epoch and you can trust in one of the greats of SF to make that part good.
It does get more interesting because things don’t go as planned, I mean the freezing up and all. When he wakes up in the future, he starts seeing things he is sure he had himself invented. As he said, every engineer has his own signature and it is this signature he is seeing everywhere that is driving him crazy.

Enters time travel. You know a book about just being frozen wasn’t going to cut it. He needs to travel back in time. There needs to be more action. Not surprisingly, that is what we get. More action and adventure. No complains here. You know I’m not even sure if women play an important part in this novel. Perhaps not really. We have one typical femme-fatale and one angelic girl, but the relationships with them are never explored into great detail. As far as relationships are concerned, this is more about the love between a man and his cat then about love between a man and a woman. Just for a record, I don’t have a problem with that. Not everything has to be all romantic and stuff.

There is certainly a way to read the story between Dan and Ricky that makes it all sweet and romantic, but I think Ricky is there mostly for the plot. This is a one-man show or more precisely one man and his cat show! Romance isn’t a fundamental part of it, but it doesn’t feel out of place either. As I said, the relationship between Dan and Ricky can be read in a very sweet light (or in a slightly creepy one) …or it can be just ignored, if that isn’t your thing.

The Door into Summer is a very good SF novel that is mostly about adventure, time travel, engineering, future predictions, action, being badass and all those things we love about Heinlein. It is interesting enough to keep us intellectually stimulated and there is a touch of emotion that is just enough. I really enjoyed reading it. I have a copy at home, so I’ll probably reread it again eventually (emphasis on again because I already reread it). I recommend this to engineers, Heinlein’s fans, cat’s lovers, readers of SF as well as those interested in time travel stories. This is a fabulously written SF novel, pretty short but filled with such lovely things! The protagonist is and awfully charming and smart guy and it is great fun reading about his adventures. If you want to read a novel with a guy that makes it against all odds, this is the novel for you.

Final words? The Door Into Summer is a highly enjoyable read. It is not Heinlein’s best, but it is a very good novel. It found it to be incredibly uplifting and fun. In addition, this novel managed to accomplish what many great works of literature have tried but failed and that is describe perfectly an infinitely complex creature called....the cat.
Profile Image for Lance Greenfield.
Author 132 books237 followers
January 13, 2015
I really enjoyed this book from beginning to [almost] end. The reason for the "almost" will become apparent.

The story of time travel by various means was excellent. When reading this story, you should remember that it was written in the 1950s. Some of Heinlein's predictions are amazing, and some are way off the mark. It's amazing to follow his line of thinking though.

You can see an outline of the plot in the description. It is fairly predictable, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story at all. It was fun, and it was refreshing to read such innocent prose.

Although some people might be offended, there was some narrative that would be considered non-PC these days, but was just part of life in the 'fifties. I actually found that quite refreshing too. I get so irritated by the over-sensitivity to political correctness these days. You can't even tell a good Irish joke, or drop your pants in a US bar to proudly show off your British tattoo, these days, without drawing comments from the puritans.

The story was great right up until the final chapter. This was a bit of a damp squib, Heinlein felt that his hero had to justify and explain his actions and how several instances of himself could coexist. I would have been far more satisfied with the explosive ending which could so easily have been there.

Having said that, I would strongly recommend this book to all lovers of time travel and sci-fi books.
Profile Image for NatalieWithAnE.
63 reviews
July 16, 2023
ძალიან იდეალური წიგნი, საბაზეც კი სასიამოვნოდ წავიკითხე; + კატის ყოლას მოგანდომებს ადამიანს🍥

კატის ყოლას და ინჟინერობას მოგანდომებს

ძააალიან ძაააალიანნნნნ ძალიან მიყვარსს, + ფრიუნიდან სახლამდე ყველაზე სასიამოვნო მგზავრობებისთვის ყველა ვარსკვლავი
Profile Image for Amy.
687 reviews145 followers
November 16, 2012
Time travel type: Travel to the past via machine and travel to the future via cryogenics.
Likes: Pete, the cat ... and robots.
Dislikes: All the characters except the cat ... and robots.
Points of Particular Boredom: Business talk and the hero's pompous over-confidence in himself.
Plot summary: Why bother?
Profile Image for Choco Con Churros.
458 reviews30 followers
January 22, 2023
Maravillosa narración de mi adorada temática de paradojas temporales.
Maravilloso título y el gato que lo inspiró maullando ante cada puerta, esperando siempre que alguna llevara al verano.
Cómo lo disfruté!.
Profile Image for Derek.
550 reviews94 followers
November 18, 2013
I first read this many years ago—probably about the time in which it is set: it was published in 1957 (just before I was born) but most of the story is set in 1970 and the rest in 2000/2001.  The only thing that really stayed in my memory was the reason for the title. 

