Terry Mixon, host of the Dead Robot’s Society and bestselling author of the Empire of Bones Saga, gives his take on The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile

When Dan asked me to review The Secrets of the Heinlein Juvenile, I leaped at the chance. Robert Heinlein was one of the first authors that I read as a boy, and these very books started me on a path that has kept me reading my entire life. They took me to worlds that I’d never imagined existed, and they taught me lessons in how to tell stories that are invaluable even today.

I came into this book expecting something relatively short that went over the novels in general terms with basic advice on how others might emulate what Robert Heinlein had done. I could not have been more wrong, and that delighted me.

This book digs deep into each of the Heinlein juvenile novels and teases apart the elements that make it work. I found the process thought-provoking and had to dwell on each chapter in turn so that I really understood what Dan was saying. When I finished the book, I had a much deeper understanding of the process that Robert Heinlein had used to write the Juveniles, and the building blocks he used.

As a writer, deconstructing books is one of the most essential skills that we learn. When someone does something that we love, we have to reread it as a writer to see how they did what caught our eye so that we can replicate it ourselves.

In this book, Dan takes all the mystery out of how that works. He deconstructs each Heinlein juvenile novel individually and then speaks about the series as a whole and shows you how it all came together. He’s done the work so that you don’t have to, though you still should.

If you’re reading my words and you haven’t already picked up this book, I urge you to do so in the strongest of terms. You’ll learn things that you didn’t know before–no matter how many times you’ve read the Heinlein books–and you’ll acquire knowledge of how to write similar stories while still making them your own.

Treat yourself and get this book.