General outfitters on Mars owned
by Tony Angelo, which supplied just about anything that tourists or
prospectors could need. Castor
and Pollux Stone attempted to do business with them, and bought their flat cat
Furry native Martians, round and featureless except for three eyes (not
always visible), and the limited ability to change shape (e.g. spherical to
flat). They emitted a purring sound when stroked, which was soothing and
almost irresistible to humans. They also were parthenogenetic, and gave birth
in droves when overfed. From one flat cat, the Stones ended up with a holdful,
which fortunately they were able to sell off to lonely Asteroid miners.
The flat cat
Stone bought for his baby brother. Since the entire family pampered it and
fed it and flat cats reproduce whenever they're overfed, the ship was soon
awash with its descendants; when the flat cats were relegated to the hold,
only Fuzzy Britches was kept by the family — on a strict diet.
In Heinlein's stories, the Red Planet is usually described as barren and
cold with a thin atmosphere, just barely habitable by humans in pressurized
habitats or after terraforming. The "canals" are real waterways (usually
frozen). The planet has native life, variously described in different books.
Though some of the books depict conflicts between human colonists and native
Martians, none portray the natives as resentful of the invasion of their home;
often, the Martians remains largely oblivious to the human presence. In The
Rolling Stones, Mars was settled by humans. The tariffs and taxes were
almost prohibitive of interplanetary trade. Tourism was the biggest industry.
Natives of Mars were described as having three legs. Their communities
were prohibited to humans by treaty, but Lowell
Stone was taken to meet one. Though obviously not traumatized by the
experience, he refused to talk about it afterward.
In Have Space Suit — Will Travel and The Rolling Stones in
particular, but also in passing mentions in most of his stories, Heinlein
states that mathematics is the most important science, and anyone who does not
know advanced math should not be considered civilized or intelligent.
Name finally chosen for the Stone
family spaceship, after rejecting such nominations as The Clunker, Dauntless,
Go-Devil, Icarus, Iron Duke, Jabberwock, Morning Star, Onward, Oom Paul, and
H.M.S. Pinafore. Roger
Stone also sarcastically suggested R.S. Deadlock, Hairshirt, and Madhouse.
The Rolling Stone was inspired by Hazel
Stone's comment about "gathering no moss"; the family also called the ship
Videocast for which Roger
Stone wrote scripts, in consequence of a bet that he could do better than
the usual scriptwriters. When he tired of it, his mother Hazel
Stone took over the job with the help of his 4-year-old son.
Twins, teenaged geniuses who with their family purchased a space ship and
began a travel and trading venture throughout the solar system. They were just
barely successful selling bicycles on Mars, but
did good business with miners in the Asteroid
Belt. Castor was the elder by 20 minutes, and was called "Grandpa" by
Mother of Castor
and Pollux Stone, physician and sculptor who joined her family on a travel
and trade venture through the outer solar system. Her medical services were
much in demand, first to treat an epidemic on the ship War God en
route to Mars, and
then for routine and emergency treatment throughout the Asteroid
Hazel Meade Stone (a.k.a. Gwen Novak)
Mother of Roger
Stone, a moving force behind the family's decision to travel through the
outer solar system. She was a founder of the lunar colony and an engineer who
had also made a living as a blackjack dealer. She apparently lived on Earth
for a while. She took over writing Scourge
of the Spaceways after her son tired of it.
In most of Heinlein's stories, the planet is hot and swampy but habitable
by humans. Natives are variously described as sentient "dragons" and as small,
humanoid amphibians with a matriarchal culture, the females being considerably
more intelligent than the males. In The Rolling Stones, Venus was
settled by humans. The Stone family had once visited it.
Society was founded by Virginia Heinlein on behalf of her husband, science
fiction author Robert Anson Heinlein, to "pay forward" the legacy of Robert A. Heinlein to future generations of "Heinlein's Children."