Dan Davis once lived in Connecticut in a house with twelve doors to the outside. In Winter, his cat Pete (Petronius the Arbiter) would make him open every door, looking for the one that led to Summer. Pete's not present for the majority of the novel, but he's very definitely a major character.

I pretty much stopped reading Heinlein after Time Enough for Love. He got increasingly misogynistic and right-wing (or else, he'd always been that way and just felt he could get away with writing about it in his old age). But I'd forgotten the immense vision he brought to his earlier stories like The Roads Must Roll, the very first Heinlein I read, and Waldo and Magic, Inc, and this one. My first introduction to Science Fiction was Arthur C. Clarke, and Heinlein was my second. They share that vision of the possibilities of the future, and Clarke may actually have been technically more capable (when Clarke suggested satellites in Earth-orbit, I suspect he could have built one, with help—when Heinlein builds a general household robot he's imagining what we would want to have done, and the way it should operate, but I can't imagine he actually could have designed the necessary circuit boards), but Heinlein is far and above the better story-teller.

Like many futurists, Heinlein's 50s vision of 1970 was a little too optimistic, and his vision of 2000 was much too optimistic, but still he wrote about so many things that have come to pass almost as he described. It's so stunningly accurate that the few anachronisms that creep in are totally hilarious.

"For my money Chuck was the only real engineer there; the rest were overeducated slipstick mechanics."  Looking back from 60 years into Heinlein's future, it's hard to imagine that anyone would have missed the fact that "slipsticks" (slide rules) would be non-existent in 2000, and were on their way out in the 70s (I learned to use a slide rule in the early 70s, bought a beautiful one in 1977—at a huge discount—and have probably not seen one for sale since).

In 2001: "The nearest twenty-four-hour bank was downtown at the Grand Circle of the Ways." I actually remember when there were less than a handful of bank machines in the whole of Toronto (~1981), but in a novel that centres on the life of an engineer who specializes in automatons, it's funny that he never imagined we could do away with physical banks for the mere dispensing of money.

But those things don't detract in the slightest from the things he got right (if not necessarily pinning them to the right time). Heinlein goes into great detail describing "Drafting Dan"—a way to automate drafting, so that an engineer can design without hunching over a drafting table. And what he describes is pretty much AutoCAD, only about a decade and a half too early.

He describes Roombas. He places them nearly three decades too early, but the physical description of the way they will ensure that a whole room is vacuumed and then return to their charging stations is uncanny.

One thing he got wrong, but it just goes even further to demonstrate his vision. In 2000, he postulates that, for some reason, gold has become very cheap. This leads to a great deal more automation, because all his robots need a lot of gold (perhaps not individually, but certainly in total) and with higher gold prices it becomes cost prohibitive. The prices of gold, platinum, and numerous other metals do in fact currently limit a great deal of our technology.

I recently finished The Man who Folded Himself, a time travel story that's all about paradox. Heinlein takes a different view (and one that, failing actual experimentation, must be just as likely): 'But I'm not worried about "paradoxes" or "causing anachronisms"—if a thirtieth-century engineer does smooth out the bugs and then sets up transfer stations and trade, it will be because the Builder designed the universe that way…. He doesn't need busybodies to "enforce" His laws; they enforce themselves. There are no miracles and the word "anachronism" is a semantic blank.'  Heinlein's idea of time travel is that you can't do anything that you haven't already done. "Free will and predestination in one sentence and both true". I've been trying to wrap my head around this idea, possibly even before I first read this story: I remember arguing with Calvinists as a teenager, who insisted that everything was predestined, but that we still had complete free will.  It's actually easier to believe in time paradoxes! 

