The Door into Summer

related topics
{film, series, show}
{son, year, death}
{company, market, business}
{work, book, publish}
{build, building, house}
{system, computer, user}
{theory, work, human}
{law, state, case}
{day, year, event}
{disease, patient, cell}
{car, race, vehicle}
{food, make, wine}
{woman, child, man}
{household, population, female}
{mi², represent, 1st}

The Door into Summer is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (October, November, December 1956, with covers and interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas) and published in hardcover in 1957. It is a fast-paced hard science fiction novel, with a key fantastic element, and romantic elements. In three separate Locus Magazine readers polls from 1975 to 1998, it was judged the 36th, the 29th, or the 43rd all-time best science-fiction novel.[1]

The title was triggered by a remark that Heinlein's wife had made[2]: in the novel, the protagonist's cat refuses to leave their house through any of its numerous doors when he sees snow on the ground: he is looking for The Door into Summer. Heinlein wrote the complete novel in only 13 days. No rewrite was needed, only some light editing that Heinlein did himself.


Plot summary

The novel opens in 1970 with Daniel Boone Davis, an engineer and inventor, well into a long drinking binge. He has lost his company, Hired Girl, Inc., to his partner Miles Gentry and the company bookkeeper, Belle Darkin. She had been Dan's fiancée, deceiving him into giving her enough voting stock to allow her and Miles to seize control. Dan's only friend in the world is his cat, "Petronius the Arbiter", or "Pete", whom he carries around in a bag, allowing him out from time to time for a sip of beer.

Hired Girl, Inc. manufactures robot vacuum cleaners, but Dan had been developing a new line of all-purpose household robots, Flexible Frank, when Miles announces his intention to sell the company (and Frank) to a large corporation in which Miles would become a vice-president. Wishing to stay independent, Dan opposes the takeover, but is outvoted and then fired as Chief Engineer. Left with a large financial settlement, and his remaining Hired Girl stock, he elects to take "cold sleep" (suspended animation) with his beloved pet cat "Pete", hoping to wake up thirty years later to a brighter future. The examining doctor at the cold sleep facility immediately sees that Dan has been drinking. He gives Dan an injection to start the process of sobering him up, and warns him to show up sober or not at all 24 hours later for the actual procedure.

After becoming sober, Dan decides instead to mount a counter-attack. First he mails his Hired Girl stock certificate to the one person he trusts, Miles' stepdaughter Frederica "Ricky" Gentry. Dan confronts Miles and finds Belle in Miles' home. Belle injects him with an illegal "zombie" drug, reducing him to somnolent compliance. Belle and Miles discover Dan's plans to go into cold sleep. Belle alters Dan's commitment documents to have him placed in a repository run by her cronies—a subsidiary of Mannix, the company that was trying to buy Hired Girl, Inc.

Dan wakes up in the year 2000, with no money to his name, and no idea how to find the people he once knew. What little money Belle let him keep went with the collapse of Mannix in 1987. He has lost Pete the cat, who fled Miles' house after Dan was drugged, and has no idea how to find a now middle-aged Ricky.

Full article ▸

related documents
My Fair Lady
Survivor (novel)
Meet Me in St. Louis
You Can't Take It with You
David Niven
Fiddler on the Roof
Dorothy Parker
Daphne du Maurier
A Better Tomorrow
P. G. Wodehouse
Gregory Peck
Cary Grant
Carole Lombard
Spike Milligan
Roald Dahl
Qui-Gon Jinn
The Invisible Man
Leslie Phillips
Draco Malfoy
John Barrymore
Brian Friel
Georgette Heyer
Jean Renoir
Gore Vidal
Samuel Beckett
John Steinbeck
A Little Night Music
Anna Nicole Smith
Harry Paget Flashman