Not sure what all the hype is about this book, or the comparison to Robert Heinlein. I've read a few of Heinlein's novels and they're more hard sci-fi than this one. I find Varley writes more like Orson Card personally. This book I'd say has a reading level for 14-18 year olds. There's too much humor and most of it is not funny at an adult level. I find anyway. The basic plot is good and I like the history lesson about the space program that pops up every so often but I was told most of this in Jr. High so most of it is not new to me. It's just a nice refresher I guess. I was expecting a much grander tale with more sci-fi elements but instead I get a group of average people that want to go to Mars before the Chinese because one character happens to find a mysterious bubble and all the sudden they can build a space ship in six months out of junk. Reminded me of a LEXX episode. If you ever watched that show. I will say it all came together nicely but I think this would have been better as a short story for teens and not as a novel. Too much fluff in here. This is the 2nd Varley book I'm giving a 4/10 so no more for me.