Anyway, this particular story probably doesn't deserve the 5-star rating. I use that for life-changing books, and in Heinlein's case, that is probably The Roads Must Roll, but somewhere over the decades I lost that book so I can't reread it unless  I find another copy. This one certainly has similarities and can stand in until I find another copy of The Roads Must Roll!
Profile Image for Stuart.
722 reviews269 followers
May 9, 2015
The Door Into Summer: A charming time-travel story from Golden Age Heinlein
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
The Door Into Summer (1957) is an immensely enjoyable time-travel story told effortlessly by Robert A. Heinlein long before he turned into a crotchety, soap-box ranting old crank who had a very unhealthy obsession with free love and characters going back in time to hook up with their mothers (gross!!).

So back to this book. It’s the story of Daniel Davis, a hard-working engineer in 1970 who invents a wonderful robot vacuum cleaner named Hired Girl (not at all sexist, right?), but has more ambitious plans for an all-purpose household robot called Flexible Frank. He collaborates with his business partner Miles Gentry and assistant named Belle Darkin. However, one evening Dan discovers that his partner Miles is in cahoots with Belle to wrest control of the company from him. They take a controlling share and fire him as Chief Engineer, and to make matters worse they steal his designs for Flexible Frank. He is so upset that he elects to go into “cold sleep”, entrusting his stock certificates to Ricky, the stepdaughter of Miles, hoping to wake up to a better world in 2000.

Of course when he is revived all is not well. His plan has not worked, the company that Miles and Belle ran has gone bankrupt, and a different company seems to have developed Flexible Frank under the name of Eager Beaver. Dan is at a loss to figure out what has happened. He starts to follow a series of clues that point to a number of paradoxes that could only be explained by time travel…

Hang on, did I forget to mention the most important character in the story? Indeed I did, for the most charming figure in the book is a tomcat named Petronius the Arbiter (Pete for short), and he really steals the show. Dan brings Pete everywhere, including to restaurants and bars, where he keeps him hidden in a bag but orders him drinks. Pete plays an absolutely critical role later in the story, but Heinlein’s descriptions of Pete should really resonate with cat lovers.

Upon further reflection, I may have to revise my earlier statement that Heinlein didn’t delve into any of his later creepy obsessions about women or mothers. In this story the little girl Ricky is a plucky kid who is wise beyond her years, and Dan really admires her, imagining what a fine young woman she might grow up to be. But wait, if he goes into “cold sleep” for 30 years, won’t that bring their ages closer together? Actually it’s much more complicated than that, and why bother getting together with Ricky when she’s in her 40s when you can manage things so she is only 21 instead? How is this possible? Well, when you’re the author you can make anything happen, didn’t you know?

So lurking under the surface of this otherwise charming and very cleverly-constructed time-travel story, we have yet another subtext of creepy wish fulfillment. It really didn’t have to be part of the story, but then again this is Heinlein, and for him writing was always an opportunity to explore his own fantasies and political ideas. If you can overlook this, and it’s such a brisk and well-told story, I think you will find it quite enjoyable, even if he is laying the foundations for later travesties like Time Enough for Love, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, and The Number of the Beast.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,041 followers
October 23, 2014
Another old favorite picked up as a downloadable audio book from the library. It was quite enjoyable in this medium & the reader was very good. Originally published in 1957, it is set in 'the future' years 1970 & 2000. The idea of traveling into the future via 'cold sleep' was a pretty popular until sometime in the 70's, but cutting edge at this time, I think. Haven't heard about it in humans for years.

The hero, Dan, is an engineer & inventor. His genius isn't in break through technology, but in putting together mostly off-the-shelf parts to create really useful laborsaving devices. Steve Jobs type genius, timing, & design. Heinlein's discussion of this tech timing over the course of the book is very practical & interesting. It's amazing how much supporting technology there has to be for every major breakthrough.

Engineering is the art of the practical and depends more on the total state of the art than it does on the individual engineer. When railroading time comes you can railroad-but not before. Look at poor Professor Langley, breaking his heart on a flying machine that should have flown-he had put the necessary genius in it-but he was just a few years too early to enjoy the benefit of collateral art he needed and did not have. Or take the great Leonardo daVinci, so far out of his time that his most brilliant concepts were utterly unbuildable.

It was Heinlein's genius to take this a step further into the prosaic & make it sound so easy & obvious.

Amazingly little real thought had been given to housework, even though it is at least 50 per cent of all work in the world. The women's magazines talked about "labor saving in the home" and "functional kitchens," but it was just prattle; their pretty pictures showed living-working arrangements essentially no better than those in Shakespeare's day; the horse-to-jet-plane revolution had not reached the home.

Of course, Heinlein got a lot wrong about the future, but that wasn't too bad. Most obviously, we still don't have most of the devices that he describes. I loved his idea of Thorsen Memory tubes & macro programming, even though both are silly & simplistic. He had helicopter buses & completely missed the idea of the Internet - overall communications or electronic databases - yet he had transmutation of elements. Not a bad reason, if incorrect, for getting off the gold standard & he had the timing pretty close.

The overall story was a pretty good one of love & betrayal. With the time travel tossed in, it got quite twisty - although I was a little disappointed the he seemed to try to obscure it a bit too much especially in the last conversation. That was too much as the character is supposed to be fairly intelligent.

And that brings me to the creep factor that really brings the book down for me - Dan's relationship with Ricky.

So it was a 4 star story with 1 star removed due to this one creepy factor. It's well worth reading or listening too, though. Glad I did again after all these years.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,197 reviews116 followers
July 17, 2020
An amusing, lighthearted time travel romp, with a particular appeal for cat lovers. I don't know there was much here of real interest, apart from some of Heinlein's musings in the last few pages on the nature of free will, determinism and the existence, or not, of multiple universes. Also intriguing was his notion that the laws of the universe are capable of enforcing themselves, without any help needed from us humans, giving us a kind of free pass from worrying about paradoxes and the like resulting from time travel.
Profile Image for Andreas.
482 reviews139 followers
January 3, 2016
I liked it far less than my previous RAH reads of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, or even Stranger in a Strange Land.

The story - silly technician looses his garage corporation predictably to greedy woman and former business partner - wasn't very good with all that implausible back and forth through time and hibernated sleep. RAH rode that SF trope but didn't motivate it well enough; a lot of less riskier and far easier solutions to the protagonist's problems lay on hands. Especially his second hibernation was ridiculous.
Some of his sexual liberation stuff was needlessly included, especially the nudist camp, and I gnaw on those hints with the 11 year old girl.

As SF, this one didn't transport well into our times - which is a sharp contrast to other works from RAH, e.g. Starship Troopers, mainly because of his sloppy world-building with implausible anchoring of technology in society.
Concerning computer technology, he wasn't at the scientific height of the time of his writing, e.g. he didn't mention high-level programming languages (plan calculus or FORTRAN); magnetic core memory was well established, even the first mass produced computers were available with the IBM 650. I'm a sucker for nostalgic views at computers, and I think it would make perfect sense to visit a computer museum alongside reading this novel. As it goes, the inventor of computers, Konrad Zuse, had his labs some 10 miles from my home and the community founded a museum there - sorry, folks, its all in German. Fascinating stuff!

I understand that hibernation was a thing back in the 50s but I didn't like RAH's discussion of managing the legal parts. And a 70% survival chance would be an absolute no-go for me.

Lots of his extrapolations of technology of the years 1970 (which was 14 years near-SF at that time) and 2000 were funny to read. Humanoid roboters are a thing in this novel and some of them start to come true in our days, e.g. half-autonomous cars or cleaning roboters. It is interesting that it is far more complex to get legal issues cleared than getting the technology working, but RAH didn't dive into that one enough. Speaking of it, I like the concept of Pepper who is designed to "read emotions".

But really devastating were his social and political predictions of the world's state of 2000. Only thrown-in were facts as "England as a Canadian colony" or constructs like "Greater L.A.", a "6 week war" or a French monarchy. Why, oh why? It would have been very interesting to find out motivations for this settings, but RAH concentrated more on his time travel and hibernation roundtrips. Which I didn't like.

Sorry, only 2 stars - 1 of those for Pete the cat which I found quite funny and realistic as a character but very strange for a SF story.
Profile Image for Malice.
293 reviews37 followers
February 16, 2021
Lo mejor de todo el libro fue Pet, evidentemente porque los gatitos son geniales, jajaja. Y lo que más me llamó la atención es que el futuro es en el año 2000 y ese futuro sonaba más prometedor que este 2021.
Profile Image for Antonio TL.
244 reviews29 followers
May 10, 2022
Me gustan las primeras historias de Robert Heinlein con su estilo narrativo de monólogo continuo que solo él podía lograr bien. "Puerta al verano" es un libro de este tipo, publicado originalmente alrededor de 1957, ofrece una visión interesante del "futuro" de 1970 y del "futuro" aún más lejano del 2000. En una entrevista sobre el libro, dijo que después de tener la idea, solo le llevó 13 días escribir Puerta al verano. Imaginate lo que es escribir un "clásico" en solo 13 días.

La novela se publicó en 1957, pero Heinlein imagina una América en 1970 y nuevamente en el año 2000. Nuestro héroe, Daniel Boone Davis, es ingeniero e inventor, y un personaje típico de gran parte de la ciencia ficción de la década de 1950. Tiene un gran sentido de la libertad personal y autosuficiencia; un individuo que hace las cosas a su manera, que no tiene miedo de dar patadas contra la autoridad corporativa y que no tiene miedo de correr riesgos. Inventa una serie de ayudas para el hogar que tienen éxito. Su secretaria y su gerente comercial lo engañan con las ganancias de su empresa y lo engañan para que tome el sueño FRIO (animación suspendida) durante un período de treinta años. Se despierta en el año 2000 todavía con la necesidad de usar sus habilidades de ingeniería, pero el mundo ha seguido adelante. Consigue un trabajo en una rama de la empresa que fundó y le intriga que las patentes originales de sus máquinas más vendidas aún lleven su nombre. Descubre que el viaje en el tiempo se ha intentado con éxito y se abre camino para volver a 1970 para descubrir qué sucedió y recoger a Pete, su gato (todo un caracter)

Ahora bien, ¿es este un “clásico” de la ciencia ficción? Este libro aparece en algunas listas de los mejores. Me cuesta decidirme. Es muy entrtenido y es difícil para mí señalar algo que no me gustó. Sin embargo, cuando lo comparo incluso con otros libros de Heinlein, parece quedarse corto. La Luna es una cruel amante sigue siendo uno de mis libros de ciencia ficción favoritos de todos los tiempos. Incluso Forastero en tierra extraña de Heinlein me parece más un "clásico". Estos "clásicos" tienen un mayor alcance, y tal vez ese sea el encanto de Puerta al verano: es sencillo pero impecable.

Una cosa más para discutir: ¿El libro esta desfasado? Estamos tratando con un libro de más de 60 años, por lo que hay referencias fuera de fecha. El futuro imaginado de Heinlein está vacío de ordenadores e Internet pero soy un gran defensor de la lectura de libros antiguos. No podemos esperar que los libros antiguos coincidan con nuestra visión del mundo, sino que debemos dejar que amplíen la nuestra.

Profile Image for Jess Johnson.
43 reviews50 followers
January 31, 2018
I have so much ambivalence about this book!!!

I have a soft spot for vintage Sci Fi that reminds me of hanging out with my dad and discussing some thing we both read in high school. I started this book and it was hitting all the right notes for me - protagonist with a quirky, strong, distinct voice and slightly wacky approximation of 'how the future works' -- there is one really fun line where he basically approximates reading on a kindle.

That said despite acknowledging this is an older book I can't begin to forgive the treatment of women in it. If this were a one-off maybe I could excuse it as being radical as part of Heinlein's views on sexual liberation but repeatedly there are comments that are derogatory towards women. Check out my kindle notes and highlights for a few examples perhaps my favorite being when he suggests automation was a bad idea because receptionists used to be pretty women. UGH!!!!

In short, I docked at least one star for the treatment of women. Despite my love of the narrative voice, I think this type of novel is both what turned off more women from liking SciFi and also why so many find themselves drawn to SciFi/Fantasy YA because in these contemporary genres relatable badass female characters are so much more common.
Profile Image for Eilonwy.
826 reviews207 followers
January 22, 2015

Three and a half stars, so I guess my four stars will stand.

I read this as a teenager and have always remembered it as a love story. And I still think that. The difference is, this time I'm certain that the "love story" in this book is between narrator Dan and his cat, Pete, and definitely not between Dan and . The devotion and concern that Dan shows for his cat across time and distance is very touching, and is what really makes this whole book.

The most jarring bits of this for me was that it was written in 1957 and set in 1970 and 2001 -- and 2001 in this book is definitely an alternate universe, looking at it from 2015.

An expanded review may follow. But in a nutshell, this held up much better as a reread than I was afraid it might, and I recommend it if you enjoy science fiction and/or books with a strong undercurrent of cat love.


And excuse me, Goodreads, but the description of this book posted here is a huge spoiler that basically tells the whole plot! Someone should fix that.
Profile Image for Mª Carmen.
632 reviews
July 6, 2022
He disfrutado mucho releyendo este libro. No es ni el mejor ni el más representativo de su obra. No es comparable a Estrella doble o Tropas del espacio, pero entretiene y hasta te saca unas risas.

Me ha gustado la forma en que Heinlein explica los diversos procesos, sin entrar en demasiados tecnicismos, acorde con el tipo de novela que es. Fascinante el tipo de futuro que imaginó para el año 2000. Me gustaría que hubiese acertado.

Los personajes están bien trazados. Mi preferido, como no puede ser de otra manera, Pet, el gato, aunque Dan tampoco está mal.
El final bueno, sencillo y bonito.

Profile Image for William.
676 reviews339 followers
May 1, 2019
I read this as a teenager, back in the 1960s. Heinlein was my break-out author for reading. Never before had I inhaled books the way I did with Heinlein, and this was one of my favourites.
Profile Image for Valerie.
11 reviews8 followers
February 18, 2022
For today's standards it is a rather short novel with Heinlein still in his early stage, trying to develop the style that later led to his major works, and short is better in this case. It is told first person perspective and this makes things difficult for the narrative part but better for the introspective one.
There are no discussions of time travel issues or paradoxes to be solved, still the book is enjoyable, but if you want science fiction with any depth or emotional resonance, don't expect to find it here, with the exception that he loves the world of the future but dreams of his friends from the past. The future holds things Dan has never dreamed of, but it also holds a really strange past for him— when he wakes up in 2000, much has changed...some of these changes are good. But there are a couple of things that just don't make sense. Things with no easy answer...without time travel, like his gradual realization that many people he never met seem to remember seeing him before. Unfortunately all the things Heinlein assumes will be easy turn out to be almost impossible, and all the things he thinks will be impossible turn out to be easy but one of the problems with writing science fiction set in the near future is the fast transition from "near future" to "did not happen past." To be fair, remember that this book is the product of its time, the 50s.
Profile Image for Trav Rockwell.
100 reviews7 followers
February 7, 2017
A very fast paced story line with drama for days. 'The Door Into Summer' was written in 1957 with the plots story based between 1970 - 2001. Robert A. Heinlein had to do a lot of predicting to paint a believable world set in 2001 in which he succeeds creating a believable account of time travel which isn't over the top or far fetched as most time travel novels seem to be. The main character Dan Davis is extremely well written, charismatic, smart, wise and quick witted, making him very enjoyable to read.

Ps: I'm not a 'cat person' though I want to give a shout out to 'Petronius the Arbiter' aka Pete who's large personality has given me a new found respect for cats. I love Dan and Petes relationship, it is a beautifully written friendship which for me is the highlight of this book.
Profile Image for Oleksandr Zholud.
1,121 reviews112 followers
January 28, 2019
This is a SF novel published in 1957, the title depicts the following episode:

While still a kitten, all fluff and buzzes, Pete had worked out a simple philosophy. I was in charge of quarters, rations, and weather; he was in charge of everything else. But he held me especially responsible for weather. Connecticut winters are good only for Christmas cards; regularly that winter Pete would check his own door, refuse to go out it because of that unpleasant white stuff beyond it (he was no fool), then badger me to open a people door.
He had a fixed conviction that at least one of them must lead into summer weather. Each time this meant that I had to go around with him to each of eleven doors, held it open while he satisfied himself that it was winter out that way, too, then go on to the next door, while his criticisms of my mismanagement grew more bitter with each disappointment

This great short novel is a classic Heinlein, meddling with melodrama. He is no Shakespeare but the book starts and goes for a first third quite like film noir – behind the screen voice of the protagonist, on a drinking binge; female fatale, beautiful but cunning. Yes, the female characters are far from modern representation and show how what is okay to write changed.

The story goes in two time streams, first is 1970, the US recently won the WW3, the USSR is no more, new capital (after nuclear strikes) is in Denver. the second is 2000. It is strange to see the two futures, both in my past :)

The protagonist is an engineer, making helpful gadgets to finally free housewives from chores (for me this makes him more progressive than those, who picks some of his phrases as ‘reactionary’). Unlike many other authors he really thought the gadgets out - great to see AutoCAD and Rumba and even Siri/Alexa with (often naïve) ideas on how they will operate.

Heinlein’s attitude and mostly positive and responsible people the protagonist meets - like a gust of fresh wind compared to modern writers, were everyone plans to backstab another. The hero doesn’t take charity even when entitled to, quite an attitude. Also a bit on the public money used to keep the production sounds like the similar story on agriculture in Catch-22

The job I found was crushing new ground limousines so that they could be shipped back to Pittsburgh as scrap. Cadillacs, Chryslers, Eisenhowers, Lincolns-all sorts of great, big, new powerful turbobuggies without a kilometer on their clocks. Drive `em between the jaws, then crunch! smash! Crash!-scrap iron for blast furnaces.
It hurt me at first, since I was riding the Ways to work and didn't own so much as a gravJumper. I expressed my opinion of it and almost lost my job... until the shift boss remembered that I was a Sleeper and really didn't understand.
"It's a simple matter of economics, son. These are surplus cars the government has accepted as security against price-support loans. They're two years old now and they can never be sold, so the government junks them and sells them back to the steel industry. You can't run a blast furnace just on ore; you have to have scrap iron as well. You ought to know that even if you are a Sleeper. Matter of fact, with high-grade ore so scarce, there's more and more demand for scrap. The steel industry needs these cars."
"But why build them in the first place if they can't be sold? It seems wasteful."
"It just seems wasteful. You want to throw people out of work? You want to run down the standard of living?"
"Well, why not ship them abroad? It seems to me they could get more for them on the open market abroad than they are worth as Scrap."
"What!-and ruin the export market? Besides, if we started dumping cars abroad we'd get everybody sore at us-Japan, France, Germany, Great Asia, everybody. What are you aiming to do? Start a war?" He sighed and went on in a fatherly tone. "You go down to the public library and draw out some books. You don't have any right to opinions on these things until you know something about them."

Profile Image for Simon.
566 reviews234 followers
June 26, 2015
This is a very accessible and entertaining Heinlein read.

It is set in what was then a couple of decades into the future: 1970. The protagonist ends up travelling 30 years into his future by means of a cryogenic sleep to wake up in the year 2000. Reading this book in the year 2015 gives one quite a different perspective than one would have had reading it when it first came out. One can look back and judge how the authors vision of those years diverged from reality.

This is an optimistic book. Optimistic in several ways. The author envisaged humanity being more technologically advanced that we actually were both in the year 2000 and even the year 1970. More importantly though it is optimistic in a way that reflects the time in which it was written and in a way that is deeply unfashionable now. It reflects a belief in human progress and that human society (and the human condition) generally keep getting better. It certainly seems that way through the eyes of the protagonist and, one suspects, the author.

The protagonist is a likeable character although the relationship with his business partner's daughter is a bit disconcerting (particularly to the modern reader).

But all in all a very good read and a good place to start if you are new to his work.
Profile Image for Jersy.
808 reviews67 followers
March 4, 2021
This book is pretty different from what I usually read and enjoy. The story, style and protagonist are very much of its time and none of them are what I usually gravitate towards, but the compelling writing, the subtle humor and especially the strong relationship between Dan and his cat Pete made me like this a lot.

It´s less about time travel than it is about ingenuity: a good part is about the protagonist´s company and inventions and about him trying to get his way. Time travel just happens at the end, but we still get to see a good deal of two imagined futures, now both in our past. Dan is an interesting character, he probably appealed to the everyday man of the time and still to some men today, but I wonder how intentional some of his flaws are. He obviously has a messed-up relationship to the women in his life, as proven again by the ending and he can be pretty annoying and oblivious to some things around him, but part of me still reads him as essentially the unquestioned good guy.

For me, the book was fascinating in many ways, even if the focus of the story was not where I thought it would be.
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